eBook review: The Case of the Toxic River

The Case of the Toxic River (Miller's Island Mysteries, #1)

The Case of the Toxic River by Cindy Cipriano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: Grace Brooks is a total and unashamed nerd.

She loves her life, her friends, and her little dog Neutrino. That is until one day she’s uprooted to Miller’s Island, North Carolina, to start over as the new kid in school.

There she meets Jack, and they quickly bond over their love of science and all things nerdy. Together they embark on an epic adventure, travelling through time to solve the mystery of The Toxic River.

My review: My last review for 2019.

This book reminds me of a cozy mystery, but for younger readers. But this one has a twist. Time travel. I saw that mentioned in the blurb and instantly grabbed a copy. The two main characters, Grace and Jack, are right for each other. Nerds through and through. And there’s nothing wrong with being a nerd. I’m a bit of one myself, so I guess that’s why I related to them, regardless of the age difference.

I’m not much good at science, and to be frank, I have no idea if the science side of the mystery is based on anything remotely close to possible. But, I believed what I was told in the story. Not that I believe in time travel, but I don’t disbelieve it either. 😀

What I’m trying to say is that the author wrote the science part of the story in a way that sounded legit. Be honest, if you were a teenager in the 1970s and they (whoever “they” are) told you that you would be sending a letter through thin air rather than by post, would you have believed them? No way. Your looney alert would be going off, big time. But here we are in 2019, and that is precisely what we do. I don’t know anyone who posts a letter these days, we all send a text message or an email. So in another 40 years, maybe we will travel back and forward in time. Who knows!

I enjoyed The Case of the Toxic River. I enjoyed the blossoming relationship between the two main characters. And I think that if you read this book with an open mind, you will too. Recommended.

Audiobook: Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.

My review: Wow, I grabbed this from the library and really didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, all I knew was that the story was about a boy and his two dogs. Turns out the book was published in the early 1960s, but who would have guessed. It felt modern and timeless, even if the book was obviously set in years gone by.

The boy wanted a pair of hunting hounds and saved all the money he earned over a two year period in order to buy them. Old Dan and Little Ann became his precious dogs and the story unfolded showing how the boy trained those dogs to be the best raccoon-hunting team in the Ozark Mountains.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of hunting (hence the four stars instead of five). Some of the hunting scenes were too much for me (as in they were too long and descriptive, and I really didn’t want to know about it). However, that aside, the book is a good story. Young readers will learn that if they want something badly enough, they have to work to get it. That’s a lesson well learned in our “instant” world.

Be warned, this is a book about dogs and naturally, there will be moments that pull at the heartstrings. I found those scenes extremely difficult to listen to (I had the audiobook version); especially when I was driving. At one time, I had to turn the book off and continue later because it’s difficult to drive and cry at the same time. And dangerous.

Where the Red Fern Grows is a good story. Young boys will like it, and even young girls will enjoy the bond that develops between the boy and his hounds. Recommended.

Free ebook for Christmas

These offers have expired.

Everyone loves free stuff, right? Of course, they do. With only 10 days to go until Christmas, I have decided to offer two special deals between now and Christmas Day.

Deal 1:

Effective immediately, Journey to Freedom is FREE! This offer is only available on this website and will end in three days. Be quick or miss out.

Take me to the free ebook now



Deal 2:

Starting on 18 December 2019 and ending 25 December 2019, all three books in the Land of Miu series can be downloaded for free. Simply add each of the books to the cart when you see the sale notice on books 2 and 3 (Book 1 has always been free to download). The titles are The Land of Miu (Book 1), The King’s Riddle (Book 2) and The Lion Gods (Book 3).

Take me to the shop for free stuff



Be warned: If the red “Sale!” notice is not showing, the sale has not started yet or has finished.

Website Issues

I have been unable to login to WordPress for a few days. In fact, I can only reach the dashboard using my phone, and that is a painful experience.

I have deactivated a number of plugins, including the ability to purchase ebooks from me, in the hope that I can bypass the issue and gain access with my laptop.

If something doesn’t seem right then hopefully the problem will be fixed soon.

eBook review: The Shield of Nike

The Shield of Nike (War on the Gods Companion Story #1)

The Shield of Nike by A.P. Mobley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: Valeria is in love with her best friend, Greg, and has been for years. But they can’t be together, because after they graduate high school they’ll be on opposite sides of the country. This seems to be Valeria’s greatest dilemma—until a freak storm ambushes the two on a hike a few miles outside their town.

During the storm, Greg is injured, and a strange shield falls from the sky and knocks Valeria unconscious. When she wakes up, her whole world is turned upside down. Greg is missing, her town has been annihilated, deadly creatures roam, and the disembodied voice of a woman she knows nothing of talks to her from inside her own head.

The woman says Greg has been taken, but that Valeria can save him and survive the perils awaiting her if she harnesses the “gifts” she was given at birth, and if she uses the shield that fell from the sky. But how can Valeria trust a woman she’s never met?

She’ll have to rely on herself and face horrors she could never have imagined to save her best friend. And, in the process, discover her true identity.

My review: From the beginning, I was swept into the story and was eager to continue reading. A bit of greek mythology, together with an end-of-the-world theme and a touch of zombie fever, made this a good read. The writing style was easy to read. The two main characters blended well together.

My biggest dislike was the fact that the story was concise. By that, I mean extremely short. I finished it in two short sittings. I wanted more, and I guess that is a good sign.

The book is described as a companion story. I’m not sure what that means or how it relates to the War on the Gods series as I haven’t read any of the books. But, I hope Valeria and Greg take significant roles in the series otherwise I think I’ll feel a little ripped off.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.

eBook review: Camp Pain

Camp Pain (Travel Writer Mystery #1)

Camp Pain by Wendy Meadows

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Patricia always viewed the world from the end of her pen. Her feet hop from place to place; her exotic experiences are filling the pages faster than stamps on her passport. Someday, she aspires to land a big-time publishing deal.

At a stopover in Atlanta, she is shocked to discover the body of a local businessman, Peter, dumped in a camp in the outskirts of the city. For the first time, her wings are clipped as the lead detective; Brian Johnston launches an investigation into Peter’s death – firmly suspecting that cause of death was murder.

Patricia and Brian band together in his murder investigation, slowly uncovering leads to a shady underbelly behind Peter’s flashy ‘successful’ exterior, and the illicit dealings he was determined to keep from prying eyes. As the details begin to piece together, someone intends to step in and silence them. By any means necessary.

My review: This is a cozy mystery with a romantic sub-theme. I’ve been trying to mix it up a bit and felt like reading something more laid back. Strangely, something about this book appealed to me. Living in Australia, I know nothing about Atlanta, but the author gave me a good feel for the place (if what I read is true, that is). The main character is a travel journalist, who travels around the US in her RV. Sounds like a great job. But then she literally trips over a body and, hence, the mystery begins.

Two things irritated me. The first is the fact that Patricia, the writer, was invited to help investigate the murder, and that seemed rather far-fetched to me. It happened too quickly, too easily. The second thing was the lack of use of abbreviations in speech (i.e. I’m or don’t), which gave the characters a stilted, unnatural sound.

What I really liked was the romantic side of the story. In fact, I loved the attraction between Patricia and her love interest. I believe that was the storyline that kept me totally invested in this mystery book. I have my fingers crossed that the pair will find each other in future publications and find their happily ever after. I will be devastated if they don’t, but I guess I’ll have to keep reading the series to find out.

Audio review: The Way Between the Worlds

The Way Between The Worlds

The Way Between The Worlds by Ian Irvine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: There is a dark full moon on midwinter’s day. The foretelling has come to pass. Rulke the Charon is unstoppable now. Karan is held captive in desolate Carcharon tower. Rulke plans to use her to find the Way between the Worlds. On the mountainside below, the allies await their fate. Karan’s lover, Llian, is in chains, falsely accused of betraying her to the enemy. As the dark moon rises, Rulke begins to open the Way. If he succeeds, the world will be overwhelmed by the dread armies of the void. There is only one solution. Karan must be the sacrifice…

My review: The Way Between the Worlds is the fourth, and final, book in The View from the Mirror series. I listened to the audio version of the quartet and admit that I had issues with the series, such as feeling it was too long. Still, now that I have finished it, I have no regrets investing the past few months to this story.

Being the final book, The Way Between the Worlds answers all the questions and ties up all the loose ends. This is to be expected, of course. I gave this book five stars because I enjoyed it the most. Something was nearly always happening. Wrapping up the storylines took a while, but I can walk away from the characters and the world knowing the outcome, and getting a sense of what their futures held.

The series, overall, was long. I keep saying it, too long. I believe the story could have been told in half the number of words. Then it would have been more contained, the action would have been increased, and the suspense would have been terrific. In my opinion, the perfect ingredients for a page-turner. Yet, while I feel that way, I still can’t say I didn’t like it. There was a lot to the plot, the characters, and the history that showed the author worked hard on planning the details. That’s impressive in itself.

I don’t know what else to say. I have wanted to read this series for many years, and now I have. I’m satisfied with that accomplishment. The View from the Mirror is a series that you will either like or not like. Only the reader can decide. This reader has decided that despite its downfalls, it’s a good series.

Seedlings of Life

The seedlings are sprouting.

Seven days ago I sowed some seeds. In case you haven’t read my previous post, I am attempting to grow herbs and vegetables from seed. They include onion, cress, dill, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, radish, chamomile, oregano and chives.

Day 8 shows new life is sprouting. The cress came out fighting on day three. The onion and radishes are also doing well. I’m pleased to say the dill, chamomile and thyme are showing signs of life too. However, nothing is happening with the parsley, oregano or chives, but it is early days.

The tomatoes I grew from seeds haven’t done anything in the last week and, unfortunately, two died. That was a little worrying because I believed they are meant to grow fast but not mine. I do understand that I can’t expect all of them to make it to full-grown, tomato bearing plants though. Perhaps it’s still a little chilly for them. I remain hopeful.

But there’s more, the regular tomato plant that my son gave me has doubled in size. Thrilled about that.

And, to top everything off, there are two cucumbers on my little cucumber plant. Can’t stop smiling as I didn’t expect it so soon. The plant is small, so fingers crossed they make it to harvest time.

More updates to follow over coming weeks, months.