Book Review

#Review #Education I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

I come from a country that was created at midnight When I almost died it was just after midday. .When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan. one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.On Tuesday. October 9. 2012. when she was fifteen. she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. and few expected her to survive.Instead. Malalas miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen. she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel…

 

I don’t tend to read memoirs so this is rare for me. Perhaps, I picked this up because of circumstance. I was with my daughter in Topping and Company bookshop in Ely when I chanced upon this book. My daughter Natasha had been looking for travel guides as she’d just accepted a graduate teaching job in South Korea teaching English As A Foreign Language.  This got me thinking about the power of education. If she had no education, she couldn’t have hoped to get such a job. With little or no education, her chances of travel and a good job would be limited. How powerful education is in shaping our future and our response to other people. Education helps us reach our goals and broadens our outlook, experience and enjoyment of life. That is why I bought this book. Education should be at the forefront of all we do. Education is the bedrock. Education is liberating. Education rocks. 

My review 

I Am Malala is a book that everyone should read regardless of their gender, age, or religion. It is informative,  moving, and inspiring. Malala’s bravery shines through and there are wonderful examples of her selflessness. I cried in several places; I smiled too. I loved the special bond between Malala and her father, (especially touching and rare given some of the anecdotes that illustrate how women are treated as second class citizens with no voice, education or power.)  I enjoyed reading about her family, her fights with her brothers and how her mother grew stronger and more confident too. More than anything I loved the message about education – how it should be available to all regardless of gender. I loved the bravery of this fifteen-year-old to stand up for what she believed in even if that meant risking such terrible danger.

Malala is an extraordinary young woman and an amazing role model, I am so glad I picked this biography up.

Goodreads Bio:

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

Link: https://www.malala.org/

 

DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

Buying Links: 

Amazon Kindle UK Edition: http://amzn.to/2whb54Q

Amazon Kindle Paperback: http://amzn.to/2k0hxvt

Amazon Kindle Hardback: http://amzn.to/2htEimU

Have you read Malala’s memoir? If you have I’d love to hear your opinion.

Bye for now,

Bitmoji hittin the books

 

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Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!

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My review of The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb (The Lady of the Pier, #1) – Effrosyni Moschoudi

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Sofia falls in love, a mourning spirit begins to haunt her…

CORFU, GREECE, 1987
On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman? And how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND, 1937
Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a happy-go-lucky stagehand at the West Pier theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, her love for him is put to the test. Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, is fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love…or money?

My review:

I enjoyed The Lady of The Pier – The Ebb and would recommend this novel to romance enthusiasts and readers who love stories set in different locations, time periods and cultures. The Lady of The Pier tells the story of two young girls Sophia and Laura in two contrasting settings  and time periods – Greece in 1987 and Brighton, England in 1937. Both locations appealed to me and were my initial encouragement for reading Effronsyni’s book – a dual narrative love story (with elements of paranormal fantasy,) of young lovers Laura and Christian, Sofia and Danny.

I have spent many happy holidays in Greece and Brighton, and Effrosyni’s writing transported me to both settings making me  feel immersed in these young girls lives almost like I was on holiday myself! The Lady of The Pier is a sweet story with an intriguing ending. I smiled when I read the important little details that the author added to suggest the close relationship between Sofia and her Greek grandparents. And the dreams of the strange lady in black who walks the West Pier in Brighton really captured my attention too. Equally, the relationships and love stories in both Brighton and Greece were engaging to read and I’m sure that there will be much to keep the reader entertained.

I’m looking forward to reading Book two and finding out how the next part of the story unfolds. 

From reading #1 I suggest you give this book a read. There is much to recommend it – lovely characters, believable dialogue, a real sense of place and wonderful poetry too! I believe the second book in the series is “The Flow,” and the third book in the series is: “The Storm.”

My rating: 4 stars, a heart-warming romantic read ideal for taking on holiday!

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Author bio from her website: http://effrosyniwrites.com/

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she loved to sit alone in her garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Today, she writes novels for people who love all things Greek. Her historical romance, The Ebb, is an ABNA Q-Finalist. Her novels are Amazon bestsellers, having hit #1 several times, and are available in kindle and paperback format. The paperbacks can be ordered on Amazon or at any bookstore or library.

Effrosyni lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix, but her mind forever drifts to her beloved island of Corfu.

Felix loves to use her pot plants as lounge chairs, and to nap under the sun in ridiculous poses.

Pop over to Effrosyni’s lovely blog home to find out more:  http://effrosyniwrites.com/books/the-lady-of-the-pier-the-ebb/

DISCLAIMER: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

This particular book is a verified Amazon purchase 

Buying links: 

UK kindle version:  http://amzn.to/2jutCZm

 

UK kindle 3 book series: http://amzn.to/2jwsc0G

Have you read The Lady of The Pier? Or Effronsyni’s other titles? – The Necklace of Goddess Athena,  Poetry From The Lady of The Pier, or her new release The Amulet?

Bye for now, happy reading!

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My Review of Thirteen Reasons Why

20170722_193102 (2)Goodreads Synopsis:

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

My review: 

This is a difficult book to review not because of the writing brilliance or lack of, more because suicide is such an emotive and difficult subject to deal with sensitively. It’s one of those books that definitely fits in the unputdownable category. Curiosity carries you forward, and keeps you turning the pages… but, for me the tapes were a device, a method that the author used to convey the suicide’s victims feelings beyond the grave to the people who had hurt her. Wait a minute, I have an issue with this. Suicides don’t do this. This involves planning, and people considering ending their lives are unlikely to write a note, family and friends are left wondering  – Why? But, I reckon Jay Asher meant well. I believe her intention was to explain that even the smallest hurt can attach to a larger hurt to grow into a huge hurt ball of pain. I get that, and it sounds plausible, but the upshot of this is the main protagonist starts of sounding whiny, and distances the reader somewhat. I didn’t find the main protagonist Hannah a likeable character, but perhaps that’s the point? The act of suicide means that you don’t dwell on who you might  hurt by your actions – you are too immersed in your own pain – hence the significance of the rape scene. I’m not going into details in this review, no spoilers, read this yourself and make up your own mind.

Ultimately, suicide is the most terribly sad act of self destruction committed by a person who has mental health issues, or is suffering with unbearable pain. Mental health, bullying and depression are major reasons why people commit suicide and these issues should be discussed openly and with a caring attitude, particularly as they are a rising problem in our young people.

Thirteen Reasons Why isn’t a perfect book, but it does provokes discussion. It makes you consider what damage people do to each other and acknowledges that we don’t really know what is going on in other people’s lives.

Of course this debut has been an enormous success with a TV series on Netflix. Both of my daughters have watched the series.)

Rating: A very difficult one to rate, I spent a lot of time deliberating about this one. I’d say it is sitting on a 4 star read.

Resources: 

If you are experiencing mental health problems I’ve discovered this wonderful online resource that I would recommend:  https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/general/i-need-someone-to-talk-to-about-my-problems-but-where-do-i-turn/

 

Disclaimer and buying links: 

DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

Buying Links:

UK Kindle:  http://amzn.to/2f5UABK

UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/2f61iaR

 

Bye for now,

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Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!


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My Review of 13 Steps To Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villians by Sacha Black

 

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
 
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
  
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover: 
 
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
  
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
 
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 steps to evil today and start creating kick ass villains. 

My review:

Confession time. No, it’s nothing to do with my prison record, or my descent into villainy. It’s simply this – I’m pretty lazy about reading books about writing  – but Sacha Black’s 13 Steps To Evil has completely changed my mind! What a fantastic kick ass little book! I wish I’d read a copy years ago.

It’s a detailed resource, which informs and entertains in an illuminating, and humorous way. There are so many excellent examples that I am giddy with the potential for villains. The mental health section is handled with great sensitivity (one of my characters self-harms, so I read this with considerable interest,) and I was also fascinated by the detail on narcissistic personality disorder too.

Sacha’s extensive knowledge of villains prompts me to ask….. Is Sacha a secret villain? Or has she been hanging out with dodgy characters?  The mind boggles. No, none of these apply… at least I don’t think so! Sacha Black has done her research, and it shows. She studied Psychology to 1st Class Degree level and thereafter completed Masters in Research Methods in Cognitive Neuropsychology.  She has also spent an exorbitant amount of time watching villainous films, (from a tender age,) and has read tonnes of books, and absorbed popular culture like a sponge.   Where does this woman get her energy? I am in awe, totally star-stuck… or should I say villain struck!

My recommendation: 5 stars. Get a copy now and write a review. Share the love!

Check out the current Blog Tour hosts….

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DISCLAIMER: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

 

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Buy Links: http://books2read.com/13stepstoevil

Let’s hit the books!!

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My Kyrosmagica Review of PorterGirl: First Lady of The Keys by Lucy Brazier

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

‘Porters are not the carriers of bags, they are the keepers of keys!’

As one of the most ancient and esteemed establishments of the academic elite, Old College is in for something of a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter.

She struggles to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. PorterGirl, the proverbial square peg in the round hole, begins to wonder quite what she is doing here.

PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is a touching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, glimpse into a world that is usually reserved for the upper echelons of society.

Whether she is chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea or getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders, Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.

 

My review

I’ve had PorterGirl on my must read radar for some time. For three reasons, one it’s set in Cambridge, (and I live in Cambridge too,) and two I have enjoyed reading Lucy’s blog Porter Girl and following her.

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Also, my youngest daughter works part-time as a waitress in one of the colleges in Cambridge so I hear all about college life from her, and all about the sumptuous food….

So my impressions of PorterGirl… I really enjoyed PG. It’s one of those books that lifts your spirits up and puts you in a fantastic mood. It prompts you to put the kettle on and eat lots of forbidden biscuits! Lol… Porter G’s experience as the first female porter of a prestigious Cambridge University college is a lively riot from start to finish, full of humour, tea, and jokes about eating fabulous food when and wherever PorterGirl can… Being a foodie, this constant ambition to raid the fridges and steal food from under her colleagues’ hungry noses had me in stitches, as did crazy but ever so serious tasks such as PorterGirl rescuing a most important College cat via a precarious punting escapade. There’s never a dull moment, but a dollop of rising fear ensues as PorterGirl discovers murders are being committed in Old College. She begins to fear for her life, but PorterGirl is no coward, (a former copper,) she manages to keep herself safe, until…. it gets a bit hot under the bowler hat. Even so, her bowler hat remains proudly on top of her head, never to be removed not even in the most dire, calamitous of circumstance!

My recommendation: 4 stars. A favourite read that will make you smile a lot – and smiling is one of my favourite pastimes. Lucy has a pleasing writing style that makes you feel as if you know her personally. But, this novel should come with a health warning: This will make you laugh so much that you will splutter out your tea and biscuits! I reckon our friends across the water will find the copious amount of tea drinking that is a signature style of PorterGirl exceedingly amusing!

Opinion: I felt that perhaps PorterGirl lacked the ‘real’ names (and from Lucy’s point of view the promote-able aspects,) of the  ‘real’ Cambridge. I would love to have read about the ‘real’ University college that Old College applied to, and the ‘real’ haunts that Lucy mentions. But, I can understand why Lucy didn’t do so, why she used fictitious names. I expect she wanted to keep the secrets of the establishment, and anonymity of some of the characters in the book. If she had set it in the ‘real’ Cambridge, (and put a few folks noses out of joint,) for me it would have been a five star read. But, that’s just me…. and of course I can see why she wouldn’t want to do that! Lol…

I’m really looking forward to reading more from Lucy Brazier.

I recommend that you get a copy of PorterGirl, rush, before Lucy’s tea gets cold!

Portergirl BOOK 1 MASTER WEBSITE

Buying links: Amazon – Lucy Brazier: Porter Girl – First Lady of The Keys

Lucy’s next novel:

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Lucy has a new fan. 🙂

Bye for now,

 

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Mini Reviews, Bookish Photos and my TBR pile.

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I’ve been so busy recently with editing my manuscript, gathering promotional ideas, etc, that I have neglected my much-loved book reviewing. So, to remedy this a little I’m doing a few mini reviews:

Starting off with….

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Goodreads Synopsis: 

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

My review: 4.5 stars. This debut novel surprised me. I started off not being too sure about it and then loved it! Sometimes I’m like that, I can be a bit slow on the uptake! I need a little convincing and then kapow – it hits me full force. Great idea, fantastic characters, particularly the main protagonist Aaron Soto, thought provoking questions about his emerging sexuality, and interesting setting – the Bronx. Have added to my favourites list. Read? Yes, yes, yes.. !!!

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

My review: 4 stars. I discovered this book via my good blogging friend Annika Perry. She had written a detailed review and it piqued my interest: https://annikaperry.com/2016/07/15/a-boy-made-of-blocks-a-book-review/.

Annika enjoyed this novel but didn’t love it, and I enjoyed it too but it didn’t quite make my favourite list either. Author Keith Stuart used his own experiences with his son to write A Boy Made Of Books, and reveals the complexities of coping with day to day activities with a child on the autistic spectrum. Even going to the park can become a major worry particularly if you meet a dog who might set off your child’s anxieties. In my experience, I found it to be well written throughout but the latter part of the novel was more emotionally engaging. Read? Yes, particularly if you are interested in novels about autism, and family/son relationships.

Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My review: 4 stars. This deserves all the hype. It is an entertaining, sweet read, a must read YA novel… grab a copy! Read? Yes, most definitely Read!!!

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Yvonne Carmichael sits in the witness box. The charge is murder. Before all of this, she was happily married, a successful scientist, a mother of two. Now she’s a suspect, squirming under fluorescent lights and the penetrating gaze of the alleged accomplice who’s sitting across from her, watching: a man who’s also her lover. As Yvonne faces hostile questioning, she must piece together the story of her affair with this unnamed figure who has charmed and haunted her. This is a tale of sexual intrigue, ruthless urges, and danger, which has blindsided her from a seemingly innocuous angle. Here in the courtroom, everything hinges on one night in a dark alley called Apple Tree Yard.

My review: 4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this a lot.  I grabbed it off my mum’s bookshelf in Edinburgh… I’m always pinching books… beware! A fascinating tale of how the most unlikely of women could end up having such a wild and crazy affair, (I kid you not!) leading to such dire consequences.  Highly recommended. Read?  Yes, Read!!!

Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending the Christmas hols in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of its beautiful spires, cosy libraries and inviting tea-rooms – but there is danger lurking in the dark stairwells of ancient Maudlin College.

Two days before Christmas, there is a terrible accident. At least, it appears to be an accident – until the Detective Society look a little closer, and realise a murder has taken place. Faced with several irritating grown-ups and fierce competition from a rival agency, they must use all their cunning and courage to find the killer (in time for Christmas Day, of course).

The fabulously festive fifth mystery from the bestselling, award-winning author of Murder Most Unladylike.

My review: 4 stars. A very fun murder mystery set at Christmas in the colleges of Cambridge. Particularly enjoyed reading this as I live in Cambridge and it was nice to recognise some of the familiar settings. Read: Yes, particularly if you like an easy, entertaining, enjoyable read.

Following on from this I am currently reading Lucy Brazier’s Porter Girl so more about soon…

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And after that I have various beauties on my TBR pile including The Words In My Hand by Guinevere Glasfurd, (Costa book awards shortlisted author,) who I met in person at a recent inspiring event held by Cambridge Writers.

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Bye for now,

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A collection of pulse-pounding tales featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan—including the untold story of her first case!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the hit Fox series Bones, Kathy Reichs is renowned for chilling suspense and fascinating forensic detail. The Bone Collection presents her trademark artistry in this collection of thrilling short fiction.

In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs’s first novel, Déjà Dead, she at last reveals the tale of how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured her from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation. (It all began with a visit from a pair of detectives—and a John Doe recovered from an arson scene in a trailer.) The collection is rounded out with three more stories that take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Tempe’s cases make for the most gripping reading.

 

I won a copy of  The Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller Kathy Reich’s The Bone Collection via Linda Hill who blogs at: Linda’s Book Bag

So a big thank you for my winning copy! Of course, my opinions are my own and are not influenced in anyway by me receiving a free copy.

My review:

This isn’t my usual kind of read and at first, I was a little bit skeptical whether or not it would appeal to me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The excellence of Kathy Reich’s writing and her detailed and knowledgeable observations about forensic anthropology kept me entertained throughout all four of these novellas, based on her successful Temperance Brennan series. This is a special treat for Kathy Reich enthusiasts as all four pieces: Bones In her Pocket, Swamp Bones, Bones on Ice,  and First Bones are presented in a single collection in this novel. Bones both animal, and human do figure a lot in this novel, it’s to be expected! So be prepared for some gruesome moments. If I were, to sum up this novel I’d say: punchy, gripping, wincing, chilling, compelling, detailed, gut turning sleuthing mysteries to be solved, sliced with unexpected twists and turns, and served with a fulsome dollop of humour.

Highly recommended. My rating 4.5 stars.

Have you read Kathy Reich? Do comment and let me know.

Bye for now, happy reading!

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The WaterMelon King by Daniel Royse

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After being laid off from his job at a prestigious consulting firm, Dean decides to embark on a journey across East Africa with his younger brother. Unknowingly, they travel into bandit territory where a medical emergency forces them to choose between their safety and their health.

Inspired by true events, The Watermelon King follows the journey of two brothers as they backpack across one of East Africa’s most inhospitable regions. As they endure endless days of difficult travel, a series of short stories written by their father begins to uncover their inherent desire for adventure and their connection to the past. Along the way they begin to understand the beauty and frustration of life in Africa.

 

Many thanks to Daniel Royse for a copy of The Watermelon King in exchange for an honest review.

Why this novel appealed to me.

My father worked abroad auditing in many off the world’s off the beaten track destinations. He travelled extensively to the Far East, The Middle East, Pacific Region, Africa, Papua New Guinea, etc,…… and this story reminded me of his adventurous spirit in many ways.

The Title:

First off before I even start to review I’d like to comment on the title. It’s awesome, isn’t it? Just love how  – The Watermelon King –  sets the tone for this delicious novel!

My review:

The Watermelon King is humorous, thirst quenching,  and full of little pips, (trials and tribulations.) The hard shell that holds it together is undoubtedly the subsidiary story about the brothers’ father that sits in between the backpacking tale – what a salesman, and when he got ill, what a fighter!

I’d highly recommend The Watermelon King to those who love to travel. This novel will particularly appeal to backpackers who enjoy exploring off the beaten track destinations, and for those with a sense of adventure which matches their ability to find humour in all sorts of circumstances !!   This isn’t for the package holiday makers….. who like plush comforts, and five-star hotels. Or for those who prefer to sit on the beach, oil themselves, and turn over. This is about the ‘real Africa,’ that most travellers never get to see. The ‘real Africa,’ may not be comfortable, the food may be dire, the buses non-existent but nevertheless there is a charm that transcends all that, making the experience an unforgettable smile which is etched on the heart of those who experience it.

I loved The Watermelon King.  I thought I would! It did not disappoint. I read it on the way to work, (whilst travelling on the bus!) and it really made me smile.

 

My recommendation:

Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

I’d love to hear your views on The Watermelon King. Don’t forget to share your travel and/or backpacking adventures in the comments below.

Bye for now, let me climb on my hammock in the sun, ( I wish,)  and read for a while…

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My Kyrosmagica Review of The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy by Colleen Chesebro

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, Blake, and Cash, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

My Review:

First of all, thank you to Colleen Chesebro for my ARC copy of The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s not to love? I knew I would love The Swamp Fairy and I did. For me, it has two magical ingredients: a crystal pendant, ( I just love crystals!!!) and fairies! My only regret is that when I turned the last page of The Swamp Fairy I was left feeling bereft. I wanted more!!! Thank goodness Colleen will satisfy this sense of loss with the second book in this series…

I’d recommend The Swamp Fairy to young ‘tween’ girls who love the magical realm of fairies, and the power and mystery of crystals exemplified in Abigale’s pendant , a precious piece of the sacred calcite heart stone.

Gutsy young heroine  Abigale Forester will do anything to save the swamp fairies and the Pink Sundew plants. Right from the start, it’s obvious that she’s no pushover, even though she has had to deal with more pain and loss than the average fourteen-year-old.  After her mother Kathryn’s death and her drug addict father’s disappearance she is sent away to stay with her distant aunt Magnolia. It’s not just the weather that changes. Chicago girl Abigale’s new destination is Blackberry Ridge, Florida. She has to get to know her aunt, acquaint herself with a new school,  meet new friends, Savanna Brook,  Blake Barrett, and Cash Book, (Savanna’s brother.)  But all that’s nothing compared with having to cope with the nasty jibes of the mean Kramer brothers, and it doesn’t end there. A greedy, ruthless land developer, Rafe Cobb is determined to get hold of the swamp land bequeathed to her by her deceased mother. Abigale refuses to buckle under Rafe Cobb’s threats even when she realises that he will go to the most desperate and deadly ends to get what he wants.

Abigale has a special relationship with the fairies, (the Naiad Nymph Clan,) a unique bond with horses, (especially Sand Dollar,) and the many other animals in the story. She can hear what they are saying, and can speak to them too!

This is such an enthralling, sweet story, with excitement a-plenty. There are beautiful descriptions of the swamp fairies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds. Plus the added bonus of beautifully crafted haiku poems at the start of each chapter.

Highly recommended.

My rating:

5 stars

Here’s where you can find your copy:

My Amazon Associate UK Link:

DISCLAIMER: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

 

More about Colleen Chesebro’s books, and the stunning Calcite pendant that you can order here:  Author Spotlight Colleen Chesebro

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The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy: The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy: Volume 1

My Kyrosmagica Review of The Book of Shadows by Ruth Hatfield

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to The Book of Storms trilogy

Strange shadows are appearing over Danny’s town. Where they land, people are drained of all colour and hope. Cars crash; people stand, directionless.

Fleeing from the shadows, Danny knows Sammael is behind this horror. Danny knows the world must be saved; he knows that to do that, Sammael must be destroyed. Once again, Danny must overcome his belief that he’s not brave, and face his greatest fears. Danny needs Cath. But first he must rescue her from underneath the shadows.

Their only hope might be the mysterious Book of Shadows – but they will have to make it first. And is Danny doing the right thing? Can Sammael really be destroyed?

My review:

The final book in The Book of Storms trilogy – the conclusion was great. Loved this, Ruth Hatfield.

The first half of the book built up the shadows in a slow, grey progression to the conclusion. The title: The Book of Shadows implied that shadows would play a part, and this in itself attracted me to the story as I write about shadows too, but I was left wondering, is that it?  Halfway through I had actually said to my eldest daughter that I wasn’t too sure where Ruth was going with this. How wrong I was, (this often happens to me.) I get restless and then I turn a page and wow… My whole reading experience changes! I  was missing Cath, the feisty girl in the series. As soon as Cath, and Barshin, the hare came back into the story the action cranked up a notch of intensity and the final half of the book had me enthralled. There were revelations, colours, dreams, – all was not as it seems. And the at times frustratingly, uncourageous main protagonist Danny didn’t disappoint. He has heart! Enough to fill an ocean…. But no spoilers, no more about that, as this is one book I could really spoil if I said too much!

Ruth Hatfield’s powers of imagination are excellent. She truly breathes life into her animal characters making them almost human at times. Ori the dog, Danny’s new friend was fantastic, as was Shimny, the horse. Apparently, local Cambridge author  Ruth Hatfield loves horses and you can really experience her love of animals and nature in her writing. So bear that in mind if you like books about nature, animals, and the earth.

I’d highly recommend this middle-grade series for those of you who love adventure, animals, deliberations about courage, storms, a  courageous female character, shadows, and a thoughtful contemplation about the earth’s elements: earth, air, fire and water.

My rating:

The highest rating of all three books, 4.5 stars.

Have you read The Book of Storms Trilogy?  I do hope you do, and then we can chat about it!

Find out more about Ruth Hatfield, and her journey to publishing here in this illuminating talk : Ruth Hatfield Talks About Her Books

Next I will be reading Colleen Chesebro’s recent release – Author Colleen Chesebro The Heart Stone Chronicles – Book 1 – The Swamp Fairy can’t wait! Review to follow…

Happy reading!!

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The Artful Author

-musings of a wild book dragon-

Read, Sav, Read.

| B.A. in English. | Writer. | Lover of books. | 2017 Book Count: 61. | Currently Reading: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. |

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