Tuesday, December 12, 2017

From Strardust to Babylon by Amanda Bucan | A Book Review

From Strardust to Babylon by Amanda Bucan | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!


I also got this book from LibraryThing. This has been on my TBR and it was only about a month ago that I was able to read this. I didn't read the blurb before I started this book so it was a bit of a surprise to find what this book was about. It's a mix of a lot of genres. It started out as a young adult romance and then it turned into a ghost story and then to a new age, religion-christianity and historical biblical story towards the end. I am not sure what to feel about this book. So, allow me to explain it.

I think I picked this book because the title caught my attention. I mean, come on? Isn't it curious to you? From Stardust to Babylon. Babylon alone got me already. It got me curious. I know I read the blurb before but I can't remember what it was when I really started on this book. This is actually a true story. It is up to you if you believe it or not. I haven't exactly decided if I do but there are some parts of the story that could possibly be true and some which I really want to be true because I want that to happen to me or to apply to my life also. 

As I have mentioned earlier, this started out with two teenagers who fell in love with each other deeply. The confusing part is that they are really into each but the relationship was never meant to last. Yes, it is sad. So, they got separated for about nineteen years and then by some telepathic message, Amanda felt that Simon has died. And from there, she started having dreams and experienced paranormal activities that she associated with Simon. With this onslaught of paranormal sightings and all, Amanda tried to understand as much as she can. She meet people who are into new age stuff and about past lives. She tried to gain as much knowledge from this people as she can. She got into a lot of things just so she would be able to unravel the mystery of the messages that Simon is showing her. And it turned out, Amanda and Simon are soulmates and they have reincarnated several times and have always found each other in each life but then, they never really lasted together forever or for long. There were always death, betrayal and all that. The most shocking of all is the connection of Amanda and Simon to the Egyptians Moses and other things in the Bible.

As I have also said, I am not sure if I believed everything in this book. I sort of relegated this to fiction. I believe in the first part of the story where they both fell deeply in love at such a young age but didn't end up with each other due to circumstances which I think would be Simon's fault. I think Amanda, in all fairness, tried to stay in the relationship and keep Simon but Simon continued to not believe in that the two of them should be together. It was a heart-breaking story and I do get why Simon would feel that he has let a great thing slip away. It was hard watching these two not together. And Amanda, realizing that she too felt that she married the wrong guy but she can't seem to do anything about it. 

The part about the paranormal occurrences and sightings attributed to Simon haunting Amanda and her mother is in a way believable, but I guess the part that I found that bothers me a bit was how Amanda was making a lot effort to find meaning and reason for all the haunting which all lead to some discovery about their past lives. I love learning about past lives. I, for one would really want to believe that it's true because I wanted to know about what I was in my past life or lives too. But I guess her obsessive quest for finding the meaning and answers to what purportedly Simon is trying to communicate to her is what really I can't get my head on it. I understand she went through a very profound loss and depression and I understand it may be just be her own way of trying to get to terms and handle of things. 

Then, she was able to trace back her past lives and connection to Moses and all that. It's fascinating and if I were in her place, I too would be so astounded of this great discovery that somehow she is connected to some great person in the past and is tasked to fulfill a mission. That's a very good way to find meaning and purpose in this life. I would actually want to have something like that. And I salute her for finishing this book and sharing this to the whole world. It is admirable. And in that sense, she has fulfilled her part of her mission and purpose and now it's up to the readers to take that as it is or chuck it to fiction. As of the writing of this review, I still can't decide if I wanted to believe everything or not. Maybe there are just some things that I did not get or understand or maybe some of these things are just too good to be true. But I am not judging, it will just probably take time to process all this. Or maybe, I need not have to decide if I believe it or not, it's just there.

All in all, I give this book a 3/5 Towers of Babylon. This is an incredible story but it also left me thinking and wondering about a lot of things. One of which is if I was convinced to believe it. This story also solicited a lot of emotions. I can't help but feel the devastating break-up between Amanda and Simon. And the sense of loss and regret she and Simon felt when they both are no longer in same plane of existence. The emotions in the story are very real and I could definitely feel them. I guess, the part about the paranormal transitioning into a story that rooted or can be traced back to the times of the Egyptians and Babylonians was what really I could not fully grasped. I believe it's incredible and absolutely amazing to be able to claim that you actually lived in the past as somebody important and had a hand in shaping world history. It's totally wonderful and that part of the story is what I really wanted to be absolutely true and I would like that to apply to me to. I want to actually know what I were my past lives so I could make sense of this current life, just like what the author actually accomplished in this life time.



Absolutely, this was not a light read and this tends to make you question a lot of things and your convictions. That has happened to me and this book, in a way, probably is telling me that there maybe a life after this one. And I hope that it would be much much better than this. 

And lastly, I truly agree and believe in what the author said below. It is definitely the truth. People are just jealous that some are just comfortable with themselves and that somehow bothers them so in turn they wanted to make those people uncomfortable too. To feel the same way that they do, as miserable as themselves.

The irony is that many who are targeted are made to feel weak, yet it's often your very strength of character and individuality that incites the act of bullying as others envy your resistance to conformity.
- Amanda Bucan, From Stardust to Babylon - 



Thank you, LibraryThing, PublishNation UK, and Amanda Bucan for the copy.




Winter Signs (Season Named #2) by Sarah Gai | A Book Review

Winter Signs (Season Named #2) by Sarah Gai | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I read the first book in the series by the same author--Autumn's Dance so when I found this on Xpressobooktours' site as one of the things up for review, I readily signed up. I remember liking the first book so I am hoping to be touched and moved by this second installment also.

Winter Signs is a story about a girl who is born a deaf-mute and had to go through a lot of heart-breaking loss in her life. Grief so devastating that she thought she had nothing to live for. The only way she thinks she will be able to get out of the dark hole she was in was to go away from everyone she knew and start over. Only to find out that she has to whether she likes it or not, get closure and move on because a lot of people are just waiting for her be ready to do that.

If the first book was about domestic violence and family, this one is about loss and grief which I think is more tragic and devastating. The common theme of the two books in the series is family, friendship and love. Well, love actually in all its forms. Like the first book, this story embodies the saving grace of unconditional love. That it heals all wounds, even a blackhole caused by a great loss of one's great and first love.

This story reminds me of when I was in my grade school. I was in a special class. We were called fast-learners. I think it was more of more projects and more school work to do than most of the other pupils in our grade level. Anyway, we were next to the classes of the hearing-impaired and the mentally-challenged. Yes, we were exactly where we were supposed to be in the building for special people. We were special in our own way. I remember, we developed a friendship with some of the people from those classes and we learned to do sign language. I learned how the signs for the alphabet and some of the most commons signs for beautiful, ugly, father, mother and I love you. Later, in high school, the sign language for the alphabet became very handy when I joined the Girl Scouts. It was also very useful talking to a friend who knows sign language without giving away what you are talking about. It's like a secret form of communication if there wasn't any deaf-mute or anybody else who could understand it.

I think of this book as Winter Sighs. I feel like taking a deep and big sigh every time I think about this story. The loss and heart-break Winter has to go through at a young age, one after the other was just so traumatic. It left a very big hole, actually a vacuum in her heart and it felt like her heart would never work again. I felt that too. I felt like my heart stopped beating when I got to that part of the story. Winter and Connor's love for each other is what you could call ordained. They were made for each other. I could feel Connor's great love for Winter even in my pores. It was just so strong that even an outsider would never make the mistake of getting in between these two. Such love is just so extraordinary and very rare. Not to mention that they started as best friends at such a young age and they grew to falling in love with each other.

My favorite part of the story is how Connor and Winter met. It was just so hilarious imagining a stick thin Winter hitting a similarly young Connor in the face. It was not a cute first meeting but definitely memorable and very hilarious to anyone seeing it. Who knew it was a start to a very close friendship and love that two can ever share.

Then, there's Nolan. It seemed like the author has a habit of naming the two leading men in this story with surnames. I think it's unique and cute. So, Nolan, I think he has a lot in common with Connor. Aside from of course, being attracted and drawn to Winter. These two seem to share a lot of traits. They are both good teenagers who both grew up with single moms. They are both an only child also. So, it isn't any wonder why Winter felt comfortable and safe with him. 

Nolan and Winter. These two both know that there is some special link between them but Winter was just not ready to deal with anything that will remind her of Connor. Winter tried denying her feelings for Nolan but in the end, she found that she could not go through the same experience of losing someone she loves again. After all the push and pull between these two, finally Winter gave up and succumbed to the ever powerful pull of love and let Nolan in for good. And there were reasons why Nolan had to do the things he did for Winter.

Charlie and Nicole were so cute also. I am glad that in spite of the tragedy that happened in this story, most of the characters found their place and love of their lives. These two have their own issues but eventually they got married and have gotten over the bad parts of their childhood. The same with the other characters, even with Sadie who became a better person than she was back in high school. A very nice turn of events which doesn't really happen in a lot of stories. The bully grew up to realize her faults and apologize for them is such a refreshing thing. I hope it happens more often in stories and in real life.

I give the book 5/5 snowflakes. This story brings out a lot of emotions to the surface. Though loss and tragedy is the most prevalent but hope and recovery is also in the scene. Moving on and finding that the heart can still function and beat like it was never shattered after all is a great blessing. To find two great loves in one lifetime is such a miracle. Winter is very fortunate and she didn't have to forget Connor just because she is now with Nolan. Connor is a big part of her and Nolan is such a great guy for knowing the same thing. Connor is as much as a part of Nolan as to Winter. They are both lucky to have known him. 


This story just oozes with very strong emotions that I can't even help for my chest to feel tight while writing this review. This evokes a lot of sad feelings but knowing that everything ended up well with everyone is such a relief. Yes, a happy ending! Thank you. Everything was resolve. Every issue and obstacle that was brought up in this story was resolved and given a happy ending, except for Summer which I am sure is the next book in this series. 

Here is a quote which beautifully summarizes what, how and why grief is. And no one is ever more powerful than grief except for love. Only love can soften it's blow and help one to recover from the aftermath of its very earth-shattering effects. So, for everyone who is going through grief right now, know that you can take as much time as you can to try to deal with it and when you are ready to come out of that deep hole, the sun is just outside ready to welcome you in all it's shining glory.

Grief is a hard thing and there is no time limit on how long it will last. It could be a month, a year, a decade or the rest of your life that you mourn over the loss of a loved one, a marriage breakdown, or a friendship you thought would never end. You see, grief comes in all shapes but no matter how long it takes, know that it's okay to feel and know that, when you're ready, the sun is waiting right outside your window wanting to shine on you once again.
- Sarah Gai, Winter Signs -


Thank you again, Giselle of Xpressobooktours for the copy and for Sarah Gai for this wonderful story.
 


Other books by the author:
Autumn's Dance (Season Named #1)

Magic, Inc. (Magic, Inc. #1) by Valerie Rutherford | A Book Review

Magic, Inc. (Magic, Inc. #1) by Valerie Rutherford | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is another book I got from Library Thing. If I had known that this was a very amusing and cute story, I would have tackled this sooner. 

As the title and the cover suggests, this is a young adult story with a lot of cute teenagers in it. The main character, Jane Roberts is really cute and endearing. Actually, Jane is not yet a teenager, she is still in fourth grade and she is experiencing for the first time how it is to be so drawn to someone and how it's like to fall in love. More like puppy love. This book is a good combination of magic and very young romance. A book you could easily connect with whether it would be the story or its characters. 

Jane's character reminds me of how it was when I had my first crush. Unlike everyone who tends to giggle and scream like a banshee when her crush just passed by the hallway, I was more of the mum and remain-quiet-type. My crushes are my deepest secrets only known to a very select few who had sworn their life over ever telling it to anyone. I had a bad experience of being teased endlessly when I was found to have a crush on someone, so I never want to repeat that humiliating experience again. 

Magic, Inc. disguises as a movie or TV outfit when in truth it really is a company where a family who practices and use magic like Harry Potter owns it. It's the most effective yet most obvious disguise but normal people were never wiser. So, when Jane got initiated into this new wonderful world, she embraced it and found she actually had a place in it. Yes, this is quite a coming of age story for Jane with a lot of cute, giggly and euphoric moments with her crush who is nine years older than her. 

Ah, Chaz Parker. Just the epitome of a big brother, a friend, a best friend and that of a friend's big brother that you have a very big crush on. I especially enjoyed the scenes with him and Jane alone in the studio room and he showing Jane about making a website and all. And him doing something very special for Jane was just so sweet and banshee scream-worthy. Yes, I want him for Jane. He is too nice and sweet to Jane that I wouldn't mind giving him up for her. And I like Jane's character. I think I can see my young self in Jane too. I too went through some bullying in my grade school so I feel like Jane is a kindred spirit. You know, kids who share or went through the same kind of experiences tend to stick together. So, I too would like to keep up with Jane and her next stories.

I do want to read the next books in the series. I want to know what important role Jane plays in this new and amazing world of magic. And with that sad ending there, I don't think I will rest until I know what happens next. And I would definitely want to see if Chaz Parker feels the same way for Jane. I know, he may have given some hints that he may have the same feelings but we can never be sure. Chaz may just find her cute being a ten-year old and all. There are also some characters in the story who may seem significant in the next instalment so I am looking forward to that also. And a conflict and betrayal is brewing so it will get even more interesting.

I give this book 4/5 wands. This is a nice story for young readers as well as adults. I am way out of my teens but I still feel like this story is for me. It made me relive the good things about my youth and the simplicity of those gone years when my problems were a bit simpler and less stressful. This has been a very enjoyable and engaging read. I look forward to reading more of the series and other stories from the author. 


I meant your different in your heart. It's a wonderful thing, but it makes you easy to hurt. And kids love using that against you.
- Valerie Rutherford, Magic, Inc. - 



Thank you again, Library Thing and Valerie Rutherford for the copy.




Confessions of a Secret Raver by Francesca Fielding | A Book Review

Confessions of a Secret Raver by Francesca Fielding | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is of the first few books that I got from Library Thing and was not able to read it right away. I am slowly getting to them but I still have a lot. And more so now that I have been working from home. I don't have a lot of time to read unlike the past months where I did not have any permanent source of income. I am thankful that I am no longer broke but I also feel sorry because I have less time or no time at all to read books.

This book is actually what the title says--confessions of an adult who loves to go to rave parties and just let go. To momentarily forget her woes and the burden of responsibilities and work weigh her day. To just live in the moment even for just a few days or week. To take time away from all the hassles and stresses of daily life. And as with the fact, parties come with booze and drugs. The confessor here which happens to be a professional British female, actually a lawyer, admittedly claimed to have been under the influence of a mood inducer. According to her, E is not a drug, just as the scientist who invented it who also claimed that it isn't. 

I stopped going to bars and going out to drink and party when I stopped working for call centers. Yes, here in the Philippines, being a call center agent is synonymous to having a very active and outgoing lifestyle. People who work for the same industry tend to enjoy night outs on rest days going to bars and drinking some of the stress away. In my time, we used to go to a resto bar with live bands or go to a karaoke club to sing our hearts out and of course, alcohol is staple. I am a light drinker. I can only take one or two bottles of beer and that is how the night is for me. When I went to Manila to do Finance again, my outlet for relieving stress has turned to travel and I will still keep to that until I am no longer able to do that at all. With this story, the main character Beatrice combined the two. She goes to Ibiza to attend rave parties. She's a lawyer yet her guilty pleasure or vice is partying with the additional enjoyment of a euphoria inducing drug. 

This story is education in itself. I never thought that MDMA or E is not addictive like any other prohibited or controlled drugs in the market. According to Alexander Shulgin, the Russian-American scientist who invented E, and Beatrice shares the same thought, that the drug gives you a feeling of total peace. It would feel like you have lived all your life to get there and you feel that you have completely come home and you are complete. It was like if you have ever never experienced pure ecstasy that it's so intense and special that you will feel that you can't possible do it all the time because it would tend to lose its meaning or significance or tend to lose its value when done often. It may seem like this book is promoting E or that Beatrice is championing the use and distribution of the drug but at the end of the story, she also found that there are some consequences. Though, no one overdose of ever using the drug in the story but there are sad incidents that had somehow tainted her profound and blissful experience in Ibiza. 

In my opinion, taking in Beatrice's qualifications as a barrister and a really good one at that, I was in a way convinced that E maybe okay as a recreational drug to be used only if you want to experience euphoria and you understand what euphoria is. For Beatrice and her friends who have been through the experience a few times, they value it as a way to commune with others and to embrace being just alive. If you look at it that way, it doesn't sound so bad at all. With all the problems and chaos in the world, who would not give a few hours to escape the burdens and maybe reminded of how joy and bliss feels even if after that you will be reminded again of the sorrows that are in your life. It's not really escapism but it's in a way akin to travel. It's a temporary respite from all the tension and stress but it gives you a little dose of strength to get back to real life. And just like Beatrice says, the experience is so unearthly that you will feel that doing it more often would not guarantee the same intense enjoyment and that's why she claims she is not going to be addicted. There is a part in the story wherein Beatrice reflects on actually bringing the real facts about MDMA to the drug controlling authorities and let them see E for what it really is. The purpose for what it was made in the first place. Beatrice thought of writing and bringing awareness of the truth about the drug which is not what everyone thought it is.

If the author is hiding in the persona of Beatrice and she wants these facts about E known to the world, then she has succeeded. I, for one was ignorant of all this until this book. And I feel educated and now aware. I am not going to start using E but like Beatrice, thought that maybe if some people could actually use the relief that E brings then let them have it. If cancer patients can at least find happiness again and comfort and relief even temporarily, then by all means let them. I think that is what Beatrice is trying to fight for here. Not for some people to get rich dealing it or for whatever other purpose but for those that really need it. And I would sign on my name on her signature campaign to help her make that to happen.

But like a cautionary tale, this story does not end in euphoria and pure joy. It's sad and the consequences of trying to break the law is always dire, even if your purpose and intentions are not really bad. And Beatrice too discovered the dangers of her secret lifestyle which would have ended up everything for her if she was found to have been involved in the use of the drug or associated with anyone who is dealing them. 

I give the book 4/5 round pills. As I have said, this is very educating. I am glad I get to read this so I would know that there are actually even more dangerous, addicting and life-threatening drugs out there than what everyone thinks of E. I think having this knowledge has empowered me but it has in no way encouraged me to actually try it for myself. I am not even curious because this kind of lifestyle is not for me. I travel to learn about culture, people and myself. Going to bars or parties is not in anyway or any more part of any of my itinerary. I would rather commune with nature and be astounded by God's creations. That is my kind of drug and the kind of high I want to experience. But when it comes to Beatrice and her friends' wish to let the world know of the truths about E, I am in. I don't think the world will get even worse if people know the real thing about it. And if this drug will help people with cancer, then so be it. Give it to them. I will rally along with Beatrice and her friends for that.



It takes away the cancers of the world for a few hours.
- Francesca Fielding. Confessions of a Secret Raver - 



Thank you, Library Thing, PublishNation UK and Francesca Fielding for the copy.





The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd (Charlotte Dodd #1) by Holly Kerr | A Book Review


The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd (Charlotte Dodd #1) by Holly Kerr | A ook Review by iamnotabookworm!

Just by looking at the cover, this book already promises loads of surprises, adventure and a hint of comedy. It's one of the reasons why I signed up for this one. I got this from Netgalley. 

The blurb starts with--Office worker Charlotte steps out of a movie theatre and into a heap of trouble. That exactly summarized the essence of the whole book. And just by the first chapter alone, I know that I have done a good job of choosing this book. This is like Alias in a lot of ways. I had fun reading this book and was rooting for Charlotte the whole time.

This is a really fascinating read which I think the cover does not really do justice to it. The contents of this book is way way more awesome than the cover has ever let on. Classic don't judge the book by it's cover example. I have been always drawn to cartoony or animated covers or art work covers with no real people in them. It's also one of the reasons why this book got my eye. And I often associate covers like this book to fun or humor. So, I thought this book might be like a funny secret about Charlotte Dodd but it turns out the secret life of Charlotte isn't funny at all. It's far from funny. It's the most serious business that could ever be and it seems like a lot of people are in it except Charlotte. So, personally, though the cover is attention-grabbing, I think it should have been more because the story is just so fabulous and exciting that the cover I think is not really aligned. But then again, it got my attention and I decided to read this book so it has done its job. I have actually seen another cover of this book with a real person in and I think it's as appealing as the cartoony one. I'd prefer it over the other one. So, I think it was actually a good decision to have switched to the cartoony cover.

As I have said, this is like Alias or maybe Dark Angel in intensity and with the kickass heroine in it. I definitely look forward to reading the next book. And I just love that Charlotte has four very protective and badass brothers. I really enjoyed the story because this book speaks of women empowerment. Charlotte is a grand player in a world dominated by men and she exceeds them all in more ways. She is the best and she represents a lot of empowered and strong women in the world who excels in any male-dominated aspect whether it be in business, career, military, government and so on. And there is just this unique quality that is only found in women which makes us really formidable foes and allies. And Charlotte just proved that one. Either you stand with her or against her. And if you are not on her side, better run and hide because she will surely do more than break your bones. 

This is tag as a chick lit but this is not like any other chick lit at all. It's packed with testosterone with the abundance of very handsome, dashing and deadly male characters in this story. In fact, there are just about four female characters, including Charlotte in here. This is not exactly a full-on romance story but as always with all stories, we couldn't leave that out also. But the main focus is not so much on the love life of Charlotte's character but rather on the other side of her personality which is actually her real self. You'll end up wanting to have Charlotte as your best friend after reading this story. Or maybe wishing to be Charlotte, like I did.

With that said, I give this book 5/5 pistols. With all the secret and surprises this book is keeping, you will never be satisfied. Even after all the revelations and well-constructed background stories and history of the characters, you will keep wanting for more. More adventures and dangers with Charlotte. More glimpses and inside stories about his brothers. Just more. Definitely, Holly Kerr has a spot in my favorite authors' list. Two more books to go and she will likely end up there.



Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is understanding the other person is a complete idiot.
- Holly Kerr, The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd - 

Thank you again, Netgalley and Holly Kerr for the copy.


 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley | A Book Review

Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I signed up for this book because the title is so cute. Like always, it's the title that gets us first, right? Then the blurb was interesting enough so I went ahead and signed up for this on Netgalley.

Tumble and Blue sounded like a cute love story to me. But it's not really a love story. It's more of friendship and finding or forging your own path of destiny. Tumble and Blue in this story are teenagers who are both very unfortunate, because they are unlucky in some things in life. And it's not just any luck but it's actually a curse handed down from their ancestors.

This story reminded me of the story--Gone South by Robert McCammon which is also set in a bayou or near a swamp. Like McCammon's story, there is also a mysterious aspect in this story and it's a golden alligator. And like the "Bright Girl in Gone South, the gator has a magical power to change the destiny and life of the person who seek its help. The main characters were also both a boy and a girl, except in McCammon's they were adults and their problems were far darker than Tumble and Blue's were. Also, I think McCammon was a lot darker and sadder in tone and in the whole aspect of the story. This one is for Young Adults and is light and funny at most.

I was fascinated by the different lucks and curses the members of Blue's family have. It's interesting. Some are really not so extraordinary and some are just so funny. Others were more serious and even life-threatening. Blue's curse, if you look at it, in the whole scheme of things is actually a bit serious. Imagine never ever going to experience how to win, even in the most mundane of games like Scrabble, though I like Scrabble, it's not nonsense at all. Or ever win in any sport event or any school contest which is part of every student and teenager's life. It's so sad to contemplate and I do feel sorry for Blue. More so, because of his selfish father. Thanks the book Gods, he is so adorable that all this just happens to be so cute and not really to be taken seriously, if I were in the same age bracket. I wouldn't mind him not winning anything, I would gladly be his friend. I would try to win some for him, if that's the case.

Tumble on the other hand is a similar story yet I find her curse not really a curse at all. At her young age, she doesn't need to save the world. And the fact that her heart just want to rescue and help everyone is just big enough. I think, she doesn't need to worry about saving anyone at all. Let the adults, the firemen and all other rescue teams do it. That's why I think Blue's concern is more serious than hers. And I do understand where she's coming from. I know where she got this notion and strong urge to save the whole world. It's guilt. Accurately, survivor's guilt which is more of psychological than rooted back to the curse. And it's not her fault if she survived, because knowing her kind heart, I think she would have done the saving if she had a choice in it.

When these two combined forces and ended up finding comfort and genuine friendship in each other, it felt like their concerns about the curses were not that earth-shattering after all. With them together, they didn't need to feel like they were unlucky or lacking. They were enough for each other. And in the best of friendships, you don't need to have magical powers or special abilities to find loyalty, you only need to be honest and genuine. Show your true self, including all the bad and the scars. If someone's only friends with you because of the benefits then that's not friendship at all but taking advantage.

I enjoyed this story and it's just right that these two found the strength within to prove to the world that they are not their curse. These two proved that they can change what was supposed to be a destined unfortunate life. They have move from what everyone calls their main imperfection and even turned it around. Tumble saved someone which she thought she could never do. She is after all a hero, in her own way. Then, Blue won. He was the first to reach the golden gator. He won, even if he was supposedly destined to never win in his whole lifetime. They twisted their fates and made an even better one for themselves.

What I like about the story is the one about Tumble hero-worshipping this celebrity who made people think he is a real-life superhero, when in truth he's not. But, I forgive Tumble because what drove her was her desperation, and at her young age, she needed someone to look up to. It's just unfortunate because she did not see right through that person. Good thing she eventually found out that he was not worthy of any praise or emulation or anything at all.

I give the book 4/5 gators. This is a story of the underdogs. The story is a reminder that we can be more than what people expect us to be. That we can prove people wrong. That we are more than what our inheritance, family and everything else that we are. That we can be different from what people see our family, we can be better, stronger and kinder. We can be everything we dream of and we should not let the world and people to limit us, shape us, or box us or stop us. This is an inspiring story especially for teenagers who are in the stage of confusion and they feel like they are pulled from all directions. This tells us to just listen to our heart and let's not conform to what the world forces us to be. Let us be what we dream and not because of what people tell us what we can't be.


Another curiosity of the human imagination--this idea that you can un-break something. Piece the fragments of shell together and put the egg back in its nest if you like. What's inside will never fly.
- Cassie Beasley, Tumble and Blue -



Thank you, Netgalley and Cassie Beasley for the copy.




Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Snow Owl (The Alder Tales #4) by R. S. McCoy | Cover Reveal



The Snow Owl

By RS McCoy


Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fairytale Retelling
Series: Alder Tales Book Four

Cover Designer: Kit Foster Design

Pre-Order Available: February 1, 2018
Release Date: March 7, 2018









*A Paranormal Romance Retelling of The Snow Queen*

Audra Mercer is planning to destroy the world. Well, maybe just the realm. It’s taken almost fifteen years for her to rise from the ashes of trauma and place herself at the top of the Aero branch, the prime position to enact her plan to bring the branch hierarchy crashing down. She’ll spare no one and stop at nothing to secure her vengeance. 

As Mercer’s third in command, Blossom is drowning in secrets. She’s lying to her boss, her friends, her allies, her lovers. She’s playing both sides and hoping to have both her life and her happiness by the end. But one misstep will mean showing her colors before she loses everything. 

Following in the footsteps of Gemini’s kidnappers, Raene assumes a Terra identity and allows herself to be taken across the Alderwood. Parson secretly follows, but if he can’t keep up, they’ll lose both Raene and all hope of finding Gemini. 







Books by RS McCoy:

Sparks Saga:
    

The Lightning Luminary:


The Extraction Files:
   


The Alder Tales:
  

   



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 as well as numerous short stories, some of which now reside in anthologies. 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.


Author Links: 





Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Lost Knight (Lost Knight #1) by Candy Atkins | A Book Review

The Lost Knight (Lost Knight #1) by Candy Atkins | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from ebooksforreview.com but I first knew of this book through one of many cover reveals I joined in. I am thankful that this got featured by Kathy of ebooksforreview.com. Now, I have the chance to read the book.

I love stories about knights. I have always been fascinated by the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Three Musketeers and the Knights of the Templars. Everything about knights always caught my fancy. So, it's no wonder why I wanted to read this book.

Unlike any other stories about knights, this one will surely shock you. I was, when I realized that unlike any knights I knew, this one happens to be a girl. Yes, a teenage girl. What in the world? You may ask. How could a girl be a knight? Well, this one is and she is the last one of her kind. Agatha Stone is the last knight.

Agatha is a foster child and bullied in school. Then, one night, a stranger came into her room telling her she is being rescued. Why does she needs rescuing? Is she a prisoner then? How can that be? All these questions were racing through Agatha's head but time is of the essence. Either she trusts and go with this stranger or get trapped in this room for the rest of her life. Does she have a choice? She went with the stranger who looked liked Grim Reaper yet being with him makes her safe and comfortable.

This is a coming of age story for an orphan whose existence has been so limited and inconsequential to other people. She doesn't matter to anyone except to an alternate world awaiting her return. A world where she is the only hope to save it. All of a sudden, Agatha turns from a nobody to a hero that everyone has been waiting. Will she be able to step up to the challenges and expectations? So little time and too much to learn.

I give this book 4/5 pegasus. I really enjoyed this story. It is a very enticing start to a very interesting and captivating adventure. The heart-stopping and cliffhanger ending is just so unexpected. I thought, Agatha's life would be safer now that she is where she's supposed to be but that is not true. Dangers are everywhere. Her presence and existence threatens someone. All I have are more questions. They make me want to go and grab the next book so I could continue my adventures with Agatha. 



Dyslexia is like having legs that can run a thousand miles, but not learning how to walk until you're thirty. It's a superpower. A very hard-to-control superpower.
- Candy Atkins, The Lost Knight - 


Thank you, Kathy of ebooksforreview.com, for the copy. Sorry for the delayed posting of the review.




Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle (Fairy Ring #1) by Jacque Stevens | A Book Review

Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle (Fairy Ring #1) by Jacque Stevens | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I got this from ebooksforreview.com. I have read a few books from the same author and I have enjoyed her stories. So, when I saw this up for review, I signed up.

This story reminds me of superstitious stories here in my country about people being taken by supernatural creatures. Once that person eats the food served by these creatures, s/he will never be able to go back to the human world. In this story, personal effects or belongings of that said person brought to the world of the fairies will grant her the privilege of staying with them forever. No more pains and aches of this human world.

This story is about a fourteen-year old girl named Livy who had to grew up being responsible for her mother. Her mother is a drug addict which resulted to her father leaving them, taking along with him Livy's brother. Livy grew up having two fairies for best friends. Livy was more comfortable fighting imaginary monsters and going off into fantastic adventures with her two best friends. Until, Child Protective Services took her and decided that she live with her father. 

This story tackles the borders between reality and the imagined. It mixes psychology and fantasy thereby blurring the lines separating the two. Like the two characters in this story--Livy and Kaito. These two teenagers seemed to be suffering from mental illness but to them there exist another reality. A world where Kaito is a prince and Livy is a princess, in a land where the human problems and worries do not exist. A place where these two could just be themselves. No one calls them weird or crazy. 

What I really liked about the story is the emphasis on family and love. Whatever mental illness or psychological issue anyone is going through, love and care from the family helps a lot in making that person overcome it. In this story, Livy came to realize that the person most she hated the most was actually the one who was fighting so hard for her--her stepmother. Realizing she is getting all the concern, care, and love from that one person she thought who never even cared because they were not related. With that knowledge, Livy found the strength to fight the monsters that exist in her head and decided she wants to live in the real world instead of the imagined one. Life in the real world is not easy but as long as she got her dad, her brother and her step-mother, she will be alright. 

I think we all can relate to Livy and Kaito. At one point, especially when were younger, we have imaginary friends and a magical place we transport ourselves to when life confuses us and is not making any sense for our young minds. But escapism is like applying a band aid to a pestering wound. It never heals it. Unless we find the courage to face our problems and tackle them head on, that is the only time we can truly get rid of them.

I give the book 3.5/5 fairies. The story relates how it's so easy and comfortable to get lost into a fairy world just so we can escape from our problems. Like the Livy and Kaito, being in fairy land is much better because in the real world, they feel like outcasts and their problems were weighing them down with nobody to support them. Nobody cares about them. No one will miss them. And just like everything that ails in the world, friends and family make our burdens easier to bear. Just like the saying-- "a problem shared becomes lighter". When we share our worries, they do not really get solved but it makes us feel better knowing someone is there to hear us out. Sometimes, all we need is just a listening ear to boost our spirits. And like all psychological problems, unwavering support and love from the family helps a lot in giving someone suffering from these issues the motivation, strength and courage to face their demons.



Love so unconditional, it had never seemed real. 

I feared the real world, because all this time it was the only thing that ever mattered to me. The only thing I wanted. Whatever my shard was, it couldn't be confined to one person or object, even symbolically. I wanted all of it.
- Jacque Stevens, Fairy Ring: Shards of Janderelle - 



Thank you, Kathy of ebooksforreview.com for the copy.


Other books by Jacque Stevens:
The Stone Bearers

Winter Falls


Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost #1) by Alicia Rades | A Book Review

Fire in Frost (Crystal Frost #1) by Alicia Rades | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!


I was listening to alternative music while I started to write this review. I have forgotten how it felt like to listen to them. It has been a while since I enjoyed their relaxing embrace. Listening to the music of Lifehouse, Daughtry, The Script, Alex Band, Counting Crows, etc. had always been my comfort. It's like they are giving me warmth and it's as if there is nothing that could go wrong with the world. 

So, Fire in Frost. I thought this was a fantasy. It looks like it from the title. Yes, I did not read the blurb for this story. I got a free copy from Amazon and this has been in residence in my TBR for quite a while. Finally, I have read it and it was actually a good story. It was far from what I thought it was. 

This is the first book of Alicia Rades that I read but the review for the second book after I read this one came out first. I know. I kind of have this mood when I write my reviews. It depends on what kind of mood I am in to review a book. So, some of the books I read stay for quite longer on my review drafts than the others. There are other times also that some stories are easier to review than others. Some emotions need to be processed and stewed over before they can be expressed into words. For this book, I am not sure why I was not able to write a review right away. It felt like my mood was wrong to come up with a satisfactory review for this story, until now.

This is a ghost story. Well, a girl who sees ghosts. Crystal Frost has special abilities. One of them is to see and talk to ghosts. Then, the ghost of a dead classmate started appearing to her asking for help. Will Crystal be able to uncover the truth about Olivia's death?

This is a coming of age story of Crystal trying to discover her special abilities and learning to accept and use them. In this story, Crystal was able to uncover the mystery relating to a friend's death. Olivia's ghost was asking Crystal for help and with her abilities coming in handy, Crystal was able to give eternal rest to Olivia. 

I enjoyed this story. Though this involved a ghost, it wasn't creepy at all. It was fun seeing Crystal trying to take hold of her abilities and use it to help people. Discovering also that she's not the only one endowed with special abilities made her seemed a little less crazy. She decided that her abilities are gifts and she should just embrace it instead of having to question it.

I give the book 4/5 halloween costumes. The ending hints of another adventure for Crystal. It seemed like another soul needs her help. Question is: is it dead or alive? I can't help but jump into the next book in the series. I am not sure if I have the next book though. This book is a very good start to a very interesting series of ghostly proportions. I can't believe I didn't read this sooner. Well, I better make sure I have all the books in the series so I would need what future awaits Crystal with her special abilities. 





Being psychic doesn't mean you're entitled to things other people aren't.
- Alicia Rades, Fire in Frost - 


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review

Book of Shadows: Volume 1: Casting by Michael Beaulieu | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The author reached out to me via the "contact us" form of my blog asking if I wanted to review two of his books. He gave me the blurb for each book and I agreed to review them. He suggested that I first read this book as it has generated a lot of positive reactions and then read the other one later. So, after about 6 months, the review is finally out. I read this about a month or two ago. 

I know I mentioned in my review policy that the latest for me to post a review would be 3 months after I got the book. Unfortunately, I have not adhered to that more often than being able to keep that promise. So, as a solution, I created another tracker to make sure I stay true to that promise. I lost my old tracker when the other laptop crashed and my list just haven't been recreated after about a month ago. So, moving forward, I really hope that I could post my reviews within three months after getting the book copies.

Book of Shadows: Casting is the first of the series. Book two is in the editing works when the author sent me this request. This a YA story. As the title would imply, Book of Shadows, (remember the TV series Charmed?) it's about witchcraft. While writing this review, I realized that this book had a few similarities with Charmed. Aside from the theme, of course. Like the Halliwell sisters, this story also involved the power of three young girls. And, the book of witchcraft also came from the grandmother of one of the three girls--Emma.

The three girls are Emma, Lia and Shar. Lia and Shar are Emma's best friends who are also gay and are a couple. When Emma found her grandmother's book of spells, she recruited Lia and Shar to join her and make a coven. They tried some of the spells in the book and even did a love spell on Emma's crush. Casting spells is fun until they have to face the effects of their spell-casting and even undo some of them. These three have to stand up to bullies and make things right before a disaster resulted as a byproduct of their spells.

One thing that fascinated me with this story was the setting. The girls live in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell also happens to be name of my brother-n-law. The place may not prompt anything special to you but it does ring a bell to me. While I was in the US for a training for work way back in 2013, one of the main offices of the company I worked for was in Andover, MA. Lowell is one of the places we pass by when we went sight-seeing in Boston or to some restaurant to eat dinner or lunch. I think, we might have passed by one of the schools in Lowell. In a way, I feel a connection to the story because of the place. I was actually driving around in the area and was on one of the streets. This story somehow reminded me of that trip and my experiences. One of the other places mentioned in the book was Newburyport and we had dinner one time there also. It's a scenic coastal and historical city. It was raining and chilly when were there. We didn't have a lot of time to visit historical sites because the places would have been closed already after we had dinner. I do remember there was a chocolate shop and the buildings were old just like in Boston. I also remember, some of my colleagues went to Salem to visit the witch museum while we were off to New York. Maybe next time, I will visit Salem when I have the chance to go back to the US. Hopefully, it would be soon.

This was actually a very fun story. The girls curious and in a way, heedless, wanted to find out if the book was really authentic and if it was really it--a book of spells that really works. Until, they realized that their spells have effects on other people and soon they have to undo or do another spell to counteract the first one. Then, more serious events happened not entirely direct effects from the spells but in a way, still can be traced back to witchcraft. So, from there, the story seemed to take on a dark turn. And the ending was just so curious that I can't help but want to read book two already.

I give the book 4/5 lavender candles. I enjoyed the book. The blunders and mishaps the girls had to go through and put out are reminders that witchcraft is a serious business and it can cause harm if not done properly. The girls learned some hard lessons from their experiences and even matured in a way witchcraft could only do. I loved watching Charmed and these three girls reminded me of how the Halliwell sisters were when they first discovered they were powerful witches. I am looking forward to the next book and I can't wait to discover what other blunders and fires the girls will have to contend with. And will they be able to keep their secret for long, now that a few had been let on it?




Honestly, I am not sure if I believe in witchcraft. As they all say, the Salem witch hunt was a farce. It sentenced innocent people to death needlessly. At the same time, it also reminds me about the books of Paulo Coelho that talks about Wicca. So, until I am actually shown evidence that it's real, I'll reserve judgement. I do believe that if there are witches like the three girls here or the Halliwell sister's power of three, then I think they are really cool. And if witches are true, then it's comforting to know that we have people who have the ability to fight evil like the Charmed Ones. The protector of the innocent. I feel safer having that in mind. 


I feel like a wife who's lost her husband. Like I should be one of those widows who only wear black after their husbands have died.
- Michael Beaulieu, Book of Shadows: Casting - 


Thank you, Michael Beaulieu for the copy.