Friday 2 November 2012

The Magic of Finkleton by K.C. Hilton

Published by: CreateSpace
Pages: 181

I was very generously given a copy of this book by K.C. Hilton, and I cannot thank her enough! I highly recommend this for anyone to be honest, I don't think that you have to be a child to enjoy this story.

This story revolves around a family that inherits their Uncle's store (like a general store) and have to move to a town called Finkleton. When they arrive there, the children (Jack, Lizzy and Robert) start to realise that there is something a little off about this town, and they connect it back to the store, and as they start to uncover the clues one after the other, they do put it all together and are amazed at what they figure out.

The writing in this book is wonderful, it is set in England and although it does not specifically say, I believe it to be maybe in the late 40's or early 50's just based on the behaviour and the conversations that the characters have with each other. I love the little things that the author put in there to keep to that area and time period, for example instead of using the word "glasses" (as in reading glasses) she uses "spectacles", things like that won me over through the whole book over and over again.

I also really enjoyed the way that the siblings interacted with each other as they did not get along 100% of the time, which let's be honest is reality, especially in the younger years. I would have to say that my favourite character was Robert the youngest child, I really liked his personality and the way that he was very independent and wanted to figure everything out on his own.

So to wrap up and stop all of my gushing, I highly recommend this series to anyone, and am really looking forward to the other 2 books in the series. A 5/5 for me for sure! Thank you again K.C. I feel honoured to have received your package.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Safe Haven by Nicolas Sparks

Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 340

This is a fantastic light read, it is good to get a break from all the books I have been reading with a lot of heavy topics.

Katie is a really great strong character, I admire her strength to get through what she did, and is still able to come out of it and live a somewhat normal life. At the beginning of the novel we come to understand why Katie acts the way that she does, and why she keeps to herself.

I really liked Alex as well, he is a very genuine man, willing to help anyone that he can. I loved getting to know the relationship that he has with his children, and how they rely on each other.

The only part of this book that I would have liked to have seen changed would have been when the "I love you's" were exchanged, I felt it was incredibly early, and I think it would have suited the end of the book perfectly with the events that went on there, it would have made it a perfect romance novel for me.

As far as romance novels go for me, this is a 4/5, and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen, the actors chosen look like they will make it a good movie.

Life Of The Party by Christine Anderson

Published by: Smashwords
Pages: 488

First off, all I can think of to say is this book takes you for a ride! It started at a medium pace, and then it picked up, and didn't really stop right until the end.

It is filled with a lot of mature content as far as drug use, so just as a caution for someone younger reading this blog post, or if it is something that you are not interested in reading about, you may want to pass this one by.

This book follows a girl named Mackenzie, and it starts with her close to her last year of high school, and follows her and her friends that live in a small town.  Mac (Mackenzie) is not the most social of characters, and really sticks to the small group of friends that she has, until one night that they go to a club and she meets the singer of the band that is playing Grey.

From that point on, she starts on a journey that will bring her to a place that some may describe as hell on earth. You can tell from the beginning of the book that she does have the addictive personality, and she is really not afraid of trying any new kind of drug, which is not a good thing. 

At the beginning of the book her friends and Mac are involved with things like weed, mushrooms, and some of the basic kinds of drugs, which in some social circles is considered normal. Then the night she meets Grey, her best friend Riley has a really bad trip on mushrooms, and has hallucinations, and feels as though he is going to die, and she has to sit with him all night and try to assure him that it is all going to turn out ok. From that point on Riley has decided that he is not going to be doing anymore drugs, and also decides to quit smoking as he sees what it is doing to him. It puts a significant strain on their relationship as he will no longer go to the places that he would before as he knew what was going to be taking place, and knew that if he went he would cave and start doing drugs again.

From that moment forward Mac puts herself in to situations where all different kinds of drugs are available, and it is not just the basics anymore. The author has found a way to show how easy it can really be for someone to follow down that road, and is able to portray a level of denial that a true addict will have that everything is ok, they have it managed, and they can quit whenever they want. I don't really want to give anymore of the story away as I truly believe that it is something that you must read and experience for yourself. This is quite a heavy topic, but I think that anyone who is interested in reading about different real life situations would truly appreciate it.  For sure a 5/5 for me!

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Penthouse Man by Kea Noli

Published by: Independent Author International
Pages: 100

I received a an ecopy of this book from the author in trade for an honest review.

I was really hoping to like this more than I did, for me it was not the writing, it was more not being able to connect with any of the characters. I could not connect to the main character and how she was in love with her sister's husband, and the things that she did to her sister with the letter and everything, I just cannot imagine doing that to my own sister, so that is where the disconnect happened.

As far as some of the other characters, the way that they spoke to each other, especially when they were family was just beyond my comprehension! I have not been around a mother and daughter that spoke to each other that way, and I am sure that it happens, not every mother-daughter relationship is perfect, I understand that, but it just did not sit well with me.

This kind of story is just not my cup of tea unfortunately.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Y by Marjorie Celona

Published by: Hamish Hamilton Canada
Pages: 288

This is going to be a hard review for me, I was really excited to win this book, and I had high expectations for it, but for some reason, I could not connect with any of the characters, and I did not enjoy it.  It was not the writing by any means, it was beautiful, I think it was mostly the main character, maybe because I have not been through the same things that she had, and I could not understand where she was coming from.

The story starts off with Shannon being left abandoned at the YMCA doors by her mother Yula. Throughout the book we see her journey through childhood and then in to her teenage years, and how she is bounced around from house to home until she lands at one that finally becomes her home.

In between some of Shannon's chapters we also get to see some of the events leading up to Yula's decision to leave Shannon at the YMCA, I did enjoy that part of the story more than Shannon's story for some reason. Yula definitely did not have it easy, and was without a mother figure in her life at that point herself to help her through the tough decisions.

Shannon does eventually go in search of her biological parents, and it does take her on quite a journey with some new characters. The part of this book that made it a 3 star instead of 2 is the ending, I am so use to authors making it that "happily ever after" endings in fictional novels, that I was very happy to see the "realistic" ending, not a good or bad, just something that you can see happening in real life, it is just the way some things work out sometimes.

I know that I am one of the few that did not give this book a 4 or 5 star rating, but it just was not worth that to me, I did finish it, but I have taken a few days to think about it, and it is just not one of those books that I fell in love with, or could not put down.

Thursday 13 September 2012

The Cat by Edeet Ravel

Published by: Penguin Canada
Pages: 256

I received a copy of this book as part of the goodreads first reads giveaways.

I was not sure what to expect from this book, it sounded interesting, and a little different from something that I would typically read, and I am glad that I won and had the chance to experience this novel. There is no other way to explain it, you don't read this, it is something that you experience along with the main character Elise, the events, the emotions, it is like reading someones diary, and it is fantastic.  I feel a little odd saying that as this is not a happy story, and these are not good emotions that she is going through, but there is no way not to enjoy this novel, the author brings you right there with Elise and you can't help but feel what she is feeling, and want to somehow help, even though you know it is not real.

Elise lives with her son alone, he is her world, and they are together most of the time as she has the bonus of being able to work from home. They are best friends, and very rarely disagree on anything. I don't remember her in the entire book mentioning her sons name, but she did talk about him, and from what she said, he seemed like an old soul, a very insightful young man, very grown-up for his age. One day tragedy strikes, and he is hit by a car and killed, that happens at the beginning of the novel, and the rest is of Elise trying to cope with her feelings, and life without him.  I cannot begin to imagine how I would feel or deal with the loss of a child, but the way Elise remembers, and her behaviour etc seems very realistic to me. 

The name of the novel comes from the fact that Elise and her son adopted a cat, and after the tragedy that takes place, she wants to make a big decision, however, everything that she wants to do, she can't because of the cat, and she is convinced that she cannot leave Pursie alone as her son will not forgive her. You get to see how she handles this along the way with everything else that she is going through.

I looked up the 7 stages of grief, and by thinking back on the novel, you can see her going through most of these different stages for sure 1) shock and denial 2) pain and guilt 3) anger and bargaining 4) depression, reflection, loneliness. The parts that I didn't really see are 5) the upward turn 6) reconstruction and working through 7) acceptance and hope.  There was maybe little moments, but they did not last long, and even at the end of the novel, I just thought that it was not very realistic as to what her emotions had been all along, and it almost felt like a rushed ending that wanted to be a happy one, but it lost the mark for me on that aspect.

So overall, I would have to give this book a 4/5, it was very close to being a 5/5, however, the ending disappointed me, I was looking for something different, I don't want to say what as it would be a spoiler.

Thursday 6 September 2012

City of Women by David R. Gillham

Published by: Amy Einhorn Books (G.P. Putnam's Sons a member of Penguin Group USA)
Pages: 385

The quote from this book that really sums it up would have to be "I thank God that the human spirit is not dead." That is what you will truly learn (or perhaps remember would be a better word) from this novel. I have not read a whole lot of novels from the WWII period, but if they are anything like this one, I am going to have to rectify that situation! I did receive a copy of this novel as part of the goodreads first reads program, but it will be one that I purchase my own finished copy of for sure.

It is based on the story of Sigrid, where she is from, where her husband is, what her life is like now that the war has started. It shows how she changes and becomes (sometimes) a person that she is not proud of, however, I think it is realistic in the way that none of us really know how or what we are going to do in the same kind of situation. You know that she misses her husband, and wants him to come home, but sometimes as humans we need an outlet, whether it be a good or bad decision. She gets herself involved with hiding some people from the government, and I think that when this happens, it truly shows the strength of character that she has, and what we are capable of when we let our human compassion take over.

I know that this is a work of fiction, however, I am sure that the situations that happened throughout the novel are ones that happened on a daily basis, in Berlin and beyond. What I probably loved most about this story is that when the story keeps unfolding you really don't know who the "good" person is or who the "bad" person is, and it keeps you guessing right up until the very end. You also see the characters grow and push themselves farther than they thought they could possibly go. I am not sure I could have been as brave and selfless in some of the situations, with the intimidation that they would have endured from government officials.

The author has a true gift for writing emotions that I have not came across in a whole lot of novels, it is brilliant! I could feel myself right there with them, and have all those feels, like anxiousness, happiness, sadness, etc. At some points I felt more than one of those at the same time, I loved it. Also the way that he described what the living conditions were like, with regards to their lodging, as well as what food rations were like, working conditions, and public transportation to even get to/from work. 

It really made me think of my own life, and how privileged we really are for where we are now, the conveniences that we have, the lives that we are able to lead, and we owe some of it to where this and other wars. What I mean is not the war itself, but for all the men and women who were able to hold it together mentally and physically and get themselves through, and to the ones that took the chances on people they did not know, but helped them anyways to get to a safer spot for themselves and their families. 

Needless to say this novel both broke my heart and inspired me at the same time, I could not put it down, and I know that I will read it again and again, this is absolutely a 5/5 for me, and I highly recommend it to everyone! (Maybe not some of the younger crowd as there is some adult material).

Thursday 30 August 2012

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Published by: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 395

I have read almost all of Sarah's books now, and I would have to say that this is one of my top 2 for me for sure! I loved all of the characters for what they brought to the story. I did not feel at any point that the story was dragging, or unrealistic in any way.

I really liked how Auden grew through the summer, but it was not a fast growth, it was small steps at a time, and it was nice. At the beginning she seemed way to concentrated on making other people happy in her life, and trying to be "perfect", that she missed out on most of the fundamental events that should happen in childhood and in the years following, that I almost felt sorry for her. Then she chose a leap of faith and decided to make a change for the summer, and it turned out to be the best choice for her, I think that she learned more about life and how to grow in that summer than she had in years.

Some of the other characters that I wanted to note that I think Sarah hit really well on was her Step-Mother Heidi, she is a new Mother, and the way that Sarah wrote about her emotions, and what she is going through I think is fantastic from what I have seen some of my best friends go through, and I think that she captured it perfectly. I could relate somewhat to her Dad, however, he was the hardest character for me to understand.

I really enjoyed what Eli brought to the story, and how he and Auden were able to grow together, but in such different ways (if that makes sense). He for sure had his own troubles to work out, and it was very cool how he was able to work through them while at the same time helping Auden with hers.

I have not read a whole lot of contemporary, however, I am really looking forward to reading more based on what I have read from Sarah, so overall, I give this a 5/5!

Sunday 26 August 2012


Hi everyone,

Sorry for the absence, life has gotten in the way, but I hope to be back on track this week, and get a few reviews up! Thank you for your patience!



Monday 6 August 2012

Sebastian's Poet by Kevin Craig

Published by: Musa Publishing July 6, 2012
Pages: 147

I have never read a book before that brought back a memory from my childhood so vividly before, but that is exactly what happened while reading Sebastian's Poet, it was not a good or bad memory, just something that I thought I had forgotten. 

My heart broke for Sebastian in so many places in this book that I lost count.  He is a very special little boy who had to grow up way to early like so many other kids, and it is not fair. Thankfully Sebastian had Teal that came in to his life and tried to provide for him the way a parent should and show him that that children should be children.

There are a lot of "feels" in this book from heartache for Sebastian and his brother Renee, to rage and then almost pity for their Dad as he could never quite get the help that he needed that for me stemmed from more than one mental health issue. My favourite character had to be Teal though, he was able to understand right off the bat what the boys needed, and tried to provide that for them as much as possible, even if it was something as simple as making them breakfast, or just spending time with them.

This story takes you through a very tumultuous period for Sebastian and Renee, and it looks as though one of them may take the same road that their father did, but by the end of the novel, you really feel that with the twist in the story, they are going to be ok, that even though you may have given up on yourself, and you feel that there is not a whole lot of hope for what the future brings, you really just need that one person behind you saying yes you can, making you believe that you can be whatever you want to be, and your past does not necessarily determine what your outcome will be.

This novel for me is a 5/5 for sure! I would suggest this for anyone who loves a novel that is going to make you feel (even if it is uncomfortable at times), and makes you think about what other people have gone through and why they may be the way that they are. 

Sunday 29 July 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Published by: Random House Children's Books
Pages: 467

Ok, so I am REALLY going to try and do this review without completely gushing about this book, but....that may not happen!

I have to say that it has been a really long time since I have read a high fantasy book, and I can honestly say that I cannot remember reading a better high fantasy book EVER! This is genuinely brilliant writing, and for a debut novel? I cannot wait to see where she can even go from here, she is already at the top for me.

Seraphina is a half dragon, and she is one of the only people who knows (besides her Dad and her Uncle.) She is meant to not draw attention to herself, but that all changes when she performs as a musician in front of a massive crowd, and now is an employee of the castle, and lives there as well. Seraphina is finding it more and more difficult to hide what she really is.  She is always dressing in full sleeve shirts, and even 4 layers so that no one can see her scales accidentally on her arms.

The cast of characters is fantastic from Seraphina, to her instructor, her Uncle, the Princess, the soon to be Prince (Kiggs), and also a dragon that is not really revealed until later in the book.  The world building is some of the best that I have read, it did take me a couple of chapters to catch on to some things and really get a feel for what it was like and how things were set up, but once I did, I felt that I was right there for the adventure along with them.

There is a Seraphina 0.5 called The Audition that I did not find out about until after I was done the book, and I do wish that I had known about it prior to reading it so that I did have a little bit of a background story going in, however, that being said, it did not take away from the pure joy I felt reading this book at all! (Here is a link to The Audition that is listed on Goodreads, it is a short 19 page story if you would like to read it prior to Seraphina, I do suggest it.)

For me a lot of what I took from this book was that we all have something about ourselves that we may feel is wrong or that people will not like us for, or change their mind about how they feel about us once they find out about it. For Seraphina this is how she feels about her dragon side. Most times I think that when that something is revealed, or we talk to someone about how we feel about it, we have made it bigger in our own minds then what it really is, and it generally does not change people's view of us, or they do not see it the same way that we do meaning they do not view it as a negative, they view it pure and simple as part of who we are and what makes us, well us. My FAVOURITE line in this book is absolutely "We are all monsters and bastards, and we are all beautiful", which for personal reasons truly did touch my heart enough to make me cry.

In closing if you could not tell, this is a 5/5 for me, and I strongly advise that if you have not read this novel yet, you must add it to your to be read pile immediately!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Masquerade by Rivka Spicer

Published by Amazon Digital Services
Kindle Edition: 380 pages

First off, I am quite happy to say that Masquerade is not your typical vampire novel, and that pleases me immensely!  There were aspects of the personalities and how they lived that were similar to the vampire folklore, but it was the plot of the novel that really drew me in, and kept me wanting to read more.

I really enjoyed the characters and their personalities.  There was one thing that happened with Ocean that to me really did seem way out of character for her that did turn me off of her a little, but I was able to get over it by the end.  I really enjoyed Tristan as well, he had a perfect vampire personality for me, I don't like the "sensitive" vampire type, and he definitely is not. There are a lot of other characters in the novel as well, and I really like how they all interacted together, made this read even better for me.

I only had one other thing with this book that I was hoping had gone differently, there is a build up to a major event, and I just wish that there was more written on that event, more details provided, I feel like there was a lot of build up and that it just kinda flew by like it was not as big as the build up had made it to be, and if there was more of the event, then possibly the ending would have been a little different and a bit more of a cliff hanger which I really enjoy when it comes to being part of a series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and am excited to read the next one in the series for sure, I give this a 3.5 out of 5!

Saturday 14 July 2012

Ashes (Arson #2)

Published 2011 by StoneGate Ink

What can I say besides brilliant, amazing, exhilerating!

As I was reading Arson and got to the end there were still some questions that I had about Arson and where he came from, where his parents were etc, and I was hoping that they were going to be mostly answered in Ashes, and I was right! From page one in this book I was hooked, as some of those answers I was looking for were already being answered for me.  Chapter one in this book has to be one if not the best chapters of a book that I can remember, it is still probably one of the main parts of the book that sticks out for me.

Ashes is the perfect second book in a trilogy for me as when I think about both Arson and Ashes, I feel like I am climbing a mountain with Arson as it is a perfect lead in book, at the top of that mountain is Ashes with all the exciting events that take place, all of the questions that it has answered, and I truly believe that the thrid book will be like walking down the other end of the mountain where it starts with the bang that Ashes left with, and takes us in to a wonderful ending to an amazing series!

I finished Ashes a few days ago, and I cannot remember a time when a book has stuck with me so much that I am still thinking about it, and wanting to read it again already.  I love the new characters that are introduced and what they bring to the story, and where some of the existing charaters from Arson are going in their relationships. 

I truly would recommend this series to anyone who loves ya books with a touch of paranormal in them, there is action, adventure, suspense, and just a sprinkling of romance added, Estevan Vega is quickly being added to the list of authors that I have where I anticipate their novel releases the most!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Review of Arson (Arson #1) by Estevan Vega

Published in 2011 by Stonehouse Ink (ISBN 1615666034)
Pages: 318

Arson is based on a teenage boy named Arson who has this power to make fire with his hands, and he is unsure of where it came from, or how to control it.  It goes through a bit on his past history in regards to what has happened to his parents, and gives you insight on who he lives with now, and what that is like for him. In my take on the book it is not until a girl named Emery moves in next door that he begins to think that possibly he has found someone that could be his friend (or possible boyfriend).  Although Emery does come with her own set of issues, they seem to be comfortable with each other right from the start (which is not the greatest first impression that Arson could make lol).  There is an event that happens towards the end of the novel that builds the reader up to an ending that will definitely leave you wanting to read on and see where the story goes!

I love how Estevan built up to the world that surrounds Arson, and all of the characters in it, I found myself simultaneously despising and feeling sorry for more than one of them at the same time which is brilliant!  I truly believe that this is how the first novel that is part of a trilogy is supposed to be written, it is a perfect build up for everything that could happen in the second novel, and I cannot remember when I have ever read a lead in novel like this before!  Absolutely a 5 out of 5 in my opinion!!!!  If you have not picked up this one yet, what are you waiting for??

Tuesday 3 July 2012

The Empty Glass by J.I. Baker

Available July 19 2012 from Blue Rider Press - 323 pages

"In the early-morning hours of August 5, 1962, Los Angeles County deputy coroner Ben Fitzgerald arrives at the home of the world's most famous movie star, now dead, lying naked in her bedroom still clutching a telephone.  There he discovers The Book of Secrets- Marilyn's diary-revealing a doomed love affair with a man she refers to only as "The General." In the following days, Ben unravels a wide-ranging cover-up in the aftermath of the star's "suicide" and some heartbreaking truths about the fragile, luminous woman behind the celebrity. Soon the sinister and surreal accounts in The Book of Secrets bleed in to Ben's own life, and he finds himself, like Monroe, trapped in a deepening conspiracy. The Empty Glass is an unforgettable combination of the real-life facts and legendary theories that have dogged Monroe, the Kennedys, the Mafia, and even the CIA for decades-and an exciting debut from a remarkable new thriller writer to watch."

I have to say it did take me a little bit to get in to this book and to understand how the narrator is telling the story, but once I did, it was a great read! I loved how he was able to tie in really simple things as evidence that it was not a suicide, things that I would have never thought twice about.

There is one main character Ben Fitzgerald, and I didn't really connect with him at all, I was able to follow the story the way that he as telling it etc, but nothing about his personality really drew me in to him at all, I was not able to make that connection on the human level.  The second sort of main character is Jo who is a reporter of sorts, I also found it very difficult to her and to understand where her motivation for finding the truth was coming from.

In the end I only gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars as there was a lot of disconnect from the characters, however, the actual story and all of the controversy surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death is very interesting to read about! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Marilyn, or anyone who enjoys conspiracy theory for sure.  Also there is a lot of events in this book that happen to him because he is trying to seek out the truth behind her death, and that made the book a little exciting as well as you did not know where it was going to go next in that aspect.

Sunday 1 July 2012

I feel like such a lucky girl!

I am so lucky to have received another request to review a novel, this time it is by Rivka Spicer and it is called Masquerade! So as soon as I am done with Arson, this is the next on my list YAHOO! So excited!

Monday 25 June 2012

Big Honour!!!

I just received a copy of Arson from the author Estevan Vega! I am looking forward to reading it as soon as I get done with the one ARC that I have as the publication is in July, so I have to do that one first, then I am going to be reading Arson....cannot wait!!!!!

Sunday 24 June 2012

2 more reviews coming soon!

I have won 2 more ARC's, so I am going to be doing reviews shortly.  The first one is The Confidant by Héléne Grémillon which is a story about a girl named Camille who is going through her Mother's possessions after she passes away and begins to uncover some major secrets about her family's past.  The other one is The Empty Glass by J.I Baker which is about the conspiracies surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death, and the narrator looks like it is going to the the Los Angeles County deputy coroner, so it sounds REALLY good!!

Friday 22 June 2012

The Watchers by Jon Steele

I received this book as my first ARC, and let me tell you, I was so excited, and the book did not disappoint! This is a brilliant first novel from Jon, I loved all 3 of the main characters Marc, Katherine and Jay (though they always call him Harper which is his last name). 

I would have to say that Marc was by far my favourite character though, he is very awkward and quirky and Jon does a fantastic job of portraying this to the reader right down to how Marc counts his steps when he is walking as he has been doing the exact same routine with the exact same schedule for years. He made me laugh to myself a lot with the relationship he has with the bells and with his cat, it is just another facet to his personality to fall in love with.

For Katherine I related to her for sure, but I did not find the same pull to her that I did to Marc.  I have read a couple reviews where people have not found Katherine's character relate able at all, and they found her pretty bitchy, however, I did not find this at all, I mean you definitely have to put yourself in to her mind and walk through her journey with her as she does not have the easiest of jobs (even though she has chosen this lifestyle herself), but her love for Marc and Harper is very obvious, especially as the book gets closer to the end with the different events that unfold.

Last on the main characters is Harper, you get to know his personality I think the slowest of them all, and throughout the book I kept wondering about different things in his past, and it was not until almost the very end where it is revealed to the reader what his past is, and why things are the way they are for him in the book, and it really surprised me, and I loved the twist that Jon put on it.

So overall for the book for me it was a 5/5 stars! I have not read anything like this before, and I heard somewhere (can't remember where now) that this is actually going to be a trilogy, and I am hoping that this is not just a rumour but fact as I would love to see what unfolds next! This is a murder mystery and the murders are pretty gruesome, however, that just adds a whole new level to the mystery that for me puts it over the top.