Book Review – Skye’s Lure

Skye's Lure: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance Mermaid eBookSkye’s Lure: A Contemporary Fantasy Romance Mermaid eBook by Angel Leya

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Skye’s Lure by Angel Leya is a bedtime story that will delight young readers. In this modern mermaid tale, two misfits, one human and one mermaid, both unhappy with their lot, get a chance to view life through the other’s eyes.

The only problem I had with the story was the kidnapping. Saying that he kidnapped her because he loved her is unacceptable and is not the kind of love I would want my children to expect. However, there is a happy ending, and I’m all for that.

I was given a free copy of Skye’s Lure in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review – Muriel Avenue Sluts

Muriel Avenue SlutsMuriel Avenue Sluts by Maggie Hasbrouck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Muriel Avenue Sluts by Maggie Hasbrouck is about how easily secrets and lies can take over your life. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that sticks with you long after the book is done. The story had me guessing from the beginning. Every time I thought I knew the direction it was taking, the author threw another curve.

The Muriel Avenue Sluts is a young adult novel, but it’s not for everyone. It’s full of sexual abuse, rape, and murder. It’s hard to read and hard to put down. It’s by far the best book I’ve read this year.

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Book Review – Moved by the Spirit

Moved by the Spirit: A Call to Work with People Living with Blindness and Visual ImpairmentsMoved by the Spirit: A Call to Work with People Living with Blindness and Visual Impairments by Dolores Hanley McDiarmid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Moved by the Spirit by Dolores Hanley McDiarmid is the autobiographical story of the author’s experiences with blind and sight-impaired people. The reader follows her journey from when she first received the calling to work with the blind to her semi-retirement thirty-five years later. The book is filled with lighthearted and poignant remembrances told in the manner of sitting across from you at the kitchen table enjoying a cup of tea.

My favorite chapter of the book was right up front, Chapter 2, where she describes learning how to be an Orientation and Mobility Specialist by attending classes blindfolded. Orientation and Mobility instructors teach their clients how to navigate life without sight, whether it be crossing busy streets, using the bus system, or simply picking up the mail. I am sight impaired, and I understood firsthand the frustration and fear of getting from point A to point B. Her terror at walking blindly around campus with only a white cane to guide her gave her insight into her clients yet to come.

But Moved by the Spirit is much more than a memoir. The Inquiring Minds Want to Know section answers many questions about how much education is needed to enter the field of Orientation and Mobility, what school subjects help prepare for such a career, and where to find more information. Moved by the Spirit is an excellent book for young people looking to embark upon a fulfilling career. Or for people who want a career change.

I bought my copy at a book signing which took place at the Broward Lighthouse, and I can attest that the author is just as charming as her book.

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Book Review – That Moment When…

That Moment When: An Anthology of Young Adult FictionThat Moment When: An Anthology of Young Adult Fiction by Derek Murphy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

That Moment When… An Anthology of YA Authors is a collection of forty short stories and teasers from a variety of young adult authors. The book is divided into sections: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Thriller and Horror, and Speculative. The stories were fascinating—I had a hard time putting the book down—and were good examples of what each author had to offer.

It wasn’t easy to narrow down my favorites out of all the displayed talent. Here are a few of the most noteworthy:

Reflection, by Katlyn Duncan, a masterful look at a young vampire who doesn’t yet know what she’s become.

Humanity’s Protectors, by David R. Bernstein, about psychic abilities and whether a person who had them would be used for good or ill.

Provisions, by Kira Lerner. This story had it all—vampires, werewolves, cannibals. I read it twice!

Running Toward Illumia, by Leya Angel, about a young misfit and a rather snarky unicorn. Need I say more?

More Than a Crush, by Kat Stiles, an eerie tale about a girl in love and what she’s prepared to do about it.

Learning to Fly, by Laura Diamond, about a boy who finally realizes a dream. With dragons. I love dragons.

That Moment When… introduced me to a bevy of Young Adult authors I might not have noticed. Their stories piqued my interest. I’ll be checking out more than a few of their books. If you enjoy reading Young Adult, I highly recommend That Moment When… You might find your new favorite author.

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Book Review – Christmas Eve in Bangkok

Christmas Eve in BangkokChristmas Eve in Bangkok by Morgan McFinn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christmas Eve in Bangkok by Morgan McFinn is what you get when you take six diverse, well-drawn characters and lock them in a room together. The short story is told from the viewpoint of a cynical, snarky writer who has volunteered with five other people to answer phone calls from depressed Americans on Christmas Eve. Despite the solemn subject matter, the story is laugh-out-loud funny.

My only complaint is that it ended rather abruptly. I would have liked to have seen the group breakfast together on Christmas morning and make their farewells–but that might be because I didn’t want the story to end.

If you would like a quick read from a masterful author this Christmas, I highly recommend Christmas Eve in Bangkok. (And although the author never said so, I totally believe the story is true.)

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Book Review – The Purloined Pictograph

The Purloined Pictograph (The Adventures of Tremain & Christopher #2)The Purloined Pictograph by Terry Marchion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Purloined Pictograph, by Terry Marchion, is a marvelous adventure for middle-grade kids. The story takes place on a colonized planet similar to Earth. The main character is a bright boy who proves he can act responsibly and bravely when facing a crisis. His uncle, a brilliant inventor, brightens each page with his eccentric antics—as does the rotund professor they follow to an archeological dig. (In contrast, the villain was not well rounded, and the reason given for her nefarious deeds was weak, even considering the target audience.)

The Purloined Pictograph is second in a series. As I have not read the first, I did not learn until mid-book that the protagonist was, in fact, a young teen. Due to his numerous giggles, I pictured him to be a precocious ten-year-old. This belated revelation did not detract from the story, however.

I love the title of this book—it’s very Lemony Snicket-ish—and the cover perfectly depicts a major scene. Overall, I found The Purloined Pictograph to be exciting and engaging, and I recommend the book to even the most reluctant reader.

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Book Review – Brain Trust

Brain TrustBrain Trust by Joe Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brain Trust is like reading two thrillers at once. You have the technical side with Dr. Wheeler who is running for his life after questioning the ethics of a secret project he was assigned to. And you have the emotional side with Maggie who is trying to protect her young son by investigating eerie happenings at his school. The two stories are skillfully interwoven, and the back-and-forth action increases the tension. In the end, the plotlines combine in a white-knuckled climax that will stick with you for days. Brain Trust is a good book for thriller readers and would make a nice gift.

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Book Review – Working for Bigfoot

Working for Bigfoot (The Dresden Files, #15.5)Working for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever wanted to meet Bigfoot? What do you think he/she/it would be like? Jim Butcher has envisioned a marvelous Sasquatch for his short story trio, Working for Bigfoot, a Dresden Files book.

Each story starts with Harry Dresden meeting Bigfoot in the woods where he is hired to protect Bigfoot’s son, Irwin, from magical maladies. Irwin, a half human, lives with his formidable mother and has no idea why he is so different from the other kids. We meet Irwin in middle school, then in high school, and finally in college. Irwin is a gentle giant, drawn in such a way that the reader can’t help but feel protective of him. Each story leaves us satisfied that he is out of danger–for the moment.

But wait! There’s more. Each tale is also adorned with an amazing illustration by Vincent Chong. These depictions are so good, I was taken right out of the story just to stare at them. I would like to see more of Chong’s work in future Dresden adventures.

Working for Bigfoot is more than just a quick fix for Dresden fans. It fills in a few gaps and explains references to Bigfoot in later books. As such, I highly recommend Working for Bigfoot to anyone who enjoys reading Harry Dresden books. Or, if you’re simply a bigfoot enthusiast, read these stories and see if they don’t make you a Harry Dresden fan.

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Book Review – Misaligned: The Celtic Connection

Misaligned:  The Celtic Connection (Misaligned, #1)Misaligned: The Celtic Connection by Armen Pogharian

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Misaligned: The Celtic Connection by Armen Pogharian is a wonderful book for both teens and preteens. The two main characters are thirteen years old, and their friendship is endearing and believable. The story also features a cantankerous raven, a mysterious cat with magical powers, and a marvelous grandmother (I’m partial to grandmothers) who doles out just the right information at the right time. I sincerely hope we see more of her in upcoming books.

Misaligned: The Celtic Connection has all the earmarks of the hero’s journey. Penny has no idea that she is special until she is thrust into a magical showdown that threatens the world. Overwhelmed and alone, she struggles to maintain her schoolwork while training in transdimensional portals—until her best friend discovers her secret and offers unflagging support.

The story takes side excursions into Celtic folklore and Arthurian legend, which I found quite interesting. In fact, I enjoyed the book so much, I read it twice in short order. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review – The Poisoned Princess

The Poisoned Princess (Warders, #1)The Poisoned Princess by Armen Pogharian

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Tale Worthy of a Hero

The fate of the known world rests upon the petite shoulders of the princess of Veloria. Despite all precautions, however, she has been poisoned by a Shaulan assassin. The healers have stabilized her, but unless she receives an antidote posthaste she will die—and war will throw the world into chaos.

Enter Toran, a half-breed who is just becoming aware of his many talents. He joins a dwarf and the princess’ lady-in-waiting on a hero’s quest to locate the antidote.

The Poisoned Princess by Armen Pogharian is a fun escape into a fantasy world complete with ogres and elves. Each adventure rolls headlong into the next and, of course, our hero wins in the end.

The Poisoned Princess is a quick, enjoyable read, and I recommend it to readers from young adult up. However, because the story begins with a rape scene, I would be careful with younger readers.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of The Poisoned Princess in exchange for an honest review.

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