bookcover: 
Mort
Author: 
Terry Pratchett
Series: 
Diskworld
Publisher: 
HarperCollins e-books; Reissue edition
Genre: 
SpeculativeFiction: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

0062225715

Description of Sales Url: 
Available from Amazon
Review: 

Mort is my first forey into the Discworld domain of fantasy author Terry Pratchett, and I found it fascinating. Perhaps it is fate when the teenaged boy, Mort, fails to get a job on his visit to the hiring fair in Sheepridge, and in the dark long after everyone else has gone home, is apprenticed to Death. The book is written in third person, and Death speaks in capital letters without the need for speech.

Death in Discworld is the familiar figure we know, and yet he is not. Because this Death has built a family, now comprised of our protagonist Mort, Death's daughter Ysabell (of the silver hair and eyes and a figure reflecting too many chocolates) and his manservant named Albert (stick-thin, raw-nosed and some two thousand years old.) This family lives in a non-reality outside of time and space "known to the few astrophysicists who have taken really bad acid" in which Death has carved a domain where his human family exists. Death's home contains myriad parts, including a stable where live the finest of Death's live horses, a black garden, a library where resides the books into which each soul is written; a kitchen where Albert cooks meals for Mort and Ysabell.

Before Death begins to teach Mort how he performs his office, and of course, it all goes awry, Mort agrees he wishes to "learn the uttermost secrets of time and space," and is sent on his first job to clean the stable, where he meets Death's horse, Binky.

I can see why Pratchett's books are so popular. Mort is everyman (or perhaps Everyboy) and Death is a surprisingly sympathetic character; one can certainly understand why he would wish to have a vacation. Pratchett's blend of myth and humor is charming like a fairy tale, humorous in a personal way, compassionate, and quirky. I can see why his books are so popular.

bookcover: 
Madam Tulip
Author: 
David Ahern
Series: 
Madam Tulip Mysteries
Publisher: 
Malin Press
Action-Adventure: 
Rating: 
8
ISBN/ASIN: 

B01DPY6FLA

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Madam Tulip by David Ahern is a cozy mystery about an out-of-work actress with her father's psychic gift. When her best friend suggests making money with her psychic gift, Derry creates the role of her life - a fortune teller for the rich and famous. But her first gig as her alter ego, Madam Tulip, is disrupted by murder.

With her best friend framed for the murder, and the life of a super model in jeopardy, Derry must solve the case before it destroys her friends, family, and herself.

I adored Derry, her father Jacko, and her friend Bruce the most. Derry's borage tea addiction, Jacko's dramatic flare, and Bruce's unwavering loyalty kept me going back for more.

Ahern weaves an intriguing tale of murder and mayhem, with quirky heroes and dastardly villains. Madam Tulip is a fun exciting read and I look forward to the next book!

bookcover: 
Doubt and Desire
Author: 
Pamela Loewy
Publisher: 
Pamela Loewy
Rating: 
6
ISBN/ASIN: 

B01B1Y7GDC

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

This is my fist book by Pamela Loewy, so I didn’t know what to expect. The story begins as most thrillers would... Interspersed with subterfuge, lies, deceit, all the usual hallmarks of a good thriller, and then comes the romance, unexpected, and all the more surprising. Sarah and Sterling weren’t looking for love, but it finds them, and they had to figure out whether it's real or not. To follow them on this roller coaster ride is both exhilarating and nerve racking, “You look like Zeus preparing to pitch a thunderbolt.” Lovers of thriller and romance will have a bit of both, in Sterling and Sarah’s story, as they struggle to come to grips with their unique situation.

bookcover: 
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin’ On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Fiction: 
Juvenile_: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Description of Sales Url: 
Available from Amazon
Review: 

This is my second review of the book An Average Curse, Book One. I was alerted that extensive editing had been done, and could I re-read it to see if it improved. Boy has it ever. This book is something you will find yourself living in. A rare treat to find these days. You will feel the mist of New Zealand and ride the Moa Bird as you follow the learnings and mishaps of Flynn and her dearest friend Hazel. The Ninth daughter of the Ninth daughter, she was expected to be one of the most powerful Witches and help save the land from darkness. But from the time of her toddler days to her first class as an a spell caster in training, not even the most simple of spells could be done by her. She was quickly rumored to be nothing more than a Watcher. A person who can see others do their spells, but never herself. To help, her friend Hazel tries to cover up her folly by doing magic enough for two. Then they meet Po a young man, who was very clumsy except with his carvings and haphazard ways of doing things. Can the three of them get though their first sessions of learning spells and rescue their home from the beginnings of evil magic.

I rarely give out 10’s for stories, but if I could, I would give this a 20, its that good.
Nancy Louise
May 20, 2016


By Katherine MK Mitchell

Does cursing have value in the world of literature or in life? Is there “good cursing” and “bad cursing”?

The use of language has beauty and purpose. If you’re angry, you curse, you scream, you punch.

bookcover: 
The Hill bookcover
Author: 
Karen Bass
Publisher: 
Pajama Press
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
SpeculativeFiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-1-77278-002-4

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

In Karen Bass's The Hill,When the private plane Jared insisted on riding crashes, he is rescued by Kyle, a Cree boy who ought to be wearing a cape, given the circumstances. Jared is an unlikable spoiled rich kid flying from unlikable parent A to unlikable parent B. Jared is a city boy, completely unfamiliar with nature. Luckily for them both, Kyle is his polar opposite. Jared's refusal to listen to Kyle's advice forces them to climb the hill, a place forbidden by Kyle's Kokum (grandmother) and cross into the terrifying territory of legend, where they are stalked by the relentless Wihtiko, a virulently carnivorous creature out of the Cree spirit world.

All I can say is that this story works on many levels, and even if it is speculative fiction, has a ring of truth. Jared's journey occurs because he is forced out of his insular rich kid kingdom to a strange wild place where he must confront evil. He must rise to the challenge. If he gives in, he and Kyle will both die. We share his experience as he pushes past his boundaries, and struggles to survive.

I especially like how Karen Bass captures the voice and personalities of two boys who are polar opposites. Not only does the story show how they come together, it also shows how, in many ways, the boys are not as dissimilar as they believe. Jared has both of his parents, though he is essentially so apart from them he might as well be an orphan; and while Kyle has only his grandparents, he is so deeply steeped in his culture, he knows his place in the universe in a way few people do. The setting is rustic; the boys' relationship is dynamic; and the monstrosity hunting them is quite as terrifying as any creature out of a horror movie. Gripping story.

I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many give them credit for. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. They “cut to the chase” and strip away the fabric to understand the individual stitch. In other words, they simplify the complex to get to the heart of things.

bookcover: 
End Time book cover
Author: 
Daniel Greene
Publisher: 
Rune Publishing LLC
Genre: 
Anthology_: 
Rating: 
8
ISBN/ASIN: 

0692489266

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

End Time by Daniel Greene is a zombie packed horror story full of death, violence, duty and love. I am a fan of horror and action so when I read the summary for End Time I was excited to dive into the story.

It starts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Joseph Jackowksi is studying a disease outbreak in the area. But when the infected in the hospital tent start to eat the staff, they flee to the US Embassy for protection. The outbreak erupts into a violent war between the living and undead, and nowhere is safe.

A team of counter terrorist agents is dispatched to the country to bring the Embassy staff back home. But the agents must fight through hordes of walking dead to complete their mission.

End Time is a fun and fast-paced read. It follows the main characters and several supporting ones through their struggles against the death that threatens them at every turn. The tension is high, the deaths are violent and gruesome and I could not put the book down.

Personally, I feel it could use an additional edit. I find some sentences challenging to read due to the overuse of names and the flow of words. Despite that, I enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to the next one.

bookcover: 
An Average Curse
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Sales Url: 
Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Amazon (when available)
Review: 

Most of our magical stories tend to have their roots going back to the great Black Forest that now resides in Germany, or the Misty Isles of the United Kingdom and even some from the Icy Scandinavia of Northern Europe to the Southern Isles of Greece and Italy. There is however in this book, a new land largely ignored or rarely studied enough to include the ingenious people outside of colonial history and imposed languages. I introduce to you, the Maori people. Long unknown by English speaking people in terms of their indigenous cultures. In this story you will find many of the standard magic and myths among the mist. From there An Average Curse, Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn

A child, the ninth daughter of the ninth daughter is brought up in the prophesy of being the one who would heal the riff between their two great nations on the small Island that is cut off from the rest of the world by a mist. The Riff is great enough that one says these nations are not brought together, will foretell and cause the end off all. This is a great deal to put on the shoulders of a young girl who from birth has been unable to show even the skills of the most simple spells. As if her magic was totally mute. But is it? As things move along and the time comes for her to pass magic test to advance in her learning, things are not all what they seem.

Fantasy has been growing to include ingenious people and their language to give more authentic texture to the stories an the root of all magic which is in the people, the land, and the sacred names by the people who have long live in its mist. The only reason I have given it less than ten, is some more editing is needed to correct some typos and sentence structures.

Nancy Louise
April 8, 2016

bookcover: 
Best of My Love
Author: 
Susan Mallery
Series: 
Fools Gold #20
Publisher: 
Harlequin
Rating: 
6
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780373789191

Description of Sales Url: 
Purchase from Harlequin
Review: 

Best of my love by Susan Mallery is number 20 in the Fools Gold series, so readers should have a pretty good idea what they're going to get when they open the book. Here's the premise: Susan has lost at love, and is looking for a man she can trust.

The story begins in Aidan's point of view, as he is sitting in a cafe with a hang-over, recuperating from a bad experience with the opposite sex. He had already decided to handle his life by not getting into a relationship with a local woman, and to keep his sexual adventures to tourists. His history now is a bunch of one-night-stands with tourists. But his strategy had backfired when confronted by a tourist who had come back wanting more—and he couldn't even recall her name. He decides to resolve the problem by eliminating relationships with women, all-together. He doesn't want to be in a relationship, but also, he does not want to be "that guy."

Shelby is a local baker. The town is on the verge of a festival; and the festivals provide a key market for Shelby's cookies. Like Aidan, Shelby is living with unhappy baggage. Her mother died of cancer the year before. Her father had beaten her mother and her. She'd grown to adulthood unable to pick men who would commit. So now, after conferring with a friend, she decides that she is going to try testing male waters by having a friendship with a man. The man she picks is Aidan. So they have their (first of many) talk, and she floats the idea that they could learn to be friends. She could learn from him not to be afraid, and he could learn to see a woman as more than a booty call. He accepts the deal.

The rest of the story is the development of that friendship.

I am sure that for those who have kept up with the Fools Gold series, they are familiar with the landscape, and the characters. As a newcomer, I can't say if this is like visiting old friends, or if the series has worn thin. Being new to the series, I found it entertaining enough. It was obvious when there were snapshots of characters from other books called back to show off a pregnancy or other development—the retrospective tour of Fools Gold (the town and characters) for series fans.

I think what annoys me most about so many books is that there's some stupid decision that a character could have, should have and if possessing a single grain of sense, would have avoided. There was none of that stupidity here, so that is good. And I also enjoyed Charlie, the bichon frise. I am a sucker for a dog character. Best of my love is not written badly, and is a good representative example of the genre. Shelby and Aidan encounter some atypical events, confrontations, social games, and not to mention an intervention. They are both good sports and resilient of spirit. There were no serious complications. I'd even be willing to read the next book if only to see what is going to happen next-which is saying a lot when you look at the stack of books I'm supposed to be reading.

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