Friday, September 30, 2016

Five Little Ducklings Go To School by Carol Roth, Sean Julian

Five little ducklings are taking their first big adventure by going to school for the first time. Most of them are very excited but one little duckling is not quite sure about leaving mama duck and going to school.
I read this myself and found it adorable, and then read it to my now 6-year-old son who is now in Grade 1 but starting a new school. He loved the vibrant pictures, the way it was written, and most importantly the story itself. I think he could relate to it as he is ok leaving me but was not sure about starting a new school.
I really think this is a wonderful book for parents to read to/with their children as they start going to school whether it is elementary school or preschool. The story is very uplifting and positive.
Highly recommended.
My only regret is that I had been trying to read the book through Netgalley and for some reason the format was incorrect so I had to wait until I could find a copy to read. I am so glad that I did find it as it is a book that every parent should read to their child.

Five out of Five Stars

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

Hawthorn Creely has never fit in or that is the way that she feels. When Lizzie Lovett disappears while camping with her boyfriend, Hawthorn jumps at the opportunity to solve the mystery. From bizarre theories to taking over Lizzie's job and becoming involved with Lizzie's grieving boyfriend, Hawthorn is forced to face life and her own place in it.
Honestly, this was a very hard book for me to read. There was nothing wrong with the book but Chelsea Sedoti is so very good at describing those awkward and lonely teenage years. She did such a good job that I could relate to Hawthorn on so many levels and wished I could go into the book to let her know that she was ok and everything would be ok. This is a beautifully written coming of age story and it is one that I will be recommending and talking about for some time to come.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Five out of Five Stars

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ghoul by Marc Alexander

An archaeologist is about to make the find of a century similar to that of Howard Carter and Tutankhamen in the fictional middle eastern country of Abu Sabbah but little does the team know that they are also releasing a horror that has been imprisoned for centuries. 
While I did enjoy the book, I felt like parts were a bit disjointed and needed a little more cohesion. There was so much character set up of a variety of people and I felt like there should have been some more connection between them for the climax of the book. I wanted to know more about some characters and have them a bit more involved in the ending but felt like something was left out. 
Other than that, I really did enjoy the novel and found it to be a light and fun read (best read at night of course).
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hard Rivers: The Untold Saga of La Salle: Expedition II by Craig P. Howard

I have always been fascinated by the early history of North America with the first encounters with the Native People, Voyageurs, explorers, and early settlers especially the amazing European men who explored an unknown and dangerous land so I jumped at the chance to read about a reenactment of one of our early explorers, La Salle.
Led by the passion and determination of the main organizer, Reid, a hardy group of 16 teenage boys and 7 adults underwent rigorous training and preparation to make a modern day trek of the route that La Salle did in 1681-1682.
I found the story of the research, training, and preparation a bit tedious at times but I think it was fully necessary to have it in the book to ensure that readers comprehend just how much time and effort went into preparing for the journey. I found the story of the journey itself to be not only mesmerizing but also tense and nerve-wracking to the point where I could not put the book down.
These amazing people faced such incredible feats and extreme danger at times. I was especially touched by how the author showed (with help from most of the participants) how it changed them and affected the rest of their lives after they completed their quest. This is a story that deserves to be told and retold. I am amazed at the courage and determination that these men had. I really wish there was a way to make a movie or mini-series about this feat as I don't think too many people remember and they do deserve to be remembered as well as the history of our early explorers.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. If you love history and adventure I would highly recommend this book.

Five out of Five Stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bats by William W. Johnstone

I have always loved horror novels especially well-written ones concerning unexpected animal attacks.
A seemingly new species of vampire bat that thrives on human flesh and blood suddenly appears in the Southern US and it is up to a eclectic group of people to stop them before they stop humanity forever. 
This was a fun and light read that I made sure to read at night. The characters are well fleshed out and if you can suspend logic a bit and just enjoy a horror story you will definitely enjoy this one.
I will definitely be looking to read more by this author who seems to have written in a few different genres.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Legends of Perilisc by Jesse Teller

This is a set of short stories set in the world of Perilisc. At first, I found it difficult to follow as I had no idea about this fantasy world (I have never read any of this author's work before) but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed the style of writing and the complex legends and stories that abound in this book. I am very interested in actually reading more of Jesse Teller's books based on the writing itself.

Three out of Five Stars

They Rise by Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is fast becoming one of my favorite horror authors. He knows how to write a compelling and engrossing horror novel. 
Brad Whitley is a marine biologist who is an expert on chimaera fish otherwise known as "ghost fish".
Through global warming that is also affecting the ocean, Brad is confronted with an ancient and enormous version of these fish. It will take everything he knows, and with help from his ex-wife and the US Navy to stop these monsters from destroying everything in their path.
"They Rise" reminds me a little bit of "Jaws" but only in the sense of an immense eating machine that is a threat to everyone who dares to leave dry land. The action is quick to start but Shea manages to set up a bit of character development that only adds to the depth of the book. This is the second book I have read by Hunter Shea and I absolutely devoured this book.

Four out of Five Stars

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Ship to Nowhere by Rona Arato

"The Ship to Nowhere" is the true story about the ship "The Exodus 1947" and its passengers trials as they tried to find a home in Palestine after the end of WWII. The book centers on very real people including Rachel Fletcher and her family who along with 4,500 other Jewish refugees were treated very inhumanely for simply wanting a land to call their own and a place where they did not have to fear being Jewish.
The book is well researched and an eye opening read that I think should be in every public library and every school library as well. It is horrifying to think of what these people including very young children had to go through even after the Holocaust.
The only thing I would recommend is that the book would probably come across better in paperback rather than Kindle (I keep trying to change the edition I read but Goodreads won't let me). I found the photos very small and the descriptions of the photos and the story a bit mashed together for the ebook edition and a bit confusing. Otherwise, it is a very powerful book for young people and a story we should not forget.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Dead Souls: A Novel by J. Lincoln Fenn

Fiona Dunn's world is falling apart. In fact, her world has always seemed like it has been falling apart but she has somehow managed to survive ..... until now that is. Convinced her boyfriend has been unfaithful to her, Fiona manages to get herself locked out of her apartment in bare feet and night clothes so wanders off to a bar where she meets a mysterious guy named Scratch. Scratch guessed it..the devil himself and he offers Fiona a deal she cannot resist: her greatest wish in exchange for her soul and a "favor" that he can call in at any time.
I found the book to be witty, thoughtful, and gruesome at times but I absolutely adored it. I especially liked how the author imagines how someone would deal with this kind of situation. I definitely want to read more books by this author. 
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

The Ripper Letter by Katherine Ramsland

I am basically fascinated by anything to do with Jack the Ripper so was quick to request this book. It was a little different than I expected but not in a bad way at all.
A young homicide detective is thrown into the world of ancient codes, the supernatural, and the legend of Jack the Ripper while looking for her father who has disappeared.
As I said, I found the story to be a bit different than I expected. I had assumed it would be a thriller and it is but is also way more than that. It really does not fit into any one category. There are also elements of paranormal romance, history, police procedural, mystery....I could go on and on. I found the book to be interesting and am very curious to see what is in store for Dee Brentano next.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

And Then the Sky Exploded by David A. Poulsen

Christian's world is shaken at his great grandfather's funeral when he finds out that he was a member of the Manhattan Project that was responsible for creating the atomic bombs that were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during WWII. Christian is full of shame and confusion because he cannot connect the kind great grandfather he loved and remembers with something that caused so much pain and death. Christian wants to make amends but the question is how.
The answer comes in the form of a school field trip where Christian's suggestion of Japan as the destination is quickly accepted by the school.
What follows is a touching and thought provoking examination of what it means to be human and the act of forgiveness. The book touches very lightly on the subject and what exactly did happen when the bombs hit but considering this is a book meant for young people it is very appropriate.
At certain times, and at the end of the book I found myself in tears and just sitting thinking about the entire issue. Like the Holocaust, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki should not be forgotten and we need to teach our children about them so we never forget. I was so impressed by this book that I plan to purchase a copy for my daughter to read.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager

This is a very cute book that is funny for both young children and the adults who are reading the book to the children. The idioms are illustrated in such a way that kids will get a kick out of them and adults will enjoy the jokes. Highly recommended.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.

Four out of Five Stars

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Raise your Vibration: 101 Practices to Increase Your Spiritual Connection by Kyle Gray

To be honest, this book was not my cup of tea but that should not detract from the book itself. I just don't have the time for it right now. It is very well written and has much wisdom in it. Perhaps I am just not ready for it at this time. For people who do like to meditate (0r have the time which is one of my problems with four young children) it is a very useful and thoughtful discussion on meditation and finding inner peace. It really is worth the read for those who do have the time and inclination to try some of these techniques. I received a copy from the publishers ( thank you so much) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars

Stumbling on a Tale by Suzanne Roche

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Suzanne Roche. I read her first book in this series " Making it Home (Time to Time, #1) and have been hooked ever since. If anything, this second book in the series is even better than the first one. So much so that I have requested my local library to purchase copies of this series ( they did!) and my 8-year-old son is very keen to read them as he loves history. Suzanne Roche has a way of taking what she has researched about a particular time period and making it believable and accessible to young children in a way that they can enjoy while learning.
Time travel adventure has not ended for Peri, Max, and Henry at all. There is a mysterious book where if you put a particular object on it, you end up in that time period. This time around it is the middle ages and the children learn while trying to figure out how to get back to their own time period. It is so well written and descriptive in such a way that you feel as if you are there with the children. I really would highly recommend this series to any elementary school children who have an interest in history. In fact, I plan to mention this series to my children's school library as I think many children would love this series. Very well done. I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out. I want to thank Suzanne Roche for allowing me to read such an incredible series. I really think it has potential and is a great series.

Four out of Five Stars

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

I have to admit that I am a fan of Nick Cutter. I have not read "The Troop" yet but I have read "The Deep" so I was very keen to read this book. 
The premise of the book is intriguing. A young woman hires three mercenaries with murky pasts to investigate a religious settlement where her nephew may have been taken against his will. On the way to the settlement, the four travellers find that the path leads the way to unspeakable evil.
As I said, I love the premise of the story but I came close to just putting it down as a DNF many times because there was just too much of a vast prologue/internal dialogue to the main story. I just found it a bit too much. I forced myself to read to about 40% and then things started to heat up very well. After I passed that "magic" number, I found the book involving and hard to put down. I think die hard fans will love it but other people will find it a hit or miss. In the end, I am glad that I did stick with it because it is a very original story that has hints of H.P. Lovecraft to it. I received a copy of this book from the publishers for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Three out of Five Stars

The 37th Parallel by Ben Mezrich

This book is basically the story of the journey of Chuck Zukowski who while working as a computer programmer and sheriff's deputy "moonlighted" as a self-trained UFO investigator. 
I found the book to be a fascinating read as I have never read an account of anyone who was so dedicated to finding out what is going on while also having the logic required of being a computer programmer. I was impressed by the fact that he never assumed that every anomaly was automatically UFO related but would try to debunk before accepting anything as unexplained.
The writing was detailed and I found it difficult to put the book down. I would love to read more about Chuck Zukowski and also would really like to read a book by Mr. Zukowski. He has obviously seen some odd things (along with his fellow investigator who happens to be his sister). Highly recommended to those who are interested in this subject.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars