Friday, January 30, 2015

G498 Book Review of Kato and the Fountain of Wrinkles by Rhys Ella

Name of Book: Kato and the Fountain of Wrinkles

Author: Rhys Ella

ISBN: 978-1-63268-875-0

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Type of book: talking animals, Hollywood, brotherhood, human/animal bond, schedule, supernatural elements, dogs, wrinkly dogs

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

For famous animal actor Kato Rhyan, being named "Cutest Pug Alive" by Pooch Magazine was cool (all right, really cool). But for him, acting isn't about fame, it's a part of him buried deep within his soul; and he's not about to let anything stand in his way of becoming the first animal to win an Oscar for Best Actor, even if it means taking on a role that requires a wrinkly dog's worst nightmare -- Botox injections.

But before the injection process begins, it's discovered that the Fountain of Wrinkles -- located in his beautiful hometown of Callia Rugas -- has been contaminated by Botox, jeopardizing the lives of crinkly canines everywhere and setting off a chain of events that force him to bid farewell to his dream and set foot on an adventure of a lifetime in search of the antidote to restore the Fountain.

But as with any good Hollywood tale, the story that seems so apparent is not always the one that unfolds. The twists and turns that follow are sure to keep you guessing and laughing.

Characters:

The main characters include Kato who has an odd phobia of getting his paws wet and he is more of a responsible and logical dog. EJ is a literalist, a compulsive buyer and has an obsession with snuggie and he doesn't seem to understand the hidden logic beneath the words. (My favorite conversation was one with Kato and EJ and the week vs the weekend.) Other characters include Kato's parents that are desperate to protect their sons, the English bulldog that is acting as a bodyguard and some humans, in particular a little boy by the name of Liam. There are some supernatural elements in the story, but I guess it does explain the world a little bit, although I'm still confused by it.

Theme:

To be honest, I'm not sure what the message should have been, but I think its more of a entertainment story rather than something to learn from.

Plot:

The story is written in third person narrative, mostly from Kato's and the human child's points of view. I have to admit that I feel the first half is a bit slow and I had trouble understanding whether or not the dogs were anthropomorphic, but the second half got pretty exciting, and in some cases you weren't sure who's right or who's wrong, and the story is designed to keep one guessing which side some dogs are on. If I might make a request, I really want for more different type of dogs to be included in the future stories, in particular my favorite dachshund who is, well, sneaky and clever and manipulative as well as maybe some mixed breeds such as the corgie/chihuahua mix who loves the blanket a little too much to let me have any... (come on dude, its cold and I need to warm up as well as some space to nap!)

Author Information:

About the Author

Rhys Ella, lover of all furry four-leggers, grew up in small town West Virginia surrounded by cats who believed they were dogs and pint-sized dogs with personalities larger than life. 

Today, Rhys lives in North Carolina with her husband, young son, and a fish named Hobo.  An avid runner, the book's concept came to Rhys during an evening run but did not fully come to fruition until the passing of her fourteen-year-old pug, Prince "Kato" Chang.

Her latest book is the comedy/action/adventure/young adult, Kato and the Fountain of Wrinkles.
For More Information


Opinion:

I actually found it a pretty entertaining story and I loved how the dogs, in particular EJ and the guard dog were well rounded and memorable. I have to admit that I loved EJ and he really cracked me up with his antics and obsessions. I also enjoyed the adventure, although I do feel that some parts should be cut out because the story seems to go on for a little too long, and I also wanted for the author to delve deeper into her world and explain how the dog and human worlds work a bit. In particular I was really interested in the dog world and how it functioned among the human world: are humans capable of understanding dogs (the answer isn't revealed until almost the end, but still I wanted to know that earlier,) do dogs adapt anthropomorphic characteristics to carry out their world or how do they get things done? I am sorry, but these are the things I really wanted an answer earlier in the story, and the anthropomorphic actions still isn't answered.

This is for Pump Up Your Book


3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spotlight and a chapter Excerpt

The first in a captivating new series from bestselling author S.G. Redling, creator of Flowertown and Damocles

OURSELVES
S.G. Redling  
**Named by io9 as a “fantasy you can’t afford to miss this January” 2015**
 
 






S.G. Redling burst onto the scene with Flowertown, a high-octane conspiracy thriller that earned her fans around the globe and was followed by bestsellers including the space adventure Damocles and techno-thrillers The Widow File and Redemption Key. In her latest novel, Redling charts new territory – and puts a fascinating new twist on vampire lore – in telling the story of the Nahan, a human race who live among, but are startlingly different from, “common” humans. OURSELVES (47North; January 27, 2015) is our first peek into this hidden world, a world the Nahan have protected by cultivating the myths of fanged, bloodsucking monsters that haunt legends.

The Nahan have always been among us: working in our offices, attending our schools, living next door. Polite but private, they are also efficient and extremely protective. Young Tomas lives a sheltered life in the Nahan community, his future secured by the long arm of the Council that protects their people throughout the world. But when he meets Stell, a wild, beautiful girl outcast from a Nahan cult, they ignite in each other a desire for a different path.

Soon, Tomas is training with the elite and bizarre order of Storytellers, while Stell uncovers her own skills as an assassin. When they unearth corruption within the Council and a dangerous plot that has already cost one young Storyteller his sanity, they must test their new skills and, teaming up with other young Nahan, challenge the most powerful organization in their world. 

Darkly sensual and remarkably detailed, OURSELVES introduces readers to the compelling, sensual, and imaginative world of the Nahan, a secret society hiding in plain sight.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S. G. Redling hosted a morning radio program for fifteen years before turning to writing. A graduate of Georgetown University, she was a finalist in the 2011 Esquire Short Short Fiction Contest. She is the author of The Widow File, Redemption Key, Damocles, Flowertown, and Braid: Three Twisted Stories. She currently resides in her home state of West Virginia.


###

OURSELVES
S.G. Redling
On Sale: January 27, 2015 · Amazon Publishing/47North · 334 Pages
$14.95 Trade Paperback · ISBN:  978-1-4778-2039-1

$4.99 Kindle Price · ASIN: B00LOXDISI



Chapter Excerpt : 

Excerpted from OURSELVES by S.G. Redling. Copyright 2015. Published By 47North. Used by permission of the publisher. Not for reprint without permission.

CHAPTER ONE
Nahan Da Li

Nahan da li: literally, Are you Nahan? A traditional welcome, a friendly greeting, affectionate.

Stell knew there was something wrong with her. Something dark lived inside of her. She didn’t know what it was or how the others could see it. She might not even have known about it herself if she didn’t see it in the eyes of the congregation and feel it in the fists of her uncle. When she was little, she used to look for it in the ribbons of blood that poured from her body when the ritual knives cut into her.
            Now she knew better.
            Whatever was wrong with her couldn’t be cut out like a splinter underneath her skin. Whatever was wrong with her was wrong to the bone.
            Since she couldn’t cut it out or pray it out, Stell took herself and her darkness out of the compound at every opportunity. She’d climb through the hole in the wall behind her bed, crawl through the forsythia, and run hard and fast up the steep western side of Calstow Mountain. She’d run like someone chased her although she knew the congregation wouldn’t miss her. Her classmates wouldn’t. Stell drew the wrath of Uncle Rom like a magnet to a lodestone and everyone gave Stell a wide berth.
            She thought maybe her mother missed her when she took off into the woods of Calstow Mountain. She thought maybe Malbette might worry about her daughter alone in the darkness of the mountain forests, might wonder if her child was safe and unharmed running through streams and climbing trees, sleeping under the stars and waking in beds of pine needles day after day. She thought her mother might miss her but Malbette’s eyes had a distance in them that was impossible to read so Stell didn’t think about her mother much.
            After all, Stell wasn’t a kid anymore. She had to be at least twenty by now. Maybe closer to twenty-five.
            Nobody ever told Stell how old she was. Nobody ever told Stell anything except to shut up and to repent and to pray. Nobody cared whether or not she could read. (She could but she hated to.) The teachers didn’t care that Stell never looked at the maps or listened to the Traditions or that she learned her numbers quickly. Stell never asked questions and nobody noticed or cared.
            When she was little, before she knew better, she’d ask questions.
            She’d asked why she had to pray so hard, why she had to bleed into the bowls in the filthy church room. She’d stomped her foot and cried and clung to her silent mother as the two of them were led to Uncle Rom’s waiting ritual chamber to be cut and bled before the pale faces of the congregation.
            Uncle Rom had answered those questions with snarls and threats and long recitations of Tradition but those weren’t the questions that silenced Stell. Malbette had done that. 
Stell had asked about her father.
            She didn’t know how old she was when she’d asked but since she hadn’t been tall enough to look out the window, Stell figured she’d been pretty young. Young enough to press her luck. Stell had demanded her mother tell her why she didn’t have a father like the other kids in the compound. Stell had shouted and pled, whined and wept, badgering Malbette to tell her who father was and why he wasn’t with them and why nobody would tell her anything about him.
            Malbette hadn’t answered her. Instead, she ignored her daughter’s dirty, grasping hands and settled into the only chair in the small shack they called home. She folded her hands in her lap, stared into the grimy wood of the near wall, and fell silent. At first Stell had raged as small children do. She cried and pulled but Malbette wouldn’t move. She climbed into her mother’s lap but the larger hands made no move to comfort her. And finally Stell got quiet too. She curled up on the floor beside her mother’s chair, thumb tucked securely in her mouth, her cheeks pressed into the scratchy wool of her mother’s skirts.
            They sat that way for three days.
            When Malbette rose from the chair on the third day, smoothing her skirts, and walking off as if nothing unusual had happened, Stell wiped at the tears and spit and snot that had dried on her face. She headed into her room, pulled the cot away from the wall, and kicked at the loose board behind it. She crawled through that hole and ran up to the mountain.
             On Calstow Mountain it didn’t matter what was wrong with Stell. Whatever darkness she had inside her didn’t bother the raccoons or opossum or hawks. The wild turkeys kept their distance but the streams and poplars didn’t mind her. The only ones that screamed at her were the blue jays and they screamed at everything. They even screamed at the common.
            Stell loved those moments when she heard something crashing through the brush louder than any forest creature would. Birds would fly and Stell would climb as fast as she could up into the nearest tree, folding into herself and being as silent as an owl so she could watch and listen to the strangely dressed, heavily burdened common making their way along the forest trails. She listened to their voices; their English sounded so different from hers, no trace of a Nahan accent at all. And sometimes if she really stared at one of them, if she really focused on one particular part of one particular common, that common would freeze. Stell would bite her lip, trying not to giggle as they scanned the forest around them, some ancient instinct alerting them to a danger they couldn’t see.
            Stell didn’t know why they would fear her but she loved it when that happened.
            Maybe that had something to do with the darkness within her.
            She didn’t care. The common would go and Stell would climb down and the mountain would be hers again. It was hers today and Stell lay in her favorite spot, a thick blanket of moss between the creek bed and a thicket of blackberry bushes. Summer had only just started warming up the mountain and it would be weeks until the blackberries appeared but Stell had peeled off her gray, woolen dress as she always did once the snow melted. She’d tossed the hated garment into the poplar branches and sprawled out along the chilly moss.
            The canopy overheard hadn’t thickened fully yet and the sun warmed her pale skin. Bits of mud flaked off her body as she stretched long. She must have fallen asleep because she didn’t hear the rattling of the blackberry branches or the swearing until it was too late to hide. Stell leapt to her feet, blinking away the sleep, as the branches closed together, catching the skin of a young man who pulled at the thorns.
            They stared at each other. Stell knew her eyes and mouth were as wide open as his.
            He was Nahan. She could see it and smell it and feel it.
            And he was beautiful.
            “Nahan da li?” she asked, smiling at this wondrous site before her.
            He looked nothing like the congregation. His clothes weren’t drab and rough. His skin shone with a health she had never seen. And most wondrous of all? His surprised gape turned into a smile.
            “What? Oh yeah, yeah.” He nodded but Stell didn’t think he blinked. “I’m Nahan. I’m…I’m…I’m Thomas. Tomas. Tomas is my real, you know, my real name, um, that we, you know, use here because my grandparents…that’s my name when I’m here. I mean it’s my name but I use Thomas when I’m home but here I use, you know, my name. Tomas.”
            Stell watched the words pour out of his beautiful mouth. She wanted to touch the shadows of pink that rose on his pale cheeks as he talked and talked. He said more to her in that minute than anyone had said to Stell in months.
            “I’m Stell, " she said but he seemed to want more. “All the time. I’m only ever Stell.”
            The pink on his cheeks settled into a glorious rose shade that matched the lower lip he licked. His teeth shone white as he bit into it and Stell couldn’t think of a single reason to ever look at anything else again. She watched his mouth move and waited for more words.
            “Why are you naked?”
            “My dress is in the tree.”
            “Do you want me to get it down?”
            “No.”
            “Oh.”

G475 Book Review of I,James by Mike Hartner

Name of Book:I, James

Author: Mike Hartner

ISBN: 978-1-927867-31-0

Publisher: Eternity4Popsickle

Part of a Series: Eternity Series

Type of book: History, travels, boating, sea life, 1600s, family, nature vs nurture, improbable scenarios or characters, alternative universe

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11.
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land.
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires?

Characters:

The characters really need to be more in depth than now. There is very little dialogue or quirks that would allow for the reader to remember them, and they seem to be two dimensional instead of multi dimensional. No inner lives are portrayed. For young adults it might be an enjoyable read, but I didn't enjoy it.

Theme:

To be honest, I'm not sure what the message should have been of the story

Plot:

The story is written in first person narrative from both James's and Rosalind's points of view. I did feel that point of view switch were done very awkwardly and although the author did attempt to make Rosalind be important to the story, I feel that her point of view added very little. I think I also wanted to know what she did after the first few chapters, that is more background story on her, and I would have liked more tension when it came to love between her and James. I really wanted the characters to be more drawn out and human.

Author Information:

About the Author

Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He's traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

Mike won first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and first place blue ribbon for the 2013 Dante Rosetti Award in the YA category for I, Walter.

His latest book is the historical fiction/romance, I, James.
For More Information


Opinion:

I'm sorry, but I didn't like nor enjoy reading the book. I think for one is that I set my expectations a little too high, and I wish I could have known that the tone would be reminiscent of a young adult novel, which it felt like. The chapters and point of view switch felt awkward for me, and it did take me awhile to get that the names of chapters are named after character. Despite the promising story and synopsis, I knew next to nothing about James and Rosalind. There is very little dialogue to reveal their inner selves or how they felt about certain things, and the story is more of a told rather than shown.

This is for Pump Up Your Book


2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

G519 The Metabolism Solution; The NEW Way to Lose Weight!

Title of the book: The Metabolism Solution; The NEW Way To Lose Weight!

Author: Lisa Lynn

Publisher: Xulon Press

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN:  978-1-62952-118-3

Summary:

Fitness specialist Lisa Lynn, who has been the guest expert on television programs like the Dr. Oz Show, reveals the hidden reasons you are not succeeding in your quest for weight loss. If it feels like a mystery to you, that s because the mainstream media and fitness businesses are earning a profit from keeping you in the dark. Lisa Lynn shows you how to free your mind from fear-based attempts through the power of God, improving not just your body, but your entire life. The breakthrough health system Lisa Lynn has created gives you not only effective recipes and real techniques, but the true reasons why nothing else has worked. Discover the answers to questions you haven t even known to ask and the drive to finally push through to the turning point in your life." 

Personal Opinion:

To be honest, if I'm reading a how-to book, I want it to be something that's affordable and something that's possible and doable within any budget. How fair is it to read a book where you can't afford the healthy lifestyle because it requires one to have an exclusive membership to the gym or where you have to shop organic when you can barely pay rent? Is the book doable for anyone? I suppose its a both yes and no, although I feel that the answer is more of a no than a yes.

While reading it, although I appreciated the nuggets of advice, I was wary and uncertain the deeper I dug into it. While I trust that the author has made her research into supplements and she believes that hers are the best thing since sliced bread, I was dubious that I was unable to find information in the book regarding competitor supplements, maybe a bar graph would work, which will make hers sound more credible rather than infomercial like. (She tells us she tries multiple supplements to see which ones are satisfactory, but besides hers, none are. Where is the evidence?) I do wish that she would offer some close alternatives to those who are unable to afford the wealthy lifestyle of proteins and special supplements. (Also, oddly enough, the general prices for those supplements aren't mentioned in the book but instead are on the website, and with few exceptions most of them are over 20 dollars.) I am sorry, but I was a little put off by the infomercial tone of the book trying to sell Lynnfit supplements. Also, there are people who aren't religious, and I don't think the god chapter will make them comfortable. Maybe a spiritual chapter can be used instead of god one?

I'm really unsure of whether or not to recommend this book: while I appreciate learning new details about what will help and what won't, I am a little wary of when the book seems to be an infomercial for something rather than be objective and invite observations or debates.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Blog Tour with Reviews:

Jan 12 -Suko's Notebook – review

Jan 13 - Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway

Jan 13 -Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway

Jan 14 - A Soccer Mom's Book Blog - review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 15 - My Life. One Story at a Time –  guest post / giveaway (review will be posted later)

Jan 15 - Life With Katie – review / giveaway

Jan 15 - Rockin' Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 16 - Laura's Online Interests - review / guest post / giveaway

Jan 16 - Mary-andering Creatively – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 19 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - review / giveaway

Jan 19 - Psychotic State Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 20 - Bless Their Hearts Mom – review / guest post / giveaway

Jan 21 - Hello, my name is Alice – review – guest post

Jan 22 - Cassandra M's Place – review / giveaway

Jan 22 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway

Jan 23 - Tragically Dull Adventures of an Almost Librarian – review / giveaway

Jan 23 - Luxury Reading – review / giveaway

Jan 26 - Roughseasinthemed - review

Jan 27 - Green and Glassie – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 28 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review

Jan 29 - Genuine Jenn – review / giveaway

Jan 30 - Seaside Book Nook – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 30 - Jessica Cassidy – review / guest post / giveaway

Jan 30 - JBronder Book Reviews – review / author interview

TBD - I'd Rather Be At The Beach – review / giveaway
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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Friday, January 23, 2015

G489 Book Review of The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton

Name of Book: The Tiger Queens; The Women of Genghis Khan

Author: Stephanie Thornton

ISBN: 978-0-451-41780-0

Publisher: New American Library

Type of book: Genghis Khan, family, historical fiction, 1171-1248, conquerors, Mongolia, Asia, Europe, Muslim, friendship, relationships, romance, mother/daughter relationship

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

In the late twelfth century, across the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, brilliant, charismatic Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself the Great, or Genghis, Khan. But it is the women who stand beside him who ensure his triumph....

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, gifted Borte becomes an outsider within her clan. When she seeks comfort in the arms of aristocratic traveler Jamuka, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man who agreed to marry her and then abandoned her long before they could wed.

Temujin will return and make Borte his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new kingdom. Their daughter, the fierce Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, will transform her desire for revenge into an unbreakable loyalty. And Sorkhokhtani, a demure widow, will position her sons to inherit the empire when it begins to fracture from within.

In a world lit by fire and ruled by the sword, the tiger queens of Genghis Khan come to depend on one another as they fight and love, scheme and sacrifice, all for the good of their family...and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls.

Characters:

The characters are all distinct and very memorable, and each has their own uniqueness. The author has done a very good job in shaping the personality and not one sounds like the other. There are main characters that are men, but women have a lot larger role than the men. The first woman, Borte, is Genghis Khan's wife and she is talented in cooking and has a quiet power that makes others listen and follow her. She is also a very warm woman who takes care of others and does the best she can for them. Alaqai, the warrior daughter, is very similar to Genghis Khan in personality and behavior. She enjoys being a tomboy and isn't talented in things Borte is talented in. Fatima is a Muslim captive who comes from wealth and has lost people that are very important to her. She is knowledgeable, loyal, a bit vain, strong and resourceful. I have to say that its a bit difficult for me to capture Sorkhokhtani's personality and to know how she is like.

Theme:

All women have different strengths

Plot:

The story was written in first person narrative from four different women: that of Genghis Khan's wife, his warrior daughter, a Persian captive by the name of Fatima and the daughter-in-law Sorkhokhtani. I do feel that the daughter-in-law section should have been a little bit longer because I don't think I really understood what she was doing, other than that a captivating story with four distinct voices that is sure to last a very long time.  What is also unique is that while there is romance, the latter half of the book focuses a lot more on strong friendships between women and how important and pivotal these friendships are to these women.

Author Information:
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Buy the Book

About the Author03_Stephanie Thornton

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” are available from NAL/Penguin. “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” in November 2015.
For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website and blog. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Opinion:

This has been a very long time in coming, but yeah, around the time I got the book is when I got my seasonal job and had to, well, sacrifice a lot of my reading time. Unfortunately too things started to snowball and only now I'm trying to catch up with my readings. Yeah, enough of that and please review. Okay, I really loved the book. Its a rare book where I don't have a single complaint to make about, well, anything really. I loved learning about Genghis Khan and from the time it was going to be a book tour, I wanted to read it. (Reason being that I'm from Russia and I wanted to learn more about the infamous ruler that had such a big impact on the Eastern lands.) This book didn't disappoint in any shape or form or story. The voices of the women are all unique and very memorable, and it definitely answered and explained many things that I didn't understand. All in all, I feel blessed to have spent time with these women and I do hope that I'll get a chance to read about Alexander the Great.

This is a very late review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)