Posts Tagged With: review

Book Review: Water, by Terra Harmony

 

The Bookwater-cover-image_final1

Water (Book One in the Akasha Series)

The Genre

Eco-Fantasy

The Author

Terra Harmony served a 5 1/2 year enlistment in the Marine Corp, and has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Linguistics. She lives in a suburb of Washington, DC, with her husband and three children.

The Plot

When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Just as her new-found life holds promises of purpose, romance, and friendship, the organization divides and a rogue member holds Kaitlyn hostage. Now one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between her and Earth’s survival.

Warning: Contains mature content and sexual situations (some non-consensual). Reader discretion is advised.

The Review

Water is a well-written and engaging eco-adventure romance that kept me intrigued from start to finish. I very much enjoyed the pro-environmental conservation message of the novel . You can tell that the author feels very strongly about this subject, and it is showcased beautifully in her writing. I also liked that the magic system was based somewhat off of scientific principles, which grounded the fantasy element of the story and made it seem less far fetched that magic like that could exist in this day and age.

My main qualm was with the protagonist, Kaitlyn. I felt that she under-reacted to a very evident threat early on in the book, to the extent that it was almost unbelievable. And then she–and every other character in the book–continued to underestimate that threat until the betrayal inevitably occurred and it was too late for her to take any action to save herself. This is not to say I didn’t understand why she acted that way, but as a reader it frustrated me, and as a result I had trouble connecting with the protagonist and feeling sorry for her.

Qualms aside, Water was a fascinating book, and one that I will definitely pick up again in the future.

The Rating

4 stars out of 5

Check out the book here!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

For your viewing entertainment, an internet classic:

 

Aaaaaaaaaand and elephant:

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Random Website Idea

I randomly came up with this idea whilst contemplating how hit-and-miss self-published books can be in terms of quality. The story can be fantastic, but if the editing is terrible, I won’t be able to get past the first couple of pages.

Which leads me to wonder … is there such a thing as a website that lists eBooks not in terms of reviews, but in terms of whether or not it’s actually been edited?

Here’s my idea (assuming it doesn’t exist already):

  • This website has nothing to do with reviews — it strictly deals with whether or not a book is edited to traditional publishing standards (“E” for edited, “NE” for needs editing)
  • You can type a book name into the search bar, and the result is an image of the book cover with either a big, green “E” stamped across it, or a big red “NE” stamped across it
  • It could be called something like SPEVNE (self-publishing edited vs. needs editing)
  • That’s a terrible name
  • We can come up with a better one later

The point of the site is that it would be the last stop for a reader before they decided to buy the book. We assume they’ve already read reviews for the book … but there are people out there who will overlook glaringly painful sentence structure issues and grammatical errors when writing a review. Hence the point of SPEVNE (goodness, but that is a bad name) — discerning readers can just type in the book name and get that final quality assurance check. SPEVNE doesn’t tell you if the book is good or bad — SPEVNE just tell you if it’s readable.

Examples of the big letter stamps:

speneImminent Danger, obviously, would get a nice big E. Also, notice how I worked in my book cover into this post in a subtle yet powerful bit of subliminal marketing? Granted, I probably just negated the subliminality (totally a word) by pointing that out, so … obliviate!

And thus, my idea presentation ends. SPEVNE (anyone got a better name?) should be a thing. MAKE IT SO, INTERNET!

Unrelated image of the day:

Unrelated video of the day:

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Book Review: Echoes From The Past (Grace Brannigan)

The Bookechoes from the past

Echoes From The Past

The Genre

Romance

The Author

Grace Brannigan

The Plot

On the verge of a nervous breakdown, Christie reacts by running away, emotionally and physically. Down to her last twenty dollars, she’s determined to fulfill her dead sister’s last wish — to locate their sister Judith, who left home twenty years before. Her quest brings her into the lives of Garrett, Judith’s husband, and the emotionally fragile Hannah, Judith’s daughter. Christie is devastated to learn Judith died two years before. When Christie insists on getting to know her niece, Garrett agrees on the condition she doesn’t reveal her identity. He hires her to work at his horse farm but what he doesn’t count on is the turmoil and hope Christie brings into their lives.

The Review

I love a good romance, and this was definitely a good romance! I wasn’t a huge fan of the setting — the whole Western, horse ranch, cowboy thing has just never intrigued me, for some reason — but I was able to ignore that in favour of the really adorable romance between Christie and Garrett. It was wonderful to watch two emotionally troubled people come together and help each other heal. And I just love that Garrett’s dog is named Bo Peep!

The plot was solid, with good amounts of backstory, intrigue, etc. I could have used a bit more danger, but there were still sufficient life-threatening moments to keep me interested. And I would have liked more twists as well, but then, this is a romance novel, not Game of Thrones! Speaking of the romance, it was very fun to watch unfold, and it progressed at an entirely believable pace. I also really enjoyed Garrett’s interactions with his adopted daughter Hannah, especially how he makes sure to factor her into his potential love life.

If you’re looking for a heartfelt cowboy romance, I’d definitely recommend checking this out!

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

http://www.gracebrannigan.com/

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Book Review: 2 Novellas by Keri M. Peardon

In this latest self-published book review, we turn our attention to fellow blogger Keri M. Peardon, who has written two delightful little novellas–The Last Golden Dragon, and The Widow.

The Novella

The Last Golden Dragon

The Genre

Fantasy/Romance

The Author

Keri Peardon graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA in 2001 with a B.A. in History and a strong background in creative writing. She is a life-long resident of Tennessee and is currently employed as a legal assistant to a private-practice attorney. In addition to writing, she is active in medieval re-enacting and does too many handicrafts.

The Plot

Aine, a young Irish peasant girl, is looking for the last golden dragon. Whilst wandering about the mountains, she meets a handsome man named Eammon, who offers to take her to the dragon’s lair.

The Review

I thought this was a quick, sweet little love story. And the ending was adorable! I had great fun following Aine into the dragon’s cave and experiencing the adventure with her. Eammon was delightfully enigmatic, and his banter with Aine was quite funny. My one issue with this novella is that I saw the big plot reveal coming from literally the first page. Maybe I’ve just read too many fantasy stories, so I knew what was going to happen long before it did. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed The Last Golden Dragon, and recommend it to anyone looking for a light, romantic read.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

The Novella

The Widow

The Genre

Romantic Drama

The Plot

Ever since her husband died, Carol has been cooped up in her house. Her best friend solves this problem by signing her up for creative writing classes at the local community college. After her first class, Carol runs into a handsome local artist named Daniel, who offers her both coffee and sympathy. They begin to meet every week after her writing class, and eventually Daniel asks Carol to model for his next painting.  She accepts, and he proves to be the perfect balm for her wounded heart.

The Review

I loved this story. Unlike most romances, this one actually had a legitimate plot that kept me flipping the virtual pages to find out what happened next. I loved the author’s descriptions of the painting/modelling scenes. I could easily imagine Carol there in Daniel’s studio, posing silently as he brought her to life on the canvas with each brush stroke. Their romance is gradual, believable, and just wonderful to read.

The Rating

5 stars out of 5

Congratulations to Keri for writing such awesome novellas! Head over to her Smashwords page for more information.

Random tip of the day:

Forgot to lock your car, and don’t want to walk back? Car too far away for the remote to work? Try pressing the remote against your skull and pushing the Lock key. It gives your remote extra range, and I have no idea why.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Be Still — Book Review

Me with my copy of Be Still!

The Book

“Be Still”

The Genre

Romantic Drama

The Author

Tania L. Ramos. This is her second novel, which is self-published through iUniverse. Check out her blog and her website for more information!

The Plot

Plastic surgeon Jack Silver thinks his life is perfect – until he loses his daughter and wife in a series of tragic events. A decade later, Jack discovers that he is dying. He desperately wants to reconnect with his estranged son Travis, but Travis wants nothing to do with his father. Enter Dr. Christina Amity, Jack’s protégé and dear friend, who strives to help father and son work out their issues before Jack’s disease claims him. But even as Christina and Travis grow closer, Jack finds himself inching towards death, drawn by what he thinks is the spirit of his dead wife. Will Jack make peace with his son before he rejoins his wife and daughter in the afterlife? Will the emotionally-damaged Travis ever find love? Read Be Still to find out!

The Review

Let me start by saying that, despite the genre of this book being the polar opposite of what I usually read, I really enjoyed Be Still. The plot was engaging and well thought out, the characters relatable and believable. It’s a tragic story that’s at the same time uplifting, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes the romance/drama genre.

I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t the hugest fan of Jack Silver. He basically gives up on living after his wife dies, withdrawing from the world and from his son, all of which really irked me. I have a hard time connecting with parent characters who emotionally abandon their children. At the same time, I totally understand why he did what he did because his plot arc was beautifully written, so even though I didn’t really like the character, Tania still got me to sympathize with him.

On the other hand, I loved Travis and Christina. Their romance is sweet, and realistic, and flawed, because when does love ever go smoothly? I actually found myself caring more about Jack because I was seeing him through Travis and Christina’s eyes, and it was bittersweet because their shared grief over his impending death is one of the things that brings them together.

I quite enjoyed Tania’s writing style. It flowed nicely, and it was very easy for me to lose myself in the story. One criticism I would make is that the description sometimes got a little flowery, but for all I know that’s the norm for this genre of writing. It certainly didn’t detract from the story, it just made me pause and think, “Goodness, that’s a lot of adverbs”.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars, plus an “Awww!” factor of 8 puppies.

Remember that blog tour I mentioned?

If you have an excellent memory, you’ll remember that I’m participating in a blog tour next week – the blog tour of Tania L Ramos, to be specific, aka the author of Be Still! Whoa. Crazy coincidence, right? Anyway, here’s a reminder of the blog tour dates:

July 19 – http://katherinenader.tumblr.com

July 20 – http://nerdybookreviews.wordpresscom

July 21 – http://freebies4myfamily.blogspot.com/

July 22 – http://davidmcgowanauthor.com/

July 23 – https://michelleproulx.wordpress.com/ ((ME!))

July 24 – http://www.youtube.com/user/tramossnvvc/videos ((video blog))

Tania is also holding a sweepstakes right now, which can be viewed on her Facebook page. Basically, for every 100 books she sells by August 30th, she will donate a copy of her book to a high school of the winner’s choice. It only works for U.S. schools (something about foreign policy), and she promises to donate a book even if she doesn’t hit the 100 books sold mark. And if you’re poor like me and don’t want to buy a copy, you can still go to the Sweepstakes tab on the Facebook page and enter anyway.

So come back next Monday for my leg of the blog tour!

Tania will be writing a guest post about … about … okay, we really don’t know yet. If you have any ideas, sound off in the comments! She’s a self-published author, so maybe you have some questions you’d like her to answer? Just relay them in the comments section here and I’ll forward them to her.

Cute and addictive game:

http://www.silvergames.com/nyan-cat-lost-in-space

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR!

You probably guessed this from the image, but I went to see How To Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR! last night. Here’s the abridged story of the experience.

The set-up.

I went with my mother, whom I have been living with since I got back from teaching English in South Korea last November. Is it weird that I hang out with my mother? No, because she’s awesome.

We had intended to get there with time to spare, but due to a road being under construction, and half of the John Labatt Centre parking lot being reserved for performers, we barely made it in time. Luckily there was a parking lot just across the street, but we ended up in line to pay the parking attendant behind the world’s slowest coin-counter. He/she paid the $10 parking fee entirely in coins. And then it turned out he/she had miscounted, because the parking attendant had to give her back some change, further slowing down the process. Ack.

Into the theatre!

Having conquered the parking lot, we proceeded into the theatre. Now I have to say, it’s a pretty cool set-up they have going. They basically clear out this huge rectangular space, which is ringed with big boxes that can shoot out plumes of fire. And then on the back wall there is a gigantic screen onto which is projected scenery and backgrounds for the play.

The show begins …

The show started, and it was … honestly, it’s hard to describe. The acting was kind of sub-par, although that might be because the stage was so huge that the actors were tiny, and it was hard to really make a connection with them. The dragons, on the other hand, were just phenomenal. They spared no expense with this show. They had full-size animatronic dragons rolling around the floor, jumping and walking and breathing fire (well, smoke with a red light flashing from the dragon’s mouth), and it was just insanely cool.

The best part, hands down, was when Hiccup got on Toothless and flew into the air. They had Toothless attached to a rolling platform mechanism on a track on the roof of the stage, and then the cables were able to mimic Toothless swooping up and down through the air. The effect was heightened by that projection screen I mentioned, on which they had beautiful clouds and sky and … honestly, it looked like the guy and the dragon were actually flying. It was SO cool.

Holy dragons, Batman!

Then disaster struck! Toothless was supposed to take off with Hiccup and Astrid for their romantic flight … and nothing happened. “Come on, Toothless, let’s go!” shouted the actor, patting the animatronic dragon on the head. “Let’s go, buddy!” But nothing happened.

“There will be a brief pause as we deal with some technical issues,” said the announcer.

I actually really liked that part. Everything had been so seamless that I almost forgot we were dealing with giant, robot dragons. Of course they’re going to malfunction sometimes. I also wisely chose to remain in my seat, instead of heading for the bathroom like about half the theatre. Which was clever, because the problem was fixed about three minutes later, so at least 20% of the audience had to rush back to their seats and missed part of the show. Silly people.

Time for the big shampoo.

The big king dragon guy at the end was pretty cool, although they only built his head and tail. Still, they had Toothless up in the air again, and the projection screen showed lots of fiery smoke and clouds and stuff so it looked very much like they were flying. The bad dragon died, Toothless and Hiccup survived, and the actors had a big dance party to a rather boring song as they took their bows.

The end!

Has anyone seen How to Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR? Does anyone want to? Does anyone NOT want to after reading this post? Does anyone think dragons are super cool? Does anyone like answering endless questions about their likes and dislikes? Does anyone enjoy a nice platter of assorted cheeses?

This next part isn’t remotely related to the post.

Check out this youtube video. It’s about a guy who went to North Korea and filmed his journey. It’s awesome, mostly because North Korea is crazy.

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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