Monday, July 30, 2012

The Magic of Finkleton by KC Hilton

This book returned me to the magic of childhood! Though written for children, can encompass all ages in the way of fairy tales of yore. A magical time when things are not what they seem. Well-written to keep anticipation coming, and flows with mystery and curiosity. An old shopkeeper dies and the village farms of Finkleton are instantly inundated with rain. At the same time a home in another village is struck by lightning and burned. What is happening with the weather?

The home that was destroyed happened to belong to the heir to the old shopkeeper's store and property, and therein lies this delicious story. The displaced family of five arrive in Finkleton and very soon the youngest child makes a mysterious discovery. He keeps it secret but before long his sister, who reads everything readable, learns the secret. But when the weather gets out of control, they must let their older brother know what is happening. Should they tell their parents what they have found? Are there more secrets hidden in the old shop? Is Mother Nature really in charge of the weather?

KC Hilton creates an entire world, not on a different planet, not even in an enchanted forest. No, this is a village surrounded by farms, some very famous and lush farms, in fact the most productive farms and best-tasting produce in the world. But even in such a perfect location, danger can rear its ugly head. I was charmed by this magical adventure and I can tell the next will be exciting, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sydney West by R. McKinsey

A bit of a slow start, I thought, but only at first. Reading into the actual story I realized this was necessary to setting the plot. This is a book unlike any I've read.

A very unusual story, who is this man Sydney West? I almost felt that the author was playing games with the reader, which somehow made me want to learn more. There are a number of clues scattered throughout the book if you take the time to see them for what they are. Otherwise, Sydney West is a complete enigma. Sydney not only marches to a different drummer, his feet take him where he doesn't know he wants to be. I feel I've fallen down the rabbit hole, Sydney is the white rabbit and as Alice would say "Curiouser and curiouser." Who or what is Sydney? No matter the whys and wherefores, I am intrigued. How did he play such a wonderful piece on the piano when he doesn't remember it? How does he know one thing and not another? This is not just a case of amnesia, but perhaps something much darker.

Sydney attends university, has a friend, maybe even a few friends, young people who he meets along the way while trying to figure out why he is there. Who knows if they are truly friends? He is someone he is not, so how can he trust others? This book is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but maybe a tea of a different flavour is good. In my opinion this would be a great book for discussion, for readers looking for something completely different in a mystery, readers who like puzzles, and those who enjoy conspiracy theories. Don't get me wrong, this bizarre book is character-driven and the main character is fascinating. A complicated character, one who we'll be seeing again. Rebecca McKinsey is definitely a storyteller. A challenging and imaginative debut series for this author.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Metatron - The Angel Has Risen by Laurence St. John

Published by Imajin Books

The bane of all youth, having no say in your life; the feeling of not belonging, not smart enough, being too vulnerable, bullied at school; top that off with the ultimate horror of a bullying babysitter, especially when you are 12 years old, and you have much of the life of Tyler Thompson. Add to that the loss of his father a few years earlier and a new "incoming" step-dad in the mix and you have most of the picture.

Life to a twelve-year-old is one immense hurdle, so many changes and conflicts. Many escape to their game systems or computers to play in a fantasy world, but what happens when your life becomes a living video game? Laurence St. John deals with this bewildering age deftly by doing just that, and the result is insightful yet adventurous. Suspending Tyler in the world as we know it and twisting it into a sci-fi adventure complete with mad scientists, an evil "I-want-to-rule-the-world" genius, and surprising superpowers, I found this book to be so real in its characters in the beginning and so surreal later in the book. Yet life lessons are learned, understanding comes to this family, and Tyler's self-confidence glows.

I, a grandmother, thoroughly enjoyed this romp, and I am sure this book will be welcomed and enjoyed by any school-age reader. For myself, it brought back my school years and my dreams of escape; my escape was comic books, and had this been written before game-systems, I'm sure Metatron would have been a comic book hero. Metatron has promised readers more adventures to come and lessons to learn. I think youngsters of all ages will be looking forward to the next adventure. Excellent debut.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Raven's Blood by Deborah Cannon

Published by Trafford Publishing
Part four in this Raven Chronicles series takes the reader to ancient underground passageways in an attempted revival of an ancient dark Mithra cult. Jake Lalonde, half-Haida archaeologist is seeking his own truth of his heredity as a shaman and is caught up in a deadly fight for his survival. He is off the radar as far as his fiancé Angeline is concerned, and concerned she is. She is preparing to go to Europe to find him, his last known whereabouts place him in Rome. She is not aware of the other two people who are following her. Her deep knowledge and perception, of Jake, plus her gut instinct, says he is in trouble. A morbid discovery is found in Israel, when the body of the man Jake is to meet in Rome shows up in the truck that has arrived from Italy to take an iconic statue found at the site in Israel to Rome.

Deborah Cannon has gone deeper than ever in her latest book, mystic, full of twists and turns in plot, labyrinths, hallucinogenic mushrooms, visions, paranormal, Mithraic Mysteries, thrills and chills, if you like unusual mysteries you've found the right book! The action clings to the rails at full-speed. The characters are strong and unique. Deborah's previous books in the series have taken the reader to Tonga, the San Juan Islands in the US, and Haida Gwaii in Canada.

What Angeline learns when she finds Jake terrifies her. He is not himself, and appears to be spellbound by Sophia Saveriano, an archaeologist earlier laughed out of the academic community and now bent on proving her theories with Jake's assistance, but she is unlike anyone Angeline has ever met and seems ethereal. Who or what is she? She is everywhere and nowhere, she's like a will-o'-the-wisp. Who is the man from "Interpol" who followed Angeline and keeps turning up in strange places? What is happening to young men in Rome who disappear? Are the gruesome discoveries related?

The author has outdone herself in a story I couldn't put down. A great read. For anyone interested in Haida lore, ancient mysterious cults, the paranormal and thrillers, this book is for you. I was enthralled from beginning to end. A real winner!

Weird Steffi by Rita Traut Kabeto

Published by IUniverse

This young-adult book is geared to the ages of approximately 13 to 16, a coming of age while attending school in a convent. The story takes place in 1950s Occupied Germany. Stefanie Saurling has three sisters and four brothers in a home that is two full and with a mother who is too busy. It is completely possible to feel lonely in a crowd, and this is how Stefani feels most of the time at home. She looks forward to going to school at the convent as a way of getting away from home and work. She soon learns that she will be working hard though not at home. Some of the girls are rather snobbish, and make fun of her, and of the girl in the next bed, also named Stephanie. This girl goes by the name of Steffi and Stephanie becomes Stef. Steffi is unusual, she is small for her age, is very quiet and timid, and worse yet as far as the teasing goes, has a menagerie of stuffed animals in her bed.

Stef and Steffi, as the odd-ones-out, soon become friends, and have mini-adventures whenever they leave the convent. Steffi has a secret. She sees things, wondrous things like fairies, gnomes, trolls, auras and other magical things, but she also sees the future. Unfortunately, her parents don't believe and think she is delusional. This is her last chance to avoid asylum living. She is also empathic, and feels death among the woodpile in front of the neighbouring house. What can she do? If she says anything, she will be sent to the asylum! She is sure there are two bodies buried there.

The two girls work out several plans and soon have another friend who assists them, a youth from the town. Their frantic search for help, their reliance on Willi, the tight rein of the nuns all culminate into a serious dilemma for the girls. What is the right thing to do? When they learn the word "clairvoyant" and the meaning, their lives turn around and they feel vindicated. This is an interesting and well-written story for young teens. It gives a new take on learning about your peers and what problems they may have in life and that everyone is different in their own way. I found the story enjoyable and it touched memories of feeling an outsider in my life of that age, too.