Tag Archives: adventure

My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink

Here is the book blurb.

Where is Milo’s Bible, the intruders demanded. They came under cover of darkness, their guns pointed at my elderly neighbor and only friend. And with the break in, an old story came out–young love, betrayal, blackmail, a treasure stolen and stolen again, a tale of vengeance and a life lived in secret. I was just a kid in the 70s, unable to sit still in school, living in my imaginary world of TV and movies. And now this betrayal from half a century ago threatened my life, as I found myself caught between hidden treasure and a band of gypsies who would stop at nothing to get it.

This story set in Norfolk, Nebraska is written in the format of a diary of memories and begins with a very exciting adventure as our hero retrieves an old book from a remote attic but almost gets caught by two people who are after the same book. At the end of chapter 1, you realise this is a flash forward to an event later in the book.

In Chapter 2 we head back to 1978 when our hero aged 7 had just moved to Norfolk and makes best friends with the elderly lady next door, Mrs Scholes. I feel the author made a wise move giving the reader an exciting opening to the book, as the next few chapters are slow mainly describing how he likes to help Mrs Scholes and continually trying to persuade her to attend church, with occasional tantalising mentions of either gypsies or unexplained happenings. Mrs Scholes marks these down to a mysterious guardian angel.

About a third of the way through the book, the story starts to hot up. It is now 1986 and our hero wakes up in the middle of the night to hear two gypsies have broken in next door and are threatening Mrs Scholes with a gun. He thwarts their attempt and the next day hears a jaw-dropping tale from Mrs Scholes, which sets him on the path to what happened in chapter 1. From this point on, the story continues apace with plenty of twists and turns.

I liked how it portrayed a friendship across the generations. And it was inclusive from the point of view as describing ADHD symptoms for the young protagonist. Plus an old tale retold incorporated a history of the Great Depression.

However I did think it strange that the hero was never given a name. I also found the repetition of him trying to persuade Mrs Scholes to attend church rather tiresome, as it seems as if the author is attempting to convey the same message to the reader.

And although the story did incorporate a couple of good gypsies, I was uncomfortable with how on the whole, they were portrayed in aggregate as bad. It did feel as verging towards an ethnic racial sterotype bias.

My Gypsy War Diary is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats. A good mystery targetted at YA, but suitable from age 10 up in my opinion..

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The Rescue of Vincent by Bob Doerr – book review

Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.. All opinions are my own.

Earlier this year I reviewed The Enchanted Coin by Bob Doerr and I have now received a free e-copy of The Rescue of Vincent, the second title in the series to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Rescue of Vincent by Bob Doerr

Here is the book blurb.

Fourteen year old Ricky Street discovers a magical coin in a small creek near his parent’s Florida home. The coin has his name inscribed on it along with directions that he toss it into the fountain by the Tree of Life. He does so and suddenly finds himself transported to a strange world where he encounters two other teen agers from two separate worlds who had also been transported there by magical coins that they had found. The three soon meet Vincent Wollitzer, whom they save from drowning in quicksand, and learn that if Vincent doesn’t reach civilization soon his world will be thrust into a terrible war. The exciting adventures the four experience in their efforts to get Vincent back to civilization include surviving attacks by dragons, sea monsters, and other strange creatures.

Adventure and tossing a magical coin into the fountain by the Tree of Life at Disney World is the link between this book and The Enchanted Coin, the first title in the series. But all the characters are different.

So the story starts with 14 year old Ricky finding a coin during a storm. Just like in the first book, the coin is engraved with a personalised message “Ricky Street, throw this coin into the fountain in front of the Tree of Life!”. He shows it to his Mom and together they plan a trip to Disney World. But when he tosses the coin into the fountain, everything goes dark.

He can’t see anything. Where is he? Where is his Mom? A girl speaks to him in the darkness. She is Lexus and she too has just thrown a coin into a lake. Then a scream and another boy, Bebo arrives, who also tossed a coin into a river. They have all been transported to this dark cave, but why?

When they reach daylight, they observe how different they all look. Lexus has blue skin and hair, whilst Bebo is hairless and very short. They are all from different worlds. Soon they also start coming across dangerous creatures and poisonous plants, but they use their varied abilities to work togther as a team.

When they hear a call for help, is that why they have all been brought here? They discover  another boy trapped in quicksand. This is Vincent who was in a plane crash, enroute to becoming leader of his world. Vincent lloks different too, being very furry. If he doesn’t get there, a terrible war may ensue. Can they all pull together overcoming the challenges, to get Vincent there in time? And will the others be able to return to their own worlds?

I really loved how this story celebrates the diversity and teamwork of the 4 main characters. But I would have preferred a bit more variation between the covers of both this book and the previous title.

The Rescue of Vincent is another brilliant fantasy adventure read, which I highly recommend to teens and children aged 9+.

And for those of you like me, who hadn’t heard of it, here is some information regarding the Tree of Life at Disney World. Sounds an amazing sculpture with over 300 carvings of species including some extinct, plus a theatre at the base.

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The Enchanted Coin by Bob Doerr – book review

Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.. All opinions are my own.

I received a free e-copy of the book The Enchanted Coin by Bob Doerr to review. It is the first title in a series of 4. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Enchanted Coin by Bob Doerr

Here is the book blurb.

We have all heard of tales of UFO’s, ghosts, people who say they can talk to the spirits, ancient curses, and magical talismans. Most of us automatically dismiss them as false, figments of people’s imagination, and understandably so. However, might not just a few of them be true? I don’t know, but I heard this story from a young man the other day who swore the fascinating tale I have set forth in this book really did really occur, because it happened to him. You be the judge.

Fourteen year old Greg Worling’s life changed the day he found an eight sided coin along the edge of a pond on his parent’s farm. The coin sparkled as though it reflected the sun’s light even in the shade. Drawn to it, Greg discovers an inscription on the coin that read, “Greg, drop this coin into the fountain in front of the tree of life.” Weeks later, his little sister by his side, Greg tosses the coin into the small fountain and is instantaneously transported to a strange land.

The story begins with 14 year old Greg and his family heading on holiday to Disney World. He is particularly excited as he has a plan to execute there. This is regarding the coin he recently found, not just any old coin but one which is inscribed “Greg, drop this coin into the fountain in front of the Tree of Life!”. His research online has identified that there is a Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom Park at Disney World. He has kept it secret from his parents but shared his plan with sister Cindy, who watches as he tosses the coin into the tiny fountain under the tree.

But where is he? And where is Cindy? He is alone in a dark uninviting tunnel behind a waterfall, so he darts through the waterfall into the daylight. A sheer rock-face below so he starts to climb up, when a girl crashes down the cliff on top of him. She is fleeing from the evil Denza, so they retreat into the tunnel.

The girl is Princess Fawn of the Cheerakoo and this is the start of an adventure in a strange land as he assists Fawn with her dangerous mission to save her people’s land, learning about the different tribes here. He is even more startled when they come across a sabre-toothed tiger and pterodactyls. Not only does it seem like nowhere on earth, but a totally different timeframe too.

So how will the adventure play out? And will Greg ever get home again?

The Enchanted Coin is a great fantasy adventure read, which I highly recommend to teens and children aged 9+.

Not having heard of the Tree of Life at Disney World, I looked it up. Sounds an amazing sculpture with over 300 carvings of species including some extinct, plus a theatre at the base.

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Dragon’s Future by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I downloaded for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Dragon’s Future by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Dragon's Future by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

Trapped in a boring life, Carryl longs for something different. With the death of a dragon rider, she realizes her dream of becoming a rider herself. But first she must save the despondent dragon’s life.

Ruskya has settled into his new role as a dragon rider. A sinister rider has attacked the colony. The fate of all that Ruskya holds dear lies in his hands.

Ruskya and Carryl step into leadership roles to defend the colony and their village. Now they battle dragons and their own insecurities. They’ll need the courage of a dragon to defeat their enemies or die trying.

Dragon’s Future is the fabulous first book in the coming of age fantasy series Dragon Courage. If you like enticing worlds, captivating stories, and a new twist on dragon lore, you’ll love Kandi J Wyatt’s fantastic series.

This is the first title in the Dragon Courage series.

The story begins with a prologue set 15 years earlier when twins Duskya and Ruskya, then aged 10 were both selected at the annual procession by the dragons Wryn and Wyeth to become their respective riders. They leave their mother Meredyth and village home to go live at the Three Spans Canyon dragon colony where Glendyn will train them as riders.

Now it is Ruskya’s turn to train Kyn, the latest youngling to join. At the same time he is also developing his mental control, mind reading and communication powers, plus learning what his father’s role with the dragons was.

Meanwhile riders from another colony attack both them and the village. Why are they under attack? One of their group is killed. Can Carryl, a healer save the grieving dragon? More deaths of villagers follow. As they try to defend, one of them is kidnapped along with a dragon. How will this all end?

A good story, but I did find it difficult to remember whose dragon was who’s as all the dragon names are fairly similar. And I did feel that the way the riders continually addressed each other was just superfluous padding to the book, eg “Honoured Rider, may your dragon fly straight and true”.

Dragon’s Future is available on Amazon free in Kindle format, or alternatively may be purchased in paperback or audiobook. A fantastical adventure read for older children and teens.

I’ve also previously read the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy by this author and here are the links to my reviews of those titles.
An Unexpected Adventure
An Unexpected Escapade
An Unexpected Exploit

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Crusade by Elizabeth Laird – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Crusade by Elizabeth Laird. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Crusade by Elizabeth Laird

Here is the book blurb.

Two boys. Two faiths. One unholy war . . .

When Adam’s mother dies unconfessed, he pledges to save her soul with dust from the Holy Land. Employed as a dog-boy for the local knight, Adam grabs the chance to join the Crusade to reclaim Jerusalem. He burns with determination to strike down the infidel enemy . . .

Salim, a merchant’s son, is leading an uneventful life in the port of Acre – until news arrives that a Crusader attack is imminent. To keep Salim safe, his father buys him an apprenticeship with an esteemed, travelling doctor. But Salim’s employment leads him to the heart of Sultan Saladin’s camp – and into battle against the barbaric and unholy invaders . . .

This adventure story is set about 1000 years ago in the times of the Crusaders.

Chapters alternate between the stories of two boys starting with 13 year old Salim, a Muslim boy in Acre. He is upset because his father is sending him away from home to be apprenticed to Jewish Dr Musa, as the Frankish army is expected to arrive imminently. The plan is to travel to Damascus, but instead they end up in Saladin’s camp, outside the walls of Acre.

In chapter two we are introduced to 14 year old English peasant boy Adam on the day his mother is buried. He is saved from destitution by Lord Guy, who employs him to help look after his hounds. But Adam also wants to save his mother’s soul, as she died unconfessed. He needs dust from Jerusalem, so he leaps at the chance to go too when Lord Guy joins the Holy Crusade.

We follow the tales of the two boys until eventually their paths cross.

Crusade is an excellent book, targeted at YA readers from about age 11+. A great historical read.

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The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Power of the Pearl by William Edmonds

Here is the book blurb.

Thirteen-year-old Alaric Swift lives a tough, lonely life. He’s never known his parents, nor had any friends.
However, everything changes after his adoptive parents attempt to eat him, and he’s taken to live on the magical island of Harramore. The reason? Alaric is the son of the most powerful being to have ever existed—the King Guardian, Rei.
So begins a magical adventure as Alaric learns to master hidden extraordinary powers, meets creatures beyond his imagination, and gets caught up in a plot to steal the world’s most dangerous object, the Golden Pearl.
The Power of the Pearl is a captivating opening to the Miracle Prince series and a page-turning debut..

This debut novel by William Edmonds is the first title in The Miracle Prince series.

The story starts with Mr Solomon taking 13 year old Alaric to John and Sue, another set of foster parents in a long line. Alaric always seems to end up doing something which makes things go wrong with each foster family, but this time it is the other way round. John and Sue transform and try to eat him. Alaric is rescued in the nick of time by Mr Solomon and magically transported to Harramore, Land of the Nephilim.

Turns out Alaric is one of the Nephilim, in fact he is the Miracle Prince, son of assassinated King Guardian Rei. He fits in much better with his next foster family, the Trolleys and soon is on the Rei basketball team at school, which in Harramore is a totally different experience to what Alaric and you and I are used to.

Lots of magical mythical adventures then follow for Alaric, along with his friends Laurence and Lucy.

The Power of the Pearl is available on Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats. A great adventure which will certainly appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Suitable for older children and teens.

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An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

Protect a mythical realm or his family? Sixteen-year-old Franklin follows a Sasquatch through a portal to the realm of Shinwano and discovers a world full of mythical creatures he never expected to actually exist. Upon returning to Myrtle Beach, Oregon, he vows to protect the land, not realizing how difficult it will be to keep his promise, especially when a poacher, a NSA agent, and his friends are interested in the portal—and all for different reasons. When the poacher threatens his family, Franklin must reconsider his vow to protect this new world to keep his family safe. The consequences of his decision reach further than just a rift in the space-time continuum. Can Franklin live up to the trust placed on him and save this new world from an even greater danger?

This is the third title in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy, set in the small town of Myrtle Beach in Oregon. They can be read as stand alone reads, but I found them better to read in sequence as they do refer to happenings in earlier books. However the main protagonist Franklin is a new character.

Here are the links to my reviews of the first two titles.
An Unexpected Adventure
An Unexpected Escapade

The story starts with Franklin out hunting in the forest when he spots a creature larger than a bear but with a human-like face, which almost immediately disappears. Could it be a sasquatch, bigfoot or yeti? Franklin investigates and discovers a portal. Throwing caution to the wind, he steps through but Ladaku is waiting and knocks him out. When he awakes he finds he is in an alternate world Shinwano full of mythological creatures.

Whilst the dhoka (portal) is closed, Franklin agrees to train as a keta-manisa to protect the dhoka from other humans. Meanwhile back in our world he has been declared missing and teams including Will, Ana, Harley, Cherise and Winston from earlier books, are out searching for him, worried because bad guy poacher Jack Collins is hanging round town again.

When the dhoka finally reopens, Franklin reluctantly leaves his new friends to come back home. But soon he faces a difficult situation when he discovers Jack Collins has tied up his mum and brother Jeremy and is giving them electric shocks.

How will Franklin react and what will ensue? Certainly a page turner and my only small complaint is that the series titles are too similar.

The book also contains a glossary of Shinwano words.

An Unexpected Exploit is available on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. A great adventure fantasy read for older children and teens.

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The Judas Robe by Larry Rodness – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Judas Robe by Larry Rodness to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Judas Robe by Larry Rodness

Here is the book blurb.

At the height of the Spanish Inquisition a ruthless inquisitor by the name of Bishop Promane tortures a fellow priest, Father Sanchez, for information about the whereabouts of a relic known as the Judas Robe, rumored to be the only piece of physical evidence of God on earth. Promane succeeds in recovering the robe only to lose it to Sanchez’s saviors, knights belonging to The Order of Christ.
In the Present Day, Joel Gardiner, a pre-med student, is attacked by a group of religious zealots after leaving a campus pub. A young woman calling herself Sophia rescues Joel and reveals that he is descended from of the Order of Christ who still has the Judas Robe in their possession. Joel dismisses it as a hoax or farce, but zealots renew their efforts to seize the robe. Joel and Sophia embark on a quest to verify the existence of the so-called relic while trying to elude the murderous cabal.

The story starts back in history at the time of the Spanish Inquisition when Bishop Promane is torturing Father Sanchez in an attempt to discover where the Judas Robe relic is. Father Sanchez gives in when the Bishop releases him and ties one of his young charges to the rack instead. But the Bishop only gets his hands on the precious relic for minutes before he sees his men slain by knights of The Order of Christ. The captain saves Father Sanchez and his young charge but takes the relic and departs.

In chapter 2, we fast forward to the present day, where Joel a medical student, is juggling his time between his studies and a part-time intern research job at the Biopharm lab. But on his way home one evening from the lab he is mugged, however a young woman Sophia nearby tazers the thugs and rescues Joel, driving him to a pharmacy and patching up his cuts. She reveals she has been tracking the thugs who are religious zealots after The Judas Robe, the one physical proof of God on earth.

(Proof reading appears to have skipped the blurb. which says pub rather than lab).

Joel is nonplussed by this, what does it have to do with him? And who is Sophia really? But when his girlfriend Lisa is also intimidated by thugs, he puts two and two together. Is it anything to do with his mother Natalie, a religious fanatic who now lives in a convent?

We get to meet plenty more characters as the story progresses. A real page turner as more is revealed and I certainly couldn’t have predicted the ending.

The Judas Robe is available on Amazon in both kindle format and paperback. A good thriller, with some great twists.

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An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

An Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J Wyatt

Here is the book blurb.

A greedy poacher threatens a unicorn Daisy finds hiding among her horses. Daisy will do anything to protect the magical creature, even if it means losing her best friend.

The only ones who understand Daisy’s struggles at school are her horses and Kajri, the unicorn that appeared out of nowhere. Kajri wants to go home, but Daisy doesn’t know how to help.

Ana wants to help Daisy, but her parents are sick. The unicorn horn could be the key to saving them. Yet her actions could be the death of both the unicorn and her friendship with Daisy.

An Unexpected Escapade is a refreshing middle grade fantasy in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy. If you like fun kid fantasy, amazing characters and realistic endings, you’ll love Kandi J Wyatt’s stunning continuation of the Myth Coast Adventures. Explore An Unexpected Escapade to allow your dreams to fly!

This is the second title in the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy, set in the small town of Myrtle Beach in Oregon. You may wish to read my review of the first book An Unexpected Adventure before this.

The prologue introduces us to Kajri the unicorn who mysteriously passes from her world to ours. She wants to go back home.

8th grader (Yr9) Daisy, who lives with her mum and two horses Ginger and Root, is the first to see Kajri. She tells her best friend Ana and the next time they see her together in the forest. Ana then tells Will who helps her Dad out on the boats. Will (from book 1) warns Ana to keep it secret, especially from Professor Raleigh.

Meanwhile NSA agent Winston Raleigh whose sensors have detected a rift, traces a signal from beyond Daisy’s home. Will he be able to capture the mythical creature to take to the sanctuary?

But Winston is not the only one tracking the unicorn. Nasty cruel poacher Jack Collins wants the unicorn’s horn and tears.

What will happen? Plenty more events to unfold in this story. Who should the girls turn to for help?

An Unexpected Escapade is available on Amazon in Kindle format or paperback. A great book for older children and teens with lots to engage with.

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How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon – book review

Disclosure. This post is a review of a book I was sent for free.. All opinions are my own.

I received a free proof copy of the book How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

How to be a Hero by Cat Weldon

Here is the book blurb.

A no-good viking thief. The worst-ever trainee valkyrie. An ungodly case of mistaken identity.

When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status. But Loki the trickster God is desperate to get his hands on the cup with a plan to unleash chaos across the nine worlds. Can Whetstone prove himself a hero after all when it matters most?

The first in a hilarious and fast-paced trilogy about how to be brave, what it means to be a hero and just how confusing the Norse Gods really are. Fully illustrated throughout, Cat Weldon’s How to Be a Hero is perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon and Who Let the Gods Out.

I was hoping to get a review from my younger son for this book, as he is very interested in Norse  mythology. However as we have reached the publication date and he still hasn’t started reading the book, you’ll have to make do with just a review from me.

The book draws you in with a couple of double page illustrations at the front. We have the nine worlds all hanging from the huge Yggdrasil tree with Asgard at the top. And then a map of Krud in Midgard, where the story opens, featuring signs like “Ivor the Nose Grinder, Gerroff My Land! Travelling Minstrels will be force fed Cabbage till they burst!” Just the sort of humour that will particularly appeal to young readers. The book has been illustrated by Katie Kear brilliantly.

I’m not very knowledgeable on Norse Mythology but the story all tied in with what I do know of Norse gods and worlds. Loki the trickster god and his son Vali certainly cause havoc in this tale.

The story begins with Whetstone, an orphan aged about 12, stealing a magical golden talking cup from Awfulrick, the Viking chief of Krud, on behalf of Light Finger, the greatest thief in all the known world. We then swap to Asgard to introduce Lotta who is of a similar age, and is training to be a Valkyrie in class 3 but not doing too well. Class 3’s next mission will be the first time they leave Asgard and they will be travelling to Midgard to collect fallen warriors to fill Valhalla.

Whetstone then hides the cup before taking cover himself. But things don’t go quite to plan. He is attacked and left unconscious. Lotta, finds him and assumes he is dead, so takes him back to Asgard as a “fallen hero”, Whoops.

The two have to then pair up to sort out the mess they are in. Lots of fun. Plus throw a dragon into the mix. The book finished leaving me tantalising clues ready for books 2 and 3 in the trilogy, but I’ll have to wait as book 2 doesn’t publish until the summer.

How to be a Hero is a great fun fantasy mythological adventure read, which I highly recommend to children age 9-12. Newly published today.

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