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Archive for March, 2010

Thyme In A flask

By Glen Quarry

Eloquent Books – September 2009

ISBN-10: 1608607070

ISBN-13: 978-1608607075

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Thyme-Flask-Glen-Quarry/dp/1608607070/

Riddles, puzzles, fairy tales and mysteries; that’s what Thyme in a Flask is filled with. This delightful medieval tale follows seventeen year old Jon Chandler on a quest to find and destroy a magical flask. At the urging of his loved ones and for the good of the entire village, Jon, an apprentice sword maker leaves everything he knows of home and safety as he reluctantly accepts this responsibility and sets out on his journey. Along the way Jon will learn of power: power in the world, power in objects and power within himself.

In a parallel story line Princess Joanna discovers her father; King of the magical land of Elisinor has the power to travel in and out of time. The story is whimsical and entertaining even if it causes confusion here and there. Readers may scratch their head a little and feel the need to turn the pages back for a little rereading. Those who stick it out will eventually see how all the story lines and magical creatures fit together. They will discover the stopping of time, mystical places, enchanted characters, the magic of the flask and how two worlds intertwine.

The main character, Jon doesn’t set out alone on his quest. Readers also get to know his friends and travel companions, beautiful but flighty Dorthea and Samuel the gentle giant. Samuel is a tender hearted eight foot 480 pound giant friend. Although a little dim, he is reliable and endearing. Dorthea was raised as Jon’s sister, but early in the story it is revealed that this isn’t a birth relationship. The two have their squabbles and differences which often lead to conflict. However, they are united by a common goal and a strong will to fight for the good. Dorthea exasperates Jon as she challenges many of his decisions. It seems to be a love – hate relationship, but readers soon realize that Jon and Dorthea are on the brink of something much more complex than a sibling relationship.

Readers will be spell bound as they travel with Jon and Dorthea into a parallel world, where few have ever gone. The author paints a vivid picture of this new world. Readers will be transported in time as they journey with Jon in his attempts to locate the flask that has been missing for sixteen years. They will travel along as Jon tries to outsmart the demons and wizards who set up roadblocks to test his strength and skill. At times it will be hard to tell who is friend and who is foe. Puzzlers will enjoy the clues and riddles sprinkled along the way. Jon and Dorthea will be forced to solve riddles in their attempt to return to their time, their lives and find their true home. In the quest to find the flask the two learn many things about themselves, about life and love. Some lessons prove to be more powerful than magic. Will they come up with the right answers? Will they solve the riddles in time?

Glen Quarry’s fairy tale is chock full of twists and turns, plots and subplots, vivid characters and enchanted settings. Readers may sense hints of similarities with other popular fantasy books yet it is so unique, it really is unlike any other. The author introduces new characters with unique powers and a world of his own making. This is no copycat. It’s a brand new story in a new and very original world. Readers won’t want to put the book down but may want to go back and reread certain sections for clarity. Pearl feels it is one of those books that could be read more than once. There is almost too much to digest in one reading. It seems to be one of those books in which repeat readers are apt to discover new details on a second read through. This book would make a great family read aloud. It would be an enjoyable book to read, pause and discuss. It’s a winner for fantasy fans of all ages. Stay tuned, there are more adventures ahead. Glen Quarry is currently working on the sequel to his debut novel.

–Pearl

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Book review submissions are closed until June 2010. Please check back then.

If you already have a book with us waiting for review, all present books will be reviewed as usual.

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Love’s Road Home

By Lisa Lewis

Black Lyon Publishing – 4-1-2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-25-6

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Road-Home-Lisa-Lewis/dp/1934912255/

Author Website: http://www.lisalewisbooks.com/

Bethany Miller’s life was not going as she envisioned it all those years studying her butt off at Stanford. After working extra hard and earning her MBA a year early an internship with a prestigious accounting firm turned permanent and she landed a great job. However, the older guy that swept her off her feet turned out to be a money grubbing swindler embezzling company funds while framing her. After a trial, threats and a failed romance Bethany grudgingly agrees to do what she vowed never to do again – live the life of a roadie. She finds security with family, but can’t believe she is back on the road for a summer gig with her band manager dad. After the death of her mother Bethany was raised on the road and decided from a young age that she would take a path to a more stable, more settled life. Needing space from recent events and telling herself it was only temporary, she sets out to meet the band and find her place with the crew. She will be cordial, but she doesn’t plan to make friends. Still stinging from lost love and betrayal she plans to especially avoid the male band members including the gorgeous lead guitarist with his crooked grin and boyish charm.

Tom Crowley is looking for a break that will lift his band to the next level.  Music is his passion and after playing small clubs in small cities he is thrilled that his band, Roadhouse is embarking on its first major tour. He wants things to go smoothly and is slightly irritated at the last minute, hiring of a bristly female crewmember he meets the day of departure. She is nice to look at, but that may be a distraction he can’t afford. He vows to focus on music!

It doesn’t take long for the two to become involved. They share stories of their pasts, but Tom senses that Bethany is always holding back. As he is learning of her past hurts and worries, they suddenly come racing to the present when the police inform her that her ex boyfriend escaped custody and may be on the way to carry out some threats he made in the courtroom.

Tom’s jealousy soon fades and he takes on the role of protector. He quickly falls in love with Bethany. She is attracted to Tom and eager for a physical relationship with this sexy band member, but reluctant to declare love or make any lasting commitment. She doesn’t see herself married to someone on the road. That isn’t the life she dreamed of. She doesn’t want to travel full time nor does she want to be a wife who sits home while her husband is out on the road weeks at a time. When she first realizes she is falling in love, she is determined that it won’t work. Tom loves his music and if she loves a musician she can’t ask him to give up his passion or his dream.

The author did her research on bands, touring and life on the road. The language and atmosphere described was very fitting and realistic. The book was a little on the short side making the romance seem a bit rushed. The characters were likeable and well described. The genre is contemporary romance so intimate scenes are to be expected. Those included were fitting to the plot, but to be honest, they’re written in a little more explicit detail than Pearl cares to read.  Pearl feels that some details may be better left to the reader’s imagination. That is just a personal opinion and not a slam against the author or the book. The overall story was well written and the characters were suitably developed.

Both Bethany and Tom are likeable characters. They bring past hurts and struggles to their developing relationship. Tom is sensitive and sexy, eager to protect Bethany and make the relationship permanent.  Bethany is beautiful and determined. She enjoys the attention and craves the physical relationship, but is she ready to commit her heart?  Readers learn just enough of Bethany’s ex-boyfriend Eric Sharpe to dislike him and understand why she mistrusts men. Life on the road includes fans. Readers will enjoy the character of Cassiopeia Sommersby. The waiting, plotting escapades of this crazed fan brought a nice dimension to the story. Her attempts to win Tom’s love go from humorous to alarming to criminal. Her character keeps readers guessing and helps portray the vulnerability of both Tom and Bethany.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. The author did a nice job helping readers get to know them early on in the story. Although not the main focus of the book, I enjoyed the relationship between Bethany and her father. At first I didn’t find it believable that a successful accountant would leave the business world to go on a music tour with her manager father. However, as the story unfolded and the author sprinkled events from Bethany’s past here and there it became a believable possibility. The revelation of childhood events show her vulnerable side and recent tragedy shows her need for protection. Although she hated life on the road, she craved the safety found with her father. She planned to tolerate the roadie job while buying herself a little time. Although she secretly liked to sing she didn’t expect to enjoy the road, the people or the lifestyle. She certainly didn’t expect to find safety or love from a handsome band member.

This energetic contemporary romance by Lisa Lewis will be available in April. It will be her first published book but I dare to say it won’t be her last. Love’s Road Home is an upbeat romance full of fun characters, clear descriptions and realistic dialogue. If you like rock and roll love stories, this book is for you.

 –Pearl

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Whispers in Autumn

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon Publishing, Coming March 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-24-9

Buy Link: Will be added when released

Author Website: http://mjeanpike.webs.com/

I was thrilled when I received Whispers in Autumn for review. I’ve read other M. Jean Pike novels and I’m particularly fond of her paranormal’s. This is the second in the Love On The Lake series and although the paranormal aspect was absent from the first (Shadow Lake), it’s back with this installment.

In this second novel we meet for the first time Emma’s friend, Dove. An expert in paranormal studies and a physic medium, Dove has just helped the Philadelphia Police Department solve a brutal murder and picked up a stalker along the way. This madman believes Dove is a witch and wants her dead. After receiving an invitation to Emma and Shane’s wedding, she decides a sabbatical is in order. She’ll go to the wedding and stay at Shadow Lake where she can enjoy the peace and quiet as well as hide out with the hope her stalker won’t be able to find her before the police find him.

Shadow Lake is everything Emma had told her it would be—peaceful, beautiful, and serene. Unfortunately the spirits haunting the park are not so at peace. They clamor for Dove’s attention, but she’s learned over the years to shut them out when necessary for the sake of her sanity. One thing she hadn’t counted on was meeting Dusty and the immediate passion she feels for him. Dusty is a man with a past; living with the grief of a heart wrenching tragedy he can’t let go of. Although he feels unworthy of loving a woman like Dove, he can’t resist the overwhelming physical and emotional effect she has on him.

Ms. Pike’s powerful characterizations, vivid imagery, and fast pace captures the reader from the first sentence and holds them until the last, making Whispers in Autumn a true winner. This is not a cookie cutter romance; Ms. Pike’s attention to detail and unique storytelling ability sets this one apart. The suspense is nail-biting in intensity at times. The love scenes are beautifully done without being too graphic and the spine tingling ghostly encounters are right on.

All the characters in Whispers in Autumn are vibrantly alive, with their own individual flaws. The main players are likable, even lovable—generating sympathy and a true desire from the reader for them to overcome the many obstacles to their happiness. I appropriately hated the villain, but still managed to feel a tiny drop of compassion for his madness.

This is a shorter novel and can be read in one sitting, which is good because you won’t want to stop reading once you start. But don’t let the shorter length fool you. Whispers in Autumn is chock full of romance, paranormal activity, and suspense. There’s something for everyone and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

–Willow

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com

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What Recipes Don’t Tell You

(From Appetizers to Zucchini)

By George Erdosh

Virtual Bookworm 2009

Buy Link Hardcover: http://www.amazon.com/What-Recipes-Dont-Tell-You/dp/1602644934

Author Site: http://howfoodswork.blogspot.com

Are you a great cook, new to cooking, or never cooked, but want to learn? It doesn’t matter which category you fit in. I believe you’ll love What Recipes Don’t Tell You by George Erdosh, a culinary scientist, food writer, and certified cooking teacher.

I collect recipe books, especially vintage ones, but that’s not what this is. It’s a guide to all those things you wish were included in your recipe books. It details the shelf life of foods, herbs, spices…ect. The author shows you different ways of preparing and cooking foods as well the best ways to store your foodstuffs for safety and longevity. There are options for substitutions of one ingredient for another with the same great results. For instance you can use a combo of white sugar and molasses in place of brown sugar. There are weights and measurements. If your recipe calls for so many cups of chopped, diced, or sliced apples or other food, it tells you how many pounds of that food you’ll need to equal that many cups, as well as how much of a specific food you’ll need to feed X amount of people. This is just a tiny example of some of the kinds of things detailed inside these pages.

What Recipes Don’t Tell You is very well written and offers a wealth of information for all cooks from beginner to expert. There isn’t a table of contents, but it’s in alphabetical order, so finding exactly what you’re looking for is easy. I recommend this book for all the cooks and aspiring cooks out there, and if you don’t cook it would be great gift for the cooks in your life. I know it’s earned its place on my kitchen shelf right beside my favorite recipe book. I imagine I’ll refer to it over and over again.

–Willow

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