All posts by S.W.Lothian | Author

Greetings from Hogsmeade

Just a quick post today from charming Hogsmeade. Having a blast. The weather is great and the air is full of magic. Muggles and wizards everywhere.

The Golden Scarab is on sale this weekend | #OMG

Here’s some brilliant news that will knock your socks off.

iPad

The first book in my Quest series, The Golden Scarab, is on sale this weekend. If you want to escape into an amazing adventure and haven’t already grabbed a copy then this is the perfect time to do so.

To get your own copy at this special price of US$0.99 or UK£0.99 just click on this special link. You may also find some bargain books from other great authors while you’re there.

Mini Review | Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | HP8 | J.K. Rowling | #SpoilerFree


HP 8HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
(HP #8)

by J.K. Rowling

Middle Grade | Young Adult | Fantasy
320 pages | Kindle Edition
Published July 31st 2016

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Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. – GOODREADS


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Wow. How great was it to return to Hogwarts with another new adventure? My overall thoughts on The Cursed Child – loved it – and would absolutely love to see it on stage if I ever get to London again. My aim is not to include any spoilers in this review, so here goes.

It’s widely known that The Cursed Child is the product of J.K.’s world and that it isn’t a book completely penned by her as such, but a script for the London play. So, the first thing you need to do is keep that mindset … it’s full of dialogue that reads differently from a book but draws on the reader’s own knowledge of the HP world for atmosphere and detail.

The focus of the story is on Harry’s son, Albus, and Malfoy’s son, Scorpius. Who would have thought I would find any son of Draco Malfoy likable? But they’re not the total focus … fans are rewarded with the return of all of their favourites, in one way or another.

We’ve all wondered what happened to Harry and Co after that last scene at Kings Cross in Deathly Halllows. Well this amazing story shows us what was, and what may have been. It’s a great way of exploring how things in the past can impact the future, and of all the different possibilities, which I know have been thrown around by fans since HP7.

IMO I think that this one sits with true fans, in that the storyline pays tribute to many of the great things that we’ve read in the other books over the years. It’s like we are returning to events and scenes, but with a slightly different perspective. We all have our own imagined visions of what happened in books 1-7, and of course, we’ve seen the movies that give us a great visual reference to look back on. I’m not sure that readers who haven’t read HP or at least seen the movies (Are there any muggles like that?) would be able to translate the script into their imagination without prior knowledge of the settings and events it refers to.

Other reviews that I have read for HP8 have been mixed, but that’s natural given that this series means so much to so many people. I had been looking forward to this book since I first heard it was coming, and now that I’ve read it, I have a tinge of sadness that it really is the last of the HP tales. They say …. all good things must come to an end … but … at least we have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the horizon to look forward to.

In a Nutshell |  Loved it.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


Checkout my other Harry Potter reviews:



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Mini Review | Justice (Jet 6)| Russell Blake

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Jet 6Justice
(Jet 6)

by Russell Blake

Action | Thriller
Released  23rd December 2013

Kindle edition

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Ever since reading the first Jet book I’ve been a fan. Justice is book 6 and just like the others it’s full of great action and has a plot full of twists. (FYI this definitely isn’t MG).

Dante (the main bad guy) is simply put… a pig. His business deeds contain some very heavy content. I’m just glad these bad guys are only in books. Once again, Jet kicks ass to protect the vulnerable.

In a Nutshell  |  Full on action with great plot lines that merge so well.

> Please click here to see my Review Policy <


More books by Russell Blake.

Jet 1 Jet 2 Jet 3

Jet 4 Jet 5 Jet 7
Jet 8 Jet 9 Jet 10


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Mini Review | The Paladins of Naretia | T.P. Keane


TP Keane The PaladinsTHE PALADINS OF NARETIA
(Naretia book 1)

by T.P. Keane

Young Adult | Fantasy
330 pages
Published February 28th 2016

Kindle edition
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Olórin’s adopted son, Aramus, is a creature unlike any in the kingdom of Naretia. He is feared by all, and holds a darkness inside that is said will end all life by his eighteenth birthday. Olórin must scour the kingdom for godly ingredients to make a potion for Aramus that will save them all. He is hoping his son’s human side will prevail over the rising darkness within him, for long enough to outrun their enemies.

But Aramus’s real father, the dark God Dantet, desires his son’s powers so he might, once again, walk on mortal soil. His legion of dark creatures follow Olórin and Aramus at every turn, trying to kill them. Dantet’s army, however, is not the only one wanting Aramus dead. Something, or someone, changes fate’s hand. Neither Dantet, nor Olórin, can see the terrible future that threatens them all. Even the traitors within the wizard caste are blind to what is coming.

But it is coming. GOODREADS


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THE PALADINS OF NARETIA is a debut novel from author T.P. Keane, and is the first book in a series. It centres around three main characters, The blood queen (a 17 yo nasty piece of work who has sworn to avenge the death of her parents), a winged descendant of a dark god (who is subject of a prophecy that could destroy Naretia), and a wizard, Olorin (who is charged with making sure the prophecy isn’t fulfilled). And so, the foundations are laid for an epic fantasy tale.

The world building is done well, and there was enough detail to clearly picture the settings as I read. We follow the journey as Olorin leads the quest from one far corner of Naretia to the other, all in the name of a mysterious prophecy. The underlying dark history behind it provides plenty of twists and questionable characters along the way.

My favourite character was definitely the Scottish troll, Bernard. What a funny guy. Perfectly done. His reactions and banter were priceless. There is a lot of change and growth in the main characters as they learn about themselves and each other. The many hardships they face bring out friendship, loyalty, and at times, surprises.

I found that the mood and tone softened as the story progressed, there was definitely more humour in the second half, probably due to the increased involvement of Bernard.

In a Nutshell |   A very good read for fans of wizards, trolls, creatures and fantastic settings. Bernard the dwarf is a scream, undoubtedly my favorite character. I am definitely interested in reading the next book.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


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Mini Review | The Infinite Sea | 5th Wave #2 | Rick Yancey


Rick Yancey The Infinite SeaTHE INFINITE SEA
(5th Wave #2)

by Rick Yancey

Young Adult | Dystopian |
Science Fiction
388 pages
Published September 9th 2014

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The Infinite Sea is the hugely anticipated follow-up to the phenomenal – and bestselling – The 5th Wave by Carnegie-shortlisted Rick Yancey.

‘Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances . . . JUST READ IT’ Entertainment Weekly

THE 1st WAVE – Took out half a million people.
THE 2nd WAVE – Put that number to shame.
THE 3rd WAVE – Lasted a little longer. Twelve weeks . . . Four billion dead.
IN THE 4th WAVE – You can’t trust that people are still people.

AND THE 5th WAVE? No one knows…. But it’s coming.

For Cassie Sullivan and the rest of Earth’s remaining human survivors, the situation was already desperate when the 5th Wave hit. It’s about to get worse.

No one yet knows the depths to which Earth’s conquerors – the Others – will sink in order to rid the Earth of the human infestation, nor have they guessed the heights to which the human spirit can reach. Characters introduced in Book One will come to the fore – and others will face the ultimate test. GOODREADS


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The 5th Wave saga continues in this wonderful book about the continuing decline of Earth at the whim of the Others. THE INFINITE SEA follows Cassie Sullivan and a small group of survivors who must find a way to continue to evade the Others and make some sort of future.

The plot is full of twists and every chapter brings new questions. It seems that the Others will stop at nothing to wipe out the last remnants of the human race. They have no conscience and stoop to new lows. How this series is going to pan out, I have no idea. Anything seems possible at this stage.

Ringer has a higher profile in this book, with her story becoming one of the main focus areas. She’s tough, she’s damaged and she’s enhanced. I can’t wait to see where her story goes. Overall, the characters are varied and deep, the plot is multi-layered, the tension is intense. There’s so much to like.

The only thing that bothered me was the changing POV. I know this happened in book 1 as well, but it did take me time to switch my mindset and understand which character was the focus of the chapter.

In a Nutshell | What a great follow-up to THE 5TH WAVE. I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading book 3, THE LAST STAR.

Check out my review of book #1 – THE 5TH WAVE … here.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


Movie Trailer of The 5th Wave movie that hit cinemas 15 January 2016

Starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson


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

Rick Yancey


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Mini Review | Fireflies | Bree Wolf


FirefliesFIREFLIES

by Bree Wolf

Upper Middle Grade/YA | Growing Up
161 pages
Published September 2013

Kindle edition
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In the buzzing city of New York, 12-year-old Gabriel Scott retreats from his parents’ constant arguing into a virtual world of adventure and companionship. Unfortunately, as summer comes along, his parents ship him off to Kenton Woods to stay with grandparents he hasn’t seen in years. Trapped in a world of small town life, Gabriel suddenly finds himself cut off from the only friends he ever had when he discovers that his grandparents don’t even own a computer.

After sulking in the house for a few days, his grandfather drags him outside and Gabriel takes his first steps into the real world. Gathering all his courage, he talks to Liam, their neighbors’ son, who hands him a small sheet of paper and asks for his help. From that day on, Gabriel follows Liam and his friends on a treasure hunt across town. With the entire school on their heels, they rush to solve riddle after riddle, slowly closing in on that which no one has ever found before. Along the way, Gabriel meets the head-butting twins Jack and Jordan, their dog Cat, the insane story-teller Eddie and Hannah, a young girl locked up in her room.

Hand in hand, they work to help Hannah escape and take her along on their adventure. Having spent her entire life cut off from the rest of the world, Gabriel finds a kindred spirit in the red-haired girl with the glowing eyes. But one day, a secret Hannah has been carefully hiding from the group rears its ugly head and threatens to shatter Gabriel’s new life and the place he thought he’d finally found in the world. GOODREADS


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The early part of FIREFLIES portrays the contrast between a boy’s reality and a game. I thought this was a clever idea to explore what the game world meant to him, compared to his real-life. As the story progressed, the game took a back seat, so it was a storyline that never really was completed. Looking back, I understand that was the whole point. Gabriel’s real life became more important than his game life.

Gabriel is shy and inexperienced at social interaction, he’s an introvert that struggles with making new friends. There are troubles at home, so he moves away to stay with his grandparents, and that’s where the real story begins. His new life is blessed with the old-fashioned calmness and love of his grandparents, which is a stark contrast to life with his parents.

He soon meets new friends and we watch his confidence grow and his true self is gradually revealed. It’s then that he meets, Hannah, a lonely girl who is kept hidden away by her grandfather, for reasons unknown to him. They are a perfect match, and it was nice to follow their story. We see them help and teach each other how much more there is to life, and they discover that everyone has unique qualities and can contribute in their own way.

At this point, I suspected that Hannah was hidden away for a reason. I was right in my suspicion, but I won’t reveal a spoiler here. The story does head into some challenging territory, which struck a chord with me, as it was very relatable due to some personal experiences over the past few years.

In a Nutshell |  A great story of growth and compassion of a boy who finds himself in a new life. It’s a warm, old-fashioned, and simple small town story, with a twist that tugs at the heartstrings.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


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Mini Review | Shirley Link and the Safe Case | Ben Zackheim


Ben Zackheim Shirley Link 1Shirley Link & The Safe Case (Shirley Link, #1)

by Ben Zackheim

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Middle Grade | Mystery
102 pages
Released 4th July 2012

“I put on my kindest face for the poor man. I even smile a little. Marie slashes her fingers across her neck, telling me to stop with the fake grin. She must think I look creepy again. I keep smiling, though. I need to practice. I have a problem with people thinking I’m mean.”

And so it goes, for Shirley Link. Brilliant, brazen and still a whole year away from her driver’s permit. Sure, she’s only 14 years old and has homework to do, but she’ll put it aside for the right mystery!

Shirley Link’s kickoff adventure pits her against a thief who’s stolen thirty thousand dollars from her school’s safe. Usually, she’d wrap that kind of case up before American Idol. But there’s one intriguing, frustrating detail.The half-ton safe disappeared too!

Shirley must find the culprit quickly, or else her beloved principal, Mr. Reese, will lose his job. As she digs deeper, Mr. Reese looks more and more guilty. Will Shirley save him, or get him tossed in jail?

“This is how it is to be Shirley Link, the best detective in the world if I do say so myself. I can spot a lie like most people spot a zit. I see connections where they hide best. And I get in trouble every time I try to tell people what I do with my free time. Only a handful know about my talent. I prefer to keep it that way.” – Shirley Link. – GOODREADS


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Shirley Link is a really good book. Simple as that. It’s written with such a good sense of humour and Shirley herself is absolutely likable, clever, and friendly. She seems to be making quite a name for herself in her hometown as mystery solver, a future Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher, perhaps. Cue the start of a series.

Along with her endearing personality, Shirley has an incredible eye for detail that is her strongest weapon. After all, it’s the detail that always catches the crooks. Reading Shirley was easy. I felt the style flowed and the mystery was revealed at a good pace.

In a Nutshell | Shirley Link is a Miss Marple of the future, but perhaps not so old and stodgy. Although she has such great skills, I like that she remains grounded and kind.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


More books by Ben Zackheim

Ben Zackheim Shirley Link 2 Ben Zackheim Shirley Link 3 Ben Zackheim Shirley Link 4

MMGM2


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Mini Review | Zet and the Egyptian Amulet Mystery | Scott Peters


 Zet and the Egyptian Amulet Mystery
(Zet Mystery Case #2)

by Scott Peters

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Middle Grade | Mystery
156 pages
Released 2nd November 2012

 

Do You Love Mysteries? “Zet and the Egyptian Amulet Mystery” Will Keep You Up All Night, Guessing Until The Last Page.

Zet and Kat are back.

When the Nile town of Thebes is threatened by a scarab-amulet eating ghost, Zet is determined to uncover the truth. Is the ghost real?

Meanwhile, Zet’s best friend, a jeweler’s apprentice, is in trouble. Could the ghost and his best friend’s ominous master be connected somehow?As if he didn’t have enough trouble to deal with, special orders have gone missing at Zet’s family pottery stall. With angry customers on his hands, his family reputation is going downhill fast. Soon the investigation becomes a race against time. Zet and Kat must solve the ever-twisting puzzle before it destroys the people they love. GOODREADS


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Zet is an immersive adventure that takes young readers through the daily struggles of Egyptian life. The story picks up a short time after book one and the scene is set well. I could almost feel the heat and smell the dust of Thebes.

Zet and his sister, Kat, have another mystery to solve and must use their own ingenuity to help their friend, without arousing the suspicion of the bad guys. The story is a well-paced mystery for young readers to solve, with clues being well spaced to keep interest and entice further reading. The readers learn at the same pace as Zet, so we are in synch when the final secrets are uncovered.

In a Nutshell | This is a great middle-grade read that focuses on friendship and teamwork while solving a mystery, with a good dose of history thrown in.

My review of book 1, Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll is here.

Please click here to see my Review Policy


More books by Scott Peters

Scott Peters Blog

 Scott Peters - Zet 1  Scott Peters - Zet 3    Scott Peters - God Catcher

Scott Peters - Zet Set


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Series Trouble | I’ve Started, Should I Finish? | TimeRiders

The next series in my Series Trouble series is…

TimeRiders Banner

Regular visitors will know that I’ve decided to do a series (yes it’s completely ironic) of posts to share my impressions (from when I read the books) of some series that I’ve started but not yet finished.

I’ve realised that I’m part way through so many series that I need to sit down and do some soul-searching about which ones I should continue to ride, and which ones to gently let slide.

I have to admit that this TimeRider series has slipped off my radar. I don’t know how, given how much I loved reading it. I’m leaning toward RIDE on this one, but seven more books is quite an investment in time, so I’d really appreciate some votes and comments from all of you on what to do.  Should I … RIDE or SLIDE


TIMERIDERS by Alex Scarrow



TimeRiders (Book #1)TimeRiders
(TimeRiders #1)
By Alex Scarrow

Read in February 2013


Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026

Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’

But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past.

That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world… (GOODREADS)


In a NutshellThe TimeRiders is a great book that has hooked me for the rest of the series. The blurb for this book is brilliant. How can you not be intrigued?

For any of my usual Middle-Grade followers, here’s a tip. The target audience for this book is YA and there is violence in some parts, so I wouldn’t recommend it for Middle Graders.

See my original review in full here.


TimeRiders 2Day of the Predator
(TimeRiders #2)
By Alex Scarrow

Read in August 2013


Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029.

But all three have been given a second chance—to work for an agency that no-one knows exists. Its purpose—to prevent time travel destroying history . . .

When Maddy mistakenly opens a time window where and when she shouldn’t have, Liam is marooned sixty-five million years ago in the hunting ground of a deadly—and until now—undiscovered species of predator.

Can Liam make contact with Maddy and Sal before he’s torn to pieces by dinosaurs—and without endangering history so much that the world is overtaken by a terrifying new reality? (GOODREADS)


In a NutshellAlex Scarrow has followed book one with a cracker. Day of the Predator is just as exciting and addictive as book one. This is another awesome book.

I’m so keen to move on to book 3 as soon as my to-be-read pile allows it. My thanks go out to Alex Scarrow for such a great adventure. No wonder I get the feeling that his fan-base is very strong and loyal.

See my original review in full here.

> Please click here to see my Review Policy <


The books I haven’t read in this series.

TimeRiders 3 TimeRiders 4 TimeRiders 5 TimeRiders 6

TimeRiders 7 TimeRiders 8 TimeRiders 9 TimeRiders Alex Scarrow

With 7 more books in this series should I…

  RIDE or SLIDE

Please vote and leave a comment on why you voted that way🙂