Sunday, July 22, 2018

Into the Moonless Night (Moonfall Mayhem #3) by A. E. Decker | ARC | A Book Review

Into the Moonless Night (Moonfall Mayhem #3) by A. E. Decker | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I've been waiting for this book. This is the third installment in the Moonfall Mayhem series. As what the author confided in me, this story is about Catch. The second book hinted that this story might be about him. Thanks Miss Decker! So, I'll now be able to understand what makes Catch tick and the mystery that surrounds him.

I read the second book of this series in October 2016, so it's been almost a year. This has been truly a long wait but I don't mind because this story has a lot to tell. A lot of secrets that got unearthed. Old wounds that get reopened and old rivalries that got revived. Issues that were left unresolved were tackled here and new friendships and alliances were formed also. Yes, a host of new characters which are very very interesting are introduced. New enemies have come into the light too. This book is totally still a mayhem.

As I have said, this is Catch's story. This installment would take us to the birthplace of Catch, the Clawrags, and delve into his history. His friends, in order to rescue Catch, followed his steps to his home and along the way encountered their own set of adventures. There were some references to some famous fairy tales though, like the house of the witch in Hansel and Gretel. That was the most hilarious part of the story, especially with its very eccentric homeowner and cauliflowers. 

In this story, again Rags-n-Bones, Dmitri, Moony, and even Nipper, pitched in to get them to succeed in their adventures and quests. I think Rags again proved to be very impressive and he used what he had learned in Widget to help the team here. Moony also just keeps on getting funnier and wittier. I think I'd like to keep him as a pet. There would be no dull moments with him around and he's just so full of himself but in such a very cute way. Instead of being irritated because of his overconfidence, you will just be amused at his antics and witty comments. The "catch the flag" thing also was very fun. It's one of the highlights of the story and again, Team Ascot took the prize.

I really enjoyed this adventure although, it was slow going at first. Not a lot was happening until they got to the house of the witch. That house really cracked everything up, literally and figuratively. And then, after that, I think all hell broke loose because a lot was happening and a lot of developments were presented. I think, the last part of the book was loaded with everything- discoveries, fireworks, and all. And again, it sets me up for the excitement for the next installment. New characters are introduced which are going to play a vital part in the story. I can't wait to know what's going to happen next. This time, I'm not sure who's going to take center stage. I guess, if it's going to be the conclusion already, then there would be no need for that but to just tie up all the loose ends neatly and beautifully.  And that includes the love angle. Hopefully.

I give this book 4.5/5 cauliflowers. The same way as avocados make the second book memorable, this story is made hilarious and unforgettable because of cauliflowers. Oh, my goodness, I'm still amused every time I remember what this vegetable is doing in this story. Just simply hilarious. I think I can still smell it while typing this review. 

That was the trouble with being a dedicated liar: occasionally you fooled even yourself. 

Sarcasm. It was something that just blossomed with adolescence, like spots. 
- A. E. Decker, Into the Moonless Night - 

Thanks again, World Weaver Press and Miss A. E. Decker for the ARC. 

Moonlight Over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #6) by Sarah Morgan | A Book Review

Moonlight over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #6)  by Sarah Morgan | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I always love movies and stories that are set in New York. I don't know, but New York for me is a melting pot of everything and there are a lot of places there that would be a good start for a very good story. It's like anything can happen there. The city is teeming with endless possibilities, more so with the most unexpected love stories. 

I think one of the reasons I signed up to review this book is because it was set in New York. The blurb is also curious and who can resist a story about a dog walker in New York, right? Sounds like an easy enough and fun job. That is, if you love dogs. 

Harriet Knight is a shy dog walker who owns half of the dog walking business with her sister which is based in Manhattan. To escape her creepy date she met online, she ended up with a sprained ankle. In the emergency room, she meet Dr. Ethan Black, which turned out to be not the last time that she will see him. 

This is one of those meet-cute stories. When Ethan met Harriet, Ethan had his own theories and questions about Harriet's sprained ankle. His mind was coming up with these possibilities about Harriet's situation. Some were bordering on hilarious and extreme. He was used to dealing with the chaos in the ER and the hoard of demanding patients but he was not prepared for a nice one like Harriet who seemed to have melted his heart with just her smile.

I think the cutest and the most important character here in this story is Madi. Yes, without her, Ethan and Harriet would not have meet again and became closer. It was all Madi's fault. I think dogs are just the most successful matchmakers. They often draw two people together. Even if sometimes, these two people may not have anything in common at first glance. Madi is one of the reasons why I really enjoyed this story. It's not only funny but also inspirational. 

This is an example of stories where at first, it seemed to be a disaster in the making but is actually sort of fate intervening. With Madi's antics, I don't think Ethan and Harriet would have been able to get to know each other. Also, the classic saying "The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is still very much applicable. Ethan was not immune to Harriet's culinary skills. He ended up wanting Harriet for keeps.

I give this book 5/5 very cute and cuddly dogs. I love that Harriet's character is very kind and very caring. Even though she's so shy, she more than made up for it for her ability to reach out and get close to people who really needed the attention and kindness. Just like the two old ladies here in the story whom Harriet helped. Even Ethan was so surprised that she knew more things about his old neighbor than him. I think that's one of the most endearing qualities that Harriet has that drew Ethan to her. 

This story really made my day. Anyone having a bad day will definitely feel better after reading this. It's not only cute but very sweet as well. And I really liked that both of the characters here became better versions of themselves because they complemented each other. Harriet was able to overcome her fears and was able to do things she was afraid to do before. Of course, like all relationships, there were conflicts too but then love wins at the end. What sets this apart from all other meet-cute and happy ever after stories, is of course, Madi. It was all because of Madi. The best performance in a supporting role award goes to---Madi! I may be partial because I love dogs but still I'd say, it was all Madi. 

No, because if you die in the night I don't want that on my conscience. I already have enough scars and baggage to deal with. Carrying any more will give me spinal problems. 
- Sarah Morgan, Moonlight Over Manhattan -

Thank you again Netgalley, Harlequin,  and Sarah Morgan for the review copy. 

Starr Gone (Starr Fall #3) by Kim Briggs | A Book Review

Starr Gone (Starr Fall #3) by Kim Briggs | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is the third part of the series and it is far from over. More revelations have sufficed which is a surprise both to Starr and her friends. It seemed like the General have more pawns in the game. Now, what would Starr do? What would her friends do?

I am not yet sure how I feel about all the things that happened in this installment. There were some good things and some parts which I am not too happy. I did suspect that some of Starr's old friends may make a comeback because their disappearances were very suspicious. True enough, they're back. In as much as I may have suspected it but then I was still surprised when they showed their faces. It turned out, they were not really her friends. In fact, they were so jealous of her. Yes, those fake friends are very common in real life too. But don't worry, Starr has a solid set of very loyal friends who will scour the ends of the earth to find and rescue her. They will never abandon Starr.

At this point, I'm not sure who's using who when it comes to the people after Starr. Between her family and the General's group, each party seems to have their own agenda and Starr is in the middle of it. Talk about the proverbial "between a rock and a hard place." It's definitely where Starr is. But I'm guessing, Starr is just waiting for the best opportunity also to make her move. I know she will come up with something. Also, her friends are not just lying around helpless. They are planning her rescue also. So, it's a wait and see for the next book. Hopefully, the General's evil plans will finally be exposed and he would be punished for all his crimes and Starr would finally be able to stop running for her life and be a carefree teenager again.

With regard to the part where I was not too happy, well, there was a part that annoyed me. Of course, with the way the story has turned, not all of them are really in Starr's favor and it's a bit frustrating because I thought everything is going good for them. Also, some of the villains are really annoying and I can't wait to see if some of them will change their loyalties. It seemed like, some are not too happy where they are and may just be the key that Starr needs to get out of her current prison. We'll see. 

All in all, it's a surprising turn of events. I did not totally picture it but as I said, I did have an inkling that something like this may turn out. But then again, it was still a shock. Hopefully, good things are going to happen in the next book. So far, I have no idea or any theory as to how Starr and her friends are going to outsmart the General but I know they will come up with something. I hope it's going to be as surprising as what happened here. Something that would be totally unexpected.

I give this book 3/5 guns. 

I'm a china doll to be placed in a vacumm-sealed glass case on the very top of the tallest shelf to collect dust and grow fragile from lack of use.
- Kim Briggs, Starr Gone - 

Thank you again, Kim Briggs for the review copy.

Red Sunrise by Simon Laffy | A Book Review

Red Sunrise by Simon Laffy | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

So, earlier this week, I went to a book sale here in Cebu. I just browsed. I don't have the money to spare to buy new books and besides, I have quite a long list on my TBR, both in e-book formats and in paperbacks. I don't think it makes sense to add more books to the pile as I am already struggling with what I have right now. I just don't have enough time. Also, the books I wanted to buy, if I were to buy, were Clive Cussler's. They only have three books there at the sale and I've read two of them. I did find very interesting new authors and stories and I took pictures in case my TBR would have room for them. 

I got this book through Instagram. The author sent me a message and asked if I wanted to review his book and I agreed. This is about a US naval war veteran who have survived the most brutal way to die during World War II via a kamikaze attack on his ship. After recovering from his injuries, he decided to travel around the world by boat. During his sea travel, he meet various people and started to examine his life, his mind, and all his losses. The journey turned into an introspection into the choices he had made in his life and how it led up to his current state. And it turns out, there's more for him to do before he takes his last breath.

This is a sad, tragic, and a tale of redemption. The redemption of Commander Jack Sampson. As the author have mentioned in his blurb, Sampson is an ex-naval officer who turned into an anti-war hero. That perfectly summarizes this whole adventure. But of course, to understand his journey why after giving years of his life for the service of the United States, he ended up offering the rest of his life to end wars, is a tale you must read so you'll understand his motivations. Sampson had seen war and had experienced firsthand the losses that it had caused, especially in his personal life. He has lost his family and his friends because of war. It also almost cost him his own life. It was by a sheer miracle that he survived but his sanity had suffered most because of it. Physical wounds heal but the recurring dreams and nightmares are going to forever haunt him. His guilt will keep chasing him for things that should have been and what might have been. 

So, this book is like an expose on the United States effort on the study, testing, and production of atomic bombs as a new way of getting an upper hand in military warfare. It's a way of again showing the world its might and power. Who would dare challenge her if she has the ultimate weapon of destruction? I admit I don't know much about this subject. But after reading this, I understand better now. And Bikini was immortalized as the new name for swimwear. How could you ever forget the fate of Bikini Atoll? In this book, it described how that beautiful untouched island won the lottery as the unfortunate recipient of the effects and destruction of an atomic explosion. Until now, that island is dead and will take years to actually be safe for humans to step on its shores again.

This is very informational and I came out educated after reading this story. Commander Sampson is a hero and the last moments of his life were never in vain. This is a very good read and I ended up rooting for Sampson to succeed in his journey to find his inner self again and to finally discover that the greatest redemption is to forget oneself for a greater cause. Not for his country but for sake of the world or for those whose voice is not loud enough to be heard.

My only observation was that there were portions wherein the transition between events, was not very clear. I found myself pausing at some points because there were some paragraphs that were not connected but there was no clear indication that one thought has ended and a new one has begun. I wished in some parts, the paragraphs did not just follow each other like they were one thought. Other than that, this was interesting enough to read and since I like historical thrillers, this one was not off the mark. 

I give this 3/5 mushroom cloud. Yes, after reading this story, I don't think I would want to see a red sunrise. It's not a spectacle that anyone should look forward to see. It's a beginning of a very very horrible day. So, after Nagasaki, there's Hiroshima, and then Bikini. The two places in Japan may have recovered and is now again a bustling city, like it was not a witness to a very gruesome tragedy caused by war. But Bikini will forever remain just a memory of what it used to be. It will never ever know life again.

If hatred alone were a weapon, he would have been able to wipe them out. 

...devotion to your religion seemed to be measured by how wicked you could be to others.
- Simon Laffy, Red Sunrise - 

Thank you again, Simon Laffy for the copy.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion by Leiah Moser | A Book Review

Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion by Leiah Moser | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

It's been almost two weeks since I last posted on here. My sleeping time is so abnormal lately. I feel so sleepy during the afternoons and I can't help but take naps. And then, I can't sleep until 3:00 AM. My day is so erratic that I can't seem to find the best time to work. These days, I've found myself feeling so tired and just want to catch up on sleep. Hopefully, this August, everything will be good and I will be able to catch up on my reading and on my reviews since I will having a change in work schedule. 

I got this book from the author via the Contact Us form of this blog. I've been getting a lot of requests lately and I'm very happy, but the downside is I have an ever growing TBR list. I can't say no to any request because until now, I'm still unable to comprehend or believe how these authors, publishers, or literary agents found me. I know some found my blog on The Book Blogger List. I'm just amazed as to how these people are brought to me that I just don't have the heart to say no. I want to review all books as long as it means I'm helping an author, one way or another. 

Magical Princess Harriet is written by Rabbi Leiah Moser. This is about the coming of age of Harris Baumgartner. A seventh grader whose life was change on the first day of school when he saw something inexplicable on his way to school. From that moment, everything will never be the same in Harris' life. Will he embrace the change or fight it?

This is my first time to read a queer story in a Jewish perspective. It's refreshing because somehow people often associate homosexuality or gender issues with religion. It's disheartening to hear that even in this very modern day and age, there are still people who are so backward in their thinking that homosexuality is an affront to religion. On the other hand, I'm glad that most religions are now open about discussing topics about sexuality and are more accepting of these individuals. If you have a friend who's gay, you would know that it's not their choice to be gay. It's just is. They can't fight it. The same way, a woman is a woman and a man acts as a man. It is not some disease that has to be cured or some kind of possession that has to be exorcised. It's just in their DNA. So, anyone has no right to say that they have no right to be part of this world or this universe. They have as much right as everyone else to be here. With the world getting to be more involved with championing for the rights of the third sex, I am glad that more stories are coming out speaking of their experiences. This story is just one of those stories where the main character and a superhero to boot, is a queer. What's more amazing is it's written by a rabbi who seems to have a wide understanding of the topic. 

This story reminds me of the anime Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon's alter ego Bunny is a very different person. She's often seen as dumb and clumsy. But when she's Sailor Moon, she's so amazing. Harris character which is very ordinary gets to transform into someone unbelievably amazing and powerful Princess Harriet. It was confusing at first because why would his alter ego or superhero counterpart be a girl. It's the most dumbfounding thing. But then, as he becomes to get comfortable in her superhero skin, he gets to know himself better and realized some very vital information about his true self. 

One of the things that strike me in this story is the name of one of the nephilim characters which is Kasadya. Kasadya in Cebuano dialect means happiness, joy, zest. It's actually a positive word and is very much the opposite of the character of Kasadya. Kasadya is very neglected and needs a lot of love. When I first encountered the word, the first thing that came to mind was where and how did the author get the word Kasadya? Was she friends with a Filipino who's from Cebu or Bisaya or is kasadya also a Jewish word? It was surprising to actually see the word being used in this story. I guess, in a way, Kasadya fits one of the female antagonist here because that's exactly what she needs to escape whatever bond that's keeping her. The irony of things.

One other thing I liked in the story is how Harris, Frances, and Aiden were drawn together and found belongingness in each other. These three seemed to have a lot in common. Harris and Frances are best friends. Frances is a very smart girl who loves architecture yet has a neurological issue which makes her sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. Aiden is a later addition to the group. Like Harris and Frances, Aiden is a bit of a keep-to-himself-boy also. He usually gets beat up because he's also a bit different from the other students. So, this trio makes a very interesting mix of characters and each complement each other which greatly helped in their fight against the forces of evil.

This trio, with their flaws and all, is a very adorable group. I root for them. It's just so easy to empathize with them because in one way or another, we are either, Harris, Frances, or Aiden once in our young lives. Like Aiden, I was bullied in my grade school, so it's so easy to identify to anyone of these three characters or find something in common with them. If not, you might find yourself in a parallel position to Kasadya and Azrael. Two kids who are neglected by their parents. They're treated as soldiers and are either punished for their failures and were never appreciated just as they are. They have to prove themselves to earn some appreciation or to just even be acknowledged that they exist. 

I think the main lesson in the story, aside from embracing being a queer or being comfortable with your gender, is having to acknowledge our fears and in turn, mastering them. If we know our fears and the reason for them, then no one can use it against us because we know it's just in the head. It somehow lessens it's hold on us. And in this story, that is just what exactly happened. When the three characters were forced to confront their fears and resolve that they can't have their fears have power over them, then the evil that threatened them lost his advantage.

This is a good and refreshing story which reminds me of my younger years growing up and watching Sailor Moon to my heart's delight. Those were good days. I give this book 3/5 red roses. It's entertaining enough, especially when the three friends are together. I think Princess Harriet is able to master her powers because of the full support of her friends. She was able to find clarity and accept the changes in her life, both physical, emotional, and mental because her friends are there to help understand them. 

It is indeed necessary to allow judgement to be governed by mercy.
- Leiah Moser, Magical Princess Harriet: Chessed, World of Compassion - 

Thank you again Leiah Moser for the copy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lightning Struck (Brothers Maledetti #3) by Nichole Van | A Book Review

Lightning Struck (Brothers Maledetti #3) by Nichole Van | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I have good news. There will be a change in my work schedule starting August 1 and I'm so excited. I'm excited because it would allow me time to read and post reviews everyday. Unlike my current online job which takes up most of my time, this one, I will only work 9 hours a day and it's not anymore online. Anyway, I'm just so happy with this new development and I'm so looking forward to it. Aside from the schedule, it also pays more than what I'm doing right now. I can't wait for August 1. Yehey!

So, the book I'm reviewing today is Lightning Struck by Nichole Van. This is the third book in the Brothers Maledetti series. Oh, I so love this series. It's not only a romance story but with a lot of very interesting and surprising twists. It has historical fiction, supernatural, and mystery too. That's exactly why I love it. There's a lot of everything in it and it takes me to picturesque Italy too. Fantastic!

In this third installment, this one is about Chiara, the one and only sister of the D'Angelo triplets and Jack Knight-Snow. Chiara is a very feisty and very bubbly character. She's very adorable and her antics are very funny. In this book though, she finds Jack very irritating and gets to her nerves. Aside from that, she still gets this weird dream that keep haunting her about the death of their dad. Jack, on the other hand, is a very curious and interesting character as well. Jack first appeared in the second book Love's Shadow. On this book, more is revealed about the mystery surrounding Jack's character and how he is in anyway related to the D'Angelo's. If you love the first two books, you will definitely not get disappointed with this one. 

Wow! There are a lot happening in this book and it has more to do with supernatural things that have surrounded the D'Angelo's. And this time, Chiara, the only sibling purported to be not fortunate enough or maybe better off not gifted with The Sight is having this vivid and scary repetitive dream that had haunted her in her childhood. Now, the dream is coming back and it seems to be telling Chiara something and she won't rest until she gets to the bottom of that secret message and mystery.

This is such an enjoyable read especially when it comes to Jack and Chiara's scenes exchanging banter and trying to piss off or outwit the other. Obviously, Chiara is more often the one that gets irritated in the exchange. It's very cute and it's obvious that these two have a thing for each other. They are such a very lovely and adorable pair. Their exchanges always give me a laugh. 

On to a more serious note, a lot has been revealed about the gift of sight of the brothers because of the mystery surrounding Jack and Chiara's recurring dream. It's seems like there might just be hope for the cursed brothers. I really love that idea. I so root for them to master their abilities and not be turned into lunatics because of the strong pull of their gifts. I want them to live long and not follow after their ancestors who didn't have the chance to grow old because of this curse or this family gift. And most of all, I wouldn't have to worry about Ten. Ten is one of the triplets who is mostly susceptible to the effects of the curse. So, I'm pretty sure the next book would be about Ten and them finding more concrete information about their gifts and maybe win over the curse after all. I'm so stoked!

I just love this series. I give this book five scenes with lightning. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. I am supercharged to know what's going to happen next and finally be able to hear about Ten's story. A lot of possibilities are presented in this book and I am so so eager to learn about them. This is probably one of the most enjoyable series I have ever read or the most enjoyable yet. It's incredibly addicting and this is one addiction I'd love to keep. I hope this series does not end on the next book. 

Hope...when you haven't had any for as long as you can remember...can be a dangerous thing. Hope leads to wants. And wants lead to disappointment. And disappointment, when you are already on shaky emotional ground, can be deadly.
- Nichole Van, Lightning Struck - 

Thank you again, Kathy of and Nichole Van for the review copy. 

Literary Book Gifts | An Online Bookish Shop

I just met someone a few days ago. She reached out to me through the Contact Us form of this blog. She asked if I could help her promote her shop. Of course, I accepted. I am honored to help someone with anything, even if it's not a book review. As long as it's related to books, or even slightly related, if it's a good and worthwhile endeavor, I'll definitely lend a hand.  This lady that I'm talking about is Melissa. She owns Literary Book Gifts. It's an online shop selling bookish goodies like shirts, tote bags, and backpacks. I checked out her site and there are a lot of designs based on your favorite books, authors, and literary characters you can choose from. The best thing is all the designs are all available in women and men's shirts and also in tote bags and backpacks. Cool, right?

Here are some of the favorite designs that I fancy. By the way, all the designs were made by Melissa herself. Pretty impressive and creative, right? There are different sizes available for all the shirts for both sexes. There is also a Sizing and Fit link provided to make sure that you get your correct size for the shirts. The shirts come in eighteen to twenty-two different colors depending on the design. Yes, you heard it right. So many colors to choose from. The shirts are made from 100% soft cotton, so it's really comfortable. The women's shirts are slim fit with longer body length and run slightly small. So, make sure to check the sizing and fit chart to make sure you got your correct size. The link is found at the bottom of the page or the site. 

One of the first things that caught my eye was the Ulysses shirt. Of course, because I'm such a fan of the Odyssey and Ulysses is one of my favorite Greek heroes. Remember the Trojan Horse which was key to the fall of Troy? Yes, it was Ulysses' idea. But I loved the Ulysses in Odyssey not the one in the Iliad. 

Ulysses Shirt for Women's 

I also liked the Iliad shirt. I liked it because it's not a very common shirt. I don't see a lot of shirt designs alluding to the Odyssey or the Iliad, so this is a very cool and unique shirt to wear. Pictured below is for the women's but it's also available in men's sizes. All shirts are.

Iliad Shirt for Women's 

The Tesla shirt is also very cool. I like it very much. It channels the frustrated engineer in me. At one point, I wanted to be a computer engineer but instead I took Accountancy. Pictured below is a men's shirt and is also made of 100% cotton. It's a classic fit and runs slightly large. So, if you're a woman who likes to wear loose shirts for comfort, you can have one of these but don't forget to check out the sizing and fit chart to make sure you get the right size that you want. 

Tesla Shirt for Men's/Unisex

This Darwin Tree of Life shirt is very nice too. I like this one because it looks like it's abstract. It's not obviously a tree but if anyone asks, then you can brag that it's a shirt alluding to Charles Darwin that you are wearing. Awesome!

Darwin's Tree of Life shirt for Men's/Unisex

I like this 20,000 Leagues under the Sea shirt also. All the shirts are $28 each but if you use my discount code, you can avail of a 20% discount. Yes, 20%. Just amazing! You can use the code IAMNOTABOOKWORM20 in Literary Book Gifts store as many times as you want on anything and there is no required minimum purchase. So, grab that discount code now and checkout Literary Book Gifts shop right this minute. 

20,000 Leagues Shirt for Men's/Unisex

The backpacks have a laptop sleeve inside, so you can make sure that your laptop is safely tucked inside it. It's made of 100% PU leather (polyurethane) material perfect for school and everyday use. This Typewriter backpack is one that I really liked. I also liked this Crime and Punishment tote bagThe backpacks and totes are also available in different sizes from Small to Large.

So, what are you waiting for. Checkout Literary Book Gifts now and find your favorite designs and items based on your favorite books and characters. And don't forget to use my discount code IAMNOTABOOKWORM20 on all purchases so you can save 20%.

Typewriter backpack

Crime and Punishment tote bag

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Halfway Dead (Halfway Witchy #1) by Terry Maggert | A Book Review

Halfway Dead (Halfway Witchy #1) by Terry Maggert | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this book from the author. He requested me to review all the four books in this series. This is the first book. This is also my first to read a book by the author. This is a story about Carlie. She's a cook at the town diner and is also a witch who people depend on to solve some problems and illnesses. One day, a handsome stranger came into town and Carlie had no choice but to follow him into the depths of the forest. There she encountered a thousand-year old vampire that had been trapped in the forest. Carlie had to attempt a few things she had never done before and to fight a very evil being. 

Halfway is a name of the town where Carlie lives and where the story is set. It's called halfway because of it's location which is exactly halfway in the middle of Utica, New York and the Canadian border. It's a tourist destination town and a repository for magical things which I think, both an advantage and disadvantage for Carlie being a witch. Just like her being a witch, it's both a gift and a curse and that's what's we're going to find out in this story.

Like all fantasy and paranormal stories, you'll meet here different magical creatures, including those evil ones. Carlie, being a new witch, has to navigate through this magical side of her life with the guidance of her grandmother and learn more about her abilities. Then, Jim Dietrich came to town to ask for Carlie's help. She didn't know that the help he requires may actually get her to use her gifts and go into the forest where something bad happened and Carlie may need her magic to put things to right. 

I did enjoy this story. What I really like was what started out as just a routine investigation to prevent corporate espionage has turned into a battle to get rid of evil spirits. It's a turn of events that you will not normally expect but it was done very well in this story. I was actually hanging on to every chapter because I was so curious. Then, it gets curiouser when other magical beings appeared and their origin is even more interesting. I'm glad that Carlie succeeded in this first mission of sorts with her using her abilities. I'm dying to know what adventures and creatures she had to exorcise in order to protect Halfway and it's people. 

I give the book 4/5 delicious waffles. This is a really good start to a new series. It's very suspenseful and you won't really know what's going to happen next in the succeeding chapters. I basically had no idea. I had no way of knowing. I did not formulate any theories as to what Carlie will do or what's going to transpire. I just enjoyed the story as it took me to where it went next and it was fun and a relief that Carlie succeeded. It was scary and nerve-racking having to watch Carlie face an enemy she had never seen before, except in books or heard from stories of her grandma. Having all these other mix of characters, both immortal and ordinary humans also add up to the whole dynamics of the story. I like the fact that in the first few chapters the author has laid it out that Halfway is a magical place. It's like a disclaimer or a warning. So definitely, you would expect supernatural and paranormal things to happen. I like that it somehow prepares the reader but not really that prepared because you'll never know what creatures are going to make an appearance. I'm looking forward to reading the next books in the series and how the rest of the book will unfold and as to what direction the story will take. This is a book that falls halfway between an easy and a not so easy read. Easy on the beginning but you will have to brace yourself in the later part because that's where the real fight begins. And then, you can take a deep breath of relief because Carlie was able to get out of that forest unscathed and probably just advanced into the next level, if there are levels in being a witch. After this assignment, she may have just become a newly-improved witch from being just a newbie.

But for now, I treat my magic like a new pair of shoes. Someday, we're going to love each other, but for now we're just trying to fit together comfortably.

You insult my waffles, and you've just launched the first salvo in a war.

Tea first, troubles second. 
- Terry Maggert, Halfway Dead - 

Thank you again, Terry Maggert for the copy. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

In Defense of Innocence by Dave Wickenden | A Book Review

In Defense of Innocence by Dave Wickenden | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I was unable to access the internet for about a week because we had an issue with our connection. I was not able to work also. Good thing is I was able to read a few books. This is one of the books I read, which is a review request from an author. This is my first to read of this author. This book is probably the most difficult to read, if not, one of the most difficult ever. Difficult because of the subject that it tackles and its harsh realities. I had to rest after reading a few chapters and read a lighter story to decompress. In a way, it has gotten to me and I felt like I was drained of all energy. The truth was just too much for me to swallow.

Like its title, the author, through the effort of this book, takes on a very daunting and intimidating endeavor. Knowing that the author is a military personnel who pretty much has to deal with crimes and other criminalities, I'm pretty sure, he's such a wealth of information on the subject that is being raised by this story. This is about pedophiles and the different atrocities and cruelties inflicted on children. I, for one love children. I see their innocence and vulnerability. I have three nephews and one niece and it's my first instinct to protect them from anything that might harm them. If I were a parent, I'd take on the world to shield them. With that said, to read this book, takes a lot of courage and strength. It was not easy. I was filled with loathing and I wanted to hurt those people who prey on children and their weakness. It grieves my heart to accept the truth that these monsters could be anyone. More so, those who are in positions of influence and take advantage of that power. So, if it takes a lot of strength for a reader to read this, it takes much gumption, strength of character, and guts to be able to write this very gruesome tale. It's both a lesson and a cautionary tale. It opens one's eyes to what's right in front of our faces, not just in Canada but all over the world.

This is probably one or the only story where I was rooting for the other character, other than the main one. I was rooting for the vigilante. Yes, her method is not exactly the legal or the most moral one but it gets the job done. It paved the way for the change in laws regarding the punishment for sex offenders and pedophiles. It also mobilized a lot of people to go out to the streets and make the government act. It's also very inspiring to have people who dedicate their lives to the protection of the rights of all children. The police officers, specifically those who work at the Child Exploitation Center or more like the Women's Desk or Children's Welfare here in the Philippines. Those right advocates who unceasingly and tirelessly work to fight for the rights of children and women all over the world. The emergency or first responders, the doctors, the crime scene investigators, the police officers who work in IT and frequent those online hangouts of these offenders, just so they could prevent another child from being abused or rescue the next victims and return them safely to their family. Those law officers who almost never sleep just so these types of evil will never walk free or see daylight again because there is no rest for the wicked. These are modern day heroes who deserve as much recognition. The fight will never be over. 

While reading this, I felt like my heart was stabbed to shreds. It was so harrowing. It was too much to even just read. How much more if an innocent six-year old was actually going through those unimaginable atrocities? Can you ever imagine? What person gets off of that? Definitely a monster, right? Someone who doesn't deserve to live. It breaks my heart to even think of it but it's the brutal reality. There are just monsters who walk this world who don't have a single drop of conscience or remorse. I hope they burn in hell.

I give this book 5/5 wolverines. In this book, a wolverine is described as a truly evil animal that challenges the lynx (a symbolism for those who have been abused), the wolf (which stands for those who fight to live and run free), and the trapper. Most trappers will put away their traps for the season if a wolverine ever crosses their line. That is how vicious a wolverine is, that even an armed trapper is afraid to cross it's path. The wolverine stands for those people who are not afraid to exploit and destroy the future of young children. And I hope that people all over the world will continue the fight. We need to be as vicious and as mean as the wolverine. We need to impose the most severe punishment for those sexual offenders. The damage they cause doesn't only affect the victim. It's a domino effect. It bleeds and taints the family of the victim, the people whose jobs call for having to deal with the victims and these offenders. All the people who have to work in solving these crimes, enforcing the law, emergency responders, everyone. It affects all these people and no one is ever the same after they witness these type of evil. The lasting effect of the crime should be taken into account also when the sentence is given. It should consider the lives that have been affected and destroyed, the cost of rehabilitation of the victims who may survive the ordeal but not necessarily survive the shame and the pain that never goes away as long as they live. It's a stigma that is everlasting. I have so much respect for the author for having the courage to write this book. This is an eye-opener and I encourage everyone to pick up and read this. This is going to be painful but it contains a lot of truth and it helps empower us women, mothers, and all of us who try so hard and those who dedicate their lives to protect the rights of all the children in the world. 

A lifetime of pain and shame that never diminishes.

Women have fewer rights than men.

If someone who was supposed to help others could abuse children and get away with it, hidden by the very church he represented, then what good was the church? What good was the law?
- Dave Wickenden, In Defense of Innocence - 

Thank you again, Dave Wickenden for the ARC. May you continue to write more fierce and unflinching stories that serve as eye-openers for the world over. I salute you.