D. E. M. (Deus Ex Machina) by Lee Ness

D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina by Lee Ness

No good turn goes unpunished!

When Rachel is spurred to use her computing skills to find an abducted boy, she has no idea that it will bring her to the attention of an anonymous vigilante. Is the vigilante what he seems and what does he want with Rachel? As she gets drawn deeper into his world she tries to find out more about him only to put herself and her friends in grave danger. When she finally realises that he isn’t a vigilante at all, Rachel is in a race against time to save her friends and prevent him from escalating the war between Israel and Palestine.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised is the way to describe my reaction to this book. Although I am not a huge fan of political thrillers and have limited knowledge when it comes to computer operations, this book offered a lot more than that to the general reader.

The author wastes no time creating an interesting situation for the main character and pulling the reader into the story. From the beginning I could identify with the main character, although we don’t learn much about her until later in the book.

I thought her background and the way the author connected it to the story was really well planned and I liked all of the unexpected twists in this story. Try as you might, you won’t be able to figure this one out until the very end.

The descriptions of the procedures the hackers used were interesting and kept me wanting to find out more, and the relationships between the characters grew more intense throughout the story. This is the kind of book where you are never sure who to trust and that makes in an exciting journey.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and would encourage other readers to give it a try.

About the author:

“I was originally a non-fiction author, having written two sports books (The Sports Motivation Master Plan and Growth: Using the Mindset Model for Sporting Success). But once I had the writing bug, I had to write a novel. The first one I created in my head while driving a very slow mini-bus full of athletes to and from a competition. After 5 hours driving, I had the basic plots for a series of novels about a future Olympian in ancient Greece. I wrote the first of these, Hoplite over the next year or so, but I wisely decided not to publish. I didn’t have the skill at that point and the book wouldn’t have been ready. I edited about 7 times and removed the first 8 chapters.
While I was deciding what to do, I wrote a short story. I enjoyed the story so much, and the two characters in it, I decided to turn that into a full novel and the short story became chapter 1. With what I’d learned from writing and editing the first book, I felt a lot better. It still needed some serious editing and I made a few mistakes originally, but I think the book is much more polished and has a great pace (in my opinion!)
So became D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina. It came from the short story, which in turn came from a piece of advice given to me long ago as a young manager “No good deed goes unpunished!” Additionally, I just loved the term Deus Ex Machina. So three separate things came together and the story is where they intersect.
Writing D.E.M. has helped me rewrite the original novel, which I’m releasing in 6 parts on e-book over the course of 2015 and on paperback in December. I’ve written the follow up to Hoplite, which I’m just finishing the final chapters on now, and then I have the full plot for D.E.M. – Quid Pro Quo. I’ve given myself the target of releasing that one on 01/01/16, which will be a challenge, but people who’ve read the first one keep asking me for the second, so I can’t let anyone down.”

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

The BooksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Shereads.org summer pick. To find out more about all the amazing things she reads does, please take a moment to visit. Shereads


The Bookseller

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

The idea behind this story is a fantastic one, but in some places I wasn’t so certain of the execution. Whilst Kitty/Katharyne were both interesting facets of the same base personality, I found that I liked one of them but not the other.

Kitty was the kind of character that it is easy to support and was open to the audience to get to know better and to share in frustrations with. Katharyne was the exact opposite. She was reserved, closed-off even. We spend much of the novel thinking one thing and begin to find out about two-thirds of the way through that all is not as it seems. This was an interesting twist and very rewarding for me as a reader, but it also made me question what I knew of the character previously, leaving me feeling as if I were on shaky ground.

I liked the way the author incorporated the famous books of days gone by in this story, and honestly I had expected it to be a bit more about her life as a bookseller but it didn’t turn out that way.

The relationships in this book are unusual in that they aren’t clearly defined from the beginning. Whilst one side of the main character’s life allows her to grow and make some very important discoveries, the other side falters and leaves her seeming less complete.

This was certainly an outside the box kind of book that will make you think. Overall, I’m still not a hundred percent sure what to think, but I can say, I believe it is worthy of a read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through the Shereads.org blog network. All opinions are my own.

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Win a really fun Prize courtesy of Disney!

Note: All samples and prizes provided through Disney Publishing

Please read to the bottom for how to enter to win a prize pack:)

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

About the Book:

Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task…until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It’s a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby’s audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

Elise Allen

About the Authors:

Emmy-nominated writer and New York Times best-selling author Elise Allen made a name for herself with her acclaimed young adult novel Populazzi (Harcourt), and the Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters chapter books (Bloomsbury). In television, she has written for talent ranging from Bill Cosby to Kermit the Frog, and is currently writing for the new Disney Junior show The Lion Guard. Her dog may or may not secretly be from another planet.

Daryle Conners

Daryle Conners is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and video game designer. She writes joke and riddle books and has designed many game titles for the PC and iPhone/iPad including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scene It? Harry Potter, Hot Wheels Slot Car Racers, and Scene It? Twilight Saga. Her non-fiction books include Lunchtime LOLZ, Nintendo DS Hot Tips, ROFLs,Video Game Secrets and Monster High Jokes, all for Scholastic. Daryle lives in Seattle, where she still babysits from time to time.

READ AN EXCERPT

http://www.bighonchomedia.com/assets/Disney/Gabby/GabbyDuranExcerpt.pdf

LEARN MORE

Learn more at the Official Site

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#GabbyDuran

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Indiebound

Chapters

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 My Review
Gabby Duran and the UnsittablesGabby Duran and the Unsittables by Elise Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have decided that I am in the wrong business and Gabby Duran has the job that I want!

I loved this book–it made me giggle all the way through. I am a huge fan of middle-grade fiction. I love the fantastic story lines and the fun events that adult books just can’t quite pull off. This book is the epitome of everything a good mid-grade book should be.

Gabby Duran is a wonderful character that kids will have no trouble relating to. She is smart, sly and compassionate. One of my favourite things about this book was Gabby’s obvious affection for all the little kids (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial,) that she sat for. She is a good role model for patience and acceptance of those who are a bit different.

This is filled with the fun kind of danger that will keep young readers on their toes and wanting to turn pages. I loved the shape-shifting alien and the silly humour. This book doesn’t have any gross-out humour, so parents can feel good about their kids reading it. The authors took enough liberties with reality to make it fun, but not so many that you can’t follow the story. I am really looking forward to seeing where else Gabby goes and what adventures await her.

If you are looking for a book for a special child in your life, this would be a perfect choice. Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, Disney Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Prize Pack!

COOLEST BABYSITTER IN THE GALAXY prize pack

One (1) winner receives:

· a copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

· and branded Tumbler and UFO light-up flyer.

All you have to do is share this post with your favorite social media outlet–and leave a comment to let me know you did. One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday the 16th of May. Open to US residents only.

Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey

Everywhere the Road Ends (The Traveler of Ord #2)Everywhere the Road Ends by Scott McCloskey

Bullied at prep-school and unappreciated at home, all young Theodore Ellsworth wanted was to be like the heroes in his favorite fantasy tales. Whisked away to the Gossamer City and chosen to embark on a quest to save a kingdom, he thought he’d have his chance.

He was wrong.

Left for dead in a place where malicious spirits feast on the living, Theo has only just begun to learn that glory comes at a price. With his new friends fighting for their lives, Theo is thrown off course and embroiled in a murder mystery that must be solved before he can save his little sister from a gruesome fate. A crackpot inventor and a pure-hearted young knight are on the job, but Theo already knows the killer. He sees the Beast of Calharik every night, when he looks down in terror at his own bloodied hands.

Set against a backdrop of steam-powered robots, tall ships, and a seaside populace at the mercy of the rich, Everywhere the Road Ends picks up the action right where The Goldenwealth Light left off. Get ready for another exotic trip to the World of Ord, complete with new faces, twice the nail-biting action, and hours of page turning adventure!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all–this is a beautiful cover. Caught my eye right away and made me want to read the book.

Secondly, one can count on Scott McCloskey to write books that will capture your attention and demand all of it until the very last page. This book reinforced that belief.

If you enjoy novels with quirky characters that you remember long after reading, this will be an epic fantasy series that you don’t want to miss out on. Just as in the first book, I was delighted by the big personalities and the unexpected events. This time around, the author expanded his cast of characters and the journey took the readers to new places. As with the previous book, the author’s descriptions are fantastic and make you feel as if you are right there, in the scene with the characters.

I really enjoyed the dialogue in this book. The author does a good job of ensuring that his character’s actions and speech match the personalities we have come to expect from them and I never felt like the conversations were forced. There is humour where it is called for and you can see the characters change and grow as they learn throughout the story.

I am really excited to see where the author goes after this. A great book, certainly worthy of a recommendation.

Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert

Siren's Call (Dark Seas)Siren’s Call by Debbie Herbert

Lily Borsage is the ultimate siren: gorgeous, aloof and irresistible to all the men in Bayou La Siryna. All of them, that is, until Nashoba Bowman comes back to town. The Native American kid whose innocent first kiss Lily remembers fondly is now all grown-up, hot as an Alabama summer and immune to Lily’s charms. What self-respecting mermaid could resist finding out more?

But Nash has a dark history that puts any woman he loves in grave danger, and a heritage of power he isn’t ready to accept. And Lily has a secret that no mortal man can ever know. When a mysterious enemy starts menacing Lily, they will both have to risk everything and embrace their deepest destinies if they want to survive.


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Debbie Herbert has done it again, bringing her readers the magic of attraction and romance tinged with danger and the unknown.

Love this book. Just like the others in this series, this novel is filled with things that will make you swoon–most especially the male lead. Of the three books I have read in this series, this one is my favourite. It was nice to get updates on the lives of previously featured characters, and I really felt like the author tied everything together in this novel.

Debbie Herbert is really good at building unique situations for her characters and creating the kind of chemistry between them that you want to see in a romance. Her couples feel really genuine and the story line feels very natural and not contrived.

It is easy to become swiftly involved in these stories and find yourself lost in the lives of these women. The setting was as beautiful and mysterious as the rest of the series, and makes you wonder if there just might really be mermaids in the Bayou.

This was a great novel, and one that I happily recommend. If you are looking for a story that has more than just a simple romance, this is the way to go.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

Summer on Lover’s Island by Donna Alward (Jewell Cove # 3)

Summer on Lovers' Island (Jewell Cove, #3)

Summer on Lovers’ Island (Jewell Cove #3)


Lizzie Howard’s life is close to perfect, until her father’s death brings her world crashing down around her. With her reputation and heart in tatters, she reluctantly agrees to temporarily take over her best friend’s practice in scenic Jewell Cove, Maine—a position that’s a world away from the high pressure career she once loved.

Josh Collins is no stranger to pain. After losing his wife, he moved home looking to start over. One of two doctors at the town clinic, his sleepy coastal practice is just what he needed. Until Lizzie Howard arrives. Lizzie is everything Josh wanted to get away from: brash, ambitious and not interested in a quiet life in a quiet town. But as the sparks fly between these two doctors, they realize that sometimes opposites really do attract.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am always amazed when I start reading a Donna Alward story at just how good she is at capturing the special moments and conflicts in ordinary life–and yet making them feel extraordinary.

Feasibly, I think you could read this book as a standalone and it would still make sense and be enjoyable–but I would recommend you read the rest of the series first. Not because you have to–just because you can. When was the last time you turned down an amazing opportunity to relax and just have a good time?

Character growth and development is important to me as a fan of series books, and you get that here. Characters from the original book are caught up with in this story,and some that we only met in supporting roles now take the floor.

I like romance that has depth–the kind of relationship between two characters that makes you want to see them succeed regardless of the odds against them. This author knows how to create the perfect mix of tension and longing to make her couples stand out from the crowd and feel realistic. They have families and problems just like the rest of us and have to try hard to blend their lives together as real people do. The forethought that goes into these books must be immense, as the results are fantastic.

Donna Alward has brought her readers another reason to love Jewell Cove and its residents. If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber or RaeAnne Thayne, you will certainly want to check out the work of Donna Alward. Small town setting, big writing talent.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Every Breath You Take by Bianca Sloane

Every Breath You TakeEvery Breath You Take by Bianca Sloane

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Natalie Scott goes jogging along Chicago’s lakefront. She likes foreign films, cinnamon gum and strawberry yogurt. She smells like sunflowers in the summer and roses in the winter.

These are just a few of the things Natalie’s stalker knows about her.

In fact, he knows everything about her.

In one brutal act of violence, Natalie’s stalker will reveal himself to her, imprisoning her in the process, determined to own her body and soul. Now trapped in a madman’s web, Natalie finds herself in a terrifying battle of wills where the only way to survive is to beat the monster at his own game…

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I look forward to new Bianca Sloane novels for a lot of reasons, but mostly it is her incredible ability to create plot twists that the reader never expects.

“Every Breath You Take” is a perfect title for this book. The author has not only shown us what it is like to be stalked, tortured and desperate, but has given us a more in-depth look at the world of serious psychiatric disorders and the darker side of obsession.

The main character in this story has been through a lot, and yet remains strong and even likeable all the way through the book. I could easily identify with her desire to be free of burdens from the past and want to start anew, and I found my own emotions following that of the character through each event in the book.

I was particularly impressed with the dynamic between kidnapper and kidnapped. Watching the main character gain understanding of her captor and how to use his own desires against him was interesting and kept me on edge.

Once you start reading this book, you won’t want to stop. I found it hard to put this novel down and do much of anything else. This story is quickly paced, intelligent and has the kind of characters that it is easy to love (and hate.)

If you are looking for a good book to take you away from everything, this is one you can get lost in.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft–and a chance to win a great book

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for a link to the Rafflecopter giveaway of a Landmark fiction prize pack, for your chance to win

ABOUT THE FAR END OF HAPPY:

The Far End of Happy is a powerful new novel based on author Kathryn Craft’s personal experience with a stand-off involving her husband.  Here Craft delivers “real, raw emotion” (Library Journal) exploring a marriage unraveled by mental illness; and one man’s spiral towards a violent conclusion that tests the courage, love, and hope of the three women he leaves behind.

When the emotionally troubled Jeff engages police in a deadly stand-off, his wife, mother-in-law, and mother struggle to understand why the man they love has turned his back on the life they have given him, the one they all believe is still worth living.

“Framing the novel within a 12-hour period keeps the pages turning (Library Journal).” Narrating from the alternating perspectives of three women, whose lives will be forever altered by Jeff Farnham, gives an intimate look at the steps a woman will take to get the help her husband so urgently needs while desperately trying to keep her children safe.

The Far End of HappyThe Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m going to write this review beginning with a confession. When I began reading this book I had not read that it was based on a true life event. Would it have changed the way I felt about it? Perhaps.

Since I did not know until after I read this that it was based on experiences from the author, I am going to write the review as I would have if I had not learned that information, with one minor exception–I now know how the author managed to make the feelings of pain and uncertainty so real in this story, and I applaud her for putting into words what only time and reflection will allow us to examine.

Now on to the review.

This is a powerful, painful, shocking, realistic and at times difficult to keep reading piece of literature. The author really knows how to express the pain that suicide and mental health issues, especially depression, inflict on the family members around the victim.

The thoughtful prose and highly quotable phrases in this novel are not few and far between. This is a book that will make you wonder how lucky you are to be you in this moment, make you think about the people you know ho have not been so lucky and make you realise that your problems may be small in comparison.

This isn’t a book that I would recommend to everyone. Although I do not see this as a selfish attempt from the author, but more part of a healing process for herself and her family, I also think that it is a highly personal sort of story. It is intense and as stated above, emotionally difficult.

It was a hell of a book, for the better or worse.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

The Faerie TreeThe Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

How can a memory so vivid be wrong?

I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
“Why do people do this?” Izzie asked.
I winked at her. “To say thank you to the fairies.”

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?

With strong themes of paganism, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cable’s first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love books that can manage a bit of magic and still seem so real. This is definitely one of those stories that makes you believe in the power of love.

I think what made me like this novel more than anything else, was the way the characters mirrored real people. The conversations didn’t feel forced and I saw multiple sides of each character so by the end it was like I had known them forever. There were times during this story when I was surprised by the level of emotion the male lead character showed, and that was a nice change. Some authors seem to be afraid to show any weakness in their main character and that makes me feel like I can’t get close to them, but in this story, that was not the case.

When I began reading this I sort of expected it to be an overdose of magic realism as that seems to be a trend, but by the end of the first couple chapters I was pleasantly surprised that this is a very realistic story. The magic comes from people and their relationships with one another, rather than a wand or an incantation.

This author makes you believe what you are reading and wonder what happened to the characters after her stories are complete.

I really Enjoy Jane Cable’s writing. She takes the time to let her story develop, has memorable characters, and knows how to build suspense and curiosity in her readers.

Overall, this was a great book that I happily recommend to other readers.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Read an excerpt from Windemere! Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue Now Available

Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue

Find it on Amazon.com

Read an excerpt from the book below

“The room is comfortably warm due to the sunlight passing through the glass dome that acts as a ceiling. Tropical plants cover the edge of the room, which has soft grass growing out of the spongy floor. A gentle rain falls out of the ceiling and onto the foliage, giving the air a crisp freshness that invigorates the wildlife. Peacocks and peahens strut around the room, the males brandishing their colorful plumage when Kira arrives with her guests. An albino peacock stands by a low table and hops into the heiress’s lap when she sits on the lush grass. A gracious wave of her hand is all she does to get Sari and Luke to join her on the floor. With a cordial cough, she redirects her fiancée to sit at the head of the table, placing him between the two women.

“I didn’t realize the peacock room would have actual peacocks,” Sari admits, reaching out to a nearby bird. The animal pecks at her fingers and disappears into the surrounding plants. “This place seems kind of restrictive for them. Poor things must miss flying in the fresh air.”

“There are hatches in the walls that they use to get into the outside garden. Our peacocks are trained to stay within the manor grounds. You would have seen them already if you were awake when my father’s men brought you here,” Kira replies as she strokes the ivory feathers of the beautiful bird in her lap. She reaches out to pour a cup of coffee for the gypsy and slides it across the table. “So we finally meet, Sari. I can say that I’m not disappointed in your beauty. I’ve also heard stories of your victories and public displays with Luke.”

“Thank you. You’re more gorgeous and elegant than I expected,” the gypsy replies with a genuine smile. She takes a sip of the strong drink, which makes her shudder. “Luke and I have been trying to keep things platonic lately. Knowing that we were coming to Bor’daruk, we thought it best to tone it down until we speak with you.”

“Am I supposed to say something during this meeting?” Luke asks as he unstraps his sabers and places them on the grass.

“You can say whatever you want, lover,” Kira replies, emphasizing the last word. She takes a sip of coffee and passes the drink to the half-elf, making sure he notices the lipstick marks on the edge. “This is going to be awkward. Traditionally, we discuss this prior to the interested parties doing whatever it is they wish to do. I’m assuming you’ve done everything with Luke that I’ve done, so this is going to be more of a . . . review.”