Monday, June 30, 2014

Iron Shinto by Tricia Stewart Shiu

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Iron Shinto' by Tricia Stewart Shiu.

When life changes and you find things are out of control, how do you rewind and settle the dust. Or can you?  Once you have begun a new journey in both your mind and your soul the difficulty lies in the fact that once you believe and have seen the proof of your beliefs, everything transforms.   ‘You can’t un-ring the bell.’
In The Iron Shinto by Tricia Stewart Shiu, you will follow the lives of Hillary House, her sister Molly and niece Heidi as the journey of discovery moves them into the inferno of the war over control of the portal of the guardians.  
In Moa  by Tricia Stewart Shiu, Hillary and her family were instrumental in saving the Hawaiian Islands as well as Moa the guardian of the gate.  This then moved them forward to the story of the God Ku, and his missing essence.
In The Statue of Ku by Tricia Stewart Shiu, we follow the young women into Egypt where we learn of the God Ku, and how he came to be, as well as the history of Hillary and her family, and how they come to be the ones chosen to put their history to rights. 
The Iron Shinto furthers the story as having found the abilities of astral travel, transporting and protection with the help of Moa, the young women now appear to have lost themselves.  An evil force has found and separated them from their bodies.  They must now find a way to heal the rift that set them asunder and find their physical bodies before time runs out.  Can they decipher the clues that have torn them apart and find the integral beings where they have been hidden?  Moa comes back for the challenge but it is already too late.  
This family is so beset with complexities that the depth is like looking through a bottomless pool.  The story is interesting and Hillary, Molly and Heidi are great personalities, with flaws that make them altogether human.  The beginning of each chapter assigns blessings and chants to help clear chakras and issues to move into a better experience. This adds a dose of spiritualism that enhances the work. This is the third book in the series, with the others listed above.  A final coup de  grace of emotional turmoil.
This would be a great book for the young adult or anyone who really enjoys a good mystery with a dose of spirituality and the paranormal thrown in.  If you are intrigued with the story and the characters you will find that the first two books of the series will give you that extra dose of richness.  Each story can stand alone, but when combined with each other there is a fullness of heart.  
You may find yourself memorizing the chants and rooting for the characters to win and for life to right itself. This is an amazing series, and Shiu has given up a series with teeth.  These are a great addition to your library or that of your young reader.   
Rating 4/5
Each book of the series is an amazing part to the puzzle and receive the same rating.
This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based on my reading and understanding of the material.

Eyes On You by Kate White

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Eyes On You' by Kate White.

When someone is manufacturing gossip and lies about you behind your back in an effort to discredit you, how do you fight back? What if you don’t know who is garnering the damage, and yet your life is changing because of it?

In Eyes on You by Kate White, we follow the life of Robin Trainer, a television host, who has fought her way to the top. She has a best-selling book and her show is one of the hottest in the biz. When things begin to go wrong she initially is unsure of what is going on. She quickly catches on though when the more harmless innuendo and gossip turn into more dangerous and possibly deadly games. When the clues point to someone that has to know her well, she no longer knows who to trust.

As she tries to put together the pieces before everything she holds dear is lost, she finds that even her life is at stake. Can she find the answers before it is too late?

Robin is both beautiful and smart. She is not afraid to walk the talk, but that is exactly what gets her in trouble. White has developed that dreadful darkness that leaves you feeling hollow when you have no idea who to fight against. The challenges and damages that continue to occur put Robin off her stride, and you begin to feel that lost feeling right along with her. How do you stop the constant trickle of trouble that begins to eat away at not just your confidence, but the confidence of those around you?

If you enjoy mystery and romance you will find this to be a satisfying read. The darkness is just enough to keep you enthralled and the mystery keeps you guessing to the end.

This would be a great book for a reading group, a veritable plethora of information on gossip and its damages. This is a must have summer read and an enjoyable who-dun-it. 

Rating 3/5

This book was received through the authors publishing company. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Closed Doors by Lisa O'Donnell

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'Closed Doors' by Lisa O'Donnell.

Never underestimate the hearing or imagination of a child. The understanding of what they do hear and perceive is often based off television, movies and gossip among other children. When the information they overhear is outside their experience, they often will just fill in the blanks as they see fit, sometimes underestimating the situation, but just as often making it even more scary and bizarre.
In Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell, we meet eleven-year-old Michael Murray. There are many things going on in his life, both at school and at home.  Hi nemesis at school is Dirty Alice as he likes to refer to her. She is always bothering him. He also has to prepare himself for the upcoming talent show. Yet it is his home life that has taken an appalling turn.  He often listens at doors for information because his parents feel he is too young to know about grownup things.
When his mother comes home upset and crying with bruises on her face, he suddenly hears a secret he is not ready for. He doesn’t really understand the words, but he knows that the very worst has happened.  What exactly does that mean though?
When the whispers begin both at home and elsewhere, he wonders if there is more going on than he has already heard.  The problem is who does he ask what the words mean?  His life is no longer what he remembers.  People seem to think that his father is a bad guy, and suddenly Alice, his one true enemy has changed.  How does he get his life back?
O’Donnell has taken the unimaginable and brought it to the forefront of everyday life.  To take the terrible things that happen to people and create such an atmosphere of disarray in the life of a family, who is only struggling to cope, brings starkness to the challenges of crimes against women. To confront the situation is often overwhelming for the victim, but through the eyes of a child you see a whole different view.  Without an understanding of the nature of the occurrence, the fear and concern can careen out of control. Yet life on the outside does not slow down and abate, it just mixes in with the fear, making the lives of those involved spiral out of control.
The characters are so real and the town so much like were we all live, the author has given us a story very close to home.
If you enjoy the interaction of small towns, mysteries, romance and secrets you will enjoy this work. It would be a great book for a reading group with so many directions to create dialogue. The phrase “little pitchers have big ears,” is only the tip of the iceberg in this heartfelt story.  
Rating 4/5
This book was received free through the authors publishing company. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review:'Elizabeth is Missing' by Emma Healey.

In Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, we are introduced to a family in crisis. The poignancy and beauty of love give a clear indication of the heart of those inflicted with memory loss. The person who resides inside seems to only be misplaced and the acting out is not personalized but a reaction to a thought of action within the mind of those so afflicted.
Maude is having a terrible time remembering, yet when she finds a note that her best friend Elizabeth is missing, she is shocked. Even more so when she realizes the handwriting is her own.  Elizabeth is her best friend and when Maude can’t get the answers she is looking for she goes sleuthing on her own. That is a dangerous ploy as she has extreme memory loss. Her daughter Carla is doing what she can to keep her safe, but is alternately frustrated and scared. Her son lives farther away and he doesn’t see the danger of worries that come from day to day living with their mom.
Twisted in the memories are small bits and pieces of Maude’s past, and the disappearance of her beloved sister Sukey just after World War II.  As her memories ebb and flow the two disappearances keep connecting in strange and mysterious ways.  As Maude tries to make her daughter understand she continues to muddle the message, creating confusion for both. She has gone to the police, and while she does not remember, they certainly do. She has been many times reporting a missing person, and they begin to be concerned for Maude’s welfare as well.  With the pressure from her daughter and the police she tries to dredge up her concerns, yet everything comes back to Elizabeth being missing. Or is that Sukey? They keep getting twisted up in her memories. The notes she keep finding are more disconcerting, yet she knows from the handwriting that she is the one writing the clues. But she forgets how to decipher them.  
Can she pull her memories to the surface to save her friend, or is she just having a crisis as her daughter and the police suspect. And why does Sukey continue to dwell within that field of concern.
This is an amazing journey and one that speaks deeply to me as my mother too, has a form of dementia. The notes were one of her ways of coping and remembering and the acting out is also one of her ploys. The sudden clarity of memory also comes though at times and all is well for a short time, yet it is the past that often holds the power.
You will find yourself charmed and alarmed as Maude makes her way, you will worry about Carla and the missing Elizabeth.  Healey creates her characters so real; you expect to read about them in the headlines.  You will find the story both sad and exciting, and while cheering the characters on, the love that Maude holds is never lost.  To understand her is to love her, and you will find yourself there.
If you enjoy mysteries and small bits of history, you will find this to be the book for you.  If you have any family or know of anyone afflicted with memory loss this is a small bit of hope and poignancy.  
This is Emma Healey’s first novel and she has come out with a roar. This would be a great read for both a book club and a reading group. There is the possibility of immense amounts of discussion.  
Rating 5/5
This book was received from the authors publicist. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Zero Alternative by Luca Pesaro

Posted first on Blog Critics as Book Review:'Zero Alternative' by Luca Pesaro.

Power comes in many forms and seems to always follow the money. With the Banking system now so intricate and many vying for ways to find just a few more dollars through the market, there is bound to be shenanigans of the very worst kind.

In Zero Alternative by Luca Pesaro, we are taken deep into the money markets, and many of the secrets they keep. Scott walker is one of those who play the market and understand the rules. He has friends in many places, and a few enemies as well. One of his friends has been building a program that can help them to know things ahead of time. There is only on problem with that. Someone else is aware of the work and is willing to do whatever it takes to be the owner.  Whoever holds the information would be able to keep their thumb on the pulse of the world.

As people around him begin to die in brutal fashion, Scott begins calling in favors. Without the access to the same types of assets, he still knows enough people that can help him. Yet suddenly it seems that he is the focus, and those he is closest to are no longer safe. Even those who feel they can take care of themselves.  With the death of his friend who built the program, can he find the bits and pieces that have been lost before it is too late?

As he races ahead of his enemies, he has no idea who to trust.  A Morass is opening that he may well disappear into unless he can find the answers.

Pesaro has done an amazing job of taking you deep into the money trenches of the markets. He is very knowledgeable, and while deep, the information is amazing. He has taken his own knowledge of how things work and twisted it all into a sinister cycle.  His characters are very interesting and pretty realistic. The crux of the story rings true and you wonder just how much is real.

If you enjoy suspense and thrillers you will enjoy this work. There is also a bit of romance and travel that seals the deal. The infrastructure he builds his story around is both exciting and pervasive.  

This would be a great book for a reading group with theories and events that will generate some very interesting dialogue.  Pesaro is an author to watch for.
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Zero Alternative Summary

“Sometimes you must destroy first.”

To stay alive, Scott Walker must bring down a corrupt international bank. And possibly shatter the world’s economy. Because finance is a black hole ready to chew up countries and people before spitting them out rich, or broken. Or both.

Framed. Hunted. In love with a woman he can’t trust. As he hides from hitmen across Europe, Walker has only one card to play – DeepShare. A silicon oracle that could predict a slice of the future, and that everyone wants. Governments and insane billionaires, criminals and anarchist hackers stand in his way, some even promising help – though with dangerous strings attached.

As Walker struggles to survive and digs deeper into the dark heart of the global economy, one question torments him: how much will the world have to pay?

Zero Alternative is an action-packed conspiracy thriller that plucks at the heart of human nature. When our grip on love, hope and morality starts to slide, the only future worth living is the one we choose for ourselves.

Luca Pesaro's Bio:

Luca Pesaro was born in Italy in the early seventies, but has spent most of his adult life in the US or UK. After long years gaining a degree and masters in the pseudo-science that is Economics he got bored, jumped the gun and became a derivatives trader in financial markets with several investment banks. Now reformed, he is writing full-time.

Zero Alternative is his first novel, and he is hard at work on his second thriller.

He lives in London, is married to an awesome Italian lady and has two children who always manage to annoy, surprise and delight beyond any reasonable expectation.

Formats: ebook, paperback
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 269
Release: April 25, 2014
Publisher: Three Hares Publishing

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