Graphic Novel Review: Sticky Icky Vicky by by Alysia Ssentamu and Michael Ssentamu

Book Details:

Author: Alysia Ssentamu & Michael Ssentamu
Illustrator: Noor Alshalabi
Release Date: 19th October 2019
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 38 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Meet Sticky Icky Vicky, a girl who wants to get over her fear—once and for all
In Courage over Fear, the first book in the Sticky Icky Vicky™ series, authors Alysia and Michael Ssentamu introduce readers to Vicky, a fun-loving girl who doesn’t mind getting a little sticky and icky. She loves rolling down hills and playing in mud—but when it comes to water, Sticky Icky Vicky’s fear prevents her from joining in the fun. Then Vicky gets an invitation for a waterpark party, and she decides that she really wants to go—even if it means ignoring the Negative Ned voice in her head and getting over her fear.

With vibrant illustrations and catchy rhymes, Courage over Fear offers children an inspirational/loveable heroine who learns some valuable life lessons, such as:
● Courage
● Positive thinking
● Goal-setting
Aimed primarily at readers aged six to ten, Sticky Icky Vicky: Courage over Fear is a reading experience that leaves kids believing that they, like Vicky, can get past any obstacle in their way. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sticky Icky Vicky by Alysia Ssentamu & Michael Ssentamu is a beautiful and brilliant children’s fiction book that has a lot to teach the kids.

This book is really good and has such amazing characters. I loved Vicky and her friends, but apart from them I also loved how the authors intuitively and smartly created Negative Ned and Positive Ted. I mean, it is a stroke of brilliance because it makes this book a precious gem that will teach the children about the negative and the positive voice inside their heads (which we all know but are scared of most of the time.)

The story is great and I loved how the authors displayed courage in this engaging story. The illustrations are beautiful and made reading this book a real treat! I would definitely recommend this book to all parents for their kids because it is a very educative and entertaining read.


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Book Review: Tiny Yellow Hat by J. Michael Chamberlain

Book Details:

Author: J. Michael Chamberlain
Release Date: 13th April 2019
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Humor
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 202 pages
Publisher: Quinn-Hill Publisher
Blurb:
This wildly entertaining book is laced with wicked concepts, cheap shots and a few bright ideas; a feast of funny words and clever notions without once mentioning vampires or zombies. J. M. Chamberlain created the perfect blend of madcap rants and true life experiences guaranteed to put a never-ending smile on your face. Actually, a never-ending smile might be cause for alarm; if your smile lasts longer than four hours, please call a doctor. In a nutshell, this extraordinary slice of life is almost too good to read, but I suggest reading it anyway. I also suggest telling forty or fifty of your closest friends to read it, because www.peopleneedtolaugh.com (less)

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tiny Yellow Hat by J. Michael Chamberlain is a witty, heartfelt memoir that is as entertaining to read as it is relatable.

I enjoyed reading this book because, unlike most memoirs, the author uses his amazing sense of humour to lace even the simplest aspects of life and presents them with so much passion that one can’t help but relate to them while at the same time laughing their butts off. The fact that the author covered topics from his life and career that most people can relate to only adds to the appeal of this surprisingly quick read.

For me, the best part is that the author presented some important life lessons and anecdotes in such a light way that the readers can take away a lot from this book without actually feeling burdened by their weight.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes reading memoirs and enjoys a good dash of humour.


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ARC Review: What Lurks In The Woods – Struggle and Hope in the Midst of Chronic Illness by Nicole Bell

Book Details:

Author: Nicole Bell 
Release Date: 23rd October 2021
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 250 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Russ and Nicole Bell were an upwardly mobile happy couple: two kids, big house, fun hobbies, marvelous life. But something wasn’t quite right—with Russ. He started forgetting things, he got lost, he became enraged, he was harsh with the kids. And he could no longer be trusted with minor responsibilities.
They visited doctor after doctor after doctor to try to determine what was wrong, to no avail. “Alzheimer’s,” they were told, but that didn’t make sense. Russ was too young for that. As the formerly brilliant engineer literally lost his mind and his self, the answer finally became clear—but was it in time?
In this beautifully written but tragic memoir, Nicole Bell documents their journey through the medical minefield as they searched for answers and treatments. This book will inspire people who are suffering from chronic, symptom-based illnesses to dig deeper, so they can find and treat the root causes of their disease before it’s too late.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What Lurks In The Woods by Nicole Bell is a heart-wrenching and emotional memoir that is hard to read but even harder to put down.

This book is a very realistic and harsh reminder for the reader about how tragic chronic illness is and how it affects everyone including the patient and the caregiver. The author has bravely shared a deeply personal as well as emotionally taxing and psychologically jarring experience of her husband’s descent into dementia and how they struggled with finding answers that were crucial to their lives, especially to her husband’s health.

This book is very well-written and I would definitely recommend it to everyone because it is a treasure trove of lessons for each and every single reader, no matter what you do, where you are from or who you are.


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Book Review: A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Book Details:

Author: Paul Tremblay 
Release Date: 2nd June 2015
Genre: Horror, Psychological Mystery
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 309 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Blurb:
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In one sentence, this book is a heart-breaking read. One that I don’t think I will be able to get out of my head for a while.

This book is so well-written that at times I’d have to pause to fully appreciate the gravity of a simple sentence that the author adds in between a seemingly benign paragraph that leads to an unsettling realisation that the book is told from the perspective of a child who doesn’t fully understand the consequence of anyone’s (least of all their own) actions or decisions, whereas at the same time failing to understand the gravity of their predicament or the situation going on with others around them.

This book makes one confront the odd truth of life that memories are always polluted and diluted by one’s ever-changing perspective, other’s perception of their reality and truth and their own quest for filling up the ‘gaps’ – the blank spaces that the mind cannot recall or would not recall. It is a heavy read and cannot be read as a casual or a horror read because it covers so much ground that it will baffle, shock and stun you at times. 

The ending is obviously a very lucrative thing in this book. The author leaves it to the reader to make of it as they please and so it is a haunting end in its own right.

“To be honest, and all the external influences aside, there are some parts of this that I remember in great, terrible detail, so much so I fear getting lost in the labyrinth of memory. There are other parts of this that remain as unclear and unknowable as someone else’s mind, and I fear that in my head I’ve likely conflated and compressed timelines and events.” 


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Book Review: Oh, Lords! Who We Date, Why We Date Them, and What We’ve Learned by Jes Averhart and Terresa Zimmerman

Book Details:

Author: Jes Averhart,  Terresa Zimmerman
Release Date: 1st October 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Dating, Self-Help
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 188 pages
Publisher: Stonebrook Publishing
Blurb:
Oh, Lords! is about two women sharing their dating stories, dating glories, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Oh, Lords! Who We Date, Why We Date Them, and What We’ve Learned is the only book of its kind to discuss dating in the context of archetypes, “Lords”, through the eyes and experience of the authors.
You will meet the Lords: Lord Journeyman, Lord Contradiction, Lord FOMO, Lord Layaway, Lord Self-Absorbed, Lord At Your Peril, Lord Good Guy Not My Guy, and Lord My Guy. These are the men, the archetypes, that litter the landscape of the dating world, and when you see them for who they are, you might start making different choices about who you spend your time with.
You don’t have to be dating to find the humor, insight, community, and reminders of your own triumphs and turning points.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Oh, Lords! Who We Date, Why We Date Them & What We’ve Learned by Jes Averhart & Terresa Zimmerman is a uniquely fresh and refreshingly witty book about the dating experiences of the authors.

In this book, the authors, Jes and Terresa, talk about their dating history – breaking down men into categorical archetypes called Lords, the lessons they have learned and sharing the wisdom of someone who’d ‘been there, done that.’ The book is full of funny stories, humorous yet relatable comparisons and honest confessions that provide a keen insight into the process (including pre as well as post) dating scenario and situations.

I enjoyed reading his book a lot even though I’ve been out of the dating sphere for over a decade because this book is so shockingly relatable. We all have been there and dating some of the men mentioned in this book (or maybe more than some 😉 ) I’d definitely recommend this book to all women readers because I am sure you will find the content outrageously relatable and will definitely have a good couple of hearty laughs at the least! The single women, though, will definitely find this book very informative and helpful.


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Book Review: The Pod Tower by Pete Alexander

Book Details:

Author: Pete Alexander 
Release Date: 30th July 2021
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 208 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
It’s the winter of 2057—the coldest for nine years. For failed family man Marcus Calvert, however, there are other matters on his mind.
Mistrustful of his government and cynical about change, he has chosen to live beyond the Outer Zones, free from the digital age and a world he no longer feels any affinity towards.
But now his son’s future looks bleak, threatened by the very secrecy that even now still surrounds his family’s past.
Amid rumours that his own idyllic lifestyle is under threat, Calvert begins a search for the truth, only to discover that everything he has learned since early childhood has been a lie.
On the horizon, Mother City casts its shadow over Sector 21, one he has spent the last twenty years determined to avoid.
But time is fast running out, and that option looks set to expire.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Pod Tower by Pete Alexander is a dystopian story that’ll take you in a futuristic dystopian world of digital horror underlined by humanity’s new low in relation to deception and subterfuge.

I liked reading this book because it had equal parts intrigue and entertainment. Every chapter brought with it some new information and call to action that kept the action going in the story at a great pace. In spite of being a comparatively short book (of around 200 pages), this book packed a lot of punch, which I personally found very appealing.

The characterisation is good, the writing had a nice flow and the plot was executed well making it a great fit for speculative fiction lovers such as myself. I’d highly recommend this book to all sci-fi, speculative and dystopian readers.


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Book Review: Reflections Of Destiny by Benzon Ray Barbin

Book Details:

Author: Benzon Ray Barbin
Release Date: 7th September 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 148 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Cheating death is becoming an art.
Enauria, a battle-tested heiress and expatriate, journeying between Earth and beyond on a personal vendetta only she understands.
Jaye DiVista, a top government assassin, willing to risk everything to rekindle a love with Arlene Asariel.
Enauria has a plan to thrust Jaye and his colleagues through an interstellar campaign. Can Jaye and Arlene derail Enauria’s grand scheme?
Reflections of Destiny is a science fiction and fantasy thriller. Magic collides in a futuristic landscape where an ensemble cast takes part in gunplay, dogfights, and eyes gaze at every sand in the hourglass.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reflections Of Destiny is a fun sci-fi fantasy thriller novel that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

This book is well-written, had a cast of versatile characters and an interesting and entertaining story that kept me hooked from the first page to the very last.

The characters are very relatable and I liked the secondary characters too because they added a lot to the story. There was a very interesting and important romantic sub-plot that drove the story with a powerful force raising the stakes and thus, making the story more interesting.

I enjoyed reading this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to all fantasy and sci-fi thriller readers.


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Audiobook Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Author: Liane Moriarty
Release Date: 14th September 2021
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Contemporary
Series: 
Format: Audiobook
Length: 18 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Blurb:
The Delaney family love one another dearly―it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .
If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?
This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaney family is a communal foundation. Stan and Joy are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killer on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are they so miserable?

The four Delaney children―Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke―were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups. Well, that depends on how you define success. No one in the family can really tell you what Troy does, but based on his fancy car and expensive apartment, he seems to do it very well, even if he blew up his perfect marriage. Logan is happy with his routine as a community college professor, but his family finds it easier to communicate with his lovely girlfriend than him. Amy, the eldest, can’t seem to hold down a job or even a lease, but leave it to Brooke, the baby of the family, to be the rock-steady one who is married with a new solo physiotherapy practice . . . which will take off any day now.
One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door. She says she chose their house because it looked the friendliest. And since Savannah is bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend, the Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.
Later, everyone will wonder what exactly went on in that household after Savannah entered their lives that night. Because now Joy is missing, no one knows where Savannah is, and the Delaneys are reexamining their parents’ marriage and their shared family history with fresh, frightened eyes.

REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was so perfect… till the last 4 hours ruined it entirely!

I love Liane Moriarty’s books because she is an excellent writer who can create genre-defying plots and build super amazing and realistic as hell characters. In fact, whenever I take a fiction writing class, I always ask my students to read any of her books to study her characteristics and notice the techniques she uses. And this book was no different, at least on the character front. 

The characters in this book are near perfect and they are what brings so much life into this (almost) amazing story. The only thing that totally ruined it was the ending… and the flimsy motivations… and the superficial stakes. 

Why, Liane? Why?

I feel so outrageously angry that the author botched up the ending for no more reason than a stupid girl’s hunger. I mean WTAF!! I get it she was being starved, but shouldn’t Savannah take revenge from her mother who starved her? Or her father who was partially responsible? Or her big-time brother who never took her seriously? 

Why the hell does a person take such a meticulously planned revenge on someone whom she visited only for a brief period in a day 20 years ago? I mean… seriously????

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Book Review: A Hero Dreams by Mark Ristau

Book Details:

Author: Mark Ristau
Release Date: 21st September 2017
Genre: Coming-Of-Age, Supernatural
Series: Hero’s Path (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Devastated by his father’s sudden death, eight-year-old Ricky begins to see things—a ghostly silhouette in his bedroom window, a gruesome train accident involving four local teenagers, a terrorist attack that won’t occur for another twenty-five years. After a traumatic incident at a New England summer camp, the visions become more frequent, more vivid, and more disturbing. A mysterious voice assures him everything will be okay if he crosses the “threshold.” But just what is the threshold? And what lies beyond? 

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award 
– Popular Fiction (Winner of Silver) 
National Indie Excellence Awards 
– New Fiction (Winner) and Visionary Fiction (Finalist) 
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 
– First Novel (Finalist) and Inspirational Fiction (Finalist) 
Best Book Awards 
– Best New Fiction (Finalist) and Visionary Fiction (Finalist) 

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A Hero Dreams by Mark Ristau is an imaginative and unique supernatural book about a protagonist that will remain in your heart long after you’ve put the book down.

This book is really well-written and has a brilliant concept, for the book itself as well as the series – from what can be seen as the foundational layout of the plot. The characterisation is good and I was able to connect and relate to the protagonist, Ricky, who is an 8-year-old kid on a path to something he cannot comprehend entirely for the most part. This raises the stakes in the story to a point where the book becomes unputdownable.

The only thing I had a problem with is the sexual abuse that kind of felt forced in the way to only drive the plot forward and justify the visions the kid has. This could have been tackled in a better way in my opinion. Apart from this, the book as pretty good.

I liked this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series to know what happens next in Ricky’s life. I’d definitely recommend it to readers of all genres as this book is a coming-of-age story that has a little something for every reader. Though if child sexual abuse is a trigger for you then you might want to reconsider.


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Audiobook Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks And Sarah Pekkanen

Author: Greer Hendricks  and Sarah Pekkanen
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Dark Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 12 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio 
Blurb:
When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. 
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing. 
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Listen for the truth between the lies.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Woah! You will not know what hit you in the face when the big reveal is unravelled!

The book begins with a run-of-the-mill plot where you assume that a good chunk of the book is going to be about stalking in a revenge drama, but then the author leaves and omits certain details that make you question whether that is the case or not because you cannot be certain!

And then, after many twists and turns you realise that you have been wrong, or more likely mislead, but who cares! Because by then you are so taken aback that the entire plot was a set-up – for the readers! I know I shouldn’t be liking it as much because it is borderline wrong to mislead readers to this extent, but what the hell, Riley Sager and Alex Michaelidis use it all the time – and not quite this effectively I must add. I applaud Hendricks for plotting such a clever book because this kind of thriller cannot be written, it can only be plotted and I respect the author for it!

I’d recommend this book to all thriller buffs!

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Book Review: Raising Chickens for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens With Joy and Excitement by O. Banks

Author:  O. Banks
Release Date: 30th June 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 
Publisher: 
Blurb:
How to raise chickens like a pro — even if you have zero experience with animals!
Have you been toying with the idea of becoming more self-sustainable?
Are you exploring the option of raising chickens?
Do you have absolutely no idea where to start?
Then you’ve come to the right place!
Doing anything for the first time can be intimidating — and the stakes are even higher when your new hobby involves being responsible for something that’s, well, alive.
What’s more, the increasing popularity of self-sustainability practices has led to a plethora of information being available online, much of it completely unreliable and sometimes straight out dangerous.
But with decades of poultry growing experience under his belt, and a strong dedication to helping newbies master the techniques, knowledge, and tools they need to become pros in no time, Otis Banks is here to help.
Under his guidance, raising chickens will not only become uncomplicated, but also a complete joy.
And it’s not just about the delicious eggs you’ll be able to enjoy each morning.
You’ll soon find yourself developing a rapport with these delightful birds, and you’ll be amazed at how raising them will transform your life.
Spending time with them after work will help you immediately relax and refocus on what truly matters in life.
And if you have young kids, you’ll marvel at the beautiful relationships they’ll develop with their feathered friends — and at how much they will learn from them.

In Raising Chickens for Beginners, here’s just a fraction of what you’ll discover:

  • 5+ scenarios you absolutely need to prepare yourself for — and how
  • A list of all the precautions you need to take before you embark on your exciting adventure, including the laws you need to consider
  • How to prepare for your flock’s arrival, and which breeds are best for beginners
  • How to choose the perfect feed for your flock, and how to tell how much you need to feed them and when
  • Common chicken health problems you need to be aware of, including signs, causes, home-made treatments, and advice on when to seek veterinary help
  • Why eggs sometimes… disappear — and what you can do about it
  • Everything you need to know to stay on top of litter management, including how to maintain a coop that’s nasty-smell free
  • How timing your egg collection can literally make or break your eggs
  • Tips to keep your chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • 6 reasons why hens may not lay eggs — and what you can do to help them

And much more!
Written with a complete beginner in mind, this easy-to-understand guide will give you the confidence you need to expertly navigate this amazing and unimaginably rewarding world.
Accompanying you every step of the way, Otis Banks will help you discover the joys of raising chickens and help you go from an anxious beginner to a seasoned pro, before you even realize it.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Raising Chickens For Beginners by O. Banks is a very insightful and comprehensive book on, as the title clearly mentions, raising chicken for beginners. Right from where to begin, what you’ll need, how much you’ll need of everything to how to develop a rapport with the chickens and not just having them for the sake of it, this book covers everything!

I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is planning to get more insights into raising chickens, especially those who don’t have any idea of what they are dealing with.


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Book Review: Retirement Planning for Couples : The Ultimate Financial Guide to a Stress-Free and Happy Aging by Phoenix Read

Book Details:

Author:  Phoenix Read
Release Date: 21st April 2021
Genre: Non Fiction, Finance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 234 pages
Publisher: Blackstone Pub.
Blurb:
How to plan for your financial retirement with your partner – even if you are starting late?
Have you been worried about your finances when you and your partner eventually retire?
Maybe you have been thinking about how you would cope when you finally retire?
Do you absolutely have no clue how to start, or perhaps you gave up at some point?
Planning your finances can be sometimes daunting – it becomes even more challenging if it’s your retirement you need to plan for, and you have to do it as a couple.
This book aims to intentionally cover the gap in the market for materials that cover financial planning for couples as against what we have that basically talks about individuals. It further bolsters how couples can minimize costs and maximize their wealth if they work together. With many years of research and unraveling secrets of lifetime income maximization and a passion for family wealth management, Phoenix Read bears his mind and offered loads of helpful support, tools, and information on how couples can overcome these obstacles.
In this book, Phoenix lets it all out. You will learn how to get started on your financial retirement plans.
His understanding of the challenges couples face when talking about money will help you and your partner overcome several years of not planning together.

Here’s a snapshot of what you will get.

  • You will learn the best approach for couples and the best time to start talking about financial planning as couples. You will understand if one partner should keep working while the other retires or if both of you should retire at the same time.
  • You will know more about what you are entitled to, and it is worth retiring early or late.
  • It answered common questions on the mind of most couples as they approach retirement. Questions like where to live, what to do with your time, if you should retire at the same time, how much you need for retirement, and many more.
  • You will be exposed to several investment vehicles where you can invest and grow your money without the risk of losing them to government policies or drastic market changes. The author discussed the pros and cons of all the investment opportunities in the book.
  • How compounding interest works in your favor if you know how to take advantage of the opportunity. It also contains how to diversify your investment successfully.
  • 3 Phases of Retirement. You will learn how to prepare and what to do at each phase.
  • It also delves into the various component of your planning and everything you need to know, like life expectancy, social security, and the best time to claim them.
  • Several studies show that the elderly are more likely to lose their money to fraudsters. So, there’s a whole chapter that talks about how to avoid losing your hard-earned money to dubious characters.
  • There’s a comprehensive guide on how to manage your health in retirement. It contains topics like health insurance, medical cost, and a lot more.

And a whole lot more!
Phoenix wrote this book with you in mind, and that is not just a cliche!
Whatever level you and your partner find yourself in, you will find the right guide to start and get your retirement plans up and running.

Warning!!! This is not one of those financial books littered with jargon! 
Every term used in this book was carefully simplified. The book is easy to understand with all the complex financial terms broken into simple languages for your understanding. Additionally, there are loads of relatable examples available for your understanding.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Retirement Planning for Couples: The Ultimate Financial Guide to a Stress-Free and Happy Aging is a very straightforward book on financial advice for retiring couples and people in the same age group. This book has a lot of good suggestions for anyone looking for guidance on planning their finances, especially for retirement.

Apart from investments and financial planning, this book also gives some key insights into how to approach retirement as a couple as well as the right time to start thinking about it. This is something that I really liked because most of the books simply focus on the mechanics of core techniques but not the initial approach to those techniques.

I’d recommend this book to everyone looking for financial guidance or some new strategies for effective retirement savings.


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ARC Review: Beneath the Veil (The Valor of Valhalla Book 1) by Martin Kearns

Book Details:

Author: Martin Kearns
Release Date: 11th October 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Valor of Valhalla (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 322 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
In a battle between two ancient evils, can one naïve young man become the last hope against powerful creatures of legend?
David Dolan thinks he’s already got the world figured out. But when a collapsed bridge plunges him into the icy Hudson, he’s pulled deep into the deadly realm that exists between life and death. And with his earthly form trapped in a coma, he’s vulnerable to the horde of demons hell-bent on his utter destruction.
Traversing the road to the afterlife, David seeks the wisdom and skills he needs to fight the demonic forces reigning havoc on his allies above ground. But as one hellish threat closes in on his defenseless body, David must defeat another terrifying fiend waiting in the shadows to use him…
Can David escape the world beneath the veil in time to stop the bloodshed?
Beneath the Veil is the gripping first book in The Valor of Valhalla dark urban fantasy series. If you like reluctant heroes, infernal myths, and bloody epic clashes, then you’ll love Martin Kearns’s formidable foray into the unknown. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beneath The Veil by Martin Kearns is a a unique urban fantasy book that has bucket loads of demons, epic battles and some old as well as new myths that makes it a very entertaining read.

I loved the world-building in this book and the writing was great and complimented the plot very well. The characters were solid and well-developed making it a very engaging and intriguing read, keeping me at the edge of my seat throughout the story. The ending was great and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I’d definitely recommend this book to all urban fantasy readers as well readers who are looking to explore a new dark fantasy series by a new author.


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ARC Review: Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story by by Christie Santo and Jeff Santo

Book Details:

Author: Christie Santo &  Jeff Santo
Release Date: 22nd September 2021
Genre: Romance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 248 pages
Publisher: BookBaby
Blurb:
Ravens In The Rain centers around Pru and Carney, she’s a woman with a past, and he’s a man with no future. Down on luck and down on love, they meet over a game of chance at an off-strip Vegas casino, and Carney wonders if Pru’s sparkle is what he needs to lift him from his darkness. He doesn’t even mind that she swiped a hundred-dollar bill from an old cowboy. It excites him. 
While Pru, disillusioned by her sparkle, is now accustomed to the cynical disposition of vagabond life. She’s not looking for a one-night stand; she’s looking for survival and sizing Carney up as a comfortable solution, for the moment. When she finds out who he really is, she’ll ante up for the game of her life. 
This romantic noir is a turbulent flight; like dating in the 21st century, it’s dangerous and daring.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ravens In The Rain by Christie Santo & Jeff Santo is an intriguing and entertaining noir love story.

Being a mystery and crime fiction fan, I’ve read some noir crime mysteries but a noir romance novel was a first for me and I’m glad that I read It because I enjoyed it more than the normal romance novels. Ravens In The Rain is a well-written novel with a great concept that is executed really well. I enjoyed the imagery invoked by the author’s writing style that bordered on magic realism while staying true to the noir story elements.

It was an experience in itself. I enjoyed the characterisation as they are richly developed and had really good background stories. Overall it is a great story and I’d definitely recommend it to all readers, romance readers and others alike.


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Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Book Details:

Author:  Colleen Hoover
Release Date: 2nd August 2016
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 385 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Blurb:
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover is so much more than what one expects from it on the surface. Particularly the last 25% was emotionally tormenting for me, personally, to read as it covered themes of domestic abuse (something I witnessed in my own home growing up) and love intertwined in a complex web in which women often find themselves being tangled in. 

This book is beyond good and I simply cannot rate it solely based on its literary merit as the message that is encased in this beautiful book is something that NEEDS to be spread in this world where women (and even men) are abused and they are either too scared or simply left with no choice to break the cycle of physical abuse.


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ARC Review: When Love Sticks Around by Danielle Dayney

Book Details:

Author:  Danielle Dayney 
Release Date: 15th November 2021
Genre: Memoir
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 156 pages
Publisher: Belle Isle Books
Blurb:
Hand-me-down pants that don’t quite fit, twilight bike rides down sleepy neighborhood streets, sweaty family camping trips, the things that almost break you, and the things you barely notice-it’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it.
In this collection of short essays, Danielle Dayney recounts her experiences as an awkward child in the piecemeal family that raised her. From her biological father’s absence to her mother’s battle with cancer to the birth of her daughter, Dayney’s stories venture beyond anecdote to nest safely among the tangled experiences that shape the people we become. With a keen eye for the pebbles of humor and glimmers of beauty along the rough roads of her life, Dayney has crafted a book that feels as familiar as a home-cooked meal and as exciting as the first night in a new city.
When Love Sticks Around is a memoir of love, loss, humor, identity, and above all, family-the one you’re born into and the one you gather along the way.
Those are the things worth sticking around for.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“…it’s hard to see the shape of your life until you’re looking back on it.”

Danielle Dayney

When Love Sticks Around by Danielle Dayney is a beautiful memoir that is an ode to her past life and her beautiful family. This book is in the form of essays that will not only tell you about the author’s life and her experiences but will also make you relieve your own past because her writing is very relatable.

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read this book because When Love Sticks Around is one of those books that feel less like a story (stories in this case) and more like an experience that is whole in itself. The author’s nostalgic reminiscence of her life, which was so filled with love and sometimes heartbreak, made me deeply connect to her on a level that is hard to explain. And these kind of feelings can only be evoked in a reader when the book is written from the heart and with a lot of love – not to mention with exceptional writing skills.

I would like to congratulate the author on penning down such an emotional journey in such an elegant and relatable way. I would definitely recommend this beautiful memoir to every reader as I am sure this book will speak to each and every one of its readers on some level or another. This is not a book to be missed.


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Book Review: Glimmer of The Other by Heather G. Harris

Book Details:

Author:  Heather G. Harris
Release Date: 1st September 2021
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Glimmer Of The Other (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 188 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
I can tell when you’re lying. Every. Single. Time. 
I’m Jinx. As a private investigator, being a walking, talking lie detector is a useful skill – but let’s face it, it’s not normal. You’d think it would make my job way too easy, but even with my weird skills, I still haven’t been able to track down my parent’s killers. 
When I’m hired to find a missing university student, I hope to find her propped up at a bar – yet my gut tells me there’s more to this case than a party girl gone wild. Firstly, she’s a bookish soul who’s as likely to go off the rails as Mother Theresa. Secondly, I’m not the only one on her trail; she’s also being tracked by the implacable and oh-so-sexy Inspector Stone. 
Stone and I team up, and he shoves me into a realm where magic is real – a place where there are vampyrs and werewolves, dragons and trolls. And where my skills are more than just detecting lies…
Oh, and my dog? He’s a freaking hellhound who can manipulate the magical realms themselves.
I need to find the girl.
I need to discover who killed my parents.
And I need to find out more about the attractive but mysterious Zachary Stone…

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Glimmer Of The Other by Heather G. Harris is a wonderful beginning – the first book, in the new urban fantasy series Glimmer Of The Other. I LOVED reading this book because it was thoroughly entertaining and very, very well-written.

This book has everything – I mean EVERYTHING, right from dragons to vampires, wizards to trolls & werewolves and all this on top of other paranormal beings and phenomenons. This book was one hell of a rollercoaster ride in well-developed and beautifully executed urban fantasy settings.

The characters were very strong and I was able to connect to all of them (even the secondary ones.) I loved reading this book and seeing how things turned out for the characters and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series (hopefully soon!)

I’d recommend this book to all fantasy readers.


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Book Review: An Embarrassment of Itches: An Animal Lovers Cozy Mystery (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) by M. K. Dean

Book Details:

Author: M. K. Dean
Release Date: 17th July 2021
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Ginny Reese Mysteries (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 297 pages
Publisher: Redclaw Publishing
Blurb:
It’s Diagnosis Murder meets All Creatures Great and Small…

As a house-call vet, Ginny Reese has seen her share of the weird and wacky. But nothing in her previous experience could have prepared her to find one of her clients floating in her own swimming pool.
Local artist Amanda Kelly was extremely wealthy with her share of secrets. By naming Ginny as her heir, not only did she make Ginny the number one suspect, but she painted a big bull’s eye on her friend’s back as well.

With her trusty German Shepherd at her side, it’s up to Ginny to find the real killer and prove her innocence to the sheriff. The new sheriff. Who happens to be her ex.

Piece of cake, right?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An Embarrassment Of Itches by M.K. Dean is a wonderful new cosy mystery series that is tailor-made for pet lovers – as the protagonist is an on-call vet!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was fun, interesting and very entertaining. The characters are well-developed, especially the protagonist Ginny Reese and I was able to not only connect but also relate to the character being an animal lover myself. The plot is really good and kept me engaged throughout the story. The writing is simple yet effective making this book a very quick read.

I would highly recommend this book to all cosy mystery lovers and animal lovers in general.


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ARC Review: Finding Happiness In The Dark by Kenneth Liddane

Book Details:

Author: Kenneth Liddane
Release Date: 19th September 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Development, Self-Help
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 190 pages
Publisher: A Helping Mind
Blurb:
Have you ever said “I WILL BE HAPPY IF…”?
Did you ever achieve that? And if so, what happened next? Are you living happily ever after, or did you set new goals and update your “I will be happy if…” statement? Why does your happiness have to be conditional?
By searching for happiness, we are basically telling ourselves “I am not happy now”, and happiness itself becomes a temporary solution to distract ourselves from how we are actually feeling.
By re-introducing ourselves to our core instincts and drives, we can start to see how we developed unhelpful thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. With this insight, these negative aspects of ourselves are no longer “bad”, instead they are logical and justified.
By considering the knowledge, skills and possible supports highlighted in this book, you will see that you no longer need to avoid, suppress or endure any part of your true self. 
By using your full potential, you are better able to face any challenge and life experience, and in doing so, experience, welcome and acknowledge all of the associated feelings and emotions naturally. 
What are you waiting for?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Finding Happiness In The Dark by Kenneth Liddane is a very well-written and well-executed book on helping oneself in times of need when the mind goes into the dark seat and we start to feel alone and unhappy.

This is a book by a very experienced person who is not only equipped with dealing with his own patients for consultations but also has the education and the drive for it. This book had some really great concepts, understandable and relatable answers to some common questions and some brilliant techniques and tricks that can help a person come out of the recesses of depression, anxiety and the com orbit conditions. At least on the surface level. In order to get treated or to know more, you can always consult with the author.

I would recommend this book to everyone who is either going through a dark phase or knows someone who is suffering because of it.


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Book Review: Hungry Hearts by Julie Hoag

Book Details:

Author:  Julie Hoag
Release Date: 21st April 2021
Genre: Romance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 234 pages
Publisher: Blackstone Pub.
Blurb:
For fans of “The Boys Next Door” by Jennifer Echols and “Holding Up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven.
When an amateur chef attempts to use food as his love language, Landra, who struggles with anorexia, finds his approach off-putting. In fact, she finds Brian to be rather annoying. 
Undeterred, Brian snags Landra in a friendship that eventually grows into something else, as she finally trusts him enough to sample some of his homemade gourmet treats.
But things have not evolved to the level Brian would like, and soon he realizes Landra’s issue isn’t only with the food he makes. She into the football team’s hottest player. But Brian isn’t about to get one-upped by a jock. He decides to ask Landra out at the same time that Landra manages to snag a date with the football star.
As if dating isn’t hard enough, Landra must battle her anorexic impulses and self-esteem issues if she is to find the boy of her heart. When the voices of self-doubt and shame drown everything else out, Landra will need to give herself permission to be happy. And Brian? Well, he will have to find a way to Landra’s heart, even if it isn’t through her stomach. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hungry Hearts by Julie Hoang is a beautiful romance novel that will touch your heart.

This book was such a fun ride; it had a solid concept, great characterisation and very well executed chemistry between the two leads. The characterisation, thankfully, was amazing and I was able to relate to the leads, especially the female protagonist, Landra. The writing was simple and good and complimented the story well making it an easy and quick read.

I would definitely recommend this book to all romance readers and to those who would like to read a quick light emotional read.


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Book Review: Desiree, The Music of My Soul by Peggy Race

Book Details:

Author: Peggy Race
Release Date: 5th August 2021
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 254 pages
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Blurb:
Staunch and rooted to her childhood values, Peggy engages in a battle to overcome a failed marriage, the sudden, heartrending loss of her second husband and her own self-doubts. While sandwiched between each layer of uncertainty, Peggy fights her way forward through the love of her dogs.
Amid personal tragedy, Peggy’s life takes an unexpected turn when she meets Desiree, a rescued Hurricane Katrina dog. Fueled by the serendipitous connection, Peggy deploys an unending passion for answers as she searches for purpose. As Peggy unravels Desiree’s significance in her life, she looks beyond the confines of loss and discovers her true self.
Desiree: The Music of My Soul is a poetic and soul-stirring love story which captures one woman’s journey of strength and self-discovery that transcends grief and loss. Filled with hope and inspiration, Desiree: The Music of My Soul, symbolizes the resilience of the human spirit.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Desiree: The Music Of My Soul by Peggy Rose is a beautifully written memoir.

First off, if you are a dog lover you are going to absolutely love this book. Even if you are not exactly a dog parent but love animals in general and harbour love especially for sheltered or rescued animals this book will highly resonate with you. I was, personally speaking, completely blown to bits by this book because I am a big-time animal lover and dogs or cats, I love them more than humans, so reading about a rescued dog and how she changed her mum’s life was an emotional rollercoaster for me to say the least.

This is a very well-written, nicely put together memoir that was very engaging and relatable. I would recommend this book to all readers.


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Book Review: The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens

Book Details:

Author: Michelle Ermens
Release Date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Magic’s Source (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 285 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Can the Magic’s Source help her protect the ones she loves most?
Thera has always known that she’s different from her wonderful, loving human family. However, that would mean that she’s one of the specials, beings of legends – but how could it be, when no human has seen them for hundreds of years?
A visit from a masked stranger who warns her of danger and an attack on her village shatter the life that she knew. Forced to flee with her mother and her younger siblings, Thera finds temporary shelter in special territory, in the home of a beautiful special named Raven.
She needs more than temporary shelter, though. She needs a way to keep her family truly safe. The Magic’s Source might help with protection, but will Thera dare to seek it out and try to get some magic of her own?
And if she does, what kind of magic will she receive, and what new dangers will she find herself in?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Essence of Magic by Michelle Ermens is a fantastic new fantasy read that will definitely blow your mind!

I loved reading this book from the first page to the last! This book had great characterisation, an amazing and very interesting plot, good world-building and brilliant execution of the story idea. I loved the ending and am totally looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I enjoyed the writing style of the author – it was simple yet good and was easy which made reading this book a pleasure aside from making it a quick read. I would definitely recommend this book to all fantasy readers and lovers of YA genre.


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ARC Review: Destiny of Dreams: Time Is Dear by Cathy Burnham Martin

Book Details:

Author: Cathy Burnham Martin
Release Date: 31st August 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 242 pages
Publisher: Quiet Thunder Publishing
Blurb:
What happens when an American girl of Eurasian descent finds herself suddenly immersed in all facets of her Armenian ancestry? Told with an often soulfully introspective voice, “Destiny of Dreams” follows the true story of a teenager and her grandfather, retracing loving, learning, and terrifying footprints of the past. While survival remains center stage, love and courage must emerge, or all will be both lost and forgotten. More fact than fiction, the author reveals her Armenian roots in this historical novel, chronicling her family members’ love, strength, and resolve to both survive and thrive in treacherous times. Reflecting the traumas suffered by all people displaced from their original homelands, this Armenian story focuses on one family’s challenge to find light in the dark days of the waning Ottoman Empire. Anyone with the diaspora in their family heritage will relate. Whether thinking of Jewish people from Israel, Africans scattered through slavery, Armenians fleeing annihilation in Turkey, so-called boat people escaping Asia, or Syrians fleeing life-threatening violence in their own nation, humans continue to rise up in the face of the toughest times. Who would emerge from extraordinarily desperate places, and how could they choose to set positive examples of humanity during highly inhumane times? Set in the early 1900s and flashing forward to the 1960s, the story’s themes ring with tolerance and intolerance, dreams and destroyers, family and friends, amidst challenges that eerily parallel life in current judgmental scenarios.

Written for Young Adult and Adult audiences, the book contains some explicit descriptions and a couple of disturbing, though not graphic, violent scenes. While not gratuitous, the depictions may be unsuitable for young readers

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Destiny Of Dreams: Time Is Dear by Cathy Burnham Martin is a beautifully written historical fiction book about survival and the darkness that plagues our society.

This book was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, along with quiet graphic descriptions of violence, which lent this book an air of seriousness that otherwise would have been missing. I liked reading this book from cover to cover because the plot was very engaging, the writing was good, the characterisation was well done and the execution of the story was really good.

I would recommend this book to all historical fiction buffs. Although do keep in mind that this book has some graphic violent scenes (for those who might find them triggering.)


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Book Review: SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick

Book Details:

Author: Deepak Mullick
Release Date: 19th August 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Finance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 191 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
Everyone wants to be rich, but not everyone is. There is a method and meaning to it that’s more than just numbers.  
In this book, investment veteran Deepak Mullick takes you on a journey to financial freedom. SimplyMutual isn’t just a guide to make more money, it is about building wealth to live the life of your dreams.  

If you’ve ever thought of retiring in your 40s to do what you love, this is THE book for you!

You can find this book on:
Amazon
 | Goodreads

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

SimplyMutual : The 1% Formula To Gain Financial Freedom by Deepak Mullick is a new release in the Indian Finance genre.

I generally don’t read finance-related or investing advice books, but the title of this one was very catchy and intriguing therefore I was more than happy to give it a read. And I am very happy that I did as this book had a lot of wisdom to impart and a lot of good suggestions for people of all ages to learn about investing. The best part, for me, about this book is that it is written in a very easy-to-understand-by-a-layman language and the author has simplified concepts, which I am sure, are not that easy to grasp otherwise.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who’d like to know about investing and the author’s 1% formula.


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Book Review: Family Matters (The Island Expats #3) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 7th August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 112 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A troubled daughter. A heinous crime. A vengeful woman.
When Matt’s daughter, Kayleigh takes a job in Souvia to escape her abusive ex, she’s horrified to be a victim of a malicious crime that goes disastrously wrong.
Matt has no idea why his daughter and her new boss have been targeted, but he’s determined to protect Kayleigh and to ensure her safety from those who want to harm her.
Elena and Kayleigh find themselves right in the firing line as the investigation progresses. Will they err on the side of caution, or will Kayleigh’s skills stop the criminals in their tracks?
Family Matters is the third novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Family Matters by Deb McEwan, the third book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to Bondu and Beyond.

This book was just as good as the first two books in this series and I am so glad I got to read them all. I liked this book because the writing was great, the plot and the concept were very refreshing and the characterisation was well done. So, all in all, this book had all the things that I had expected and then some. I’ve come to like the author’s narrative voice and it made reading this book very quick affair for me, not to mention, the well-executed pacing of the book helped in that too.

I’d definitely recommend this book and the series (so far at least) to all the readers of cosy mystery and mystery genre.


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Book Review: The Tribunals by David Spivak

Book Details:

Author: David Spivak
Release Date: 28th April 2021
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 222 pages
Publisher: New Degree Press
Blurb:
“Justice is about all of us.”

New Boston was born out of a series of nuclear wars after the devastating results of climate change rendered the US eastern seaboard uninhabitable. The city kept peace through its self-governing tribunal system and was thriving. But what started off as an egalitarian society began to divide along economic lines. The rich moved into the upper levels of the city and the poor masses retreated below ground. Food became rationed and tensions erupted…
The Tribunals follows Jaym, a teenager bursting with youthful energy who grew up in the dark alleys of the Furrows. When a job takes him to the upper levels of the city, he soon faces the most powerful family in New Boston, the Chief Justice and his children, Piers and Gwen. Gwen is intrigued by this Furrows boy, Piers feels threatened by the intrusion.
As the city goes through political upheaval, Jaym finds himself fighting forces greater than himself to try and save his friends and, ultimately, the city from a corrupt system. Can New Boston be stopped from complete collapse?

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Tribunals by David Spivak is a young-adult post-apocalyptic read packed with action and intrigue.

I liked the concept of the book, though not exactly unique, the world-building so-far moved the plot forward well. The characterisation was good, but I believe we’ll see more development and build-up of characterisation in the next instalments of this series. Still, for the first book in a series (hopefully it is a series) it is a decent enough book.

The story had many twists and some intriguing aspects that kept me turning the pages. I liked the ending and I am looking forward to reading more books by the author, preferably in this series.

I’d recommend this book to all YA and dystopian as well as post-apocalyptic readers.


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Book Review: Bondu and Beyond (The Island Expats #2) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 28th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 132 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A new life. A shocking discovery. A missing woman.
When Jenny the rescue dog finds more than she bargained for in the Souvian countryside it triggers Matt’s illness, and the night horrors return. He knows the only way to deal with it is to tackle matters head-on and to seek justice for those involved.
Elena will do everything in her power to help the man she loves, even if it means putting herself and others at risk from men whose only motivation is money.
Matt and Elena are unaware of the depths to which the criminals will plummet to reach their goals; so are the unsuspecting victims.
Bondu and Beyond is the second novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bondu And Beyond by Deb McEwan, the second book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to New Beginnings, serves as a perfectly entertaining cosy mystery taking things ‘up’ a notch as compared to the first book in this series.

I loved reading this book as much as, in fact even more than, the first book in this series. The author’s writing style only made the book a faster read and complimented the well-crafted plot very well. The characters were well-developed and relatable and made the plot come alive with their unique flair.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and would definitely recommend this one and the previous book in the series to all cosy mystery fans.


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Book Review: New Beginnings (The Island Expats #1) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 29th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 114 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A chance meeting. A Mediterranean island. A dead body. 
When damaged ex-detective Matt Elliott stops to help a stranger in the drizzly English weather it’s the catalyst for changes in his life he could never have imagined.  
Elena Lacey accepts Matt’s help and her safe, predictable future is thrown upside down. Neither of them knows what new beginnings are signalled on the beautiful island of Souvia, especially their association with a crime borne out of passion, revenge, and jealousy.
New Beginnings is the first novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour cozy mystery read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New Beginnings by Deb McEwan, the first book in The Island Expats series, is a well-written and very entertaining cosy mystery.

I loved reading this book because it had a great plot, well-written story and nicely developed characterisation. This book had everything I expected when I started reading it and successfully delivered on the promise it made – a fun-filled Mediterranean Island cosy mystery.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to most of them, including the side characters. I would definitely recommend this book to all cosy mystery readers.


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ARC Review: Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello

Book Details:

Author: Rich Marcello
Release Date: 26th July 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Slice-Of-Life, Literary Fiction, Romance
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 200 pages
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Blurb:
AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.
When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Watch this review on my YouTube channel

Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello is a beautifully written book about platonic love. It is an unusual love story about a retiree and a girl who is decades younger than him.

The characterisation was brilliant and helped me feel a strong connection to the main characters, Ben and Samantha. The writing was great and complimented the story beautifully. The concept is unique and engaging and the execution of the plot was flawless.

I’d highly suggest this book to all readers, especially those who like a well-written love story that goes way beyond the normal conventions and explores the depth of characters’ emotions.


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Book Review: Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis: The White Mantle by Velora Venn

Book Details:

Author: Velora Venn
Release Date: 3rd June 2021
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult Fiction
Series: Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 469 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis series is new adult fiction the blends the genres of steampunk, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, and romance.
A young woman named Elvira Evenfall has grown up in the ruggedly remote, yet enchanting Falsvik Islands with her grandfather. Her life in a simple fishing village is quaint and serene, but that all changes when a looming threat to the world suddenly invades her tiny corner of it.
A swarm of suspicious bats with enigmatic origins known as the Curse, which can infect people through their bites, transforming them into horrible, bat-like monsters, endangers all human life and now is made very real to Elvira and her loved ones.

Dark and controversial secrets about her family and identity also begin to surface, and before long, she’s faced with a major decision: to accept the mystical and versatile energies known as aether and assume her role as an Aethaumaturge in order to join the precarious fight for the security of Aerth, or hold onto the comforting life she so loves?
This choice is made all the easier when it is revealed that her own parents, who were thought dead, are actually still alive. Elvira’s priorities quickly change to wishing to find and return them home safely.
Her decision instantly results in a corresponding new danger, though, forcing her to flee from her peaceful village. A secret society of Aethaumaturges promises to keep her safe in Brume, the impressive and imposing capital of the country of Lluminox.
A host of obstacles and an assortment of characters are met along the way. While she struggles to gain control of her new powers, she also must decipher her similarly new, unanticipated romantic feelings for two separate individuals — one male, and one female.
It becomes increasingly clear, through her interactions, that the world isn’t just plagued by a pandemic, but also an elite ruling class of superior people who often exploit the underprivileged and abuse their power. These people, known as Ascendants, are a vestige of the Archaic Era, a technologically-advanced time period from hundreds of years prior that was considered the pinnacle of mankind, but concluded with civilization collapsing and the destruction of nearly all humankind, due to the ancient peoples’ malice and selfishness.
Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
Join Elvira and crew on this whimsical, wild ride through a retro-futuristic time. Meet humanoid and animal automata, witness powerful, magic-like abilities, and discover the many mysteries awaiting both Elvira and the reader along the way.

Book Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Okay, let’s start with the cover of this book! Truly magical!? Am I right? Just by looking at it any reader is bound to be intrigued and would want to read the story right away.

Aerth’s Aetheric Aegis: The White Mantle by Velora Ven is an action-packed book with highly relatable, flawed and badass characters. The character development in the story is simply phenomenal; the main protagonist Elvira is one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read! Yes, she has her flaws but with the help of her close ones, she tackles everything that comes her way. I really enjoyed reading about her journey. The other thing that I loved in the book was the relationship dynamics in the story. I won’t delve into much detail because SPOILERS!, but I ended up really enjoying the drama going on throughout the book. It is filled with beautiful and amazing artwork throughout, which made the book compelling for me.

With its intriguing plot structure, some highly powerful characters, and their development, Velora Ven has delivered an action-packed thrilling and enthralling adventure for the readers. If you want to dwell in a different world that is captivating and refreshing, I would highly suggest you pick this one up. 

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon.