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

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.

View all my reviews

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!

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

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!

View all my reviews