Archive for August, 2016

Cost of Survival


Cost of Survival (Worth of Souls – 1) by Bonnie R. Paulson

My dad predicted World War III would happen in our lifetime. He was right.

Mom’s bleeding in my arms right now. She could die any moment, but not before she’s made me promise three things:


Don’t trust anyone.

Stay alive.

I promised, but I don’t know if I can keep them. Not surviving World War III doesn’t scare me, it’s surviving it that does.

If you’re looking for a great dystopia romance, this book is for you

From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 2000 reviews and ratings of her dystopic books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers.


My Review

5 stars

Kelly’s father knew that World War 3 was going to happen and prepared his family. But he dies before WW3 hits. One day at school, bombs are dropped and Kelly rushes home to her mother to find her calmly drinking tea. Kelly and her mother gather their things and head to the co-op that they are part of but upon arrival they learn there is a new leader and new rules. It’s not so safe at the co-op and they have to go on the run again. Kelly does meet up with a kid from school, Bodey and his father. Together they are going to try and survive.

I love apocalyptic stories and this is one of my new favorites. There is lots of action and great characters. Kelly questions her strength and faith as she tries to survive the attack and the evil of people and as she was thinking of all of these things it made me wonder if I am strong enough to be in her place, what I would do and such. I love her relationship with Bodey. You can tell they are getting close through survival but that a true relationship is forming.

It was easy to get sucked into this story. I planned on reading a couple chapters and ended up reading until the early hours of the morning to find out what was going to happen next. I loved how this story ended and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, Exchange Rate. If you like apocalyptic stories look no further, you will NOT be disappointed in this one.

To purchase Cost of Survival make sure to visit Amazon (which is free for Kindle at the time of this review), Goodreads and Bonnie R. Paulson’s website.

I received Cost of Survival from Amazon Kindle for free and am reviewing it for Candid Book Reviews.

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Haven (Chronicles of Warshard – 1) by Katherine Bogle

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

Katherine Bogle

Katherine Bogle’s debut young adult novel, Haven, came second in the World’s Best Story contest 2015. She currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick with her partner in crime, and plethora of cats.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Post

Why including strong women in fiction is important

Not long ago, having a strong female protagonist in fiction was not as common as you may think. Though women have been prominent in the literary world for a long time, many were docile, seen as weak or insecure. But with a new generation, comes new wants and needs.

Cast aside your Mary Sues and Bella Swans – this generation wants Katniss, Safiya, Tris, Hermione and Mare. Though each faces their own demons, they do so with strength and a can-do attitude. They may not start out strong, but they get there, and that is what’s important. Being broken, or down on your luck is okay. Everyone struggles. But getting back up is what matters.

Strong women in fiction shows the next generation how women can be perceived or what women wanted at the time. Having badass ladies, who can do pretty much anything shows our daughters they can be strong too. They can lead. They can win. They don’t need to hold back. It shows our sons that they should respect women, love them and always be kind.

Literature teaches all of us from a young age – whether we remember it all or not. Growing up with Katniss from the Hunger Games, or Tris from Divergent, shows young girls that standing up for yourself isn’t a bad thing. It shows them they don’t need to be small, delicate and timid. It shows them they can lead a rebellion, topple a tyrannical ruler, or you know, be respected and appreciated. We should all strive to teach children they can be anything, and having strong women in fiction will do just that.


My Review

4 Stars

After the death of her family, Haven has no choice but to be coronated as queen. It doesn’t help that she has the ability to regenerate which keeps her from being killed. Her people want to make sure that they will have a queen for quite a while, especially when Queen Kadia of Dagen has decided to go to war with everyone. Kadia has created an army of shadows to destroy everything in her path to ruling everything. And with the other rulers either having to fight, flee or die it is up to Haven to step up as queen and decide how to rule her kingdom best, even if it is against everything that is recommended to her.

I really like Haven. She was never meant to be queen, never been taught or trained, and very unsure of herself. At first she relies heavily on those around her and is very unsure of how to proceed. But the more she goes through the tougher she becomes and rises to the role of queen.

This is a great story and one that has the feel of an epic fantasy. There are some rough spots but that is expected from a first in a series. I would have liked to learn more about the other kingdoms but I have a feeling they will be explored more in future books. I will definitely be adding this series to my list.

To purchase Haven make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Katherine Bogle’s website.

iRead Website new logo

I received Haven for free from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?


My Review

5 Stars

Many years ago, during the Cleansing War, radiation was released. Domes were build so the survivors could be protected from the radiation and infected. Fast forward several years and you meet Natalie, Nat, at the age of nine. Her parents were scientists that would explore outside the dome to see if the conditions were safe. But one day Nat’s parents don’t come back from an exploration and Nat is told that the infected killed them.

Nat is now 18 years old and at the age where she will be given a job. But Nat is rebellious and finds herself sleeping in a clearing by the edge of the dome. When she wakes she finds two men standing outside the dome. One is captured and tells her that he was sent to save her from the dome. It seems that the residents of dome 1618 have not been told the complete truth and someone is going to do everything they can to keep up the façade that the dome is providing.

Since I am a huge fan of dystopian stories I couldn’t sign up fast enough to be part of the tour for There Once Were Stars. I love the setting and the premise to the story. I felt sorry for Nat. She is stuck living with her grandmother and is given a job as a director like her parents. Although she is nice and polite she does question what is happening around her and finds out there is more going on that just radiation outside the dome. I loved this story and can’t wait to read other books from Melanie McFarlane.

To purchase There Once Were Stars make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Melanie McFarlane’s website.

I received There Once Were Star for free from eBooks for Review in exchange for an honest review.

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The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes (The Sprite Sisters – 6) by Sheridan Winn

Four sisters
Four elements
Four powers

‘The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes’ is the sixth title in Sheridan Winn’s Sprite Sister series.

Aimed at ‘tween’ readers, the magical adventures of Flame, Marina, Ash and Ariel – who each have a power related to one of the elements, Fire, Water, Earth and Air – have been bestsellers for Fischer Verlag, with over 500,000 copies sold in Germany. Piccadilly Press published the first five titles in the UK, where the books have a keen fan base. Sheridan Winn bought back the rights in 2012 and now publishes the Sprite series herself.

The Boy With Hawk-like Eyes moves the story along and the sisters are now:- Flame, 15, Marina 15, Ash 123 and Ariel, 11 years.

‘Have you ever thought about flying?’ said Zak.
Ariel blinked. ‘In an aeroplane?’
‘No. Lifting your arms and soaring into the air.’
Ariel stared at Zak. She could feel his eyes boring into her and the colour rising in her cheeks. She had been flying over Sprite Towers last night! What should she say?
‘No, ‘ she said, with a shake of her head. ‘Why, have you?’
Zak grinned. ‘Yes – flying is cool. You should try it.’

It is a year and a half since the Sprite Sisters used their magic powers of Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Amidst much bickering, Flame and Marina are busy with their teenage social lives and even Ash seems to have forgotten about magic. As Ariel harnesses her power of Air to learn to fly, a strange boy comes to Sprite Towers and the family is threatened by the invasion of terrifying, insect-like creatures. With dark magic unleashed in the old house and the air turning poisonous, the Sprite Sisters must quickly find a way to remember their powers.

Sheridan Winn

The idea for a series of books about four sisters with magical powers aligned to the four elements popped out at 1.30am on 22nd January 2007, as Sheridan was writing her diary. She noted down the one-sentence idea, and when she woke next morning had the certain feeling that this was the idea she had been waiting for.

She approached Piccadilly Press, which commissioned the first Sprite Sister novel, The Circle of Power. She has since published eight Sprite Sister titles, with another five to come (two main and three prequel stories). In Germany, Fischer Verlag’s sales of Sprite titles have surpassed 500,000.

Sheridan was born in Norfolk, England, and grew up in a big, rambling house in the country that became the inspiration for Sprite Towers.

The eldest of four sisters, she drew on many childhood experiences as inspiration for the stories.

After boarding school she gained a degree in graphic design, followed by a postgraduate teaching certificate. For 25 years she worked with her illustrator husband as his business and creative manager. Together they produced a number of children’s picture books, along with the ‘Mad Gadget’ cartoon, which was the most popular strip in Daily Telegraph’s ‘Young Telegraph’ newspaper for over seven years.

In 2001, Sheridan changed career and became a freelance journalist specialising in lifestyle features and profiles of international business leaders. Today she spends the greater part of her time writing fiction.

In 2014, Sheridan wrote Boudica’s Daughters, a YA novel about two pairs of sisters living two thousand years apart. Essentially, a modern-day tale about coming to terms with a terrible violation, the story of the daughters of Queen Boudica of the Iceni tribe echoes that of today.

A lively and engaging speaker, Sheridan enjoys the chance to interact with her readers and other writers. She lives in Norwich and has two grown-up children and a granddaughter. She has a keen interest in the Arts and finds walking a good way to think up ideas. She always carries a notebook.

Website     Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter


My Review

5 stars

Flame and Marina are busy with their phones and boyfriends. Ariel is feeling left out but when Zak, Marina’s boyfriend asks Ariel if she has flown, Ariel decides to use her magic to fly. But one night she sees strange yellow eyes. It seems some screeglings have found their way to Sprite Towers. They are attracted to magic so Ariel thinks that she drew them initially. But when she is warned about the Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes, she thinks that Zak has something to do with this. It’s up to the sisters to get close again to fight the screeglings and the Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes.

I loved this story. You can’t help but feel bad for Ariel with her sisters growing up. But I really liked how the sisters put aside their differences to stop the screeglings and to figure out if Zak was really causing all the problems. And Zak, you could understand his feelings.

Although this is part of a series I can easily be read as a stand-alone story. There are pervious adventures mentioned but it doesn’t slow or stop the story not really knowing about them. The Boy with the Hawk Eyes is a great story for Mid-Graders and adults alike.

I have been lucky enough to receive the next two books in this series, Magic at Drysdale’s School and The Mystery of the Locked Room. Unfortunately I ran out of time to read and review them before posting about this book. But be sure to keep your eyes open. I should have their reviews posted shortly.

To purchase The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes make sure to check out Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

I received The Boy with the Hawk-Like Eyes for free from Sage’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: Good Girl, Bad Girl

Author: Ann Girdharry

Social Media: @GirdharryAnn

Author Website: http://www.girdharry.com

Publication date: 23rd August


Mother missing, the discovery of a powerful and corrupt syndicate and dark secrets about her father revealed leaves 28-year old Kal determined to pursue her own investigations, no matter what sinister truths she uncovers, in this intense psychological thriller.

Kal is convinced her investigative journalist mother must have been working on a controversial, and top level, news story, it is the only explanation for her sudden and suspicious disappearance. Although mistrustful of the police, Kal allows Detective Inspector Spinks, the officer assigned to her mother’s case, to accompany her when she visits her grandmother to break the news. What they don’t expect is to uncover a file of shocking research cataloguing the deviant activities of seven members of London’s political and business elite. Back on the streets of London, the survival instincts and specialist expertise she learned from her late father, kick into overdrive, as Kal resolves to not only find her mother but continue her work and unveil the conspiracy hidden amongst those in power.

Ann Girdharry

About the author: Born and educated in the UK, Ann Girdharry is a trained psychotherapist and has worked as a manager in the not-for-profit sector for many years for agencies working with: carers, vulnerable older people and those with dementia, survivors of abuse, and victims of racism and racial attacks. Today she lives in Montpellier, France with her husband and two children. As well as her passion for writing, Ann enjoys gardening and is a member of her local roller blading club. Ann has previously published a series of short stories called Tales of the Unexpected (2015-2016). Her debut novel, and the first in the Kal Medi series, Good Girl Bad Girl by Ann Girdharry (published by CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing 23rd August 2016 RRP £8.99 paperback, £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.


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Sacred America, Sacred World by Stephen Dinan

Infused with visionary power, “Sacred America, Sacred World” is a manifesto for our country s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. Filled with practical ideas and innovative strategies honed from the author s work with over 1000 luminaries via his company, The Shift Network, “Sacred America, Sacred World” rings with a can-do entrepreneurial spirit and explains how America can lead the world toward peace, sustainability, health, and prosperity. This vision of the future weaves the best of today s emergent spirituality with seasoned political wisdom, demonstrating ways America can grow beyond its current stagnation and political gridlock to become a world leader in peace and progress. Published to coincide with the party conventions and presidential debates, this book will promote a return to the sacred principles cherished by America’s forefathers in order to create a transpartisan, non-ideological, pragmatic approach to social reform. This uplifting discussion explores evolutions in political leadership, environmental concerns, and economic reformation. It is time to forge a bold new image of America s future. Here is a road map for getting there.”

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan is the founder and CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. The Shift Network was founded in 2010 and has served over 700,000 people worldwide, with customers in 150 countries. It delivers virtual summits, courses, and trainings featuring over 50 core faculty and 1,000 thought leaders in domains as diverse as spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, shamanism, indigenous wisdom, and sustainability.

Stephen is a graduate of Stanford University (Human Biology) and the California Institute of Integral Studies (East-West Psychology). He helped create and directed the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers, and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. As the former director of membership and marketing at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he was the driving force behind the Shift in Action program and the One Minute Shift media series.

He has been a featured speaker at the World Cultural Forum in China, the Alliance for a New Humanity in Costa Rica, Renovemos Mexico in Mexico City, and the University of Cuenca in Ecuador, as well as many US conferences, events, radio programs, and online summits. He is also the author of Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All and Radical Spirit.

Stephen lives in San Rafael, California, with his beloved wife Devaa.

Website     The Shift Network


What people Are Saying

“A wonderful book for all futurists, evolutionaries, social entrepreneurs, spirit-motivated activists, and pioneering souls everywhere.”

—Barbara Marx Hubbard, President,

Foundation for Conscious Evolution

“Stephen Dinan offers us a highly compelling blueprint to engage in deep and totally achievable global transformation. This is a visionary work of the highest order.”

—James O’Dea,

Author of The Conscious Activist,

Former President of IONS,

Former Director of Amnesty International

“This wise and moving book will help us all in the central task of our time. That of reinventing a way of being and doing that reflects our sacred nature and sacred purpose.”

—Andrew Harvey,

Author of over 30 books,

Founder, Institute for Sacred Activism

A Conversation with Stephen Dinan


Sacred is a word that binds us together in the mystery of life and links us into a single human family. In a truly sacred world, no one is ultimately our enemy. A scared worldview leads to a life filled with respect and reverence.

We then connect the term “sacred” to America. America means many things to the world, ranging from a shining city on the hill that flied the flag of freedom to a feared military empire. Much can be said about the current state of America’s character, but perhaps the most essential is that America has a pioneering spirit, always experimenting to find something that works better, never resting for long on our past, always seeking the next higher possibility or the newest frontier. We are not a country that stagnates for long; America is a roaring engine for evolution.

It is that spirit of innovation, adventure, and possibility that needs to inform this exploration of what happens when “sacred” and “America” come together. Sacred America is a call for us to reach for our highest destiny as a country. I believe our truest destiny is not built on our desire to be number one, but rather a humbler sense of calling, animated by a spirit of global service. We are called to explore new frontiers politically, economically, and even spiritually, not just in service to our own citizens, but in service to the world.


I believe that we are transitioning to a truly global era in which we will, once and for all, eradicate war and unite as a human family as never before. We see this happening remarkably rapidly in the realms of technology, travel, and business. But it’s also happening with our consciousness and our politics. We’re increasingly becoming global citizens first, national citizens second. I believe America simply must play a leading role in this transition, embracing it as the path beyond the waste and tragedy of war and towards real health, sustainability and prosperity for all. I believe the pathway forward requires the best of both progressive and conservative values and a collaborative style of politics that seeks higher ground. Global accords and councils will replace the endless posturing of the military era.


I used to be a more strident progressive who would see conservatives as the problem rather than part of the solution that represents a complementary value system. Conservatives tend to focus on preserving what has worked in the past, which is a useful function.

In the human body, we have strong elements required for health that basically protect our homeostasis. Too much change happening too quickly is dangerous for our body and for life.

Conservatives often play the same role in a society, minimizing the risk of chaotic change and preserving core values, commitments, and culture. Having a strong foundation actually allows us to grow further and so I have evolved to see and honor conservatives for their role in maintaining traditions and American character even while I still focus on the ways we are naturally evolving to another level —a “more perfect” union.

I’ve found conservative values and perspectives a good cross-training in my role as a spiritually-based CEO, where it’s imperative that I not risk everything on each new idea. The Buddha taught the Middle Way as the more enlightened path and that also applies to drawing upon the best of conservative perspectives while opening to new possibilities for innovation and cultural expression, which tends to be the focus of progressives.


There are many interrelated shadow issues that America is often reluctant to face but I think at the root is an unwillingness to see ourselves as the aggressor and victimizer. Ultimately, this stems from never being able to face the Native American genocide and African enslavement that formed the twin sins of our early history.

If we undertake a much deeper healing of these wounds, which will require humble contrition and an inventory of our shadow side, it becomes easier to see the ways that we are still perpetuating injustice and oppression in the world.

We can all do outreach and healing work ourselves and ultimately it’s helpful to have a kind of national healing and reconciliation, with public apologies the way Australia did with their native peoples. If we’re in denial more generally, it’s hard to own the specifics now.

We also have a large shadow issue around unaccountable forces exerting a lot of power domestically and internationally,


I don’t see the answer as simple but it begins with seeing the intrinsic, sacred value in other perspectives, even ones we strongly disagree with. When we start identifying only with one group “against” another, we slowly start turning them into caricatures and demeaning them in various ways. This process of polarization has gone on for a long time with political parties. So I think the ultimate solution is very personal; it’s about building bridges of curiosity, respect, and understanding, and recognizing that true, lasting solutions to extremely complex problems require the best thinking of both parties and ideologies so that some hybridization of solutions is going to be best.

We may not come to consensus on major issues but we can come into deep dialogue and human exchange. Reaching out a hand of friendship across the aisle is ultimately one of the most important things we can do as citizens. The women members of the Senate have been a great example in that regard, often creating breakthroughs through their very personal connections with members of the other major party.

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Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place (The Kare Kids Adventures – 2)

by Charles A. Salter

Nine-year-old Charlotte loves to explore the woods around her neighborhood in Ellicott City, Maryland. One day she has TWO surprises-she notices a patch of the forest slowly vanishing and discovers a lost puppy caught in a bramble bush. She rescues it and takes it home. Her parents recognize it as a valuable purebred pup and locate the rightful owner. Rather than accept the owner’s reward, Charlotte asks her parents to buy Cocoa the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as the present for her upcoming birthday. Will she sacrifice her plans for a big party at the Bouncin’ Fun Zone because her parents can’t afford both? Returning to the woods, she notes the sinking area getting wider and deeper and tells her parents and the authorities, who caution her to stay away. The county’s geologist explains the danger of sinkholes, and Charlotte worries it will allow the other puppies to escape and get lost, too. She keeps an eye on the kennel and sees another puppy escape and become trapped in the now enormous sinkhole. Cocoa follows it and gets trapped, too! As a fierce rainstorm arises, and the fallen tree the pups cling to begins to disappear through the opening at the center of the sinkhole, Charlotte can find no one else to help. She leaves messages but realizes it is up to her to save the pups. But it is too steep and slippery for her to crawl down and get back out. Can she rescue the pups and get out herself before the giant sinkhole swallows everything?


My Review

5 stars

Charlotte loves to explore the woods behind her house. One day while out she finds a strange area that has sunken lower than the rest of the forest. But while out she also finds a puppy that she calls Cocoa. Charlotte learns of sacrifice to keep the puppy. She then finds a sink hole that could cause more problems.

I loved this story. Charlotte is a sweet kid and makes an instant bond with Cocoa but learns that sometimes she might have to give things up to get other things. I loved how she found the sink hole and was determined to keep the other puppies safe. She was also very brave when she took it upon herself to save Cocoa and the other puppy.

I really enjoy the Kare Kids Adventures series and think they are a wonderful series for kids. This is the perfect chapter story that could be read to kids or for a first book. They have a great message and lots of adventure for boys and girls. This series is a must for those with kids.

To purchase Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place make sure to visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.

I received Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place for free from PR by the Book in exchange for an honest review.

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StarPassage: Book One, The Relic by Clark Rich Burbidge

Teenagers Tim and Martie are desperate to end their parents’ downward spiral. Between their father’s PTSD and their mother’s depression, their family has reached a breaking point.

Then an ancient Christmas ornament reveals its secrets, sending the siblings across the centuries on a search for hope. But Tim and Martie aren’t the only ones hunting through time. They’re being watched by dark figures—Trackers doomed to haunt history. These Trackers believe the teens’ ornament is their key to freedom, and they will do whatever it takes to steal it.

What begins as an exciting adventure becomes a deadly race. Can Tim and Martie find the answers they seek before their enemy finds them?
Contributor Bios


My Review

5 stars

It is Christmas time and the Carson family is under some stress. Time and Martie’s father was injured in the Middle East and suffers from PTSD. The PTSD has been getting worse lately and he ends up checking himself into the hospital. Their mother has also decided to take a break. Tim and Martie are upset but find themselves transfixed by a star ornament on their Christmas tree. When they take it down they find strange writing and find themselves transported to Valley Forge during the American Revolution. Tim and Martie soon find themselves on different adventures throughout time.

I loved Tim and Martie. They are upset about where their family is at but through their adventures, which kept me engrossed, they learn about different periods in history. I loved how each trip gave more insight to where the Carson family was with their fathers PTSD. It brought them back together. I love how the story approaches PTSD as a serious issue and how they work together with it.

And of course I loved each adventure through time. That in itself made this book so great. It gave so much more for readers. I think that aspect will help drawn kids in and make them want to learn more about the different times Tim and Martie visit. This book is meant for young adults but I also think that older children will really like this book too.

If you are looking for a great story for all ages look no further. You have all kinds of information and an amazing story.

To purchase StarPassage make sure to check out Amazon, Goodreads and Clark Rich Burbidge’s website.

I received StarPassage: Book One, The Relic for free from PR by the Book in exchange for an honest review.

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Mystery, Thriller, Crime 
Date Published:  08/11/2016
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Danny Lahti had it all: fame, fortune, friends, love – and an obsessed stalker.
Obsession can be a powerful curse. What happens when you think your world is perfect, but someone behind the scenes is determined to test you in every way possible? As the clock ticks toward the year 2000, Danny’s world starts unraveling without explanation. An unknown hacker unleashes a digital attach on his Internet company just months before its public debut. A prowler attempts to break into his historic mansion which houses, according to Hollywood rumor, secret vaults. A long-time friend goes missing. Is it all coincidence, or are these just the first feats by a crazed admirer determined to force the truth from Danny?
And what is the truth? The complicated days that follow force Danny to have another look at his own relationships, misdeeds, and damaged past. But will he ever learn the lesson that will satisfy the devil who taunts him?
C  H A  P  T  E  R    O N E 


Twenty minutes to midnight, and the ice on the frozen lake outside cracked. The loud reverberations of winter echoed through the night and invaded Danny Lahti’s peace.
Danny was prepared to let time  move  forward  in   whatever incremental way  it chose. At that moment . . . sitting on a sofa  in  an enormous  room  near  midnight  .  .  .  huddled  within  a  century-old hunting lodge  of a long-dead lumber tycoon . . . on  the shoreline of a lake  nearly forgotten in  the isolated woods of  northern Wisconsin, Danny Lahti was not concerned about the potential for a technological apocalypse as time turned to the year  2000.
But  he  did   feel   on   the  brink. Something was   about to  happen. Things should change;  they needed to change. He  couldn’t  really say why.   Danny never  felt he  was   the   introspective  type.  But he   had always felt connected to a larger universe, one  in  which he  received premonitions of what was to come.
The  end  of the century. Or maybe the start of a new  millennium. It depended on  the pundit. But  computers only  knew what they were programmed to  know, and   they weren’t  programmed to  deal   with changing from 1999  to 2000.  Maybe early computer  scientists never thought about a century starting anew. December 31, 1999  could prove an  existential threat. They called it “Y2K.” Who knows, maybe every generation deserved its opportunity to restart the clock.
For   Danny,  his   past  was   too  painful,  but   the  future  felt  too uncertain. In a way,  his life could be the snowdrift-covered lawns that surrounded  this house. On  the surface, the drifts were unblemished and  glistening in the weak  moonlight. But beneath their surface, under the  shapeless accumulated flakes,  were the  remains of years of living. If Danny had  the time and  the tools and  the  energy, he  could shovel his  way  into discovering the   dead flowerbeds, the   abandoned lawn furniture, and  the  century’s worth of trails across the  grounds. But who could be  bothered?  Eventually, the warm sun  of  spring would surely melt the snow. Just wait. The  past would be exposed.
Danny had  always been the kind  of person willing to wait. When he was only  twelve, his mother committed suicide and  he found her dead body. He  waited then,  always expecting someone  would eventually arrive  to  explain  what  had   happened  and   why.   When  his   father withdrew   into   a   hermit-like   life    that   barely  acknowledged  his adolescent son’s existence, Danny still waited. Someone would surely make his  father forget his  dead wife  and  remember his  child. He  was still waiting.
And  when Josh  came into his  life,  promising an  escape from these cold  woods into the warm, loving life  of the Los  Angeles sun,  Danny followed and  waited for Josh’s direction.
He  waited. He  always had.  Perhaps he  always would. It was  his nature not to rebel and  not to question, to try to be good  and  not rock the   boat.   A  new   year, a  new   century, a  new   millennium, not even “Y2K” could change that. Because Danny Lahti had  never been able  to find  the  energy to  grab the  reins of his  own  life. And  he  didn’t intend to start now.  And  yet something was changing. He felt it.
The  ice cracked again.  Nineteen minutes to midnight.

Dennis Frahmann is a former journalist and marketer,who now resides in Cambria, CA. He is the author of two other novels: Tales from the Loon Town Cafe and The Finnish Girl.
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Born of Water


Born of Water (The Rise of the Fifth Order – 1) by Autumn Birt

In the buried archives of the Temple of Dust may lie the secret to defeating the Curse, a creature which seeks to destroy 16-year old Ria for the forbidden gifts she possesses. But it is from among the ranks of those who control the Curse where Ria will find her best chance of success.

Only the Priestess Niri can save Ria from the forces that hunt her, if Niri doesn’t betray the girl first. Along with Ria comes Ty and his sister, Lavinia, both bound to defend Ria from the Church of Four Orders. However, Ty has been living a life less than honest and keeping it from his sister. To survive a journey that takes them across the breadth of their world, the four must learn to trust each other before pursuit from the Church and Ty’s troubled past find them.

Born of Water is the first book in the Rise of the Fifth Order Saga full of elemental magic and epic fantasy adventure. Welcome to the mythical world of Myrrah, ruled by the Church of Four Orders – Fire, Earth, Water, and Air.


My Review

5 stars

Niri is a Priestess of water that failed to identify an elemental during the festival. She wants to make amends to her order and goes on the hunt for this girl. But when she finds Ria she realizes there is more to this girl than what she originally thought. So she goes on a quest to find out the truth about Ria’s powers and her own. Lavinia and Ty are brother and sister and friends to Ria, they go along to keep Ria safe but end up learning more about themselves. But this is a race against time since the Curse has been released to hunt down Ria. But secrets about the church are going to be exposed and Niri is going to learn that although she is the weakest of the elementals she has more power in her than she knows.

When elementals are discovered, they are taken away from their families and indoctrinated into the church.  This is the only life Niri has known for years and at first those teachings is all that she sees. But as the story progresses she learns that there is more to the story of the church and it is not as wonderful as she has been told. Ria has this amazing power but she is scared to use it because of the Curse hunting them down. I loved watching her grow throughout the story.

Ty has his own secrets and at first hates Niri. But when you learn about his apprenticeship you can understand his feelings. And then there is Lavinia. She is a young girl ready to go into her apprenticeship and along for adventure but finds her own, unconventional place in the world.

This book is full of action, adventure and wonderful locations. It is very descriptive and draws the reader in. I listened to the audio book and couldn’t wait to get back to it as soon as I had to stop. Thom Bowers did a wonderful job of narrating. It was easy to follow along with each character.

If you are looking for a new young adult fantasy series, this is the series for you. I strongly recommend checking out Born of Water. As for me I can’t wait to read Rule of Fire or even better listen to it on audiobook.

To purchase Born of Water make sure to check out Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Autumn Birt’s website.

I received Born of Water for free from the author in a giveaway.

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