Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Book review: Today We Go Home by Kelli Estes


Today We Go Home, by Kelli Estes, tells the powerful story of two women separated by two hundred years but connected by their experiences. Emily Wilson lives during the time of the American Civil War. After losing her father and eldest brother to the Confederate guns, she and her younger brother enlist in the same regiment. But Emily must hide her womanhood in order to serve her country and follow in her father's footsteps. In the present time, Larkin Bennet has returned home from her second deployment in Afghanistan, bruised in both mind and body. After losing her best friend to a suicide bomber, Larkin must find something to live for. She finds it in Emily’s diary. The two women discover their strength and purpose as they wade their way through war, loss, trauma, and life in a man’s world.

I knew I was going to love this novel when very quickly tears were brought to my eyes. Estes’ writing is powerful, moving, and incredibly real. While I don’t have PTSD, Larkin’s struggles were written so well I forgot for the majority of the novel she wasn’t a real person. But of course, she is real, in a sense. She, and Emily, are representatives of all the women who have served their country. I thought the description of Emily’s trauma was well done and suited the time period. As Larkin discovers, PTSD was not diagnosed as such back then and there was little support for it. But in both cases, the women are able to find a purpose to focus on and get the help they needed.

The flip between the 1800s and present time was flawless. I loved the way Larkin would read a diary entry, and the following chapter would typically be Emily’s point of view version of the entry or just leading up to it. I have read some novels where the flip is quite clunky, but am happy to say this is not one of those novels.

Overall, I must say I’ve read few novels as powerful as Today We Go Home. I don’t think it’s too “feminist” for anyone to enjoy, as I worry some may think the theme is pandering to recent events. Regardless of whether Larkin is a man or woman, or if we focus on Emily or Jesse, the story is about two soldiers who find their strength in an extremely volatile time and place. I applaud Estes’ research and her way of making sure that no one woman’s story was left unsaid through her encouragement to the reader. With flawless writing, relatable characters, and an important message, Today We Go Home is a must read.

And I feel it necessary to thank those who serve their country, both men and women. But especially those who often get overlooked. As Estes says in her parting words: “See her. Hear her. Thank her.”

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Book review: Million Dollar Question by Ellie Campbell


Million Dollar Question by Ellie Campbell brings us on the journey of Rosie and Olivia, two very different people from very different backgrounds, yet somehow their lives continue to cross paths during a very crucial time. Olivia has just fallen prey to a very large financial scheme and lost everything she owned. On the other hand, Rosie, a single mom, has just won a million pounds. As they both learn to live within their new realities, they end up learning far more about themselves than they thought possible.

This novel is definitely a chick lit, but not as chick-litty as others I’ve read. Hopefully that makes sense. Honestly, the novel was just okay. It was a nice piece of fluff, but I found it a touch drawn out for my liking. And I really didn’t care for the writing style, either. The cuts and breakaways made it seems as though when Campbell was writing, she pictured it as a TV show or movie and how they do the dramatic scene cuts to show pivotal plot points. Some people may enjoy that style. I did not.

The characters weren’t too endearing, either. In fact, I may have liked Charlie the most and he was supposed to be the no-good cheating husband. He was the only one who seemed to think and act logically, or like an ordinary person at all. The novel tried to get into deep and thought-provoking ideas with the character of Marcus and his documentary, but it didn’t really work to bring depth to the novel unfortunately. That being said, the twist that connects the two characters was interesting, if not a bit contrived. We often forget, or don’t realize at all, how our lives can connect to so many other people but we just miss each other by mere moments.

Overall, if you want to read a fluff piece, Million Dollar Question is your next novel.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Book review: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer


The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer tells the story of two women. Alina lives in occupied Poland. Newly engaged, her family shelters her from the horrors of the war for as long as they can. But when it comes down to it, does she have the strength it will take to keep herself and her friend alive? Alice lives in present day America. Her Polish grandmother has had a stroke and so cannot communicate properly. But she gets out a message for Alice. Go to Poland. Tomasz. On her journey, Alice discovers the amazing lengths Alina went to in order to survive, simply based on all the things she couldn’t say.

I’ve said this before with war books. This is a book that needed to be written. I love that Rimmer used her family’s experience as a starting point for Alina’s story. But it wasn’t just a war story. Alice’s struggles are of a different sort, but still an important one to tell. With her son on the artistic spectrum, Alice has her own way of living that has no flexibility, but she learns what the human mind is able to do when given the opportunity. That’s a huge understatement and of course in no way meant to lessen the challenges that diagnosis can bring. But I think Alice handles it with grace.

At first I was a bit annoyed with Alina’s character. She seemed weak, and complained all the time about being treated as a child. But of course, there was so much strength in her. I think, after all, it was important to show her as a normal girl and not an extraordinary one. The war affected everyone, and the thing is that not everyone became a hero or had a heroic arc. Alina did, but in a much different way.

The description of how they wouldn’t talk about the war afterwards, not even speaking Polish at home is very much the story of my own grandparents. And I think the story in general. I understand why, but there are so many stories lost to time because of it. These are stories the younger generations need to hear. I hope there are enough. This is one of them, at least.

Overal, this is a wonderful story of survival, love, and familial sacrifice. It’s well worth the read, keeping in mind things may not be as it seems. And please remember to keep telling these stories. And keep reading them.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Book review: Sanctuary by Kris Kramer


Sanctuary by Kris Kramer tells the story of Daniel, an Anglo living in early Medieval England (Wessex) who lived as a priest. He had run away from his learning in Rome, having questions the other priests couldn’t answer or didn’t want to hear. But when a raid destroyed his village, he found some of those answers in the man named Arkael. Or so he thought. Following this man of God, Daniel travelled across the different kingdoms to find God’s calling for his life. It would all come down to the war Arkael warned him of, the one between the angels and demons. And it would be up to Daniel to find God’s path for him in the war and where he could find his own sanctuary.

I’m often quite critical of historical fiction. I like to make sure the authors have done their research, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Sanctuary. I didn’t fact-check everything, but honestly that’s the best praise I could give. Kramer completely immersed me into the story that I didn’t feel the need to check city names, or the other fine details I usually get caught up in with historical fiction. Despite having a Medieval Studies degree, I found myself enjoying the story for what it was which honestly surprised me. It was a nice reminder back to my university days learning about the Early Medieval period, although I am glad to be done with Old English.

What I found to be flaws at the beginning, ended up aiding in Daniel’s character development so they weren’t truly flaws at all. He was lost, empty, and perhaps a bit naive but after watching the destruction of his village, that only made sense. His determination to follow Arkael only further showed his faith in God and His plan for his life. Arkael had been sent as a sign, and Daniel had to find out what it all meant.

I’m glad that Daniel was able to find what he was looking for, and I think even though I wouldn’t necessarily consider this Christian fiction (but perhaps it is! It’s all in your definition) it has a very strong theme of faith. It’s Daniel’s quest to discover who he is, and how he fits into the world that is so very relatable to both believers and non-believers.

Although I found it a tiny bit slow to get into, I honestly really enjoyed reading Sanctuary and it was a nice change of pace from other historical fiction novels I’ve read. There aren’t many written in this time period, and although there was of course fighting and death, it wasn’t the main plot of the story which goes against much of what people think of this time period (the so-called “Dark Ages” as I shudder to type). I highly recommend this novel to anyone with an interest in the early Medieval period, the early church in Briton, or are simply on their own quest like Daniel. We are all a piece to the same puzzle, and in the end, like Daniel, it’s our hope we can discover where we fit and maybe in that moment we find our own peace, our sanctuary.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Book review: Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley


Her Sister’s Shoes by Ashley Farley tells the story of three very different sisters. Their only similarities are their workplace: their family seafood market, and their birthdays all land in the same week but in different years. Each live completely different lives, each envying the lives of the other two. It’s not until they each learn to walk in her sister’s shoes are they able to fully appreciate the bond of sisterhood and their own inner strength.

Farley has written quite a lovely story that will appeal to a very wide audience. Each one of the sisters has a different struggle (or struggles) that someone can find at least something relateable. And on top of their own personal issues, they must deal with their mother who begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s. It’s not one of those novels where the plot is apparent and really, that’s okay. It was nice to just read the story of these sisters and see where it ended up without wondering the point of the little things.

I honestly hated the character of Jackie. Yes, she eventually had her own redeeming qualities but even then I still didn’t like her. And that’s fine. We’re not always meant to like all of the characters in a novel. I also wasn’t really a fan of how everyone ended up. Spoilers ahead! It felt like everyone just paired off romantically just to add some romance into the story. I don’t think it added anything, and probably would have been a little stronger without it. But that’s just me. And I love a good romance novel. Spoilers ended!

Overall, Her Sister’s Shoes is a vivid, and realistic story of three sisters who finally learn to see the good in their own lives, and appreciate the struggles they each go through daily.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Book review: A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith


A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith tells the engaging story of Hannah, a woman who lived in ancient Israel. A descendant of Levi, Hannah had always loved to sing at the Tabernacle during the feasts and festivals. She loved and adored Adonai, her God, and praised Him in all that she did. When she married the love of her life, Elkanah, she thought she had it all. But they soon discovered she was barren. Questioning Adonai’s plan and purpose for her life, Hannah began to learn what it was to give it all to God.

I’ve been a fan of Smith’s book for quite a while now, so I jumped at the chance to review this novel of hers on Netgalley. She has such a way of bringing these Biblical figures to life without taking away from scripture. Of course, we don’t know exactly what these people thought or said exactly back then, but Smith does an excellent job making it all sound as though this is what happened. This is the type of Biblical fiction I enjoy, as opposed to the novel I previously reviewed ‘Joseph, Rachel’s Son’.

I was not completely aware of Hannah’s story, but I was glad I was able to read it now. The beginning of her story is very similar to my own. My husband and I have struggled for a few years conceiving, and continue to struggle, and even though I know God promised me children I so often falter and question his plan for me. Hannah is an amazing role model in her dedication to God, her attitude and graciousness towards others is still something I’m working on. Even towards her husband’s second wife she shows compassion, although her heart breaks.

But it all comes down to Hannah’s vow to God, that she would give her son to Him. A change was needed in the temple, a change was needed to bring Israel back to God, and she promised her son to Him to use for that purpose. For His purpose. And of course, God fulfilled His promise to Hannah. Her son was Samuel, one of the prophets of Israel, and the man who found David, the King of Israel.

Hannah’s story is a good reminder to trust in God, no matter your circumstances. Smith has done an extraordinary job bringing to life these Biblical figures and showing the love of God, and the promise of Jesus.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Book review: The Daughter's Tale by Armando Lucas Correa


The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa tells the story of a Jewish family during the Second World War. We follow the family as they are forced to leave Germany in their quest to survive the persecution of the Nazis, and their own people.

I’ve read quite a few novels set during this time period and with this similar storyline. Many times, reading the same story over and over can become tedious but this is something different. This topic, this story, can never be told too many times. It can never stop being told.

At times I found the narrative a bit difficult to follow, and it jumps between character points of view within the same paragraph. I’m not typically a fan of that style, but there were points in the novel where I found it worked. I think I would have preferred if the narrative had been a bit more limited, mostly between Amanda and Elise. While some historical points may have been missed, or descriptions of scenes, I feel it would have added to the confusion caused by the chaos. It would have also allowed me to become attached more to those characters, especially Elise. I found her voice got a bit lost, but then again, I think that was her character all along. She was shuffled around, lost, found, her identity completed changed throughout the entire novel.

The descriptions of the people, and how they acted, I found very realistic. I haven’t read too much about the people of France during the Wars, so I was happy to learn a few new things. It was important to add how convinced they were that Germany would never invade, that some people were so detached from it all that they thought the war was fake. It’s also frightening that the mindset is still present in some people today, whether it’s about the holocaust or current wars.

Overall, this novel is a must read. It’s moving, and powerful. If you can get past the character switches, I can tell you that you will enjoy this book. Whether you enjoy historical fiction or not, it’s an important story people need to read. In a way, this isn’t really historical fiction. While Lina Sternberg in name was not a real person, her story represents someone who is, was, very real. So we can remember. So we can say “never again.”

Buy the book on Amazon.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Book Review: Joseph, Rachel's Son by Mark Morgan


Joseph, Rachel’s Son by Mark Morgan recounts the Biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph is delivered to Egypt. It is here God uses him to save the sons of Israel.

Whether you’re a Christian or Jew, most people likely know the story of Joseph. I’ve read quite a few novels already based on his story, and of course seen the movies and musical. I was a bit disappointed when reading this version that there wasn’t much added to the story. Now, if the point of it was to make the Biblical story more readable, then Morgan surely achieved that. But I can’t truly say this was a told in a new or exciting way. It starts off quite slow, in fact focusing more on Jacob than Joseph. There were only a few times where the narrative was expanded upon.

I do see where Morgan may have preferred to not add to the Biblical narrative, but with a novel at times it is necessary to in the very least expand on what we know. Personal dialogue, for instance, is an easy way to do this.

With all that being said, I did like how Joseph’s faith was the main focus. He wasn’t just any ordinary person. In fact from a Christian point of view, Jesus doesn’t even come from Joseph’s lineage but from Levi his brother. Morgan makes the point, as does the Biblical narrative, that Joseph was put where he was to ensure the sons of Israel survived. It was his faith that helped him through his ordeal, and changed those around him. Some novels portray Joseph as an intelligent man who was given the interpretation of dreams, and while that in itself was quite a bit, it was ultimately his faith that allowed him such favour.

Overall, this was a quick and easy read. If you’re familiar with the story of Joseph this will not bring anything new to the table. But for those who are not as aware, this is a nice introduction to the story of Joseph, the power of faith, and the power of our God as El Shaddai, God Almighty.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Book Review: Dark Sun, Bright Moon by Oliver Sparrow


Before I talk about what I read, I have to mention my first flip through. This is a novel which I received a physical copy so I was able to do that this time. I have to say how oddly it’s formatted. That is to say, it’s not formatted as a novel at all. Rather than indentations to show paragraphs, each paragraph is separate on its own. And dialogue is shown justified, indented and begins with dashes. (Note: I’ve learned since that this style of dialogue, with the dashes, are seen largely in non-English writing, called a quotation dash. My advice to the author would be to format the novel according to the audience and language in which it will be read.) It’s all very strange. And there are pictures every now and then. It reminds me more of a textbook formatting, than a novel. I’m not against pictures, but the placement is more in line with a textbook. There’s even quite a large appendix to go along with it.

That being said, it’s clear the author has done quite a lot of research for this novel, but seems like he needs to prove that he’s done all the research by adding the appendix rather than showing it through the writing. Again, this is all before I’ve even started reading the novel. In fact, I’ve read through the Appendix first and indeed that is all basically a textbook. If the novel is written correctly, the entire appendix should be unnecessary.

Once I began reading, I noticed there’s quite an odd shift in style at chapter 8. The previous 70 or so pages were heavy on unnecessary details and lengthy explanations. It takes until roughly this point for me to even care about what’s happening. Granted, it’s not even 1/6th of the way through the book but it’s still been a big time investment for very little reward. The majority of the novel itself could be severely reduced without harming the integrity of the characters or plot. That’s a very big issue with this novel.

That is likely what makes this novel so disappointing. The concept is, in fact, quite interesting. It isn’t until near the end of the novel that I actually begin to like the main character, Q’ilyasisa. I’ve never read a novel with a focus on the Incan (or technically pre-Incan) empire so I was glad to have the chance. I learned quite a bit about the culture and cosmology, much in the same way I would learn from a text book. I don’t really feel I read a novel, to be honest. I really wanted to enjoy this novel, and at times I did but they were far and few between with great allowances.

This novel needs a massive edit, which is unlikely to happen at this point. Sparrow has clearly done a lot of research into the topic, especially as he has lived in Peru for some time. He likely would have been better to write a textbook than a novel. Overall, I cannot say I recommend this novel unless your objective is to learn about the Incan religion.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Book Review: Ours is the Storm by D. Thourson Palmer


Ours is the Storm tells the story of the Huumphar, the people of the plains, and their struggle against King Halkoriv. They longed for the appearance of their saviour, the one to fight with them against the corrupt and evil king. Revik longed for vengeance on the man who held him prisoner. In time, the fates of all peoples wound together in one final battle that would put an end to an ancient and hungry power. For theirs was the Storm.

I often have a hard time really getting into fantasy like Ours is the Storm. Worlds tend to be detailed in a way that is overwhelming for the reader with too many additions to the plot that really add nothing. Thankfully, this is not the case with Palmer’s writing. The world and people are introduced slowly and organically. It’s honestly a very good example of showing, not telling (as much as I hate that phrase). The focus shifted between chapters well, and rather than keep the reader waiting for chapters and chapters, things were planned in a way that we could keep up with what was happening off stage. The first few chapters I did find flipped a bit too much within the chapter itself, but that sorted itself out after chapter four or five.

While the world itself was well built, it was still a little difficult for me to picture the kingdom. Despite some mentions of time passing, it was difficult to get a sense of how far people travelled. That could be simply my lacking, rather than the fault of Palmer. What I did really rather enjoy, were the simple twists and turns I was taken on, the bait and switches, and the inclusion of a strong female character. Yes, she was still seen as a romantic goal, but she was strong because that’s who she was. Not because Palmer needed to add a strong female to check off a list, as I have seen many authors do. Her strength fulfilled a purpose. In fact, every character seemed to have a purpose.

I think perhaps my favourite part of the novel was that we think we know the main players, the important people, but really they were the side characters in someone else’s story. Had the entire novel been from the saviour’s point of view, I think it would have been far less entertaining. I’ve read that story before. I haven’t read this one (unless you include Lord of the Rings. It was all Aragorn’s story, after all but I digress).

If you’re a fan of medium-high fantasy with a well-planned world, Ours is the Storm is the book for you. It has a beautiful ending that leaves it open for more, but can sit well as is. I also suggest this novel to those who need a little encouragement finding the strength within yourself to follow your destiny.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Review for " Nadia's Heart: Part 1" by Wendy Altshuler

Review for "Nadia's Heart: Part 1" By Wendy Altshuler

Nadia's Heart is the first book in a series about Nadia, a young girl in a small village who is suddenly thrust into multiple strange new worlds, with a mysterious boy as her guide. Nadia seems to be brought along by this boy on his quest, only to eventually learn she plays an important role in his quest. Nadia struggles to come to terms with this knowledge, while trying to help the people she meets and comes to appreciate.

Woah boy, this book was a ride, and I can't be sure it was a good one. The book starts relatively safely by introducing the reader to the main character, Nadia, and it also introduces her weird hobby (spoiler alert: it revolves around hearts). Altshuler doesn't however, describe much else. In fact that's a pretty consistent theme in the book, where places are mentioned, people spoken of, dialogue present, but there is very little detail given. Many times in books the author will keep things vague and keep secrets, only to reveal them either mid way or throughout the tale, which brings on an 'AHA' moment, and despite waiting on the edge of my seat, that moment never came. If I had to make an analogy to how it felt reading this book, I would say its like sitting on a train and watching through the window straight on and getting dizzy from watching the scenery whiz by. I mean so many plot points and characters came flying at me when I read the story, and considering it was only 77 pages, that's quite the feat.

Despite the execution somewhat lacking, I did like the story. There is huge potential here with what Altshuler has laid out already, and even though I would say he plot is chaotic there is still interest there about where the story is going. I also know that the more you write, the better you get at it, so perhaps later books in the series will read a little more cohesively. I will also say there is something to be said for quick reads; where you want to throw yourself into a new world, a new plot or timeline, but perhaps larger volumes are just not for you, and if that's true then I think this series would be great, its got enough to satisfy any love of reading, while not totally eclipsing your life (looking at you Fire & Ice).

To learn more about the author, Wendy Altshuler, click here.

To purchase this book, go here.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Book Review: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski


William-790 was just another William going about his day with all the other Williams. But on the day he was to be replaced, something happened. Something that had never happened. He lived past his deadline. Living now in the unknown, 790 looked for some kind of meaning behind it all but found so much more.

I really had no idea what to expect from this novel. I think perhaps from the title I thought it would be a bit of a silly story, and to an extent it was a little. I was glad to read something a bit more light-hearted, but still with an intriguing storyline. But then things became so much darker than I expected, in a really good way. It’s easy to read through this novel, put it down, and think “well, that was good.” But I think what the author has really achieved is giving readers the opportunity to analyze ourselves and our current society. Maybe not so much as a Truman Show kind of way, but at least about our priorities. Like 790, we too should question the way things are and our priorities as a society.

What’s really nice about this book is that not only will it age well (there are only a few pop culture references, but more in the past) but it will hold up to multiple readings. Yes, the big reveals won’t have the same impact but there will definitely be things the reader will miss, or will focus in on during later readings.

Billy and the Cloneasaurus is a wonderful story highlighting current issues in our society, and is a warning for what may come. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who believes we as a whole can be so much more than we currently are.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Book review: Madworld (Book One) by Rob Alvir


Right away I can say that I was turned off by the book within the first few pages. The narrator is a bit grating, and heavily misogynistic, which I really dislike just in general. I don’t make excuses for it, as though it’s a writing style. It’s not. And whether that’s the character of the narrator to have those thoughts, I really don’t want to read it like it’s okay. And not even twenty pages there are so many other issues: editing, over-explanation, unbelievable characters and situations. A drug is being tested for the first time, the lead researcher hasn’t shown up and no one has bothered to call her to see where she is?

Even the description of Madworld itself could have been done much simpler. It was as though the author was trying to make it sound more complicated as to impress the reader. I’m not buying it, unfortunately. It doesn’t help that things are explained over and over. If the intention is to drive the reader mad, as perhaps it might be, then the author has certainly achieved that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t endear the book to me at all. I do understand the over-explanation was showing the psyche of Max especially, and how everyone experiences it differently but it could have been done much differently.

And then, just like that, book one is finished. I feel a little ripped off only having Book 1 but it's probably for the best. Also, the bad guys? Aliens. Because of course. When I was first asked to review this novel, it was advertised as though I was getting the entirety of it but then realized I only received Book 1. Again, it's probably for the best. I'm sure the rest gets into more details about Matt's descent into madness (and Madworld) and if you can get past the writing then maybe you'll be able to enjoy the rest of it.

I really dislike writing negative reviews. Even more, I dislike warning people against reading something. Unfortunately, this will be one of those times. Although maybe it gets better and more enticing in later books, but I wasn't hooked enough to look into it which is unfortunate as the premise itself (Madword, maybe not the alien part) is quite intriguing.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Review for "For my People: Awacha Nay" by Heidi Ennis

Review for " For my People: Awacha Nay" by Heidi Ennis

For My People: Awacha Nay by [Ennis, Heidi]

For my People: Awacha Nay is a story of the land around what is now the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United states. It starts during what is assumed to be the last ice age where early aboriginal people are trying to survive in desperate environmental conditions. These scenes act as flashbacks to a time just prior to European contact, and tell the story of a leader of one tribe, fighting against everything to provide for his people. Witnessing these events is the main character Asku, a descendant of the chief Saigwan who led his people through disaster. Asku is the eldest son of the current chief and is receiving visions of the former chief of their tribe Saigwan. Through these visions Asku learns about what it takes to become a chief, and when his tribe is threatened he must use what he has learned to help his people.

This book was a lovely read, and really got me emotional in places. I have no idea of the background of the author; whether or not they have an indigenous background, but it does seem well researched, and I appreciated the inclusion of a lexicon for words at the back of the book. I normally struggle a bit with main characters that don't have much in common with me; Asku is a young boy, living in around the 1500's (my estimate) who is indigenous to North America, and is the eldest son of the chief of the tribe. In comparison I am a woman in my thirties who is not Indigenous to North America, and I do not have any parents in any position of power that I would inherit. Seeing the differences between us, I could sympathize, but not really empathize with the struggles and issues facing Asku, but as a testament to Ennis' skill I found myself constantly feeling the pain he felt during difficult times, the worry he felt when it seems like so much was placed on his shoulders. The joy he felt when he kissed a girl for the first time. Ennis really did a great job in allowing me, the reader, to be able to understand the main character, despite our long list of differences. Ennis also wove the flashbacks in the story so artfully that it enhanced the read, rather than distract, or worse, confuse the reader.

Overall this was a delightful read. Any book really that can start to make me cry I think is a pretty powerful one, because that's not an easy task. Interestingly enough the end of the book is probably my favourite part, because it gave me just a hint, a little flavour for what would come next in Asku's life, and honestly I don't know what I want more; Ennis to make a sequel or not, because I think leaving the ending hanging just a bit is a fantastic way to leave a story, because it lets you imagine the story from that point onward, making it a book that keeps on giving.

To learn more about the author, Heidi Ennis, you can go here.

To purchase this book, go to Amazon.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Book Review: The Cerulean's Secret by Dennis Meredith


The Cerulean’s Secret follows the story of Tim and his accidental involvement in the theft of a genetically engineered cat. Worth more money than he’ll see in his entire lifetime, Tim has to help solve the mystery of the iridescent feline and who stole it. But along the way he discovers much more than the thieves' identity, but the Cerulean’s secret.

I’ll admit that I was initially drawn to the book because of my own novel, which also deals with animals and genetic testing (albeit in a slightly different way). It sounded so silly that I had to try it out. I can honestly say that I was not expecting this novel. I finished it largely in one sitting, which is quite rare for me. Dennis Meredith’s writing is quick, witty, and completely believable. Was some of it a little cheesy? Yep. But that honestly added to the story. It’s a very distinct style, and one I enjoyed thoroughly. I also really enjoyed how this novel can age. There are no definite years mentioned in the novel itself, or pop culture references (which I hate seeing in sci-fi) so it can stand the test of time.

The idea of genetically engineering animals honestly isn't that far out of our reach. Perhaps not in the ways described in the novel, but it’s there and definitely worth exploring as an ethical and even social issue. Meredith introduces the reader into this near-future society without bombarding us with heavy explanations. Everything feels natural as though we’ve always known this about the future technology. At times I felt as though everything just happened to line up so perfectly and was a bit overdone, but honestly I think that added to the style. And I really enjoyed how while the characters figured things out, the reader was kept in the dark until the big reveal. I thought that was really well done, but now re-reading it may not give the same impact.

So, my overall thoughts? Go read this novel. Enjoy.

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Book Review: Twice Upon a Time - edited by Joshua Allen Mercier


Twice Upon a Time is a short story anthology with a focus on re-tellings and re-imaginings of fairy tales, folklore, and myths. I don’t tend to review anthologies, but I do love me a good fairy tale and as I’m also a fan of the Cinder series I wanted to read more re-imaginings of the same genre.

I’ll find it easier to review the anthology as a whole, as it would be too much to review each individual story. Of course, some I enjoyed more than others but I’ll try to speak generally when possible. In general, I really did enjoy reading the different stories. At times I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to identify the fairy tales/folklore they were inspired by and I’m not sure it’s as simple as my inability to recognize the story. Some were definitely based on obscure fairy tales (which there's nothing wrong with), while others weren’t a retelling but rather a completely new story with the same moral lesson as the original fairy tale. In that case, I likely wouldn’t have included it in the anthology or would have advertised it differently.

Some stories were not short stories at all, but instead were excerpts of a full novel. Those were the worst for me and I don’t think the editor should have included those at all. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, but they don’t have a place in this type of anthology.

I also was not a fan of how the stories were arranged. There didn’t seem to be any flow or pattern to the entries. I likely would have tried to organize them in some form of pattern, such as moral lessons, type of retelling (alternate universe, sci-fi, role reversals, etc) but as far as I could tell it was a bit of a jumble. There was also the inclusion, near the end of the anthology, of two biblical narratives which seemed very jarring and out of place. I understand that the anthology was advertised as including myth, but I would be very careful calling Old Testament narratives myth, especially if they are based on events that have been historically confirmed. There’s a completely separate genre for stories set in that time period. Two in fact: historical fiction, and Biblical fiction.

Overall, the stories chosen for the anthology were well written and I enjoyed the imagination of the various authors. Again, some of the stories I wouldn’t consider re-tellings, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them for the unique qualities. I would have preferred a bit more flow to the layout of the anthology as a whole. But overall I did enjoy the variety of stories.

You can buy the anthology on Amazon.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Excerpt from "Jason Caroll and the Olympians Book 1: Incarnation of Apollo" by Solomon Merid

An exclusive excerpt from "Jason Caroll and the Olympians Book 1: Incarnation of Apollo" by Solomon Merid

Cover Image

"I understand what you are saying," said Zeus, looking intently at the young, solar physicists. "TV and radio transmission all over the world have been disrupted. Aurora borealis and aurora australis have been lit like giant, Christmas trees."
"You are right about it, Archmagus Zeus," said N’krumah. "Solar storms generated by the corona stream through space at speeds as high as 800 miles per second. They had disrupted their television transmitting satellites and had also temporarily altered the Earth’s magnetic field."
"There were problems with computers and the Internet too," said Indira. "Power transmissions in various parts of the world were disrupted. Huge power blackouts had sent many cities into complete darkness."
"Let me have a look," said Zeus and headed to one of the solar telescopes which used special filters in order not to damage the eyes.
Zeus brought both his eyes to the binoculars of the solar telescope. He saw huge, coronal loops, known as fountains of fire, writhing like giant, celestial snakes of fire. There were so many of them close to each other. "O Holy Presence!" he exclaimed.
Apollo went to the solar telescope and looked at the sun. He saw giant, coronal loops suddenly touching each other and causing a huge solar flare. "O tempora! O mores!" he exclaimed.
"What is it? You just saw two coronal loops fuse together," said Zeus.
"They are coronal loops which have just touched each other and short-circuited each other," said N’Krumah.
"They are frightening, those coronal loops which short-circuit each other," said Shapiro. "
Come and look through this telescope."
As Apollo took a step or two toward Shapiro Zeus put up his hand, "Stop! First we must see baby Jason and his mother in the hospital," he said. "Come over here, Apollo."
Apollo went and stood near Zeus. Zeus pointed his staff at the wall-sized screen in the lab and a huge golden-yellow image of Sol in ultra-high definition lit up on the giant, holographic screen. The screen showed the huge, writhing, coronal loops on the sun in 3-D.
Shapiro, N’krumah, Indira and the three Olympians stood in a bunch and watched the strange, mesmerizing sight on the surface of the sun. Sol looked like some strange lifeform of fire. Zeus and Poseidon stood side by side. They looked like identical twins.
"Go ahead, Poseidon," said Zeus.
Poseidon pointed his trident at the screen and said, "Delia’s hospital room" in a soft voice.
The screen split into two. Sol appeared on the left side and the image of Delia and Avatar Jason appeared on the right side. Athena and Ares were standing outside the door of Delia’s room. Ares wore a stylish, black suit by Giorgio Armani. A white shirt, a flowery purple tie and dark sunglasses completed the attire. Athena wore a black, leather overcoat with imitation fur collars. Athena and Ares vanished as two nurses appeared in the corridor leading to Delia’s room.
Zeus waved his staff in the air and said, "Zoom in!"
The image of baby Jason lying in his crib suddenly jumped onto the right side of the screen. Suddenly baby Jason’s face turned red as beetroot. Lines of rainbow colors flitted over his face intermittently. A golden-yellow halo formed around his head. Athena had placed a Sleeping Charm on Delia and she was sound asleep as usual. All of them stood inside the Astrolab and observed Sol and baby Jason projected side by side on the screen. The coronal loops on the surface of Sol were so close together that they short-circuited and produced a solar flare every five minutes or so. They observed something astounding. Whenever two coronal loops short-circuited each other and produced a solar flare baby Jason had an attack of hiccups and he burped loudly. The instruments also showed an increase in Jason’s heartbeat.
"Great galaxy!" Poseidon shouted. "It appears that Jason’s physiological conditions are working in synch with solar phenomena on Sol."
"CORRELATION OF FLARES AND BODY FUNCTIONS OF JASON DETECTED," said the speakers of the supercomputer.
"I will be damned! What is going on, Zeus?" asked Apollo. His eyes were riveted on the two halves of the screen.
"SOL AND JASON ARE IN SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP." said the speakers of the supercomputer.
As if in answer a huge coronal loop on Sol appeared on the left side of the screen and waves of psychedelic lights undulated around baby Jason’s head.
"Holy Presence!olyHolhhhh" Poseidon exclaimed.

This author is currently working on publishing the book, and we hope to have news of purchasing outlets soon!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Enter the Deal Zone: 15% off all Loving Healing Press publications


One of our amazing author's, Daralyse R. Lyons has worked with Loving Healing Press to bring her friends, followers and fans 15% off ANY of their titles

To take advantage of this deal, simply enter the coupon code 'Daralyse' at checkout

And make sure you check out the first chapter of her latest book, 'Confessions of a Straight Gay Woman'

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Review for "Fall from Grace" by J. Edward Ritchie

Review for “Fall from Grace” by J. Edward Ritchie

Fall from Grace by J. Edward Ritchie is a thrilling new take on the story of Lucifer and Michael; great angels in heaven and brothers who fall out when Lucifer rebels against heaven. We hear the story from both Michael and Lucifer's perspectives; alternating between the two of them, so we understand exactly what happened, and more importantly, the kind f relationship they had with each other, and how it changes over time.

Ritchie created a great new story around one that is very old, and makes the world of heaven and the angels really come to life like never before. Where you might expect something more other-worldly the background and lore of Ritchie's world was surprisingly relateable and very human. I felt fully immersed in this world, and sat on the edge of my seat for the last quarter of the book.

I had few issues with this book, overall being something very enjoyable and well worth the cost, however one thing that bugged me was the character of Satan, referred to as both Satanail and Satan. As someone who grew up catholic I know that Satan's angelic name was Lucifer (meaning light) and I was actually a little disappointed that this name wasn't used in the book, especially since the names of angels and other creatures was an important part of the story. Every other name for the creatures you met made sense, and Ritchie twisted their relationships skillfully. Regardless of your religious affinity I think there is something for everyone in this book.

To learn more about author J. Edward Ritchie click here.

To purchase "Fall from Grace" click here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Review for "In the Eyes of Madness" by Michael Pang

In the Eyes of Madness (Declan Peters Chronicles Book 1) by [Pang, Michael]

Review for "In the Eyes of Madness" by Michael Pang

Where demons and teenage angst intersect, “In the Eyes of Madness” by Michael Pang shows what happens when teenagers discover the world of demons and those who fight them. This story centre's around Declan, a sweet natured and loving teen with a troubled past he is constantly trying to put behind him. With the help of his best friends he tries to keep it together, and help his aunt and uncle who raised him, but the memories of his mothers mental break keep coming back to haunt him. When he meets a mysterious new coworker at the hospital everything changes for him and his friends.

This book was a little slow to start, but after a little while ratchets up the intensity and the suspense, to my delight. Pang sets he scene really well by introducing us to the main characters and giving just enough information so we can start to form attachments and opinions on these characters, but still keeps something held back to allow for more natural reveals throughout the book that takes you by surprise. The flow was great, and as the book goes along you start to notice small thing that accumulate into some great twists and turns.

This is a short book however, and because of the slightly slow build at the beginning it feels pretty rushed at the end, and there is quite a lot of exposition crammed in to make sure it ends in some semblance of a solid conclusion. The author description does also say that Pang is a Christian, which you might have guessed from the book content in general, but I found it not quite too preachy as you might expect. I did like the book, and if you are looking for a well crafted quick story filled with teens, romance, heartbreak and the supernatural, this is the book for you.

To learn more about the author Michael Pang click here.

To purchase "In the Eyes of Madness" click here.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Review for "The Revelation Room" by Mark Tilbury

Review for "the Revelation Room" by Mark Tilbury

The Revelation room is part mystery, part action with a little romance thrown in for good measure. The story centres around a young man named Ben Whittle, mild mannered and soft spoken, who's father is a private detective. Ben is thrust out of his comfortable life in a small sleepy town in England when he receives a phone call from his father, clearly in distress, pleading for help. Now Ben has to rescue his father, while somehow getting over his crippling self doubt, with the help of his best friend and secret crush Maddie. Despite the odds, and a violent cult leader, Ben summons the courage he needs to save his father, and perhaps learn something about himself and his own strength along the way.

Well, what can I say about this book. The content requires some maturity to get through as things get quite dark at times, and it certainly is original from my perspective. We don't see this from the perspective of a talented private eye, but instead from their kid; decidedly NOT talented. So while the story I found compelling and original, the character of Ben Whittle was so annoying and frustrating it almost made me put the book down. He is the very definition of a wet rag; he constantly complains about how much he sucks at everything from cooking to walking, and he is terrified of literally everything. He convinces himself that his dad is already dead and he is just walking straight towards his own doom. I understand that the point of Ben being like this is that once he goes through the trial of saving his father he is supposed to find an inner strength, and transform himself to save the day, and I won't spoil it for you, but suffice it to say I was thoroughly underwhelmed by this character the entire time.

I have to give kudos to Tilbury though, I knew what he was going for and he nailed it. I would almost say it crafted this character too well, because I honestly would have punched him if I was with him. I will say I wish the ending was more satisfying, and that I saw more of a transformation with Ben, and saving that I just wish he got the nerve to tell Maddie the truth about his feelings. In the end however Ben goes back to being Ben, and perhaps that's more impressive than him changing, since he is able to experience the things he experienced and somehow keep himself together.

To learn more about the author Mark Tilbury click here

To purchase "The Revelation Room" click here.