Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ANTics (REVIEW)

ANTics

Author:  Dakota Douglas
Category: Children's Book (Non Illustrated)
Suitable for: all ages, ideal for age 7+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 138

Description: Three friendly ants set out on a expedition to find food for their colony. They meet some strangers who are nice like a pleasant worm and a helpful butterfly but also some strangers who are evil like the spider Puggy who wishes to eat them. They encourage each other and work together to accomplish impossible tasks and find their way home safely.

In Short: This book is about the journey of a group of 3 ants with their own unique personalities. It features the following themes: good vs. evil, bullies, friendship, teamwork, self-confidence, and vengeance destroys the avenger. It is a great story where the little guy gets to become a hero. It shows you should never bully someone for not being like you and not to underestimate anyone. We are all capable of great things. This is a great bedtime story.

Pros: This book is highly entertaining and has a fast paced, exciting plot. The messages in the story are positive and can be related to real life. The book is very well written and lets you let's you enjoy the world from an ant's point of view while also showing how these same events appear to us humans, this helps children comprehend everything going on. It features fun "ant" puns for the names of the characters.

At the end of the book the author encourages kids to write by talking about a news reporter ant and asking what they think their article should say. This is a great promotion of literacy to children without it seeming like un-fun school work!





I was given a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. 


Monday, March 28, 2016

Debut Author Shaan Ranae (GUEST POST)



First of all, I wanted to thank O.D. Book Reviews for allowing me to barge in on their blog and also for helping me announce the release of my debut novel, A Minor Happy Ending. Three years in the making and it's finally here. I'm so excited to share Dyllan and Jace’s story. When I first set out to write AMHE (A Minor Happy Ending), I was almost to the point of addiction with reading. My genre of choice is Romance, almost every kind of romance. As a romance junkie, I decided that I had a few good stories under my belt, but I wasn't sure about the whole writing thing. I had to reeducate myself, but I'm still learning. Always learning. Friends at work proofread and gave me their own personal reviews which in turn gave me the confidence to continue with the publishing process. I utilized editors and formatters to help me on my journey as well as sending annoying emails to so many bloggers begging for a review, if not a release day post. I will achieve my first goal to publish on March 26th, but my main goal is that if I can at least help one reader escape for a few hours and they feel satisfied after reading my book, then I'm happy.


The story…………….

Jace & Dyllan have a unique relationship, hot, loving, and playful. Both Jace and Dyllan can be jealous and insecure. Both are hot tempered, but sweet at the same time. Dyllan blurts everything that enters her brain and Jace never says enough. It's a story of firsts. As Dyllan attempts to navigate through her first summer of adulthood, she's planning for summer fun, but is forced to make adult decisions. Her journey has its drama, comedy, and of course love. It is suggested only for readers above the age of 18 due to adult language and scenes. The F-bomb may be used some.

Excerpt:

"Is it a gooooood dream?" He continued as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down. I shook my head and feigned disappointment and quickly retorted,
"Yep, I was dreaming of those blue eyes of yours!" He smiled and nodded. "That sexy crooked smile!" I said and his smile began to grow showing pearly white teeth. "And we can't forget my favorite part, babe." He looked at me with pride on his face. I knew he thought I was going to talk about his man parts! Gosh, even my Jace couldn't get over his man parts. It must’ve been a guy thing. I continued further, "and your big, no that doesn't do it justice, your huge..." I could tell he was on the edge of his seat waiting for the ultimate compliment.
"Ego!" His gorgeous blue eyes widened in surprise and an ornery smile displayed. He jutted his nose towards the ceiling and huffed in feign disgust. He replied with a devilish smile on his face as we pulled into my driveway, "Ego, huh? Well well well!" Something was about to happen and I wasn't quite sure what he had up his sleeve, but I would be keeping my eye on him. I reached for the door and he was quick to match my actions. I ran for the front porch to evade the
retaliation for my smart ass comment, but I forgot that I couldn't run and I failed at my half brained attempt to out-run someone who was in better shape than me. He caught me quickly by the waist and tackled me to the ground. His hands reached up and began to assault each muscle that rested between my ribs. I was in a fit of giggles to the point that I began snorting at fairly loud decibels.

I hope you enjoyed the little piece of their world. Thank you in advance for helping me live out my dream! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

Currently writing three new stories, A Happily Ever After, a follow up novella for AMHE. Also started a story for one of the main characters in AMHE, but it may ruin the story to tell you now. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Then one that just came to me one night that I'm pretty excited about.

Thanks for reading

Shaan Ranae











Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2 Giveaways on Goodreads

A couple of wonderful authors that I follow on Twitter have alerted me to giveaways of their books running right now on goodreads. Check it out:


RED by Nicole Collet

"Two lovers, one fate, one twist: it will all hang on the roll of a die. This is the story of a forbidden love and a journey of self-discovery. Like life, it’s paved with drama and humor, passion and lust, questions and the mysteries surrounding their answers."

Contest: Mar. 13 - Apr. 13, 2016


Topaz and the Green Fairies by Pat Frayne

“For once in his young life he had a sense of self-reliance and what a responsibility that truly was. Whatever happened to him on this journey had the power to make him stronger. Or he could let it destroy him”. 

Contest: Mar. 20 - Apr. 4th, 2016



Join me on goodreads here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Julius Romeros Extravaganza Part 3: The Return To Greener Pastures (REVIEW)

The Julius Romeros Extravaganza Part 3: 

The Return To Greener Pastures

Author:  Hayley Lawson-Smith
Category: Fiction, Adventure
Suitable for: Pre-teens+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review: .pdf from the author
Pages: 328

Description: This book is the third book of the Julius Romeros Extravaganza series about the bearded girl and her circus family. In this leg of their journey they are trying to escape an evil ringleader and get the kidnapped septuplets back home to their family.   

In Short: The Julius Romeros Extravaganza series features a feel-good story line, a unique and unforgettable cast, tons of action, adventure and excitement, laughs, happy-tears, and awesome animal characters. It is simply a brilliant book series and this was my favorite book of the series. Although you could read it without reading the first two you would miss out on too much character back story and not be able to fully appreciate the perfect ending this book has.

Pros: This book is perfectly paced, I actually read it in one night because of how engrossing it was. It had the best ending which featured one resolution I had been hoping to see from book one! The ending was absolutely satisfying including many great resolutions and opportunities for our band of heroes. I was excited to see that this story featured a sweet love story (or two) which was fitting as our hero's story wraps up. It is a very unique tale that is well written and clean. I think all ages would enjoy this series.



I was sent a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Orbs (REVIEW)

Orbs


Author:  Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Category: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Horror
Suitable for: Adults/Older teens+
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 328

Description: Orbs is a tale of an alien invasion and the handful of survivors that found themselves quarantined in a state of the art facility. It is a Sci Fi Thriller filled with danger and a ton of questions about just what the heck is going on.   

In Short: Overall this is an interesting story with non-stop action that will keep you drawn in. If you are a big sci-fi fan you'll most likely want to get the entire series because this one book alone wont give you the full story.

It begins in medias res (in the middle of things) with our main character already en-route on a dangerous ride to a mysterious destination. The fast paced style of writing is engaging right at the start. For a while you watch the events unfold with curiosity until it leads up to a classic alien invasion scenario.

Pros: The pacing is incredibly fast so you never get bored. It has an excellent knack for getting the reader hooked and unable to put the book down. I finished this book very quickly because of how fast paced it was. The "Orbs" are an interesting and terrifying new concept. The alien breeds are interesting and I'm curious what other aliens will be in the following books. There is interesting technology used in the story and I also enjoy a fun AI character who shows signs of evolving. The main character is a strong woman who is likable and a good leader, I found myself genuinely caring about her struggle. This book blends sci-fi and horror and manages to balance being dark and light. As grim as things may seem at times there are also victories and in the end there is hope for our heroes. This book does a good job of taking you on an emotional ride with a lot of downright scary and tense moments. This book is written more like a movie than a novel and as a result you can see it playing out in your head even as the cross-cuts move you to a new time and place with each chapter. There is much potential for the character development to continue into the next book. The foundation is already there with the revealing of the character's origins. There are elements of many genres in this book making it diverse and adding to its overall quality. There is for sure sci-fi, as well as elements of suspense, thrill, action, adventure, horror and even some romance hidden under all the turmoil. I think this book would be very appealing to those who like alien invasion sci-fi novels set in dystopian, post apocalyptic Earth.

Cons: Alone this book does not have a satisfactory ending. I felt there was no real resolutions. However, I imagine you discover that further into the series. Some of the characters seemed a bit clichรฉ and only served as accessories. For example, there is the typical hacker guy who is socially inept, his back-story is classic, attended MIT, recruited by the government, but unfortunately he never really does much with his skills throughout the story. Same goes for the engineer, his skills are never used. The very fast pacing of the book caused some issues. The death scenes, although brutal, were not sad because they were written like a Band-Aid being ripped off. The dialogue was rushed and the meetings the team held never seemed to last more than a minute and didn't involve much productive discussion which was a bit unrealistic. The characters lacked some realism because they never seemed to stop, take a breath, think or even panic despite everything happening. *spoilers* The aliens and what they were doing with the water seemed unbelievable. I didn't really understand their intention of moving every drop of water to where? With all of us humans dead why not just move in to our nice wet planet? I unfortunately was unable to suspend disbelief any longer by the end of the book.

In summation, I think this book has potential, and reading the entire series could be worth looking into for anyone looking for a alien invasion survival series.

Parent's Guide:  This book has swearing, violence, gore, and some sexual content (not extremely graphic). 

I was given a free copy of this book in return for my honest review. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Blue Waters (REVIEW)


Blue Waters

Author:  India R Adams
Category: YA, NA, Romance, Fiction
Suitable for: teens+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 112

Description: I honestly don't know how to describe this book. I don't want to use the description off Amazon either because I don't want you to get any spoilers. If you go on the ride that is this story without any previous knowledge of the plot you will truly enjoy the intrigue it has to offer. I will say it is about a girl named Whitney and her group of friends, her love story, and her devastating losses. It is a beautiful story.     

In Short: Stellar addition to the YA Romance genre. People who are fans of this genre will certainly enjoy this novel. It is a well written emotional roller coaster. It has an intriguing plot with tons of depth, a wonderful cast, great heroes and a sweet love story.  

Pros: This book is very well written and a quick read that is fast paced and full of action. The characters are charming and well developed. The love story although it starts off too fast reaches a point where it progresses at a perfect rate. What I love most about this book is how intriguing the story it. It stars off so mysterious and then starts solving mysteries for you while throwing shocking plot points at you. Absolutely wonderful. I was so surprised by many of the events that occurred. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be and it was a wonderful change of pace from other novels of the genre. Our heroine Whit is a very remarkable character. I truly sympathize with her because of all of the struggles she has had to endure. The great writing of the novel makes you feel hopeful for her despite her troubles, so it isn't at all depressing. With the plot as exciting as it is I could argue this is of the Thriller genre as well.

Cons: This isn't so much a criticism as a note. Like in many YA novels the characters fall in love instantly, this is just the style of YA Romance. I understand this happening because of the quick pace and shortness of the novel. I guess I would have liked to see some communication between the pair between the time they met and the time of their first date. Maybe seeing them connecting more and more via text messages before they fell in love on that first date would have added realism for me. However, the pace of the love story does improve and this doesn't ruin anything for me.    

Parent's Guide:  Some swearing, some violence (abduction), drug reference, sexual reference no graphic details. 


I was given a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Guest Post by Author D.R. Ransdell

The following is a guest post by author: D.R. Ransdell
Author of: Mariachi Murder,  Island Casualty, and  The Secret Lives of the Pink House Cats: Prose Poems by Five Felines
Find her on twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ransdell

Meeting the Unexpected

One of the priceless aspects of being an author is that I get to meet interesting people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Sometimes such meetings are virtual: that’s how I met Simon (STRAY BULLET) Duringer, who interviewed me for his website. Last week I met Franci Washburn; we were doing a joint reading on musical mysteries at Antigone’s, a local, independent bookstore. The irony is that we both work for the same department at the University of Arizona!

But often I meet people who are even more unexpected. A month ago I contacted Antigone’s to see if they would carry my books. Sure, no problem. They would take copies on consignment, and all I had to do was to show up and sign the paperwork. It didn’t matter what time I went in; either way, all the necessary paperwork would be behind the desk.

Yet somehow I didn’t make it to Antigone’s. The store was less than two miles away, and I had a car. It was a store I enjoyed going to anyway--even though it’s one of those dangerous bookstores where you always find something you like. Yet day after day, I didn’t go. Oh, I didn’t have time before rehearsal. Oh, they might already be closed. Oh…. I had a wealth of excuses.

Now I understand why. I had some kind of weird universal clock that was ticking. When it finally went off, I headed for Antigone’s. As instructed, I asked the woman behind the desk about my paperwork.

“What was that last name again?” the woman asked.

“Ransdell. That’s R-A-N….”

“Did you say Ransdell?” a female customer asked enthusiastically. “How do you spell that?”

After I confirmed the spelling, she became practically joyous. “I’m a Ransdell too!”

My dad had always maintained that Ransdell was an English name. Although it’s a more common name now, it used to be that whenever we were traveling to a new city, my dad would check the local phonebook for other Ransdells. He hardly ever found one. Here, however, was a Ransdell standing right before me!
“Let me introduce my husband,” the woman grinned. “He’s the ‘real’ Ransdell.”

We exchanged information about our family histories. Keith’s relatives had come from Missouri. As far as I knew, mine had come from Illinois. I wasn’t too sure, however, and neither was Keith. I vowed to ask my dad for more details; Keith vowed to take a look at a few genealogical websites. Then we congratulated one another on our unusual names. Keith laughed about the way some people insisted on Rans-DALE instead of RAN-sdell. I shared my mirth over the many ways my students have chosen to misspell my name. Somehow the string of three consonants gets them into trouble. Thus I have been renamed everything from Ransted to Rendell.

Keith and I had a delightful conversation about our ancestors—both the ones we knew and the ones we could only guess about. And I was able to share information with them about the area. I learned from Keith that Ransdell meant Raven’s Dell. While I should have guessed at the etymology, I’d never actually thought about it before. Best of all, Keith’s wife was so excited to see her name in print that she bought one of my books.

Soon we parted ways, but I had learned two valuable lessons. One was that there is real joy in being an author and meeting people who otherwise would not have crossed your path. The other was that sometimes you procrastinate, unknowingly, for exactly the right reason. When you finally perform the task at hand, it might turn out to be the exact most perfect moment. I’ll never chide myself for procrastinating again!



Find her on twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_ransdell

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Island Casualty (REVIEW)

Island Casualty


Author: D.R. Ransdell
Category: Mystery
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Paperback
Pages: 243

Description: Andy Veracruz desperately needing a vacation accepts an invitation from a new friend to visit her in her home on a Greek island. His vacation should have consisted of swimming by day and visiting the taverna at night to hear the wonderful music of his friend. However, his trip doesn't go as planned and his life is threatened numerous times. He seems to be the only one concerned about the man who turned up dead on the first day of his trip, but that concern may just be the end of him.

In Short: This is a well paced mystery novel that goes as follows: it starts with excellent character development, then the plot takes an intriguing twist and you find yourself getting more and more curious as the story progresses, then it gets exciting and full of action, finally the mystery is solved in a whirlwind of surprises.   

Pros: The book is so descriptive and the characters are so well crafted that I completely lost myself in it by the middle. This is the first book that has so thoroughly sucked me in that I felt like everything was real. Even the conversations were genuine, especially between Rachel and Andy. In real life men and women often have a way of talking to each other where they aren't really understanding each other, it can be difficult to communicate and so much gets left unsaid. That is how this book is. It isn't phony, where everyone says the right things, makes grand romantic gestures and lives happily ever after. No, this book is real, from start to finish. I'm dying to know what happens between our heroes, Andy and Rachel, in the next book of the series.

Another great thing about this book is that it is a perfect stand-alone! You do not need to read the first book to know what is going on and you do not get left on a cliffhanger at the end. The conclusion is solid and satisfying and the only cliffhanger is what will Andy's life be like now, and what will Rachel do next. The mystery wraps up nicely and is almost suspenseful in its reveal. I was definitely happy with the resolution and didn't see that ending coming.

I'm blown away by the overall quality and fascinating story in this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery.

Parent's Guide: There are sexual references but the sex scenes are not described with any detail. Some violence (shooting guns), mild language. 

I was sent a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.


Find the author:








Sunday, March 6, 2016

Fur Ball Fever (REVIEW)

Fur Ball Fever

 Author:  Maureen Fisher
Category: Mystery & Romance
Suitable for: Adults
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 298

Description: This book is both a steamy Romance novel and a Murder Mystery. The mystery is multi-leveled and unveiled as two characters work to solve different crimes that are all intertwined. The love story is passionate and the crimes are equally fascinating. It starts with the disappearance of a poodle and gets a lot more complicated from there.  

In Short: This book is exciting, fast paced, full of action and romance, and incredibly fun to read. I think primarily adult women, those who like both romance and mystery novels will find this a great read.

Pros: The characters are very well developed and quite likable. You get a vivid impression of their personalities, feelings, fears, backgrounds and so on. Everything is very believable and the love story doesn't fall into the trap of being cheesy. This story has a very satisfying ending and I appreciate that this is a perfect stand-alone book. I thought the mystery was good, not clichรฉ, and not predictable. There is not much else I can say without giving away spoilers so I will just say overall I think it was a good story and I very much enjoyed reading this book.

Parent's Guide:  This book has swearing, some violence, drug reference, some kink and sex scenes.

I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review. 


Friday, March 4, 2016

Deedee Divine's Totally Skewed Guide to Life (REVIEW)


Deedee Divine's Totally Skewed Guide to Life

Author:  Diana Estill
Category: Humor
Suitable for: Teens+
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Format Read for Review: Kindle
Pages: 228

Description: This book is a series of essays each about Deedee Divine's life experiences or just general opinions on things. The topics are things most adult women can relate to; family, food, travel, holidays, dieting, health concerns, shopping, IBS, car seats and so on. Reading this book is much like reading a humorous blog with each entry being short, concise and entertaining. Although this book seems clean enough for most ages I think adult women would be the best audience for relating to the content.   

In Short: Deedee Divine is definitely someone I would like to hang out with. She has a ton of funny stories, a knack for getting herself into situations, and a great sense of humor that is sarcastic at times. For example she comically describes alternative meanings to road signs. This quote about a road sign is my favorite: "Stop When Flashing - Flashers who stop generally get caught!" Some of the stories are also very sweet and romantic; she shares with us some lovely memories of vacations and special occasions with her husband and kids. Overall this is a feel-good read that covers a variety of topics.

Pros: Because each chapter is a single essay it is easy to pick this book up and read at your leisure. I enjoyed reading this book and read it quickly in 2 nights. Most of the stories are entertaining and some are down right funny. This is one of few books that has gotten audible laughs out of me. It is well written by an experienced writer with no blatant editing errors. The settings and events are descriptive and believable. The flow of the book works well even with the structure of it being a series of unconnected essays.