I use both a Nook and Kindle so if you see a book you wish to borrow just let me know and let's be

December 30, 2014

Book 40 of my 2014 Goal

ElementsElements by Solomon Deep
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Elements by Solomon Deep is not the typical story I would read but it sounded interesting. The simple name, "elements" (How much more basic can you get?) with its simple cover complements the plot of this book. At one point or another I think everyone wonders some basic questions like, who am I? Where do I fit in? What is life about? In this book the main character does more than wonder, he takes us on his journey seeing through his eyes, what he has discovered.

This book is a novel of fiction but the plot of the book is realistic and many of the 'events' in the book can even be applied to what is going on today with a little imagination. An example is the 'sleep-ins' at ValuMart protest which isn't hard to visualize the 'die-ins' around the country currently in the news as well as ValuMart sounding a lot like Wal-Mart in many aspects. So with a little imagination I was even able to relate this to things going on today and how it would look to or confuse people growing up and trying to make it on their own in today's world. However, a lot of the book I found really strange (didn't seem to 'fit' in) and even hard to follow at times.

Since the author expressed that no part of the book can be quoted without his consent, I won't which puts me at a disadvantage for review purposes. Even so, there were many good parts of this book however it did not keep me engaged or interested to the degree I had hoped. To me it seemed to drag in many places and the interesting areas of the book seemed too few and to be rushed. As I said, some of it just made no sense to me to even why it was even included in the book since it only dragged it out instead of getting to the point. I understand what the author was trying to do (express the uncertainty, fears, concerns about life/the future) but for me, it didn't work.

* I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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December 22, 2014

Book 39 of my 2014 Goal

Return of the DittosReturn of the Dittos by Dale Andrew White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Return of the Dittos by Dale Andrew White is a collection of short stories obvious meant for the reader's entertainment. I think the cover of the book explains it all. It is a picture of an old TV and that is what these stories remind me of, watching old black and white comedies and in some cases, Twilight Zone in the good ole days. The stories are all varied in theme, some are purely humorous while some may use irony. If you don't like one story just keep reading, you may like the next one. It is the perfect book to take with you to enjoy a quick story while waiting at a Dr. office or whenever you have a few minutes because chances are you will be able to read a complete story in just a few minutes.

I only found one story, 'Infatuated,' that I thought was 'sick' for lack of a better way of explaining it. I don't want to give any spoilers away so I really can't explain it but what I mean by it, it is like reading a story about someone who has a foot fetish. This is not what this story is about, it is about something else so be clear on this, I am only using 'foot fetish' as a way to explain it. I do not find feet sexy, nor do I worship them. To me those that do are 'sick' and this is what I mean about this story, it is 'sick'. (Again, it has nothing to do with feet.)

Other stories can possibly be non-fiction although the author has already stated the book is fiction. The story that comes to mind is 'Disappearing Act' which is about a secret experiment concerning the human mind at a college for a Psychology class on Perceptions & Realities. This experiment is done on students through the course of the semester and after reading it, I realized I too believed and wondered what in my life have I (and how many others) perceived as a reality when in fact it was a deception all along. So this story even had me thinking about the statement, "The charade proved that the human mind will gullibly accept a fiction as a fact, if society insists it is so."

Another story that just cracked me up was 'Little Birdie' by the way the narrator was talking to me, the reader. It was if this 'narrator' is a person living within my mind that is the same 'narrator' for everything I do. It is the one that tells me stories when I read a book, it is the same one that tells me what the letter I received in the mail says, and it is the same one from when I was 2 years old. Well, this hilarious story is about what happens because this 'narrator' had enough of the 'me'.

A story that was very deep is 'On Tour with a Confederate Soldier' while I didn't quite know what one other story was about, other than it was ironic. There are so many stories I can't comment on each one but they are such a wide variety in these stories I find it difficult to believe there isn't something for everyone.

Since these are all short stories (approximately 25 of them) there is no real development of characters or plots and subplots or any time lines and such that I can talk about the development of. About all I can say is that each story had characters that were well enough developed that I knew what I needed to know to make sense of the story. Some I liked, some not so much but either way, at least I knew enough about them to draw my own conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys short stories and has a sense of humor.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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December 15, 2014

Book 38 of my 2014 Goal

digidigi by Gary Sheerin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover of Digi by Gary Lawrence Sheerin is a great depiction of what this book is about. The artwork is fantastic for this YA read about a boy who lives through a jolt of lightning and finds he is able to enter cyber world. I won't go into the whole description of the story as the author has already done that for you but just want you aware it is a YA read that I found difficult to put down.

The characters in the story are difficult to talk about because there are two distinct groups, real and cyber. Of course even this isn't exactly accurate as the main character, Peter has the ability to be both (no spoiler here since the author already told you this in his description). So lets take him in his human state first. Peter is the underdog, he isn't that great in school with computers, sports, and tends to be the subject of bullying. He doesn't complain much (he may think it but doesn't say it) and is sort of a quiet kid. He is also a loving son that deeply cares about his family and he does have a few friends. As far as his character goes in these aspects, he is likable and I found myself rooting for him right along with the other characters. There are some situations where he isn't quite believable with his actions as a person but then again this is a book about a kid who can go into cyber world so just how believable can he really be? In his digital state, he is curious, doesn't always listen, and at times seems to have a problem following directions. Sounds like a typical kid to me.

Terry is the ringleader of the bullies and also one of Peter's classmates. He is the typical rich kid who has everything except his father's loving attention. He never had to work hard at anything as everything was given to him on a silver platter. Terry's father owns SternGuard, a computer virus company and gives Terry an internship type arrangement complete with his own huge office. He has a new BMW, and they live in a huge house. He has no problem with flaunting these things and loves beating others down to make himself look better. A character that is true to life in many cases and surely the one I loved to see 'put in place'.

There are various other characters that all seem real enough for the most part. I would have liked to see Terry's dad have Terry washing toilets at the company instead of handing everything to him. He didn't seem to notice the 'monster' he had created nor what he was doing however, there are parents like that in real life. Terry's fellow bullies seemed real enough as well as Peter's friends and family.

The cyber world was full of characters, firewalls, bits, and bytes, just to name a few. They all take on a life of their own as they hastily zoom across the circuits and down the tunnels doing their various jobs. I don't even know how to comment on these 'characters' since I don't know what a byte might say or how it would act. What I can say is they were all with their own personalities, some with humor, and some capable of compassion and friendship.

I found the book to be somewhat predictable especially since "Every World Needs a Hero Even Cyber World" is boldly stated on the cover. Even though some of the characters are believable, the story isn't. The book is interesting, at points very amusing, and I love how the author brought the cyber world to life with his imagination expressed in these cyber characters. It was an easy YA read with appropriate language and no sex plus you don't have to be a computer genius to understand it. Some of the chapters were extremely short and the book has simple sentence structure and words. I recommend it to anyone who would like an escape in this fantasy world where the underdog is a hero and the bully 'gets his due'.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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November 28, 2014

Book 37 of My 2014 Goal

Tales From Little Lump - Night of the Undead Snow Monkeys (Tales From Little Lump #2)Tales From Little Lump - Night of the Undead Snow Monkeys by Jeff Folschinsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tales From Little Lump - Night of the Undead Snow Monkeys by Jeff Folschinski is a short story that picks up where the previous book, Tales From Little Lump - Alien Season leaves off.(Just look at the covers, you will have no problem telling they go together.) Some may think this is a stand alone book since you are told in one short paragraph how they got to this point but all the character development is done in the first book and you'd be missing too much to really get the full effect of this story so read the Alien Season first. It is a funny and good book and you won't be sorry you did.

The best way to describe the characters in the story is to think of The Beverly Hillbillies. Sort of that innocent stupidity and craziness going on all the while holding a shot gun and knowing how to use it. As I said, the character development was done more in the first book with very little being done here. This book was more of interactions of the characters and of course how they react to crazy situations they find themselves in.

The story was told in the first person, Gerite, which makes the story all the more funnier. She is a hoot! Some of the things she comes out with and thinks has me laughing non-stop. An example of this is when she and Cousin Tommy where looking for a relatives bunker and came across a sign saying there was no bunker there. Cousin Tommy looks at the sign and asks what they should do now, there is no bunker there.

"Now, I've said it many times over the years. I really do love my family, but Cousin Tommy's reaction to the Smiggly's sign really does make me understand why some ancient cultures used to leave their young alone in the woods to see which of them were smart enough to make it back home alive."
"I sighed and replied, It's a red herring, Cousin Tommy."
"Gertie, are you feeling okay?"
"I'm fine, why do you ask?"
"Because, I don't know exactly how to put this, but what we're looking at is a sign, not a fish."
"Yep, those ancient cultures were really on to something."

The characters are the same ones from the previous book and in this book you even find out some things that I don't recall being told in the first book, such as how Little Lump got its name. It also ties the two books together perfectly because when I started reading this book, I remembered the characters and the place but I was lost as to why there were monkeys running around. Undead Snow Monkeys to be more exact but any ways, it does tie in and everything makes sense. I thought the first book was funnier but believe me, there was no shortage of humor in this one as well. I recommend it to anyone who likes short stories that just make you laugh.

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October 25, 2014

Book 36 of My 2014 Goal

MeritropolisMeritropolis by Joel Ohman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to make of the cover of Meritropolis by Joel Ohman but it did spark my interest. (The cover makes complete sense once you read it.) The description the author wrote on Amazon didn't tell me enough about it to really make me want to read it, it sparked my interest but it didn't have me thinking that I had to have this book. Between that little spark of interest in his description and the cover that caught my eye I figured I would take a chance (and I am so glad I did).

I don't want to write any spoilers so I am not going to re-cap the whole story but Meritropolis is a place/city that had been like any city but 'the event' happened. A fence/wall was built around it and it faced a huge problem, there were too many people and not enough resources for them all so a "system" was put in place where "the needs of the many always outweighed the desires of the individuals." So in order for Meritropolis to survive and flourish everyone inside the gate was assigned numbers of their worth to the community every week. (This was agreed upon by all people living there at the time.) If your number is below a certain number then you are 'zeroed' which is a euphemism for being killed. They did not kill you outright but that person was put outside the gate and what is living outside the gate will kill you.

In several aspect the book it did remind me of 'The Hunger Games' with the lead character, Charley being a bit or a rebel (reminds me of Katniss) and wanting to bring the system down. Charley was just a child when this system was put in place so he didn't have a say in it but now at age 17 he sees how barbaric it is. He is a believable character most of the time and well developed. The other characters being at varying degrees of development and I wished a few more of these characters were as well developed as Charlie was.

The pace of the book was quick and there was something always going on. It might have been something physical or some other form but the pace was eventful from beginning to end with no slowing in between. Speaking of the ending, well, it left me wanting more.

The format of the book was clean and clear. Each chapter was on mark and I really liked the little pictures (with name and definition) before each new chapter started. I didn't notice any typos or swearing.

The only true negative thing I have to say about the book is that the author didn't write a captivating description to draw readers in, I think he is describing his book too short.

This book is one of those you pick up and don't put down and anyone who enjoyed books such as Hunger Games or Divergent should enjoy this one. I recommend it for YA (male and females should enjoy it) and all those who are YA at heart.

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October 8, 2014

Book 35 of my 2014 Goal

A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities (Quirky Essays for Quirky People, #2)A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities by Barbara Venkataraman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities (Quirky Essays for Quirky People) by Barbara Venkataraman is a feel good, amusing, read it 'just for the fun of it' type book. Even the cover of it screams fun and I bet we all know someone that is a DIY (Do It Yourself) type guy who just can't seem to get it done right. The other stories (author calls them essays) are just as fun, ironic, and amusing.

I won't recap the whole thing as the author has already done a great description that you can read for yourself but I will say that this is a fantastic read to have a good laugh. The characters and stories were for the most part believable. The characters were all developed enough where I couldn't help but at least have some sort of superficial bonding/connection with them and I found myself thinking, "I know someone like that" or "That sounds like my day/luck".

I want to mention that this comes in 'Audio' version (which is the one I have). It is narrated by Carrie Lee Martz who has a wonderful voice and pronounces her words and with such passion. I did not notice any flaws in her narration. (There is no misunderstanding her because she is slurring her words, hesitations, stuttering, etc.)

I really enjoyed this book and totally recommend it to anyone who wants light stories with a side of humor.

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October 5, 2014

Book 34 of my 2014 Goal

Afterlife and Other StoriesAfterlife and Other Stories by Ed Krizek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Afterlife and Other Stories by Ed Krizek is a collection of short stories provoking different feelings, some happy, some sad, etc., and to be honest with you, some I didn't quite understand the point of. I am assuming that they all have a point, some sort of conclusion, trying to relay a message or thought otherwise there really wasn't a point to the author writing them. Some of the stories I understood right away what that point was but others just left me hanging and wondering what I missed.

The stories varied in length but all of them short stories so there really was no 'bond' with any of the characters, more of a superficial feeling for them. None go very deep into the character which makes the cover of the book so appropriate, an orange "here I am" color but no 'scene' to really get 'into'. This isn't one of the stories but an explanation of what I mean by that is: 'There was a little girl who loved her doll. She went with her mother on errands and when she got home she realized the doll was lost. She was very sad and cried and cried. They went back to the store and the little girl was so happy to see her doll sitting on the counter waiting for her. She scooped the doll up and held her so tight.' Although I didn't bond with the little girl in that story, I don't even know how old she is or her name, I would feel sad she lost her doll and then happy she found her.

Before I go any further I should point out that I read in bed before sleep so 'my brain is drained' so to speak and I prefer stories where the author draws the conclusions and there isn't a lot of 'thinking' on my part. I know what the plot is, it is very clear and the conclusion ends the story (or carries it over into the next book) but there is always some sort of ending with some problem solved or question answered. Some of these stories in this book left me with more questions as to what the point was. I can draw multiple points from them but unsure which was the correct one (or even if there was a 'correct' one). This didn't relax me, it only adds to me thinking, staying awake, and frustration even. So the only conclusion I can draw is that this book just wasn't for me.

Not that I am saying there are no good stories in it. I found 'The Beggar' very good and 'Peregrination' comical, just to name a couple. I also found some quotes very interesting, for example, in one of the stories someone explained the difference between neurotics and psychotics and said that "neurotics build castles in the sky and psychotics move into them". Quite amusing and I imagine very true!

To sum it up, the stories in the book all may have been good but it just isn't my kind of 'bedtime' stories

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September 30, 2014

Book 33 of my 2014 Goal

Girl on a WireGirl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl on a Wire: A Novel by Gwenda Bond is a fictional novel that I really had my doubts if I'd enjoy it when I first picked it up. Not because of it being for YA, I read plenty of them but because it just didn't sound really interesting for that many pages. By that I mean it is about characters in a circus and by the cover I can tell it is what I call a "Type Rope Walker". Now I like the circus just as much as the next person (my first date with my husband we went tot he circus) but just how good can a novel of almost four hundred pages based on circus 'walker' be? It has to be filled with boring stuff to take up all them pages so it drags on and on but guess what. It it was really good!

There was a little of everything in the book, love, friendship, family, mystery, murder (of sorts), magic, spells and more. I can't believe how much was in this one book which is indeed based on a 'walker' and how the author put it all in and made it work. It all flowed so perfect and seamless although the mystery part certainly had me going. I couldn't figure it out for sure although I did have my guesses. I also love that the book was free from foul language and sexual content. The most that went on was kissing and it was kept 'clean' as I would expect for a YA read.

I won't recap the story as the author wrote a nice description which you can read for yourself however I do want to say that I found that the characters were developed fully, they weren't flat by any stretch of the imagination. I am not only talking about the main character of Jules but also of her family (Maroni), the Garcia family, especially Remy. Both these families go back years and years as the circus way of life was pasted from generation to generation which in real life that was very common years ago.

The story about the 'bad blood' between these two families with the mystery behind it, add the 'voodoo' or 'spell' or whatever you want to call it, plus the need for both Jules and Remy to find out the truth about what really happened, only seems natural to me so the story was believable as far as that goes. Also, adding to the story being believable is that there are references to real circus acts (e.g., Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus), events (e.g., circus train crash of 1918), and people (e.g., Bird Millman) throughout.

Some of the statements in the story are so powerful and really show the character's growth (Jules) from the girl who ran away from home in order to get her way to the young woman she grown to be after going through so much and even discovering more of herself. I especially thought it was a deep statement when she realized, "Everything could end at any moment. The difference between life and death was one breath, one second, one act. And that meant that life was worth everything, every minute of every day." Another is, "Sometimes the truth don't set you free, Jules. Sometimes it cages you." And there are others, many others.

I didn't notice any typos or format issues but I must admit I was so engrossed in the story I am not sure if I would have noticed them. This is definitely a page turner that I didn't want to put down. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants an easy read, free from sex and foul language, packed full of mystery, suspense, and so much more. It all adds up to a great novel by a fantastic author. (You don't have to be a YA to enjoy this either, I recommend it no matter what your age.)

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September 21, 2014

Book 32 of y 2014 Goal

The App Age: A Parents Guide To Keeping Kids Busy Without ElectronicsThe App Age: A Parent's Guide To Keeping Kids Busy Without Electronics by Dawn Marcotte
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The App Age: A Parent's Guide to Keeping Kids Busy Without Electronics by Dawn Marcotte is exactly as the title suggests. It is ideas on how to keep your children busy doing fun things without them glued to the computer or game system. Although some suggestions are not that 'fun' or doable if your child is an 'only child' (ever try and play tag along?) many things can be done with just one other person, even an adult and if your neighborhood has multiple children in it, then the problem is solved.

The book does cover suggestions for both indoor fun and outdoor fun. Let's face it, every day is not an outdoor day and as a child I remember those were the times I was a bit bored and that is when we mostly watched TV (there were no computers or gaming systems then). If you live in Florida for example, an occasional rain day is not such a big deal but hurricanes and such can have lasting effects and dangers so sending the children out to play is not the best idea. For those who live in the North, snow days can be a problem as they can last for an extended time. Out West, it may be too hot to go outside. No matter where you live there will be days children have to be inside and if you don't want them glued to electronics the entire time this book has some great suggestion. My personal favorite (for smaller children) is the cardboard boxes and duct tape section.

This book is of suggestions for things to do, it is up to you as the parent to supervise your children to keep them safe and use your own instinct/judgement because no one knows your child's curiosity or behavior better than you. Although I have seen where the author many times cautions about letting young children use scissors and other such sharp instruments, there may be dangers in doing any of the suggestions. For example, the author suggests doing different activities for different areas and one of these is sand. If the sand is in a sandbox this isn't an issue (unless you have one huge sandbox). In short, the author suggests making castles and roads for toy cars and if the sand is moist you can make bridges and tunnels for them as well. Innocent enough but the problem is if you are on a beach, I can already see (to me it is natural for a child to do this) that the child/children not stopping there, they will want a bigger castle or tunnel, one they can go through or fit in and this is a very real life and death situation. Adults and children have done this in the past only to have it collapsed on them and they suffocated when they couldn't breathe and/or inhaled the sand even though their parents and/or other people were trying to dig them out. Sand is heavy and digging a person out (and some were not completely covered, just the chest up was covered) wastes precious seconds. Many already died from doing something so natural as digging in sand or making sand castles, please learn from their mistake and under no circumstance let your child build and/or go into castles/tunnels made of sand.

Over-all I like the suggestions and remember many of them from my own childhood and there are some games I never even heard of. The author does a great job explaining how to play each of them. Once more, remembering these games from my childhood reminded me of other games we played (which were not mentioned in the book) so it serves as a 'memory jogger' also. For example, an outside game we played is 'Tops' when I was about 7. Now I realize Spinning Tops (wooden top with a string) are not easy to find but I have seen them at Cracker Barrel (I saw "Jacks" there too!) in the past and I know they are still available at different sites on-line. We would draw a circle (about 12" round for the three of us using sidewalk chalk) and put a dot in the center. The more people the merrier, just make the circle a little bigger when needed. The ideal was to spin your top inside the circle all at the same time and once all the tops stopped spinning, the one closes to the dot in the circle wins. Remember though, tops don't spin in one spot and they can bump each other out of the circle. Once you get the hang of it, you can spin your top to move and/or stay put which makes it even more challenging. You can take this whole game and use a piece of paper with a circle and dot drawn on it (or you can put any object on the floor as a 'target' object) and use marbles instead of tops. Only difference is each child has more than one marble (10 is good) and they take turns trying to knock the person who went before them away from the 'dot' or 'target' so when all the marbles are played, they are the one closes so they score the point. You can agree on how many points make the game before playing these games.

Again I have to stress to use common sense, if you have a little one who puts everything in his/her mouth, don't buy marbles for the older sibling unless your positive they can be kept away from the baby. Also, tops do have a metal point (which really isn't a point, more like a rounded numb) and I remember having to glue mine back on (well, my mom did) because of all the use and banging the toy got (believe me, we were not delicate with our tops). This can be a chocking hazard for a child so be sure to remind the older children to let you know immediately if the 'point' comes off. Also remember, it is made of wood and wood causes splinters so depending on how rough you are on it, they do need to be checked occasionally to be sure the wooden part of it isn't splintering. For the most part, we just had mom sand the damaged part (easy to tell, it is where there is no paint) and re-painted it and they lasted at least a year (with lots of use) but there comes a point where the 'balance' gets thrown off and at that point, it needs to be replaced.

As far as the negative about the book, I only have one and it is that it is too short. (Of course this is just my personal opinion but after all that is what a review is) The book is about 30 pages long and the price and length/content don't agree for the amount being charged (currently listed for $9.99). I would have been very disappointed if I paid that much for this book considering (I figure) at least a quarter of the things suggested are things most people already did with their children. Granted, there are variations on different games that maybe we all didn't play but for the most part we all played tag, visited the local attractions, etc. If more suggestion were given so the book was at least twice as long with more fun games (e.g. I Spy, Mother May I, Licence Plate Game, ABC Game, and those are just ones I can think of off the top of my head) then I could possibly see the price.

To sum it up, it gives good information, suggestions, and ideas to get your children away from the electronics but I'd wait until it goes on sale. Although there are some suggestions for (to me the most difficult age group) 2-4 year olds, I wish those ages were covered more. (After contacting the author, she is considering a book just for that age group). The games/crafts covered are varied and fun while many of them I am familiar with, many I am not, and some I will be trying with my grandchildren. I enjoyed the book.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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September 19, 2014

Book 31 of My 2014 Goal

Hook Up: A Novel of Fort BraggHook Up: A Novel of Fort Bragg by William P. Singley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover of the book gives a great description of what the book is about all on its own. Hook Up: A Novel of Fort Bragg by William P. Singley is a fiction although based on actual people and events taking place at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82 Airborne with the time period being between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The book centers on history and the military/life of the group of main characters when they show up at Fort Bragg hoping to make it as paratroopers.

The characters of the book are believable for the most part although I do have a problem believing it all. I would think it was maybe 'exaggerated' at different points but all in all, they were believable. Every group has its quitters, lovers, clowns, bullies, etc. and this one was no different although I didn't find the all-out-and-out cry baby. Even so, the dynamics of the group was very believable as were the individual characters on their own. The author made these men real to me as I read about them. I like some better than others but that didn't matter, the point is they were real and I was able to connect to the point where either I liked them or not.

The pace of the book was good although this is a very long novel, over 400 pages. There were parts that seemed to slow a bit and of course other parts that were quick. I guess that just goes with the military way to 'hurry up and wait'. Even so the slow parts were never long and the book always held my attention.

Speaking of the military way, much of what went on in the book goes on even to today. If one person does something wrong, everyone pays the price. You are called every name in the book, marched for no reason in full gear, and the list goes on and on but the point is that I can relate to much of it and it doesn't matter if you are stationed at Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Fort Polk, or any of the other Forts, it is all the same.

I really enjoyed the story and 'meeting' these men. I especially liked that the author added an Epilogue at the end and wrote a short up-date/out come of each man. Although saddened by some of it, it is a nice touch so the reader knows what happened to each of them instead of the book ending and now we haven't a clue if this one ever made a movie or that one ever stayed in medicine. I also wanted to add that the author added a Glossary at the end of the book so even if you are not familiar with any military terms (although most you can guess what it is/means by the way it is used in the sentence) you can just look it up in the back.

I did noticed typos which were mostly spacing issues where two words don't have a space between them but it really didn't take away from the story however the language used may be an issue for some. Not only is there a lot of swearing but the "n" word is used and there is sexual content so I definitely wouldn't recommend this book for young readers.

I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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August 27, 2014

Book 30 of my 2014 Goal

A Note Below (A Lansin Island Short Story)A Note Below by Andrew Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Note Below: A Short Spooky Ghost Story (A Lansin Island Short Story) by Andrew Butcher is unlike the other two (soon to be three) books in the Lansin Island Series because this is a short story but like the other two, it is a great read. I believe it was meant to be read between A Death Displaced and A Body Displaced (Books 1 & 2 in the Lansin Island Series). I just found out about it and read it even though I read book 2 already but in no way feel it took anything away or that I missed anything by reading this out of order. I do suggest you read book one first though simply because you'll understand the setting and some of the same characters are in it giving you more depth and understanding or the area and history.

The story takes place on Lansin Island at the lighthouse that is haunted. Being a fan of all the ghost and paranormal stuff I was glad to see that the details the author made don't contradict what is known to be real (or at least supposed real) hauntings. For example, it is said that pets are more affected than people and in the story Lady (the dog) hides out in the lantern room and won't come down. Another thing is that the main character, Gavin, who doesn't believe in ghosts or at least that the lighthouse is haunted 'feels' a heaviness and other unexplained feelings. It also follows suit that ghosts are 'tied' in some way to the building, surroundings/land, or people. To me, it is little things like this that make the story all the more creditable no matter if you believe in ghosts or not.

Speaking of the main character, Gavin is such a hoot! He totally adds comedy into the story which makes him all the more real. Just his accent and how simple and practical he is about some things. I especially related to him (with a laugh) when his friend Jamie was looking for a name/number on his touchscreen phone with all the fancy features. Gavin seemed a bit torn between being impatient with his friend searching his phone and amused by all he has to go through just to find a number and thinks: "My phone has this crazy feature ... yer tap in the numbers ... yer hit dial ... an' it calls the person on the other end ... an' yer can talk to each other! But why would anyone want a phone with such a ridiculous feature, eh? They'd much rather have a phone that's actually a camera, or an MP3 player, or a phone that ties your shoelaces, prepares your lunch, feeds your dog."

I won't recap the whole story as the author did a wonderful description that you can read for yourself but what I will say is sometimes it takes the dead to appreciate, love, and understand all that you have in life. With this being said, I don't want you to think it has no creep factor to it. It isn't a hard core horror type, more of a cozy paranormal but it does have a creep factor to it. Even the font used by the author has a creep factor but it is especially creepy at the beginning of the story. Even before the beginning, just look at the cover. Is that the cliff of the island? That black and white photo even makes the water look cold and creepy. Is that ray of light pointing the way to go below? Where the note is? Or is that a ray of sunshine in a cold, harsh reality?

I recommend this story (the whole series) to anyone who enjoys paranormal stories.

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July 30, 2014

Book 29 of My 2014 Goal

Pazuzu UnboundPazuzu Unbound by Saurav Dutt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pazuzu Unbound by Saurav Dutt certainly grabbed my attention from the beginning with that opening. I was hooked to see where this fictional, mystery, supernatural, thriller, would go and how it would get there. By that I mean that some books start off with a great action scene or love scene (depending on what genre the book is) but as you past the first chapter it is inconsistent and the action or love scenes (lack of a better term) fizzle out and the book turns slow and sometimes boring but that isn't the case with this book. It was full of action and gore from beginning to end.

Without re-capping the whole book I will condense it to say that it is about people who disappear, bodies turning up, and the cops who try and solve this. Now of course there is the evil, dark, supernatural part to the story (and a lot more) but I don't want to give that away but I will say that it was done interestingly.

I have to admit that this isn't really a book I totally enjoyed but it is not because of anything the author did wrong, it is more like he did it too right for my taste. I found it a little disturbing because I am not into the eating of flesh, drinking of blood, and all this death just to name a few things. This book was too vivid for my liking which in reality says a lot for this author's ability to write. Even feeling uncomfortable reading this book I had to go on because I had to know what happened and who lived and who died.

I recommend this book for adults into mysteries and (what I call) hard-core thrillers because some of the deaths are a little too descriptive and some people (like me) might find it uneasy. Also the language used and content really is for adults.

*I received a free copy (PDF) for my honest review.

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July 19, 2014

Book 28 of My 2014 Goal

Drool Baby (Dog Park Mystery, #2)Drool Baby by C.A. Newsome
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Drool Baby: A Dog Park Mystery (Lia Anderson Dog Park Mystery Book 2) by C. A. Newsome picks up where the first book (A Shot in the Bark) left off. Although this book possibly could stand alone as references are made to what happened in the first book I highly recommend you read the first book prior to reading this one. (It was so good, I don't see why you wouldn't want to!) As for those who hated the ending in book one, this book gives a true ending that is sure to please you.

It seemed like the author didn't continue to develop the characters as much as she did in the first book but at this point I am already hooked and bonded with Lia so it didn't matter. What the author did do was continue the story line, made it a light, fun, mystery (just as she did in book 1) and even added some additional twists to heighten the mystery in this book.

I won't re-cap the story as the author did write a nice description which you can read for yourself but I just love that this is still a 'fun' book. The pace of the book was good. There are a few spots where it was a little slower than the rest but over all I thought the pace was good, it never lingered in one spot very long.

Although it is a mystery, it also is about love, friendship, and even some comedy and I highly recommend this book as well as book one (A Shot in the Bark).

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July 15, 2014

Book 27 of my 2014 Goal

A Shot in the Bark (Dog Park Mystery, #1)A Shot in the Bark by C.A. Newsome
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Shot in the Bark: A Dog Park Mystery (Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries Book 1) by C. A. Newsome is a book I was hoping would be interesting since I like dogs and mysteries. For some reason the dog on the cover gave me the impression this was a YA read but I have read many of them too and enjoyed them so how can I resist at least giving it a try? After starting the book I just couldn't put it down! This book could stand alone as it leads you to believe who done it. Just don't read the Epilogue at the end or you will be doing what I did and order book 2 so you could continue the story.

A couple of things I loved about this book is that it wasn't bogged down with a lot of complicated stuff. It is a light read that I found very entertaining and it is down-to-earth: I could meet people like that on the street or my local dog park (if I had one) although at times one can be a little eccentric, they are like everyday people.

Let me start by saying I did read a few comments already and I don't know if this book was edited or not but some said the characters weren't developed but I did not find this true. I thought the characters were nicely developed. Sure, they weren't all done at once, now how dragging would that have been if they were? They were developed throughout the book and I thought the author did a great job with them in respect to the time frame of the story. In other words, time and space wasn't wasted on where the characters were born or what school they went to, it has nothing to do with the story. These are adults who all met at a dog park (for the most part) so they are developed from that point in their adult life with references made to the past when it pertained to the story.

The mystery part of who done it just gets deeper and deeper as time goes by and more happens. There are quite a few twists and I really had no clue who done it. What adds to the mystery is that the thoughts of the killer are known so you can hear what this person is thinking and feeling but I just didn't know who it was. I thought the author did this beautifully as there is no doubt when I was reading the thoughts of the killer (even the print is different) from the rest of the story.

Now a lot of the comments I read were about the ending and how she didn't tell who done it. As I said before, if you just read this book and not the epilogue after the end, basically your killer is caught and the story complete. If you do read the epilogue then you may as well go on to book 2, Drool Baby (if you like book 1, you'll love book 2)! Since I don't want to write any kind of spoilers I can't say much more than I personally love the way that was done.

Apparently this seems to be one of those books you either hate or love. I loved it! I recommend it to everyone who likes mysteries (and dogs).

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July 11, 2014

Children's Book I Read to the Grandchildren

Comic Book for Kids: Cutie Pie Goes to the Zoo: A Great Children's Comic Book - Ages 4 to 8 (Comic Strips 2)Comic Book for Kids: Cutie Pie Goes to the Zoo: A Great Children's Comic Book - Ages 4 to 8 by J.R. Finkle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cutie Pie Goes to the Zoo by J.R. Finkle is a short children's book for ages 4-8 that is in a comic strip style format. Although the images are in color, there are usually two to a page and they are not big at all. On my Kindle it takes maybe three quarters of the screen for length and maybe half the screen wide and there is no making them bigger/expanding them. Even though they are colored cheerfully and the images are good, (monkeys look like monkeys and kangaroos like kangaroos) they don't hold the attention of my 4 and 6 year old grandchildren like most children's books do. They don't seem as interested in the images as much as all the books I read to them in the past that were not in this comic book style and I am only guessing but I have a feeling that the size does matter to them. The reason I say this is because as I said, the images themselves are quite good, as is the color, so it only leaves the size.

Another thing that may not be appealing to my grandchildren is that the story is told in talk/thought bubbles and the whole story although I found very funny (especially since we have a zoo visit planned in two days) they didn't seem to get why she is so bad. Cutie does things like going into the cages with the animals and instead of my grandchildren laughing or finding any kind of amusement out of her behavior (more accurately, her parents reactions to what she is doing) they thought she was bad and should go to time out.

There are pages you can either print out for your child to color or they can do them on-line and the author gives the link. I tried to get the PDF file so I could print it out but was unable to. When I click the image I do see where Amazon is selling the coloring book so that leads me to believe that this limited-time offer for the free coloring book did end.

The story itself is just for fun, there is no moral to it unless you want to count what Cuties' parents go through and in that case it would be for parents not to take their kids to the zoo or you will need a vacation when you get home since Cutie Pie appears to be an out of control child who sneaks off and does things she shouldn't (although she doesn't seem to understand why). I really didn't feel that this is the kind of story for my young grandchildren since I don't want them to think if they did something like what Cutie does I would find it even one bit funny.

I know the author intended this to just be fun to read but for the above reasons reasons I wouldn't recommend it for young children. Maybe a more exposed 7 and 8 year old would get more enjoyment out of it and understand it more (the way the author intended) but not a 4-6 year old.

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July 1, 2014

Book 26 of My 2014 Goal

America: A Cultural EnigmaAmerica: A Cultural Enigma by Donald L Gilleland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I did not have much faith in finding America: A Cultural Enigma by Donald L. Gilleland interesting. After all, this is not a story with characters but a book that highlights some personal observations covering some cultural changes over the last fifty years. We all observed some changes (many of the same ones the author covers) so how interesting can this book be? Now that have read it all I can tell you, it is extremely interesting!

I admit I don't always see eye to eye with the author on every subject: illegal immigrants for example. The author states: "The sentiment seems to have changed from a willingness to deport illegal immigrants to the belief that we must embrace all those who came to our country illegally." I don't see it that way because the sentiment is not by us (the legal American general population) but forced on us by those who have the money and power who are seeing this as an opportunity for votes. Let's face it, if you were an illegal immigrant living in the U.S. and you are given voting rights, are you going to vote for those who gave it to you or those who want to deport you? I have yet to meet a majority of people who believe that the illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and reap the benefits that citizenship comes with especially when our fathers and grandfathers had to wait and come here legally even though they were poor and often from war torn areas either from a past war or as a war rages around them. To me, giving citizenship to illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to every American family that immigrated legally to the US. (I won't even get into the financial or health reasons which only makes me shutter.)

Another issue is Social Security and other programs which the author claims we rely on the federal government for. Let's just look at Social Security for the limited time of 1883 to current. Social Security is a government program but it is not an optional program, we have to participate because the government says so. It was suppose to be a program where everyone paid into it and when they reached retirement age, they can collect the money based on what they paid into it. (We all pay into it and it is funded by payroll taxes and doesn't contribute to the nation debt.)

In 1983 the contribution into the fund was increased significantly because not only were the baby boomers required to pay for preceding generations, they are also paying into it for their own retirement. This generated approximately $2.5 Trillion dollars surplus ( and ( that was suppose to be in a trust fund. Guess what? Yep, the money is gone. The government has spent all of this surplus of the Social Securities collected from the people on Non-Social Security related projects. The only thing they left is what was needed to continue to make the current Social Security payments. So now the government wants to cut benefits, raise the taxes or both for those who paid the most into it because there is not enough money. (Noticed I didn't say they wanted to pay back the money they stole out of it.) No wonder all the baby boomers are upset since they are the ones being blamed for depleting the Social Security Funds. The reason they rely on it, what choice do they have? It isn't like the average American can save any money for their retirement. We are all too busy paying this and other taxes which leaves us no money to save!

But don't get me wrong, I do agree a lot of times with the author, especially about the slavery issue. The author states: "What is seldom remembered is that many black Americans in the 19th Century also owned slaves." He furthers states: "Considering only five percent of all the trans-Atlantic slaves ended up in North America, it is amazing that the majority of U.S. films, books, and articles concerning the slave trade concentrate only on the United States, as though slavery was a uniquely American aberration." I know we were never taught in school that other countries including Africa had slaves long before the United States. In school, it was only talked about as if the United States and only the United States had slaves and it was always the white family who owned the blacks. Never was it brought up that it originated in Africa long before ever coming to the United States or that blacks also had black slaves.

There are just way too many subjects to cover but they are all interesting. Most are very current issues that are still being debated in one way or another even today. It doesn't really matter if you or I agree or not with the author on every subject (and he knows that many of the readers won't agree with him) the point is that it all make sense (even those points I don't agree with). He provides tons of information and even had me thinking about things I haven't since I was a teen. (Why do we still celebrate Columbus Day? He didn't discover America nor was he the first.) I also found myself thinking about things I never knew. The author is great about telling his sources and the movie, From Conception to Birth (he provides the address in the chapter) was amazing!

Even the unpopular topics such as abortion, same sex marriages, and religion to name a few are all done in good taste. Also covered are some topics that I wish I didn't read right before bed. The subject is disturbing but everyone should be aware of foreign and domestic threats. The author explains it well and even if you don't agree (although I find it hard not to agree with him) it is still good to at least keep it in the back of your mind.

I found this to be an excellent book and recommend it to everyone!

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June 30, 2014

Book 25 of my 2014 Goal

Your Family Tree! What's in Your Roots?Your Family Tree! What's in Your Roots? by David L Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Your Family Tree! What's In Your Roots? by David L. Cole gives some very good tips on finding your ancestors to trace your family tree. He did a lot of work to find his and tells why the history of the country, natural disasters, and education plays a part of why you may be coming to a dead end when you try to find yours.

He also explains why some families have Coats of Arms associated with their names and how to go about finding it. What some of the symbols may mean but don't be discouraged if they don't make sense to you because I know on our's there are three bats. I can not find any connection of anyone in my family tree doing anything with bats so what the bats stand for or mean, I don't know but it is still nice to have my families' Coat of Arms.

Another thing that the author does is he tries to list the best sites that don't cost a lot of money. Many he lists are free, the ones that do have charges are reasonable. In no way is he pushing one site over another or trying to sell anything. He is just stating what he found to be the most helpful during his search and why he likes it. (In fact, he even spends a whole chapter on what to watch out for: he calls them Hawkers.)

Although the book is short, it is useful information if you wish to find your family tree. I know I had run into dead ends once I went so far back (in England) so I may just have to try again with some of the author's information on other possible sources to search. (Some of these I didn't even think to check.)

I think the book is useful so I would recommend it to those who wish to find their family tree.

*I received a free copy for my honest review.

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June 21, 2014

Book 24 of My 2014 Goal

A Descendant of Adam or Progeny of Apes -Which Are You?A Descendant of Adam or Progeny of Apes -Which Are You? by David L Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Descendant Of Adam, Or The Progeny Of Apes-Which Are You? by David L. Cole is a short read which by the description and title I figured it was about that age old question of where man came from: Did we evolve from apes or was man really created by God? The book was indeed about this subject but not quite what I thought it would be. Instead of stating the two beliefs and then backing up both, it is definitely slanted toward the creation: Adam.

There is a bit of the history of the church at the beginning which I found interesting as well as some of the comments made by the author throughout the book. I did not check any of the dates or any of the scientific subjects that were covered by the book but found the argument of the author notable.

I especially found the chapter "The Carbon Dating Problem" fascinating since I had always questioned the accuracy of carbon dating myself. I can verify that the half life of Carbon 14 is 5,730 years as the author stated but have no knowledge of how the geologic column came to be. The author does a great job of explaining it all but as I said, I did not check the accuracy of it.

Don't get me wrong, I know I made it seem like you need to have some scientific background just to read the book but you really don't. The author does a great job of simplifying things so someone who has little science/chemistry in their background can still understand it.

Although I found this book to the point and definitely not repetitive, I still feel it lacks depth. It made me feel like I was reading someone's assignment for High School. So much more could have been used to support and define the points the author brought up but wasn't. It brushed the surface without really getting well into the real controversies. Then again, maybe this is because the Bible is a matter of interpretation and it seems like no one agrees on what it is saying.

I also know the author states the Bible doesn't contradict itself (which again, is a matter of interpretation on the reader's part) but either it is doing so in his closing statements or he is contradicting the Bible by saying, "The Bible tells us that Jesus died as a ransom for the redemption of Adam's and Eve's descendants. There is no redemptive ransom provision for those who think they have an ape in their family tree." The reason I have a problem with it is because although I do agree that the Bible does tell us Jesus died for us but I don't remember ever reading any exception to this so that statement includes even those who do believe they have an ape in their family tree.

I did come across a few typos but it didn't take away from the book. Although I wouldn't give this a great rating, it is still interesting since I like to read about other people's opinions on religion. I recommend it to other that like to read the same.

* I received a free copy for my honest review.

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June 10, 2014

Book 23 of My 2014 Goal

The Collection of Heng SoukThe Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher is a fictional story that takes place 40 years after and during the Vietnam War. Sun (one of the main characters) delivers a box to her uncle, Heng Souk after her father's death. It is during this meeting that Sun takes a notebook written by Ephraim (a POW) from her uncle and reads about the past and what really happened while her uncle was commander of the Citadel (POW Camp).

This is a gripping story about love, forgiveness, understanding, and so much more. The emotions of the characters and intensity of the situations within this novel is beautifully written. In fact, it is written so well that you have to be prepared for that which is not written into words. I don't want to write any spoilers so I really can't explain this statement but you will know what I mean once you read it.

The story has subplots that connect to the plot. At the beginning of the book (which is where it is the slowest) I wasn't quite sure where the story was going but it didn't take long for it to take off and then there was no putting it down. I found it interesting the way the story came together and how the war affected the men on both sides, others, and the generation to come.

The endings were unexpected and by endings I mean the closures for the characters toward the end of the book not necessarily just the very last page of the book. There were many things said and done that I didn't see coming but what Sun did (regarding her husband, Huy) and the closure Thomas provided to his mother was amazing.

The characters in the story were believable. Sun was a curious, brave, and smart young women who really knew how to control her temper. Although she had an abusive husband, she seemed like she could hold her own in most situations. She was likable and I found the 'growth' in her character interesting.

I hate Heng Souk for what he did to the POWs but at the same time I found him to be a fascinating character. It was almost like he was two separate characters because of what he was like during the war isn't what he is like now. He seemed distant and a mystery (as he was to Sun) throughout the book. He never directly answered many questions yet he answered them (I was expecting a simple "yes" or "no"). Even at the beginning when Sun brought him the box and was going to tell him that his brother (her father) had passed away she eventually tells him that her father had spoke highly of him and his reply was, "We had different skills. People often hold the skills they don't have in high regards." At another point she asked if he thought highly of her father and he replies, "He was my brother." The most notable one to me is at the Citadel when Sun asked if it felt wrong for him to kill the men and he answers, "Few people commit evil without any stain on their conscience. But there are times when your life changes so gradually that you don't realise what you are doing is wrong. The abnormal becomes normal in slow uncertain steps of misfortune and poor judgement; the worst can unwind so slowly that it appears reasonable. But if you want to win wars you need men prepared to do terrible things."

Then there is Ephraim Luther and the notebook he wrote while he was being held at the Citadel about himself, Heng Souk, as well as other POWs. Enough was revealed in the notebook about the horrors of being a POW, I was grateful it did not go into vivid details of the treatment, torture, and death of the men. (What is written is sufficient enough to get the point across without making me sick to my stomach.) The notebook also reveals how everything isn't what it seems, even to Heng Souk. It also helps provide a better understanding of the other characters and how the war affected them.

I thought I would mention that although I came across a few errors, the author is from the U.K. so there are some spelling differences from "American" English (e.g., realise instead of realize) which to me are not errors at all. Either way you view it, it didn't take away from the story. I did not come across any kind of formatting issues although I should mention that the cover of the book on Amazon is not the cover that I have on my Kindle. The one on Amazon is a picture that I assume is of a Vietnam but the one on my Kindle is a red background with a single (partial) tree that looks to be drawn (vs. photo). I contacted the author and found out that the cover was in fact drawn by his daughter for his book however with the comments he received he changed it. If the cover matters and you got the wrong one I am sure if you contact him he will send you the one on Amazon because he had offered to send to send it to me but I much rather have his daughter's drawing.

I have gone over the review for this book for weeks. It is taking me longer to write this than it did to read the whole book because I want to convey the emotion, the thoughts, the feelings, and everything else that was written into this book but even now I still feel I am not expressing it enough. This is a powerful book that I do recommend to those who enjoy history based fiction.

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June 3, 2014

Book 22 of My 2014 Goal

The UnbelieverThe Unbeliever by E L Baylis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the cover to the very last page of The Unbeliever by E. L. Baylis is memorable. Once you start reading it, it is next to impossible to put it down. Page after page I wanted to know more about what was going on only to find the plot thickens (with subplots) and so much more is involved than I ever first anticipated, everything from life, death, love, mystery, faith, religion, and lack of both faith and religion just to name a few. This work of fiction has it all!

The characters are well developed, some as children and again as adults, but not done all at once. Throughout the story I knew enough about the characters to know what is going on and this gradual development of them added to the mystery and suspense of the story. There were many things 'hidden' about the characters (on purpose by the author) until the end of the story which really was amazing to learn. One of those "Wow!" moments which I found myself repeating time and time again.

Because the author doesn't have much as the description of the book, I am afraid to sum up the book in fear of telling something the author rather not be known in a review but as I said, the story itself which I thought was a simple 'Who done it' is so much more than that.

I feel I wouldn't be writing a complete review unless I mentioned this about two of the main characters, Jessica is a Christian and Art is an Atheist and although I would not say this is a total religious story, there is quite a bit of talk between the two that include bible quotes as well as spiritual talk and each fighting their own demons or as Art calls it, "The Beast." I found these parts of special interest as well as how man has changed what was being said and/or omitting certain things, such as, the Sabbath being Saturday not Sunday.

I didn't notice any typos or format issues and recommend this book to anyone into mysteries, romance and religion (or lack of).

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April 26, 2014

Book 21 of My 2014 Goal

Magic and Murder Among the DwarvesMagic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erik Bundy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are some books that tell a story and then there are other books that place the reader in the story as they watch it unfold before their eyes: Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves by Erik Bundy fits into the later group. Not only is it an interesting story, due to the author's perfection for details it placed me in the story as it unfolded. It is sort of unique in that the 'story' part is not what is emphasized in his writing (although it is told, no doubt about that) but it is the detail of the surroundings and thoughts and feelings that are emphasized to make for such an enjoyable experience. It is like the surroundings and 'people' (I use that term loosely as not all the 'people' are human) are explained so thoroughly that I was there seeing them before me, smelling the damp earth beneath my feet with a faint smell of mushrooms, and then the story happens as I 'watch' it going on.

All the characters are developed fully, even the non-human ones. Amanda, the main character, is developed realistically in the sense I had a love/hate relationship with her especially at the beginning of the book. I thought she'd be like a heroine (all nicey nice) since she was the 'star' of this book but I found her a bit self-centered with a really poor outlook on people and life in general. Perhaps it can be explained away by her 'oddsense' and having to deal with that, maybe it was having to live next to dwarves which really don't think highly of humans and it rubbed off, maybe it is the loss of her husband, and there are a few other things she has going on in her life that may contribute to this outlook of her's. Whatever the cause, she is very realistic in that she has her good points and bad, good days and bad, just like everyone I know. As the story progressed I became a little more understanding of her and other characters in the book. I can't really vouch for how realistic the dwarves are since I never met one but as far as the fantasy/paranormal characters in the story, they all were what I believed they would be like if they did exist: dwarves would live in the forest, demons would cause uneasiness and smell/use fire, and a ghost appearing would create a cold spot in a room.

The plot of the book is so interesting on all its levels. Amanda has physic abilities and is asked to help solve some crimes by both the humans and dwarves but this isn't a case of one simple crime. Things start snowballing (as they can in real life) and a simple missing person can turn into a murder investigation which in turn can lead to threats against the investigator and even attempted murder of the investigator if s/he gets too close so this one crime ends up being multiple crimes involving multiple people. It is all done with a logical flow of events and although it sounds like a lot going on, I was never lost. Actually, there is even more going on but I don't want to write any spoilers so I don't want to write any more about it than what the author already wrote in his book description but believe me, it is not confusing nor is it a bunch of random events that leaves the reader trying to make sense out of it. In fact, there are even clues along the way and I even caught on that these were the clues as to who done it and why but I just couldn't put the pieces together. Once Amanda did and she revealed what happened and why, it all made perfect sense but I still didn't see that ending coming. What a great sight!

The pace of the book is, well, this is going to need some explaining. Remember, there is a lot going on in this book so the pace is a good one but remember this author is about detail and some details need more explaining then others so some times it seems to slow down. Also, keep in mind that not everything that is happening is happening one right after another, some of this is happening simultaneously so naturally the pace picks up here which in turn makes other areas seem to drag. The best I can sum up the pace of the book is by saying it depends on how 'into' the detail/story you are. If you are not into detail that much and want only action then you may find in parts it drags (but never for long) but if you are like me and want to experience the story and smell Tristan's Old Spice cologne (among many other things) then you will find this story rich and paced nicely throughout.

I totally recommend this book to all mystery, paranormal, crime buffs.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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April 22, 2014

Book 20 of My 2014 Goal

ManrootManroot by A.N. Steinberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a mysterious cover on the book 'MANROOT' by Anne Steinberg and if that isn't enough to draw you in, the first few chapters will! Although these first couple of chapters are a little slow compared to the rest of the book, they still draw your curiosity about what is going on, not only by the interesting happenings going on but by the sheer talent of the way the author develops the scene and the characters.

The author choose to start the book with what I would consider the 'background' information as it is happening instead of jumping to the main site and circumstances of the story which I found refreshing. By this I mean, (without giving any spoilers) many books start with the main characters already in the setting that the action and the plot starts, any background information you need to know such as where or how they got there is made known by some question being answered by one character. However, in this book what leads up to the main characters being and doing what they are doing is part of the story. The book opens with this happening instead of you just hearing it second hand (so to speak). I'm not saying you are reading everything about the 'background' at the beginning because you don't, you do learn some parts by one character telling another (or some other way) at the appropriate times and places throughout the book but as the story to begin, you already know the background you need to know to make sense of it as it happened.

This is not a simple story with one plot, it's multilayered and it's all done with relevance to the story's progression until the final outcome. All the characters are developed fully and I love the way it shifts, depending where you are in the story, from one set of prominent characters to another. By this I mean, who I thought was the main character in the beginning of the story is barely mentioned in other parts of the story while other characters I thought were just 'there' ended up being the prominent character of those chapters. This shift may sound a little confusing but I assure you that the way it is written it isn't.

It is a fiction but I don't know what sub-genre to put it in since there is so many it can fit into; romance, paranormal, spiritual, magical, horror, fantasy, violence, and there are more. Although the list seems overwhelming the story isn't and will keep you turning page after page from the beginning to the end. Again, I credit it to the fantastic imagination of the author and her writing talent. Speaking of the end, I never saw all of that coming. Wow! I never thought it would end to that degree of surprise. Excellent!

I received a free copy of this book for my honest review and I wouldn't be giving an honest review if I didn't mention I did have a few problems with the book. At the beginning of the book, something seemed a little 'off' in spots. Certain paragraphs just didn't seem to work with the previous ones and totally interrupted the flow of the story for me. The best way I can describe it is that it seemed like the author had written a few paragraphs and later decided to change them but 'forgot' to change one line or paragraph in there to the new edited version. I found this near the beginning of the book and it was only a few paragraphs (and it could only be "me" and the way I read it) however the formatting/editing/proofreading errors were throughout. Many were simple mistakes but because of the numerous amount of them, it did take away from this fantastic story. There are way too many to mention them all but some examples are; "rub" instead of tub, "goig" instead of going, "bene" instead of been, even Tom (one of the characters) became "Tome." These were things simple proofreading would have corrected and a total shame this brilliant story is marred by such basic errors resulting in me having to drop my
rating of this book a star. Despite this, I still recommend this book to adults because it is a fantastic story that will have you turning page after page!

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

Update on 5/14/14: I have been notified by the author that the obvious errors were fixed (kindle edition) so I am changing my review to the 5 stars this fantastic story deserves!

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April 8, 2014

Book 19 of My 2014 Goal

Fibles 2 : More 10-Minute Children's Bedtime Stories for Modern-Day Kids!Fibles 2 : More 10-Minute Children's Bedtime Stories for Modern-Day Kids! by M.R. Everette
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fibles 2: More 10-Minute Children's Bedtime for Modern-Day Kids by M.R. Everette has an eye-catching cover with the little characters on it which led me to believe it would have some illustrations inside but it really doesn't have the typical scenes I am use to in children's books. At the beginning of each story is a small illustration of the main characters maybe an inch tall with no background or scene of any kind. The best way to explain it is if you cut out the two characters on the cover and pasted them on a page, that is the extent of it and this simple illustration really didn't hold the young children's attention.

I should also tell you that the subject content isn't really for young children either since it does contain things that they wouldn't understand in many of the stories. It wasn't just one line in the book but quite a bit of it. For example, although some young children would understand what a text is, the sentence of how some of the characters were commenting on Mugbook drew me blank stares and I found myself explaining quite a bit just for this one line. I had to explain what texting is (I do not have texting so I had to explain what that is), then what commenting on websites such as Facebook was. By the time I was done with all this, the story was lost. Instead of any kind of thoughts or discussions on the story or what was learned, it was more of a classroom lesson for the children and a task of skills on how well I can explain things for myself.

I also found the ending of each story is a twist on an Idiom/Proverb that younger children may not be familiar, e.g., A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. This is the fun of the book that they just don't get. To me it is like telling someone a joke without telling them the punch line so for these reasons I do not recommend this book for young children.

Now for what the book is. It is a stand alone book that is a funny read for older children. There are a dozen short stories in it and each one has its own set of characters and the best word I can think of is the one the author used in his description, quirks. The titles of each story is fun as well as the way each story ended. There are lessons to be learned in each of the stories and these delightful characters have their own way of learning/teaching them.

I didn't time each story but I would say that the authors time of 10-minute is accurate enough. I also wanted to add that I didn't notice any format/typos within the story. Each story encourages the reader to use imagination and reasoning just by the way it is written and every story is a positive tale although a bit complex depending on the age of the reader/audience.

To sum it up, I think this is going to be one of those books either you like or hate. I happen to like it but again I stress this is not really a bedtime story for young children.

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April 6, 2014

Book 18 of My 2014 Goal

Daisy ChainDaisy Chain by Nancy Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The cover of the book with all the daisies and the title, "Daisy Chain" by Nancy Morgan really brought back childhood memories of when I was going to a girl's camp and we would sit around in a circle and make up stories based on the last line of the previous story while we had piles of daisy and other flowers (mostly dandelions truth be told, only because they were plentiful) and make a chain of them into a circle to wear on our heads. I couldn't pass this book by and after reading it my only wish was I could have told stories as fantastic as these.

The book has ten stories in it and the last line of the previous one is the opening line of the next. The stories are unrelated in almost every other way, they all have their own characters and plots. Even for short stories these really drew me in and I do my reading at night before bed so at times short stories are perfect since I can read one story a night. This didn't happen! Take my warning, if this is your plan then I suggest you start on a Friday night because you'll be up all night reading story after story and getting up in the morning will not come easy. This way if you start on a Friday night (and have weekends off) then you won't have to worry because you will be long done with the book by Sunday bedtime and getting up Monday morning won't be a problem.

The genres covered are varied from love to paranormal. I really don't want to say too much about it because they are short stories and even telling you what each story is about will be/can be a spoiler but I think there is something for everyone.

The characters in each story are well enough developed to completely understand them and the story. I was even able to connect with some of them and 'feel' for them while they expressed their emotions or understanding. They are all basically believable. In fact, one of them could have been me the author was writing about.

The stories are at a fast pace since they are short stories but don't take this as a negative, they don't feel rushed at all. The pace is pretty steady throughout each story and throughout the book since there is no stalling for character or plot development even though, as I said, both characters and plot were developed.

Either the editing is perfect or I was so engrossed in the stories I didn't notice any errors. I can't really be sure which it is but it goes to show you that if there were typos or such, they didn't take away from the book.

The author said she did this for fun. I sure hope she has some more days she wants some fun because I totally enjoyed these stories. As I said, I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend this book!

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March 30, 2014

Book 17 of My 2014 Goal

HEAVEN IS IN YOUR FUTURE: The gift you cannot refuseHEAVEN IS IN YOUR FUTURE: The gift you cannot refuse by David Arthur DuRocher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Heaven Is In Your Future: The Gift You Can Not Refuse by David Arthur DuRocher has such a peaceful and inviting cover, I couldn't pass this book by. After all, the stairway into the clouds: stairway to heaven is what most religious people hope for when their time here on earth is done. In reading the author's description of the book, I liked his frank and easy writing about it and was interested in the 'hidden messages' he spoke about.

The author takes certain Bible Verses and interprets the meaning with his explanation of why he came to that conclusion (for the most part, there are a few things he does say that is not backed-up). What he interprets the meaning to be saying is not what we were taught in Sunday School, that is for sure. Is he wrong, then? It is a matter of who's interpretation you wish to believe. He also tried to explain some questions we are left with such as; Was what we were taught correct? If so, then why has it changed over the years? If not, then why were we taught it to begin with? In other words, there is no right or wrong here if you read it with an open mind and not let all your religious lessons get in the way with what the author is saying, it is a matter of interpretation. Let me be clear in saying that there is no 'Bible Bashing" here. He is not saying what the Bible says is totally wrong or just made up, he simply explains his interpretation of the translation (remember it was not originally in English) and in some cases it is as simple as 'and' should have been translated as 'or' which puts a whole new meaning in certain verses.

I still had some problems understanding even the author's interpretation because it seems some of it contradict itself. In chapter three the author tells us that all souls eventually go to heaven after they become baptized/free from sin. (No matter the baptism of water or fire, all souls will enter heaven.) Later on in the book the author translates Jesus telling his disciples that their souls will not experience what the kingdom of God calls death: death of the soul (with the exception of Judas). So isn't Judas (soul) sin free and he went to heaven? If the disciples are not going to have their souls die, then does that mean we all have our souls die? If all our souls die then how do we enter heaven? If all souls (or any) die, then why did the author state in his Introduction that all souls are eternal and none can ever be destroyed? Maybe I am missing the clarification of these parts which could be in a later chapter and I just didn't make the connection but as for now I am missing it and still confused. But (and I can not stress this enough) this is not a one time read, this is the type of writing that I feel needs to be read over and over and pondered. With all this information that is new (at least to me) and the insight of the author's thoughts and feelings, it is just impossible to read, understand, and digest in a single sitting.

I can't help but notice the amount of time the author put into this book, it must have been quite an undertaken. I just wish he formatted it differently because the repetitiveness did drive me crazy. Sometimes the verses are listed three or four times to make his point and I would just skip to the end of the verses which also was annoying to have to do so often. I did enjoy the casual writing the author used in his comments though.

I don't quite know how to recommend this book. After all, it isn't a story with a plot or characters, it is a work of interpretation that I did find interesting to read even though they are different from what I was raised to believe. I do recommend it to those who would be interested in reading these thoughts/interpretations, it gives some new insight as to what is possibly really being said in these verses.

*I received a free copy of this book for my honest review.

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March 25, 2014

Book 16 of My 2014 Goal

Off The GridOff The Grid by Dan Kolbet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just the cover alone of "Off The Grid" by Dan Kolbet sparked my interest with that power tower there among the stars. It had sort of an eerie glow behind the tower yet darkness all around. I figured this had to be a story about being cut off from power (by the name and cover picture) and after reading the authors description I found that the book was about much more than I thought it was. It is about murder, revenge, spying, love, and more.

I won't go into a long description of what the story is about but I will say it is about wireless electricity. I thought the characters were well developed in the book. The main character, who is named Luke, I wasn't even sure what company he was really working for. There are so many twists and turns as this story plays out, just when I think I figured him out something else would happen and I was back to not really knowing until the end. Then again, he wasn't the only one as there was another character who I thought was on one side but turns out was on another, plus there is one I still was not sure where she stood other than by her actions toward the end. In other words, don't think the first impressions or motives of all the characters are correct when you first start reading it. They may not be going where you think they are.

I did find some of the story slow in parts but this was mainly for either character building or to 'set up' for another twist in the story. (I also should just tell you that I was sick when I read this so I did put it down between readings which tends to 'lose' something. Maybe if I had read it daily or in one sitting, these slow parts weren't as slow as I think they were but thought it only fair to mention what *I* felt.) But even so, this story did have me wanting to know what happened next.

I am looking at this as a fictional story which is what the author intended, I am not trying to apply this to real life so as long as you don't do that, it is a great story. By this I mean, as I told you it is about wireless electricity and I was not concerned about the effects this 'wireless electricity' had on humans or animals; how it can be transmitted wireless without electrocuting anyone/anything nearby or why those 'off the grid' didn't use wind power or other types of energy not requiring fossil fuels. I just took the story at face value and assumed there was a reason but it wasn't 'vital' to this story so it was left out as to not complicate the story the author intended to tell.

There were some errors I noticed that weren't picked up by the proofreading. Examples of this are; "Luke knew there was much more the he..", "Using the prongs of ring she wore..." (missing the word 'the' in 'Using the prongs of the ring she wore...). There were also some punctuation errors but none of this was so serious that it took away from the story, to me at least.

I thought this was a good story and enjoyed reading it. I especially loved the ending (it gave me great satisfaction) the way it was done. I recommend this book to those who are tired of reading about the zombies and want a fiction, thriller, mystery that is quite different from the norm.

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