Monday, May 29, 2017

Twisters and Textbooks (Sunset Plains Romance) by Lindzee Armstrong | A Book Review

Twisters and Textbooks by Lindzee Armstrong | A Book Review

I have actually read this story before. This was part of an anthology--Sweet and Sassy Antohology: Rainy Kisses by six authors. I decided to read this again because I thought the one in the anthology was a condensed version. It turned out it was a full version already and I did not miss anything in the story.

I am a bit weird. Weird in the sense that I don't want to read and watch again books and movies that I love. It happened very rarely that I would have to do a repeat. I have this notion that if I reread a story or watched a movie the second or for the nth time that it will lose its magic. The same magic that made me love it the first time around. Well, I have actually proven that it did not do so for those that I really really love. But for those that were just good enough, I don't think they will have the same attention that I paid the first time. So, as much as possible I try to not do a repeat. And if I do, it was hell of a story or a movie to merit a second or third effort from me.

In this case, I think this book merits its own review. My review for the anthology was for the whole collection and I did not cite specifics. I did not even say which story I liked most. The collection was a very good one and I gave it 4/5 stars. 

How was this book for me the second time around? It was not as delightful as the first time I read. It just meant that I was already familiar with the story and I kind-of anticipated the next scenes. This is exactly what I meant why I try to avoid re-watching and rereading. The element of surprise and giddy anticipation was taken out of the equation since I have already read the book and can still vividly remember how the whole tale goes and ends. I think it is a good thing that I can still vividly remember the details of the story, after all I read this first in October 2016. Being able to ferret out the details from my memory after over a hundred books I have read just meant that this book actually somehow made an impression on me. I admit, I have a very keen memory though it's not really foolproof.

For the mere fact, that I can close my eyes and remember the next events in the story before actually reading that chapter, was enough for me to garner this tale a 4/5 tornado funnel clouds. I did enjoy reading this book. The scene when the two former lovers (Lauren and Tanner) met again after four years was my favorite scene. It was ripe with tension and awkwardness that I can't help but feel it too. All in all, this was an easy and sweet read. Good for a summer read. Perfect while on a swing under the shade of a tree by the beach. The sound of waves a relaxing background music to this light read.




It hadn't felt like closure--it had felt like ripping bandages off wounds that were still as raw as the day Lauren created them.
- Lindzee Armstrong, Twisters and Textbooks - 



Thank you again, Lindzee Armstrong for the copy. 

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang | A Book Review

Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by Hildi Kang | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I have always been fascinated with the Silk Road. In fact, it's part of my bucket list. I dream to one day walk, maybe just a part of the long stretch of the Silk Road and feel how it was like in its glorious days. Caravans and a mix of various cultures utilizing the Silk Road as a way to journey into other parts of Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe. It's the traveler in me that is so drawn to this famous and fabled highway.

This book is about a caravan on the Silk Road. Yes, that magic word--Silk Road got me to sign up for this book. And I am glad I did because this was a very good story. This was an adventure I would not want to miss. This was as close as I can get to be on the Silk Road.

As obvious as in the title, the main character is named Chengli. A young Chinese boy of thirteen. A son of an Imperial Inspector whom he never got to know. Chengli, just like I am, was so drawn to the desert where his father traveled and did his work. The wind is like calling him and asking him to go and find his father. The vast desert is waiting for him. The call was so persistent that he can no longer ignore it and he finally summoned its call. Hence, the adventures of Chengli with the caravan across the great Gobi Desert and along the Silk Road started.

This story was a good and easy fix to my long dream of exploring the famous Silk Road. Yet, the effects are lasting. A very well-written adventure with all the sights, sounds and colors of a large caravan traversing the fabled stretch of this desert route. I was treated to an amazing scene. A satisfying journey and a very touching story of a young boy hoping to find a piece of himself that he lost in the hot and cruel sands of the desert. This is like a coming-of-age story of Chengli. Finding his heritage and knowing the father he never get to meet. A story of a boy, almost but not yet quite a man, heading the call of the desert wind to come and find the answers to his questions about his family. And he did get his answers.

I give this story 5/5 Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert. Chengli's grand adventure of a lifetime was also a great Silk Road experience for me. I was transported to the picturesque villages dotting the Silk Road. Everything was described in detail that I was able to picture myself right there with Chengli keeping the donkeys and camels in line. It was like I was there in the market too, looking for wares that hit my fancy. This was a very entertaining and touching story for all ages. A fantastic read.


If you take from someone a thing they took from someone else...are you stealing...or rescuing it to give it back?
- Hildi Kang, Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan - 



Thank you again, Netgalley for the copy.


King of the Stars (Stella and Sol #3) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review

King of the Stars (Stella and Sol #3) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is the third installment of the Stella and Sol series. I have read the first two books. Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the review links.

It took me a while to write a review for this story. Not because it was hard but because I had issues with getting everything ready for this post. No, I did not have any issues reading the book in time for the release. It had more to do with coming up with the picture of the book. You see, my review process involves taking an Instagram-worthy photo of the book as the main cover for the review post. Without it, my review would not be complete. Only in really extreme and absolutely necessary cases would I do that. But since, this is not a blog tour, I do not have any cover photo to put in here. And you can just imagine what a bore the post will look without the photo. I think part of the uniqueness or identity of this blog are my photos. A post just can't do without them. So, that at least sums up my review post process.

King of the Stars. This is definitely a book with a lot of surprises. Revelation after revelation is being put out. My head was dizzy with all the fuss that just kept on coming. And this book made me scream. Yes, scream really hard because I just can't believe what the author has done. By the end of this book, I was shaking my head and saying this can't be true, over and over again. This is really crazy. This can't be happening!

On my review of the last book--Prince of the Moon, I said that Zwaantie will definitely marry a prince from Stella whom she loves and that exactly happened in this book. Yes! The author hinted it and it was bound to happen the way things were going in book two. I was so happy that it turned the way as I expected it. But...there were a lot of things that I absolutely did not see coming. They were so not written in between the lines. Totally no clue as to them being part of this story. I was shocked and I was so stunned that I might have stayed glued to where I was when I was reading the last part of this book. I think I was frozen for about five minutes trying to grasp the reality that something terribly wrong happened in the story that I just finished. Everything was going well. Everyone was trying to help Zwaantie hunt down the person who was trying to kill her. How had it gone awry? Miss Loth, what have you done?

Up to now, I still can't move on from the ending of this book. I just can't believe it. I think the author is being mean to Zwaantie and to the readers. I don't think I liked how this story ended. No! No! But, having read Miss Loth's works for a while now and at least being familiar with the way her stories go. I am pretty sure that what she did in the last part of this story was for a great purpose. I would like to believe that. I really hope so. Something bigger is about to happen in the next installment and I hope my heart could take it. As I have said in my last review, this story just gets more complicated as it goes. There's no telling what other tricks and heartbreaking surprises Miss Loth has up her sleeve. 

I give the book 5/5 deadly arrows. In spite of being heartbroken after what happened in this book, this still deserved full marks. Yes, the author pulled a very neat and unexpected trick coming up with that ending for this third installment. It was a very brave stunt which implied that more stunning and dizzying tornado of events are going to unfold. Hopefully, no more heartbreaking surprises. Please...


And because of the stunt you pulled, I am now adding you to my favorite authors list. Even though I was crushed, you very much deserved it.  King of the Stars had me so involved. It was like I am a citizen of Stella or Sol and I have a stake in everything that goes in this book and in the kingdom. Whatever happened to Zwaantie seemed like had a direct effect on me. This series just gets me more and more entranced. Falling even more ensnared in its spells, politics and deceit. And I have been gloriously enjoying the journey so far, except how this book ended. I just can't stress that enough. Congratulations Miss Loth and welcome to my favorite authors list!

Everything was at a stand still. The world was holding its breath, just waiting to exhale and allow everything to fall down. The future was grimmer than ever.
- Kimberly Loth, King of the Stars - 

 

Thank you again, Kimberly Loth for the ARC.


Other books in the series:



The Lightning Luminary by RS McCoy | Blog Tour



Title: The Lightning Luminary
Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Urban Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Kit Foster Design
Now Available



Talia Stanley may look like the typical wealthy New Yorker, but she's hidden her secrets for more than a thousand years. One of the last surviving members of an ancient race called Luminaries, Talia has suppressed her ability to control lightning in exchange for safety. 

And for generations it worked. Talia's hermit lifestyle protected her from strong Luminaries that want her power. All that changed the day Mason Rathbone walked into her life. 

A good-looking artist, Mason is just the guy to get Talia out of her penthouse apartment and show her what it means to live again. But just as she starts to get comfortable, Talia gets sucked right back into her vicious past.







Buy Links:









To read my review of The Lightning Luminary, click here.







Dr. Hershey’s waiting room was as colorful and bright as she was. The walls were the color of fruit punch with large white polka dots. A massive swatch from Minnie Mouse’s wardrobe. The left side of the room was covered in large, multi-colored waffle pieces, with a tiny Crayola table with chairs, a box of toys, and a wall of kiddie books.

Mason froze mid-step. Clearly he was in the wrong place.

“Come on in, Mr. Rathbone.” Someone called from the depths of the office labyrinth. Mason followed the voice until he found Dr. Hershey buried behind a desk. It was cluttered with stacks of files and papers, binders and books, with jars of candy mixed in. Her pen scratched against a yellow legal pad, her brow knitted with concern over whatever it was she wrote.

“I thought I was in the wrong—”

She pointed her pen around the room without looking up. “My associate, Dr. Lemore, is a child psychologist. It helps them feel comfortable before their appointments.”

Mason looked around her white office. Various degrees and certificates hung on the walls. A few awards, even. Apparently, the sweet, little Dr. Hershey was quite accomplished. “And what about you? You pass out chocolates?”

Dr. Hershey reached into the nearest jar and fetched a fun-size Twix bar. Without looking, she tossed it at his chest. Mason caught it and smiled.

She put down her pen and leaned back into her chair. The new distribution of weight sank the chair back toward the ground. It almost looked as if she might tilt over backward. “How are you feeling today?”

Mason shrugged and thrust his hands into his pant pockets. In fact, he woke up rested and relaxed. He actually slept in a bit thanks to his appointment. “My brain didn’t try to kill itself, so I guess I’m feeling fine. And a nice lady gave me a chocolate.” He winked at her.

Dr. Hershey’s cheek twisted into a half-hearted smile. From the lively giggles of yesterday to this morning’s dreary mood, Mason could hardly believe it was the same person.

“You okay, doc?”

She nodded and put on a fake smile he was sure she used often. “One of my patients committed suicide last night. I was just going over her file—” Mason swallowed as Dr. Hershey rubbed her eyes. “But now, you’re here.” This time, the smile was easier, less forced.

“Aw, thanks doc.” His bashful act was dampened by the mention of her tragedy. Mason felt compelled to add, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

She nodded her thanks. “Who have you lost, Mr. Rathbone?”

The question made him uncomfortable, as if Dr. Hershey had known to ask. It wasn’t often he talked about his past, especially not with people he’d just met. Still, this was his doctor. “My mom. Breast cancer three years ago. My dad and brother when I was in high school.”

“Which explains why you have no next of kin.”

Mason thought that was a very polite way of saying he was an orphan.

“Any change in your condition?”

“Nope. Slept pretty well. And it’s only been twelve hours since I saw you at Sinai…”

“Have you tried using the microwave yet?”

“No, but—” Too late Mason realized she teased him. He shook his finger in the air and chuckled. “That’s a good one, doc.”




Rachel McCoy is a Texan living in New Jersey. Between binge-watching MTV reality shows and baking gluten-free treats, she writes paranormal fantasy and science fiction novels.

She is the self-published author of the Sparks Saga trilogy, The Alder Tales series, and The Extraction Files. Back when she lived in the real world, Rachel earned a degree in marine biology, which contributed to her die-hard love of manta rays. 



To connect with RS McCoy (or swap recipes), visit her on her website (www.rsmccoyauthor.com) or check out her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AuthorRSMcCoy). You can also join her newsletter to receive release updates, free stories, and bonus extras (http://eepurl.com/YItp1). 


Author Links: 




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Unrequited Alice by Sarah Louise Smith | A Book Review

Unrequited Alice by Sarah Louise Smith | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this book from Netgalley. Yes, the title got me curious. Aren't you? Unrequited? 

This story isn't like the adventures the more popular Alice had. This is a bit sad and you will find yourself empathizing with Alice, especially if you have had an unrequited love. Yes, this is about unrequited love. Have you had one? I think, once in our lifetime, each of us will have to go through this type of unnecessary yet unavoidable emotion. It is not unheard of nor is it a phenomenal occurrence. Every person will at least have this kind of heartache or a recipient of this unwanted or undeserved feeling.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Alice here did fall but not into a rabbit hole but fall or to be correct, fell in love with the fiance of her best friend. What is more tragic than that? There is. Here it comes. As it turned out, she fell again for another guy. This time a guy who had become her best friend yet does not want to fall in love with her. Ouch! This seemed like a hopeless case right or is Alice the hopeless one?

In more ways than one, my heart bleeds as Alice's heart was broken, twice. I can relate to her experiences in some ways though I have not specifically fallen in love with my best friend's boy friend. Honestly, I did fell in love with a guy who I had gotten very close to but when our friends started teasing us, he admitted that he was not ready for another relationship. Believable, because he just found out that his long-time girlfriend has found another love and she never even bothered to tell him. He told me that he will be ready in two years. I was not really hopeful and I did not wait around for two years to find out. I left and worked in another city for seven years. When I moved back, I bumped into him and it was just like the song says--"I remember the boy but I don't remember the feeling, anymore."

It is really difficult and excruciating moving on from an unrequited love. Keeping that feeling hidden alone is enough to induce a coronary, much less proclaiming it only to be rejected. That is way more than double jeopardy. More like double collateral damage. I am not sure if I would still have a heart left after that. Just like what happened to Alice. But then, just like they say, everything happens for a reason and for its own season. Timing. There is such a thing as perfect timing. There are people who come into our lives for a purpose and for a specific time. Some of them are not meant to stay. Or meant to be.

As sad as the title is, this isn't all a tear-jerker. This story will also make you hopeful and not scared to fall in love. Yes, fall in love again. Hopefully, not unrequited the next time. This is a true example that the best relationships often start with friendships. I would love to fall in love with my best friend. Sadly, no (male) one matches that designation currently or for the last ten years. Maybe, I will have to make one. After all, relationships are not all measured by the length of time you've known each other (like in the story) but by the depth and intensity of the experiences you have shared and battled through together. There is still hope, yet.

I give this book 5/5 stunning pictures of Niagara Falls. Everyone is powerless against love. It's like stopping a raging waterfall. Like the saying goes, better to have loved than to have not loved at all. Not being in a relationship doesn't mean, you won't have your heart broken. There are no guarantees, especially if you have an unrequited love. 



What I love about this book is that the author perfectly captured and described in detail the exact vulnerability and heartache anyone has to go through in an unrequited love. The pain, the what if's, the maybe's and the daydreams are all vividly rounded up that you can't help but relive the pain of your own exhausting, tormenting and harsh unrequited experience, making Alice a kindred-spirit. 

And you'll never know that being in unrequited love is a heart-breaking, soul-destroying thing.
- Sarah Louise Smith, Unrequited Alice -  



Thanks again, Netgalley for the copy. I am looking forward to reading more heartfelt stories from Miss Sarah Louise Smith.



The Lightning Luminary (The Luminary Chronicles #1) by RS McCoy | A Book Review

The Lightning Luminary (The Luminary Chronicles #1) by RS McCoy | A Book Review by iamnotbookworm!


This is another series by RS McCoy. I have become an avid fan after I read The Extraction Files. Her stories are so original, even if some of them are retellings like The Alder Tales series. RS McCoy has earned a spot in my favorite authors list because of her amazing talent and skill in spinning stories that had me hooked right from the start. The Lightning Luminary is again another start one of these very gripping series.

This story is based on the ever-popular Greek mythology. And you may ask, what's so original in this story? A lot of books, novels and series have been based on Greek mythology. In fact, it's like Greek mythology is a go-to subject for almost all writers, whether bestselling or not. It's a very rich and broad subject that authors can play with it, whichever way. What's the difference in this story? These are exactly the same questions I asked when I learned that this was based on Greek mythology. But being familiar with RS McCoy's writings, I know there are always fireworks of twists and a bombarding surprise waiting. Well, what I could tell you is, this is not a book about demigods. Luminaries are a set of humans with powers. According to this book, the stories about the Greek Gods were actually about the Luminaries that were twisted, added on and changed as it was passed on through the ages. There is some basic truth to them but they are not all that accurate.

As I said, having read all the other stories from RS McCoy, I think this one was slower in pace. It seemed to take its time. There seemed to be no hurry. It has its own pace. But it doesn't mean that it was not gripping or less entertaining. The plot alone is very curious. With Greek mythology stories abounding and given a spin a thousand one times, you wonder what this story can offer. This is another unique take. The characters are all very interesting with their own personalities and quirks. The main male protagonist, Mason, I think is not all that he seems. I think he is not just an ordinary human or Void as what humans with no powers are called in this story. I think he has something more in him that even he doesn't know. I guess, I will have to find out in the next books. I am looking forward to it. 

This first book like most series starter, introduced the important characters of the series. A hint and a primer was laid to at least give the reader what could be expected in the next book. A strong, vicious and formidable enemy was established and note--he can't be killed. This alone made for a very very tasty sampler of chaos and grand quests to come. Aren't you teased?

And the ending, could it be true? Have our good friends (the good guys) found another ally? And is this one for real or he has his own motives? Questions. Questions and more questions are all I have after reading this book. This is just the start, yet our good friends are already up against a very mighty foe and if stories are to be believed, he can't be vanquished. What does this mean? Ah, yes, series are sometimes frustrating because you will have to wait for the next book to find out what will happen next. In the same way, it fuels your imagination while waiting for the next book to come out. And if it does, then the author was effective because she has roused your creative cells from their deep or temporary slumber. And we all could use a little creativity or just a little brain function.

I give the book 4/5 bolts of lightning. Four because of the unhurried pace. Four because the series is just starting and I know that a lot of surprises are in store in the next installments. I can't wait.



They were tip-toeing around the minefield of their histories.
- RS McCoy, The Lightning Luminary - 




Thanks again, RS McCoy for the copy.



Trafficked (A Mex Anderson Novel) by Peg Brantley | ARC | A Book Review

Trafficked by Peg Brantley | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This book is about human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking of minors. And the setting is not in some third-world country but in the land of milk and honey-the US.

The hero of this story is Mex Anderson. A private investigator who was tasked to find three girls. Jayla is fifteen. A smart kid from a poor family. Her mom can't survive without a man. Alexis is seventeen. A daughter of a rich businessman and a drunk mother who can't even take care of herself. Olivia is twelve. A middle child who is hungry for attention. These three will tell their horrendous experiences under their horrible captors. Mex, along with his smart girlfriend Cade and his friend, Darius, who is a writer with a lot of useful connections, will find these girls and get them home.

This story implied that this is not Mex, Cade and Darius first rodeo. They have done this assignment before but the difference is it was not human trafficking. Saving girls from sex trafficking is a total different playing field which they found is very dangerous and very rampant. These three people will come to deal with a totally different specie of human evil. Good thing they are a lot smarter.

Oh, what horrors this book has divulged. No one is safe from human trafficking. Boy or girl, white or black, rich or poor. And you can't trust anyone. These three girls trusted the wrong people which led them to a nightmare they never even imagined. What saved them was their belief that even if their bodies and will were broken but their souls are still intact. Their souls belong only to them. They refuse to surrender everything to their captors and those that violate them. 

Books like these are what everyone should be reading. I think teens and those unsuspecting kids who are most likely the target should read this book so they will be aware. So they won't fall prey to those people who are likely to take advantage of their innocence and trust. Parents should read this too. This is a very educational story. It is not a bedtime story but I guess we are all better aware than sorry. It is indeed a difficult and scary time that we live in. We can't even trust some of those we call friends just like what happened to one of the characters in this story. 

I give this book 5/5 stars. This is a very brave undertaking.  Taking on stories of this subject is dangerous. You have to balance both fiction and reality to make the story believable and credible. Putting in the news article excerpts added in the weight of truth and stab of reality to the whole thing. Reading this did not feel like reading fiction at all, it was like listening to a painstaking recounting of a very traumatic experience. I was like praying each time that Mex will find these girls before they totally give up and lost it. 




Congratulations Miss Peg Brantley. A very well-written and scary tale but is a good doze of very hard facts. I hope this story will serve as an eye-opener to those who are still unaware of these unforgiving and indiscriminate traffickers. That parents and kids will always be very vigilant and aware of their surroundings and of the people around them. That those who were unfortunate victims of these soulless traffickers and pimps will have more strength and hope that whatever happened to them was not their fault and they should not blame themselves. They were victims and these devils deserved to be hanged over and over again for the nightmares and evils they have done. They are unforgivable.

I feel like that every day. It's like I work toward this one life and then a gust of wind comes along and pushes me towards another one, scraping off a part of me every time.
- Peg Brantley, Trafficked - 



Release Date: May 23, 2017


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Starr Fall (Star Fall #1) by Kim Briggs | A Book Review

Starr Fall (Star Fall #1) by Kim Briggs | A Book Review

I also got this book a few months back and in some way, it has slipped my mind and never gotten to read it until this month. I am sluggishly catching up on my mounting TBR, like a turtle's pace but I'm getting there.

I did not read the blurb for this story. The author is familiar but I have never read any of her works. When I found on Instagram that she is giving away copies for this book, I hastily downloaded the free copy from Amazon. I was scared they will run out before I got my hands on one. The unfortunate thing is, I did not read it right away, nevertheless, here it is. So, back to the blurb. I thought that this story had a paranormal hint to it, like mermaids probably, because of the cover that was taken underwater. Hahaha. Shame on me. My impression was wrong and way too far. The best thing was that I understood the reason for the cover now and the relevance of the title.

Notice the spelling of Starr. Two r's. It's not a typo. That's the name of the main character and she is a good swimmer. The story is the first installment of a series. When you reach the end of this book, it is obvious that a lot is still bound to happen. More revelations and more problems to overcome for our young heroine. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. I am saying a bit because it was not unexpected and it was not so abrupt also that will leave you screaming and hanging. It was just teasing enough to make sure you will follow and read the next book.

This started out fun and giddy until Starr took a test for a summer fellowship and then her life turned to shambles. And that's where the story got so interesting. I really paid a lot of attention from this part onward. It's not that I was not paying attention to the story, I was just giving more involved when I reached this part. If on the earlier part I was just calm and collected, on this portion I was on full alert and ready for anything to happen. And true to its promise, the author delivered. 

This is far from the other sweet and cute YA romance stories I have read. This story is filled with suspense and anticipation. I am looking forward to the next revelations and discoveries Starr will uncover. I also feel that Christian is not all that he seems. I think he still has secrets that Starr has yet to know. Ah, this is an absolutely endearing and enticing start to a series. I am looking forward to the next installments.

I give this book 5/5 swimming goggles. Just like what Dory says, keep swimming. Keep swimming and keep fighting Starr. I am rooting for you. I know you will eventually unearth and uncover the people behind the organization after you. You are smart and young. I think they will underestimate you because of your youth and that will prove to be an advantage on your part. See you on the next story Starr.

Thank you, Kim Briggs for the copy.


Is there any time more special than childhood? No worries, no pain. Then out of nowhere something happens, and bam! You life changes forever. The end of innocence.
 - Kim Briggs, Starr Fall -  



Broken Shadows by Tarek Refaat | A Book Review

Broken Shadows by Tarek Refaat | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from the author through Goodreads a few months back but have only gotten to read this recently. This is a fast-paced story and I was done in one sitting. 

A guy left heartbroken and without any explanation. The girl came back and end up right on the guy's office for a job interview. Spell A-W-K-W-A-R-D. A romance in the middle of an Egyptian intrigue and espionage. Will these two live happily-ever-after?

What's unique about this story is the setting. This is set in Egypt. A land of great history and a cradle of civilization. I think it's an exotic place, rich with culture and tradition. It gives color and a rich backdrop for the story. 

The story is not so unique but it has a character of its own. I think the male protagonist Nadim, is defined by his being hung up on his last relationship. He can't seem to move on from the rejection. He needed closure and answers to the many questions that have been plaguing him. The reasons for Heidi for leaving Nadim made a very good twist to this supposedly love story. From the time Heidi reappeared in Nadim's life, the story takes a turn into a deadly chase where Nadim is caught in the middle.

It's actually a good story but there seems to be something missing. The pacing is very good and the fact that it can be finished in one go is a plus. I think I agree with one of the reviews that said "this would turn out a lot better after another phase of editing". I think the start was a bit forced. It seemed to not flow naturally. Nadim's character was not someone I would sympathize or empathize with. I think his character needed more depth or background so the readers will be able to connect with him. On the other hand, Heidi's character is easier to understand and like. There was enough information and background to go with that lead to her decisions.

I give this 3/5 playing cards. The story is good but it needs polishing. 



Thank you again, Tarek Refaat for the copy.


Freedom is not just about breaking away from everything and doing everything alone. Freedom is, to a great extent, trying to make the choices that suit you best so that you won't regret them.
- Tarek Refaat, Broken Shadows -




Slip (Slip #1) by David Estes | A Book Review

Slip (Slip #1) by David Estes | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm


This is one of those dystopian, sci-fi stories that I really enjoyed. Not too make-believe or too outrageous to be true. 

The story is set in the future where couples who want to have kids need to get a permit from the government. Population is tightly controlled that any unauthorized births should be terminated. Slips are those unauthorized births or any illegals that have managed to survive beyond their second birthday and are viewed to be a threat to national security. In theory, this may seem like a very good solution to control population but then moral questions also arise like the value of human life. 

Like most theories setup to control something, it is good in writing but then when the application and the real situation arises, it is an altogether different scenario. The whole story revolved around the issue of enforcing your duty and protecting your personal interests, specifically, your family. Which is more important, your immediate family or keeping your job? The same question was also answered in this story and I agree with answer. Nothing is more important than life and family. A job can be taken away anytime. No one is irreplaceable. Everyone is as good as his last shift. But family is family. There's no other. They cannot be returned nor exchanged, much less replaceable. This perfectly exemplifies as to how far and what length would a father or a parent will go to protect his son. 

For a dystopian, this was not so grim. In fact, it was hopeful. It has probably more to do with one of the characters, the very influential head of PopCon as a main participant in making the whole you-and-me-against-the-world plot work. In most stories, this influential figure is supposed to be vicious and hell-bent on enforcing the rules, but it was not to be in this story. The fact that the same person entrusted to enforce the law was actually the one breaking it and he had good reasons. His motives were well-founded and if I were in his place, I'd do the exact same thing. Protect my family. Keep my job so I could protect my family better. A very smart move.

I give the story 5/5 superhero wrist watches. This story has a cast of very strong characters. A loving and protective father. Friends who are loyal and very resourceful. The main character Benson Kelly is a smart and lucky boy. Lucky because of his background, where he came from, which contributed to his character formation.  He is lucky to have great friends who stuck with him even if their lives were also in danger. This story doles out a lot of lessons. Aside from the obvious moral lesson and sanctity of life, it also stresses the importance of friendships and family. 



Thank you again, David Estes for the copy.


But that's the thing about memories: The ones you never forget are either the ones you hate or love the most.
- David Estes, Slip -



The Narragansett Files by Robert Shemeld | A Book Review

The Narragasett Files by Robert Schemeld | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm

This felt like a Clive Cussler story. There were a lot of things in this book that were also found in a Clive Cussler story. The suspense, the mission-impossible task, the main character's love for boats and the ocean, an ex-marine, a threat to the US and the clever ways to outwit the enemy. Wow! I wonder if Robert Shemeld is friends with Clive Cussler. Their stories are alike in a lot of ways but also very different. One very obvious difference is that the main character is not working for the government. He is a private citizen. A businessman. 

The reason why this story felt like a Cussler is because the intensity and the level of the suspense and excitement is the same feeling I feel every time I am on a Cussler adventure. The writing is also very good. There is no telling what is going to happen next. And since I am a big fan of Cussler, it's always a good thing to find another author that is into the same genre and with the same impeccable talent. I am so glad I signed up for this book through Netgalley. Told you, I have a talent of picking really talented authors just by the book's title and blurb. Most of the time, those catchy and sometimes obscure titles are really great stories. I am always happy to be surprised and blown. All the time.

This story definitely could hold its own. This is my first time to read of this author yet I am so impressed and would want to read more of his stories. Shemeld has a good chance of ending on my favorite authors' list. This story alone has me hooked, line and sinker. I ate it all. The story was fast-paced but it wasn't hard to keep up. It was narrated with extreme clarity. There was no mistaking who was what and everything. Very well done! This absolutely deserves 5/5 USB flash drives. I wonder why I never heard of Robert Shemeld before?



One of the things about this author that stood out for me is his ability to include some trivia and very important tidbits of information about a fact that was mentioned just in passing in the story. Some examples of these trivia are the rooms in the White House like the Green Room, about guns like the AK-47, the Colt and the Kalashnikov. I also liked that the main character, whose name was never mentioned in the whole story, has a penchant for using unique words like atwitter, fortnight and purloined. This is one distinguishing characteristic of his. The main character, who is also the narrator of this tale, Liz' husband, was never named. I had to scan the book once again to double check but he never ever gave out his name. It seemed that when introductions are happening, Liz' husband is almost always already known by the other party. So oftentimes, the other party was introduced but his name never came up in any of the conversations. This is the first time that I have really enjoyed the story yet never gotten to know the name of the hero. The author has done a very good job because even nameless, his character is very unforgettable.

I am looking forward to more adventures of Liz and his husband. What other sticky and deadly situations are they going to be forced to handle and how will he (the husband) cleverly get out of them alive?

Thanks again, Netgalley for the copy.

Warfare is born of ruthless opportunism, [one must] paralyze and confound [the enemy] by quickly and aggressively exploiting his vulnerabilities and strike him in a way that will hurt him most. In short, strike your enemy with such ferocity and lethality that he is dead before he even knows you're on the field of battle.
- Robert Shemeld, The Narragansett Files - 




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo | Blog Tour and Giveaway | Book Review

Whiskers and Bear
by Giacomo Giammatteo

on Tour May 1 - 14, 2017


Genre: Non-Fiction, Animals 
Published by: Inferno Publishing Company 
Publication Date: April 2017 
Number of Pages: 150 
ISBN: 
Purchase Links: Whiskers and Bear on Amazon Whiskers and Bear on Barnes & Noble Whiskers and Bear on Kobo Whiskers and Bear on Goodreads


   Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo  
Whiskers and Bear were two of the best dogs in the world. They didn't always listen or even try to listen, but they were loyal to a fault, and they were the best of friends. They hunted all of their food, and they protected our animal sanctuary with no regard for their own safety. 

A PLEA FOR HELP...

Out of all the books I’ve written (almost thirty), this one is closest to my heart. For twenty-four years, my wife and I have run an animal sanctuary, providing homes for dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and even a wild boar. I don’t know how many animals we’ve had through the years in total, but at one time, we had as many as fifty-five.

I don’t often ask for help, but this is important. We have run this sanctuary for twenty-four years using our own money—no donations to speak of. The feed bill alone was more than a thousand dollars per month. And there are plenty of other bills, vets, fencing, shelter, medical supplies, and more.

In early 2015, I had two heart attacks followed by two strokes. The result was that it left me disabled. Now it is difficult to continue paying for everything.

I wrote this book in the hopes that it would sell enough to help with the funds, as all sales go to the animals. And I mean that—every penny goes to help support them—nothing for anyone else.  


Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo | Blog Tour | Book Review by iamnotabookworm!




When I knew that this story was about dogs, I immediately signed up for the tour. I love dogs and reading stories about them fascinates me. I wouldn't want to pass up the opportunity to read of another dog adventure.

This is a true account. This is the real life stories of Whiskers and Bear. They are the protectors of an animal sanctuary. The author owns the said sanctuary. Bear is a wild dog. He roams the forest that borders the animal sanctuary. So, when the author bought the place, it kind of became automatic that he and the rest of his charges became part of Bear's protection. Whiskers is a female dog. She is Bear's partner-in-crime. They roam and hunt the forest for food. And this book tells all of their hunts, adventures and happy life together protecting the sanctuary and its inhabitants.

I seldom hear of stories of wild dogs. Dogs who do not belong to anyone but instead adopted the humans as part of their charges. Like in this story, Bear adopted the sanctuary and author's family. It became Bear's duty to keep wild animals like wolves, coyotes and snakes from encroaching within the sanctuary's boundaries. No one asked it of him but since he kind of owned the place, the woods and area which includes the property, it sort of implied that he has to protect them. Bear is king of this area and he lets no one question his sovereignty. This really fascinated me because it just showed how we underestimate the intelligence of dogs.

Whiskers is another very interesting character. The best part about her is when she trained the young dogs to take her role as protector of the sanctuary from all wild animals that threatened to trespass. She made sure that someone will continue to guard and perform her duty after she is no longer able to do it. A very smart and impressive act coming from a dog. I was teary eyed after reading this part of the story. Dogs are really loyal and they would give up their life for people who they adopt as part of their family or pack, to be more accurate.

Whiskers and Bear's story is truly amazing and very touching. Maybe, in the future, if my finances would allow, I would like to be a part of these kind of endeavors. People who devoted their lives, time, money and all other resources to take care of animals, especially dogs. Dogs have a really, really special place in my heart. When I get my own home, I would surely have dogs around. I think they just have this ability to sense whatever humans are feeling. They, in their own way, try to help us out and make us feel less lonely and in some unexplainable way, they absorb or take those sorrows away.

I give this book 4/5 paw prints. Why only four when I totally enjoyed this story? Four because I think the story was short. I want to hear more of Whiskers and Bears adventures and antics. I think they still have more stories to impart. I think the author should come up with another book with more stories of these very impressive canine friends. I want to hear what other smart and unbelievable tales Whiskers, Bear and the other dogs in the sanctuary have. I'm sure, there are loads to tell the whole world.



Thank you so much Mr. Giammatteo for sharing your life and the stories of your amazing paw friends. Your mission in life is very admirable and we hope that from this story, many people will be able to help you and continue your mission. 

I'm convinced now that those last few days--when Whiskers seemed to have gotten a new sense of purpose--it wasn't a resurgence of energy or life. She was just hanging on long enough to show Biscotti what she had to do. A master training her apprentice.
- Giacomo Giammatteo, Whiskers and Bear -






Another Grave

I climbed up onto the tractor, a Kubota 4630, with a six-foot bucket on the front. It was a powerful machine, and we’d put it through the hoops more than a few times. What I mean is that my wife Mikki and I had dug a lot of graves.
I tied an old cloth diaper around my forehead and draped the end of it over the top of my bald head. There wasn’t much better than a cotton cloth for keeping sweat out of your eyes, or the sun from burning your head. I turned the key and revved the engine. After letting it idle a moment, I lifted the bucket and drove toward the south side of the property where Mikki was waiting for me. She’d already gotten a few blankets and a clean sheet. For this one, she’d brought a pillow, too.
I reached up and wiped my eyes. I was getting damn tired of burying things.
An old white pickup crept down the gravel driveway, coming to a stop near the fence.
A neighbor leaned out and hollered. “What’s goin’ on?”
I wished he’d have kept going.
“Nothin’,” I said, but not loud enough for him to hear.
The door opened, and he stepped out and walked over to the fence, using his right hand to shield his eyes from the sun as he peered over the top rail.
“What are you doin’?”
I could see there was no getting away from it. I muttered my answer a few times so my voice wouldn’t crack when I yelled.
“Diggin’ a grave,” I hollered back.
“A grave? Which one died?”
Which one? That’s what it had come to for most of the neighbors and relatives and friends. Which one died. As if it didn’t matter. As if having forty-five animals made it easier to deal with when one of them died.
He came in through the side gate and headed in my direction. He walked slowly, which gave me time to compose myself. It’s never easy to bury a friend, but this one…this one was special.
Mikki walked over to me. “He’s just trying to help.”
I nodded.
I don’t need his help, I thought, but the fact of the matter was I could probably use it.
It hadn’t rained in weeks, and the damn Texas ground was as hard as concrete. Even if the tractor did cut through, it could only go so deep; we’d have hand work to do at the bottom.
Our neighbor was about twenty feet away. He took off his hat and swiped at his forehead. It was a scorcher today and had been for a month or so.
“Who was it?” he asked.
I couldn’t say, but I managed to gesture toward Mikki. She lifted the corner of the blanket so he could see.
“Oh shit!” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“Thanks,” I said.
He unbuttoned his shirt and grabbed a shovel I had leaning against a small oak tree. “Might as well get this done.”
I nodded again. He was right, of course, but I was in no hurry to put another friend in the ground. I cranked the engine up a little higher, shoved the tractor into low gear, and positioned the bucket for the first scoop of dirt. The bucket hit the ground with a metallic thud. It didn’t do much more than break the surface.
“Whew!” the neighbor said. “Going to be a long day.”
“That’s for sure.”
“How long have they been with you?” he asked.
They. I thought about what he said. I would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Everyone referred to the two of them as one. They or them. Bear and Whiskers. Whiskers and Bear. It was a cold day in July if anyone mentioned one without the other.
I handed him my bottle of water; he looked thirsty.
“They’ve been with us a long time. A damn long time.”
***
Excerpt from Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. Copyright © 2017 by Giacomo Giammatteo. Reproduced with permission from Giacomo Giammatteo. All rights reserved.
 




Giacomo Giammatteo
Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had 45 animals—11 dogs, a horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs.


Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.







4/01 Author Of The Month @ CMash Reads
4/08 Author Of The Month @ CMash Reads
4/15 Author Of The Month @ CMash Reads
4/22 Author Of The Month @ CMash Reads
4/28 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews
4/29 Author Of The Month @ CMash Reads


5/08 Interview @ BooksChatter
5/09 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
5/10 Showcase @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
5/11 Review @ BookLove
5/12 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
5/13 Review @ Lauras Interests
5/14 @ I am not a bookworm!

 


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Giacomo Giammatteo. There will be 3 winners of 1 eBook copy of Whiskers and Bear by Giacomo Giammatteo. The giveaway begins on April 29th and runs through May 16th, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
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