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May 2016

Rhuna: Crossroads – Barbara Underwood

Rhuna: Crossroads (Rhuna Fantasy Books #2)

Rhuna: Crossroads

Goodreads Summary:

The sequel to Rhuna, Keeper of Wisdom, and the second book in an exciting and unique historical Fantasy series, Rhuna: Crossroads is set in exotic Ancient Egypt and features unforgettable characters and a riveting adventure.
Some years have passed since Rhuna helped to defeat the Dark Master in her new home of Atlán, and now Rhuna has a teenage daughter who accompanies her on an assignment in Ancient Egypt to investigate some disturbing reports. She soon discovers an astonishing underground network of the Dark Master’s followers, along with the secret group of Atlans dedicated to stopping them.
In the process of trying to carry out her assignment, Rhuna is confronted with enormous challenges which could drastically change her entire life and everything she has ever believed in!

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My Review of Rhuna: Crossroads

I don’t think I have ever read a historical fiction fantasy novel before! I really enjoyed this book. It is the second of a trilogy. Even though I have not read the first one, I had no problem getting into the story and the wonderful setting.

Rhuna is a grand master in the council of Atlán, a place where there is little to no violence and people treat each other with respect. People have inner wisdom and live together in peace and harmony, quite a utopian society. Atlán also presides over numerous colonies. Rhuna gets sent to one of these colonies across the ocean to investigate some events that have occurred. She takes her daughter with her. There begins their adventure in this foreign land. Being an Atlán master, Rhuna has numerous gifts such as the ability to have visions and change elements and she soon begins helping the less fortunate members of the colony. But there are some people out to stop Rhuna from discovering that the unfortunate events that have been occurring may have something to do with a dark master whom Rhuna had destroyed years before.

I thought this book was really well written and so clever. I just loved that she could use her powers to speak with her husband and the council back in Atlán. The fact that they could ultimately spy on each other’s every move was also a really creative way to add a whole new dimension to this book to make it really unique. Rhuna was so conflicted with having to keep a proper and level mindset of a master, to that of a woman in a new place that is so different from Atlán. Her heart was taking her in a different direction than she was expecting.

I really enjoyed all the characters except I had a bit of trouble keeping up with all the “keeper of wisdom” type names. A few times I couldn’t remember who was who and got a bit confused. I loved her daughter and her spirit. And I enjoyed reading about the majority of the secondary characters. I do wish that I had read the first book to get a better understanding of Rhuna as she grew up.

There was some romance in this book which I was sort of hoping for, but then conflicted as Rhuna already has a husband that she seems to love. I think maybe I would have been more conflicted if I had read the first book which apparently introduces Tozar and how they come to be together. I wasn’t a fan of how abruptly she decided “Ok I love someone new now”. BOOM. However I can understand how her husband was holding her back from becoming the person she was meant to be. It just felt a bit abrupt, however I am interested to see how it pans out in the future.

I enjoyed the mystery,  and loved the setting with the pyramids and the secret rooms and thought this whole book was really clever.

Would I recommend Rhuna: Crossroads?

Yes for any fans of Egyptian historical fiction melded with fantasy and mystery! It was a really enjoyable read and I am really looking forward to the sequel!

Many thanks to author Barbara Underwood for a copy of Rhuna: Crossroads in exchange for my honest review.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

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AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Rhuna Fantasy Books | Xlibris


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What the Night Knows – Dean Koontz

What the Night Knows – Dean Koontz

What The Night Knows

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 Not one of his best I must admit. Overall it was an entertaining story but ultimately left me feeling more unsatisfied than satisfied.

John is a homicide detective who lost his entire family to a serial killer when he was a teenager 20 years earlier. He killed Alton Turner Blackwood that night, but Blackwood is back. Using the bodies of less than wholesome people, he uses person after person until his ultimate goal can be completed… Revenge on John and his family. And to finish the killing spree that he started.

I enjoyed the start of the book and how Koontz gradually gave away piece by piece of information. It kept me enthralled through the first few chapters. In fact, the whole book was quite good up until the chapters from the children’s point of view. I don’t think I have ever heard such poor portrayal of children. All three of them were so completely unbelievable it pretty much turned me off the entire book. Then some more chapters with the adults point of view would make me forget that I wasn’t enjoying it… And then the children would have a point of view again… And cue the eye rolling.

I did enjoy the diary of Blackwood. It was interesting hearing how he turned into such a monster. I just found it frustrating that every character either had some innate evil, or they were so inherently good. No character seemed to be in the middle.

It had some spooky moments, but overall it was more frustrating than frightening. And what is with all the big words that he uses!? I’m fairly sure he used his spell-check thesaurus quite a bit while writing this! And when the children started using those big words.. It was just too much for me.

I did enjoy it overall though. The storyline made up for the poorly portrayed characters, and I enjoyed the narrator of the audio version.

Would I recommend What the Night Knows?

Maybe. Die hard Koontz and horror fans would probably enjoy it. However I am sure there are better possession stories out there.

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Guardian of Paradise – W.E. Lawrence

Guardian of Paradise – W.E. Lawrence

Guardian of Paradise

2.75 Stars (2.75 / 5)

I enjoyed this historical fiction island story. I am not the biggest Historical fiction fan, but the story appealed to me, probably because of the romance. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately there are a few things that fell short for me, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

Kira lives on a pacific island, isolated from the rest of the word. She has been there since she was a young girl. Her parents were taken by a tidal wave years earlier and she has been living alone with the natives ever since. A merchant Australian ship arrives and Kira is apprehensive. What do they want from the small island and the trusting natives? And can she trust the handsome doctor working on the ship?

The story starts out well. The scene of this beautiful island is set and Kira is introduced, along with her friendships with some of the locals. After the ship arrives and she is attracted to the handsome doctor Trevor, the romance progresses along quite well. There are some lovely moments and a few hot scenes… However there is a lot going on with  Kira attempting to discover what the nasty captain and his crew are really doing on the island. And then eventually the story starts to dwindle and become quite long winded. Even the romance and romantic scenes were getting too much by the end of it. They started to become unbelievable and a bit corny. I feel the entire book could have been a bit shorter.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Kira’s character, I enjoyed the strong female lead and the unique predicament she was in being the only non native living on the island. She knew what the merchants and other settlers were like, even if she had only experienced them in Australia as a child. I didn’t mind Trevor, I did enjoy some of the banter between them. I didn’t enjoy reading the slang that a lot of the locals used, and the written Australian accent attempt. I found them both inconsistent at times.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. Religion or belief in a higher power had not really been explored much throughout the book and so when they started talking about what God wanted for them, I was thinking “Where is this coming from?”. It felt out of place, kind of like the author just wanted to throw it in there at the end.

Would I recommend Guardian of Paradise?

Despite my criticisms, I still enjoyed it. There were a few good funny moments and the author did create a beautiful island atmosphere. The romance had some touching moments and the central storyline was entertaining. I would recommend it to historical romance fans. And only for readers aged 18+ as it was very raunchy at times.

Many thanks to Book Publicity Services for a copy of Guardian of Paradise in exchange for my honest review.

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PURCHASE:

AMAZON | AMAZON AU | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

W. E. Lawrence Headshot

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action and adventure. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.

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If you enjoy Guardian of Paradise, you may enjoy:

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The First Lie – Virginia King

The First Lie – BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

(Selkie Moon Mystery #1)

The First Lie

I am so excited to be part of The First Lie blog tour! I don’t do many tours lately due to time restraints and I try to pick my tours carefully. When the opportunity to review The First Lie came around, I couldn’t resist this supernatural mystery. From the first few pages I knew I was going to LOVE it! Virginia King is another extremely talented Australian author, and has written a cracker of a book!

The First Lie Description:

Someone is trying to kill you.

When Selkie Moon flees Sydney to start over in Hawaii, it’s to live life on her own terms. But Life has other plans.

Though she tries to dismiss the warning as just another nightmare, it soon becomes apparent that someone, or something, is stalking her. Attacked by frightening visions and mysterious compulsions, she must piece together the fragmented clues before time runs out.

Virginia King effortlessly blends funky creativity and deep spirituality – with a dash of Celtic folklore – to craft a story of one woman’s fight for truth, and her discovery that the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all.

 

My Review of The First Lie

WOW!!! What an AWESOME book! Right from the beginning I was sucked into the story and was hooked until the very end!

Selkie leaves her emotionally abusive husband and Sydney behind to move to Hawaii to start up her own business. When she is there she begins to have visions, hears voices and music when nobody else does, and starts to believe that someone is trying to kill her. We follow Selkie through a compelling and sometimes downright creepy journey to find out not only who is out to get her, but who she really is.

I found the premise and the atmosphere of the novel to be completely original. I can honestly say that I have not read anything quite like it. It was tense, funny, creepy and exciting all in one, and I stayed up until 4am reading the first three quarters of it because I couldn’t put it down! I don’t usually resonate with characters when they are going through spooky, supernatural/paranormal type stuff. Often I get put off by all the unbelievable aspects. However, I really loved the way this story went, it was paranormal and creepy.

Selkie was an great character. So damaged and seemingly quite fragile, yet she had a huge inner strength. At the beginning I found it hard to believe that she conducted seminars and was a motivational speaker, however as the story progressed I could understand the almost completely different persona she had, and that her work was an outlet for something within her. I really enjoyed Selkie’s romantic escapades in this book. I wont give out any spoilers, but the main love interest was a great character, and the tension was palpable. I can’t wait to see how things progress in the second book!

I really enjoyed reading about all the other characters too, poor Selkie has some terrible men in her life, and some fabulous ones. I adored Derek and Nigel I loved to hate her ex husband and I want to see if anything more happens with him in subsequent books. Some of the characters have an almost unexplainable depth to them. Something incredibly raw.

King did a wonderful job writing this novel. Its extremely descriptive, without crossing the “too descriptive” line. It was easy to read and even easier to get swept up in. The twists and turns were unexpected and it was so completely unlike anything I have ever read before!

The ending I found a bit strange, a bit primeval almost… However when you read the first chapter of book 2 it makes sense and paves way to a new mystery. Otherwise there really wasn’t much to criticise about this book. It was just so refreshingly different!

Would I recommend The First Lie?

Absolutely! Even non-paranormal mystery fans will appreciate the enjoyable originality of this book! And if you are a paranormal mystery fan, you are in for a real treat!

Many thanks to author Virginia King for asking me to be part of this blog tour and providing me with a copy of The First Lie in exchange for an honest review.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

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AMAZON AU |AMAZON | KOBO | iTunes | Google Play

Win a signed copy of The First Lie and more prizes by clicking the link below:

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Free Ghost Story:

Click HERE to download the FREE prequel to the Selkie Moon Series
Laying Ghosts

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Virginia KingVirginia King Portrait by Amanda Thorson 200 KB

When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.

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Dawn of Wonder – Jonathan Renshaw

Dawn of Wonder (The Wakening #1) – Jonathan Renshaw

Dawn of Wonder

5 Stars (5 / 5)

WOW!!! THIS is why I love reading! What an absolutely fantastic and powerful story. With one novel, Renshaw has surely joined an elite group of fantasy authors, along side names such as Tolkin, Sanderson and Rothfuss. This book has been nominated and won numerous awards and I can certainly say beyond a doubt that I am not surprised. From the beginning of the book you could just tell there was something very special about it. And the audio version was superb! Absolutely 30 hours of my life that I would gladly give again for the pleasure of listening to this fabulous tale for a second time.

The story is a coming of age fantasy centring around the young Aedan. Aedan and his friends live in a small farming town when their lives are turned around when slave traders enter the town. What follows next ultimately leads Aedan to start training at an academy for mercenaries, with revenge on an entire nation in his sights.

Now, my description is obviously extremely short and vague. But don’t let it fool you, this story is rich with character and adventure. It is witty and moving. I was floored by the writing of this somewhat unknown author and even more blown away by the amazing performance of the narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds.

Like most good long fantasy tales, there are periods that are slower than the rest of the book – Setting the scene with characterisations, more than adventure and action. However when you take into account the importance of developing the characters and relationships between them, these slower periods are essential to the development of the story and I imagine the series as a whole. They are barely memorable.

The characters were all wonderfully developed, and entertaining. There were people that you loved, and people that you loved to hate. Poor Aeden did have his fair share of bad blood when it came to other characters and at times I was so frustrated at the way people treated him. Yes, at times some things seem far fetched, Aeden seems to have too much luck, or not enough… Being at the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Overhearing conversations that ultimately helped his cause. But this didn’t bother me at all. I still enjoyed every moment of this fantastic story.

Would I recommend Dawn of Wonder?

If you are a fan of high fantasy, especially Patrick Rothfuss, I would highly recommend this novel. I actually enjoyed it more than The Name of the Wind. Do yourself a favour and check this book out. Espeically the audio version! Fantastic!

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If you enjoy Dawn of Wonder, you may enjoy:

The Name of the Wind

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Paris is Always a Good Idea – Nicolas Barreau

Paris is Always a Good Idea – Nicolas Barreau

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I really enjoyed this cute little book! And yes, It did make me yearn for Paris in a serious way! It is indeed a VERY good idea!

Rosalie has a quiet life in the beautiful French city, running little postcard shop. She is dating a personal trainer, with whom she has little in common, and has grand ambitions of being an artist. She is approached by an old man at her shop, who just so happens to be a famous children’s author. He wants Rosalie to illustrate his new children’s book and she does so happily. However, fate brings her a chance encounter with an arrogant American who accuses her and Max of plagiarism. What secrets will Rosalie uncover from her friend Max and this handsome, annoying American? And will she find the true love she has always wanted?

This book was just what the doctor ordered! It was a quick read, full of humour and cuteness!

I loved the main story of the book and the quest to discover who really wrote it and what the secrets were. I figured out the twist extremely early in the book, and that is usually a pet peeve for me, however I was so swept up in the cute, light atmosphere of the novel, that it didn’t matter at all!

I absolutely loved the writing style. It had a really wonderful light and fluffy feel to it. The whole book reminded me of days wandering around the streets of Paris, turning left, turning right, finding new buildings, new places to eat and beautiful things to see! The author moved backwards a few times in this novel in a way that wouldn’t work normally in traditional novels as it felt a bit disjointed. However in this book it worked well, lots of reflections and memories that all merged together to the present moment and gave the book an extremely different and enjoyable feel to it.

All of the main characters had a nice depth to them and they were all extremely likeable. And the romance! Super sweet, with just the right amount of drama! Thought it was fantastic! There were a few moments where I had butterflies!

Would I recommend Paris is Always a Good Idea?

Yes, for contemporary G-rated romance fans, or fans of cute stories. It was light, didn’t have negative drama and almost no violence. A great escape for a couple of hours! And now I want to go back to Paris for a third time, be surrounded by that beautiful language, and find a little postcard shop.

Many thanks to Pan Macmillan and the author for a copy of Paris Is Always A Good Idea in exchange for my honest review.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicolas Barreau was born in Paris, the son of a French father and a German mother. He studied romance languages and literature at the Sorbonne and worked in a bookshop on the Rive Gauche in Paris but is far from an inexperienced bookworm. With the success of his previous novels, The Ingredients of Love, The Woman of My Life and You’ll Find Me at the End of the World, he has gained a devoted international audience.


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Mindfulness for Mothers – Rebecca Ryan

Mindfulness for Mothers – Rebecca Ryan

Mindfulness For Mothers

Well… What a little gem of a book this was!

There was once a time in my life not so long ago when I was on a bit of a search for answers. What am I doing here? What is the meaning of life? It led me to take up meditation. I went to classes, read books on mindfulness and ‘being in the moment’. I even attended not one, but TWO, ten day silent meditation courses in the Blue Mountains. I was in the meditation zone, so to speak… However, as it so often does, life got in the way. I became a mMindfulness For Mothers 2other, and the ten day silent solitude is but a memory, some wonderful memory from a time in my life where I could go and pee without someone dragging along at my heels. Where I could duck to the shops for groceries without dragging along a nappy bag, a toy truck and a 15kg screaming toddler… Meditation for me now mostly feels like a memory.

 

Mindfulness for mothers reminded me that we can find stillness in simple moments. Brief moments are all I have during the day now it seems!

I enjoyed that the book wasn’t too hippy or airy-fairy. Ryan made some excellent observations and quoted some scientific studies and facts without sounding like some doped up hippy love child. And I really appreciated that.

I love that the meditation exercises are EASY and absolutely realistic!  I especially love the one about being still with your SLEEPING baby!

Coming from another mother, I found I could relate easily to almost everything she was discussing. She gets the time restrictions and STRESS that having a small baby can bring. But this makes it all the more important to take some time out of our heads!

I thought this book was fantastic. It has a place next to my bed to remind me to take time out and be still. And I will be sure to have it handy if I have another baby!

Mindfulness For Mothers 3

Would I recommend Mindfulness For Mothers?

Yes for any Mum with a small child! Or a big child for that matter! I am sure that many of the exercises will be beneficial for just about anyone! And the cover! GORGEOUS!

A Great mothers day present idea!

Many thanks to the author Rebecca Ryan and PanMacmillan Australia for a copy of this beautiful book in exchange for my honest review.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

PURCHASE:

PAN MACMILLAN | BOOKTOPIA | AMAZON AU  | AMAZON US

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan is a yoga and meditation teacher specialising in pre- and post-natal yoga. She enjoys sharing her passion for meditation with other mothers, whether long-term meditators or newbies, and encourages her students to allow mindfulness to seep into their daily lives.

Rebecca lives in Melbourne with her husband, two children and her dog, Sammy.


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