Category Archives: Book reviews by me

Book Review | Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) | Robert Galbraith


Robert Galbraith - Career of Evil

CAREER OF EVIL  (CORMORAN STRIKE #3)
by Robert Gabraith (J.K. Rowling)


Published October 20th 2015 by Sphere
494 pages
Kindle edition
Purchased from Amazon


When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, Career of Evil is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives. You will not be able to put this book down. – GOODREADS


Robert Galbraith Revealed


My Thoughts on CAREER OF EVIL

There are plenty of shady suspects, simmering suspense and a web of great sub plots.

The third Cormoran Strike book is here, complete with the same endearing characters that I’ve grown to love. The ruffled and damaged Strike, and the ever enthusiastic and clever Robin. It’s another hefty book at 494 pages, which was made more obvious when I saw the hardback in the stores. Book size is something that you don’t really notice when reading an ebook.

The drama starts when a mysterious package arrives at Strike’s agency. Instantly he knows that  it’s personal, and there are plenty of skeletons in his closet to make a list of suspects. The fact that the package was addressed to Robin is enough for him (and me) to worry for her safety. I know I couldn’t cope if something bad happened to Robin.

Having been to Edinburgh and its famous castle a number of times, I liked how part of the plot was set there. It was easy to picture Strike limping his way on the cobblestones. I was glad to see RG (JK) throw his/her hometown into the mix.

Robin is quite the focus. Her own insecurities, confusing relationships, wedding preparation, and being the target of a nutcase are described brilliantly. In the midst of the main plot, and working on other cases, she always feels that she needs to prove herself. Her inner voice is convinced it knows what Strike is thinking, but is usually way off the mark. IMO she just needs to chill, relax and be confident. She doesn’t give herself enough credit.

The story coasts along in such an engaging way. Each clue is investigated and analyzed. The puzzle slowly but surely builds toward a solution. Strike and Robin have some tough times too. The stresses of life and work culminate in an ultimatum between them. Is she a real partner in the agency, or not? The tension is building. Robin is keen as ever, but Strike worries for her safety

The plot ramps up. The baddie is a sicko. The worst of the worst. In fact, every suspect in the book is a lowlife. I’m not going into details of what they get up to, but there is some pretty heavy stuff that will make your stomach turn. RG/JK is never one to shy away from including such detail.

There’s plenty going on as the tension filled suspense heads to an exciting climax. Strike has a light bulb moment, which is kept just out of our reach until the right time for it to be revealed. If there was anything in this book that I didn’t like, it would be how things panned out for Robin. I wanted her more involved, but that’s as much detail I’m prepared to share.


In a nutshell

It’s another great case for Cormoran and Robin. There are plenty of shady suspects, simmering suspense and a web of great sub plots.

It’s another winner.


Check out my other Robert Galbraith reviews:
The Cuckoos Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2)

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More from Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith Robert Galbraith - Cuckoos Calling Robert Galbraith - The Silkworm Robert Galbraith - Career of Evil


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Book Review | A Pair of Docks (#1) | Jennifer Ellis


A Pair of DocksA PAIR OF DOCKS (DERIVATIVES OF DISPLACEMENT #1)
by Jennifer Ellis

Published December 9th 2013
by Moonbird Press
300 pages
Kindle edition
Purchased from Amazon


Fourteen-year-old Abbey Sinclair likes to spend her afternoons in the physics lab learning about momentum and gravitational pull. But her practical scientific mind is put to the test when her older brother, Simon, discovers a mysterious path of stones that allows them, along with Abbey’s twin, Caleb, to travel back and forth between their world and what appears to be…the future.

It will take all of Abbey’s analytical skills to unravel the secrets of the stones, uncover the threads that tie the futures together, thwart Mantis’s plan, and, most importantly, keep her family alive—now and in the future.

A Pair of Docks explores Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the meaning of time, the potential for parallel universes, and the boundary between science and witchcraft. It is the first novel in the Derivatives of Displacement series.- GOODREADS


My thoughts on A PAIR OF DOCKS

This one is for young readers 9-12 who like mystery, magic and time travel.

A Pair of Docks is a time travel adventure centred around a group of kids (the Sinclair siblings) who stumble upon a magical portal, which leads them to an unimaginable place. That place just happens to be right where they started, but in a different time. The story is focussed on the main characters (the kids), with parents etc secondary to the main plot. Their mom is running for Mayor and her story is quietly told in the background, but she is still an important part of the overall story.

After Simon comes into possession of a mysterious email, it sets the Sinclair kids off on a mission to get to the bottom of its purpose. When a second email arrives, it clearly shows something fishy is going on, and there is no stopping their thirst to solve the mystery. They soon discover that a neighbour with autism, Mark, may hold the vital clue to the truth behind the portal. He definitely knows something, but knowing how to and who to share it with is one of the challenges tackled in the plot.

Abbey (Simon’s sister) is a highly intelligent girl who constantly thinks in snippets of scientific information. IMO, anyone who really has such highly technical thoughts for every single thing they encounter should take some time off and lay down and rest. I found Abbey a bit of a struggle to connect with, so I wonder what kids in the target audience would think of her never-ending banter of technical scientific jargon.

Another interesting part of the story was that the time travel element involved random time hopping. This meant that the characters had no control over where (when) they went. But they were able to witness their potential futures, not necessarily their real futures. As with most time travel books, this one also reinforces my own belief, that every single decision we make impacts our own future, and that of everyone around us. The future is never really set until it has happened.

As the tale progresses, it takes a turn that I really didn’t see coming. A family history linked to a particular lineage is revealed, and the reasons that the siblings have stumbled upon the magical portal are explained.


In a nutshellA Pair of Docks is the tale of a family legacy that until now has been hidden from the kids. There are rules to be followed and some old foes to face off.

Recommended for young readers 9-12 who like mystery, magic and time travel.

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More from Jennifer Ellis

Jennifer Ellis Jennifer Ellis - A Quill Ladder Jennifer Ellis - A Grave Tree Jennifer Ellis - Confessions of a... Jennifer Ellis - Resistance Jennifer Ellis - The River Jennifer Ellis -In the Shadows... Jennifer Ellis - Apocalypse Weird


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


2015 in Reviews

This year I have tried to mix up my reading, as I am currently writing books in two genres, YA and MG. There has been a definite increase in my reading of YA and Contemporary books, but I have endeavoured to read a good selection of MG as well.

Each of the books listed below have been reviewed on here during 2015. It’s time to reminisce and you may like to click back to the original review for a refresher. Have a great 2016 everyone.


THE 5TH WAVE (5th Wave #1)
|
Rick Yancey | YA Dystopian | 

The 5th Wave Book 1Although there were a few parts that confused me, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. There’s plenty on offer. Suspense. Hopelessness. Danger. Betrayal. Trust. Romance. Family. It’s a good start to a series.  I liked it and I’m looking forward to the movie early 2016.
My full December review is HERE.


THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE  (MM #1)
| Agatha Christie | Mystery Crime |

Miss Marple 1

This is such a cosy mystery written many years ago, in much simpler times. IMO, the real strength of this book is the authenticity of the characters and the signature mystery synonymous with Agatha Christie. She really is a true mystery solver.
My full December review is HERE.


ELIZABETH’S LEGACY (Royal Institute of Magic #1)
| Victor Kloss | MG Fantasy |

ROYAL INSTITUTE 1Elizabeth’s Legacy is a good start to a series, and the search for Ben’s parents is set to continue into next books. It’s natural for other wizarding books to come to mind, but I think the author has succeeded in building a world sufficiently different to those that we already know.
My full December review is HERE.


OMEGA RISING (Omega Force #1)
| Joshua Dalzelle | Action SciFi |

 Omega Rising 1An entertaining book that propels us through some white knuckle adventures in the depths of space with a haphazard crew.

I’d describe it as the A Team in space (without the comedy). I’m keen to read book 2.
My full December review is HERE.


FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SABOTAGE (FD3)
|
Julie Anne Grasso | MG Mystery |

Frankie DuPont 3It’s another good mystery, solved by a keen young detective that is sure to inspire young readers.

Recommended for ages 8+.

My full December review is HERE.


THE CAMELOT KIDS (Parts 3 & 4)
| Ben Zackheim | MG Fantasy |

Camelot Kids Book 1An entertaining read, which I recommend you read as a complete book, rather than separate parts 1-4. I’m sure that it would be a better way to follow the story. Recommended for fans of adventure with mystery and a little magic thrown into the mix.
My full November review is HERE.


STONE OF FIRE (Arkane #1)
| J.F. Penn | Action Thriller |

Stone of FireAt times, I did find that the historical religious detail a bit overwhelming, but it was an entertaining read. It’s thoroughly researched and set in some spectacular locations. One thing stood out. Morgan’s family was her motivation, not the legendary power of the stones.
My full October review is HERE.


THE MARTIAN
| Andy Weir | SciFi |

The MartianMy top pick for 2015. Don’t let all of the technical scientific explanation deter you. Some detail was hard to fully grasp, but the underlying story of human spirit, ingenuity and never giving up was absolutely inspiring.

My full October review is HERE.


THE THRONE OF FIRE (Kane Chronicles #2)
| Rick Riordan | MG/YA Fantasy/Mythology | 

The Throne of FireI felt that the Throne of Fire was a more enjoyable read than The Red Pyramid. It’s filled with that typical RR mix of mythology and humour, and has perked my interest to read on to book three. I’ll try not to leave it as long before reading the next book.
My full August review is HERE.


ENCLAVE (Razorland #1)
| Ann Aguirre | YA Dystopian | 

EnclaveThis book is great at showing that society is built on what one generation passes on to the next. It clearly shows the paths taken by different isolated groups can make them so different, but yet so similar. It’s a good read, but be warned about the sudden ending.
My full August review is HERE.


SONS OF THE SPHINX
| Cheryl Carpinello | YA Historical/Fantasy |

Sons of the SphinxThis was an entertaining time-travel adventure with a twist. It succeeds with a nice blend of fact and fiction. Recommended for fans of ancient Egypt who like a little magic mixed in. A good story for teens and adults who are young at heart.
My full July review is HERE.


HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (HP5)
| J.K. Rowling | MG/YA Fantasy |

HP 5Each time I re-read these books I love them more.  A great instalment to the series that takes us through the tough personal conflicts of our hero, while he continues to battle the darkness that lurks all around. It’s a no brainer that this book would appeal to all HP fans.
My full July review is HERE.


THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA
| Matthew Reilly | Action Thriller |

The Great Zoo of ChinaThe Great Zoo of China is a cool book with a wild plot, plenty of action and an impressive setting on a grand scale.
I enjoyed the read, but not as much as MR’s other books.

My full June review is HERE.


FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE LEMON FESTIVAL FIASCO (FD2)
| Julie Anne Grasso | MG Mystery |

Frankie DuPont 2This is another fun filled Frankie mystery that will definitely interest young budding detectives. It’s a great mystery that starts with a humble pie and ends in … I’m not telling.
Recommended for ages 8+.

My full May review is HERE.


SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES
| Eleanor Coerr | MG True Story |

Sadako and the Thousand Paper CranesThanks to the author for sharing this story with the world. It’s so great that the battle of a young girl like Sadako continues to inspire so many, years after her tragic passing.
Recommended for readers 8+.

My full May review is HERE.


THE DEATH CURE  (Maze Runner 3)
| James Dashner | YA Dystopian |

The Death CureI can see why this series has a huge and faithful fan base, and I’m glad to call myself one of them.  Recommended for readers who enjoy action filled with twists, tricks and lies, and relish the uncertainty of not knowing what to believe as they read.
My full April review is HERE.


MOCKINGJAY (Hunger Games 3)
| Suzanne Collins | YA Dystopian |

HG 3 MockingjayThe Hunger Games is a brilliant series. I’m glad that I finally jumped on the bandwagon and joined its fans. Even though I was a little disappointed with the outcome of this final book, I recommend it to all dystopian fans.

My full April review is HERE.


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
| John Green | YA Contemporary |

The Fault in our StarsThis book rekindled things I’ve often felt during my daughter’s Cancer journey. The absolute dread, the sadness, the fear, the helplessness, the waste. And even the guilt that she survived, while others we met along the way weren’t so lucky.
My full April review is HERE.


ANNI MOON AND THE ELEMENTAL ARTIFACT (Annie Moon 1)
| Melanie Abed | MG Fantasy |

Anni Moon and the Elemental ArtifactAn enchanting tale, Anni Moon’s adventures should appeal to young girls that dream of magical places. Her strength of character should also teach some valuable lessons.
Recommended for readers 8+.

My full March review is HERE.


STELLARCADIA (Adventures of Caramel Cardamom 3)
| Julie Anne Grasso | MG SciFi | 

StellarcadiaThis is a fun adventure that Caramel Cardamom fans will lap up like a trough of cupcakes.

Recommended for 8+ readers who like a good mystery.

My full February review is HERE.


CATCHING FIRE (Hunger Games 2)
| Suzanne Collins | YA Dystopian |

HG 2 Catching FireA great second instalment in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I loved this one as much as book 1. It held me captive from start to finish.
Recommended for anyone with a love of characters who overcome hopeless situations and exciting plot twists.
My full February review is HERE.


THE HUNGER GAMES (Hunger Games 1)
| Suzanne Collins | YA Dystopian |

HG 1 Hunger GamesI must confess… I have become a Hunger Games fan. It’s a great read.
Recommended for anyone who likes to support the underdog, and who isn’t put off by romance or violence.

My full February review is HERE.


2014 in Reviews 2015 in Reviews 


YA Book Review | The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave Book 1THE 5TH WAVE (Book 1)
by
Rick Yancey

Published | 2013
Publisher | G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
457 pages
Amazon purchase
Kindle edition


After the 1st wave, only darkness remains.
After the 2nd, only the lucky escape.
And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive.
After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. – GOODREADS


Movie Trailer  |  In cinemas 15 January 2016

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson


My thoughts on THE 5TH WAVE

Cassie Sullivan is a teenager, who is trying to find her place in the world, but then suddenly everything changes. The world is thrown into chaos by an unexplained electromagnetic pulse. Everything powered by energy stops. Cars refuse to move. Homes cease to operate. Planes fall from the sky. It’s the 1st wave. The aliens have arrived and there are more waves to come.

Although unlikely, the underlying plot presents a confronting scenario. It had me seriously questioning what I would do, and I assume many other readers have done the same. How would you survive if everything you depend on and took for granted suddenly stopped?

By the time I reached 20%, I was hooked. Cassie is a relatable character who had no choice but to move from her normal existence to one of unimaginable hardships and horrors. It’s a story about losing everything, and then needing to find a way to survive. And of being forced to grow up fast to deal with decisions a young woman shouldn’t have to make. I could only imagine how hard it would have been for Cassie to make her decision to ensure her little brother’s safety.

At one point I did became a little confused. It was when I reached the Wonderland section. The pov switched to a male and I thought that I must have tuned out and missed some important part of the plot. I continued to read, hoping I hadn’t made some big mistake. Then, once the male pov was finally revealed, I breathed a sigh of relief. Phew… there was a link to Cassie Sullivan.

Once, I had that plot line under my belt, another angle entered. The story became more intricate and the weave of multiple threads kept me guessing. I was on the ride, and keen to see how it all panned out. I’m trying to keep this spoiler free, so I hope it’s making sense.

Back to, Cassie. Absolutely everything is a struggle. Food, water, shelter, loneliness, and all the while she knows that she’s being hunted. It’s a living nightmare that seems hopeless. But she is stronger than she ever imagined, and it’s a promise that she makes to her little brother, Sammy, that drives her forward. Making her determined to never give up. Every moment she needs to dig a little deeper than the last. Knowing who to trust, letting go of the past, and clinging to every last ounce of hope for a future. They are all facets of Cassie’s story. The perfect ingredients that all dystopian fans love to read.

We see her cautiously team up with another survivor, Evan, who offers to help her keep her promise. Should she trust him? Should she kill him? Is he human? What should she do? I got a little lost in this part. At one point, Cassie came to a decision important to the plot, but I just didn’t understand how. Maybe I missed the clue.

Finally, after a journey full of all unimaginable challenges, the sub plots collide in an exciting climax. It was a scene that I could see coming, but I enjoyed seeing it play out.


In a nutshell

Although there were a few parts that confused me, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. There’s plenty on offer. Suspense. Hopelessness. Danger. Betrayal. Trust. Romance. Family.

It’s a good start to a series.  I liked it and I’m looking forward to the movie early 2016.

Buy from  | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY |
Add to | GOODREADS |


If you’re keen to know more, then click below to head on over to Rick Yancey’s website.

Rick Yancey


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Any ads that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.


 

Book Review | The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) | Agatha Christie


Miss Marple 1THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE  (MISS MARPLE #1)
by Agatha Christie

First published 1930
288 pages
Kindle edition
Purchased from Amazon


The murder of Colonel Protheroe — shot through the head — is a shock to everyone in St Mary Mead, though hardly an unpleasant one. Now even the vicar, who had declared that killing the detested Protheroe would be ‘doing the world at large a favour,’ is a suspect — the Colonel has been dispatched in the clergyman’s study, no less. But the picturesque English village of St Mary Mead is overpopulated with suspects. There is of course the faithless Mrs Protheroe; and there is of course her young lover — an artist, to boot.

Perhaps more surprising than the revelation of the murderer is the detective who will crack the case: ‘a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner.’ Miss Jane Marple has arrived on the scene, and crime literature’s private men’s club of great detectives will never be the same. – GOODREADS


My thoughts on THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE

As a kid I have great memories of watching Agatha Christie on tv and loving the way Miss Marple and Poirot solved mysteries. It recently dawned on me that I had never actually read one of her books, so I made it happen. Choosing which book was a task in itself, but I decided to start at the beginning of Miss Marple and work my way from there.

It took a little time for the voices of the characters in my head to match the time and setting. But, using my memories of the tv shows and movies I’ve seen I soon had the accents, fashions and visions down pat. I enjoyed the charming characters and the authenticity of the old fashioned dialogue. It’s something that can only come from Ms Christie’s own life experience of those times.

The vicar is very likable and is very social, constantly moving from one meeting to the next without a break. Mrs Marple plays less of a role than I expected, but in true Marple fashion she is instrumental in finding the vital clue that ultimately reveals the murderer. Keep an eye out for the old style email – hand delivered notes… LOL.

Favourite quote:

“The young people think the old people are fools; but the old people know the young people are fools!” – Agatha Christie


In a nutshell

This is such a cosy mystery written many years ago, in much simpler times. IMO, the real strength of this book is the authenticity of the characters and the signature mystery synonymous with Agatha Christie. She really is a true mystery solver.

Buy from Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository
Add to Goodreads


More from Agatha Christie

Miss Marple 1 Miss Marple 2 Miss Marple 3

Miss Marple 4 Miss Marple 5 Miss Marple 6


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


Movie Review | Star Wars – The Force Awakens | Spoiler Free

 STAR WARS – THE FORCE AWAKENS

MOVIE BLOCKBUSTER

Star Wars selfie


Today was a big day for me. It was the culmination of months of preparation and planning for a fundraiser that I organised for a cause very close to my heart, Childrens Cancer.

Two years ago my daughter was diagnosed with a rare Cancer called Non-Hodgkins Burkitts Lymphoma. It’s an agressive Cancer that as so rare, there are only 2 cases diagnosed in our part of Australia per year (that’s 2 too many). Having survived the surgery and intense treatment, she is now in remission, and is keenly helping me to raise awareness and funds. It was a great day, a proud day, a great cause, and a great movie.


gold ribbonThe force is strong in families fighting childhood Cancer.  A huge thank you to the cinema full of brave families and supporters who helped me raise a wonderful amount for the Kids Cancer Support Group, of which I am proud to be a committee member.KCSG Star Wars


My Review

Brilliant. Go see it … now!

How’s that for spoiler free?


In a nutshell

As above.

Buy the book  from  |  Amazon  |


Movie Trailer  |  In cinemas now


 Any ads that may occasionally appear below the line are not endorsed by me.


 

MG Book Review | Elizabeth’s Legacy (Royal Institute of Magic #1) | Victor Kloss


ROYAL INSTITUTE 1ELIZABETH’S LEGACY
(Royal Institute of Magic #1)

by Victor Kloss

 Kindle edition
Purchased from Amazon


Two years ago, Ben Greenwood’s parents walked out the door and never returned. The police have all but given up finding them when Ben stumbles upon a peculiar letter addressed to his dad. “You are the most wanted man in the Unseen Kingdoms. Unless you come to us, we cannot help. For your child’s sake, tell us what you know.”

The letter is from an organisation called the Royal Institute of Magic and is dated a day before his parents disappeared. Like most people, fourteen-year-old Ben hasn’t the faintest idea what the Royal Institute of Magic is, but he has his first clue: the logo on the letter.

Armed with nothing but his wits and the help of his good friend Charlie, Ben sets out to find the Institute and, through them, his parents. To succeed, he will have to navigate a land filled with fantastic creatures and Spellshooters, where magic can be bought and sold, to unravel an ancient family secret that could hold the key to defeating an evil the Institute has been fighting for the last five hundred years. – GOODREADS


My Review

This first book in The Royal Institute of Magic series is a great tale of discovery. It’s an engaging read that follows the trials of a young boy as he learns of his parent’s past while trying to find out what happened to them.

This is a book of family secrets that cast two friends on an adventure they could never have imagined. Ben and Charlie are two friends that are like two peas in a pod. Kudos to the author for these two. He nailed their relationship so well, and the dialogue between them is spot on. They are totally believable and endearing characters.

Dragons, goblins, elves and magic. This book is crammed with plenty of things to attract readers. There’s something for everyone.  From their journey to find the highly secret Royal Institute of Magic, to the dragon train that takes them to Taecia (which sounds amazing), Kloss has created a whole new world that exists beyond what we see every day. It’s a hidden treasure that is vividly described, inspiring amazing visions as I read.

In addition to Ben and Charlie, there is a cast of other great characters. There’s Aryan, the dark elf, who reminded me very much of Draco Malfoy. And there’s Natalie whose intellect is a cut above the rest. She doesn’t miss a beat, and knows Ben’s plans before he even makes the decision to share them with her.   The underlying story here is one of great friendship and a search for answers. Ben is learning of his parent’s past, and it’s not always what he wants to hear. But throughout the book, he remains loyal to them and longs to clear their names.

There’s also lessons about learning to know who to trust, which is something that takes plenty of practice for everyone. I hope to read many more adventures of Ben and Charlie.


In a nutshellElizabeth’s Legacy is a good start to a series, and the search for Ben’s parents is set to continue into next books. Given the subject matter, it’s natural for other wizarding books to come to mind, but I think the author has succeeded in building a world sufficiently different to those that we already know.

Buy from Amazon | Add to Goodreads


More from Victor Kloss

ROYAL INSTITUTE 2


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


 

 

Book Review | Omega Rising (Omega Force #1) | Joshua Dalzelle


OMEGA RISING (OMEGA FORCE #1)
by Joshua Dalzelle
Kindle Edition purchased from Amazon


Jason Burke was a man hiding from himself in a small cabin high in the American Rocky Mountains when his simple, quiet life was shattered one night by what he first assumed was an aviation mishap. But when he investigates the crash, what he finds will yank him out of his self-imposed exile and thrust him into a world he could have never imagined.

He suddenly finds himself trapped on a damaged alien spacecraft and plunged into a universe of interstellar crime lords and government conspiracies, along the way meeting strange new friends… and enemies. As he struggles to find his way back home he is inexorably drawn deeper into a world where one misstep could mean his death. Or worse. He desperately wants to get back to Earth, but it may be the end for him. … or is it just the beginning? – GOODREADS


My Review

Omega Rising is an interesting account of a guy, Jason Burke, who has moved away from the big city (and his problems) to a solitary existence of an isolated cabin. It’s not the setting you would expect when you pick up a science fiction book. It’s not long before he sets off to investigate an unexpected event, and stumbles aboard an alien spacecraft. His life takes a major turn as the cargo bay doors close and he finds himself trapped and then launched into the depths of space. It’s an adventure that he had no choice but to accept.

Jason soon meets a lone synth named, Deetz, who runs the ship. He’s a mysterious fellow who quickly accepts his new stowaway (or is he a captive?), after recognizing there was potential to gain benefit from him. The plot is a switch on the standard – who is the alien question. Normally it’s those other than human who are alien, but in this book, Jason the human is the alien.

After agreeing to help Deetz with a ‘job’ in exchange for being returned to Earth, they head to the far reaches of space. Things are going well until they’re attacked when collecting a mystery cargo from a distant planet. In the process, another alien is wounded and saved by Jason, and ultimately ends up onboard the ship just before they escape.

Just imagine being thrown into something completely different to your normal environment. You’d need to learn how to use and react to everything you come into contact with. Dalzelle has covered that off with some clever ways to get past the communication barrier, and there’s a rather ingenious method of giving Jason the skills required to function in his new environment. Tick.

With an escape under their belt and bonding underway, Deetz still has some debts to settle, so they take on a mission to deliver a cargo to a place called The Vault. It’s a place where things can get very dangerous. Jason and his new alien buds soon discover that not all friends are really friends. There’s an overthrow, then there’s a plan, which leads to another plan etc. (Trying not to reveal too much here).

We are hit with some teasers about something that spells doom for the future, and there’s promise of plenty of dramas for the crew to solve. It’s enough to spark interest for readers to jump on-board for future instalments of the series.

This first Omega book is an origins story of how a bunch of random beings are brought together. With their initial mission completed, they realise that they all have a common past and a common goal for the future. So… Omega Force is born.


In a nutshellAn entertaining book that propels us through some white knuckle adventures in the depths of space with a haphazard crew. I’d describe it as the A Team in space (without the comedy). I’m keen to read book 2.

Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Add to Goodreads


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book


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MG Book Review | Frankie DuPont and the Science Fair Sabotage | Julie Anne Grasso


FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SABOTAGE (FD3)
by Julie Anne Grasso
Published May 2015
| Purchased | Kindle edition | Ages | 8-12


Frankie Dupont is less than impressed when he has to attend the Sustainable Science Fair with Kat and Amy. Upon his arrival, he learns that Amy’s brothers have had their robotics chip stolen.

Keen to recover the chip, Frankie questions the kids in the competition, but everyone seems to have a motive. When baffling clues start rolling in via “Snap-Goss” instant messages, Frankie realises it will take all of his detective muscles to solve this case.

An illustrated mystery for ages 8-12 – GOODREADS


My Review

There’s been a mystery theft at the science fair and time is running out to find the culprit before the judge swoops in to choose the winning invention. A microchip has gone missing from a robot, and unless it’s found, twin brothers, Angus and Archie, look like being knocked out of the competition. It’s up to Frankie to use his brilliant detective skills to solve the case so they can be in with a chance.

In this third book in the series, Frankie is learning and honing his detective skills. With each new case it’s good to see his growing expertise, and that he learns from his mistakes. In this new mystery it’s clear that Frankie has mellowed a little, and isn’t as quick to accuse along the way. He is learning that a good investigator thinks things through and shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

One of the strengths of this series is that it steps keen young investigators through the evidence that is scattered throughout the story. They read and learn as Frankie uses the process of elimination to discount false leads and solve the case. As he moves from suspect to suspect, we find that the twins were a common link throughout. I won’t say too much, but it was fitting to see some karma in action. When crunch time arrives and it’s time to solve, Frankie uses a very clever tactic to make the big reveal.


In a nutshell

It’s another good mystery, solved by a keen young detective that is sure to inspire young readers.

Recommended for ages 8+.

FYI – Julie Anne Grasso is a fellow BookElf. We are a group of MG/YA authors who occasionally collaborate in MG fiction. I purchased my own copy at my own choice. I was not approached by the author to read and review this book.

Buy from Amazon | Barnes & Noble  Book Depository
Add to Goodreads


More from Julie Anne Grasso

Escape from the Forbidden Planet  Return to Cardamom - cover  Stellarcadia
Frankie DuPont  Frankie DuPont 2  Frankie DuPont 3


 Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


MG Book Review | The Camelot Kids (Parts 3 & 4) | Ben Zackheim


THE CAMELOT KIDS (PART 3)
by Ben Zackheim
Kindle edition purchased from Amazon


In The Camelot Kids: Part Two Simon Sharp was accused of murder by the heir to King Arthur’s throne.

But that’s the least of his worries.

The Camelot Kids: Part Three is where things get complicated. When a stranger sells Simon some seeds at the spring fair, he inadvertently sets off a plot that may mean the end of New Camelot. Of course, nothing is as it seems in Merlin’s castle and Simon soon learns just how much danger he and his new friends are in.

In The Camelot Kids: Part Three, Simon must always look over his shoulder for the enemy. But should he be looking to his side instead? – GOODREADS


THE CAMELOT KIDS (PART 4)
by Ben Zackheim
Kindle edition purchased from Amazon


A dragon has attacked New Camelot because of Simon, and he’ll do anything to make things right. His plan is to bring a treasure trove of gold to Trejure, King of Dragons.

It’s dangerous, but he convinces his friends that it’s the best plan. When they set out into the wilderness they know that dragons (and even giants) wait in the shadows.– GOODREADS


My Review

See my review of Camelot Kids – Part 1 here.

See my review of Camelot Kids – Part 2 here.

Camelot Kids – Part 3

The tale of Simon’s life changing journey from awkward school kid to almost shining knight continues in this third part. It’s time for Simon to get his hands dirty and start his training with a mix of old and new characters linked to his past.

I find Merlin continues to be a mysterious one. The more we learn about him, the more I realize that we don’t know. By this point in the story, the old guy hasn’t yet earned my trust.

 Each part takes the reader deeper into the fascinating world created by Zackheim. I must admit that I did get a little lost for a short time, but soon found my way. I put this down to my own poor time management causing a gap between reading each of the books, not the writing or plot :)

The plot thickens when Simon’s mysterious uncle finally reveals some details of what happened to his parents. It’s a good segway towards the next part of the series. But… be warned… prepare for a cliff-hanger you won’t see coming.

Camelot Kids – Part 4

Simon has hope at last to find his missing parents and must lure the dragon away from New Camelot with gold. We see Gwen is struggling with things, and Maille helps her to craft a wand from a dragon scale.

Simon’s dad arrives in the dark of night. This was an event that got my suspicious radar beeping. His dad fills him in on his background story, helping Simon to learn more about himself.

This tale is underpinned by Simon’s search for the truth behind the disappearance of his parents. Zackheim has created a wonderful world that lies beyond the realms of the real world. The characters are likeable and each has their own unique history, which is the essence of how they all come together. The question readers will want to know is… Does Simon find the answers to all his questions? Read it to find out.

For me, it would have been better to read as one book rather than the four parts. I found it a little bit of work to remember the plot with the gaps between reading each part. Especially 3 to 4. All my own doing, though, dodgy time management :)


In a nutshell

An entertaining read, which I recommend you read as a complete book, rather than separate parts 1-4. I’m sure that it would be a better way to follow the story. Recommended for fans of adventure with mystery and a little magic thrown into the mix.


Camelot Kids Book 1It’s great to see that you can now buy the four parts as a complete book. I recommend you give it a try. It’s available in ebook and paperback.

Grab a copy at AMAZON 
Add to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

FYI – Ben Zackheim is a fellow BookElf. We are a group of MG/YA authors who occasionally collaborate in MG fiction. I purchased my own copy at my own choice. I was not approached by the author to read and review this book.


Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.


If you’re keen to know more, then click below to head on over to Ben’s website.

Ben Zackheim Blog