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review 2017-04-05 03:33
A Change of Heart - A Review

Urban fantasy is not my usual go-to genre, but tempt me with vampires and I can be convinced to give one a try.  The bonus is that the vampires in this one are bloody and brutal – just the way I like ‘em.

 
A CHANGE OF HEART by Mark Benjamin
 
Gabriel Harper could be the poster boy for the fellow they kick sand on at the beach.  Smart and nice doesn’t always cut it and the bullies soon found he was an easy mark for their fun.  Escaping from one such attack by diving behind a dumpster Gabriel never thought it would change his entire world.  That’s where he came across the dying Lucas, one of “The Royals” in the vampire community.  Lucas had never procreated but with his dying gasp he decided to turn Gabriel.
 
Alone and not knowing what was happening to him Gabriel navigates, with the help of a strange voice in his head, what it takes to be a vampire and the reader is introduced to a very unique world of vampires and the Silver Legionnaires – those who hunt them.
 
When Gabriel and three of his friends are unexpectedly yanked from their everyday lives and into the fortress of the Legionnaires life becomes very uncomfortable for Gabriel.  Although he is a “hybrid” no one knows his secret, so how does a new vampire live among those determined to eradicate them.  As the story progresses the reader realizes that things are not happy in either camp and, while each community is determined to rid themselves of the other, a little extra spice was added because each community also had traitors within their midst.  Would the vampires and the Legionnaires destroy each other or would they be destroyed from within?
 
This was a fairly lengthy book and just as I thought things could be moving ahead at a little faster pace Mr. Benjamin threw in a twist I was certainly not expecting.  Well done as it certainly gave me my second wind.
 
This book starts out with a bang.  Mr. Benjamin definitely drops you right into the middle of the action and then just as you feel you need to catch your breath he the reader back to the norm … Gabriel’s world as a college student.  From that point on the book follows a pretty straightforward time-line.  While the book is written in the third person each short chapter is headed with the name of the character that the chapter features.  I have no problem reading in this manner but the book has an overabundance of characters to keep straight and, rather than helping, the chapter headings seemed to make it more difficult to keep the minor characters straight.
 
I did enjoy this book.  It was, in my opinion, a very original take on the vampire tale while still staying true to the nature of the beast.  It also gave me a vampire protagonist I couldn’t help but like without making him too “twilighty”.  I did feel that some of the characters had rather juvenile reactions to certain situations considering their twenty-something age bracket but this is book one in “The Royal Blood Chronicles” so I am going to assume the characters mature as the series progresses.  I am also going to assume that I received an ARC because the book could have benefited from a last fine-tooth-comb edit.
 
I would definitely pick up the next one because I am curious as to where the story is going to go.
4-Stars for this one.
 
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the book at no charge to read and review.  This in no way influenced my opinion.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his amazon author page
 
Mark Benjamin is the author of two books - one, in an adult urban fantasy series, The Royal Blood Chronicles; and the second, a short story. Devouring all books he could get his hands on from an early age, he managed to ruin his eyesight by reading (when he should have been asleep) under his bedcovers with a torch (video games had no say in his bad eyesight...okay, maybe a little). His love of books translated to a passion for writing, which he began aged ten (he still has his first juvenile novel to this day). Currently working for a national bank, his dream job is to be a full-time author, a path he fully took when he sent a sample of his work to a ten-week introductory fiction course funded by an American foundation and conducted worldwide in 2010. Out of the 15 available slots, one was his out of hundreds of thousands of applicants (okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but it was advertised in the national dailies). When not writing his third book or planning literary world domination, Mark enjoys spending time with his wife, entertaining his under one-year old daughter, playing on his Playstation (AnnA) and reading (obviously).
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review 2017-04-01 21:28
Uncle John's Factastic Bathroom Reader - A Review

I was introduced to Uncle John when I received one of the books as a Christmas gift with the inscription “Because it’s probably the only room where you don’t read”.  Hahaha … if only she knew.  What?  No! No!  Think bubble bath!

 
UNCLE JOHN’S FACTASTIC BATHROOM READER by the Bathroom Readers Institute
 
These are not the kind of books that you sit down and read in one or two sessions.  They usually come in at 500+ pages crammed full of facts, trivia, odd news and all kinds of other things that absolutely boggle the mind.
 
This entry into the series is no exception.  I can’t seem to ever be without a book within arm’s reach and this is perfect book to have close by to flip through during commercial breaks, on your kindle when waiting for an appointment or, of course, in the bathroom. 
 
I'd like to thank Printers Row Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy of this book at no charge
 
 
 
ABOUT THE “AUTHOR” (from the web site)
 
 
 
It was 1987. Uncle John found himself stranded on his throne with nothing to read. That’s when he came up with the idea to launch a series of trivia books specifically tailored toward his fellow bathroom readers. “Every article must be simple to read,” he told us, “and every page must either have an amazing fact or a good laugh—or both.” And with that, the Bathroom Readers’ Institute was born.
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text 2016-06-10 21:47
I Got Mail!

I've been away from Booklikes for a little while and am very glad to see it and everyone else is still here.  :-)  I'm going to try and catch up on as many posts as possible but just 'cause I didn't hit "like" doesn't mean I don't care ... I just haven't been around.

 

I've been involved in some non-book-related work (boo!) projects and although I've been reading as usual I have been very highly UNmotivated to write reviews.  Of course, that means I am even further behind than usual in that department.

 

The other projects are mostly wrapped up now and I need to get to posting some reviews, so I'm going to tackle my NG stuff first and then go from there.  There might be some "two-fers" or even "three-fers" coming up, so be fore warned.

 

Getting a first reads book package in the mail is always a good motivator!  

 

Even though I knew it was on its way it is always so great to receive a book package in the mail.  I'm one lucky lady because I was selected to be a "first reader" for this book - "The Good Sister" by Chelsea Bolan.

 

It came with a lovely bouquet of flowers tied to it with a blue ribbon.  I can hardly wait to see if those have any significance to the story?  And, an HCC mug (YAY!! ... 'cause I'm a little bit of a crazy collector when it comes to mugs)

 

Not only is it special to receive a book to review, but once again a well deserved shout out to the marketing team for making it even more special with the "extras"

 

Thank you to Harper Collins!

 

 

So now I've got my book!  I've got my coffee and a mug to put it in!

 

My Sunday is "Booked"! Sorry, couldn't resist.

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review 2016-04-29 21:23
The Ghost Fields - A Review

THE GHOST FIELDS by Elly Griffiths

Land developers are excavating a “ghost field” – what they call the abandoned WWII airstrips – when they come across a body in one of the left behind planes.  Thinking, of course, that it was a fighter pilot they call in Ruth Galloway, forensic anthropologist and, our main character.  Ruth quickly determines that it could not be the pilot as this was a more recently deceased person, so who was seated in the cockpit?  DNA tests reveal that it is the body of a local aristocrat but that only adds to the mystery as he had disappeared during the war and was not seen or heard from again.
 
Ruth and DCI Nelson have their own history (he is the father of her daughter … long story) so, as usual, things are tense between them.  While they are busy trying to solve the airplane mystery Nelson’s wife has a little adventure of her own.  Does this mean that the detective and Ruth may finally end up together?  Yet to be seen.
 
This is the seventh entry in this series and, for me, was unfortunately the weakest to date.  Despite some interesting history, the side story involving Nelson’s wife and Ms. Griffiths always vivid description of the bleak Norfolk landscape this book did not hold my attention in the same way as its predecessors.  Fans of the series will still enjoy it and I am glad I read it, but this is not one to rave about.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her Amazon Author page)
 
Elly Griffiths was born in London in 1963. Her first crime novel The Crossing Places is set on the Norfolk coast where she spent holidays as a child and where her aunt still lives. Her interest in archaeology comes from her husband, Andrew, who gave up his city job to retrain as an archaeologist. She lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England, with her husband and two children.
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review 2016-04-20 21:23
My Mad Fat Diary - A Review

MY MAD FAT DIARY by Rae Earl

 
Most people would be mortified if someone read their diary – especially their teenage years diary.
 
Rae Earl has published hers.
 
Granted, at one point in her life she wanted to burn it on the barbecue and they are now 25+ years old, but some of the issues are still relevant today.  Give this book to teenagers and hope it becomes a jumping point for some important conversation.
 
When Ms. Earl began writing in her diary she was 17 years old, attending a private secondary school on a “scholarship scheme” tuition grant and recently released from a psychiatric ward.  Even she admits that some of the aspects of her life would make people call “bullsh**” but with the exception of some editing (to protect the innocent) this is her diary.
 
Rae had three pretty basic goals as a teenager; complete her A-levels, lose weight and find someone who would love her (translate that into “lose her virginity”), not necessarily in that order.  The two strongest desires were to lose weight and stop being a “cow” and to acquire a boyfriend.  Even Rae admitted that neither of these was likely to happen.  In Rae’s own words “Frankly, to use late 1980’s terminology, I was gagging for it.  Like most teenagers, I was desperate to lose my virginity.  However, I already had a lover that made me look pregnant but actually ensured that I would never, ever become a teenage pregnancy statistic; Food.”
 
Rae Earl circa 1989
In many ways this was a difficult book to read.  Obvious from her “forward” in the book, Ms. Earl has a sense of humor now and after reading “My Mad Fat Diary” it’s also clear she had one then … some of the things she writes are very funny.  However, overall I found the diary very sad, what might be typical teenage issues made worse by budding OCD and obvious issues with food that were often difficult to read about.  As each page turned I also had a growing concern about the monumental consumption of alcohol that seemed very commonplace amongst her group of friends.  Even her “Mum” did not have issues with her heading out to the pub every night.  (I did!)  I also wish teenaged Rae had been able to step outside herself long enough to give “Ryan, the RAF groper” a second look.  I hate to make the comparison, but My Mad Fat Diary could be described as a non-fiction “Duff”.
 
As I am formulating this review I find it difficult to type the words “I enjoyed this book” because it seems wrong.  I am glad I read it and I understand that the next year of her journal has also been published as “My Madder Fatter Diary”.  I came to care enough about Rae and her friends to want to pick it up.
 
This book was originally published in 2007 and I was unaware that in 2013 became a hit television series starring Sharon Rooney.  As I reached the halfway point in the book I kept thinking that it should be made into a movie.
 
I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from The Telegraph)
 
 
Rae Earl is an English writer and broadcaster.  Born in Stamford, United Kingdom she now resides in Hobart Australia with her husband, Kevin and their children.
 
“Digging out nine battered old red school exercise books, and some scrawled Filofax pages, Earl shows me her actual diaries, started in 1989 and continuing into the 1990s. There’s disturbing stuff in here about bullying, obesity and mental illness. But there’s also a typical teenage girl’s lust for love, life and boys, and the sharp writing and spirited attitude make for an uplifting read. ‘Black humour was my saviour. I was very aware I had to find a way to cope with my head,’ says Earl. The diaries proved the perfect strategy.”
 
 
 
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