Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review: The Royal Dragoneers

The Royal Dragoneers (The Dragoneers Saga, #1)The Royal Dragoneers by M.R. Mathias
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The trolls are invading, and have been sited even near Jenka’s remote town of Crag. While out hunting, he encounters something he never thought he would see, a dragon, and what’s more, a dragon who defends him. Thus begins Jenka’s journey to Jade, his bonded dragon, and together they find others who likewise have kept a deep secret of actual communication with dragons. When they discover the real reason behind the increased troll activity, they must bond together as Dragoneers to fight the coming horde. But will they be able to protect the Kingdom and fight the great conflict to come?

Tolkein once said, “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” M.R. Mathias has taken that to heart and showcases dragons at both their best and worst in this beginning of the Dragoneer saga. He sets the stage by introducing Jenka and a quick back story, but the story then is off and running at a pretty hectic pace. Mathias’ work is marked by short scenes that intertwine to tell a much larger tale. While I love the frenzy of it, towards the end it seemed a little too fast paced, jumping from battle to battle without too much explanation of where and why, and I would have liked a little more emotional description, as demonstrated in the beginning of the book. Still it is a wonderfully epic adventure, a great set up for a longer series, and engaging for both kids and adults alike. If you enjoy losing yourself in a fantasy world full of both wonderful and terrifying creatures, the Dragoneers await!

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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 20, 2015

Book Review: The Beast of Seabourne

The Beast of Seabourne (Artefact, #2)The Beast of Seabourne by Rhys A. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oz and his friends Ellie and Rufus have a sneaking suspicion that the Obsidian pebble was not the end of the story. Using Soph, the avatar for the clever tech found in the pebble, they go on a search for the next artifact, the black ring. It has been found once before, but that man met with an unpleasant demise. Will they be able to find it before the Beast of Seabourne unleashes on them, the way it has unleashed on some of their school bullies? And will they be able to prevent the evil scheme Gerber is trying to unleash on the world? Follow these unlikely heroes as they hunt down and discover exactly what the Beast of Seabourne really is.

The Beast of Seabourne, book two in the Artefact Quintet, follows Oz and his friends as they try to unravel the mystery left to Oz by his late father, who was mysteriously murdered after its discovery, and now it seems that murder is coming after Oz as well. Author Rhys A. Jones spins a clever tale that is perfect for the tween set, much inspired by J.K. Rowling style children’s literature without totally ripping it off, as is often done. This series has magic that is ultimately explained by tech, and totally engages both children and adults alike in unweaving the mystery of the artifacts that appeared over 100 years ago. It is set in England, so American readers might not be totally familiar with the school system or some of the slang, but that doesn’t really get in the way of the story and certainly does not hinder the character development. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

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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 16, 2015

Book Review: Hierarchies of Greed

Hierarchies of GreedHierarchies of Greed by Michael Patrick Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

During the Cold War a major London Soviet spy cell was blown, and both American Gerald Hammond and Russian Stanislav Paslov are investigating the leak, which may lead much higher up than anyone ever anticipated. Their unlikely relationship leads to a transnational investigation that will put both they and their loved ones in great danger. Both men of integrity, committed to their cause, they find themselves dancing with the devil they know and the devil they don't

An intriguing novel, well researched and characters developed, Hierarchies of Greed offers an insightful glance into Cold War politics and intrigue. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get into it at the beginning, as spy novels necessarily must set the scene rather thoroughly and I got a little bogged down in the details. The glossary at the back was helpful, as I did start to get character wires crossed at first. However I thought as a whole it was really well written and the characters were compelling, and I have to admit I’m a sucker for historical novels. The plot leads you criss-crossing the ocean and second guessing your guesses as to who the real leak is. Looking forward to the next one!

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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 6, 2015

Book Review: I Was an Unsolved Mystery

I Was an Unsolved Mystery: A Fugitive's StoryI Was an Unsolved Mystery: A Fugitive's Story by Thomas Lion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tom Lion was done with his pot-dealing days, not that he thought there was anything wrong with smoking pot. It was a moral issue, as far as he was concerned rather than a government one. Unfortunately for him, the US government thought differently, particularly during the War on Drugs of the 80’s and 90’s. In his memoir, he details his life a fugitive, on the run from his capture that was due, in part, to his appearance on the hit TV show Unsolved Mysteries.

To say Lion’s memoir is well-written would be an understatement and probably selling it a little short. While the narrative could have used a once-over in editing to catch a few minor mispells and text corrections, the characters are well-developed and relatable, and the memoir from prison style is quite engaging. His details about money laundering, national politics sway of the drug market, and drug lifestyle are fascinating and really helpful to understand his opinions. Whether you agree or not, his political stance and opinions are enlightening, and really must be taken seriously given his first hand involvement. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for perspective on the marijuana debate in this country, regardless of what side you tend to favor. There is plenty of pot politics and opinions espoused by Lion, but even so the story is quite gripping. Ultimately, you are left pondering your own stance on pot politics, and any book that forces the reader to delve deeply into the “why” of his or her own thoughts and opinions

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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 2, 2015

Book Review: Legend of the Stone: Chapter 1

Legend of the Stone: Chapter I (Loserville Engineering The Successions)Legend of the Stone: Chapter I by Lucas R. Ballard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Lucas is a project. Tortured by scientists and soldiers since his discovery at age 8, he has managed to survive everything they have thrown at him. He is an asset, but a resentful one. When the opportunity to escape arises he takes it, and takes out many of the torturers while doing so. He finds a rare friend who saves his life, and together they discover the power of the stone he found during his escape. Will he and Juan survive their attempt to hijack a freighter and leave the moon, or will their stone-enhanced powers be too little, too late?

I really wanted to like this book. The premise of Merlin’s magic returning to humans after he casts it out intrigued me, as did the prospect of it coming to a man mottled by experimentation. But the writing was There were run-ons and fragments, tenses jumping in and out all over the place, strange redundancies, and obvious wrong words, like “cloths” instead of “clothes.” There was also blatant contradictions, such as referring to a lifeless body that was breathing. I really think the storyline has potential, but the text itself is in dire need of editing.

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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 26, 2015

Book Review: Monarchs and Mendicants

Monarchs and Mendicants (Gifford Ulrich, #1)Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gifford has got to get out of downtown St. Louis to flee the Hacker, an assassin who for some unknown reason targets the local homeless population. After discovering his friend, Raphael, cut to pieces he takes Tobias, Raphael’s faithful dog, and heads south, toward Benoit. There he finds a community and even somewhat steady work at the local brick yard, but also danger. Has the Hacker been tracking him? Who does the Hacker work for and why is he following Gifford?

Monarchs and Mendicants is a thoughtful tale that looks at the plight of the homeless through Gifford, a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and generally down on his luck guy. He is the homeless guy that no one likes to admit exists - not a druggie or a wino, or lazy, just trying to catch a break. You can’t help but be drawn to him despite his tough exterior, and root for him as he works to survive and eventually come out of his shell to do what he does best - fight for others who need a break too. As I live in the greater St. Louis area I was also drawn to the tales from home, and Groat’s description of the area is quite sound, although many of the names were changed of course. Mostly though, you are drawn to the plight of homeless in general, and if you assume that everyone is homeless because they choose to be you might find yourself questioning that assumption after reading it. I love literature that challenges assumptions, and Groat’s work certainly falls in that category. My one issue with the book was actually the cover as it screamed amateur. In this case, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly rings true!

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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 21, 2015

Ultimate DIY Bundle Sale on Now!

You guys may not know how creative I'm not, but it is a sad, true fact. The closest I come is the occasional digiscrap, and those are entirely template based. However, I know that many of you are the Pinterest goddesses I aspire to be, and good for you. However, for the rest of us, there is easy to follow tutorials with step by step instructions that use small words and short sentences for those of us busy, sleep-deprived Mommy types. There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? With work, helping the kids with their homework, preparing meals, cleaning up after everyone and putting yet another load of laundry on, there’s very little time for sleep – let alone DIY and crafting!

But do you look at that bare wall in the den and that tatty tablecloth on the kitchen table, and just wish you had a few hours to do something about them? Or do you browse through those wonderful crafting successes on Pinterest and think to yourself that “one day” you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself so that you too can create something incredible?
You’re not alone – there’s a huge community of people out there who are feeling just as frustrated as you are!
Thankfully though, there’s an exciting new product to help you quickly and easily get into (or back into) the creative projects you’ve been desperate to start. It’s called The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and it’s a collection of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry.
For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses. And let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information.
Topics in the bundle include:
  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design
  • …and a whole lot more (76 eBooks and eCourses in total) – to help you be inspired or get started with your next DIY or crafting project!
There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, January 21 until 11.59pm EST on Monday, January 26.
You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.
Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $118. That’s 3x the price of the bundle alone! These include…
A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $60 Value), free $15 store credit to, a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.
So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 76 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by midnight on Monday, January 26!
This amazing deal ends in just…

Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

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.