Thursday, June 30, 2011

Curry And Spice - 25 Easy and Authentic Indian Chicken Recipes by Kakoli DasGupta: Review

Blurb:

While much has been said and is being said about diet food, healthy cooking, low fat recipes - they can never do justice to the demands of delicacy. This book offers select 25 Chicken Recipes from all across India with cooking time, flavor, skill level, accompaniment, and an easy to follow preparation method. Also included are two super-fast recipes for the unannounced guest and recipe for home made spice mixes. Please do read the notes and cooking tips (at the end of the book) before you start.

This is the first book in a series. I will be shortly launching the Meat, Fish, Vegetable, and other Regional Specialties. I could have used glossy and fancy images but I have kept this book straight on basics. Place your Kindle, iPad or Laptop on your kitchen top, open the menu of your choice and cook on.

My Review:

Before receiving this review request I was not familiar with Authentic Indian food at all. I have only tried it maybe twice in my life, not because I don't like it, but because there are no Authentic Indian restaurants in my town or within an hour of where I live! Until reviewing this cookbook, I didn’t even know what went IN Indian food! 

I don't consider myself a terrible cook, but I rarely have a reason to cook at all. I don't see the point in cooking up an amazing meal for just me. I'm sure that someday when I'm married, or living with someone else, then I'll be able to work on my cooking skills, and a book like this would definitely be useful! Not only are the recipes absolutely delicious looking, but they are also relatively easy to  make! People don't generally want a cooking book where the recipes show that you need to slave over a stove for at least an hour! The author of this cookbook lists things that you will need to make the dish, and also gives easy to follow instructions for creating the meal. 
The way that Kakoli DasGupta sets up the cooking instructions is very organized, and for someone like me who rarely cooks, it's important to have everything set up in order so that I don't get lost when I've barely begun!

I'm going to go ahead and copy one of the recipes into this review, because it's easier to SHOW everyone how everything is set up, rather than try to explain it!
 
Chicken Tikka

Cuisine - North Indian
Serves - 4 - 6
Cooking Time - 30 mins
Flavor - Moderate Spicy
Difficulty - easy
Goes well with - Nan / Chapati / Tandoori Roti
Ingredients
Boneless chicken (small one inch size cubes/pieces) - 1 kg

For MarinadeYoghurt/Curd - 1 cup
Salt - 2 tsp / as per taste
Ginger paste - 2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder (Kashmiri)- 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - ½ tsp
Mustard oil/Vegetable Oil-3 tbsp

For FryingVegetable Oil- 3 tbsp

For BastingMelted Butter
Chat Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp

For GarnishingTwo Large Onion - cut in rings
One Lemon - cut in wedges
Fresh Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp Chopped

PreparationChicken Tikka can be shallow fried or grilled.
Marinate the chicken in a shallow non-metal dish - mix all the ingredients with curd
thoroughly - apply onto the chicken pieces and refrigerate overnight (minimum 4 - 6
hours.

Grilling Option
For grilling thread the chicken in skewers and then marinade in a shallow dish. Heat grill.
Place the skewered chicken on grill rack and cook 5 minutes, turning skewers and basting
occasionally with butter. Keep a glass tray below the skewers to collect the drippings.
Frying Option
Heat the oil in a non - stick pan and fry all the chicken pieces on a very low flame turning
them around. Allow the water to dry and fry till reddish brown in color.
Sprinkle the Chat Masala when done. Serve hot, garnished with onion rings, coriander
leaves and lime slices.

If I can look at a recipe for food that I am not familiar with, and I can figure it out, well then it's a good cookbook! I enjoyed looking at the different recipes that are in this book, and there are recipes here that I will definitely use in the future!

As I said,I am not familiar with cookbooks, but the way it is set up, and the amazing recipes that this book contains, makes this a 5 STAR book! 

Note from the Author:

The most important ingredient of cooking is 'Love' - if you pour your heart while cooking, nothing can go wrong.

I love traveling and tasting exotic recipes. And when I come across great food I make it a point to talk with the chef. Be it in Kashmir or Coorg or Goa or Kerala I have come across amazing delicacies which I never knew existed. Traditional Indian food has a lot to offer and one can expect the most awesome recipe at the most unexpected places.

This book is a part of a series on Indian Recipes. Watch out for other issues being launched soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BOOK GIVEAWAY TIME & a INTERVIEW with Author Cheri Schmidt!

Author Interview & Book Giveaway!
I've decided to go ahead and add some excitement to my readers day by hosting a giveaway for Cheri Schmidt, the wonderful author of the book I am currently reading, FAIR MAIDEN. I usually do my giveaways right along with my reviews, but it has been a couple of weeks since I had my last giveaway, so I'm going to switch things up and host her giveaway now, and then when I'm done with her book in the next day or two I will post MY review of the novel!


Blurb for the novel FAIR MAIDEN:


It's the Victorian era in England, but Tessa is from the medieval past. She awakens within a castle she has never seen before. Knowledge of her name also evades her. However, even worse than not knowing who or where she is, she cannot recall how she died or why she is dressed as a bride.

Along with Christian, the earl of the castle she haunts, Tessa tries to discover who she is and break the spell holding her in a prison of death. They never imagined the curse keeping them apart is the only thing protecting her, until it's too late.



Check out THESE helpful reviews!





Author Interview of Cheri Schmidt:

Question: Why did you write this book?

The story was haunting my thoughts and wouldn’t stop until I put fingers to keys and wrote it.

Question: What book are you reading right now?

“City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare (I know, it’s been out for quite a while.)

Question: What genre do you write?

Teen fantasy and paranormal romance, but for some reason I’ve mixed historical elements into all of them. And it seems like I can’t resist putting fairies in each book I write either. So far they’ve made their way into all three of the books I’ve completed and will be in almost all of the ones I plan to write.

Question: What inspired you to be a writer?

The stories constantly spinning in my head did that. I’d always just thought they were there for my own personal entertainment. It took me until about the age of 37 before I realized I should be writing them down.

Question: What is your goal with the stories you write?

I want to entertain and to bring a smile to the reader’s face. I also wish to weave the story into their heart so well they can’t stop thinking about it afterward.

Question: What genres do you like to read?

Paranormal, Fantasy, and Historical Romance. Always romance...

Question: What inspired you to write this novel?

I read a few books with ghosts in them. Most of them also had time travel, but I wanted a way to resolve the plot without time travel, and Fair Maiden is what I came up with.

Question: Will there be a sequel to Fair Maiden?

Yes. I have three books planned for that series but while Christian and Tessa will be seen, they will not be the main characters in the following books. Book 2 is entitled The Trapping Club. This story will center around Emma—Christian’s little sister when she’s older and the hero will be Tristan—Dominic’s, yes the villain’s, little brother. Book 3 will be about Peter—Christian’s brother.

Cheri is being incredibly generous by offering to give away TWO Ebook copies and ONE signed paperback copy (along with matching bookmark)!I was pretty excited when she let me know that was offering THREE books total for my readers! I'm happy when an author offers anything relevant to their novel so that I can do a give away for my readers, so I really appreciate Cheri going above and beyond so that three lucky readers will have the chance to read this novel!



Ok, so here are the GIVEAWAY RULES:

MANDATORY ENTRY:

+1 In order to enter this giveaway, COMMENT on this post & make sure to leave your EMAIL address! You MUST be a follower of my blog to enter.


EXTRA/BONUS ENTRIES:

+1 Follow me on TWITTER!!

+1 TWEET this giveaway on YOUR twitter account! Make sure to leave me the link!

+1 Follow me on either SHELFARI OR GOODREADS or you can follow me on BOTH for TWO extra entries!

You can put all of the entries in one comment, or post each entry separately. It's up to you, because they all add up the same at the end! If you do all of the bonus entries, as well as the mandatory entry, then you have a total of 5 chances to win!

I will be choosing the winner on July 5th!









Sunday, June 26, 2011

FEUDING HEARTS by Shari Richardson: Review

Blurb:


Cecilia Phoenix dreaded marriage, especially to Lord Fitzroy, and prayed for an escape, but when her brother was brought to her fresh from his defeat on the battle field, salvation was not what she expected to find in the angry countenance of Lord Aldere Wyke. Now they must find the strength to love and trust each other before their doubt destroys them both.




My Review:



The Wyke and Phoenix families have been feuding for over 100 years, when finally the eldest of the Wyke family, Aldere, sees an opportunity to put the feud behind them once and for all by marrying the younger sister of Devynn Phoenix (whose existence had been hidden from the Wyke’s).

I’ve always been a fan of historical romance novels. I remember when I was younger calling them ‘romantical’ novels, which sounds pretty dang good I think!  As with most historical romance novels, known to me as ‘romantical’, there are tons of clichés. You really can’t escape them when dealing with romance novels in general.  Feuding Hearts is no different. As I said, I really do enjoy reading historical romance, so the clichés really don’t bother me.  They seemed did seem even more over the top in this book, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read a historical romance novel and the last time I read one I certainly wasn’t reviewing it for an author, so that’s probably instances stood out more so for me in this one!

In historical romance novels there always seems to be a couple of the following things happening: 


* A man and woman forced to marry each other against one or both of their wills then end up falling in love, but are too stubborn to admit it first to the other person.


* It seems like there is always a spurned man or woman from the past who makes an awesome antagonist and seeks revenge for the humiliation their ex lovers NEW lover is causing them.


* There is often a near death experience shortly before or shortly after they FINALLY profess their love for one another and they are hysterical at the thought of losing the person who a week ago they seemed to hate.


* Usually there is some type of major misunderstanding once they have finally realized that they are in love (often caused by the antagonist, spurned man/woman).


* And finally, for some reason it seems like in a lot of romance novels one of the main characters is stricken with fever, and ends up blabbering about things they would never say if they were not hallucinating (example: talking about how much they love the person who they had recently said they hated, telling a secret that may hurt their new love, etc.)


Ok, so do you see what I’m saying here? Well, all five of these apply to Feuding Hearts.


Cecilia is forced to marry Aldere, Keicha is a woman from Adere’s past and Braden Fitzroy wants to marry Cecilia, and they both end up being great antagonists in this story. Also, there’s a near death experience for one of the lovers that is caused by the jilted person from the past, and of course there is a huge misunderstanding between Aldere and Cecilia just when they’ve finally gotten it together and are working things out, and then, of course there are fever and the hallucinations, it’s all there!
 
I’m not saying any of this is bad, because it was a good book, and I was certainly never bored and I liked the ending. The only frustration I had was when Cecilia was acting weak when Aldere was being a jerk towards her. She didn’t deserve any of the crap that he gave her, but she was taking it because she loved him so much. Obviously the time period the book took place in was when women didn’t really have a choice to speak their mind, but at one point I was extremely annoyed with Aldere’s lack of trust, when Cecilia had done NOTHING to deserve the way he acted. He seemed so ready to believe the worst of her when everything she had done was in order to protect him.

There were also quite a few words that must have been missed when editing. Words that weren’t out right spelled wrong, but were just the wrong word for that sentence, or a word was repeated. A good example of the common errors would be, “The men around them now seemed very happy to see here, when before she was assumed to be a whore.”

It probably sounds like I didn’t like the book, but honestly I did. I think that in order to really appreciate it as a reader you need to like romance novels, specifically historical romance, because they usually are a little over the top and dramatic. I thought Feuding Hearts had a great story line, and was entertaining. I also liked that the narrator included both Cecilia and Aldere’s point of view. It wasn’t first person, but as 3rd person omniscient the reader is able to see what is going on inside both of their heads. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the love scenes...now THOSE were very nice! Definitely on par with some of the best romance novels I've read! Gotta love good sex scenes! ;)

 It’s not one of my favorite historical romances, but it was a good read and if you enjoy this genre of novels, then I would definitely recommend it.

I give Feuding Hearts 3.5 out of 5 stars.


About the Author:

Shari Richardson holds a master's degree in English Education and has spent much of her life teaching students the joy of reading and writing. Her love of writing began when she was in elementary school and has carried through her entire adult life. Shari lives in Pennsylvania with her two Chihuahuas.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Are You Reading? & Future Giveaways!





I Thought I should throw in an update for today since I've been on a roll with posting reviews/updates almost every day! I currently have started reading three books. Excessive? Yes. It was kind of by accident though! I began reading Feuding Hearts by Shari Richardson, because I noticed in the email she sent me to request that I review her book, that she offered to provide and ebook or two for a giveaway on my blog. I figured that it was time to do another giveaway, so I emailed her to get specifics, and began reading so that I could post the review and do the giveaway at the same time. Well, I haven't heard back from her yet, so just in case the giveaway for Feuding Hearts doesn't end up happening, I began reading Fair Maiden by Cheri Schmidt, because I saw that she too was willing to provide three books (two ebooks & one paperback) for my followers, as well as do an interview to post along with my review! I contacted her, and she emailed me back shortly later confirming that she was still willing to do the interview and provide copies of her novel. While I was waiting to hear back from either author, I began a THIRD book, Tess of the d'Urbervilles. I'm not seriously reading this novel though, because I have already read it years ago, so it's one of those books I can pick up here and there and not get lost.


Anyways, after all this book rambling, I did figure out that I will hopefully be doing a giveaway for the book FAIR MAIDEN next week sometime! I will make sure to email those who have given me their email address in order to let them know when the giveaway is posted. If anyone would like to be added to the list of people that I send out emails to regarding giveaways, all you have to do is leave your email address on this post or email me your address at: 


kimbers10[at]yahoo[dot]com


I hope that everyone is having a wonderful weekend! I am definitely having a RELAXING weekend, but it's been rainy for the past few days here in Pennsylvania! I'll be living in Arizona in a little over a week, so I better enjoy the rain while I can!

Friday, June 24, 2011

DIE A DRY DEATH by Greta van der Rol: Review

I've been on a roll lately with getting review requests read and posted on my blog. This whole not working deal is kind of nice! I do get bored occasionally, but I have a stack of books to read, so it's not like I can't find something to do! I've come across so many amazing authors since I've started blogging about books. I wish that I would have started doing this YEARS ago! I had no idea! I finished Die a Dry Death today, and began Feuding Hearts by Shari Richardson. I'm already over half way through that book, and I do believe that the author will be providing a copy of this book for a giveaway on my blog. I will make sure to update as soon as I know more! Now, onto the review!

Blurb:

June 1629. Laden with treasure and the riches of Europe, the merchantman Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company, sails on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam bound for the East Indies. But thirty miles off the coast of Terra Incognita Australis-the unknown south land-she smashes into an uncharted reef. The survivors-women and children, sailors, soldiers and merchants-are washed ashore on a pair of uninhabited, hostile islands, with little food or fresh water. Desperately seeking help, the ship's officers set out in an open boat to make a two-thousand-mile journey to the nearest trading post. While they are gone, from the struggle for survival on the islands, there emerges a tyrant whose brutal lust for power is even deadlier than the reef which wrecked the Batavia.


My Review:



I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and extremely well researched. I couldn’t imagine writing a novel such as this one, which uses so many different nautical terms as well as incorporates so much history dealing with the shipping trade. van der Rol also does a great job in examining the “good” and “evil” side of man.

To Die a Dry Death is a true adventure story, full of ups and downs, good and evil, and even a couple of pretty sexy love scenes! It makes me draw comparisons between the similar situation in this book and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. A group of people are trapped together on an island and forced to find the means to survive, and eventually this brings about man’s innate savage nature. It is especially interesting considering that this story is based on a true events.

Cornelisz, the leader of the people on the island they are stranded on, Batavia’s Graveyard, is an intelligent, sophisticated man. Faced with 140 people on an island without enough water or food, he chooses to forget his civilized roots and decides that survival of the fittest is right choice for the shipwrecked people.  Cornelisz justifies his deeds by saying, “We had not enough supplies for all. Is it best that we all must suffer and die? Should we not try to ensure that some will survive? Those strongest, fittest?” When looking at it that way, you might think he is right, however the way he went about ensuring that the “fittest” would survive was not what a civilized person might consider “right.”

It seems that the men in this novel were much quicker and happier to return to their savage roots than the boys in Lord of the Flies. It took a little while for the boys to reach the point where they could kill without regret, but the men in To Die a Dry Death were soldiers and sailors for the most part, and they had already been exposed to death and savagery during their lifetime. This made it easier for them to kill, plus the idea of “mob behavior,” where it is easier for people as a group to kill or destroy, because they become anonymous within a group, and this allows them to disassociate themselves from their behavior. I think this would be a great book for a college class to read and study.  A college class could really get into a book like this, and explore its deeper meaning and even do a comparison to Lord of the Flies. I think it would make for a great movie!

The names were a little hard for me to follow at times, mostly because they are foreign to me. I really liked Captain Adriaen Jacobz at the beginning of the book, and I was a little confused when he was incarcerated, and nothing was said about his situation again until the very end. In reality, it is not known what happened to Captain Jacobz, but the author included a little bit about him in the conclusion of the book in order to add a little hope to his story. Wiebbe Hayes is another character that I really enjoyed in this book. He ended up being a hero and also became one of the characters that seemed to show the "good" side of man.  I think a lot of the characters represented either the good vs. evil aspect of humans.

Another character that would be extremely interesting to dissect is Pelsaert. At times he seems to be the 'good' guy who wants to save the people left on the island, but at other times it’s obvious that all he cares about is saving face in front of the shipping company he works for and finding the treasure and money that were shipwrecked. It’s obvious by the end of the book that he cares only for himself and the merchandise he is trying to recover; when a group of sailors (including Sardam’s Captain) are lost along with the best boat for pulling up the barrels while they are looking for merchandise, Palsaert says, “God grant the boat return soon.” 

I love that the characters are based on people who really had been on this shipwreck. Greta van der Rol did an excellent job of using creative license with the characters to really bring them alive for the reader.

I am so glad that the author asked me to read and review this novel. I learned so much, and had a hard time putting the book down at times. The names confused me a little bit, and having a Captain Jacobsz and a Captain Jacopsz REALLY confused me, but once I had a handle on the names I was good and reading was smooth. I would 100% recommend this novel to any of my readers. I am impressed with everything about this book, and the fact that it is Historical Fiction makes is pretty much near perfect for me!

This novel definitely deserves 5 out of 5 Stars!


About the Author:
Greta van der Rol was born in Amsterdam and grew up in Perth, Western Australia. These days she lives with her husband in sub-tropical Queensland not far from the beach. Die a Dry Death is one of four books she's written, with a fifth well under way. When she's not writing she enjoys cooking and photography. Die a Dry Death has been rattling around inside her head for twenty-five years. It was born of her fascination for the four Dutch ship wrecks on the Western Australian coast, of which the loss of the Batavia was the first and the best-known.
Greta van der Rol explains 17th Century name difficulties HERE!



BUY THIS BOOK HERE!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

HER DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND by Meredith Allard: Review

Blurb:

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?

Her Dear and Loving Husband is Book One of the Loving Husband Trilogy. Look for Book Two, Her Loving Husband's Curse, from Copperfield Press Spring 2012.



My Review:


I liked this book for several reasons. The author was able to pull ideas from several different books about the supernatural (i.e. Twilight, TrueBlood, etc.) without coming across as unoriginal. Yes, I recognized ideas that had been used in other books; like vampires crying blood, not having a problem with silver, and witches not being able to use their spells for evil. Seriously though, it would be impossible to write a book dealing with vampires, witches, or werewolves without including some details that have been used before!

My favorite aspect of Allard’s novel is the fact that a lot of the history of Salem was brought up. It’s not just a story about a human and a vampire falling in love and making crazy love; it’s also about the injustice that happened to innocent people hundreds of years ago. Also, it touches upon the idea that modern day witch hunts are entirely possible. I’m not talking about vampires and witches, but more so about the idea that fear often breeds hysteria and this could be applied to the fear American’s have of Muslim terrorists.

Anyways, I loved how she incorporated the history of the Salem Witch Trials, because I love history and anytime I have the opportunity to read and learn more about an interesting time period I am happy. Especially when it’s in the form of Historical Fiction, because then it brings the time period to life for the reader. Allard is an excellent writer and the fact that she was able to write about witches, vampires, and werewolves without coming across as tacky or cliché is pretty dang good. I admit, I like a good vampire book once in awhile, but only if it’s creative and tells a good story. As with this book, my favorite part of books dealing with vampires or witches is their background story. I love reading about their life before they were turned, and Allard is able to give the reader a good understanding of the past and the events that lead up to the characters current situation without boring the reader with unnecessary details or boring narrative.

If you are a lover of the supernatural then I would definitely suggest this book. I tried to read the first book in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, and became bored and was unable to finish the books about a quarter of the way in, but Allard’s book kept me intrigued throughout.

I give Her Dear & Loving Husband 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DOORWAY OF THE TRIQUETRA by Lenore Wolfe: Review

Blurb:

When an ancient medallion is passed down to her, Mira is not happy to learn she is the next Jaguar Witch, bound by the blood of the Jaguar, to cross the doorway and learn the Way of the Stone. She must find the Doorway of the Triquetra, but each move she makes only leads her to a deeper mystery, where all of her past lives are bound--to four immortal men.






My Review:



I admit that this book had me pretty lost. I liked the mystery of Mira Levine’s life, but it was almost TOO mysterious, as in by the end of Book One in the series, I still had NO idea what was happening. I understood that Book One is setting the reader up for Book Two in the series, but I don’t feel like I learned anything about the characters or the mystery surrounding them by the end of this four chapter book.  It seemed too short for me, and when I finish a book, whether it be a series book, a novella, or a full fledged novel; I want to know what the heck is going on! Another problem that I had was with the grammar. Way, way too many commas were used. I’m an English teacher, so maybe not everyone would pick up on the excessive comma usage, but it actually began to distract me from what I was reading!

I liked the supernatural events that were beginning to evolve in the story, but I just feel like the book could have been so much better if it had been longer, and had gone into more detail about Mira’s story. It just needed a little more excitement and depth. I won’t say I hated it, because I don’t believe I could ever hate a book, but it just was not one of my favorites. I hope the books following in the series have some serious excitement to make up for the lack in the first book!

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.



BUY THIS BOOK!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WINNERS of a Signed Copy of THE GHOSTS OF MELROSE by Buzz Malone!





CONGRATULATIONS to TEA and JENN for winning a SIGNED copy of Buzz Malone's novel THE GHOSTS OF MELROSE


To ALL of my other blog followers who entered this giveaway; THANK YOU so much & I appreciate you all! I will be hosting another giveaway on my blog in the near future. 


If you would like to receive an email letting you know of future book giveaways on my blog, than simply send me an email letting me know that you would like to be on my giveaway mailing list! (kimbers10[at]yahoo[dot]com)



Saturday, June 18, 2011

ON DARK SHORES: The Lady by JA Clement: Review

Blurb:

It is ten years after the Shantar-Mardonese war. In the harbour town of Scarlock, dominated by the moneylender Copeland, the outside world seems far away; but events are in motion that will bring the world to Scarlock.

To protect her sister, the thief Nereia must take desperate measures which will catapult her into a place of nightmare and legend.

Before long, she will find herself On Dark Shores; and the choices she makes there will shape the future of the world she knows as well as the world she has yet to discover. 




My Review:

I loved this book! It had all the appeal of a novel of historical fiction, but a bit of fantasy is also thrown into the mix. It’s the first in a series of three I do believe. I will most definitely be getting the next two novels to read and review. I loved the characters and their stories. The evil Copeland is a great antagonist, and the grip he has on the fictional town of Scarlock is intense. His “muscle man” Blakey grows as a character in the novel, and at the end it’s hinted that there is much more to his story than meets the eye.

I adored the main character Nereia. She is a woman who is full of strength and determination, and I cannot wait to find out more of her story. Her fight to protect her sister is admirable, and it’s obvious that their story is going to be a mainstay throughout the series. Vansel is another great character that the reader is able to learn more about as the first book goes on. He comes across as a roguish character with a good heart. However, he does seek vengeance for the murder of his father.

I believe this is going to be a great series of books, and I am definitely looking forward to the other books. I am looking forward to see where the story line with “The Mother” of the Shantari people, the book begins with her going on a dangerous journey, but then she is rarely mentioned again throughout the book.

I honestly wish the book had been a lot longer! It was a pretty quick read, and I would have loved to keep reading and learning about the characters and the different cities and lands that the story takes place in. Obviously I would recommend this book to anyone.

I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GIVEAWAY!! TWO Signed copies of THE GHOSTS OF MELROSE!

Author, Buzz Malone, has been gracious enough to provide TWO signed copies of his novel THE GHOSTS OF MELROSE to two of my blog followers!


If you would like to read my review of his book just click HERE!

All you need to do to enter is:

***Leave a comment with your email address!***

Extra Entries:

*Follow me on TWITTER


*TWEET the giveaway via twitter.


Giveaway will end June 21st!



THE GHOSTS OF MELROSE by Buzz Malone: Review

Blurb:

Based upon true stories and set in the hills of the Southern Iowa Irish Catholic community of Melrose, this novel follws the life of Aidan Keane. Born into a family that has been cast out of the church and shunned by the community Aidan comes of age in depression era Melrose. His is a life marred my tragedy and he comes to believe that he, like his family before him, is victim of a family curse. 

Through the loss of everything dear to him in this world Aidan finds that his thoughts cannot escape the memory of his one true love. His life, for all of its hopelessness and despair, seems without meaning. 

In the spirit of Bridges of Madison County and the Notebook, The Ghosts of Melrose proves that time cannot heal every wound. Nothing can accomplish that sort of miracle in a life like Aidan's, nothing except for love.

My Review:

I was immediately drawn into the story of the Keane’s of Melrose. As a reader you feel such sorrow for this family that is excommunicated by a corrupt priest and turned out of their home and even their town. It’s shocking that people who had left their own country to come to America to escape religious persecution, ended up persecuting anyone who had different beliefs than they did in this country! It just goes to show that intolerance is learned, and that it takes more than one person to break the cycle of hatred and intolerance.

I wanted to cry for Aiden on his first day of school. I know kids can be cruel, but it’s shocking to think of young children being that horrible to others. I also was shocked by how the nuns treated Aiden just because of the fact that his grandfather had been excommunicated. Aiden was hated and persecuted for something that happened long before he had even been born.

The story lightens up when Aiden meets MacGregor. He’s a funny old Scot, who becomes a father figure to Aiden and his brother Doran. He adds some comedy to the book, and he has a colorful personality. He also helps to bring some happiness to Aiden’s life. Maizey also brings hope and happiness to Aiden’s life, and though she was his childhood sweetheart, his love of her gets him through many things in life.

I truly did like the story of Aiden’s life, but I had problems with the narrator of the story. I think that if it had been told through Aiden’s point of view or even through someone else who was closer in relation to the story, that it would have been a lot better. In this book you really have no idea who the narrator is. Obviously it’s told in 3rd person, and it’s omniscient, but the narrator talks about Aiden as though he is an old friend who knows everything about Aiden’s entire life. Often throughout the book the narrator reminded me of the kindergarten teacher who said, “Ok kids, lets sit down in a circle and I’ll tell you a story.” I felt that at times the way the story was told was very bland, almost monotone.  Rather than having the story unfold and develop, the narrator seemed to almost hold your hand in order to tell the reader every little thing that was going to happen. There was not much surprise in the novel, because the narrator pretty much told you what was going to happen before it happened.

It’s impossible for me to dislike this story, even though it seems like I did from the previous comments, because I really did enjoy the overall story. It’s a story about inner strength and survival. It’s very depressing through many parts, and Aiden suffers more loss than any human should have to suffer, but through his inner strength and hope he survives. I think that had it been written from a first person perspective, or maybe through the perspective of a close friend or relative, then it would have been much better.
My mother loved the story, but she agreed with me on some of the same points that I mentioned above. Neither one of us could put the book down, because we wanted to know how it ended, but at the same time we both thought that it could have been improved in several ways.

Although there were a couple things that bothered me, I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars, because the story that is told is unforgettable.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Fresh Air Fund: Great opportunity for those who love to help others!

I don't normally post anything that is not directly related to my blog, but I thought this was pretty cool. I wanted to make sure to post it to give people the opportunity to take a look, and see if it is something that they would want to do. I grew up in the country, and was lucky enough to go on vacations camping with my family yearly. I couldn't imagine growing up without fresh air and lots of yard to play in! Anyways, if you're interested or you know someone who might be, visit the website and check it out!


http://freshairfundhost.org/


THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.







       

Monday, June 13, 2011

THE KULT by Shaun Jeffrey: Review

Blurb:

People are predictable. That's what makes them easy to kill.

Acting out of misguided loyalty to his friends, police officer Prosper Snow is goaded into helping them perform a copycat killing, but when the real killer comes after him, it's not only his life on the line, but his family's too. Now if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks being arrested for murder. If he doesn't, he risks being killed.


My Review:

I received this novel as a Kindle edition from the author to read and review for my blog.

The Kult is definitely one of the better books I’ve read in awhile. It’s strange because I’ve never been into crime fiction, but lately I’ve started to appreciate it a lot more.

The Kult kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I loved it. I can definitely see this becoming a movie, like Kiss the Girls or Silence of the Lambs. Forewarning however, to those of you who are not big on gory scenes or descriptions; this author describes the crime scenes in such amazing detail that I actually cringed! If you have a weak stomach, then you should probably pass up on this one! I am wondering how twisted the author, Shaun Jeffrey, is to be able to describe the serial killers murder scenes! It was so creative and completely original!

I can honestly say that I had pretty much figured out who the real serial killer was before it actually came out in the novel, but it wasn’t until near the end that things started to come together for me. There were so many twists in the plot that as a reader you had no idea what was going to happen next. Prosper, the main character, was well-rounded and easy to root for during the story. He wasn’t perfect, but who wants a perfect main character in a crime fiction story?

I would love to see this novel turned into a movie, and I do believe there had been some talks about it? I would recommend it to anyone.

I give The Kult 5 out of 5 stars.