#BookReview : The Healing Stone (Starchild #3) by Vacen Taylor @VacenTaylor

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The Healing Stone (Starchild #3) by Vacen Taylor
Publication Date: April 10th 2015
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Pages: 176
Stars: ★★★★★

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After finding the Silvershade and escaping the attacking forces as the Wilder Forest city was scorched to the ground, Mai, Akra and Kalin must now face the evil that has consumed Long.

When they reach the land of Cruscar and enter the ice city of Algus, the children are confronted with an ice challenge to win an audience with Queen Isolda. A treacherous journey now awaits them if they are to reach the Healing Stone to save Long.

But Piceptus, the underworld king, will not give up his search and he will do anything to bring the pilgrims’ journey to an end. The children grow stronger as they begin to master their powers, but will this be enough to escape this danger and continue on their pilgrimage to fulfil the prophecy?

*** Note: I received this book from the author as a winner of giveaway. ***

Previous book I read in series:

The Healing Stone was a thrilling third installment in Starchild series and was much better than previous books. This follows Akra, Mai and Kalin’s journey towards Algus, City of Ice and their adventure in this cold nation. It was about friendship, situation testing their skill and patience, hope and faith in prophecy.

The writing was gripping, vivid and flawless. Author depicted characters, their journey through the sea and the city of Ice wonderfully.

It started with Long’s worsening health and their arrival to the first iceberg, the boundary of Algus where they met Queen’s soldiers who as per their law asked to participate in challenge. If they won the challenge, they could meet the queen and ask her help in healing Long. Now that was rude to greet visitors but it was an interesting challenge. Until now I saw Akra’s basic healing skill but in this challenge I could see more of his waterclasper’s skills which were more than just basic. Queen of Ice, Isolda, was as cold as her city and weather but her son, Aque, was kind, gentle and charming. I was curious to see how they were going to win the challenge and convince the queen in helping them and how they were going to heal Long.

The characters, plot and world was getting better in this book. The world was interesting. Along with the Algus, people of ice and their way of living, rules and laws, creatures of ice and dangers in the icy Mountains, there was interesting legend about the healing stone and how the world of elemental magic developed and 8 nations were created each possessing one elemental skill, how prophecy came into existence and why people believed in it. There was more story about the starchild but it was yet to be revealed. I’m sure upcoming books will tell more about him. There was also growing army of King of fire, Piceptus. He had his plans, his siblings and powers were evil.

Each chapters were exciting to read, revealed more about the world and characters. Their journey from city to icy mountains where lay the healing stone was filled with adventure and danger. We finally meet the soundwaver who helped children in previous book and get to know why he helped them. The way prophecy was unfolding, fulfilling the each line and binding characters with it, was clever and fascinating.

Mai was much more patient and strong than I expected. If I was in her situation, I’m sure I would have left my patience behind a book earlier. Her trust in Akra, Kalin and new friends Aque and Fojan was great. I could empathize with her and all the children. Their courage was admirable. Fojan was strong soundwaver. I liked how he grew to like each of them. Aque was fun. He was the last healer of Algus and successor of throne. Unlike his mother, he believed in prophecy and these children. Banter between him and Fojan was entertaining. They all grew strong by the end of the book.

Climax was tense. At first I was not sure but then I could figure who would be left behind and will be taken by Piceptus by this point. End was tragic and sad.

Overall, it was gripping, fun, dangerous and adventurous journey of four kids in the world of elemental magic and prophecy that played important part. I recommend this book to all middle grade lovers.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which book you read had extremely cold setting?

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#BlogTour #Excerpt : XYZ by William Knight @William_Knight @rararesources

Hello readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for XYZ by William Knight, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources, and I’m sharing a snippet from the book below. I hope that pick your interest in this general fiction filled with humor.

XYZ by William Knight
Publication Date: 2nd September 2019
Genre: General Fiction / humour

Synopsis:

Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.

When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.

Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?

XYZ is for every Gen-Xer who ever struggled with a device, and for everyone else who loves emojis … said no one ever.

Excerpt:

Jack Cooper reminisces on what went wrong for the computer industry and his own career.

Background: Our hero, Jack Cooper is a 55 year-old computer genius, but he’s lost his way. In this scene, from the prologue, he’s reminiscing on what was, and what might have been, for both his career and the computer industry.

When my mum threw a party to celebrate my leaving home to go to university, my aunt came up to me, holding a prawn cocktail in a wine glass, and said, “Computers, that’s the new thing isn’t it?”

She got it. I was part of a small wave of silicon-brained cool kids that was destined to become a tsunami. My generation was going to make the world a better place and in record time. We had ideas of perfect information, total transparency, evidence-based-government and university for all. We were the builders of Utopia and the founders of global prosperity. We were Gods.

“Yeah, I guess,” I said.

I hadn’t then realised the destiny for which I was headed. It was nothing more than fun. Fun to spend 10p on a video game and bash the console into submission. Fun to program pretty patterns on a screen and load games from a floppy disk, and fun to be part of the BBC’s Micro Live phenomenon, when the broadcaster sponsored its own computer as part of its remit to educate the masses.

And it remained fun until it became a trap, when computers ceased to be the promise of progress and instead became the terrorists of truth. Somewhere along the way, I turned from God of Silicon to an anorak-wearing dweeb, and from dweeb to a lonely fifty-five-year-old bastard. One at the end of his career, hopelessly out of touch, and unable to operate his own phone.

WTF happened?

Purchase Link:

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TTWHYL2

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07TTWHYL2

Author Bio:

William Knight is British born writer and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s chased a portfolio career which began in acting, progressed to music, flirted with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology in the late nineties.

“I had my first feature published in Computing magazine back in 2003 and subsequently wrote about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. I now work as an IT consultant, and write blistering content for technology firms :-)” says William

The Donated (formerly Generation), his debut novel and a Sci-tech Thriller, started in 2001 and was ten years in development. XYZ, “A mid-life crisis with a comic vein”, took far less time. “But I think it’s funnier and better. Yay. Jazz hands!”

Social Media Links:

Fecebook | Website

Giveaway to Win $10 Amazon voucher and a signed copy of XYZ (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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#BookBlitz #Excerpt : Relatively Strange (Strange Series Book 1) by Marilyn Messik #RelativelyStrange @marilyn_messik

Hello Readers! Today I’m happy to shine spotlight on Relatively Strange, first in paranormal series by Marilyn Messik. Check out more details of this relatively but wonderfully strange fascinating story in this post.

Relatively Strange (Strange Series Book 1) by Marilyn Messik
Genre: Paranormal / Psychological Thriller

Synopsis:

Forced to call on resources she didn’t know she possessed and thrust headlong into the violence of a situation for which nothing could have prepared her, Stella’s suddenly face to face with the stark reality of medical experimentation and its horrifying consequences.

But in a world of uncertainties, she’s sure of one thing – this hero stuff really isn’t her. Normal, or as near as damn it is what she wants,  and if that means smothering her instincts and adjusting her expectations well so be it. At least she’ll know should she slip off the wagon occasionally, it’ll be choice not chance, and to suit herself.

Isn’t it a fact though, just when you think you’ve got yourself on track, events can overtake and derail you?

Relatively Strange, the first in the Strange Series introduces Stella; her irreverent sense of humour, the conviction she always knows best and an overdeveloped sense of justice. Throw into the mix a complete  inability to keep her nose out of other people’s business and some serious psi abilities, and results are as unpredictably uncomfortable as you might expect.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt :

For a short while, we sat and munched our crustless sandwiches in ladylike silence, but clearly it was going to be the usual boring afternoon unless a livelier note was introduced. Luckily, I knew just the person.

“I brought Beady to see you today,” I announced cheerfully “We can play fairies and witches if you like.” My mother paled.

“Who’s Beady then?” asked Stephanie without much interest.

“My invisible friend, haven’t you got one?” Stephanie chewed for a moment or two while she thought.

“No.” she said finally. And there the subject might well have safely languished and died, had it not been for Aunt Cynthia, sticking her oar in. With a light laugh she pointed out that Steph had so many real friends she’d never felt the need to make one up. Well, I’m sorry, but I took umbrage, so would you, so certainly, did Beady.

The little bronze bell next to Auntie Cynthia’s plate suddenly jerked up and swung irritably from side to side. Long and loud it rang – once, twice and then, just as it was sinking slowly down, a third time, for good measure.

“That’ll be Beady.” I said helpfully. Two pairs of horrified eyes fastened on the bell, a third pair, equally horrified, on me. Two mouths fell unattractively open on half-chewed egg and cress, another pursed into an unmistakeable and familiar wait-till-I-get-you-home shape.

And into the following, heavily pregnant pause, strode an irate Irene. A satisfyingly swift response, I felt.  Flushed-faced, breathing hard and divesting herself fiercely of her apron, she was not best pleased and proceeded to put forward a couple of startlingly frank and interesting suggestions as to exactly where Auntie Cynthia could stick her bleeding bell. She went on to suggest that room might also be made there for her frigging airs and graces, her shitty wages, her stinking stew and last but certainly not least, her sodding silver candlesticks, the polishing of which apparently fell into Irene’s regular sphere of activities. Having thus made her feelings abundantly clear and giving a good trample to the abandoned apron for final emphasis, Irene swung neatly on her heel and exited, slamming the dining room door behind her. On an adjacent shelf, one of Aunt Cyn’s precious Capo di Monte pieces teetered. We all watched. I could, of course, have stopped it falling. I chose not to.               

“No,” my mother muttered tersely as we made our way briskly home, “An imaginary friend wasn’t a bad thing as such. However, it was precisely because she was imaginary that people such as Auntie Cynthia,” last seen pouring herself a recuperative glass of sherry with a shaking hand, “Were entitled to be somewhat startled if she suddenly started doing things.”

“But,” I protested, trotting to keep up with her agitated stride and grasping at last with relief exactly wherein lay the problem, “It wasn’t really Beady, it was me.”

“Oh sweetheart, I know.” she said. And she sighed heavily and then, unexpectedly she gave a little snort.

“It’s wasn’t funny..” she said, “And I’m certainly not laughing, young lady.” but inside her head, she kept seeing the gob-smacked faces on Aunt C and Steph and her mouth twitched all the way home, whenever she thought I wasn’t looking.  I don’t remember going round there for tea again.

Purchase Link:

About Marilyn Messik

Marilyn was a regular feature and fiction writer for national magazines when her children were small. She set up her first business from home, selling toys, books and party goods, before opening first one shop then another. When she sold both shops, she moved into the world of travel, focusing on B & B’s and Country Inns in New England, USA. Her advisory, planning and booking service flourished and she concurrently launched a publishing company, producing annual, full-colour accommodation guides to the areas. 

In 2007 she set up a copywriting consultancy, to help businesses shape their messages to optimum effect. She’s blogged for The Telegraph online; published the Vintage Ladies Collection; written four Business Books and four Paranormal Thrillers. She’s been married to her very patient husband for more years than he deserves, and they have two children, five grandchildren and, somewhat to their surprise, several granddogs.

Social Media:

~ Website: marilynmessik.co.uk
~ Twitter: @marilyn_messik
~ Facebook: marilyn.messik.5
~ Linkedin:
 createcommunication

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book? Have you read this book already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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#BlogTour #Review : Safe House by Jo Jackman #SafeHouse @HarvillSecker @JoJakemanWrites @mia_qs

Hello readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for Safe House by Jo Jackman. Many thanks to Mia for the tour invite and providing the copy for review. Check out the book details and review in this post.

Safe House by Jo Jackman
Publication Date: October 31st 2019
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Thriller / Psychological Thriller / Suspense
Pages: 352
Stars: ★★★★★

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THE NEW NOVEL FROM THE ACCLAIMED AUTHOR OF STICKS AND STONES A REFRESHING THRILLER WITH A FEMINIST TWIST PERFECT FOR FANS OF CLARE MACKINTOSH, FIONA BARTON, LISA JEWELL, EVA DOLAN & LAURA MARSHALL

Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.

And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mia and publisher. ***

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Safe House was intriguing psychological thriller that revolved around Charlie, desperate to put behind her past, murderer ex and hate-filled judgmental people of the town. The book was about seeing the signs and heed to warning bells before it’s too late, misreading and misjudging a person, guilt, betrayal, manipulation, lies, deceit, blind love, unhealthy relationship, and facing past to give it closure.

I have just one word to describe this book- wow! The writing was easy and gripping, plot was suspenseful and intriguing, characters were interesting and setting was atmospheric. Short chapters made me flip the pages quicker.

It started with Charlie starting her new life with a new name in new place- a remote coastal village- after serving her 10 months sentence for giving false alibi. It was hard for her to move on. She felt paranoid someone might find out who and where she was and would try to harm her. She was restless and desperate to get over what she had gone through and so she tried to be part of the close-knit community letting her guards down. But the sense of someone was watching over her never left. Who was it? Can she really run from her past? Will friends she made stay friends when they will know about her sectret? Can she save them from the person who was trying to harm her?

Story was first person narrative told in dual timeline- past and present. Present told about Charlie’s efforts to stay safe and cautious, start new life, becoming a person she couldn’t because of her controlling father and then manipulative ex-boyfriend. Past was about what happened to her and how her life took unexpected turn, how she was sentenced for false alibi, how she discovered her boyfriend’s deceit. There were snippet of news articles telling what world thought about her, how people blamed her and how difficult it made her life before and after her sentence; interview with officers working on murder case told about what they thought about Steffi and her statements; and then there was Ben and unknown narrator who were out to get her, bring her to justice. Basically you get the wide perspective of the story- from victim, victim’s relatives, culprit, police, media and people who believed what was served on papers.

Charlie’s past life was most interesting to read. I was shocked at first to see she didn’t see through Lee’s lie and deceit, how could she not recognize manipulation? The way he treated her, detached her from her family and friends, not letting her enjoy her hobbies, weren’t those enough signs of unhealthy relationship? Oh but she was so naïve, stupid and blindly in love. As I knew more about her I could see why she was like this, less confident, eager to please and fearful to upset others, putting other before her, easily influenced.

Charlie’s voice was believable. I could empathize with her. Her thoughts and emotions were impactful. It made me think would I have done the same. Surely it’s not easy to believe the person you love is murderer, when they didn’t give away anything. It also made me think how her life would have been different only if her father was loving and supportive. The more I heard her thoughts the more I believed she deserved second chance. Author did amazing job in representing how a person feel after being manipulated, judged by people and serving sentence in prison.

I loved how she morphed into new Charlie. Confident, helping and seeing good in people but cautious, working on her skills and hobbies, turning the house into home, being helpful and trying to be part of community, trying to do right the thing, faced the past with calm and steady mind. It was great to see development in her.

All side characters were interesting. They made an impression, surely not easily forgettable. I liked Aubrey the most. Charlie’s conversation with him served as breather in this gloomy suspense. Cop duo was also good. I wish I could know them more. I loved the community and people who helped Charlie.

Author did amazing job with suspense. I couldn’t guess who that unknown narrator was, why Ben was after Charlie and what his motive was until climax. Climax was tense, kept me on the edge, flip the pages like maniac. There were many revelations from climax to end. End was unpredictable but satisfactory.

Overall, it was steady paced, intriguing, suspenseful thriller with interesting characters and strong plot. I definitely recommend this book.

Purchase Link:

The ebook will be 99p throughout November

Affiliate Link: Book Depository

About Author:

JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? Which is your most favorite thriller? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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#BlogTour #Review : One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen @rararesources @belinda_missen

Hello Readers! Welcome to my stop during the blog tour for One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Please check out the details of and my review in this post.

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen
Publication Date: 1st November 2019
Publisher: HQ Digital
Genre: ChickLit / Romance
Pages: 179
Stars: ★★★★★

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Two people. One chance meeting. Seven days to Christmas.

Isobel Bennett is waiting for the number 11 bus when a man quite literally falls into her lap. Snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, and a gorgeous man with dark brown hair has just slipped on ice and is now pressed against Isobel.

Isobel knows she’s not imagining the chemistry between them. But then his ride arrives and, embarrassed, he beats a hasty retreat, murmuring apologies – and Isobel realises only too late that she didn’t manage to catch his name…

When she runs into him again the next morning, she decides it’s fate.

It’s a second chance for Isobel and Tom – but there’s only one week until she’s leaving London for good. Seven days of enjoying all the festive delights the city has to offer: ice-skating at Somerset House, mulled wine on the Southbank, Christmas shopping at Liberty.

There’s magic in the air and mistletoe in the trees – but what will happen when the week is over?

For fans of Josie Silver, Lucy Diamond and Marian Keyes, this is one Christmas romance you don’t want to miss!

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Rachel and publisher. ***

Previous book I read by the same author:

One Week ‘Til Christmas was cozy, lighthearted and heartwarming romantic comedy with Christmassy feel. The book was about passion, dream, workplace relationship, love friendship, trust, and Christmas luck.

This was my second Belinda Missen book. Writing was charming.  It was first person narrative in Isobel’s charming voice. Characters were interesting, setting was magical, filled with festivity and romance was sweet.

It started with Isobel, a travel writer, landing in London for her one week holiday, excited for her favorite festival in favorite country where her best friend lived. But on very first day she fell with her ass in gutter. Moreover, her boss insisted her to take interview of a famous person. A work during holidays! Now you will think that’s not so good and all excitement might have went down in gutter… Nope! The person she was asked to interview was the one because of whom she was in gutter, a handsome tally star, who fell into her lap on that (un)lucky day, who left her daydreaming. There was a spark and instant attraction. This forced work meeting turned to many lovely romantic meetings. I had a feeling her one week till Christmas in London was going to be fun but what after that? Is there just attraction or more? Will she let herself fall for person whom she was going to leave after a week?

Isobel was fun, smart and friendly person. She loved her job and her passion for travelling and her love for Christmas was contagious. She was wonderful throughout the book. Her thoughts and feelings were realistic. I could understand her situation with her family and I adored her for loving them even after their unfair treatment.

Tom was a TV star. As much eye pleasing he was outside, he was equally beautiful inside. Even though he was popular, he didn’t have a speck of ego. He was even cool with Isobel who never watched his show, in fact she didn’t even know who he was until her boss sent her details. What more do you need to know! He was true gentleman and I loved him for that.

What I loved most the setting and romance. It was magical. Their sightseeing and meetings were so beautiful, Christmas market, shopping Centre, food and cafes left me wanting to pack my suitcase and leave to spend Christmas in London.

I loved Isobel and Tom’s relationship. They were similar in many things and they feel connected ever since their second meeting. There was a spark in first meeting but that spark grew into friendship, adoration and love, a love so deep they will follow each other anywhere. It all happened in less than 200 pages and still didn’t feel rushed. At first it did have insta-love feel but author did give characters enough time to know each other better. I enjoyed conversation between these two. Their views towards their life and dream, their family issue because of their work and why they choose the particular profession, it was all so realistic and inspiring.

The theme of following dream, take steps to make those dreams real no matter how tough it can be to balance work and family was brilliant. The workplace relationship issue was presented nicely through that horrible boss.

As soon as I got to know little about characters I kind of knew where this will head and how it will end. But that turn at climax was good, not exactly what I expected. And then that proposal, it was so beautiful and heart melting. End and epilogue was lovely, beautiful and I feel so good after reading this book.

Overall, it was packed with magical setting, developed characters, and lovely Christmas feel. If you love one of the character falling for celebrity arc, just go for this.

Purchase Links:

Amazon.UK | Amazon.AU | Amazon.US | Apple | Google | kobo | Barnes&Noble

Author Bio:

Author and sometimes foodie, Belinda is a ridiculous romantic who met her husband after being set up by a friend two states away.

Residing in country Victoria, surrounded by books, cat-fur, and half-eaten cake, Belinda divides her days between writing rom-coms, baking, and indulging her love of comic books.

Social Media Links : Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? Where you liked to spend your Christmas week? Is there any place you dream to visit to celebrate Christmas? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.

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