UPCOMING EVENT – On Saturday, May 28th attend the Elora Writer’s Festival

Photo by Peter Veraldi

Elora Writer’s Festival (since 1994)

2017 Line-up: 

The Elora Writer’s Festival has already found five great authors – and all of them jumped at the chance to join the annual celebration of great Canadian writing on Sunday, May 28 at Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives. 

Lots more details to come, but here’s a quick look at the Festival 2017 line-up:

Adrienne Kress has a slew of juvenile and YA Fantasy/Steampunk titles out there and, to top it off, she’s an actress too. Her Steampunk adventure The Friday Society, was released to a starred review from Quill and Quire and optioned for film. Read more about Adrienne here:

http://www.adriennekress.com/author/


Rio Youers is back – yes! That Rio! A writer right in our neighbourhood, whose new book, The Forgotten Girl, will appear shortly after our festival. Expect a preview! And if you want to see more of Rio’s impressive list of publications, check out his website, here:

http://rioyouers.com/


Poetry makes a return to our line-up, with Windsor’s Mary Ann Mulhern. Her first collection, The Red Dress, was inspired by her life in the convent, and now, no longer a nun, she tackles some of life’s difficult questions in her writing. Here’s a short video that offers insight into Mary Ann and her poetry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lduBVQHsCAk&feature=youtu.be


Brad Smith returns to Elora with more of his country-noir good-guys-vs-bad-guys thrillers. The first in the Carl Burns series, Rough Justice, hit the stands last February, and the next installment will arrive in February 2017, just in time for us to get reading and ready for his second appearance at our Festival. (And some of you may remember him from our first Books & Beer too, photo above, with Q&A guru, Dave Beynon… )  Read about Brad’s background here: 

http://www.bradsmithbooks.com/biography.php


And to complete the list, Andrew Westoll – another returnee, because he wowed us in 2013 (see photo, above. That’s Andrew, far left) – brings his first novel to share. Remember Andrew? He’s the author of the award-winningThe Riverbones, as well as the memoir The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Now he’s turned to fiction with The Jungle South of the Mountain. Yes, there will be primates. Can’t wait!

Read more about Andrew, here:

http://andrewwestoll.com/bio/

There you have it – the line-up of authors for the Elora Writer’s Festival 2017. Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 28th. 


Photo by Peter Veraldi


Everything you need to know about tickets to Festival 2017   

The 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival is just around the corner and tickets ($25) are now available. Here’s everything you need to know to be part of the action on Sunday, May 28, 1-4 p.m:

Pay a visit to Roxanne – or give her a call:

Visit Roxanne’s Reflections Book & Card Shop, 152 St. Andrew St. West in Fergus to purchase your tickets. Or call Roxanne at 519-843-4391 to reserve your tickets, which can be picked up at the store or will be waiting for you at the front door of Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives on the day of the festival, whatever works for you.

Order Online from our partners at The Fergus Grand Theatre:

Easy, easy, easy. Follow this link to the ticket-ordering page:

Fergus Grand Theatre – 2017 Elora Writers’ Festival

Show up at the door of Aboyne Hall, Wellington County Museum & Archives on Sunday, May 28 at about 12:45 p.m.:

Walk up to our ticket table, pull out $25, take your ticket and walk right in!

Your ticket entitles you to an afternoon of readings and a crowd-pleasing Q&A with this year’s authors, Rio Youers, Andrew Westoll, Adrienne Kress, Brad Smith and Mary Ann Mulhern.

Oh yes, and there’s one beer (thanks to our sponsors, Wellington Brewery) and nibbles (supplied by local Fergus eatery, The Fountainhead), and books to buy at our mini-bookstore, authors to chat with and a room full of like-minded book-lovers to meet.

All you need is a ticket, it’s that’s easy!

I will definitely be attending. I hope that if any of you reading this are planning to go to the Festival, we can introduce ourselves to each other.

Hope to see you there!!! 

Photo by Peter Veraldi

Photo by David Wilcox

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS FESTIVAL CLICK HERE


RE-POST -5 Stars for MERITROPOLIS by Joel Ohman – BOOK REVIEW

 

 
METROPOLIS 

Author: Joel Ohman
This book is a dystopian fantasy novel packed with action and drama.

The Event has devastated the world. At 3 years AE (After Event) there were 50,000 citizens of Meritropolis. A system was devised to help them to survive and all the reaidents had agreed to the new system. If the number of residents exceeded 50,000, then someone must be “zeroed”. This meant being put outside the gates to try to survive on their own. “Of course, being zeroed was just a euphemism for being killed, since no one could survive long outside the gates. Not at night, and not for long, anyway.” It was usually the elderly who had already lived a long life, or a sickly child who would likely not have a “productive future,” who were zeroed.

Everyone is assigned a numerical merit score which designates their worth to society. These scores also determine whether they live or die. The reason for this system was simple. The inhabitants of Meritropolis believed that the needs of the many outweighed the good of the few.

However, it is now AE12 and the current teenagers are rebelling against the system. When the original agreement had been reached, these current teenagers had been too young to understand the consequences.

Commander Orson now has the highest merit score of anyone in the city and because of this, he is in charge of Meritropolis. It had been his father who had initially instituted the System.

Charley’s parents had been killed in The Event and he was left with only his brother, Alec. Alec had down syndrome and when Charley was 8, Alec had been taken away by the guards and zeroed in a gate ceremony. It was that day that “had planted a dark little seed in Charley. And that seed had been tended carefully and quietly over the past nine years.” Charley has a high score of 118.

Children stay in the underground dorms until they reach adulthood.

Charley decides to try to stop a gate ceremony for a young girl and ends up living in the high score dorm.

It is there that he starts to discover the secrets that keep Meritropolis running.

It is now up to him and to his fellow high scores to decide if they will live a life of luxury and plenty at the expense of those with low scores, or if they will find a way to fight the system.

How do you decide? Is it better to protect yourself and your closest friends? Or is it better to put your life on the line in hopes of making life better for everyone?

Joel Ohman has managed to create a complex and diverse world that will appeal to all lovers of dystopian fiction.

This is an engrossing and gripping thrill ride that will keep you reading long into the night and will stay with you long after reading the final page.

The cliff hanger ending will leave you wishing that book two was already available. I know that I will be impatiently awaiting it’s publication.

I rate Meritropolis as 5 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

4 Stars for INO’S LOVE by Marianne Sciucco – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

  
Title: INO’S LOVE

Author: Marianne Sciucco 

Type of Book: Audiobook- Unabridged 

Narrator: Terry Murphy

Length: 28 minutes

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories 

Release Date: September 21, 2015

Publisher: Bunky Press

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

DESCRIPTION FROM AUDIBLE: 

“Into prepares a Christmas feast for her successful CEO son, but when he’s too busy to spend the holiday with his mother, she shares her dinner and gifts with her home health aide. Sometimes, the people who love us best are not family.”

MY REVIEW: 

This audiobook was a very quick listen. The entire story only lasted 28 minutes, but within those twenty-eight minutes quite a lot took place. 

Ino is an elderly widow living in an apartment in New York’s Little Italy. She has lived there for most of her life and she has no intention of ever moving, despite the fact that she now has difficulty handling the stairs. As far as Ino is concerned, there is nothing or no one that could ever convince her move away from the place where she experienced so many happy moments in her life.

Ruby is a paid caregiver who visits Ino several times a week and spends a few hours with her each time. This service is paid for by Ino’s son who is a bigshot corporate executive who makes a ton of money, but lives on the other side of the country. 

When business brings him to New York a few days before Christmas he calls his mother and tells her that he is dropping by to visit her. 

Ino is excited that her son is coming to see her and she cooks his favourite food. However, he calls and says he can’t make it. Ino decides to ask Ruby to stay for dinner instead.

I have to admit that it made me quite angry that her son was so self-absorbed that he didn’t even consider his mother’s feelings when he cancelled. Sadly, this scenario is one that plays out way too often in households across the country. 

There is a whole extra topic of conversation and discussion that arises when Ruby stays for dinner, but I won’t go into detail here because I don’t want to ruin the story for potential audiobook listeners. I will say that if this audiobook does not make you feel, then you are immune to normal human emotions. 

The narrator for this audiobook was outstanding, perfectly capturing the mood and emotions of the characters in this story. 

I rate the audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

* I received a free copy of this audiobook through AudioBookBlast dot com in exchange for an honest review. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Marianne Sciucco is a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she studied the craft of writing as an English major at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in New England. 

To avoid poverty, she later became a nurse and wrote about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. 

A native Bostonian who loves Cape Cod, she lives in upstate New York. When she isn’t writing, she works as a campus nurse at a community college. 

To learn more about her visit http://MarianneSciucco.blogspot.com 

ABOUT THE NARRATOR: 

  
Terry Murphy started her voiceover career in 1980 and she has held multiple News Anchor jobs including positions in Cincinnati, Detroit Michigan, Chicago Illinois and Los Angeles California. 

Her voice was the driving force behind the highly successful syndicated show “Hard Copy” for nine years. Because of this, she was once known as America’s tabloid queen!

More information can be found at  http://www.voicespro.com/us/voice-artist/profile/terry-murphy

4 Stars for THREE INTO ONE by Julie Elizabeth Powell – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

  
Title: THREE INTO ONE

Author: Julie Elizabeth Powell

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Phil Mayes

Length: 21 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction, Short Story

Release Date: July 3, 2015

Publisher: Julie Elizabeth Powell

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This audiobook is extremely short. The entire thing only lasts twenty-one minutes, but those twenty-one minutes pack in a lot of story.

Thomas is an odd child. He has always been this way. Then, one night at the age of seven, he experiences something that affects him in a very strange way.

This event not only makes him seem even weirder than he had before, but it also alters him physically.

What happened that night? How does a seven year old wake up in the middle of a forest with no memory of how he got there?

The answers to those questions will affect not only Thomas, but the rest of humanity.

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook and was surprised to find out that it is narrator Phil Mayes first professional narration. He did a wonderful job in voicing not only the children’s voices but also as the voice of the third-party storyteller. He speaks clearly and is easily understood which is important for the listener. I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The only thing I disliked about this audiobook was the story’s ending. I felt that it could have been wrapped up in a much neater fashion. I assume that the author left the story unfinished for a reason. I understand that this tactic leaves the listener able to speculate on the various outcomes for the story and it’s characters. But, to me this audiobook actually seemed like it was the opening chapter for a novel and that the listener was left ‘hanging’ just as the story seemed about to get even more interesting.

With that said, if author Julie Elizabeth Powell ever decides to turn this story into a full-length novel, I would be very interested in reading it. It is for that reason that I rate “Three Into One” as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
Julie Elizabeth Powell is an indie author based in England. She has authored over 17 titles of various genres.

For more information visit her author’s page on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1349023.Julie_Elizabeth_Powell

Her novel “GONE” sounds intriguing.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR: 

  
Phil Mayes is from London, England, but now lives in Southern California and he loves his adoptive home. According to Phil this proves that climate beats culture.

After a life spent writing in Assemblers, C, C++, Python and Javascript, he is now writing in English. He currently blogs, takes naps and is working on his next book with his wife Maude Mayes. He recently started narrating audiobooks

To learn more about Phil Mayes go to: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5355822.Phil_Mayes 

Or

Check out his narrator info page at http://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A1Y1HBLF85YD8O 

4 Stars for HELLO, AGNIESZKA by E. Journey – Book Review

  
Title: Hello, Agnieszka!

Series: Between Two Worlds: Book Two

Author: E. Journey

Type of Book: Softcover

Genre: Drama, Romance

Length: 273 pages

Release Date: June 19, 2014

Publisher: Sojourner Books

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free softcover copy of “Hello, Agnieszka! – A 70s Love Story” free through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review is not a requirement of receiving the free book, but the authors and publishers do appreciate receiving feedback (good or bad) from readers.

This is the second book in the “Between Two Worlds” series, however, it is not necessary to read the books in order since each one is its own stand-alone novel.

This book begins with the suicide attempt of a young adult named Peter. Fortunately the attempt was unsuccessful, but this single event triggers a tsunami of family revelations – all centred around Agnieszka.

The tale turns to the past and specifically to Agnieszka’s life from age ten to twenty.

Agnieszka’s Great Aunt Jola was a renowned beauty and pianist in her native Poland. However, she, along with Agnieszka’s grandparents fled Poland and the Nazi invasion and emigrated to the United States. It was in the U.S. that Agnieszka was born.

At the age of ten Agnieszka heard Aunt Jola play the piano for the first time and she was captivated.

That love of music shaped her life for years to come. As a teenager in the early 1970s, you would think that Agnieszka would have been experiencing the “free love” era, but she was a very sheltered young woman and spent all of her time either at school, at home or practicing the piano. At the age of 17 she had never even had a boyfriend.

That all changes when she meets Lenny and falls deeply in love.

Betrayal and heartbreak, along with love, lust and a mother who is stuck in the past all conspire to change Agnieszka’s life forever.

This is a tale of young love, first loves, heartbreaks and the power of music to soothe the soul.

If you are trying to decide whether or not to read this book, there are certain things that you need to take into consideration.

1. Are you looking for a steamy romance with detailed sex scenes? If so, this is NOT the book for you. Yes, there is sex in this book, but the act itself is secondary to the story and the author obviously decided that graphic sex scenes were unnecessary. In my opinion, this is a good thing. This book seeks to appeal to the reader’s heart, much more so than their libido.
2. Are you looking for a modern day setting? Again, if that is the case, this is NOT the book for you. But, if you want to read a story that is set in the 1970s during an era of change and exploration, this is EXACTLY the book for you.
3. Do you enjoy superficial characters that are completely lacking in depth and that readers are unable to relate to? That is the exact opposite of the characters in “Hello, Agnieszka.” The author’s character building is excellent. Readers learn more and more about each character as the story emerges and readers will find themselves beginning to be invested in the lives of Agnieszka, Lenny and Aunt Jola.
4. Are you looking for a book that contains only simple and straightforward emotions? If so, this is NOT the right choice for you. The emotions and actions of the characters in this book are complicated and often perplexing, but always realistic.

So, in conclusion, this book is more of a drama than a romance. Yes, the romance is central to the story, but it is about much more than that.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more books by author, E. Journey in the future.

Overall, I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To purchase this book visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L5IHKZ4

  
To learn more about this author visit http://www.evyjourney.com

FALLEN (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image of book cover from www.amazon.com

Image of book cover from http://www.amazon.com

FALLEN ( Fallen #1)

By: Lauren Kate

Narrated by: Justine Eyre

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fiction

Length: 9 cds = 10 hours, 56 minutes

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐

My Review:

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I listen to audiobooks mostly on my iPod, but in the car I listen to books on cd since I can borrow them for free at the local library.

First off the cover of this book is delightfully gothic looking. It gives a sense of impending freakiness. I applaud the cover designer for a job well done.

This book is geared toward a Young Adult audience.

The story centers around Lucinda Price (everyone calls her Luce) and Daniel Grigori.

Luce is sent to Sword and Cross, a live-in Reform School after she was involved in a fire that took the life of her boyfriend, Trevor. Luce has only vague memories of that tragic night. She remembers seeing threatening shadow shapes but little else. Because she mentions the shadows and cannot defend herself, the fire and Trevor’s death are blamed on her. We never do find out exactly what crime she is convicted of, or exactly what her sentence is. This “fire” seems like a convenient way to place Luce in reform school. More backstory as well as more details on the “crime” would have been greatly appreciated.

Once Luce arrives at the school she sees Daniel and feels an instant connection to him. He apparently doesn’t feel the same since his response to her smile is to give her the finger. This should be enough to turn her off completely. Instead her feelings are hurt. She acts like a baby. No self respecting female should pursue a man (or boy) who treats her with such disrespect.

What follows is her basically stalking him and him avoiding her. There is another boy (Cam) at the school who is gorgeous, rich and attentive. But, does she want him? No! Well, actually she does a good job of leading him on, all the while trying to figure out how to go about getting the guy she really wants. This bothered me. What sort of message is this sending to the young adults reading this book? Do we really want teenage girls to think it is okay to string someone along just so that they have a backup plan? Yuck!

Mysterious things happen. There are dreams that seem like memories, but they are of places Luce has never been. These do not feel real and do not contain enough emotional moments.

There is the obligatory paranormal twist and of course it wouldn’t be a young adult novel without the requisite love triangle.
I was actually rooting for her to go out with Cam and forget all about Daniel Grigori.

The narrator does an amazing job with the material she was given. Her voice is clear and she is able to make the book seem more interesting than the plot suggests. Kudos to Justine Eyre for a job well done.

I guess by my above comments, you will see that I wasn’t won over by this book. It isn’t horrible, its just that it seems so similar to so many other young adult books that I just couldn’t immerse myself in the story. The characters fell flat and there was a distinct lack of authentic historical details.

Also, I found Luce VERY annoying. Daniel blows her off repeatedly. Luce must be a sucker for punishment because she keeps throwing herself at him. This is NOT what we want our young adult generation to see as a healthy relationship. (In the author’s defense, her obsession does have a reason). I felt that this girl had no self-respect. If any guy ever treated me the way Daniel treats Luce for the first half of the story, I would want exactly nothing to do with him … EVER!

This story does have potential and could have been good, but it drags. The reader knows at the beginning that Luce is fated to be reincarnated time and time again and to fall in love with Daniel each time. That love always end tragically for Luce. But, even though the signs are all there for Luce, she has no clue. It takes most of the book for her to realize what is happening. This fact does NOT endear Luce to the reader. In fact, it makes the reader (at least it did for me) want to smack her for being such a moron. Also, she ignores her friends and family and even her teachers. All she can think about is Daniel. This is not love, this is obsession and it is NOT healthy.

I find it very difficult to enjoy a book when I do not like any of the characters. Luce is spoiled, self-centered and stupid. Daniel is arrogant and just plain mean. They have very few redeeming qualities.

Eventually Luce and Daniel fall in love, but it is not believable. What does she love about him? The only reasons she gives is that he is gorgeous and that she feels drawn to him. What qualities make her love him? He doesn’t save puppies or do charity work, if he had done either of these things then maybe he would be at least a little bit like-able. In fact, he’s a delinquent (if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be in reform school) and he is often downright cruel. He is condescending whenever he talks to Luce. I don’t know about other women, but I certainly do not enjoy being treated like I am beneath other people. I would have liked Luce a lot more if she didn’t come across as such a doormat.

Luce is a feminist’s nightmare. She would have been more relatable if she wasn’t so wishy-washy. Her character has potential, but she does not live up to it.

Unfortunately, despite wanting to like this book, I was unable to do so. It is for all the reasons listed above that I rate this book as only 2 out of five stars. ⭐⭐

I will pass on reading the rest of this series.

100 JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME by National Geographic – BOOK REVIEW

image

100 JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME By: National Geographic

Foreword by: Richard Branson

Publication Date: 2011

Type of Book: Softcover Glossy Magazine

Length: 127 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Review:

This magazine is a feast for the eyes. The subtitle “The World’s Must-See Destinations” had me intrigued and judging by the pictures and descriptions, it is accurate.

The foreword was written by Sir Richard Branson who states “If you share my hunger to live life to its utmost, to immerse yourself in this world crammed with wonders, this book is your perfect passport.”

The book is divided into five categories. They are:

1. Water

2. Road & Rail

3. Wilderness

4. Food & Drink

5. History & Culture

Each of the one hundred travel destinations are given either a one or two page layout.

Each destination has it’s own title, the name of the location and a blurb with tips for planning a trip to that locale. It also includes advice on the best time of the year to travel to that specific destination. A website (sometimes two) is also listed for each destination to enable would- be travelers to obtain more detailed information.

The pictures of each of the 100 journeys are nothing short of awe-inspiring. The editors have done an amazing job by picking photographs that are sure to entice readers to want to experience each journey themselves.

The 100 journeys are not just place names. For example, one of the suggested locales is Scotland, but the article is entitled “Scotch Whiskey” and the information includes details about the scenery and also about touring whiskey breweries.

The only thing that would make this book better would be more pictures and more details about each place. This is actually available since this magazine is a shortened version of National Geographic’s hardcover book ” Journeys of a Lifetime” which is available to purchase at http://www.nationalgeographic.com for $40.

Since reading this book my “Bucket List” has gotten substantially longer. I have added new experiences and travel destinations to my list of things I want to do and see before I die.

This book will stir up the desire for adventure in everyone who reads it.

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I definitely want to buy the expanded version of this book as I love to travel.

TELLING TALES ABOUT DEMENTIA – Experiences of Caring Edited by: Lucy Whitman – BOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.netgalley.com

Image obtained from http://www.netgalley.com

TELLING TALES ABOUT DEMENTIA – Experiences of Caring
Edited by: Lucy Whitman

Publication Date: March 2, 2015

Genre: Non-Fiction, Health

Length: 224 pages

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a collection of personal accounts by family caregivers who have taken care of a loved one suffering from dementia.

“How do you cope alone with your loved one’s slow loss of rational thought and behavior? You cannot – and you need not. The single most valuable achievement of this book is to tell carers they are not alone.” – John Suchet – Broadcaster and patron of For Dementia who is caring for his wife, who has dementia.

From the Foreword: “With all of us living longer, and facing the real possibility of outliving our own sanity, we need all the research and assistance we can get.”

I believe that this is an important book and not only for those who are currently dealing with dementia or taking care of someone who suffers from it. With the number of baby boomers reaching the danger zone for dementia onset (age 70 +) there is little doubt in my mind that dementia will touch everyone’s life in some way in the coming years.

It is easy to overlook this disease as something that happens to other people, but how could it hurt to have some knowledge about this disease? As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.”

The majority of the stories in this book come from the United Kingdom, including England and Ireland, but dementia is not a localized disease. Dementia is just as much an issue in the United States and Canada as it is in the UK. Perhaps by reading these stories people will come to a greater understanding of what dementia is and how it affects not only the person who has been diagnosed but also their family and friends.

In the story “The Most Difficult Decision of my Life” by Debbie Jackson the fact that dementia affects people from all walks of life is clearly demonstrated. In in the 1960s Debbie and her husband left their successful careers ( he was a lawyer, she was a social worker) in Capetown, South Africa to move to London, England. They had both been active in the anti-apartheid movement. These are smart, educated, civil-minded people who should have had many decades of intelligent debates left in them. This story highlights the tragedy of dementia. So many brilliant minds are effectively lost to this horrific disease.

You would think that reading all these stories about dementia and the decline in people’s health and quality of life would be depressing. But that is simply not true. For me, what most struck me about this book was the love that clearly shines through in each and every story. That kind of love and dedication is inspiring. Everyone should be as lucky (yes, I said lucky) as the dementia sufferers in this book. They may have been unlucky in health, but they have been blessed when it comes to love from spouses, children, family and friends. Imagine how much worse it would be to suffer from this disease if you were all alone in the world. That is a truly scary vision.

I believe that everyone should read this book, whether you know someone who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s or not. I give this book a much deserved 5 star rating and I will be recommending this book to family, friends and even strangers. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

To learn more about dementia visit: http://m.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

SKELETAL by Katherine Hayton – BOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.netgalley.com

Image obtained from http://www.netgalley.com

SKELETAL
By: Katherine Hayton

Publication Date: January 14, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Mystery & Thriller

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

An earthquake does minor damage to many buildings in the town of Christchurch, New Zealand in 2014. When construction crews work to move a house they discover a skeleton near the foundation.

An investigation is launched as to who the skeleton belonged to and how it came to be there.

This book flashes back and forth between the 2014 Coroner’s Inquest and the life of fourteen year old Daina Harrow ten years earlier.

Obviously the skeleton belonged to Daina who had been in the 10th form of high school in 2004.

Daina’s mother was a drunk and Daina was pretty much on her own for getting food, clothes and even school supplies. Because of her mother’s drinking they have been forced to move a lot. In fact, Daina has attended two different schools within the past year.

Being the new girl at school is never fun, and Daina’s experience is made worse by the fact that she has been targeted by the local bully – a girl named Michelle.

The flashes between 2004 and 2014 are interesting and the author has done a terrific job of pointing out how the various characters have changed in the intervening years. For instance, Daina’s mother is now sober and has been alcohol free for ten years. Too bad her reformation came about too late to help Daina.

SKELETAL is a who-done-it with a twist and is told from Daina’s point of view: as if her ghost is watching the proceedings in the courtroom. The 2004 scenes are also told from her perspective.

As the story progresses we learn more about Daina, her mother, Michelle and those around them and events seem to take on an inevitable quality.

Readers cannot help but like Daina. “I could’ve wagged school altogether and wandered the streets trying hard to become the person that everyone expected me to be. Instead I was sitting here trying to help someone who probably didn’t want my help and fighting with someone who couldn’t care less what happened … as long as it didn’t cost him any trouble.” It is impossible to not admire her morals and the fact that she was trying to rise above the situation she has found herself in, especially since it was through no fault of her own.

I particularly like the fact that the author chose to portray Daina as a smart girl. Too many books are being written in which the teenage characters are portrayed as beautiful but intellectually challenged. It is also refreshing to read about a character who is focused on her future and who does not see getting a hot boyfriend as the main goal in her life. I think other readers will find this refreshing as well.

Even though the reader knows Daina will end up dead at the end of the story, it is impossible not to hope for the outcome to be different. All the reader can do is be swept up in Daina’s story and hope that what led to her death will be revealed and that if there was a murderer that he (or she) will be caught and held accountable.

This book is an absorbing tale of life as a teenager on the fringes. It is a compelling look into the world of a girl who is struggling to become the woman she knows she can become. It is a story that may not have a happy ending, but despite that fact, readers will be drawn into Daina’s world and will not want to put this book down.

Just when the reader thinks they have the story all figured out it takes an unexpected twist. I love this. It is rare for a book, especially a Young Adult book, to surprise me, but SKELETAL did just that. There are a few lulls in the story, but all in all this book is definitely worth reading. Give it a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 stars.

About The Author: (From the Book Jacket)

“Katherine Hayton is a shy reticent genius who doesn’t like to be put in the spotlight. She has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides two blocks away from the house in which she was born. SKELETAL is not her first novel.”

Other titles by Katherine Hayton include: “Found, Near Water” and “One Hundred Days of Noise.”

To learn more about this author visit her official homepage at http://www.kathay1973.com/

MODERN RITUALS by J.S. Leonard – BOOK REVIEW

Image courtesy of www.netgalley.com

Image courtesy of http://www.netgalley.com

MODERN RITUALS
By: J.S. Leonard

Publication Date: February 16, 2015

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Thrillers and Mystery

From NetGalley:

“A failed ritual annihilates modern life.”

Manhattan, NY: The E-Train slams into James Bixby, a strapping young artist on the rise, after a life-saving rescue attempt goes awry. Belfast, Ireland: A bullet severs Olivia Young’s spinal cord while she defends a doctor colleague–the second bullet pierces her heart.

Then they awaken–unharmed.

“Selected” and thrust into a deadly ritual, James’ and Olivia’s lives–along with the lives of five others–will decide humanity’s fate: surrender to the old Gods’ rule or live on in blissful ignorance. Follow their frantic struggle as Magnus–a secret organization of enormous reach and scientific prowess–directs the ritual to its gruesome end.

Dubbed as a Cabin in the Woods “remix,” Modern Rituals celebrates the movie’s ritual motif and compels readers with a rich universe propped upon science fiction and mythology. If you loved the fierce pace of Battle Royale and the fight to survive in Hunger Games, then Modern Rituals: The Wayward Three will quicken your heartbeat and leave your eyes red and bleary! Pick it up and strap in–once this story leaps off the page there’s no turning back.

This is the first book in J.S. Leonard’s captivating new series.”

My Review:

This book took me a while to get into. In fact, I almost abandoned it completely. However, I am glad that I kept reading.

The story begins with an interesting premise: individuals who are whisked away (almost magically) the instant before dying then awake in a completely different place. Sounds good, right? And it does start off that way.

Multiple people awaken in a school campus setting with no idea why they are there or even how they came to get there. Then it degenerates into a typical horror movie type plot. This is where I found myself losing interest.

They have been placed there by a corporation that is responsible for running these “rituals” that must result in multiple deaths or the world is doomed. This is just way too much like “Cabin In The Woods” and as such, it lacked originality.

But further into the story it does take another turn. This one for the better. I do not want to spoil the twist for potential readers, but this twist is what ‘saves’ the plot and also sets it up for more books in the series.

I had a hard time deciding what rating to give this book. At times it deserves 4 stars out of 5 and at times it deserves less. After much consideration I have decided on a final rating of 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

To learn more about the author of “Modern Rituals – The Wayward Three – Book One’ visit his blog at http://www.jslauthor.com/