Reader's Favorite

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Exiles of Gaia by: H. R. Olsen BOOK REVIEW

Exiles of GaiaExiles of Gaia 
by H. R. Olsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exiles of Gaia is aptly titled. As humans in this future world we are exiled from Earth. We did not take care of the planet and it could no longer support life. Everyone now lives in space stations or colonies on the moon. Only one mission to Earth has taken place in the time they have lived in space. That mission ended badly, now another is in the works. H.R. Olsen does a wonderful job of weaving together the flight crew, the movements, political intrigue and murder to create a captivating story. As there are grass root movements today, there are groups that want to return to Earth, some that want to stay in space, and still others that love the Earth but don't want to return to it. As each of these groups plot against each other and political rivals face off over the planned Earth trip we follow the story, twisting and turning until the end.

H.R. Olsen is a wonderful writer, in that I started reading this book, and just couldn't put it down. I wanted to keep reading to find out who and where. As you turned each page in Exiles of Gaia and got further into the story, what once seemed like random characters are starting to come together. They are crossing paths and being connected to each other, making for unplanned twists in the storyline. It is a great science fiction book, even for young adults and teens, as well as the older crowd. Everyone would get enjoyment out of this book.

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Roadblocks to Nirvana by: Patricia Halloff BOOK REVIEW

Roadblocks to NirvanaRoadblocks to Nirvana
by Patricia Halloff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a particularly rough fight with her mother, Agnes goes for a walk to cool down and finds herself in the cemetery. While she is there she has a vision of an archangel named Elias coming to tell her the first steps she needs to take to reach nirvana. Roadblocks to Nirvana is the tale of Agnes' quest to find that nirvana and the reactions of people around her that set roadblocks in her path. The strange thing is that although Agnes will tell you he is an archangel, she does not believe in religion. Enter the street preacher and you have a whirlwind of turmoil brewing. Mix in a holocaust survivor in the form of a pharmacist and even more challenges emerge. Patricia Haloff captures the worlds views of this archangel visit so well, from those who agree, to the church who denounce her. Divest, Simplify, Purify. It all sounds so easy.

Roadblocks to Nirvana could have taken place in any city in the world. The reactions and comments would have been the same. Patrica Haloff nailed the sentiment of the people so well. She developed a great character in Agnes, who has always been timid. The joy of this book is to watch Agnes as she tries to follow what Elias asks of her, and those who should be supporting her the most are the ones who are crying out against her the most. This book is best for adults, as there is some brief adult content, not much, but some. Divest, Simplify, Purify, it all sounds so easy, but the roadblocks are many and the path is narrow.

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Division by: Karen Wyle BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Readers Favorite

Karen Wyle takes on a unique topic in her new book, Division. It is the story of brothers, Gordon and Johnny, who are twins, but not your normal twins they are conjoined. The book starts out following their life as they grow from young children to teens, then to adults. It takes place in a future era where doctors have advanced medicine in a number of ways, and cloning is just one of them. The idea of a transplant to clone procedure that could be done to give each twin his own separate life is placed in Johnny's mind on day. This begins a long court battle on who gets to choose what to do, Johnny who want to separate or Gordon who is happy being conjoined.

This is such a unique and complex topic that wasn't sure how the author, Karen Wyle would handle it in the book, Division. I have to say, she researched and did a good job of learning about conjoined twins and other twins. The personalities displayed by the characters actually remind me of twins I know. The book is well written and very well thought out, the author really gets into the minds of these two different men. Neither side is pushed as being the best choice, arguments for both are presented so balanced that you don't know which way things will happen until they do. I think of it as a part coming-of-age story, because each twin is struggling to find himself in this world, whether it be conjoined or alone. It will appeal to young and old readers alike. Call is science fiction, fantasy, young adult, future or realistic; whatever you want to call it, it is good reading for all.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Para~nition by: T.L. McDonald BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Michelle Randall for +Reader's Favorite

 by T.L. McDonald

Paranormal fiction can take you to a great number of places, some far from home and some as close as the beach. T.L. McDonald takes us to the beach in her book Para~nition, which will come to be the first book in a series featuring the main character Julie Winters. Julie has dreams of murders, so real that she wakes with the bruises of what she saw in the dream. At first the police think she's nuts, then a "detective", Kyle, shows up and tries to force her into working with him. Julie is a strong woman, read as she and Kyle butt heads along the way as they both try to figure out Julie's dreams and prevent future murders.

I have found that the genre of Paranormal fiction is growing in popularity and it is enjoyable to read, it takes you places you never thought to go.  T.L. McDonald takes us to the idea of seeing a murder through dreams in her book Para~nition. It is a wonderful concept, that plays on the paranormal ideas of ESP in a sense. There is also a touch of witchcraft mixed in for added flavor. The characters are well written and you find yourself siding with them right away. Julie is a strong and independent woman. Kyle is over-bearing and controlling. Shawn is the charmer, sweet and loving. I would recommend this for Young Adults on up. I think the strong woman will appeal to a large number of readers. It was very hard to put down.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Searching for Utopia by Holly Jayne BOOK REVIEW

Searching for UtopiaSearching for Utopia 
by Holly Jayne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Does Utopia really exist out there or is it something that we make ourselves?

Spend a few hours with Leila, the main character. Learn of her story, her past and her future through her letters to her missing lover, Dorian. Dream with her of a perfect life where all people are equal, does it exist? Can we get there or is it out of reach?

This is a well-written and thought provoking short story written by Holly Jayne. She takes us to a fantasy world were discrimination is even more random than in our own world, and leads us on a journey with the main character in a search for Utopia, or that perfect place were all people are equal. The question is does that place exist out there somewhere, or is it a place that we need to make a reality.

The course of the story is only a few hours in the day of the life of Leila, but yet you find yourself understanding her whole life. The trials, the heartache and the sorrows. It gives you pause and reason to think on what she is dreaming of and working towards.

This story will entertain you, and challenge you at the same time.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Solstice Winter (Viking Blood Saga, #1) by E. J. Squires BOOK REVIEW

Winter Solstice Winter (Viking Blood Saga #1)Winter Solstice Winter 
by E.J. Squires

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Take a trip with me, back to the year of 1007, to the Northern reaches of Europe. The Nordic lands, the lands of snow and Vikings. Can you imagine the snow and cliffs, the cold, grey stone that builds the castles and keeps, the long houses with grey smoke coming out all the time to keep the people warm. Yes, this is where our story begins.

Winter Solstice Winter begins in the village, with just a normal village family and normal village life, except their daughter is having mare’s at night. Dreams that seem so real, almost as if it were memories of another life. We watch as Aillia and her family deal with those has other happenings occur in the area.

At the castle, the Queen although advanced in age and with a 17 year old daughter, is once again pregnant, hopefully with a son for the King, but all is not going well, and she passes away during childbirth along with the babe. Her daughter Lucia, is lost, having no idea how to manage life without her mother, but unbeknownst to her, life is about to change in more ways than she can ever imagine.

As the story progresses and we follow these two women, both born on the Winter Solstice Eve, we learn the history of the area and the legends that are guiding the events and shaping what is occurring. Much to the +Evelyn Squires credit, the back history is told in conversations between character’s, so it fits into the storyline perfectly and makes sense. It’s not just some aside that takes you back and fills you in on the history. It belongs where it is, and since it unfolds in conversations, you get small bits and pieces at a time, so it is almost like unwrapping a puzzle.

The characters; Aillia, Lucia, and just to make it interesting a love interest for both girls, Soren; are well thought out and easy to get to know. I related to them and understood them. Of course at times I thought Lucia was a spoiled, rich-kid brat, but then again that really is what she is. The weaving of the characters, past and present into the story just makes it feel more like a tale you have heard over and over, not a book you are reading for the first time.

Although the book ends, leaving you on a bit of a cliff wanting to know more, and having to wait for the next book to come out; it does end at a very logical place. It is a natural break in the storyline that fits well with transitioning to another book. I applaud the author for that as well, because not many authors can do that, some leave you on a huge cliff and this was more a natural cliff. Yes I am waiting for the next book, but I feel good about where the characters are at while I wait.

If you are at all interested in historical fiction, viking lore, Nordic lore and the such this is a great book for you. Even if you aren’t that impressed with that, I think you would still enjoy this book just on the richness of the story itself. The writing and weaving of the story is genuine and truly the work of a great author.

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