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Showing posts from March, 2013

Dented Cans by Heather Walsh

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: A family secret is revealed during an ill-fated—yet hilarious—trip to Disney World.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sampson knows her family is not what you would call normal. Her father compulsively buys dented cans and has a particular fondness for cans without labels, which are extremely discounted because their contents are a mystery. Her mother takes countless pictures of her family and then glues them down into the pages of her scrapbooks, but does not allow anyone to look at them. Ryan, Hannah’s mischievous fourteen-year-old brother, is headed straight for the remedial track at the local community college, if he’s lucky. Ben, her eight-year-old brother, is a walking sound effects machine, who prefers to communicate with noises rather than words. While Hannah is focused on escaping her working-class Connecticut suburb, she also finds herself being tugged back home as she worries about her brother Ben.

Hannah…

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

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It's funny how people either totally love or totally hate this book. I also think it was weird how so many of those negative reviews are focused on the fact that 'a true love story could never involve an affair.' I am not really an expert on romance literature, but even I know that the theme isn't exactly new.

The first time I read The Bridges of Madison County, it was a quick breezy, have-got-nothing-else-to-do read. When I re-read it for the book-club, I let myself be completely engaged in it and it worked wonders on my impression! The book has much to offer and the only way to acquire it, as the narrator says so himself, is to let go of any preconceived judgement and cynicism.

The book is very subtle, which, I realized during my 're-read', may be the reason why people just don't seem to get it. It's more than a brief affair between a bored wife, who is looking for an adventure of the physical kind and this sexy photographer who just happens to be th…

Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb by Ally Malinenko

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Meet Lizzy Speare…

…a normal twelve year old girl with a talent for writing, who has a very not normal family secret. And when Lizzy’s father vanishes, that secret will change her life in ways unimagined. (Spoiler Alert! It turns out that Lizzy, or Elizabeth S. Speare, is the last living descendant of William Shakespeare. Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!)

Then Lizzy and her best friend Sammy are kidnapped, awakening in the faraway land of Manhattan. Their host is Jonathan Muse, whose job is to protect Lizzy from becoming the latest victim in a family feud nearly five hundred years old. Could that be why the mysterious, eye patch-wearing Dmitri Marlowe is after her? (Spoiler Alert 2—he’s the last living descendant of Christopher Marlowe, a friend and rival of Shakespeare’s. But keep it to yourself!) Is Marlowe after Lizzy’s family fortune rumored to be kept in Shakespeare’s tomb? Does he seek artistic immortality?…

Champions of Power (Age of the Aura # 1) by Samuel Odunsi Jr.

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: "There was no other name for the Blessed Galaxy. After being gifted with the Auras, five great powerhouses of celestial creation, the title was a suitable fit. While harnessing such energies, the governing bodies have ruled their respected reaches of the Galaxy for a number of millennia, but now they face the threat of an inevitable calamity that could shake the lives of everyone, caused by one of the five Auras.
After accepting a sudden promotion, a devout man of science, named Lowen Sars, decides to take on the burden of saving the Galaxy’s people after he learns of the calamity, but soon realizes that the role of a hero was a calling not meant for him. In his process of self-discovery, Lowen inadvertently begins the fateful saga of not only the Blessed Galaxy but also the kingdom in possession of the corrupt Aura, and especially its two young heirs of the throne."
My thoughts: The book had a ra…

Paying Piper & Castles in the Air by Ilana Waters

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I remember saying that Ilana Waters had a very Diana Wynne Jones-ish writing style in my review of The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt, a middle grade fantasy novel. That impression was only strengthened when  I read a couple more of the author's stories. 
Paying Piper (or "What Happened in Hamelin Town")
The Pied Piper of Hamelin was never my favourite story. I thought it was rather odd as a child, and when I learn that the piper symbolized plague, I thought it was horrible. So, I was really looking forward to reading a retelling of the story by Ilana Waters, whose Diana Wynne Jones-esque novel The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt made me wish I was a kid again! Needless to say, I loved Paying Piper (or What Happened in Hamelin Town.)

I'm sure many people who are, like me, just children at heart will love this story just as much as I did. The quirky, conversational tone of writing reminded me of my childhood favourites, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl! The story has the ki…

House of Cards by Ilana Waters

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Eighteen-year-old Sherry has just begun her newly independent life in Paris when she is kidnapped by a group of vampires. They hold her hostage in the House of Cadamon, their catacomb lair beneath the city, ruled with an iron fist by a leader known as 'the Master.'
The only thing keeping Sherry alive is her ability to tell vampire fortunes through tarot cards, a task she is forced to perform night after night. She finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a four-hundred-year-old reluctant blood drinker who is as much a prisoner of Cadamon as she is.
Things get even more complicated when Sherry and Lucas begin falling for each other—hard. Will they be able to keep Sherry alive long enough for them both to escape the House of Cadamon? Or will the Master and his band of evil minions succeed in controlling the lives of the young lovers—by whatever means necessary?
Withits breathtaking Parisian setting, fast-mov…

Guest Post by author Tim Rowland (Creatures Features) on Writing About Animals

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About the author: Tim Rowland is an award-winning columnist at Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has written for numerous history and outdoor magazines and news syndicates nationwide. He has also authored several books, most recently Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War.
This fabulous little post on writing about animals gives a glimpse of what the book has to offer. Make sure you read this, along with the book review and buy yourself a copy right now! _________________________________________________________________
Writing and writing about animals are two different things. I say this because in traditional writing it is the author who must initiate the creative process and drive the text. When writing about animals, the author is free to disengage and allow the critter to dictate the terms.
For example, as I write this, or try to, there is a diminutive, six pound Siamese who has developed a fascination with the electronic letters and darting cursor that appear …

Creatures Features by Tim Rowland

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About the author: Tim Rowland is an award-winning columnist at Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has written for numerous history and outdoor magazines and news syndicates nationwide. He has also authored several books, most recently Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War.
About the book: When Tim Rowland’s earlier book of his animal essays, ALL PETS ARE OFF, was published, readers immediately clamored for more. Their preference for animal stories over the political columns Tim’s also known for is understandable: animals are way more fun to read about than politicians. Especially now. So here’s a new volume of over 75 columns, from the introduction to the farm of bovines Cleopatra and Heifertiti, the Belted Galloway beauties, to the further antics of Hannah the English Bulldog and Juliet the tiny Siames - and of course, more of the joyful bouvier des Flandres named Opie - that’s sure to provide loads of smiles and even outright guffaws.
My thoughts: Chaotic, confusing,…

The Babi Makers by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson

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I got this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


This was probably the most absurd book I have read in a while. I'm still debating whether it was absurd in a good way.

I loved the cover of the book - how very science fiction-ey. It immediately grabbed my attention. You know how some say the first few pages of the book decide its fate - if it is slow, dull or too drastic, it probably wouldn't hold everyone's attention. I think The Babi Makers will have no problem keeping people involved right at the very start. The first eight pages are spent describing a lavish meal - with warm, brothy noodle soup and crispy, cool, delicious carrots (I don't even like carrot but these sounded amazing!) You start to really get into the whole thing and then out of nowhere, the people eat a 'babi'.

The summary provided by the author didn't warn me that the book was going to contain cannibalism. Here's why it's there. Once upon a time, some sort of met…