Travel with number 10 by Ronit Tal Shaltiel

Summary

In this book, Number 10 went on a trip to travel the world with the rest of the numbers. When they came to New York, Number 10 liked the place and decided to stay there to explore the city.This book is the third in the series, “The Adventures of the Numbers”. This book makes math fun for kids. It is an educational book. It can also be read as a bedtime story.The book is for children from ages four to seven, who are beginning to learn about numbers and math.

Overall

What a cute book! The concept was very solid, and the idea behind it was as well. Especially considering that each stop has the reader work on their math. However there is a problem with execution. The wording was very awkward—almost bland—in a lot of places. The pictures are okay, with a lot of variety, but weren’t particularly eye catching.

Rating

3 stars

Cute concept that just needs a little more polishing.

 

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The Wake Up by Angela Panayotopulos

Summary

For years, Lexi has repressed her secret gift: a rare ability to glimpse the angelic or demonic manifestations of people’s personalities in their mirror image. With her family’s glass-blowing studio as her playground and her mirror-making grandfather as her mentor, Lexi comes of age when the nation’s president—an undisclosed Seer who demonizes his gift as fiercely as Lexi treasures hers—bans man-made reflective surfaces, plunging the nation into a dystopia where government agencies annihilate families like Lexi’s.

As her family breaks apart, Lexi falls for a man who comes to stand for everything she despises. Betrayal and deceit ignite a domino effect of dangerous consequences in a world of blurring boundaries between the worldly and otherworldly. Caught up in a battle as old as time itself, the last mirror-maker must revamp a breakup into the greatest wake up of her life, embracing her forbidden capabilities in an attempt to rouse her world out of darkness.

Amazon Link

Characters

Lexi. Lexi. Lexi. Where do I start? You are going to love/hate her but by the end you’ll miss her. At least I did! Dominic, Gabriel, and Zach are all central to Lexi’s story. Yet it isn’t just about her. Her story feeds into other stories as well. Changing those she interacts with. There is some head hoping and I didn’t love some of the flash back stories, but they weren’t too distracting. More like “Get back to the main story, I want to know more!” kind of way.

Plot

This story had a deep dystopian feel, over something that seemed very odd to me at first. However, as the novel and story progresses the plot expands to take on broader meanings and deeper themes. It went in directions I hadn’t thought of. It lulls you into a state of expectation and then throws a horrible but wonderful curve ball. Be warned, this is not a lighthearted novel, the darkness has to have its moment before the light will matter.

Overall

Wow! This novel had a slow start, but after about 30% it really picks up and then I couldn’t put the book down. I had to force myself to plug in my phone and go to bed, then I woke up in the morning to finish it. A fantastic book! Very colorful and vivid language throughout the book. Almost lyrical. Each chapter starts with a quote that connects to the theme of the chapter.

Was this novel perfect? No. Did its imperfections distract from the amazing story? Not at all!

Rating

5 stars

If you love dytopian novels and vivid descriptive language, this is a must read!

Where did I get a copy?

The author send me one. This is a voluntary review.

The Baby Plan by Joan Carney

Summary

Tick, tock…

The itch of ‘baby lust’ has prickled just under the surface of Tessa’s skin since she turned thirty. Five years have passed since her thirtieth birthday, and her obsessive nature has stoked the minor irritation into a full-blown fertility frenzy. She’s given up waiting for the right man to put a ring on her finger and, instead, decides to actively seek out a man with the right genes who will give her the child she wants with no further involvement. Love wasn’t in the plan, but Karma had other ideas.

Amazon Link

Characters

I’m really impressed with the characters in this story. Mostly because they both are flawed and have issues. One if a former gambler and the other one has obsessive compulsive disorder. Tessa is an accountant with a great career but no family. Michael is a bit of playboy with no plans for a family, but is attracted to Tessa. Craziness ensues. Tessa is very resilient but is also can be whiny. Side note Tessa’s family is terrible and awful. There is head-hopping off an on throughout the book, which could be distracting, but you do get both Michael’s and Tessa’s point of view.

Plot

This is a romance. It is breakneck, with very little nuance, which was really nice. It throws you in from the get go—sexy right off the bat. Tessa has plans, she wants a baby before her clock runs out. She just needs a man that meets her criteria and to agree to her plan. In comes Michael who might give her more than she bargained for. In more ways then one.

Overall

This book is both painfully predictable and surprisingly gritty. The writing is fast pace and enjoyable. It gets really dramatic in the middle. I did notice that there were a lot of Michael chapters in the beginning but they are very inconsistent, with almost none happening in the middle. A lot of it is to cause a mystery aspect. I have to say without trying to ruin the story that the moment Tessa knew she was working on something that she had a vested interest in she should have recused herself. It was very unethical and anyone who works in business/accounting would have know that. It ruined the realistic feeling of the story but the romance was very steamy! It had a very corny ending.

Rating

4 stars

A charming romance with a fast pace! Sometimes when you plan for something life decides to throw exactly what you need, but will you have the strength to take it.

Where did I get a copy?

Author sent me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

Heir to a Prophecy by Mercedes Rochelle

Summary

Shakespeare’s Witches tell Banquo, Thou Shalt Get Kings Though Thou Be None. Though Banquo is murdered, his son Fleance gets away. What happened to Fleance? As Shakespeare’s audience apparently knew, Banquo was the ancestor of the royal Stewart line. But the road to kingship had a most inauspicious beginning, and we follow Fleance into exile and death, bestowing the Witches prophecy on his illegitimate son Walter. Born in Wales and raised in disgrace, Walter’s efforts to understand Banquo’s murder and honor his lineage take him on a long and treacherous journey through England and France before facing his destiny in Scotland.

Amazon Link

Characters

This book mostly follows Walter, but it doesn’t start there. It starts with Fleance. Walter is an interesting character to follow. However, there are lots and lots of characters that you’ll meet. This story isn’t told from their point of view but rather in a narrative voice…most of the time. Sometimes the story-line dips into third person, making the POVs fluid. This actually gibes the novel a visceral feel.

Plot

This story is not so much about characters. It is a story of lives. Lives lived and lost.  Set in the 1000s. It has a historical novel feel with a overlay of a fictional backdrop. Prophecy and an established story results in many of the plot points being predictable…right up to the end. This story starts almost as abruptly as it ends—which was a bit of a bump in the road for me. It takes you on a journey though, an interesting and unexpected journey.

Overall

The writing has a historical feel and is long winded. Takes on a telling style, rather than showing, because of the narrative like writing. That being said there are some very powerful lines. However, the past and future story telling can be very jarring at times. Like someone reading a book and paraphrasing as they read. Which means it sort of meanders and then just ends. Very abruptly. The journey until you get there is interesting.

Rating

3.5 (rounded up)

Readers of historical novels and those who like Shakespeare will enjoy this book. It takes you on a winding tale.

Where did I get a copy?

Author sent me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

Penny Candy: Hopscotch Trails by Lorna Jackie Wilson

Summary

Margo is excited that school has finally let out for summer vacation. She is anxious to visit her best friend, Trisha. They haven’t seen each other since Trisha and her mom moved away to Florida. It’s finally time for best friends to enjoy a fun-filled summer together. But what is this? When she arrives, she finds Trisha has other friends, too. Will they all get along? Will they have fun? Whatever will they do? Penny Candy, The Hopscotch Trails takes you on a journey through the eyes of Margo, a little girl, on summer vacation.

Amazon Link

Overall

This is children’s book for sure. It has cute pictures and a simple story, as is appropriate. The story would flow really well sometimes, especially some of the dialogue, but then it would become disjointed and less melodious. There is a series of short stories following young Margo during summer vacation. Some of them were more wholesome then others, but they were all very cute.

Rating

3.5 stars (rounded down)

A cute children’s story following a young girl over summer break.

Where did I get it?

Author sent me a copy. This is a voluntary review.

At the River’s Edge by D.R. Shoultz

Summary:

Sunset Peak, North Carolina is cursed by murder and captivated by moonshine money.

The unsolved shooting death of Mayor Hank Richards has a five-year curse hovering over the historic mountain community. Townspeople look over their shoulders in fear as neighbor accuses neighbor.

Rumors of buried moonshine money captivate those seeking unearned riches, but haunt Emily Edwards, the strong-willed granddaughter of the purported moonshiner.

Shortly following the murder of Mayor Richards, James Wolsey returns from college to help his mom manage the family’s hardware business. James and Emily are traveling diverse paths when they meet, but quickly align on a common course. If not for obsessed treasure hunters convinced Emily possesses a map, it seems their future together is promising.

The couple’s attempt to dispel rumors of buried treasure leads them to the gravesite of Emily’s ancestor beside the New River. What they uncover at the river’s edge propels them into the path of the mayor’s killer, and unleashes a chain of chilling events that forever changes Sunset Peak.

Mayor Richards’ murder will not be the last in the previously peaceful town.

Amazon Link

Character:

James and his mother are good main characters. James is a good person if not a little vanilla. Emily is a live wire. Unpredictable for sure but I liked her gutsy demeanor. You also get to meet the two law enforcement personnel trying to solve the murder. The story has POV switches.

Plot:

The story just drops you in without much explanation or set up. Beyond that I hesitate to say more because there are lots of twists and turns. A good murder mystery that doesn’t stop there. When you think you’ve figured it out there are two more twists. I think I can say that a pair of bumbling idiots for side villains.

Overall:

This story was interesting and I struggled with the writing style of this story: was it narrative or third person? It was never clear. Furthermore this story needs clearer breaks! Beyond that it was a very enjoyable read with very vivid characters and believable sequences of events. The author kept it a great length. Easy to read in a few sittings.

Rating:

4 stars

A solid mystery with interesting characters. Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing!

Where did I get it?

I was gifted a copy from the author. This is a voluntary review.

Shadows of Time by Ann Nolder Heinz

Summary:

Madeline (Maddie) Blake is not like other PIs. She has a unique gift, the ability under certain circumstances to bridge time and relive events that have already happened. When a heartbroken mother calls from Seattle and begs for her help in locating her missing daughter, Maddie cannot refuse. Yet it soon becomes apparent that someone will go to any length to prevent her from taking the case. Maddie’s grit and determination prevail, and she arrives in Seattle only to discover that more is at stake in the wealthy Hallowell house than a simple abduction. Questions abound. Why is the girl’s father so hostile to Maddie’s involvement? It is 1979, the Cold War is at its zenith, and he shows more passion over a famous Soviet dissident than he does in finding his daughter. Why is a man murdered and his body dumped on the curb in front of his house? Why does he summon a group of colleagues to a secret meeting in the middle of the night in what looks to Maddie like a full-blown conspiracy somehow tied to the communist regime in Russia? Why has a self-described freelance journalist ingratiated himself into the household and into Maddie’s investigation? Who is friend and who foe? As Maddie gets closer to the truth about what happened, she finds herself in ever increasing danger. Her psychic gift takes her from the city to the mountains to the coast and onto a Russian fishing trawler far out in the Pacific Ocean. Faced with the most horrendous odds she has ever encountered, she must use every last physical and emotional resource in order to survive and unravel the skein of lies and ambitions that lie at the heart of her case.

Amazon Link

Characters:

Maddie is a very smart but stupid all at the same time. I felt she needed a partner badly. Also I noticed she hesitates to share any information and then does it anyways. She is emotionally damaged but does a lot of growing through the book. Neil is my favorite character. There was something clever and charming about him. He was a good balance for her. There were a lot of supporting characters, but fair warning…don’t get attached to any of them.

Plot:

This is not a happy story. I’ll say nothing more than that for fear of getting everything away. What I can say is I was shocked to my core more than once. If you want a story where everything goes well…go to a different book. This one is gritty and realistic in an almost painful way. There were a few coincidences and moments when I felt like characters acted very predictably to push the story but it was few and far between. This book can stand alone.

Overall:

The writing style was very enjoyable. It was consistent and colorful.  I did find the dialogue tags very annoying. They were all over the place. Beyond that it was a very enjoyable. The plot and story can be down right brutal at times, uncompromising, but that is was makes it so impressive.

I was very excited about the aspect of a mystery in 1979. However, it soon began to take on a different feel. It had more of a spy novel. The biggest failing of this book was the setting. It started off decently strong, but faded out very quickly. After that the setting was mostly nonexistent.

Rating:

4 stars

A kidnapping story with a spy novel feel. This unforgiving story will take you on a ride with twists and turns that have a gritty feel.

Where did I get a copy?

The author gave me a copy. This is a voluntary review.