Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are the woods really haunted? Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth #amreading #mondayblogs

I was given a copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

This is a YA paranormal novel. Honoria is a fifteen year old girl who lost her parents in the attack on the World Trade Center and subsequently moves from New York City with her brother, aunt and uncle to a small town in rural New York. This particular small town has a legend that says the surrounding woods are haunted by a witch and once you enter them you cannot leave. Several people have gone missing over the years, especially children. Their disappearances are attributed to the witch in the woods.

Honoria is a good kid, and tries hard to keep her life together despite her incredible grief, but she has trouble making friends in this new place.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

End of the world in Ireland? Free Falling by Susan Kiernan-Lewis #amreading #mondayblogs

I honestly don't remember how I came across this book, but it is dystopian and set in Ireland, so I thought it might be a good read. It starts off with a two parents and their ten year old son, all of whom are addicted to technology - like so many other families today -  off on a holiday to rural Ireland. Then KABOOM - somebody drops and bomb - and all of a sudden technology doesn't work. None of it. No cars, no electronics, not even the electrical grid. 

Luckily for them, the house they are holidaying at in BFE Ireland has a wood cook stove and a fireplace and a whole crapload of supplies in the root cellar, and best yet, it has horses, sheep, chickens etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cold-hearted killer on the loose! Cold Heart by Chandler McGrew #amreading #bookreview

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

What intrigued me about Cold Heart? When I was asked to read it the first thing I did was check out the sample on Amazon because I wasn't sure if this was something I was really interested in, but the sample really made me want to keep reading, so I said yes.

It is set primarily in a tiny, remote village in Alaska which is pretty isolated from the outside world. The only way in is via the weekly supply plane. This village is so small that transportation is by foot; only the store owner uses anything else and that is merely a quad bike. There are no phones, except for a public one at the tiny store. This is the perfect isolated setting for a madman's killing spree.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is it the end of the world??? The Librarians by Glenn Cooper #amreading #bookreview

Glenn Cooper has a confusing habit of changing the titles of his books after they are released. The first book in this series was called The Seventh Son of the Seventh Son, but was later changed to Library of the Dead. Now this one has two names - The Keepers of the Library and The Librarians. Ok, whatever.

I read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them, but I thought that was it. The series was done. On a fluke I decided to see if there were anymore and found this one. I wasn't sure I wanted to read another Will Piper book, but when I saw that it took place just before the horizon was due I got curious as to what the author would do with the horizon. (If you don't know what I mean by the horizon, you must read books one and two.)

So I picked up this one and found there to be just as much action and intrigue as the others. This is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The man behind the zombie! Dying for Her by Kory Shrum @koryshrum #amreading #bookreview

A few days ago I told you that I had received from Kory Shrum, one of my favorite authors, an advanced review copy of her latest Jesse Sullivan novel titled Dying for Her. I had previously read and loved the first two books in this series, Dying for a Living and Dying by the Hour. (Click on the book title to see my review.) I was so excited I couldn't wait to read it and I dove right in.

The first two books in this series centered on Jesse Sullivan, a young woman with a troubled past who makes a living by dying in the place of others in an alternate reality in which some members of society revive on their own after they die. In that reality when your death has been predicted you can pay someone to die for you in your stead. Jesse is that someone and she is assisted by her best friend and former lover Ally. Her boyfriend Lane complicates things, and Brinkley is Jesse's handler - he sets up her jobs and keeps her safe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Twofer! Library of the Dead AND Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper #bookreview

I know. I've been neglecting you again. Sorry about that. But to make it up to you, this review is a twofer. I'm reviewing both Library of the Dead (originally published as Secret of the Seventh Son) and its sequel Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper. These two were loaned to me by a friend (and I've just purchased the third book in this series).

AND I have something else for you to look forward too! My friend and one of my very favorite authors, Kory Shrum, has just given me an advanced review copy of the latest book in her Jesse Sullivan series titled Dying for Her which I can't wait to read and share with you very soon. I've loved the first two book in that series so I am very eager to read this one. But I digress.

Back to the Libary of the Dead and Book of Souls.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ancient Aliens??? Origins by Mark Henrikson #amreading #aliens

You all know that I am a big fan of the History Channel series Ancient Aliens, right? I don't believe it all, but I find it fun and interesting. So when you read the blurb for this book below, you will see why I had to read it. It hits upon everything the show is about in a fictionalized fashion. How fun is that?

This is book one of a series which focuses on a man named Hastelloy who claims to be 10,000 years old and from another solar system. Much of the book is Hastelloy telling his story to a psychiatrist, but there are also a few other points of view, namely Mark who is an NSA operative trying to thwart a space probe, and Professor Russell who has discovered a secret hidden chamber under the Sphinx in Egypt.

Hastelloy and his team have crash landed on Earth 5000 years ago during a battle with another alien species, the Alpha. The Alpha have also crash landed on Earth. They just happen to land in Egypt during the building of the Great Pyramid.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Henry - Apocalyptic Flash Fiction by A.B. Shepherd #amwriting #flashfiction

It started nine days ago. Everything just stopped working. All technology, everything that required eletricity. Even the cars.

Rumor has it terrorists hacked into the electrical grid and blew up the communication satellites, but I still see satellites among the stars at night. Another rumor says it was a solar superstorm, but I didn't see any aurora. Some say it was a series of EMP bombs, but I never heard any explosions. The rumors are endless, but the result is the same.

Monday, February 16, 2015

John Carter! A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs #MondayBlogs #amreading #JohnCarter

Sometimes I think I must be living under a rock, you know?

I wanted to read some classic sci-fi and some of the old classics have been remastered into inexpensive ebooks, so I picked up The Princess of Mars, published in 1912 - that's right, over 100 years ago -  by the acclaimed author of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

It's all about a man named John Carter, who is a gold miner shortly after the US Civil War and is somehow transported to Mars where he meets all manner of Martian people and animals, and ends up involved in their wars, winning the hand of a Princess, and living there for ten years.

As I neared the end of the book, I thought to myself, "You know, there was a movie out a couple of years ago called John Carter. I never saw it, but I wonder if it is in anyway related to this book?"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mother Nature's Art - The Crystal Cave of Naica #crystalcave #wondersoftheworld

Photo Courtesy of Wikiipedia
I'm always looking for inspiration for my stories, whether it is settings, or plot twists, or key elements. I recently stumbled upon something I didn't know existed and it is AMAZING. Mother Nature is arguably the best artist that ever existed.

She created the Cueva de los Cristales, aka the amazing Giant Crystal Cave, 980 feet below the surface in Naica, Mexico.

Usually you think of caves as being cold places. Not this one. It's hot, with temperatures reaching up to 136 degrees fahrenheit (58 degrees celcius), and humidity of 90% to 99%.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A must read? Red Rising by Pierce Brown #amreading #Mondayblogs


This book was mentioned on a message board I frequent. The commenters were very excited because it's sequel, Golden Son, had just been released and were praising Red Rising to high heaven. So I took the bait having to know what all the fuss was about, and after reading it's intriguing blurb I bought my own copy. Guess I like it when the protagonist finds out his/her entire life has been a lie. Hehe.

I had a hard time getting into it at first. I kept wondering what all the fuss was about. It was tedious reading, so many heirarchies and odd names and terms in the world-building Brown does makes it a hard slog. Until you get used to it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My dream worlds collide by A.B. Shepherd #dreaming #felting #aliens

Do you ever remember your dreams? I often do when I first wake up and I must say, for the most part I really love my subconscious imagination. I rarely have nightmares or bad dreams. Most of the time my dreams are like watching a movie. Usually though, my dreams fade quickly and I can't recall them for long, but when I have one I find interesting I try to jot down key details before I lose it completely.

Where am I going with this? Good question. Please read on.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A female world! Khe by Alexes Razevich #amreading #Mondayblogs

Khe is probably more in the fantasy realm than the science fiction realm, although it is listed as both. It is also listed as dystopian, which in my opinion it really isn't. It's not specifically a Young Adult novel, but there is nothing objectionable in it.

Khe is the title character, a doumana (female), part of a humanoid race in another world. This race isn't like the humans of Earth. They lay eggs, have red skin, no hair at all on their bodies, their emotions show on their necks, and they have a back toe. 

In their world the doumanas and males live separately and come together only for Resonance (mating) once a year. Most females either live in the city or in farming communities, but there are also travelling villages that move around selling and trading goods.  This book is set entirely in the female part of this world.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Not feeling it - South of Darkness by John Marsden #amreading #MondayBlogs

In May of 2011, long before I was writing book reviews, I discovered John Marsden. He is the award winning and brilliant Australian author of The Tomorrow Series and The Ellie Chronicles. The Tomorrow Series starts with Tomorrow, When the War Began, which was made into a movie a few years ago.

This series is set in modern day and revolves around six teenagers who are camping in the bush when Australia is attacked and overrun by an unidentified enemy. The teenagers return to town to find all of their families and everyone they know has been rounded up in a concentration camp. They must not only survive on their own, but they also do their best to fight the enemy as best they can.

It is a fantastic Young Adult series and I can't say enough great things about it.

South of Darkness is Marsden's first foray into writing a book for adults, or so I've read. It is the historical story of young Barnaby Fletch, an orphan growing up on the mean streets of London in the late 1700s, and later transported to Australia as a convict.

The story is told from a first person perspective. With Barnaby as the narrator we only read his name a handfull of times throughout the book. It was very easy to forget it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A whirl and a twirl #spindling

Finished single ply yarn
Most of you know that in addition to writing, and reading, I like to do a little crafting from time to time.

I know I've been working on it for a long time because I first showed it to you in December in my I Haven't Forgotten You post, however, I am pleased to report that I just finished spinning my fourth top on my drop spindle.

Unlike the previous attempts I showed you in that earlier post, this is the first one I've managed to spin that is on the thin side, like normal yarn. The thicker yarns are considered to be art yarns. I am very pleased with how this has turned out.

I haven't plied it yet - still trying to decide whether I want to ply it on itself, or with something else. I think I'd like to ply it with something that is close to the bluish color in it - but you have to look close to see it - and maybe something shiny.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Flash Fiction: Mother Serpent by A.B. Shepherd #MondayBlogs #FlashFiction

This story was inspired by my friend Brian Long. I don't think it is quite what you were hoping for, but thank you Brian. 

The Land is my mother, my mother is the land...Aboriginal Proverb

She goes by many names and by no name at all. Each tribe call her something different, but in every tribal language the word translates to Mother. She is very old. No one can remember a time when she wasn't old. She is honored for her wisdom, yet no one is aware of just who she really is.

From time to time she travels. She wanders from tribe to tribe and speaks to each in their own language. Each tribe believes she is theirs. Their own tribal elder. The oldest member of their tribe. They have no doubt. And each tribe is correct.

For she is that and more. She is Mother and she is Rainbow Serpent. She has taken human form to enable her to live amongst her own chosen people.

She created the land, the water, the mountains, the plants and animals. She is the architect of all and older than time itself.

Mother has been seen the signs for years now. The signs that the time has come again.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Great YA sci-fi! Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh @trishaleighkc #amreading

Okay, yes. This is another one I picked up when trolling for dystopian books with aliens. Turns out it is also YA. Don't hate on me for that, k? I can't help it that no one seems to be writing books for adults with this criteria. At least not ones without zombies.

Whispers in Autumn is the first book in a four part series. When Althea (our heroine) finds out she is Dissident my first thought was, of course, Divergent by Veronica Roth where Tris is also not like the people of her town. But this book is not a new take on Divergent. Other than hiding the fact that she's Dissident from everyone, Althea and Tris don't have much in common.

Althea is not a Dauntless hidden in Abnegation clothing. She's a scared teenager who has trouble controlling her emotions, and no clue why she jumps to different seasons, and different families, in the blink of an eye. All she knows is she's not like everyone else and she has no idea why. It leaves her isolated and lonely. Then she meets Lucas and he's not like everyone else either.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teen sci-fi romance - Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt #amreading #bookreview

This is another one that I picked up while trolling Amazon for alien fiction. It is not dystopian, but it is also a YA (Young Adult) novel. Some of you might find it strange that as a 53 year old I still enjoy YA books. I just do. I'm not sure why.

But while that is true this one is even more YA than the book in my previous review. At least I think it is a bit less suited for an adult audience.

There was a lot to really enjoy in this book that was suited for an adult and teen audience, like the science-fiction parts, the political parts. But it was heavy on the teen romance aspect, and it was fairly predictable.

It's really a Princess Diaries meets Romeo and Juliet (but not nearly so much feuding and tragedy) kind of book with Martians thrown into the mix.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A fun ride! Planet Z by Kristen Middleton @kmiddle08 #amreading #YAscifi

I was cruising Amazon the other day, searching for a dystopian novel with aliens in it to read. This is one that popped up in my search. I don't usually take advantage of Amazon's "sample" feature when I go to buy books there - and really I should. It would weed out some that are not quite what I'm looking for. This time I actually did read the sample and it quickly hooked me.

It's a Young Adult book, suitable for children over the age of 11. I wasn't specifically looking for a Young Adult book, but hey if it intrigues me I'll read YA everytime.

It was only just released on New Year's Eve 2014 and it's a short book at only 228 pages. I read it in a single sitting and I honestly never wanted to put it down.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Flash Fiction: Balancing Act by A.B. Shepherd #flashfiction #amwriting

Choose wisely. The fate of the world is in your hands.

These thoughts echoed through her head constantly. How could so much responsibility fall to one so young? She was only ten years old, but wise beyond her years. Even so, the consequences of making the wrong choice were too dire to comtemplate.

Choose one brother over the other. She loved them both. Had always loved them both. They shared her blood.  But they were powerful. Their battle for dominance grew stronger with each passing day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A cautionary tale? Rubberman's Cage by Joseph Picard #amreading #dystopian

There are many ways I find out about new books. Sometimes I just troll Amazon. Often I ask friends for recommendations. I read newsletters. And then sometimes, as in this case, I just see discussions and decide to check out the book in question.

With Rubberman's Cage, one of my friends was organizing a book tour for this author and novel. I could have been a part of the tour but chose not to because I really didn't want to have to deal with time constraints and whether or not I felt like finishing the book, but the book looked interesting and wasn't too costly (my frugality wasn't offended, haha) so I picked it up to read at my leisure. It just happens to be the last book I read in 2014, finishing it up on New Year's Eve.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ding dong the year is dead! My top 5 books of 2014. #amreading #top5books

So 2014 is dead and gone and it's a brand new year. I always like to do a wrap up of my favorite books from the previous year and share them with all of you. There were many books that I rated four stars, but surprisingly only five full length books that I gave a full five stars.

If you click on the title links you can find my review of each book as it was written right after I'd read them. I find it a bit interesting that the majority of these are Young Adult (YA) books. Huh.

What were your favorite books of 2014? Please tell me in the comments.

In no particular order my top five favorite books I read in 2014 are: