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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book "The Final Offering" by J.G.Gatewood

About the Book: As a young Haloti fairy living on top of a maple tree, Thula is counting down the days until she reaches adulthood. Her whole life changes when a Grimmox fairy breeches the long-standing peace treaty by crossing their border. Thula isn’t content to watch the destruction of her world, and volunteers for a new military program to counter the incursion. But once in training, she learns the program isn’t about defense at all. It’s about war, and all of the Haloti people are at risk of annihilation. Thula must look to the most unlikely of allies, the Grimmox, to save their world. But they refuse to fight as it goes against everything they believe in. After receiving a vision from the sons of God, she learns this is their last chance to make peace. She was raised by the Haloti, but now sees the world through the eyes of the Grimmox, and is the only one they can trust with this task. If she fails, God will erase the Haloti and Grimmox from the planet. She only has one day to unite them all.

About the Author: J.G. Gatewood is the author of the Keepers of the Orbs Fantasy Series. So far Book 1, The Unknown Man, has been completed and self-published on Amazon. Book 2, The Rising Past was released on Amazon on December 1st, 2015.
He is currently 70% done with the next book in the series, and hopes to have it released by the end of 2016, with the Final book due the end of 2017 or early 2018.
Other writing projects include, The Final Offering(Late 2016) and The Saukarian Children (Early 2017).
When J.G. Gatewood is not writing, he is a full-time Subject Matter Expert and an avid reader.
He lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife of 14 years, and two sons. In what little free time he has remaining, he is usually busy brewing his own beer, crafting his own wine or enjoying a fine cigar.

My Review: This is another very well written book with a compelling plot that flows in a nice pace, characteristic of this young author.  And the overall plot has a more powerful message than I initially thought, but after reflecting for a while I saw how brilliant the author was on passing this strong message disguised in this lovely fairy tale. 
The plot is simple. Our heroine (Thula) is from a fairy group living in the top of the tree, whose life is controlled by what they call the "elders" of the group. They live in fear of "monsters" living in the bottom part of the tree. By an old agreement, they have to provide an offering every year to the "monster", to keep the peace in the tree, preventing them from crossing the borders of the established regions. The offering is a fairy chosen "randomly" by a butterfly, and it is carried away by this same butterfly to never be seen again. But the truth is not how it seems. A fight for keeping the status quo is what really drives this tradition and Thula begins to see the real intentions of the "elders". 
The plot goes on, and we start cheering for our heroine in every turn of page and the story keep us hooked until the end.The environment is superbly described and the characters are well developed and full of life! And the message is like coming from a fable of Aesop. Just brilliant!
If you enjoy fantasy, you cannot miss reading this book. I strongly recommend it to the permanent library of all readers that enjoy a well written book. You will not be disappointed.

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book "Hatching the Phoenix Egg" by Joel Horn

About the Book: Would You Travel a Half-Billion Miles to Escape Your Past?
That's exactly what Ken O'Brien does in this exciting sequel to Lost Coast Rocket.
Driven by a broken heart and a mysterious compulsion he can't understand, Ken launches himself into space. During this one-way trip, he has just ten years to answer as many cosmic questions as he can before his body succumbs to the hostile space environment.
But he's given an unexpected gift and his life is extended. How he spends this gift, however, makes him the most hated man in history. Will the world absolve Ken of his extreme sin? More importantly, will the green-eyed girl who broke his heart forgive him for what he was driven to do?

About the Author: Joel Horn was barely five years old when his family moved to the wilderness. Growing up in the rugged Trinity Alps, Joel and his two older brothers learned how to do the numerous and varied tasks necessary for survival while carving out a life in their remote paradise.
Living this self-reliant life and tutored by the best of teachers, their dad and hands-on experience, the boys achieved a level of self-sufficiency rarely seen in modern times. In Impossible Beyond This Point, Joel combines his parents' writings with his own recollections to create a fascinating and entertaining account of the family's struggle and triumph creating a self-sufficient life in the wilderness.
Lost Coast Rocket is Joel’s debut novel. The story continues in the second book in the Mare Tranquillitatis Series, Hatching the Phoenix Egg.
You can find Joel online at www.JoelHornAuthor.com

My Review: What a sequel! This is the second book on the Mare Tranquilitatis Series. I can hardly wait to know if there will be a third book in this series. 
In the first book we were introduced to Ken, the grandson of a NASA engineer. He meets his good friend, Akira, in a park when they were toddlers and they start a friendship that will last for ages and together they start playing with rocket models until they get enough knowledge to develop their own models. Others get involved and soon they have a group of young kids, each one with its own expertise, contributing to a common goal of developing a prototype rocket that should reach 100 miles altitude. And they do that with an old design based on drawings of Ken's grandfather. In the mix there is a dose of romance and all the good ingredients that make this story extremely enjoyable.
In this second book Ken decides to go on a one-way journey to Jupiter, trying to forget about his broken heart, but his friend Akira has other plans and send a second more powerful rocket to bring his friend back.  In his journey back a situation occurs that would change life on Earth forever, but Ken decides to intervene and change the course of History. As the outcome is not known in advance, people on Earth thought he had no rights to play God and try to stop him, but he is really determined to go ahead with his plan. This book was very well written and edited. The Series as a whole would produce a nice Hollywood movie.
I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of any science-fiction fan. You will not be disappointed!
If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Balance of 2016

During 2015 I read, watched and reviewed the following:

January
Books:
- "Spirit Prophecy" by E.E. Holmes. Read my review.
- "The Gift of Battle" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "The Rising Past" by J.G.Gatewood. Read my review.
- "Coda" by Rajani Kanth. Read my review.
- "Eleven Floors" by Robert Lampros. Read my review.
- "The Wind Guardian" by Frank Scozzari. Read my review.
- "Taken by the Sheriff" by Lolita London. Read my review.

February
Books:
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Books 34 - 36" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Rise of the Valiant" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "18 Things" by Jamie Ayres. Read my review.
- "The Weight of Honor" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "A Death in Sweden" by Kevin Wignall. Read my review.

March
Books:
- "A Forge of Valor" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "Spirit Ascendancy" by E.E.Holmes. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 37-39" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.

April
Books:
- "A Realm of Shadows" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "Europa Awakenings - Europa Series Volume 1" by Pamela Garcia. Read my review.
- "Night of the Bold" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "The Mustard Seed" by Peter Szondy. Read my review.

May
Books:
- "Need To Find You" by Joseph Souza. Read my review.
- "Talon, Come Fly With Me" by Gigi Sedlmayer. Read my review.
- "Last Year's Resolution" by Robert Lampros. Read my review.
- "Caught" by Lolita London. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 40 - 42" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Only the Worthy" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "AZ - Revenge of an Archangel" by Amir A. Bavar. Read my review.

June
Books:
- "Resthaven" by Erik Therme. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 43-45" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Listening to the Language of the Bible" by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema. Read my review.
- "Talon, On the Wing" by Gigi Sedlmayer. Read my review.
- "Any Means Necessary" by Jack Mars. Read my review.
- "Once Gone" by Blake Pierce. Read my review.
Movies:
- "Apostle Paul and the Earliest Churches" B&N Production (2004). Read my review.

July
Books:
- "Arena 2" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 46-48" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Love, Life and Logic" by Uday Mukerji. Read my review.

August
Books:
- "Arena 3" by Morgan Rice. Read my review.
- "Parables & Ponderings" by Lia London. Read my review.
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 49-51" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Pandora's Eyes" by James M. Corkill. Read my review.
Movies:
- "When Call the Hearts - Season 3" - 2016 - Read my review.

September
Books:
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 52-54" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "For Now and Forever" by Sophie Love. Read my review.

October
Books:
- "Pirate Passion" by Lolita London. Read my review.

November
Books:
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 55-57" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.
- "Lost Coast Rocket" by Joel Horn. Read my review.

December
Books:
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 58-62" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.



Balance of December

During the month of December, 2016, I reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 58-62" by Werner Stejskal. Read my review.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Book "Oliver and Jumpy - Books 58-62" by Werner Stejskal

About the Book: Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value. Love you all! Meow!
  • Story 58: Down the Well – A frog gets philosophical. 
  • Story 59: Finding the Story – Do you like to write a story? First you need to find one! 
  • Story 60: Story Writing – A funny way to write stories. 
  • Story 61: What a Laugh! - Laughing is healthy. 
  • Story 62: What's the Time? - A very unusual way to look at time.

About the Author: Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children, and three grandchildren. He worked many years in the printing industry and later for the United Nations in Vienna. His wife had been a pen-friend, whom Werner visited in Hong Kong and finally got married to. After an eventful life, now retired, he began to write children's stories, had them illustrated through Upwork, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally published the ebooks on most platforms. Werner's dream is to see "Oliver and Jumpy" animated as a TV series.
There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia, he watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance. Some very capable illustrators have helped to create this picture book series.

From the author:
"ILLUSTRATORS - I would like to introduce the six illustrators who made ‘Oliver and Jumpy’ so successful. These talented ladies and gents have put a lot of effort into their art.
Marvin Alonso, is a gentleman from the Philippines. He started off the series with amazing pictures and a huge initiative. He never needed to be told anything and developed all scenes by himself. Unfortunately, he decided to look for other work after about 10 stories. He was sorely missed.
The next illustrators did between one to four stories each.
Vinil Raj
Yon Rifa’i
Anahii Aleksanyan
Mario Tereso
And then there is Maycee Ann Reyes and her husband Allan … They were all one could wish for. Great scenes, self-reliant, reliable, courteous and quick. These guys got married while working at 400 illustrations for my series. As Maycee said: “Oliver was instrumental for us to get married sooner”. I can highly recommend this talented team for any of your picture book illustrations."

My Review: This book is the last book of a series called Oliver and Jumpy. This particular volume has stories 58 - Down the Well, 59 - Finding the Story, 60 - Story Writing, 61 - What a Laugh!, and 62 - What's the Time?. It is an excellent gift for parents with children under 8 as suggested by the author. Although the format changed a little if compared with previous books in the series, this book is still beautifully illustrated by Maycee Ann Reyes and that is a very important plus, as its main audience will rely on the images to follow the stories, as many will not have reached the age to start reading by themselves. In "Down the Well", Oliver dreams of falling into the nearby well and landing on  a frog! Froggy tells Oliver all about his life on the well. In the "Finding the Story", Oliver tells his readers what a story looks like, so they can find it. But the fact is that each story looks different to everybody... In "Story Writing", Oliver says that he uses a blue pen called Penny to help him writing his stories, after he finds them (as a matter of fact, the word fairy sends him only 1000 words a day). He looks for new ideas everyday! In "What a Laugh", Oliver describes his favorite days at Sillandia. He really enjoys Christmas (when all people and animals are the decoration on the Christmas trees), and the Upside-Down Day, when everything but people turns upside-down. Finally, at the "What's the time", Oliver says that in Sillandia each clock shows a different time! During Harvest Day Oliver and his friends go to pick fruits from the orchids. Joey ate too much fruits and fall asleep, rolling down the hill into the brook. Everybody goes to his rescue. What an adventure!  All stories are very sweet and even touching and the characters are always showing good behavior. No violence, nothing too scary or too exciting, it will keep your toddler entertained (but not over excited) during that critical bedtime period. They will love the stories and soon enough Oliver and Jumpy will be in their hearts forever.
In my kindle fire the story was presented in landscape orientation. No option to have it in portrait orientation, but this is far away from being a problem. I just thought it was worth mentioning.
I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of any parent that is willing to entertain their kids during bedtime. I am just sad that the author announced that this book is the last one in this series. I only hope that he comes back soon with a new set of stories from our favorite characters!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.