HITCHHIKERS by Kate Spofford

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I received a free book version of HITCHHIKERS from the author in exchange for an honest review.

To be honest, I put off reading this book because I was worried that it would be another typical werewolf story. However, I am very glad that I finally decided to read it. Yes, it is a werewolf novel, but it is unique. It is not a typical teen-romance/werewolves are so sexy story. This one is definitely worth reading.

At the age of 13 Daniel did something horrible. Since then he has been on the run. He is homeless and starving. He is tired and lonely and he’s scared.

He has black-outs and when he comes back to consciousness, he is usually covered in blood. Often, there is a dead body nearby. Sometimes the body is that of an animal, but all too often the body is that of a person.

Daniel has no memory of hurting anyone. All he remembers is being excruciatingly hungry, or scared. Daniel hitchhikes and unfortunately for him, he is often picked up by predators or pedophiles. He has developed a sixth sense about a person and has gotten much better at spotting, and thus avoiding the weirdos.

However, he has been on the run for three years and he is starting to wonder if it might be safe for him to return home.

He wants to know what is wrong with him. He wants to know how to stop from killing people. He needs to learn what is happening to him and how he can control it.

Daniel’s journey is one of self-discovery. Even though he is a killer, the reader cannot help but feel bad for him. He is obviously just a scared kid who wants to do the right thing.

Can Daniel ever return home? Will he ever figure out what is happening to him? Will his abusive childhood turn him into a remorseless killer or will his better nature prevail?

This book is one that once you start reading, you will not want to stop.

I was impressed that the author was able to conjure a new werewolf tale that does not follow the typical romantic story line.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

For more information about the author, visit http://katespofford.WordPress.com

CASH KILLS

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CASH KILLS – An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery
By: Nanci Rathbun

* I received an autographed paperback copy of CASH KILLS through the Goodreads Giveaway program. *

My Review:

The first paragraph of the book immediately grabbed my attention.

“‘ Angie, there’s a woman here complaining that her parents had bank accounts worth millions and she doesn’t want the money.’ Susan leaned across the table, ‘Can you imagine?'”

That’s a good question. No, I can’t imagine. Hasn’t everyone, at some point in their lives, wished for and wondered what it would be like to suddenly be left with a large monetary inheritance? I know I have. And, I know that if someone left me millions of dollars, I certainly wouldn’t be wanting to get rid of it.

Immediately, I was intrigued. What would prompt someone to not want to keep the money? It’s a great hook to the story.

Angelina Bonaparte is a Private Investigator. The woman who is seeking her services is Adriana Johnson.

Adriana and her parents are immigrants from what was once Yugoslavia. They owned a small hardware store on the south side of Milwaukee and it was in that store that they were murdered during a botched robbery attempt.

Throughout her entire life, Adriana and her parents were considered the “working poor.” They never even had cable TV because it was too expensive and despite her desire to become a nurse, Adriana had to put her dream aside due to lack of money for tuition.

Because of this, she is shocked to find that her parents had millions of dollars in the bank when they were brutally murdered.

Adriana is not sure she wants to accept the money. She wants no part of “tainted” or ill-gotten money. This is how Private Investigator Angelina Bonaparte becomes involved. She is hired to find out where the money came from.

What follows is an action-packed mystery that takes on epic proportions. What could have come across as a confusing mess, instead is a mystery that is so well written that it is difficult to put this book down.

Ties to the horrifying Bosnian War and the tragedy that occurred in Sarajevo quickly become apparent. But, are Angelina’s parents the good guys or the bad guys? Where did the money come from? And why, if they had access to so much money, did they live as frugally as they did?

This is a great book and I believe that the research the author put into the Bosnian War was extensive. She handles the delicate topic with just the right mix of information, emotion, horror and drama.

At the back of the book, the author includes a note that states: “Although I am not a historian, I took pains to make the impact of the Bosnian War realistic, especially in regards to Professor Kolar’s memories. Of particular help in that regard is REMEMBER SARAJEVO, an online pamphlet with journalist Roger Richards’ account of his time in Sarajevo in 1992. The photographs and his story are hauntingly real. I encourage you to read this small, but powerful document.”
http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0302/rr_intro.html

Also, when I picture the typical female private investigator, I picture a young, sexy woman whose age is probably late 20’s or early 30’s. I love the fact that Angelina Bonaparte is NOT part of this stereotype. Angelina is actually a grandmother, but is not what you would picture as the typical grandmother. She has two grown up children who have children of their own, but Angelina is still a vibrant woman. She keeps in shape and dresses well. She loves sexy lingerie and revels in wearing sexy things underneath her professional attire. She may be a grandma, but she is nowhere near retiring or being put out to pasture.

I also love the fact that Angelina has an active sex life. It proves that sex and love are not exclusive to the young. It is never too late to find the love of your life. The author does a great job in making Angie & Wukowski’s budding relationship seem genuine and believable.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

This is the second book in the Angelina Bonaparte Mystery Series, but I have not yet read the first book and that fact did not in any way detract from my enjoyment of the story.

CASH KILLS works perfectly as a stand-alone novel. However, with that said, I am looking forward to reading the first book and to reading many more books in the series.

To read more about this author, visit http://nancirathbun.com or on Twitter @nancirathbun

To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

Rings of Passage by Karla Tipton

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RINGS OF PASSAGE: A Time Travel Novel with Richard III by Karla Tipton

* I received a free ebook copy of RINGS OF PASSAGE from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Wow! The action starts immediately in this book.

Anise Wynford starts her day at a farmhouse in Massachusetts, then somehow she finds herself in the middle of a medieval battlefield astride a horse and wearing a suit of armor.

“In horror, Anise watched a battleaxe hack into the skull of an unhorsed knight. His blood, bone and brains splattered in all directions…My God, this isn’t some historical reenactment! It’s real.”

The year is 1485. Richard III is King of England. He is haunted by past events. His beloved wife, Anne and their only son, Edward are both dead. Richard is in mourning. He is miserable and sees his own death as an escape. He is not suicidal, but he does not shy away from danger either.

In the present day, Anise is the daughter of a semi-famous actress. She grew up unaware that the man she thought was her father was in fact, not her biological father. She only becomes privy to this information when her biological father leaves her a farmhouse in his will.

Anise moves to Massachusetts to the farmhouse and accepts the role of Anne in a local playhouse production of Richard III. While still in costume, she has a panic attack and runs out of the theatre. Heading home, she somehow ends up back in the past. Richard finds her in distress and carries her back to the castle.

Anise finds herself falling for this King whom history has treated so unfairly. But, she knows he is destined to die and that date is quickly approaching. Also, he is a king and she is no one. How will she save his life? Can she save his life? If she saves him what will happen to history? She could change things and end up wiping herself from existence. Is there any hope for her? How will she ever get home? How will she return to her own time?

This book is a story of time-travel, intrigue and romance with a bit of magic thrown in for good measure.

The author actually travelled to England to learn more about it’s history and about Richard III. This is clearly evident in her work. Her attention to detail makes for an authentic and compelling reading experience.
I cannot help but be impressed with the author’s dedication to authenticity and detail.

To learn more about this author and to view more of her books, visit her website at: http://www.karlatipton.com

To read more of my reviews visit my blog at https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

BOOK TOUR POST: 32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

32 SECONDS

By: Johanna K. Pitcairn

32 Seconds Book Cover

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water. So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty. With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do? What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future. A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness. –

See more at: http://b00kr3vi3wtours.blogspot.in/#sthash.9XTomJsz.dpuf

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Johanna K. Pitcairn

Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood–authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”

Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.

Random Fun Facts:

1) To trigger my inspiration, I binge on Netflix. I pick shows from any genre, and study the dialog and the plot. I also watch video game walkthroughs on YouTube. It’s a great help to develop my characters.

2) I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a bad case of writer’s block. Plotting helps eliminate that issue.

3) My biggest pet peeves: misspellings, grammatical errors, and inconsistent formatting.

4) Julie Jones has named her car “Bubble”, and when she swears, she says things like “shizzle”, “shizzle nizzle” or “crapola in a peanut butter jar”.

5) The original title for the first draft of the story, before it became 32 Seconds, was Death by Chocolate.

6) Julie Jones loves In&Out burgers, and strawberry milkshakes.

7) Julie is also a surfer. Her favorite beach is the one in Oceanside, CA.

8) I’m a cat lover. I have four cats, and they all distract me from writing by taking turns and lying on top of my laptop.

Contact the Author:

Website – http://themanicheans.com/

Blog – http://themanicheans.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/themanicheans

Twitter – https://twitter.com/themanicheans

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6894379.Johanna_K_Pitcairn

The Independent Author Network – http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/jk-pitcairn.html

Tour Stops:

1. Eclectic Moods
2. Sinful Soul
3. Plain Talk BM
4. M.C.Simon Writes
5. b00kr3vi3ws
6. Books I Love To Read and The Wonderful Authors That Wrote Them
7. The Shadow Portal
8. The Phantom Paragrapher
9. TLBC’s Book Blog
10. Norm Hamilton, Writer
11. Carti Cu Colti
12. The Blog of Fantasy Writer A. F. Stewart
13. Lightning Chronicles
14. 4covert2overt ~ A Place In The Spotlight ☼
15. Mythical Books
16. Bound 2 Escape
17. Storeybook Reviews
18. Kathryn Svendsen
19. Monroe Ariel
20. Kristy F.Gillespie
21. Books, Books, and More Books
22. Book Butterfly in Dreamland
23. Confessions Of A Reader
24. 100 Pages a Day
25. Confessions Of A Reader

– See more at: http://b00kr3vi3wtours.blogspot.in/#sthash.9XTomJsz.dpuf

*** This is my first time participating in a Book Tour Blog Hop, so if I have made any errors, they are mine alone and should not reflect on the author or the Book Tour hosts.

WAR OF THE WIVES By: Tamar Cohen

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WAR OF THE WIVES
By: Tamar Cohen

I received a paperback copy of WAR OF THE WIVES through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

This book is already available in Canada, but the US release date is in February 2015. The copy I received was an ARC of the US version of the paperback with the cover as shown above. The Canadian Cover is different and looks like this:

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From The Back Cover:

“Think marriage means happily-ever-after? Think again…”

“Selina and Lottie are complete opposites. Where Selina is poised but prudish, Lottie is quirky and emotional. Selina is the dutiful mother of three children and able manager of their stylish suburban home. Lottie lives with her eccentric teenage daughter in a small city apartment fit to bursting with color and happy chaos. But these women also have one shocking similarity: they’re married to the same man… and they’ve just found out he’s dead.”

“Selina has been married to Simon Busfield for twenty-eight years. Lottie for seventeen. Neither knew a thing about the other until the day of Simon’s funeral, where the scandalous truth is revealed in front of everyone they know. Another wife, another family… And they’ve only just scratched the surface of Simon’s incredible betrayal.”

“With dark humor and razor-sharp wit, Cohen expertly unravels a story of deception and betrayal, where two very different families will discover they are entwined in ways that will change them all forever.”

My Review:

Tamar Cohen has written a book that contains such amazing descriptions of what the main characters are going through, that you cannot help but empathize with them.

It would have been so easy to paint Lottie as a conniving, home-wrecker who steals Simon away from his true wife and family. But, Lottie is as much a victim as Selina is.

Potential readers may question how Selina and Lottie were both able to be fooled for seventeen long years, but the author has done an amazing job of making this unlikely scenario come across as entirely plausible. Readers whose husbands travel often for work, or who maintain work residences in other countries may start to wonder about their own husband’s fidelity.

The tragedy in all this is the children. Lottie has the youngest child who is now sixteen years old, while Selena’s three children range in age from seventeen to being in their twenties. Betrayal by a husband can be accepted, but how do you handle being betrayed by the father you worshiped? And what is it like to suddenly realize that you have a half-sister that you knew nothing about?

This story is gripping and emotional and yet I found myself actually laughing out loud a few times.

This is a fascinating look at a seriously dysfunctional situation and one that will keep you reading long into the night. The twist at the end is as surprising as it is satisfying. It is not often that the ending to a story takes me by surprise, but this one did. I say, “Bravo” to that.

This book will make readers thankful that their own lives are nothing like the lives of the Busfields.

My favorite quote from the book:

“I know how you can think you know someone, only to find the person you thought you knew turns out to be a hollow timber structure with someone entirely different inside – a plastic wheelie bin of a someone. I know about love, and I know about loss and how any minute the solid ground can give way beneath your feet, revealing the chasm that’s been there all along, waiting to suck you in.”

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 stars.

More information about this book can be found at http://www.MIRABooks.com

To find out more about author, Tamar Cohen visit: https://m.facebook.com/pages/Tamar-Cohen/258157084299835

CURE by Belinda Frisch

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CURE: A Strandville Zombie Novel # 1 by Belinda S. Frisch

The small town of Strandville was once a safe and quiet place to live. However, several young women have recently gone missing and the only similarities between the cases seems to be their link to the Nixon Medical Center.

A miscarriage and diagnosis of a genetic condition causes the end of Miranda’s marriage. Seeking escape, she accepts a job at The Nixon Center. Her ex-husband, Scott, still loves her and did not want the divorce, but Miranda is convinced that he will have a better life with someone who can give him biological children.

Zach Keller’s young wife is dying from terminal cancer. He signs on as security guard at the Nixon Center in exchange for his wife’s admittance into their experimental cancer treatment program.

Dr. Nixon runs the treatment center. Three patients were brought to him from Haiti who have a rare disease. This disease could be considered “zombieism.” They eat raw flesh and though they are awake, they do not speak or seem to think. They are violent and unpredictable.

Convinced that he can cure cancer with their cells, Dr. Nixon will do anything, no matter how depraved or despicable, in search of his miracle cure.

Curing cancer would be an incredible boon to mankind, and all Zach can think about is saving his wife’s life. However, he begins to question whether his wife’s life is worth turning a blind eye to everything that is happening at The Nixon Center.

Miranda’s new job turns out to be a hoax. She is valuable to Dr. Nixon because of the very genetic condition that ended her marriage. He needs her eggs for his experimental treatment.

How far is too far when searching for a cancer cure? Where do you draw the line? How many lives can be sacrificed for the greater good? What would you do to save the person you love most in the world?

Is it ever justifiable to hurt or imprison unwilling participants if there is a chance that it could save millions of lives?

Exactly when does obsession begin to overtake common sense and decency?

All these questions and more are delved into in this book.

This is NOT your typical zombie novel. However, it does contain enough gore and terror to satisfy those who love that aspect of zombie fiction.

This is the first book in a series and I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

The ending did neatly wrap up this portion of the story, but readers are left wondering what is next for Miranda and Scott, as well as Zach and Allison.

My only criticism of this book lies with the editing. There are words missing in a few spots and some other minor errors. One glaring error that I did notice was that the author referred to the band Lynryd Skynyrd as “Leonard Skynard”. This could have been avoided with a simple Google search.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama – YouTube
m.youtube.com/watch?v=5MhOZt5-Jl8

Were it not for the editing errors I would have given this 5 stars, however, I rate CURE as 4 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about this author, visit her online at: http://belindaf.blogspot.ca

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JUST PERFECT by Hanne Arts

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JUST PERFECT by Hanne Arts

The author of this book is only 18 years old, yet she writes with an honesty and intelligence that is well beyond her years. Her ability to convey emotion and to draw the reader into her world is truly exceptional.

Her mother is dead and her father has fallen into the life of a barely functioning alcoholic. Christina has one good female friend and a boyfriend to whom she can turn for comfort, companionship and solace.

However, when her friend cheats off her test and her boyfriend dumps her, Christina’s life starts a dismal downward spiral.

Bullied and taunted by those she once thought were her friends, having to take care of her alcoholic father, and not liking what she sees in the mirror, Christina starts to starve herself. This leads to cutting and finally to thoughts of suicide.

Can Christina find the strength of will to fight through her horrible situation? Or will she become just another statistic? Will she end up as a teenage suicide victim who gave up all hope of a better future?

The despair she feels is well written and the reader cannot help but empathize with her situation. The reader is drawn into Christina’s downward spiral into despair and I couldn’t help but wish I had known this girl and been able to help her somehow.

This book highlights just how desperate some teenagers can become. Why didn’t her teachers notice her dramatic weight loss? Where were the safeguards that are supposed to be in place for our younger generation?

This book is an important one. It is important that other teenagers who are facing situations similar to the one in this book, know that they are not alone and that there is hope. It may be cliche, but they need to know that there is light at the end of their dark tunnel.

Though this book is targeted at a young adult audience, I think that all parents, especially those who have teenagers, should read this book as well. I realize it is fiction, but it is also too realistic to not have some basis in fact.

This book firmly deserves a 5 star rating. Hanne Arts may be a young author, but she is also a very talented one. I look forward to reading more books by her and I believe she has a long writing career ahead of her.

To learn more about this author, visit her blog at http://hanne-arts.blogspot.ca

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I received a free eBook of JUST PERFECT from the author in exchange for an honest review.

SHADE by Marilyn Peake

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SHADE by Marilyn Peake

I received a free eBook copy of SHADE in exchange for an honest review.

Shade’s Mom is weird. This is easily demonstrated by the fact that she named her daughter, Galactic Shade Griffin.

Shade’s mother decides they need to move and rents an old Victorian-style home for them to live in. Shade hates that she has to change schools. No one wants to be the new girl in high school.

As soon as they arrive at the rental house strange things start to happen. Shade is seeing lights turn on and off on their own and she is even hearing voices.

When she discovers that she now shares her home with a ghost, Shade needs to redefine “normal”.

As if dealing with sharing your home with a ghost is not enough to deal with, Shade’s best friend goes missing.

This is a young adult novel with many paranormal elements. It is also a mystery novel.

Many issues that are relevant to today’s youth are touched on in this book. Drug abuse, addiction and cutting are all mentioned. However, this is not a self-help story. This is not about how Shade overcomes her crappy life despite the odds. It is a mystery.

SPOILER ALERT

*Do NOT read the rest of this review if you are not prepared to be made aware of a major plot point.*

I had a couple issues with this book. Firstly, when Shade mentions her drunken mother in front of school officials and police officers, they ignore the comments. This is unrealistic. It is the duty of all police and school officials to report suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities. Children’s Services would have been informed, or those who failed to report it could be held liable.

The second issue I had was that the missing girl’s room were obviously never searched by the police. This is unlikely. If the rooms had been searched, the letters, etc. that were found by Shade and her friends would not have been there for them to find. I realize that this was a necessary part of the plot, but having them hidden better so that the police had missed them would have been more believable.

The third and final issue is the most serious one. This book is just NOT believable. Three teenagers find a basement filled with beds that have handcuffs dangling from them, but they don’t call the police or tell their parents? With three girls missing? Really??? I don’t think so.

To learn more about this author, visit her website at http://www.marilynpeake.com

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I rate this book as 3 out of 5 stars.

THE LOCKDOWN by Dixon Block

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Book One of The Next Generation series

Set in a time after the nuclear war of the 21st century decimated civilization, the government set up a program requiring people to obtain a license before being allowed to parent a child. So many prospective parents were rejected that it resulted in orphanages being overfilled. Trying to wipe out diseases, deformities and other undesirable traits, babies were tested and declared either” clean” or “unclean”.

Clean children are placed in the Lockdown where they are treated to good food and clean surroundings. However, there is a catch. Once the ‘clean’ girls have their first menstrual period they are moved to the fourth floor where they are bred with ‘clean’ teenage boys in order to produce genetically pure children. Basically, this is government sanctioned rape.

Lily is seventeen and has yet to have her period. She is thankful for this because she does not want to go to the fourth floor, she hates the very idea of what the girls are forced to endure. But, how does one girl fight the system? Can she figure out a way to avoid the fate that is planned for her?

As she learns more about what is happening in Lockdown she becomes more and more concerned. What exactly is going on? Who can she trust? Can she find a way to escape her fate?;Or is she destined to spend the rest of her life breeding pure babies for the government.

This is a short novella that has great potential. The world that Lily lives in could easily have been made into a full length novel and it has great potential for more stories in the series. It ends on a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the second story to be published.

It is an interesting and thought provoking read. I give this story 4 stars.

To find out more about this author , visit http://www.twitter.com/dixonblock

Last Stop Klindenspiel by Marta Tandori

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LAST STOP KLINDENSPIEL by Marta Tandori

I received a free copy of this book in eBook form from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The story starts in 1945. Katya is six years old. Her mother is Norwegian and her father is a high ranking German SS officer. She has grown up never leaving the plush residential compound that housed German officers and their families.

Nothing in Katya’s six short years of life has prepared her for the drastic changes her life was about to undergo.

Allied troops overrun the “prison” camp that was run by her father and Katya, her sister and her mother are taken into custody.

What follows this is one injustice after another for the next ten years.

After losing most of the people she loves, and being scorned and threatened by the residents of the village where she lives, Katya’s grandmother sends her to Poland to become part of a circus. “…No animals or clowns, I’m told – it’s all made up of children performers.”

Traveling to Poland she discovers an envelope with her name on it. Inside is documentation regarding her birth. This information details the fact that she was part of Hitler’s Lebensborn Program. The purpose of this program was “to promote the growth of the Aryan population.” It was this information that answered many of Katya’s questions about her parentage and why people seemed to hate her even though they knew very little about her. “The war had ended, Hitler had been defeated, and those women unfortunate enough to be saddled with genetically half-German children were ostracized for spawning the enemy’s offspring.”

After arriving at Klindenspiel, Katya begins training to be part of the circus. Living in the manor house with comfortable beds, clean clothes and lots of food to eat, life seems to finally be looking up for Katya.

However, looks can be deceiving and the more Katya learns about her new home, the more she begins to fear for her future.

There are many secrets in Klindenspiel and Katya is determined to uncover them all. What she finds will both shock and amaze her. Katya must make a choice. Will she close her eyes to what she sees going on around her? Will she worry only about herself?

This book is the very definition of a “page-turner”. I did not want to stop reading.

The mixture of history, drama and intrigue is simply perfection.

Marta Tandori writes with eloquence and poise. Her descriptions of places and events are so vivid that they are easy to picture in your mind. She is able to convey emotion with perfect phrasing. For instance; you can feel the love that Katya’s grandmother feels for her when the author writes: “Borghild smiled, tucking a stray strand of hair behind Katya’s ear. ‘Wild horses couldn’t keep me away’.” Her attention to detail also adds to the story. Readers cannot help but become absorbed by her descriptive writing.

This was the first Marta Tandori book I have read, but it will definitely not be the last. I am now a definite fan!

To find out more about the author, visit her online at http://martatandori.com

This story is fictional, but Hitler’s Lebensborn Program was very real. When we hear stories about the Nazis during World War Two, they mostly focus on the concentration camps and on the horrific medical experiments that were conducted on the Jewish people. Very little is heard about Hitler’s attempt to create a Master Race. In fact, I consider myself very well read and well educated, but until reading this book I had not heard of Hitler’s Lebensborn Program. I decided to look for more information and was shocked by what I found. This fact proves that reading fiction can be just as educational and enlightening as reading nonfiction. To read more about this topic, visit http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Europe/2009/jan/Nazi-Victims-as-Children-Lebensborn-Adults-Piece-Together-Their-Pasts.html

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A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness by Jennifer H. Moyer

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A MOTHER’S CLIMB OUT OF DARKNESS: A Story About Overcoming Postpartum Phychosis
By: Jennifer H. Moyer

I received a free copy of this eBook from http://www.librarything.com in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the heart wrenching true story of an ordinary woman who literally went through mental health Hell and eventually triumphed.

Jennifer seemed to have everything. Her life was going well both personally and professionally. When she discovered that she was pregnant, she felt supremely happy. In 1995 they welcomed their infant son into their lives, and at first everything seemed to fall into place.

Like every other mother, Jennifer loved her child and vowed to take the best possible care of him and to keep him safe from all harm. What she couldn’t know at the time was that this brief period of bliss would not last.

The first cracks in her happiness began when she had difficulty sleeping through the night. This seemingly small matter began her spiral towards full-fledged postpartum psychosis.

She began to feel more and more isolated from the world. She started to fear that people were planning to harm her, or worse, harm her child. She even began to fear her own husband.

The worst part of this downward spiral was that even though she sought help, it seemed that no long term help was available.

Jennifer endured multiple hospitalizations and tried a multitude of prescribed medications in an effort to get her condition under control.

It must have seemed to her that she was the only person who this condition had ever happened to. She felt alone and adrift. Why was it so difficult to receive the proper medical diagnosis? Why were there not support systems in place for new mothers or others suffering with this disease? Why was there no literature available on the subject? Where could she turn for help?

It is a wonder to me that more women diagnosed with this condition do not commit suicide. The enormity and hopelessness that Jennifer outlines in her book would have crushed most women. It is a testament to her inner strength and determination that she did not give up and persevered until she finally found a doctor that could help. Jennifer’s relief was evident and she states: “Finding medical care I could trust brought me great peace of mind.”

Jennifer was eventually also diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and since obtaining the proper mix of spiritual and medical treatment, she has been stable for over six years.

The disease of postpartum psychosis is not something that we hear about often. It is like many other mental illnesses in that sufferers are often too embarrassed or too overwhelmed to talk about their experiences. “… It is estimated that fewer than 20 percent of women who suffer from symptoms ever talk to their health care providers about them.” This, unfortunately, leads those suffering from postpartum psychosis to try to hide what is happening to them and to attempt to appear “normal” to the outside world.

Jennifer’s writing of this book allowing readers to glimpse her horrifying symptoms is nothing short of courageous.

It is books like this one that I hope will eventually help to remove the social stigma that attaches itself to those who are deemed as “mentally ill”. As Jennifer states in her book, she “needed knowledge and treatment, not judgement and contempt.”

Postpartum psychosis does not discriminate. It can happen to any woman. It is an illness that crosses all socio-economic barriers.

This is an important book and I encourage all women to read it. Even if you have never had a child, or if your children are already grown up, this is still an important book. The more women educate themselves, the more chances we will have to help educate others and perhaps save someone from having to go through what Jennifer endured.

This book will also help by giving those suffering from PPD (Postpartum Depression) and PPP (Postpartum Psychosis) the knowledge that they are not alone. It offers sufferers a much needed lifeline and a potential roadmap to help lead them to eventual recovery.

I give this book a 5 star rating.

It is a gripping and emotional roller coaster ride. You will find yourself rooting for Jennifer and cheering her on in her eventual triumph over this disease.

I applaud Jennifer’s courage in being open and honest about the worst experience of her life. Her commitment to bringing this topic out into the open is commendable.

This is a book worth reading.

LOCK IN by John Scalzi

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LOCK IN
Written by John Scalzi
Narrated by Wil Wheaton

I purchased the unabridged audiobook version of this novel at http://www.audible.com

I rate this as 4 out of 5 stars. This book is very well written. It is a Science Fiction/Dystopian novel. But, it is also a Mystery/Thriller.

The book is set in the near future. A virus has swept across the World, but it is unlike any virus in the history of mankind.

Even though the people who are the most adversely affected only make up one percent of the world’s population, that amounts to almost two million people on the United States alone.

The most severe sufferers of the disease have what is known as “Haden’s Syndrome. It was named this because President Haden’s wife was one of the first people to experience the worst symptoms.

What are those symptoms? And, why are they so horrific? Imagine being awake and aware of everything that is going on around you, but you are unable to speak or even move. Sufferers of Heydon’s Syndrome suffer from “LOCK IN” which means that the victims are essentially in a coma, but can’t move or communicate. They need to be kept alive with feeding tubes and IVs. Their bodies waste away and there is nothing they can do about it.

The horror of being “Locked In” can not be adequately described. That situation would make me want to kill myself. The problem would be that you wouldn’t even be able to kill yourself.

The President makes combating this disease a top priority and spends billions of dollars on research. When someone discovers a way for these patients to control specialized robots using their exceptional brains, threeps are born.

Haden sufferers were now able to interact with the world. Their bodies stayed in one place while their consciousnesses were inside their “threep” which could walk and talk and do most everything normal humans could do.

Chris Shane is a Haden sufferer and is extremely famous. His father is a millionaire tycoon who advocates for the Haden community. Chris has suffered from Haden’s since childhood.

Chris is now an adult and starts his new job as an FBI agent. His first week proves to be very eventful and he has to solve multiple murders, investigate billion dollar corporations and try to keep the peace between Hadens and humans. All in a week’s work for the new FBI agent.

The intricate plot is very well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

The reason it is not 5 out of 5 is because the concept of “threeps” reminds me of the 2009 movie, “Surrogates” starting Bruce Willis. However, this book is very different (and much better) than that movie.

I also liked the fact that the audiobook also included a short novella that detailed the history of the disease.

I will definitely read more books by John Scalzi. To find out about more books written by this author, visit http://whatever.scalzi.com/about/books-by-john-scalzi/

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To read more book and audiobook reviews written by me, please visit my blog at:
https://amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com

The Fear and the Solace (The Kyrennei – Book 2) by Arie Farnam

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THE FEAR AND THE SOLACE by Arie Farnam
(Book Two of The Kyrennei series)

I received a free copy of this eBook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

“What if the forces of hatred could steal your soul?”

From Goodreads:

“Despair has always dogged the heels of those who defy Addin mind control. Now Aranka Miko, the girl who could shield the resistance against infiltration, has gone down in a rain of bullets.”

“Twenty-two-year-old Cho is the temporary commander of the J. Company compound in Montana when disaster strikes. The scouting team with Aranka was ambushed and the first spark of hope in a thousand years is lost. If the rest are captured, their wills and minds will be usurped by the Addin cult. Then Cho will be on her own in a secret war that cannot be won. Two of her closest friends are already dead and the man she loves is at the epicenter of the peril. ”

“Hope is a fragile thing and fear is a constant companion. It’s the twenty-first century, right now, in America and everything looks just fine on the surface. But a clandestine force controls the highest seats of power and will stop at nothing to stamp out resistance. The ancient Meikan people, like Cho, have lived in terror of the Addin for generations, and those who dared to stand up to its power were shunned as outlaws by their own people. Then a mere girl fulfilled an almost forgotten prophecy and hope briefly flowered in unlikely places. But does a giant even notice the crushing of a single flower? One girl is easy enough to kill.”

My Review:

This book picks up immediately where Book One ends.

The main problem that I see with this fact is that readers will not easily be able to follow the story if they have not read the first book. This is not a stand alone novel.

Jace, Aranka, Kenyen and a few other J-Company members had gone out scouting for potential Kyrennei. Unfortunately, the scouting mission went awry and two team members were killed. Aranka narrowly escaped capture by jumping off a bridge. She is presumed dead, but in fact, she survived the fall and is searching for Meikans to assist her in contacting and returning to J-Company.

The rest of Aranka’s group were searching everywhere for her and had just about given up hope that she survived when Tranh stumbles across her. They narrowly escape the Addin and return to the hidden compound.

The winter snows in the group and they start to notice that the teenagers and even some of the younger Meikan children that Aranka had identified as being Kyrennei were falling ill. They complained of joint pain and fatigue.

It soon became clear that they were changing. They were becoming Kyrennei, just like Aranka.

When the opportunity arises to raid an Addin facility that has imprisoned dozens of Kyrennei children, J-Company must decide whether to raid the facility and rescue them or sacrifice the children and wait until there were more Kyrennei imprisoned and rescue them at a future date. When discussing their options and what Jace thought of the issue, the author writes: “He thought of it as a game of numbers and the numbers could be better.”

Should J-Company rescue the current prisoners and therefore lose the element of surprise making future raids more difficult? Or should they wait and let the children/prisoners die in hopes of saving more lives in the future? Basically it is a question of whether the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many?

This is an age-old debate. Governments face this problem on a daily basis when deciding where to allocate funding. Do they put more money into cancer research or do they use that money to fund research on Aids or heart disease. It may not be exactly the same as the situation outlined in this book, but it does give readers genuine food for thought.

The dilemma faced by J-Company will make readers think about things in a way they may not have before reading this book. I LOVE THAT! It would be an interesting topic for a book club discussion.

The story continues on by outlining the ongoing struggles of J-Company and the Kyrennei children they rescued.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and thought it was a terrific continuation of the series.

The author skillfully uses teasers throughout the book that foreshadow events to come, enticing the reader.

I also love the way the author has introduced the concept of standing up for what is right even when taking a stand could potentially cause problems. It is an interesting dilemma and I found the various ways different people responded to the same situation both interesting and very realistic.

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 stars and I am looking forward to reading Book Three which is already available.

The Kyrennei will enchant readers and many will wish they could join J-Company in their fight against the Addin.

This is s great read and well worth buying.

To learn more about this author and this book series, visit her on the web at: http://www.ariefarnam.com.

Unworthy by Joanne Armstrong is a 5 Star Read!

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UNWORTHY by Joanne Armstrong

Engaging and riveting. This is a book you will not want to put down. I suggest you settle in and enjoy the story. This book deserves a reader’s undivided attention.

I received a free eBook copy of ‘Unworthy’ in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This book is a Young Adult Dystopian fiction novel. It is the first novel written by this author. This fact is absolutely shocking to me. UNWORTHY is so well written and expertly edited that I assumed it had been written by a seasoned author. If this is only her first novel, I can’t wait to read the next one.

Set two hundred years in the future, the world’s population has been decimated by “The Sickness.” People have banded together and live in Hubs. A group known as ‘The Polis’ protect the people. But there is a catch.

When children are born they are tested to see if they are strong enough to survive. Those deemed “Unworthy” are set out at night in the wilderness. If they survive the night they are allowed to join the community. If they die, it is deemed a kindness. Even if they survive the night, most of those babies die within their first year.
Those that live are marked as “Unworthy” forever.

To be marked as “Unworthy” carries with it distinct disadvantages. Medical care is denied to them and they are not seen as good mating choices since people worry that their children will be born too weak to survive.

Arcadia has always dreamed of leaving the hub and living free from the Polis and from the stigma of being Unworthy, but is it really better away from the Hub?

What is out there?

When a Polis soldier appears at her door and orders her to come with him, Arcadia’s entire world changes.

As Arcadia learns more about the world, she begins to realize that she has been kept in the dark her entire life.

What secret is the hub hiding? What secrets are the Polis hiding? And what can one girl do about any of it?

This book is different from many others I have read. It is sort of a cross between “The Giver,” “Mockingjay,” “Contagion” and “Logan’s Run.” But even those comparisons do not do this book justice.

This is Dystopian fiction at it’s very best. The story ‘sucked me in’ right from the first page. The characters are exquisitely human and exceedingly well written. Being able to create a bond between readers and fictional characters is not a simple task, but Joanne Armstrong makes it look easy.

This book follows such a logical path that readers will empathize with Arcadia and will become emotionally involved in her story. As Arcadia learns more about her world, so does the reader. Arcadia’s responses and feelings about what she learns mimics exactly what the reader is feeling. It is this empathy that will keep readers from being able to put this book down.

This book makes my list of the top 5 Dystopian fiction books I have read this year.

I sincerely believe that if this book gets the right publisher and the publicity it deserves, it could easily become a bestseller.

I am now a fan of Joanne Armstrong and I can’t wait to read what’s next.

To find out more about the author of UNWORTHY, visit her on the web at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/joarmstrong

This book rates 5 out of 5 stars.

After Life by Daniel Ionson

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AFTERLIFE by Daniel Ionson

I received a free eBook copy of AFTERLIFE from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is a Fantasy novel. I have found that generally these type of novels fall into three categories: Good books, horrible books or truly amazing books. This one falls into the latter category. It is AN AMAZING READ.

Unique is a word that is thrown around quite often in book reviews. However, there are not many books that are truly unique. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when a reader does come across a book that actually earns the title of “Unique” it is a rare and rewarding occasion. AFTERLIFE is just such a book.

The author has created a vivid and richly imagined world. The details of which are thoroughly thought out. He has created an entire civilization with separate countries and religions. Each region has it’s own distinct past and is governed in it’s own unique way. As J.R.R. Tolkein did in “Lord of the Rings” the world in AFTERLIFE is so vivid that the reader can easily picture it’s existence.

The story begins with Kaemen standing amongst the butchered bodies of a farmer and his family. The father and his three adult sons had been “ridden down and hacked with sword and axe.”

Kaemen is a “Wolfhound” under the authority of his cousin, Captain Dagoran.

So far, they have discovered twenty three people killed by Nalforian raiders. These atrocities have been happening for the past five years and the pattern was always the same. The raiders killed the men and took the women and children captive to be sold into slavery and bondage. The Wolfhounds are fed up and frustrated. Their King, Jeramnus, has no idea what to do.

Just when the reader thinks they know what direction this book is going in, there is a massive twist in the plot.

When Kaemen and some others awake, they find that they are in a strange land. Even the sky is different then what they are used to. Where are they? What is happening to them? And, why?

Once again, the reader believes they now know how that twist came about and what direction the story will take. Then… It happens again. Another plot twist that will shock and thrill readers arises.

I absolutely love the fact that this book was so complex and unique. Readers who enjoy the fantasy genre will want to read this book.

I give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you want to know more about the author of AFTER LIFE, you can visit his website at http://www.danielionson.com