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Showing posts from February, 2016

Book Review: A Secret Muse

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A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson-Beverly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coco has always been artistic and independent, in part due to the tragic death of her parents when she was a small child. Her painting makes her feel close to her mother, who was also an accomplished artist. As she nears her 32nd birthday, though, she can’t shake the feeling that she is missing something, something that could give her some insight into her parents’ tragic death. Her brother has some connections through a secret society known as the Allegiance, but she wants nothing to do with them, believing them somehow responsible. Can Christopher convince her that they are actually helping rather than hurting? And can she accept their methods, not to mention their background?

I’m not usually a vampire novel girl, but this one grew on me. It didn’t start out with the modern sparkly vampires, but the big reveal seemed far more realistic than some of the classics too. I enjoyed the inner character development of Coco, and …

Book Review: Ryyah Threat from the North

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World of Ryyah: Threat from the North: Book Three by H.L. Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Addlin is not sure what just happened at his meeting between his House of Donovan and the Eastern Elves alliance discussions, but he may have just married. Seliene knew that she would become bonded as part an alliance, but she wasn’t prepared for a half human bond mate who may not be affected by the bonding spell in the same way she is. Addlin must learn to navigate marriage to an elf who wasn’t sure how his culture works, while also navigating the murky world of alliances during war.

While started a bit slow for me, this book quickly morphed into a fascinating tale of Elven culture and war. I honestly wished that the concepts of bonding and Elven culture were explored further, although that is not to diminish the character development that was deepened in a meaningful way. The ideas just fascinated me so I would love to see more of Addlin and Seliene’s relationship played out in the rest of the …

Book Review: From a Criminal Mind to the Mind of Christ

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From a criminal mind to the mind of Christ by Melody Wolfe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Melody has battled addiction, been incarcerated, survived the death of her husband and faced mental health diagnoses head on. She admittedly struggled to walk the straight and narrow, and wondered if it could even really be done. As a Christian, she knew she was a bad witness. But how do you work your way up to walking the walk?

Of course the answer is you don’t. Melody found that only when she embraced the mind of Christ and let him do the directing could she walk the walk. Melody writes From a Criminal Mind to the Mind of Christ from a very open, raw perspective of someone who has been through it and while far from perfect, has embraced the radiant person that she is meant to be in Christ. I should note, this is written specifically from a Christian perspective and is intended for those who can embrace Christianity as part of their recovery process, if you are not already a Christian. There is a bit o…

Book Review: Rise of the Horde

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Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde by Devan Sagliani
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Xander is determined to make it to the base where his brother Moto is stationed. It’s his only hope of survival against the zombie horde, which has overwhelmed his current base. Together with his 12 year old charge, Benji, he must navigate cannibals, cults, neo-Nazis, and biker gangs to get to relative safety. Oh, also zombies, there is the minor issue of zombies.

Rise of the Horde is a well told zombie apocalypse introduction that feels like it really is being told from 16 year old Xander’s perspective. He is good at narrating from a perspective that feels like more of a regular citizen’s feel for how a zombie apocalypse would look and begin. I also really appreciated how it wasn’t all blood and guts and gore, but really explored how various human subgroups might react and survive in a such a situation. Some would turn to religion, some would simply refuse to believe their own eyes (and get subsequently bit) …

Book Review: Lilith Eden's Planetary Princess

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Lilith: Eden's Planetary Princess by C.E. Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

35,000 years ago a war in heaven is just starting to heat up. King Joshua is desperate to save his Angels, who are being harvested and reconfigured into Nephilim, fighting for the Overlords. While he is distracted by this, a devastating political parlay is going down on Eden, as unexpectedly Lilith is taking shape as the newest, and fiercely dangerous planetary princess.

I love a good origin story, and and it doesn’t get more original than Lilith in Eden. I liked that this story put a twist on what we generally think of for Earth’s origin, and all the characters were fascinating. You find most major religions and philosophies duking it out in several realms, often interacting in a way you would not expect. While in general I liked the story, I think that it was rather long and overly detailed. I understand this might be necessary to the series, but there were portions that I think could have been edited o…

Book Review: Forests of the Fae

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Forests of the Fae: Devlin's Door by K. Kibbee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anne isn’t pleased about having to spend the summer at her aunt and uncle’s house with her insufferable cousin. But when she gets to poke around a town whose residents mysteriously disappeared almost 100 years ago, and discovers a journal written by 13 year old Grace, she may open a portal that was best left closed. Can she and Grace protect each other and escape the malicious Fae?

In an age where everyone equates fairies with cute little sprites no more mischievous than Tinkerbell, I really appreciated a story that recreates the true malevolence of the Fae. The writing was descriptive and sucked you into the story, and while I can’t say I was totally stunned by the ending I was pleasantly surprised that the author was not afraid to take risks with the characters. Now I’m left wondering if the story stands alone and should not be tampered with, or if I want to see a series!

Giveaway!

There is a giveaway for th…

Book Review: The Last Dragon Slayer

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Deathsworn 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 t…

Book Review: I Once Knew Vincent

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I 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 m…

Book Review: Heartbreak

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Heartbreak: 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 r…