Tightrope Walker by Shaun Hume

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Hetta is a Tightrope Walker. A leader of armies. She has been one all her life. But Hetta has just turned thirteen, and there has never been a thirteen year old Tightrope Walker. Ever. Is she too old to do her duty? Is she too old to walk upon the field of battle and survive?

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I do not know what it is about Shaun Hume’s books that draw me in like crazy. I just love his writing style, and it seems that no matter what he chooses to write about, I just cannot put the book down until I finish it. The feeling was the same with the first one that I read, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. That one earned the very first grade of 10/10. What about this one?

We follow Hetta who is a Tightrope Walker. It is quite a funny title when we think of it, but no, she does not walk on a thin rope in-between buildings. She is actually a commander of an army. This is when the Tightrope Walker actually materializes and comes into play. The title was never meant to be taken literally but figuratively. She does walk a thin line, but she walks that line on the battlefield and in her life. Let us talk about the former for a second.

As you have read in the description, Hetta is only thirteen years old, but with the gift that she has she is feared all around. Imagine being thirteen years old and have everyone run away or hide from you. And at the end of the day, it is not even your own fault that you are gifted. That is basically what Hetta has to go through on a daily basis and it is captured beautifully in the book. Although she is a very strong character, we can feel the struggle within. She is at the age when people make the jump from childhood into their teens. Hetta does not have that. The one thing that she does have, however, is The General.

The General stood with Hetta and fought beside her on the battlefield. He was the only one that managed to look beyond her being a Tightrope Walker, and he managed to see that she was still just a kid. Later in the book, there comes a moment when he explains everything to her, and addresses the issues she did not want to talk about. He is the one that gives a jumpstart to her mental growth, and with that, she finally steps into the shoes of the real world. The world that is full of self-doubt that you have to deal with.

In all honesty, the book did drag at certain parts. With that I mean that some parts could have been left out, as they did not influence the story too much. Other than that the book is a must read. Especially with the cliffhanger waiting for you at the end.

Book recommendation: 9/10

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Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators by Elizabeth M. Herrera

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Kindle: $6.09
Paperback: $12.95

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This daring adventure begins with the fallen angel Bechard somberly observing the world’s natural resources being destroyed by mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference. Realizing drastic measures are needed, he searches for people who might join his quest to protect the planet before it’s too late. The fallen angel finds the 17-year-old, big-hearted Zachary, who had hoped to take over the family’s organic farm until fracking ruined their water supply, and Billy White Smoke, a mysterious Native American who is the young man’s mentor. Bechard also discovers Haruto, a courageous woman and spiritual healer living in Fukushima, Japan, who wants to fix the nuclear meltdown that is raging out of control; Mahakanta, a cotton farmer in India, who commits suicide after his GMO crops failed; an Amazonian tribal shaman and his beautiful daughter, Conchita, who are fighting against intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and the Bear Claw First Nation tribe members who are dealing with an unstoppable oil spill that is ruining their traditional hunting grounds. Blue doors and ethereal mists beckon the characters to a spirit realm where they meet the mastermind Bechard and form an alliance. Together, they use supernatural powers to grab the world’s attention, demanding that the world’s leaders implement the changes…or else. But as the events unfold and governments retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives, fight for their lives and listen to their hearts. 

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PSA: This review was scheduled prior to the natural disaster in the US. It was in no way chosen to rub it in people’s face. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those, who lost their homes, and to those, who lost even more than that. 

Elizabeth M. Herrera, yet again, strikes with an unbelievable story. Just like the previous book I reviewed (Dreams of Heaven), this one deals with the spirit world too. Although, not quite in the same way. Let us get to it.

Warning: This will not be your usual “cover all the details in the story” review.

The book deals with corruption and destruction of our environment, our world. The destruction that, in the end, leads to natural disasters. The first few chapters in the book are used to provide different points of view from different people. Whether it be native tribes or business men, buying their shares of forests to ruin.

The author then switches the view-point and focuses it on, what we could call, the spirit of our world. The spirit that oversees everything and manages to connect the people, who will fight to save the world around them. Not for money, but for themselves and the future generations. The same people who lost everything, because others did not care about them. Does it sound awfully familiar to what we are experiencing in our world right now? I will not go into more detail regarding the story, because you need to pick it up and read it for yourself. The ending is superb.

What I want to do in this review, however, is raise a few questions, and I want each and every one of you to answer them to yourself.

Who have we become? Why are we willing to sell our souls for a few glorified papers that we call “money”? Why are we destroying not only our world, but the world of future generations? Believe it or not, but we are here only for a fraction of a moment. In that fraction of a moment, we can make a difference. We can influence others. Not with money, but with good deeds. Help each other. Nothing else will ever matter. There is no amount of money in this world that you can trade to live another life. If you do not believe me, ask Steve Jobs.

The reason I cut this review short, and in the end, it is basically not even a review anymore, is because this blog does not deserve it. This book is not something you can review, because it speaks to you on a higher level. I could go on blabbing about how corruption is bad and whatever, but what would be the point? Read the book. Let it influence you, and make your own review, in your head. Share that review. Share the idea.

Book recommendation: 10/10

The Adventures of JoJo Smith by Tony Leslie Duxbury

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Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Paperback: US$9.88 (free shipping)

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This a tongue-in-cheek fantasy tale about a young man who, through no fault of his own, is transported to a medieval world. Scared witless, all he wants is to be sent home. Considered harmless, he is ignored. Deciding to take things into his own hands, he hits on the idea of making a revolution to gain his ends. Recruiting some unlikely helpers, he forms a plan and puts it into action. Of course, things go wrong from the start, but they win through in the end.

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We follow a story of a guy named JoJo, who ends up in the medieval times due to an ancient spell. The wizard, who conjured the spell, has no idea what happened and neither does our protagonist. To make things even worse, he does not want to send JoJo back to his own world, because he has yet to translate the remainder of the spell and he has much more important business to attend to. Cannot really blame him; look after your own ass first. Because JoJo gets bored with feeling sorry for himself, and does not want to sit around anymore, he decides to start a revolution. Because, you know, why not?

As you have all picked up by now, it is a fantasy book with quite a humorous story. The story is written in first person narrative, so we are actually looking through the eyes of JoJo and following his thoughts and interactions with other characters along the way. This is fairly well done, but some of it is, sadly, a bit of a drag. And I felt the drag right from the beginning. There is just some heavy descriptions going on in some parts and it is absolutely unnecessary. If you skip those descriptions, or lets say, fly through them with your eyes, you will not miss anything. And that is quite bad, because you can easily take away quite a substantial amount of pages out of the book.

The characters are well constructed, they all have their roles in the book and they fulfill them well. They are not that flat, which means that they do not go on and on about one particular thing and show no progress. They do, and they change their temper and thoughts and you can see it in the sentence structures. For example, at the beginning of the book, when JoJo is scared shitless of Shadlow (the wizard), right after mouthing off at him, the sentences get shorter and the pace picks up. So you can feel how he is regretting the decision and is like “Oh shit, should not have said that!”.

Speaking of which, I believe that there should be quite more dialogs. The parts where the descriptions drag could quite well be erased and give space to lengthier dialogs. JoJo only exchanges a few sentences per day of his new adventure and that is quite unrealistic. I mean, I know it is dumb to say that when we are talking about a completely made up story, but nobody in their right mind would only say a few sentences each day. Even if you are crazy, you probably talk out loud and form a dialog with the wall. So that really cannot be an excuse.

While I was thinking of dialogs, I was reminded of one small little thing. The book needs an editor, to check out the spelling, and the use of punctuation. It is not too bad, but I have stumbled upon some quote marks, where there should not be any. I guess that this is something that was left over after rewriting certain things, but it just unnecessarily breaks the flow of reading. It makes me, as a reader, stop and check out what the hell are those supposed to be quoting.

All in all, it is a fun read, especially if you enjoy something with a lighter theme.

Book recommendation: 7,5/10

Bob and the Cyber-Llama by Joseph Caldara

Bob and the Cyber Llama - Createspace Front Cover

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Paperback: $8.00
Kindle: $8.53

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Bob Halibut used to live your average life: he had a steady job at Porkburger. He had a decent apartment. And it was boring as all get-out. But then he inherited a grand fortune from his grandmother. After meeting a posh, cybernetic llama butler, he learns of his grandmother’s secret former life and embarks on a journey to the pyramids to uncover the secrets of a lost civilization. What he discovers will test his courage, as well as his swordsmanship skills. “Bob and the Cyber-Llama” is an exciting, laugh-out-loud, all-beef 12-pack of adventure fiction hot dogs. It’s a fantastic read for kids, adults, teens, super-intelligent chihuahuas, flying robots, and otherworldly alien deities alike.

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This is one of the funniest books I have read in the last few years. I would dare to say I have not read something as funny since my elementary school days, when we were all reading Captain Underpants like a bunch of maniacs. For those familiar with it, this book is right there alongside those series. So, as soon as I picked up on that, I read the book through the eyes of a youngster, and enjoyed every single part of it.

Let us get to the first and the most obvious thing – humor. Yes, it is there. It is not one of those books that announce it, but fail to deliver it. This one goes hard right from the beginning. It is not just jokes or word plays, it is the story as a whole that is humorous. Just the Llama that you can see on the cover, is a goldmine of humor, let alone everything else. The story unfolds in a quick pace and you just keep jumping from one impossible thing to the other, but you just immerse yourself into the story so much that you just do not care. It is simply one of those stories that you pick up and do not put down until the last page.

The author managed to achieve what nowadays less and less books can. He managed to combine the humor with elements of adventure, suspense and mystery, without cutting one or the other out. And to achieve something like that in just 60 pages is extraordinary. Also, do not fear, the combination of these different elements does not ruin the flow of the story. What do I mean by this? Even at its peak, when the suspense and mystery are at the highest point, there is still humor present. And it does not ruin it for you. It brings a smile to your face, but your mind is still immersed and you cannot wait to see what happens next.

I cannot say much else without spoiling the story, as it is quite a short read. I can just repeat what I said at the beginning. This book would be a hit with the youngsters at elementary schools, and the author should look into that.

As far as the rating is concerned, the youngster in me enjoyed it, so I have no problem with giving it a…

Book recommendation: 10/10

Dreams of Heaven by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera

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AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Publication date: August 5, 2017
Kindle: $1.21
Paperback: $10.95

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Savannah Watkins awakens to a horrific dream of losing her family in a tragic car accident, which causes her to vacillate between two lives…before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears to offer her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach while answering some of life’s toughest questions. His answers challenge her traditional beliefs and repeatedly emphasize there is no death.

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I want to start off by saying that I do not really consider myself as the most religious person out there, and I have told that to the author as well, when I was offered the book for review. The author’s response surprised me, because she told me that she is not religious either and that the story came to her in a dream. I found that quite interesting, so of course, I have signed up for the journey.

As it is stated in the description, we follow Savannah, who believes she is having a dream about a horrific car accident. Now this right here is quite interesting, because it divides us. She actually lives in two different realities. The reality in which she had a car crash is what we would call our reality, this is what really happened (or did it?). The reality in which she meets Jesus Christ, is the reality that SHE believes is the real one. She passes through these worlds with dreams, so when she falls asleep in the world where she had an accident, the world with Jesus Christ is her world of dreams. But when she falls asleep in that world, she awakes in the other world, in which she had the accident. I know it may sound complicated, but it is not.

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Here is a small design of how this goes down, for those of you who did not quite understand that. 

Now, while reading the book, this transition between the worlds was quite unnerving for me, because I knew that she lived in the world where the accident took place. But after I finished the book and went through it a few times in my mind, like I always do before I write a review, I now see that I might have made a mistake to assume that. Before I tell you why, I want to tackle the elephant in the room.

To be perfectly honest, I smiled to myself when Jesus Christ was first introduced to me as a reader. It was just so simple and so plain, and everyone just instantly believed it was him without any serious doubt (there was some, but not too serious). It sounded a bit childish. He hangs out with our protagonist, and is there to answer any of her questions. More than once, her question gets a question in response, questions that require some thought. Even from you, the reader. You stop yourself to think about how you would answer the question. They are not about religion or stuff like that, they are about living in the world, being happy and most of all, feeling loved and giving love. I believe this right here is a fair assessment on why this book is not only for the religious people, but for others as well. Not to mention the metaphors behind the conversations, but I will let you all see those for yourselves.

Now to return to my previous thought. After thinking about it, I can see just why Savannah would claim that she lives in the world with Jesus. The reason is, because the author did an absolutely beautiful job in separating us. What do I mean? If you look at this book from a religious standpoint, the world with Jesus will be the world you believe she is actually alive in. If you look at this book from a non-religious standpoint you will, like I did, believe that she is alive in the world without him, the materialistic, harsh world that we all know. The story is left open to interpret it as how you want. If any of you have read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, you will know exactly what I mean. Those of you who have not read it, The Turn of the Screw is a story that is also left up for interpretation. You can read it 5 different times, and you will understand it differently 5 different times. Same with this book. This also brings me to the ending of the book, which also gives you just enough information, but leaves it up for interpretation. You can only speculate about what happened, there is no definitive answer. Or rather, there is an answer, but it depends on what approach you take.

As the last point, I would just like to mention the cover, as it is absolutely beautiful, one of the best I have seen in a while.

All of this considered, the only thing that did bother me, was the appearance of Jesus for the first time, as I have mentioned before. Maybe a bit too direct, too naive. But then again, it is only my opinion. For someone religious it might be just the way he or she sees it happen in his own mind. I will, however, consider it from my point of view, so…

Book recommendation: 9/10

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume


Before I go any further… The author allowed me to share some exclusive content and you, the readers, are now the first ones to know – a NEW COVER is coming out in a week or so. More than deserved for a book as great as this one, if I may add. 

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Kindle: $4.26
Paperback: $11.95

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Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that’s what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn’t exactly normal.

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of people who can alone see the real Creatures that inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like him, go to learn the ways of the Creatures.

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“The surroundings may be new to you, my boy, but walking I’m sure is not – don’t let what your eyes tell you disrupt what your heart already knows.” – Master Grimoire

Okay, before I grabbed this book from the author, I looked it up on Amazon. There was this certain quote in the description:

“If you’re suffering from HARRY POTTER withdrawals, then look no further! This detailed, intriguing and touching story is the answer!” – Independent Reviewer

To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a load of crap, and it seemed childish to me that someone would compare a rather unknown book to Harry Potter. But then again, the description seemed interesting enough, so I grabbed it. And boy am I glad I did.

We follow the story of Evan, who has been an outcast since his young age, due to his ability to see Creatures. He has moved through many foster homes before eventually finding a home at Lyceum. I am not going to summarize it and spoil it for you guys, I am just giving you some detail, so I can proceed to my next point, which is…

It is nothing like Harry Potter, but it is right there next to it. The story is a totally different thing, and we cannot draw any comparisons whatsoever. The points that do connect the two, however, are in friendship, loyalty, mystery and home. Just like Evan, you will find a home at Lyceum. I think the latter is very important. It sucks you up into the story and makes you feel like you are right there, walking the same corridors as every other student. Make this book into a movie and it WILL BE Harry Potter of the new, younger generations. I am sure of that.

Let us touch friendship and loyalty first. When Evan arrives at Lyceum, he meets a girl named Mathilde, who offers to help him and show him around the Lyceum, as he was brought there a month late. Evan then proceeds to meet a whole bunch of other people and makes friends, who do not let him down, and are always there for him whenever he needs them. And they do come in handy throughout the book. As you would imagine, Evan is the one that does not seek trouble, but trouble always seems to find him.

What about mystery? One of the most amazing segments of the book. The book itself splits into more stories. The one where you follow Evan is the central story. But behind it (as you read about it at the very beginning) is another story that up until the end, does not influence the flow of the central story, even though the events of that story make their way into the central story. This is an absolutely beautiful execution by the author. And this is not all. We also have the story of the White Wrath that, again, catches the flow of the central story, and unleashes when the time is right. But not only that, we also have the starts of the stories about Creatures, Evan’s parents, dreams and so on and so forth (I do not want to say too much because I do not want to spoil it). The book is absolutely filled with secrets and mystery and you will not uncover all of them. Some of them just wave their hand at you and disappear, probably waiting for us in the second book.

The character development is great. We get to know Evan as a boy, who doesn’t really exceed in anything in particular. By the end of the book, he grows out of that and becomes as skilled as the rest of the first grade students. At the end of the book, he is much more mature and ready to face what the second year will bring. But again, it is not only about Evan, even the other characters that surround him, get their fair share of development. For example Mathilde. She manages to break free of the shell that surrounded her, finally lets down her guard and talks to Evan honestly, sharing her own darkest secrets.

The book is also filled with humourous moments and characters. The Pyro professor and his poor chemical mixing skills will give you an absolute blast (see what I did there?). I always think that humour is important. It supplies the necessary comical relief at the right time, so it does not ruin the momentum of the story.

I did my best to not spoil anything for you guys. On another note, even though the author sent me a free copy, I will also buy the paperback one (as soon as the new cover is released). I loved the book and I could not put it down for days, as soon as I had some free time, I went back to reading. I sincerely hope, the author can make enough money, to release the second part. And that right there is up to us, readers. If you can afford it, buy it.

I just cannot seem to find anything wrong or bad about this book, so…

Book recommendation: 10/10, OUR FIRST ONE!

Hunt for the Last Wizard (Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Quartet #2) – Melanie Ifield

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price
Kindle: $1.21
Paperback: $9.99      

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In the second book of the ‘Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Series’, Daniel faces more sorcery, even more danger and magical forces than ever before as the sirens of the Glass Sea attempt to drag him into a watery grave. With angry dragons and hungry goblins who would like nothing more than to eat the companions alive, travel in the Land of Novarmere is not for the faint-hearted!
What else will happen as the companions journey north on the hunt for the last wizard of Novarmere?

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If you start to see betrayal in everyone you meet, soon you will be unable to spend any time in the company of others. You’ll be confined by your own suspicions. – Nilofar

The first word to come to mind – Amazing. I loved the first book, but this one took it to another level. I truly believed that if someone were to make a movie out of this, it would be at least as successful as Narnia.

The book starts off with a revision on what happened in the previous book. Now to be honest here, this was not done well. It was more complex than it should be. Instead of trying to connect it in the story, the author should have just made a paragraph in a style of “previously on”.  I remembered what went on in the first book even though it has been some time since I have read it. So if someone was to jump into this one immediately after the first, it would bore him out and make him skip a few pages, and nobody wants to do that (unless you are reading centuries old books for your school project, you are excused to do that then).

The story picks up where it left off. Our little protagonist Daniel is still trapped in Novarmere and his brave heart is still there to assist his friends on the new adventure. Following the events in the previous book, the search is on to find their friend and last wizard, Poe. Nilofar, the little dragon, that we also met in the first book and grew fond of, is still present and still flapping his wings and puffing smoke. We do however meet a few new characters, that still need to earn our trust. After the turn of events in the first book, we just do not like to give it away as easily. You will meet a fewer selection of new characters and creatures, which is not a bad thing. The author took a step back and gave us just enough material for us to comprehend and remember. It is a good way to make us care for and cherish every single character in the book.

As we are used to by now, action and mystery is just around the corner in Novarmere. Our friends have to fight to stay alive and so does our protagonist, Daniel. There is a sense of maturity kicking in, because for the first time in his life, he has to know how to handle himself and how to protect others. So we can account for character growth throughout the book (and probably even series). The book teaches us that we should go over and beyond for our friends and never give up, no matter what danger crosses our path. You never know, your friends might have to do the same for you one day (write this down somewhere, probably the smartest sentences to come from under my fingers).

If we compare it to the first book in a sense of quotable lines, you will not find that many in this one. This book, compared to the previous one, is a bit more serious. They are searching for their friend after all and with so much going on, there really is no time to be a philosopher. You will find some tho and those are more than enough to get you through.

I loved the book and I am off to buy the next part.

Book recommendation: 9/10