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Monday, February 29, 2016

Balance of February 2016

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

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.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book "A Death in Sweden" by Kevin Wignall

About the Book: Dan Hendricks is a man in need of a lifeline. A former CIA operative, he is now an agent for hire by foreign powers on the hunt for dangerous fugitives. It’s a lethal world at the best of times, and Dan knows his number is almost up. His next job could be his last—and his next job is his biggest yet.
The target sounds trackable enough: Jacques Fillon, who gave up his life trying to save a fellow passenger following a bus crash in northern Sweden. But the man was something of an enigma in this rural community, and his death exposes his greatest secret: Jacques Fillon never existed at all.
Dan is tasked with uncovering Fillon’s true identity—but can he do so before his own past catches up with him?

About the Author: Kevin Wignall is a British writer, born in Brussels in 1967. He spent many years as an army child in different parts of Europe, and went on to study politics and international relations at Lancaster University. He became a full-time writer after the publication of his first book, People Die (2001). His other novels are Among the Dead (2002); Who Is Conrad Hirst? (2007), shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award; and Dark Flag (2010). The Hunter's Prayer was originally titled For the Dogs in the USA. The film The Hunter's Prayer, directed by Jonathan Mostow and starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush, will be released worldwide in 2016.

My Review:This is an amazing thriller, very well written, that will keep you on the edge of your chair for the most part of the book. The author did an incredible job of creating characters that are fully credible and his description of the environment of the scenes is superb.
The plot is captivating. A former CIA employee runs against time to save his own life. Time is short and he needs to put down a whole organization to be able to have his life back. In order to do that, he finds an unexpected help on Inger, a swedish girl who is designated to look after him during his investigations in Sweden of a case that might help his cause.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers who enjoy a very well written thriller. But be aware that you might miss your bedtime deadline.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book "The Weight of Honor" by Morgan Rice

About the Book: In THE WEIGHT OF HONOR, Kyra finally meets her cryptic uncle, and is shocked to discover he is not the man she expected. She embarks on a period of training which will test her stamina and her frustration, as she soon encounters the limits of her power. Unable to summon her dragon, unable to search deep within, and feeling an urgency to help in her father’s wars, Kyra doubts if she will ever become the warrior she thought she was. And when she meets a mysterious boy, more powerful than her, deep in the forest, she wonders what her future really has in store for her.
Duncan must descend the peaks of Kos with his new army and, vastly outnumbered, launch a risky invasion on the capital. If he wins, waiting behind its ancient walls, he knows, will be the old king and his nest of nobles and aristocrats, all with their own agendas, all of them as quick to betray as they are to embrace. Unifying Escalon may, indeed, be harder than freeing it.
Alec, in Ur, must tap his unique skills in the forge to aid the resistance if they have any chance of defending against the looming Pandesian invasion. He is awestruck when he encounters Dierdre, the strongest girl he has ever meet. The time she has a chance to make a stand against Pandesia, and as she bravely faces off, she who wonders if her father and his men will have her back this time.
Merk finally enters the tower of Ur, and is stunned by what he discovers. Initiated into its strange codes and rules, he meets his fellow Watchers, the toughest warriors he has ever encountered, and he finds that earning their respect will not be easy. With an invasion looming, they must all prepare the tower; yet even all its secret passageways may not keep them safe from the betrayal lurking from within.
Vesuvius leads his Troll nation across a vulnerable Escalon, devastating the land, while Theos, enraged at what becomes of his son, is on a rampage himself, and will not stop until all of Escalon is aflame.
With its strong atmosphere and complex characters, THE WEIGHT OF HONOR is a sweeping saga of knights and warriors, of kings and lords, of honor and valor, of magic, destiny, monsters and dragons. It is a story of love and broken hearts, of deception, ambition and betrayal. It is fantasy at its finest, inviting us into a world that will live with us forever, one that will appeal to all ages and genders.

About the Author: Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER'S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising two books (and counting); and of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books, concluding with the recent finale NIGHT OF THE BOLD (Book #6). Morgan's books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.
Morgan's latest release is OBSESSED (BOOK #12 IN THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS)--the final book in the 12 book VAMPIRE JOURNALS series.
Morgan's new epic fantasy series, OF CROWNS AND GLORY, will publish in April, 2016, beginning with book #1, SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN.
TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals), ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy), A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer's Ring) and RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Kings and Sorcerers--Book #1) are each available as a free download on Amazon!
Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive 4 free books, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch! As always, if any of you are suffering from any hardship, email the author at morgan@morganricebooks.com and the author will be happy to send you a free book!

My Review: The book “The Weight of Honor” is the third book in the “Kings and Sorcerers” series. The easy and light writing style will hook you up from the very first page.
In this book we continue to follow our heroine Kyra, a 15 year old girl, who loves to fight like a warrior. She reaches the Tower of Ur and initiates her training, soon realizing that she has more power than she has control over it. And while on training she meets a mysterious boy...
Her father Duncan launches an attack into the capital of Escalon, trying to release the city from the grasps of the Pandesian army.
Other parallel stories are told. Alec and his friend Mark are in Ur, trying to aid the resistance against the Pandesian invasion. And Alec meets Dierdre, that was Kyra's companion during her journey to the Tower of Ur.
Vesuvius leads his army of trolls against Escalon.
Theos is trying to burn all Escalon in search of his son.
Merk reaches and enters the Tower of Ur, just to get mesmerized by what he found inside.
Packed with excitement, I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that love to read a well written book, which will allow them to live a fantasy full of action. I can hardly wait to see how the story will develop from here and how our three heroes will have their fate entangled. The author managed again to produce a strong set of characters that make us cheer for them on every page we turn.

I received a copy of this book from the author and I was not requested to write a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book "18 Things" by Jamie Ayres

About the Book: Can eighteen things save a life?
Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not attending prom with Conner, her best friend and secret crush since kindergarten. Then Conner is killed in a freak boating accident and Olga feels responsible.
When she downs an entire bottle of pills to deal with the emotional pain, her parents force her into counseling. There, her therapist writes a prescription in the form of a life list titled 18 Things. Eighteen quests to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday. All she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record, and err... go on her first date.
Good thing Nate, a new hottie in town, enters her life with perfect timing. He brings the fun factor to her list and helps her discover the beauty and strength inside herself, then complicates things by falling in love with her.
But there's more to Olga’s quests than meets the eye and when her therapist reveals a terrifying secret, her world is shaken.
There’s only one thing she knows for certain: her choices won’t just affect her future, but all eternity.

About the Author: Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a Language Arts middle school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. Although she spent her youthful summers around Lake Michigan, she now lives in Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she's thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her books include the first two installments of her trilogy, 18 Things and 18 Truths. Visit her online via Twitter, Facebook, or at www.jamieayres.com.

My Review: This is a fantastic fist book of a trilogy that promises to be epic! 
Nothing in this book is predictable. The author makes us cheer for our heroine Olga in every turn of the pages of this book, hoping that things would be OK for her. When she build her 18 bucket list, I was tempted to build mine as well. And we really get inspired by the progress she makes in having her life back to normal after the disaster that killed her beloved friend Conner, and almost took her life as well. Suffering from depression and trying to easy her pain, she takes an entire bottle of pills, and after that her parents put her into therapy. That is when the therapist asks Olga to write her list and the story begins to develop at a very nice pace. Wonderfully written, the characters in this book are very well developed and even the supposed bad ones are enjoyable at the end.
I can hardly wait to put my hands on the second book of this series, already available and called "18 Truths".
I recommend this book to the permanent library of readers of all ages. This is really an inspirational book with a very surprising ending. Excellent hook to the next book!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Book "Rise of the Valiant" by Morgan Rice

About the Book: In the wake of the dragon’s attack, Kyra is sent on an urgent quest: to cross Escalon and seek out her uncle in the mysterious Tower of Ur. The time has come for her to learn about who she is, who her mother is, and to train and develop her special powers. It will be a quest fraught with peril for a girl alone, Escalon filled with dangers from savage beasts and men alike—one that will require all of her strength to survive.
Her father, Duncan, must lead his men south, to the great water city of Esephus, to attempt to free his fellow countrymen from the iron grip of Pandesia. If he succeeds, he will have to journey to the treacherous Lake of Ire and then onto the icy peaks of Kos, where there live the toughest warriors of Escalon, men he will need to recruit if he has any chance of taking the capital.
Alec escapes with Marco from The Flames to find himself on the run through the Wood of Thorns, chased by exotic beasts. It is a harrowing journey through the night as he quests for his hometown, hoping to be reunited with his family. When he arrives, he is shocked by what he discovers.
Merk, despite his better judgment, turns back to help the girl, and finds himself, for the first time in his life, entangled in a stranger’s affairs. He will not forego his pilgrimage to the Tower of Ur, though, and he finds himself anguished as he realizes the tower is not what he expects.
Vesuvius spurs his giant as he leads the Trolls on their mission underground, attempting to bypass The Flames, while the dragon, Theos, has his own special mission on Escalon.
With its strong atmosphere and complex characters, RISE OF THE VALIANT is a sweeping saga of knights and warriors, of kings and lords, of honor and valor, of magic, destiny, monsters and dragons. It is a story of love and broken hearts, of deception, ambition and betrayal. It is fantasy at its finest, inviting us into a world that will live with us forever, one that will appeal to all ages and genders.

About the Author: Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER'S RING, comprising 17 books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising 11 books (and counting); of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising two books (and counting); and of the new epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising 4 books (and counting). Morgan's books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.
Book #4 in Morgan's new epic fantasy series, A FORGE OF VALOR (KINGS AND SORCERERS--BOOK 4) is now published! And book #5 in the series, A REALM OF SHADOWS, is now available for pre-order!
TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals), ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy), and A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer's Ring) are each available as a free download on Amazon.
Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch! As always, if any of you are suffering from any hardship, email the author at morgan@morganricebooks.com and the author will be happy to send you a free book!

My Review: The book “Rise of the Valiant” is the second book in the “Kings and Sorcerers” series. The easy and light writing style will hook you up from the very first page.
In this book we continue to follow our heroine Kyra, a 15 year old girl, who loves to fight like a warrior. She goes on a quest towards the Tower of Ur, searching for answers on who she really is, who her mother is, and what is the secret her father is hiding from her. Her father is heading to the South trying to liberate Esephus, an important coast city, from the domination of the Pandesian, who invaded their country some years before.
Other parallel stories are told. Alec is a young boy that volunteers to go in place of his lamed brother in the draft to go to protect The Flames. After escaping with his friend Mark, he returns to his city and what he finds there changes his life forever. Vesuvius is the leader of the Trolls that wants to invade their land from the north and are blocked by the Flames. Will he find an alternate way of reaching Escalon?
Merk, the mercenary, hired to kill, is seeking to become a Watcher of the Towers, people who guard the Sword of Fire, that keeps The Flames going on by magic. He also heads towards the Tower of Ur.
Packed with excitement, I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that love to read a well written book, which will allow them to live a fantasy full of action. I can hardly wait to see how the story will develop from here and how our three heroes will have their fate entangled. The author managed again to produce a strong set of characters that make us cheer for them on every page we turn.

I received a copy of this book from the author and I was not requested to write a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 34-36" 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. Depending on your device, there is pop-up text available. Love you all! Meow! 
Story 34: How I found my Top Hat 
Story 35: Oliver in the Circus
Story 36: Ship Wreck

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 Odesk, 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.
Author Peter Frederick sums it all up:
Here are books created by Werner Stejskal, an author who has a wonderful sense of adaptability into the world of a child. Movements, sentiments, expressions and ideas are being visualized, that enthrall and win over the little reader. Plus, his terminology is perfectly matched to the mood of each self-contained story. The author also displays amazing sensitivity and is able to transport even adults back into long-past childhood. All good virtues are being emphasized, like friendship, loyalty, determination and civility, giving the fascinated reader the right signals for spiritual development. The main characters, Oliver and Jumpy, are the masters of a variety of situations that draw the reader into the stories. But one of the main reasons for the success of these children's books is the artwork! The graphics, outstandingly created by the artist, have their hues and shapes completely adapted to the respective situation and so contribute to the emotional absorption of each picture. Text and message. Somber feelings and cheery situations are being created and masterly entertain the little readers. One can only recommend this series of children's books to all adults who wish to keep their little ones occupied in a positive, entertaining and learning environment!

My Review: This book is part of a series called Oliver and Jumpy. This particular volume has stories 34 - How I found my Top Hat, 35 - Oliver in the Circus and 36 - Ship Wreck. It is an excellent gift for parents with children under 8 as suggested by the author. The book is beautifully illustrated by Maycee Ann Reyes (story 34), Yon Rifa'i (story 35) and Mario Tereso (story 36) 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 "How I found my TopHat", Oliver finds a hat he falls in love with and starts working and saving to buy the hat. What happens later is very touching. In the "Oliver in the Circus", Oliver takes part in many activities in the circus that is visiting his town. Finally in "Ship Wreck", Oliver and Jumpy venture in the sea to investigate the sink of a ship and they got in trouble and are rescued by unexpected frineds! 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 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. 

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