The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth
A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Leonard Goldberg
Release date: June11th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth
A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Leonard Goldberg from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/MacMillan in order to read and give an honest review.
” A face-paced, intelligent and brilliant read that will keep you turning pages…”
In this instalment of the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series, the daughter of the now deceased Sherlock Holmes is yet pulled into another investigation. A visit from an old colleague of Watson’s and his subsequent murder put the ball in motion. Joanna Blalock along with Sherlock’s old partner Watson and Watson’s son, set on a mission to save a WWI a kidnapped British cryptographer, Alistair Ainsworth, from the Germans before he is forced to reveal secrets that could put the country in peril. Working closely with a diverse and interesting crew of cohorts, they run up against interesting puzzles, unique, almost unbreakable codes, mysterious affairs and are faced with plenty of challenges along the way.
Having read the previous books in the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series I have to say I really enjoyed this instalment. My one comment, not a complaint necessarily, is the addition of Joanna’s son Johnny, from her first marriage which left her widowed. Although it often offered levity to the story, in my opinion, I found their interactions a bit stiff even for the child/parent dynamic of the time.
I have always been a fan of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Cristie, in my opinion, Mr Goldberg has found his way into that circle thus making it a fantastic series for fans of Sherlock Holmes. This book would be great as a stand-alone, but I do recommend reading the first two as they are both fantastic reads and help the reader get inside the brilliant mind that is Joanna Blalock. Although the books have some violence I feel they are suitable for most ages. A face-paced, intelligent and brilliant read that will keep you turning pages!
by Nadine Brandes
Release date: May 7th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Romanov
by Nadine Brandes from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–FICTION in order to read and give an honest review.
“…Well crafted, emotional, heartbreaking and at times comical, Brandes shapes a touching story with magical fantasy and young romance…”
New to author Nadine Brandes’s work, I have to say I really enjoyed it. Taking the historical story of the Romanovs, the tale about their demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks and the rumours that initially the bodies of the youngest two were never found. Brandes tells an alternate history of their lives and pulls an author’s favourite trick…asking “what if” Brandes posits that the two managed to survive and tells the story of the events that followed.
The story follows the exile of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei. In this story, they are not painted as the family of tyrants but as a loving, patriotic family who believes in the power of forgiveness and showing kindness to all, even your enemies. Romanticized the story is told from the POV of the spirited and mischievous daughter, Anastasia Romanov who struggles to be brave and find forgiveness.
Well crafted, emotional, heartbreaking and at times comical, Brandes shapes a touching story with magical fantasy and young romance weaved in. Although not as accurate as some may like, to me this was definitely fiction, a story inspired by the facts. I think it takes talent and creativity to take a story down a different path away from what is and into what may have been. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who craves something a bit different.
Release date: May 7th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge in order to read and give an honest review.
Being an avid fan of Seanan McGuire already, I have to say she has definitely outdone herself. McGuire’s books have it all, perfect prose, brilliant plots, engaging worlds and multi-faceted characters and the same is true for her new book, Middlegame.
As always this dark and whimsical story like most of her work is so well written and incredibly intelligent that it fully engages you with topics that challenge you on all levels.
James Reed an alchemist and apprentice to the once great Asphodel Baker who created him. Reed becomes convinced that he can create and control a diety that would give him control and power. He decides to create twins, each an important half of a whole, but to keep them together in the past has not produced the results he’s desired. Enter his middle set of twins, Roger Middleton and Dodger Cheswich. Each perfect prodigies in their own areas. Roger, awkward and shy excels in languages, reading and making sense and meaning from words but struggles with mathematics. Dodger is his opposite a passionate math genius who is isolated yet bold but struggles with English and reading. Even though placed on opposite sides of the country Roger in Massachusetts and Dodger in California one day she finds a way to open her mind and step inside of Rogers mind seeing the world through his eyes. Their quantum entanglement begins with them helping each other with homework but leads them to a friendship like no other. Both become incredibly reliant on each other’s friendship but they are separated when the powers that be feel they are getting too close. The story unfolds complete with near-death experiences, chance encounters, murder, mayhem and time resets creating a brilliantly compelling and twisted plot that will keep you turning pages.
So unique this is a story unlike anything I have read and it definitely challenges the reader to step outside their comfort zone. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something clever, exciting and brilliantly crafted.
Healing Body Meditations
30 Mandalas to Enhance Your Health and Well-being
by Mike Annesley with Steve Nobel
Release date: May 7th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Healing Body Meditations 30 Mandalas to Enhance Your Health and Well-being by Mike Annesley with Steve Nobel from NetGalley and Inner Traditions/Findhorn Press in order to read and give an honest review.
“Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must-have for all those who would like to have more balance in their lives and enhance their well-being.”
Whether you’re familiar with of meditation or new to the practice, Healing Body Meditations by Mike Annesley is a great book for all levels.
Although familiar with the chakra system, I really learned a lot of useful information here. The author gives detailed explanations of the symbolism behind each chakra, the body parts it corresponds to and how to determine if they are out of balance. Each section uses clever and well-designed mandalas, thirty in total, each with their own meditation designed to make the most of your practice.
Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must-have for all those who would like to have more balance in their lives and enhance their well-being.
Myths and Mortals
Numina, Book 2
by Charlie N. Holmberg
Release date: April 16th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Myths and Mortals Numina, Book 2 by Charlie N. Holmberg from NetGalley and 47th North
…created another brilliant series, one filled with brilliantly crafted plotlines, compelling and unique characters and her world building…
True to form Charlie Holmberg has created another brilliant series, one filled with brilliantly crafted plotlines, compelling and unique characters and her world building skills are well…out of this world!
Myths and Mortals picks up right where Smoke and Summons left off. Sandis is no longer a vessel for Ireth and living with the only family she has, her Uncle. Although grateful for having somewhere to go now that she is no longer a numina, she is still grieving, terrified and feels alone in the world. Still destroyed by Rone’s betrayal and plagued by bad dreams of the vessels left behind and of Kolossus, a numen, who can destroy humanity. Although she lives her life doing unusual jobs for her corrupt Uncle. When she refuses a particularly unsavoury one, he kicks her out without anywhere to go, there is only one person she can think of…Rone. Rone managed to get his mother across the border to safety and even though he had papers to join her, he has stayed behind. Rone won’t rest until he knows Sandis is alright and he hopes to have her understand why he betrayed her.
Although Sandis doesn’t completely trust Rone when they are hunted by an assassin and learn that Kazen might still be alive and looking for a new vessel for Kolossus they team up. The two start out trying to find the other vessels to save them from a fate worse than death. On their journey, they pick up allies and make enemies as they find clues to Kazan’s whereabouts all leading to one terrifying cliffhanger.
All in all, a fantastic, fun series that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.
by Jenn Bennett
Release date: April 16th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.
“…filled with unique, quirky characters, incredible wit and it didn’t hurt she mentioned David Bowie a number of times…frankly, I was sold after that.”
I’ve been a fan of Jenn Bennett’s urban fantasy series and when this popped up on Net Galley even though it was YA, I thought I would give it a try.
I have to admit I really did enjoy this book. Like her other books, this was filled with unique, quirky characters, incredible wit and it didn’t hurt she mentioned David Bowie a number of times…frankly, I was sold after that.
Our main protagonist eighteen-year-old Birdie after the death of her mother is raised by her grandparents along with the assistance of her Mom’s eccentric best friend “Aunt Mona”.
After living with her grandparents, and under the watchful eye of her strict and very religious grandmother, Birdie becomes a very shy and introverted young woman. Being homeschooled, having strict rules, and not really knowing what true friendship is, Birdie’s view of the world and her experiences are very limited. After her grandmother passes, her grandfather who thankfully had bonded with Birdie over their love of mysteries, was a bit more laid-back allowing Birdie some freedom. At first, Birdie goes a bit wild having a one-night stand with a stranger which doesn’t turn out as expected. She struggles with her poor reaction to the situation, more so when she turns up at her first job, the graveyard shift at a famous hotel and said one-night stand, Daniel, is a co-worker. As Birdie tries to navigate “adulthood” her and nineteen-year-old Daniel strike up a friendship working on uncovering the truth behind a mysterious hotel guest that leads to a shocking and unexpected discovery.
All-in-all a fun, well written, character driven book, I would highly recommend it. Just a note to parent’s this book does contain sexual content as well as suicide but it is handled in a very responsible and tasteful manner.
Ghosts of Gotham
by Craig Schaefer
Release Date: April 9th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.
I’m a Craig Schaefer virgin so to speak. I have had quite a few people recommend his work to me but I’ve always seemed to have let it slip by. This time when given the chance to read and review Ghosts of Gotham I finally seized the opportunity, and wow, I am so glad I did! It’s so unique, is a bit of everything…urban fantasy mixed with mythology, bibliomystery and so much action making this such a fun page-turner.
Our main character, Lionel Page is an investigative journalist who has made it his mission to debunk anything that is considered “Supernatural”. When another up and coming journalist finds out about his past and threatens to expose him things get serious. Enter Regina, a wealthy, a very powerful socialite who wants to hire him to investigate the discovery of, and the impending sale of, a mysterious manuscript by Edgar Allan Poe. She promises him that if he gets to the bottom of things, he will never have to worry about his past being exposed, she will protect him. He agrees and the adventure begins. Immediately flown to New York City he barely gets time to breathe as he is running over town, finding bodies as well as clues that make this manuscript more than meets the eye. When Lionel learns that the reporter who threatened to expose his past is murdered, he truly wonders what he has gotten himself into. His path keeps crossing with Maddie a very strong, savvy and beautiful woman who is mysterious and holds secrets his life will depend on knowing.
I absolutely loved everything about this book, the characters, the pacing, the writer’s voice, his twisty plot turns…it kept me voraciously reading and desperate for more when I finished. I also love the way he portrays women in this book, smart, flawed, beautiful and resilient.
Filled with magic, mayhem and amazing plot twists that you just don’t see coming. This is a fantastic book I highly recommend! I will definitely be reading more of his work.
How To Write A Page-Turner
Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down
by Jordan Rosenfeld
Release date: March 19th, 2019
I received a complimentary ARC copy of How To Write A Page-Turner,
Craft a Story Your Readers Can’t Put Down by Jordan Rosenfeld from Net Galley and F+W Media/Writer’s Digest Books.
If you are a novice or seasoned writer who wants to publish dynamic and interesting novels… How To Write A Page-Turner is the perfect book for you.
There are novels that keep you riveted, you know the ones, the stories that keep you flipping pages into the wee hours of the morning? How To Write A Page-Turner teaches you all about keeping the tension in your story high, creating a story that is innovative as well as riveting and leaving your readers glued to the page.
I have quite a few writing books (okay, approx half my office) and I have to say this will definitely be in my writing library as a go-to book for a long time. Filled with excellent tips on creating and maintaining tension in your writing, HTWPT feels different from the plethora of “how-to” books already out there.
Jordan divides her book into four parts: Essential Tension Elements, Tension with Characters, Plot Tension, and Tension in Exposition. Each part breaks it down even further, covering everything from character development, writing effective dialogue, plotting your tension at just the right spots in your novel as well as word usage, sentence structure and writing imagery. She also gives a review at the end of each chapter as well as exercises/tips for you to implement in your own writing, to help you appraise and polish your WIP to until it’s a page-turner fraught with tension!
I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to all writers looking to take their writing to the next level.
Most writers can’t control when inspiration hits. Our ideas often come at us at unusual times and often unexpected or inconvenient places. Most of my friends and family have laughed at me for the number of journals, notepads and scraps of paper (post-it’s in particular) I have around me at any given time. While out for coffee or on the subway I would get a great idea for a new story or something to add to one in process, and I would jot it down whether it was on the back of an envelope, in a notebook or even on a coffee-stained napkin which is often disorganized and lets just say it….downright messy.
A while back I started using a traveller’s notebook to capture everything and I am hooked. They are journal covers with elastics that slip into the centre of smaller notebooks allowing you to carry multiple notebooks at a time so that you can swap them in and out as they are filled. You also can add pockets, folders and dashboards(clear plastic pages for post-it’s) to keep all your notes in one place. I keep four notebooks in mine, one general all-purpose one for ideas that don’t necessarily have a home just yet, and one for each individual project I am working on at the moment. I place post-its with ideas, to-dos or quotes on the dashboard. I attach interesting pictures, articles or jot down links that I want to research further. I personally love analogue over using my phone, tablet or computer although I do rely on those on occasion I find it easier to keep my ideas organized. I go all out adding sketches, washi tape, pictures, stamps and postcards relevant to my projects. Traveller’s notebook can be found online or if you’re handy you can make your own. If you run a search on YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest you can find hundreds of tutorials and inspirational ideas on creating a system that works for you.
The All Seeing Digital Eyes
Release date: September 20th, 2018
I received a complimentary copy of The All Seeing Digital Eyes
by Neville J Kattakayam from the author and AshNel Inc in order to read and give an honest review.
… the author had done an incredible job showing us what is happening to our information and what we can do to prevent our privacy from being compromised…
Whether you are an internet veteran from the days of bulletin boards and WebCrawler (I know dating myself) to a novice just dipping their toes into the cyber water this book is for you. Neville J. Kattkayam’s initial inspiration was to write a book to help his 13-year-old daughter navigate the information age when everyone is utilizing smartphones, smart televisions, tablets and even appliances. With the advance of technology when most of our lives are controlled by the transmission of electronic information so is our personal information. The author has done an incredible job showing us what is happening to our information and what we can do to prevent our privacy from being compromised. If you have already experienced problems it’s not too late, Mr Kattkayam also includes a section to get your information secured and tips on how to proceed moving forward.
Even though this book is inspired by a 13-year old I feel this is a great guide for everyone who is on the grid, definitely a five-star in my opinion.