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September 20, 2012

Book 43 of My 2012 Goal

Blood Amalgam (Crimson Chronicles, #1)Blood Amalgam by Corey Sondrup
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really wasn't sure what to make of 'Blood Amalgam' when I was trying to decide if I wanted to read it. I knew it was a fictional, paranormal romance that sounded fascinating and I love stories that include "supernatural" elements in them so I figured I would try this one. Once I started reading it I was hooked into reading the whole thing because the action started on page one and continued throughout the book. There was something going on with each turn of the page that made me want to continue reading it to find out what happened.

I do not want to write a spoiler but in all fairness I should tell you that I do not like Vampires and Werewolves. I normally don't read such books and the mere mention of them usually turns me off. They are mentioned and other 'supernatural' beings such as Drones, Pixies, Skinwalkers, and Amalgams to name a few but they are done in such a way that they are not the main focus of the plot. In other words, this is not a Vampire story or a Werewolf story, it is a story about the main character, Wyatt, who's normal life of a twenty-one year old seems to take a turn to a life of decisions and confusion overnight. Wyatt learns who and what he really is (despite the fact that he don't even believe in such things) and must decide which path to take. I especially liked that the author used real historical events such as "The Long Walk" of the Navajo Nation in the 1860's. It was cleaver of her to alter who helped the Army to round these people up to make the 'reason' for the curse in her story.

This, to me, is a fast moving story but some of the characters are not well developed so I had a problem connecting with them. In fact, I had a problem remember who is who and had to go back and find how this person fit in. I wish that these characters were either developed more fully or just left as a nickname that popped in and then out of the story and not reappearing later on where you have to remember who this person is. I also didn't really care for Gretchen's nickname for Wyatt which is, "Lover". I can't really say why I disliked it, it could be that they weren't together that long and it cheapens "love" or maybe because she said it so much, maybe both but whatever the reason I do know it was annoying me. Also, I don't think a man of twenty-one would like his girlfriend to call him that in public. It is one thing to call him it in private as a pet-name behind closed doors but not in public around strangers. He didn't want to be called "Tigger" in public and "Lover" is even worse. Any ways, that is just my personal thoughts and opinion about it but thought it was worth mentioning since I found it so annoying.

I have read other reviews and they spoke about the grammar/spelling errors. I don't know if I was just into the story but I really didn't notice them. If they were still there then it didn't take away anything from the story to me. On the whole I thought the story was good and the author cleaver in his use of history. Because of the language used I would recommend this book to adults who like paranormal romance with a lot of action.

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September 14, 2012

Book 42 of My 2012 Goal

The Nose Knows: A Spunky MysteryThe Nose Knows: A Spunky Mystery by Holly L. Lewitas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Nose Knows by Holly L. Lewitas is an extremely amusing tale about a psychotherapist who is overcoming an incident that took place years prior when one of her patients became violent and took her hostage. She finally now is continuing to 'see' her patients via computer when something very strange and terrifying takes place. This is the main plot, I won't recap what the whole book was about since you can already read that but what I will tell you is that there are things going on with every turn of the page (I don't write 'spoiler' reviews so I won't go into them) and the story is told by Spunky, her female terrier.

At first I was confused since I couldn't figure out how this would work because I thought this would be more of a child's story since the dog is telling it yet the plot is certainly not a child's story. From page one to the end I was delighted with the author's ability to make this work. The story had just the right amount of humor, suspense, mystery, and something I am not sure just what you would call it but most people who have animals experience it at one point or another. It is sort of an ESP that is connected with the animal where you 'understand' what the animal is thinking and/or feeling. Any ways, there is some of that and also the use of animals for therapeutic reasons. The story never was boring and throughout I figured I knew what was going to happen or who did it just to find another twist taking me in a different direction. I found it extremely hard to put down the book since I wanted to know what the next page held and was sad to see it end. Speaking of ends, what a twist that ending was!

The animals in the story only add to the amusement at times with their antics and now I know the real reason why my dog runs and sort of whines in his sleep. The animals play spy, match maker, companion and protector among other things. The dog's view of death, grieving, relationships, and depression for both humans and animals is explained. As I said this is not a child's story although I am sure some young adults would understand and enjoy it. Even if your not an animal lover this mystery story still stands on its own and is still a must read.

I totally enjoyed this story and I am amazed with the author's ability to put so much foresight and her ability to write from an animal's point of view. The explanations of animal behavior such as a cat that swishes her tail or closing her eyes twice is amazing. Most people wouldn't have even noticed such things so I imagine a lot of watching and studying animal behavior took place before she wrote this book. Hats off to the author, your observations certainly paid off!

I recommend this mystery to anyone from young adult on up whether your an animal lover or not. This is one book going on my "Must Read" list.

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September 8, 2012

Book 41 of My 2012 Goal

Ryan's mother (Mooney's Detective Agency)Ryan's mother by Grainne Maher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ryan's Mother by Grainne Maher is what I would call a quick read with a simple plot. As the name suggests, the story is about finding Ryan's mother. Ryan Murray was adopted from an orphanage in Ballyhasset, Ireland and now he is searching for his birth mother. All he knows is his birth mother was Irish and he was abandoned in a phone booth in the center of Ballyhasset. To help him locate his birth mother Ryan is recommended a private detective named Libby Hargrove who he hires. As the story goes on Libby narrows it down to three possibilities since each of these three were pregnant at the right time but none admitting right out she is his birth mother. In the nineteen forties unwed girls who were pregnant were not acceptable by society which leads to the 'secret' stories each of these women had to tell including Libby herself.

I found that the story at times drags on but just when I was loosing interest in it something new happened which made me wanting to read more. I realize the author needs to set the characters and plot in the beginning of the story so many times the beginning seems to drag when the rest of the book glides along at a steady pace and this book is no different. I found the beginning a bit boring but the rest of the book held my interest more or less. The characters and scenes were described well but I feel that something is missing. I really can't put my finger on it but you know how you can read a book and it is like you are there in the room watching it play out? The book just draws you in so much that you loose time and nothing exists around you but that book. Well, this didn't happen. I was never 'drawn into' the story. I had no problem putting the book down and picking it up at a later time even though, as I said, the story itself wasn't all that bad.

The main characters, both Ryan and Libby, I found annoying at times. Libby jumps to conclusions and has a big mouth. She talked way to much for being a private detective and Ryan is now thirty and still using the titles of momma and daddy. I would think he would at least use "mother" and "father".

I would recommend this book for those who like a sort of detective story/mystery that is a simple and quick read. I think it is the perfect book to read right before bedtime since once you get tired you won't have a problem putting it down til tomorrow night when your curiosity makes you pick it up again to see what happens next.

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September 1, 2012

Book 40 of my 2012 Goal

Fibles: 10-Minute Children's Bedtime Stories for Modern-Day Kids!Fibles: 10-Minute Children's Bedtime Stories for Modern-Day Kids! by M. R. Everette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

M.R. Everette's, "Fibles: 10-Minute Children's Bedtime Stories for Modern-Day Kids" is the perfect name for this book. It has a dozen stories that are all short in length (you can read one in 10 minutes easy) but they are not short on entertainment. With cute names like Wisee the wise owl, McKoo the cuckoo bird, and Ty the firefly the characters are easy for the kids to remember and each story teaches a lesson and gives the perfect opportunity for you to discuss how doing things like doing your chores, don't play hooky, don't judge a person by their size is important.

My personal favorite is "The Guppible One" which is about Gillmore the guppy who skips swimming school to nibble at the free lunch that the fishermen dangle from their lines for excitement. Turns out poor Gillmore got more excitement than he could stand, in fact, says it was the worse day of his life. When he went to school the following day he finds out that he missed a fantastic field trip to the aquarium sea show where they all got a free lunch from all the people at the aquarium and turns out to have been the best day of their lives.

I (and my grandchildren, ages 4 and 6) really enjoyed the book. I especially liked the opportunity it gives me to teach them valuable lessons that will make them responsible, friendly and trustworthy among other things and have faith others will too.

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