Friday, May 26, 2017

The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh

Goodreads Summary

On a cold autumn night, twelve-year-old Remi Cobb makes a startling discovery—a mysterious object floating on the pond in her backyard. With no idea where it came from, or how it got there, Remi is compelled to unravel its secrets. Her quest for answers takes her on a perilous journey across realities, where she finds a crumbling world—and the dark forces behind its ruin. Here she learns the truth about her connection with the strange object, and of those that will stop at nothing to destroy them both. 

But even if she can find a way to survive, can she find a way home?

My Thoughts

When Jonathan Ballagh asked me if I would like to read this book I couldn't say yes fast enough!  I really enjoyed The Quantum Door so I was really excited to read The Quantum Ghost.  Even though both books are geared for middle grade readers, I really enjoyed them both.

If you haven't read The Quantum Door yet, no worries!  You can still read The Quantum Ghost and not be lost!  Remi is a whole new protagonist, I love her btw, and the story is different as well.  Brady and Felix, boys from the previous book, are mentioned and explained a bit but you won't necessarily feel the loss of the first book if you don't read it first.  Although, you really should read The Quantum Door anyways!

I actually read the first book right at a year ago while on vacation and I read this book while vacationing as well!  They seem to be great vacation reads for me.  Not too long and not too short.  Just the right amount for good world and character building.  Especially good for middle grade readers who tend to shy away from somewhat lengthier books.

Thank you, Jonathan Ballagh, for another great book!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

Goodreads Summary

'Family curses don't exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don't think so.'

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Thoughts

This book had me on the edge of my seat!  I wasn't completely sure what I was reading about, all I knew was that I wanted to keep reading.  So, so good!

I have been on vacation this week and, let me tell you, this was the perfect vacation read.  I loved how the chapters went back and forth from the past to the present.  I've read books that did that before that seemed confusing but this one flowed in a way that didn't confuse you.  Now, there were other things in Broken Branches that confused me, however, it wasn't because of the writing style.

Some things were left kind of open and unexplained.  I'm still not completely sure why Ian's brother and father became so distant from him, especially his brother.  Actually, Im not exactly sure if that really happened at all not that I think about it...

No matter what, somewhat confusing parts and all, I thoroughly enjoyed Broken Branches!  Thank you, Hideaway Fall, for sending this book my way!  I highly recommend it!

*Note:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

Goodreads Summary

"Madam Tulip! Actress, fortune-teller, psychic, sleuth!" 

When out-of-work actress Derry O'Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash. 
Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets. 

A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and 
abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death. 

Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and 
reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My Thoughts

Madam Tulip is back and I couldn't be more excited!  I loved the first book and, if possible, I think I loved this one even more!  So much mystery and excitement, definitely a hit!

Davis Ahern has a way of writing that you can totally create the scenes in your mind.  It makes me want it to be a movie or television show!  Well, maybe not, the books are always better.  I'll continue to let my imagination play in my head for now.

If you like funny, exciting murder mystery type books (maybe like the Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum books) you will definitely love these!  I certainly adore Derry O'Donnell/Madam Tulip and all her antics and adventures!  This book keeps you on your toes for sure!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Dangerous Skies by Brian James

Goodreads Summary

It's the height of the Blitz. Night after night, waves of German bombers pound London streets determined to bring the city to its knees.

As the air-raid sirens wail, Alan and his best mates, Tommy and Wilkie, skip school to play among the bombed out homes of their neighbors. They are soon sucked into a gang of looters run by infamous Duggie, but the police are on their tail and catching up quickly. Even if they escape, they could still fall victim to the dangerous skies above them. 

This thrilling story, based on the author’s own experiences growing up during the Blitz, is an antidote to nostalgia. It shows the terrors of the Blitz and how war brings out both the best and the worst in adults and children alike. 

My Thoughts

Although this book is considered a Children's Fiction I found it to be extremely interesting for adults as well.  The concept of a book written about such a horrendous war time from the perspective of a child is such a wonderful idea.  So well written, for children and adults.

Reading about the war from a 10 year old child's perspective had my heart and stomach in knots.  Just the thought of children going to school and hearing names called out during roll call of children that weren't there because of injury or death from bombs... it's a hard thing to think about.  It is sad to think that during such rough times people then turn on each other and loot and vandalize as well.  The contrast between the normal childhood days and games and then the issues of war that had to become somewhat normal to them at times was gut wrenching.

Dangerous Skies is definitely a book to read.  Being that it is a children's book, the war isn't described in gory or graphic details but you are still educated on the subject.  Children of ALL ages will enjoy reading about Alan and his friends.

*Note:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pattern of Deceit by Leigh Duncan

Goodreads Summary

Finding her long-lost father was the easy part... 

Following the hit-and-run death of her grandmother, Meridith Woodson discovers that her entire life has been based on a lie. Leaving everything she’s ever known behind, she sets out to unravel the truth. Her journey takes her to the Amish countryside outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she infiltrates a demanding religious cult to meet its founder—her father. 

The ink has barely dried on Brad Lang’s medical license when yet another odd accident lands a raven-haired tourist on his exam table. Concerned for her safety, Brad warns Meridith away from the ragtag sect on the outskirts of town, but his fears mount when she falls under the spell of the group’s charismatic leader and disappears behind the compound’s fortified walls. 

With guards monitoring her every move, Meridith quickly discovers that gaining acceptance among The Prepared was the easy part. Escaping—even with Brad’s help—will require more strength and courage than she possesses.

My Thoughts

I read this book in two would have been one day but I started it really late at night so I only read for an hour on that first night.  My point is that it was so good I didn't want to put it down.  Once again, my responsibilities were put on hold for a book!  I don't regret it at all!

I loved Meridith, I loved Brad, and I obviously loved them together.  Of course, there were plenty of characters that I didn't like AT ALL, but they were necessary for the story.  Guys, I just really enjoyed this book.

I think I say this kind of often, but I have never read a book like this before.  Honestly!  I've never ever read a book about a cult.  I was super intrigued!  And, I was very pleased with the ending.  Too often a book with a really good beginning and middle gets ruined by a bad ending.  This was not the case with Pattern of Deceit!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I highly recommend picking this book up!  I really don't think you'll be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Chance Beginning by Christopher Patterson

Goodreads Summary

Erik Eleodum is a simple man. He doesn’t want to be a hero. He doesn’t need fame or fortune. He is content farming his family’s homestead in northern H├íthgolthane and raising a simple family, like his father, for the rest of his life. In fact, adventure is the last thing on his mind. 

Befel, Erik’s brother, and Bryon, his cousin, can’t think of anything worse than farming for the rest of their lives. They want to be heroes. They want fame and fortune. They want to leave their families and go east, to the country of Golgolithul, where they are sure to find easy wealth and great adventure. 
But when these three young men leave their farmstead, they quickly discover the world is not so simple, not so easy. Most fortune is laden with treachery, fame must be earned with blood, and adventures are rarely grand. Ideas of grandeur are crushed and the road east is hard. To get there, these men must ultimately sell their swords and become friends with thieves, dwarves, soldiers, and mercenaries well past their prime. They battle a band of ruthless slavers, slip past assassins, and experience the deadly consequences of black magic. 
Will Erik ever be able to return to the simple life? Will he unwittingly become famous, become rich, become a hero? Or, will he even survive? 
Often the deeds of those deemed smaller, either in stature or status, go uncounted by chroniclers of history. Yet, it is these deeds that repeatedly change the course of history. For every hero whose feats minstrels sing, there were fifty men following his stead, giving blood and sweat just as he did; and because they were not the first to return from a long voyage away, or perhaps they did not return at all, their glories are never sung. This is a story about those men who would only be known in the local legends, who would have been forgotten by time save for a small bit of chance. Chance, Fate, Destiny, Dumb Luck; all these and more, and then maybe none of these things, are the reasons a young man can go from a farmer’s son, a boy of lowly birth born with dirt on his face, to a great warrior, a kingly knight, a dragon slayer. 
Three young farmers, tired of plowing endless fields from sunrise to sunset, gave up all they knew to pursue fame, pursue riches. Their crying mothers at their backs and the unknown ahead of them, they worked in pigsties, slept in the alleys of outskirt cities, traveled with strangers and shed blood unwillingly. They trusted men they should not have trusted, and did not trust those they should have. These young men who left their way of life for fame and glory would soon learn, as most young men full of grand ideas and just ideals do, the world is not what they thought it to be.

My Thoughts

A Chance Beginning is the first book in the Shadow's Fire Trilogy.  I was pretty intrigued after reading the synopsis.  It seemed fairly different than books I have read in the past.

First of all, let's talk about the cover!  It is so pretty!  It caught my eye immediately!

This isn't your typical fantasy book.  There were a several elements that were new to me, but there really wasn't as much focus on the magical things usually found in a fantasy.  This book truly is focused on the main characters, which I found to be pleasantly surprising. 

Before I go any farther, I do want to say that I did enjoy this book.  There were a lot of things I liked, things that kept my attention and kept me interested.  Now, this book wasn't without faults.  As far as the story itself, it didn't have the wow factor that you expect from fantasies.  As a matter of fact, at times it felt like a simple fiction rather than an actual fantasy. The ending was left open, but not the typical 'open' you expect with the first book in a series. It just wasn't clear enough, I guess.  I feel like a lot of things could have been fixed with better editing.

With that being said, I really don't think this was a bad book.  Actually, it was a pretty good book.  There were just a few things that I would fix up.  It almost seemed more of a coming of age type book than a fantasy so that may be why I couldn't wrap my head around it as much.

Now, even with the things I pointed out, I would still recommend reading A Chance Beginning.  I'm certainly not against reading the next books in the trilogy!  I would love to find out what happens next!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Class of '59 by John A. Heldt

Goodreads Summary

When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.

In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.

Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

My Thoughts

This is the second book by John A Heldt that I have had the pleasure of reading and, once again, I was not at all disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I read this book in one sitting!  I really enjoy the time travel story lines!  

One thing that I appreciated about Class of '59 was how the chapters were from the characters perspectives.  For example, one chapter would be from Mary Beth's perspective, the next would be from Mark's perspective, then another character, and so on...
That normally bothers me but it really worked in this book.

I keep going back and forth about which character was my favorite.  I really liked Mary Beth but I really liked Piper!  Honestly, I loved all of them! Except Ear Man, I definitely didn't like Ear Man.

Thank you so much, John Heldt, for sending another wonderful book my way!  I mean, really, I have to be one of the luckiest people alive!  Wonderful books are sent to me just so that I can read them and post reviews!  Seriously people, do yourself a favor and get this book!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

Goodreads Summary

Careful what you wish for. It just might come true. 

In the forbidden West Woods, Ava stumbles on the secret fountain that has granted wishes to St. Augustus students for generations. Unknowingly, she watches the coin she tosses disappear and with it the world around her as she knows it.

In a quest to undo the damage she’s done, she and alumni kid Ethan break every campus rule unravelling a tangled web of history. Ava discovers that what’s right isn’t always clear and finds herself torn between a love she’s always known and one she has yet to explore.

The Fountain is a Prix Aurora Award 2016 Finalist For Best Young Adult Novel.

My Thoughts

It had been a while since I received this book review request.  I'm not sure how I had skipped over it, but accidents happen!  Anyways, as soon as I realized what happened, I put it on my kindle and started reading.  I didn't take the time to read the synopsis, I just jumper right in.  Going in without a clue is a lot of fun sometimes but it can also be confusing as well.

The Fountain gets you right from the beginning!  As soon as I read the first chapter I was hooked.  I remembered the review request, the synopsis, and I was immediately excited!

Now, while this book did have some of the typical characters (all-american girl, the boyfriend, the cute boy at school, the mean girl, the cheerleaders, etc...) it wasn't at all a typical book.  The ending, for example, was a wonderful surprise!  Not at all what I expected to happen.

If you can't already tell, I enjoyed The Fountain very much and I highly recommend it!  It wasn't completely without flaws, but honestly, what book is?  Very enjoyable and entertaining!

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