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Archive for the ‘3 Star Books’ Category

Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia by Tim Scullion

Join ghost photographer and researcher Tim Scullion on a two-year tour of Colonial Williamsburg, America’s haunted historic city of ghosts. Visit 43 creepy locations where Scullion describes his paranormal odyssey to capture and explain each apparition, a bit of historical and paranormal background of the building it appears in or over, and insights about these ghostly beings that he has learned from careful observation. With more eighteenth-century buildings and homes than any other place in America, Scullion has learned the secret to consistently capturing ghostly apparitions of all kinds on camera. Examine 230 paranormal images that are beautiful, ugly (if not horrifying!), bizarre, and defy explanation. He also provides historic accounts, ghost sightings, and narrative, insights, and introspection for each location. Colonial Williamsburg is a hotspot for ghosts!

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 Tim Scullion

Author’s Bio

Tim Scullion specializes in fine art photography as well as the paranormal. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from William and Mary and is a published author/photographer.

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My Review

3 stars

Tim Scullion takes us along on a night visit of 43 different locations in Williamsburg, Virginia. We find ourselves in various churches, houses, and taverns. We learn the history of each location with other sightings. We see many photos of these locations many with orbs. Then Tim uses his editing to separate and sharpen these orbs or flashes found in the pictures which results in faces being seen.

I loved the pictures and the history behind all the locations. That is itself made this book for me. I love the paranormal, especially ghosts, and I enjoyed all the stories behind each location. There are beautiful color photographs and I love the little notes of paranormal activity.

Where I’m torn on reviewing this book is the enhanced photographs. They could very well be real and I’m just too skeptical. But when you see the enhanced photos they look rather over edited. The faces are exaggerated and look off. This took away from the book for me.

If the book stayed with the history, stories, and picture of the locations I would have liked it more. But the edited photos ruined it for me. If you like paranormal that focuses around ghosts I would say check it out, you may have a new vacation destination.

I received Haunted Historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia from Schiffer Publishing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Hair Power by Piers Anthony

Terminal cancer patient, Quiti, walks into an abandoned building planning on taking her life.

Instead, she encounters a telepathic ball of hair that insists it is an alien seeking to facilitate diplomatic communication on Earth.

Quiti assumes it is all a hallucination conjured up by her brain tumor.

Because of this assumption, when she saves the alien’s life and it insists on doing Quiti a favor in return, she only asks for her hair back. She soon discovers, however, that the creature’s gift extends much further than her new locks that can change color with a thought. As her powers grow and her deadly illness goes into remission, Quiti quickly realizes that there are those that would want to use her for her abilities and is forced to leave behind everything that she knew.

Will this blessing curse her to a life on the run, or does the mysterious hairball have more in store for her?

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My Review

3 stars

Quiti is a 20 year old, plain girl with a brain tumor. She has seen the strain that it has put on her parents and she decides that she is going to kill herself. When she gets to the site, she meets a giant hairball that needs her help. Because she sets it in the sun in return it gives her a head of hair. But this is special hair that gives her special abilities. This puts her on the government’s radar and goes on the run. She meets some wonderful people along the way and learns that she is not the only hairball around. But this knowledge is not going to keep her the others safe. She is going to have to make a stand.

I absolutely love the Incarnations of Immortality and the Zanth series so I was over the moon to review Hair Power. Hair Power started out well, you feel for Quiti and can understand why she wants to commit suicide. But once the hairball gives her hair I started getting kind of irritated with it. She has to consume large amounts of food for the hair. But instantly she becomes a knock down, gorgeous girl that is clearly highly intellectual and is over the top with anything relating to sex.

I think the part that just grated on my nerves was how she is now super smart but she talks like she was a robot. Her dialogs were just rough and choppy. Then there was Roque and Desiree. I’m not a prude but that whole section just got to me. Plus I was screaming about the ending and not in a good way. Really?!?! Mind you I have to remind myself that Piers Anthony did come up with cat-ass-trophies in Xanth.

Over all that book was not as bad as I am making it out to be. Yes, it is supposed to be ridiculous and it is an over the top fantasy. It is very imaginative and I did not expect the powers of the hair. I listened to the audiobook and I feel Kristin James did a fantastic job narrating the book. She was clear on the different characters and has a beautiful voice. It is the start of a series and there was a lot of ground to lay. I can’t wait to see what happens in Hair Suite.

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Hair Suite: Sequel to Hair Power by Piers Anthony

Quiti and the rest of the Hair Suits have just set up the Hair Suite, the embassy of the alien Hair Balls, when they learn they have competition. Alien cyborgs called Chip Monks want to win Earth for themselves. The two species must duel for control. These rivals discover a third alien species that threatens to destroy Earth, and have to join up quickly in order to protect the planet they are both seeking to win. Along the way, they get swept up in a world of intergalactic politics, wormholes, and role-playing. Will they be able to save Planet Earth in time? Piers Anthony, critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Xanth series, shows off his signature originality and wit in this entertaining and inventive sequel to Hair Power.

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My Review

4 stars

Quiti and the gang are back. They have started a Hair Suite temporarily until a building is built. But then Quiti learns that there are endless other aliens out in the galaxy’s. She is approached by Levi and Burn who have Chip Monks that have modified them with alien cyborgs. It seems Earth is in a battle zone between the Chip Monks and Hairballs. Thankfully a friendly competition could determine who controls Earth. But then they get notice of another alien pod that is going to crash on Earth. This one has a plant based alien life but they plan on destroying the Earth. It is going to be up to the group to create more alien hosts and stop the alien plant pod.

I have to say after my nitpicky review of Hair Power that I enjoyed Hair Suite more. All of the alien hosts still had a rough dialog but either I got used to it or it did not both me as much. I liked the idea of a friendly conflict to see who controls Earth but I have to say that all the sex discussed in the book got old.

I liked how the group had to “purchase” their answers and their payment. It expanded this world out with a bit of a chuckle. It seems that the galaxies took more from Earth than I expected. I really liked the behind the scenes and the different support cast. That really worked well. But the ending didn’t really wrap up the story. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book.

I am reviewing the audiobook. Kristin James narrates Hair Suite and I think she did a beautiful job. I am curious to listen to other books that she has narrated.

I received Hair Power and Hair Suite from Dream Big Publications for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Piers Anthony

Author’s Bio

Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environmentalist and lives on a tree farm in Florida with his wife. They have two grown daughters.

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Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen

No one ever disappears completely…

You leave for work one morning.

Another day in your normal life.

Until you come home to discover that your boyfriend has gone.
His belongings have disappeared.
He hasn’t been at work for weeks.
It’s as if he never existed.

But that’s not possible, is it?

And there is worse still to come.

Because just as you are searching for him
someone is also watching you.

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 Mary Torjussen

Author’s Bio

Mary Torjussen has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University. She worked for several years as a teacher and lives outside of Liverpool, where Gone Without a Trace is set.

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My Review

3 stars

Hannah Monroe has just attended some training for work and learns that she is up for a huge promotion. She can’t wait to get back home and share the news with her boyfriend of four years, Matt. But when she gets home, Matt is going and not just gone but all of his stuff is gone and Hannah’s is moved back in from storage. And I mean everything even the stuff in the refrigerator. But that is not all, his phone is disconnected, his social media is gone, and even the pictures in Hannah’s phone are gone. Hannah is upset and plans on hunting Matt down for an explanation. But strange things start happening and it seems that someone is watching her.

When I first read this description I was intrigued. How can someone completely disappear like this? Is Matt only in Hannah’s mind? What if Hannah is a complete psycho and Matt had to take extreme measures to get away from her? I had a hard time dealing with Hannah, she is so selfish and immature. And it’s a little worrisome how obsessed she becomes with finding Matt. She takes a great career and dumps it down the drain along with her personal well being.

I hate to say it but I started losing interest in the story when it was about 3 months later and Hannah is a complete wreck and she still has no information on Matt. Then there was the twist that I really was not that impressed with. From there the book should be wrapping up but things were still all over the place for me.

Overall, I have to say that I was not as impressed with the story. But I do see that this book has received several raving reviews. I think this is going to be one of those books that you will either love or hate. I strongly recommend checking it out for yourself, you may like this more than I did.

I received Gone Without a Trace from Penguin Random House for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Magicians

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.

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 Lev Grossman

Author’s Bio

I was born in 1969 and grew up in Lexington, MA. My parents were both English professors, so naturally I read a lot. I read a lot in college too, and read even more in graduate school. Then I moved to New York City and started writing full time.

My first novel, Warp, came out in 1997. My second, Codex, was published in 2004 and became an international bestseller. The Magicians was published in 2009 and was a New York Times bestseller and one of the New Yorker‘s best books of the year. The sequel, The Magician King, came out in 2011 and was a Times bestseller too. The third and (almost certainly) last Magicians book, The Magician’s Land, was published in 2014 and debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.

The Magicians books have now been published in twenty-five countries and have gotten praise from among others George R.R. Martin, John Green, Audrey Niffenegger, Erin Morgenstern, Joe Hill, William Gibson, Kelly Link, Gregory Maguire, and Junot Diaz. A Syfy series based on the trilogy is currently shooting its second season.

I also write a lot of journalism. I’ve been the book critic at Time magazine since 2002—the New York Times described me as “among this country’s smartest and reliable critics.” I’ve written more than 20 cover stories for Time, and my essays and criticism have also been in the Believer, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesSalon, Slate, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, the Week, Lingua Franca and many other places. I’ve won several awards for journalism, including a Deadline award in 2006. I make regular appearances on campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Oxford, and as a commentator on NPR.

I live in Brooklyn with my wife, two daughters and one son, in a creaky old house.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Quentin is a sullen teenager in Brooklyn with his friends that despises one for his easy nature and has a crush on the other. But through an odd series of events, he finds him at that magical school of Breakbills. He proceeds through the first half of the book learning about magic and how it’s not all wonderful and easy. There are some horrible parts and it is a lot of work even though Quentin finds himself comparing different things to the Fillory stories of four siblings that have various adventures in Fillory.

After graduating from Breakbills, Quentin and his friends find themselves in New York City with no real purpose. Since they spend the last several years studying they break out and party all the time, well everyone except Alice. Alice is trying to figure out where to go next. The group reminds me of most college graduates that they have this power but nowhere to use it or no motivation to go do something with their lives. Although Fillory did make the book end better than I thought it was going to.

Quentin and his friends are boring, dreadful, spoilt, lazy, and not really worth reading about. They mess around, getting drunk all the time, and bitterly criticize everyone. The only one I liked was Alice. She seemed to have brain one in her head but just fell into the rest of the group just like another sheep.

Breakbills was interesting. I liked how they made you have to work for your magic, each person had different strengths, powers, and abilities. But the key was you had to work for what you want. Personally I liked Breakbills south and the final challenge. What better way to prove your meddle. But then all you have is the friends hanging out, drink, do drugs, screw, and piss and moan about everything. The little excerpt of Fillory was not enough to save the book for me. I really don’t know if I will even bother reading the next book in the series.

Now I did listen to the audiobook and I have to say that I enjoyed Mark Bramhall’s narration. There was variety for each of the characters that drew you in. I do admit that he has a deeper voice so I ended up having to blare my stereo and the headphone to be able to hear everything. I think I’m just going deaf so that is probably the problem

I received The Magicians from eStories for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

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Make sure to check out eStories. They are a wonderful website that gives you plenty of audiobook for any reader. They have a subscription service that will beat Audible and an app on both the App Store and Google Play that makes playing the stories so easy. If you like audiobooks make sure to check them out.

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Leopard at the Door

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Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

After six years in England, Rachel has returned to Kenya and the farm where she spent her childhood, but the beloved home she’d longed for is much changed. Her father’s new companion—a strange, intolerant woman—has taken over the household. The political climate in the country grows more unsettled by the day and is approaching the boiling point. And looming over them all is the threat of the Mau Mau, a secret society intent on uniting the native Kenyans and overthrowing the whites.

As Rachel struggles to find her place in her home and her country, she initiates a covert relationship, one that will demand from her a gross act of betrayal. One man knows her secret, and he has made it clear how she can buy his silence. But she knows something of her own, something she has never told anyone. And her knowledge brings her power.

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Jennifer McVeigh

Author’s Bio

Jennifer graduated from Oxford University in 2002 with a degree in English Literature. She went on to work in film, television, radio and publishing, before leaving her day job to do an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She graduated in 2011.

She has travelled in wilderness areas of East Africa and Southern Africa, often in off-road vehicles, driving and camping along the way. The Fever Tree and Leopard at the Door were inspired by those experiences.

In 2014 The Fever Tree won the Epic Novel Category at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Rachel grew up on an estate in Kenya. But when she is 12, her mother dies and she is sent to a boarding school in England where her parents are from. Rachel longs for Africa and 6 years later returns but nothing is the same. Her father has a new wife, Sara who is miserable and makes everyone else miserable. Michael, her former teacher becomes a love interest. Then there is strife in the Kikuyu community. After fighting in World War II, many want independence from England while others are fine with the current political events.

Rachel wants life to return to how things were in her youth. But you can never go back, only forward. I hate to say this but I couldn’t stand Rachel and her naivety. Her father was also weak and irritated me with his taking Sara’s side all the time.

I did like the story based on the Mau Mau Rebellion. I don’t know how historically accurate it is, but I liked this part of the book better than Rachel’s story. I am interested in reading more on the Mau Mau Rebellion.

This is a decent story but I don’t think that I would be reading other books by this author. It’s not a horrible story, I do think many will like it. I’m sorry to say that Leopard at the Door is not my cup of tea.

I received Leopard at the Door from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Hidden People

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The Hidden People by Allison Littlewood

Pretty Lizzie Higgs is gone, burned to death on her own hearth – but was she really a changeling, as her husband insists? Albie Mirralls met his cousin only once, in 1851, within the grand glass arches of the Crystal Palace, but unable to countenance the rumours that surround her murder, he leaves his young wife in London and travels to Halfoak, a village steeped in superstition.

Albie begins to look into Lizzie’s death, but in this place where the old tales hold sway and the ‘Hidden People’ supposedly roam, answers are slippery and further tragedy is just a step away . . .

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Albie Mirralls briefly meets his cousin, Lizzie Higgs, during the 1851 Great Exhibition. There he notes her beautiful voice and quiet demeanor. Years later his father tells him about Lizzie’s death at the hands of her husband. It seems that her husband thought she was a changeling and burned her to death. He is rather upset and becomes obsessed with Lizzie. He travels to Halfoak to figure out what is going on. When he arrives he is appalled that Lizzie has not been buried.

Albie moves into Lizzie’s house while he tries to figure out what is really happening. This is a whole new world from what he knows and how the Hidden People play into this town. Albie’s wife decides to join him and it starts to look like she may be a changeling too. Is Albie falling into the same place with the folk lore of the town and area?

The Hidden People is wrote similar to stories in the 19th century so it gave the story a gothic feel to it. I also liked the attention to detail of the difference in language from London to Halfoak, details like this made the book even better.

I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this story. It kind of dragged and the over whelming amount of detail just made the book slower. I just kept finding myself reading the same paragraph over and over. I even thought about not finishing the book. But I stuck with it and was rewarded in the end. Please don’t take this the wrong way, the book ends well. It was just not one that flowed well for me.

I received The Hidden People from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the book.

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A Light Beyond the Darkness by Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

Fantasy

Date Published: August 16, 2016

In a land not far from your imagination is a clan of Hybrids. This clan will show you great wonders, love beyond time and great adventure. To read about this clan will make you believe in the unknown and open your mind to wonders of your imagination.

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Mikel Wilson and Sherry Gist

Two people from different backgrounds meet and became instant friends. They realized that they were like minded. Others never understood the mind trappings of these two individuals. One day, playing around, they came up with the Hybrid Clan. Henceforth, a stronger friendship and a new book. Hope you all enjoy this book as much as they enjoyed creating it.

Here’s a funny fact for you reader’s out there, Mikel and Sherry meet about 7 years ago and they have been friends every since. They are both very unique individuals and everyone that meets them can plainly see that they have made a lifelong friendship. Mikel, or Kel as a few people like to call him, is a young man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He now makes his home in Sweet Water, Alabama.  Sherry is a lady from a small town known as Meeker, Oklahoma. She calls Crossville, Alabama home now. They are both family oriented. They have lots in common and yet they are different. These two will dazzle and boggle the mind. Together they hope to bring your imagination alive in a whole new way.

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Book

My Review

3 stars

Sherry is an Amazon, but there is more to her. She starts feeling ill and learns from Mikel that she is a hybrid like him. Sherry is part Amazon part vampire. Mikel is part vampire part werewolf. Sherry becomes ill and her best friend Mags, the Amazon, helps her. Sherry is pregnant and Mikel is going to have to save her. Together they have a beautiful little girl that is the prophesized chosen one that has great power and can bring peace to the world. We follow along as the child grows and faces many challenges.

I have to say that I am a little torn on how to review this book. I liked the story, it was put together well and I liked how each part progressed. There were great powers and abilities and lots of adversity to face.

The part I had trouble with was the names. Sometimes Mikel goes by his name and other times Hybrid. Same for Sherry. But the part that got me was the flow of the story was rough. I admit that I could have read a rough draft so with some editing this could easily be fixed.

I think for a first book this one is a little rough. I do think that there could be future books that flow better but I had a hard time reading A Light Beyond the Darkness.

Reading Addiction

I received A Light Beyond the Darkness from Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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