Friday, September 30, 2016

Balance of September, 2016

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

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book "For Now and Forever" by Sophie Love

About the Book: Emily Mitchell, 35, living and working in New York City, has struggled through a string of failed relationships. When her boyfriend of 7 years takes her out for their long-awaited anniversary dinner, Emily is sure that this time will be different, that this time she will finally get the ring.
When he gives her a small bottle of perfume instead, Emily knows the time has come to break up with him—and for her entire life to have a fresh start.
Reeling from her unsatisfying, high-pressure life, Emily decides she needs a change. She decides on a whim to drive to her father’s abandoned home on the coast of Maine, a sprawling, historic house where she’d spent magical summers as a child. But the house, long-neglected, is in dire need of repair, and the winter is no time to be in Maine. Emily hasn’t been there in 20 years, when a tragic accident changed her sister’s life and shattered her family. Her parents divorced, her father disappeared, and Emily was never able to bring herself to step foot in that house again.
Now, for some reason, with her life reeling, Emily feels drawn to the only childhood place she ever knew. She plans on going just for a weekend, to clear her head. But something about the house, its numerous secrets, its memories of her father, its oceanfront allure, its small-town setting—and most of all, its gorgeous, mysterious caretaker—doesn’t want to let her leave. Can she find the answers she’s been looking for here, in the most unexpected place of all?
Can a weekend become a lifetime?
FOR NOW AND FOREVER is book #1 in the debut of a dazzling new romance series that will make you laugh, make you cry, will keep you turning pages late into the night—and will make you fall in love with romance all over again.

My Review: This is a very well written book describing the struggle of a woman (Emily) to find her true identity. After finishing a long term relationship that was leading to nowhere, Emily quits her oppressive job in New York and goes to Maine, to an old family house where she used to spend her vacation when she was a child. The initial idea was to spend the weekend over there. What she found there is an abandoned house, a community that is not so receptive and a mysterious caretaker. Her father had vanished on thin air twenty years ago, after divorcing her mother. Both did not know how to handle the death of her sister. The caretaker has more in common with her than she initially thought. And a relationship starts to grow. 
The author did an amazing job with the creation of the characters and her description of the environment. The characters that compose the small Maine community are also fully developed. The romance is there, but not overdosed. Kudos to the author for this amazing start of a series that promises to be very entertaining.
I recommend this book to the permanent library of all readers that enjoy a very well written book that will keep them entertained for some hours.

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for reviewing, and I was not requested to provide a positive review. Opinion expressed here is my own.

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

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book "Oliver and Jumpy - Stories 52-54" 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 52: Oliver the Babysitter – Oliver has to look after his sister's kittens.
  • Story 53: Smoke over the Sea – The friends have amazing adventures on an island in the sea.
  • Story 54: Raindrop – The journey of a raindrop.

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.

My Review: This book is part of a series called Oliver and Jumpy. This particular volume has stories 52 - Oliver the Babysitter, 53 - Smoke over the Sea, and 54 - Raindrop. 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 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 "Oliver the Babysitter", Oliver receives a letter from his sister, asking for help with her three children while she is in the hospital to have another baby. After a long travel, he start his experience taking care of his nephew and two nieces and what an adventure this is! In the "Smoke over the Sea", Oliver notices a pillar of smoke out in the sea and thinks someone is in trouble. With the help of Jumpy, Joey and Bluey the whale, they travel to the island where the smoke is coming from. Over there they are captured by a tribe of natives and their adventure began. Finally in "Raindrop", we follow the saga of a raindrop that ends up in Oliver's cup and we learnt how Oliver helped his friends with his water well, a place where everybody group together to hear nice tales! 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.

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