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review 2017-10-07 16:07
Stargate meets The Neverending Story
A Veil of Shadows: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book II (Volume 2) - Michael W. Garza

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, Michael W. Garza, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a paperback or ebook copy by visiting Amazon. :-)


You might recognize the author's name because I reviewed The Last Shadow Gate just a few months ago. Today I'll be continuing the series with A Veil of Shadows. The reader is reunited with Gavin and his sister Naomi right after they landed in the mystery world on the other side of the Shadow Gate. Our main characters are once again thrust into a divisive society on the brink of war but luckily they manage to find a few allies (one of which might come as no surprise to the reader). The world building continues with diverse characters such as the Treekin who reminded me somewhat of characters in The Neverending Story. If you're looking for a series that is full to the brim with characters, subplots, and moving parts of all kinds then I do believe you've stumbled across just the book for you. For me, it felt like there was just too much happening and the narrative could have been tightened up. While I appreciate the imaginative concepts that went into the creation of these characters and this world I don't think that I'll be continuing the series. Burgeoning fans of epic fantasy will however enjoy this immensely. :-)


What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay


What I'm Currently Reading: Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-01 00:00
One Ghost Too Many!: Ghost Town Detective Agency Book I
One Ghost Too Many!: Ghost Town Detectiv... One Ghost Too Many!: Ghost Town Detective Agency Book I - Michael W. Garza One Ghost Too Many! is the first entry in the Ghost Town Detective Agency series by Gavin M. Garza and Michael W. Garza. It's a simple, fun mystery series aimed at beginning chapter readers. The font is on the larger side, with plenty of room between the lines of text to make it easy to read. The illustrations in One Ghost Too Many! aren't my favorite, but they serve their purpose on the pages. The plot is easy to follow and one that young readers can definitely get into. Who didn't believe in ghosts when they were younger? Add creepy old houses and the gossip mill to it? Yep, spooky stuff is a definite possibility.

What is it about redheads and trouble-making? One has to wonder when that particular association was made. It's no surprise that in the trio that make up the Ghost Town Detective Agency, the one that gets them in over their heads is a spunky little redhead with a temper. The nice part is that she's also a girl. Rosie, Zack, and Chase are normal, inquisitive kids with good hearts. It's a perfect combination when confronted with a mystery like the on they face in One Ghost Too Many.

The dialogue is solid. The word choice is appropriate, with nothing overly challenging to understand. The plot in One Ghost Too Many! moves forward at a steady pace. (I read somewhere that in kids lit, every single sentence should move the story forward. And I think that's true here.) And at 86 pages, it's a story that could be stretched out over a couple of bedtimes, or read in one sitting on a rainy day.

One Ghost Too Many! is a good read, but it lacks that (rather undefinable) quality that makes me think I would pick up more in the series. My young reader had a similar opinion. She enjoyed the story but wasn't interested in reading any more from it. Still One Ghost Too Many! may be a great choice, especially for burgeoning young detectives. That, or little kids who are really really into ghost stories!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author for review consideration.
Read: Feb 6, 2017
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review 2017-03-10 14:19
Tiberius is a pretty cool name for an arachnid
The Last Shadow Gate: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book I - Michael W. Garza

The following book was kindly sent to me by the author, Michael W. Garza, who requested a review. This book is out now and you can get a paperback or ebook copy by visiting Amazon. :-)


The Last Shadow Gate is the first book in The Shadow Gate Chronicles and begins the story of Gavin and Naomi who are agnate siblings (i.e. they have the same father). On the face of things, there is nothing truly remarkable or strange about these two kids...and then they are sent to spend the summer with their great-grandmother. This is when they start to become interested in the mystery revolving around their great-grandfather, Papa Walker. As they delve deeper into what really happened to him they get closer and closer to a danger that will change their lives irrevocably. Without giving too much away, there is a swashbuckling, coming of age adventure mixed with fantastical creatures, political intrigue, and magic wielding. Garza has clearly spent a lot of time on world building and it shows. If you're a fan of books that consist of character names each more wild sounding than the last then you have stumbled onto the right book. I will offer one criticism which is that after the midway point I felt that the writing quality diminished significantly. It felt rushed and not as well thought out as the first half which is a shame as I had started to really get into the narrative by that point. I know that Garza is hard at work on the second installment of the series so I hope that the books continue to show improvement. (Note: I don't want to sound like this was horrifically written because it wasn't. It just became markedly more muddy and repetitive towards the second half.) For middle grade fantasy lovers, this would be a fun book to sink their teeth into this winter (especially if they're into series books which everyone seems to be these days).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-03-04 21:00
ARC Review: The Last Shadow Gate
The Last Shadow Gate: The Shadow Gate Ch... The Last Shadow Gate: The Shadow Gate Chronicles Book I (Volume 1) - Michael W. Garza

I received this book to give an honest review. 

The Last Shadow Gate is actually pretty good and I highly recommend it for the middle graders. There is nothing violent, or cussing it is a clean book. We are introduced to Naomi and Gavin who are half brother and sister. When they have to go to their great grandmother's house for the Summer Naomi isn't too happy while Gavin is just like whatever. He has computer games to keep him busy. Though what they uncover about their great grandfather will open up a whole other world for them. It seems their grandfather disappeared while searching for these Shadow Gates but what awaits them in this new world they have never seen before is something that will have them deciding to either help or go home. It seems that within this other world there is evil that haunts the land. Azzmon is wanting to rule not only his land but the world that Gavin and Naomi came from. Though those two have no clue really what they have gotten themselves into.


To get help they will find friendship in different creatures, different islands that can be dangerous, and find the answers that lay within the journals of their grandfather. At the end of the book the two kids find themselves somewhere else and being asked where does their loyalty lie it seems that maybe they are going to have help to get rid of Azzmon as his power stretches pretty far.

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review 2016-09-17 13:18
ARC Review: Season of Decay
Season Of Decay (The Decaying World Saga Book 2) - Michael W. Garza

I received an ARC to give my honest opinion.


We pick up where book one left off. With this one I have to say it seems that now Mia has a lot on her plate now. After those that have been rescued she along with the other tribe members have to keep everyone alive and especially with the horde of zombies and infected headed their way. Mia is completely just exhausted with it all. 

She is fighting feelings for both Asher and Rowan but you know in the back of your head you can't help but want her to be with Rowan though at the end of the story you wonder if that can even happen after what happens when he goes to find the nexus.

 There is plenty of action all through out the story. Even a character we might not have thought to come back into play does and he is way different. This is someone I don't think we want out and about with the zombies. Though I want to know his end game with it all. We see how Mia makes the decision to get her people all of them to a safe place but in the end will it really be safer? I really enjoyed the characters and how they never gave up even the young teens who named themselves the Knights of Rowan. They stood with Mia and wanted to protect her no matter where she went. 

As far as zombies go I have to say the way the author describes them and the infected is just gruesome cool. I really love how these zombies especially the infected are just not easy to fight it makes it more interesting especially when those fighting them don't always aim right for the head. 

I want to read the next book in this series. I want to know where it is going to go especially with the nexus, this hybrid zombie/infected, to even what is going to happen to Rowan.

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