Book Review: The Lightning Bolt

The Lightning Bolt (The Chain of Charms, #5)

The Lightning Bolt by Kate Forsyth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lightning Bolt is the fifth book in the series.

Luka and Emilia only have two charms to go before they attempt to rescue their family from the gallows. The Smith family prove to be unwelcoming and the previously met Hearne family come back on the scene.

Coldham is hot on their trail. He is now convinced that Emilia is a witch and wants to watch her burn on the stake.

But the children are still one step ahead of him.

This book moves a bit quicker. It’s starting to build up for the climax in the last book. It’s an enjoyable story, however, I must admit that I’m expecting big things from the last book and hope I won’t be disappointed.

Website Problems

In April this year, the website experienced a sudden jump in bandwidth usage. It went from the normal 2gb per month to over 5gb in a couple of hours, which caused the site to go offline. My host gave me some extra bandwidth and two days later I was offline again.

Upon the end of the month, in May, my website came back online. However, ten days later 7gb had been used and I was shoved offline yet again. My host gave me another gigabyte and before the end of the day I was offline until a few days ago.

I don’t expect to be online for long!

My investigations have shown that Googlebot is the culprit. These necessary evils have been coming to my site and, after 100,000 hits in a matter of hours, causing my website to go offline. It really is frustrating.

Research have instructed me to do multiple things to fix the problem, but nothing (yet) has worked. My resolve to fight is waning and now my thoughts are turning to moving my domain to a host that gives me unlimited bandwidth, because that will definitely solve the problem once and for all.

Yes, the host I’m with has such a plan, but it’s expensive. I can move elsewhere and get six years of unlimited bandwidth for the price of one with them. My gut is telling me to start packing!

With six months already paid for, I will wait and see what happens this month. If I do go offline, and I’m 99% sure I will, then I will start the moving process. Because, in all honesty, what’s the point of having a website if it’s not accessible to anyone, including me?

Book Review: The Cat’s Eye Shell

The Cat's Eye Shell (The Chain of Charms #4)

The Cat’s Eye Shell by Kate Forsyth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book four in a series of six. Luka and Emilia are desperate to find the fourth charm, which will help save their families from the gallows.

This book was rather slower than the others. Not as much happened, not as much urgency felt. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, in some ways this book felt more realistic as the children weren’t escaping from the clutches of Coldham every five minutes.

I realise this isn’t much of a book review, but I feel there’s nothing more to say except that I will continue reading the series.

eBook Review: The Invitation

The Books of Magic #1: The Invitation

The Books of Magic #1: The Invitation by Carla Jablonski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story was apparently a novelised version of a former comic written by Neil Gaiman. I’ve never read (or even heard of) the comic so whether it does it justice or not, I have no idea.

I’ve also read other reviews on this book, which say this book is very Harry Potterish. In my opinion, the two books are totally different. I never once thought of Harry Potter whilst reading this book. Yes, there’s a young, dark-haired boy in both books, but that’s were the resemblance ends.

But I did think of other books I’ve read: Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, The Time Machine, Howl’s Moving Castle, just to name a few. There are snippets in the story that reminded me of these other stories. Sometimes the reminder was quite strong, other times it was a familiarity tugging at my memory.

Overall, the book isn’t badly written. However, at times I wondered if it was in fact written for the younger audience as there’s lots of smoking in it, the odd sexual innuendo, and other situations that I wouldn’t want my young reader (if I had one) to be reading. I found myself asking if the original comic might have been written for an older audience, but haven’t bothered to research this thought (I just don’t have the time).

The storyline is about magic. If we believe in it, it will be around us. If we don’t believe it, we will live in a purely scientific world. Being a bit of a believer in all things mystical, I liked the idea of this. Believe and it will happen. I can see myself falling hook, line and sinker for this notion.

There was nothing wrong with the characters. The storyline is fast moving most of the time and something is always happening. No wonder the young boy in the story was exhausted! It kept my interest, but…

I don’t know what the ‘but’ is. Something wasn’t right. Maybe it was all the things I’ve already written about. Maybe it was something else. I really don’t know. I think I’d be willing to read the second book in the series to see where the story goes from here, to see if the missing ingredient is found. The plot has potential so I’m hoping the second book will delivery.

Book Review: To Unimagined Shores

To Unimagined Shores

To Unimagined Shores by Sherry D. Ramsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To Unimagined Shores is a collection of short stories written by Sherry D. Ramsey. They include science fiction and fantasy stories, as well as a collection of ‘related’ stories.

What I especially like about the author’s writing style is her ability to tell a story using different ‘voices’. My favourite in this collection is “The Longest Distance” — a story set in the past, but delves into the future — it was so different to the other stories, and it really captivated my imagination. The story reminded me of Well’s “The Time Machine” in regards to era and tone, but Ramsey took this story in another direction. It’s a brilliant story — serious, sad and quite technical in places, which was fitting (and believable).

Then there is “The Big Freeze”. A story showing how even the devil can have a bad day. I found it to be amusing and well written. The characters compliment each other.

And I really enjoyed the ‘related’ stories, with Nizzio (a mage) and his female apprentice, Albettra. They are like modern day mystery stories, but set in a fantasy world. I loved the contrast between the mage and his apprentice. I loved the humour too. But mostly I enjoyed the clarity in which the stories are written and the well developed characters that make the stories worth reading. They are superb.

There are stories about aliens, crop circles, murder mysteries and even drugs! The characters seem real. The scenarios are true to life. They are not predictable. To Unimagined Shores is a book that will take you out of your everyday life and plant you in a place where strange things are happening. It’s worth your time.