Get set for another emotional roller-coaster with A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s upcoming novel : A Charm of Finches will be out later this year. I was provided with an ARC and as usual I was swept away! I do not know what it is about her books and writing, but it completely sucks me in and then I move only after finishing the book! Suanne deals with many pertinent issues in her books and handles the topics, the emotions and her characters very well.

About the Book:

A Charm of Finches (Venery, #2)

“I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it.”

From the author of The Fish Tales comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series. In An Exaltation of Larks, Laqueur captured readers with a tale of life, friendship and the bonds of love that both create and destroy. A Charm of Finches follows Javier Landes as he retires from escorting, reinvents his writing career and invites love to be his friend. Both love and friendship arrive in the form of Steffen Finch, an art therapist from Manhattan, and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creative and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for delicate, complex cases. While his career is full of excellence, in matters of the heart he’s barely mediocre. Openly bisexual, his committed relationships have always been with women, but at the age of forty, a failed marriage and a handful of forgotten lovers are all he can call his own. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone who inspires him to be the best he can be. Someone like Javier Landes.

Geno Caan, one of Stef’s patients, is likewise struggling to find the best of himself after a sexual predator destroyed his family. Unsure of who he is or where he belongs, Geno allows an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions on who gets to come near him and for what purpose. Living a double life within a web of protective lies takes its toll and after a suicide attempt, Geno enters a private rehab facility and starts to work with Steffen Finch. Under Stef’s patient and compassionate navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud—the crucial first step in taking back his life. But when Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually spills onto Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, three overlapping lives form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war, and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

My Thoughts:

This new story by Suanne brings together three very different people in this story, highlighting their backgrounds and characters. She takes her time to focus on each one of them, including Jav, even though we have already met him and know his story (if you have already read An Exaltation of Larks).

Geno, a rape victim, is also forced to deal with the death of his twin brother and his father one after the other in a very short span of time. The trauma is not easy to deal with and his journey to healing forms the crux of this story. At the same time, Stef and Jav form an expected bond and take an instant liking to each other. The story of their growth as individuals and together forms the other part of this story.

Suanne deals with topics of trauma, self-discovery, healing as well as acceptance all rolled into one neat story. The emotions are deep and tug at your soul. They will force you to go through the issues of the characters with them and accompany them on their journey. A story filled with hope, love and everything good, Suanne doesn’t hesitate to highlight all the bad things that can happen in life and how they can be dealt with, without sounding preachy in any way.

The teaching techniques used and the concept of art for therapy is wonderful and frankly interesting to read about. The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

I will stop my review here, without talking a lot about the story for fear of divulging it all! Read it and enjoy!

Book review: Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? by Celine Rose Mariotti

I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You?: A Ghost Mystery Set in Maine

New Children’s Book from Dreaming Big Publications
Author: Celine Rose Mariotti
Illustrator: Bob Veon
Available in Paperback and Ebook
Page Count: 80 pages

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Olivia-MacAllister-Who-Are-You/dp/1548809780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502775150&sr=8-1&keywords=olivia+who+are+you

Publisher Website: Dreamingbigpublications.com
Email: Dreamingbigpublications@outlook.com

About the Book:
Bobby MacAllister and Noel Simpson are cousins, who visit their Uncle Eb in Maine for the summer. There they embark on an adventure to discover the story of their ancestors and the secrets of the ghost, Olivia, who stays in the house. Together, with family friends and partners from the town, they uncover the truth of a long lost love story. Olivia MacAllister, Who Are You? is a fun fiction chapter book for children aged 7 to 10. Will you be inspired to learn about your ancestors’ past like Bobby and Noel?

My Thoughts:

This is a simply written, quick read with an interesting plot line. The main characters, cousins, Bobby and Noel come to visit their Uncle for the summer. With highly inquisitive natures, they start exploring the house and try to discover it’s secrets. Along with some history about the family, we are introduced to the ghost of one of their ancestors, Olivia MacAllister, who seems to still be tied to the house.

As the story unfolds, we learn of her tragic death and her lost love. The mystery behind all this, the tiny adventures that the children go off on and the old house with its secret doors makes for a fun read. It is wonderful to read about how the children bond with their uncle and share a sense of interest in all things mysterious and supernatural.

The story ends abruptly, with some questions left unanswered. It feels hurried and short and at times as though everything is just falling into place very easily. But, this does not take away from the rest of the plot which is actually quite good. Overall, this is a decent read and will ensure that children enjoy themselves.

 

Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

I was provided with a copy of this book by Hideaway Fall publishers in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Broken Branches

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is an intense emotional roller coaster, that will hold your attention until the end. The story is well-written and the beauty of it is that the author doesn’t give away anything until the very end! It proves to be impossible to predict the direction the  story will take and is even more difficult to figure out what is real and what is not! The title of the story becomes clear by the end and is quite apt according to me.

The story follows Ian Perkins as he tries to find out more about his family and it’s history, tracing back along the years while trying to prove the existence of a legendary family curse. The reason behind this need becomes clear only after the reader has completed the book! We are also introduced to Rachel, Ian’s wife who doesn’t believe in the curses’ existence and their adorable son Harry, who seems to have boundless energy. The emotions run deep and the descriptions are vivid, sometimes giving the reader chills at the end of it.

The author sets the tone of the story right from the first page as he describes the cottage, the iconic tree and the various people who have resided in this place. Chapters alternate between the present times and the past, introducing us to various people who were a part of or influenced Ian’s life. The author expertly describes the mental stability of his characters and brings out their thoughts and emotions, thus making it hard for the reader to completely judge until the end.

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

Book Review: Skyblind by J.R. Fehr

About the Book:

Skyblind

Corwin Medisto is turning 16 and becoming a man, but that’s the furthest thing from his mind. He and his twin sister Taylee have discovered an ancient relic fueled by dark magic that has a mysterious link to their long dead mother. Worse yet, they’ve accidentally activated it.

Desperate to learn the truth of its origins and to break free of its curse, the twins leave home with their childhood friend and embark on a quest that leads them to come face to face with Syyris Sagrado, the god of Day, and discover a forbidden power greater than the forces of Day … and Night.

My Thoughts:

Wow. First off, I absolutely loved this story. Think in terms of a cross between the world Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings and you have a wonderful new world with an exciting plot.

The story follows the journey of Corwin and his twin sister Taylee. They accidentally activate an old relic that was somehow connected to their mother. When they go in search of their uncle for help, they are caught up in a web of deception and greed. They follow the path and end up at face to face with the god of Day, whom they so ardently worshiped.

The author introduces us to some very strong characters apart from the main brother-sister duo. A mysterious man who calls himself Skyblind, comes to their aid and changes the way they perceive things. Salana, the princess and heir to the throne is portrayed as a strong independent woman who commands respect and is fair. The author subtly brings out what blind faith can do and how it can affect people.

This is not just a quest, or an adventure to stop the bad guys, but also one of self-discovery and understanding the importance of power and how it can be misused. The reader discovers how greed and complacency as well as blind faith can affect the people. It is also very easy to get lost along the way. As the journey progresses, the twins also find out about their parents and their past. Life is not always black and white, there is also grey thrown in with a lot of uncertainty.

This story is filled with adventure and some interesting points of view that the author expresses but doesn’t preach about. It is thought provoking and the story is an enjoyable read!

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

I’m back with book 2 in the series, the continuation of the story and it is mega! Read on to know more about the book and what I thought about it.

About the Book:

The Magician's Workshop, Volume Two

Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.

My Thoughts:

Where the first book was light-hearted with the focus on introducing us to the world and characters, the second book takes the story ahead more seriously. A shift in the direction of the plot adds more to the magic of this series.The declaration of whether our characters have color in them or not is finally given out.

It’s interesting how parallels are drawn between the colors and personality traits. We are shown how people change when color is discovered in them as well as when it isn’t. The distinctions cast between having color and being void is indeed quite unfair. The pressure on the children to have something in them is immense and with high expectations, sometimes it is easy to lose one’s own individuality and identity. It becomes difficult to read about the characters and how they feel throughout this ordeal. Family bonds, friendships and even relationships are strained through this adding to the already declining morale. This is the kind of coming of age idea where after the color ceremony, the children are considered to have “grown up” or are adults. It is a freaky concept, one that can create or destroy a person and the bonds they share with those around them. The harsh rules and manner in which they are enforced do not make it any easier.

The Master Magician turns up with words of encouragement along the lines of color, no color, it doesn’t matter, but to accept all anyway. This comes across as a surprise and a rather new concept to everyone who think that the ultimate goal is to be found with color and then to train to get into the magician’s workshop. No-one seems to know or understand the hardships that it entails or even those that follow this kind of dream. There also seems to be an underlying sub plot to change how things are perceived in the islands for so many years. We meet some rather interesting older characters who though briefly introduced in Book 1, have more importance in this and probably further on. There is talk of how everyone should be equal irrespective of whether they have color in them and this seems to threaten a lot of people. This is a difficult idea to change and would take a lot of work.

Now that everyone has found out their place (it feels harsh to write it this way, but I cannot think of another way of articulating this), it’s time to move further, to train, to find new goals and to deal with the next stage of life. The authors slowly emphasize the importance of two characters, Kai and Layauna, and the story slowly shifts focus with more of the later chapters written from their points of view. Coming out with the kind of colors they have, it will give us a sense that the tests that life will throw at these two will be harder and that they will need all the help and support from their friends and family. It is also clear that now, having been declared as adults, our beloved characters cannot let their guards down and need to be careful about whom they trust.

This book continues on in chapters from where the previous left off. The authors flawlessly craft the story to take us further and draw us in. They maintain the playfulness and style of expression which is quite refreshing and enhance the concepts and story. It is easy to experience everything with the characters and this is one of the main things that drew my attention.The style of writing, the description about each projection only add to the soaring imagination of the reader. A wonderful feat achieved successfully by the authors. Kudos to the work they have done and the time they have spent in creating this world.

It has been a while since reading Harry Potter, that a series in this genre has kept me hooked. I will say it again and again that this is one mega awesome read! Keep projecting and I hope that the next book comes out soon.

Book Review: A Book About a Film by C. W. Schultz

I was provided with an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. Initially, I was not at all certain as to what to expect. The blurb got me searching the internet for as much information as I could about the premise of the story. When I realized that there was not much to go on and almost every search that turned up somehow pointed back to the upcoming book: A Book About a Film, I started reading it with much more interest.

About the Book:

cropped-jill_cwschultz.jpg.jpg

Author C. W. Schultz’s fourth release A BOOK ABOUT A FILM is a matchless thriller focusing on a low-budget movie called THE CORNFIELD PEOPLE, which follows journalist Joe Fischer as he investigates the titular group. The Cornfield People are a secret society who know the meaning of life and what comes after death. It is essential to the Cornfield People that their knowledge remain hidden from outsiders, and they will stop at nothing to protect their secret. Schultz surveys censorship through the means of violence in this chilling and unforgettable book. This satire on film-criticism takes on a double-narrative, with one acting as a novelization of the movie, while the other examines the film’s hidden messages, motifs and haunting obscurity.

My Thoughts:

 This is a narrative about the plot of the above said film which is said to be lost while some think of it as an urban legend.  The plot of the film is explained in a manner that prompts the reader to visualize each scene. The author not only describes the setting, but also talks about the camera angle and each character’s current position in the scene. Added to this are annotations where the author has interspersed his research along with the thoughts and quotes from several well-known film-makers, writers, producers and others in the field of film-making.

The story is intriguing, dealing with a group of people who claim to know the truth about life and what comes after death. We do however, meet some characters who are portrayed as cold and calculating. The bottom-line of the plot comes down to protecting a secret for the greater good, to protect mankind and the extent to which people can go to accomplish this. There are many references to breaking the fourth wall and how the characters are seemingly aware of their audience. This has been described in detail and analyzed in several instances. The author has made sure to bring out these points quite clearly.

The principal character, a journalist by profession is shown as intelligent with a slight sense of humor reflected when he encounters different situations while he has been tasked with investigating the Cornfield People.  There are instances when we see the analysis provided while trying to narrow down a time frame or period for when this film may have been taken. With little to no information, these first hand and second hand reports add some mystery to the book. The story does fall a little flat at times where a sense of mystery is created but the author doesn’t go deeper with the explanation. However, this does not take away from the beauty of the overall idea.

The reader, through this narrative is in for an interesting read whereby the author ensures that he/she will go away with enough knowledge about this film that they will start their own research into it. Judging by the story, this would indeed be a classic film to watch. A rather well-written book, this story about a film will spark the interest of the reader and create awareness about the film.