eBook Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. . . . Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

My review: I was searching my local library ebooks and discovered this one. There was something about the cover and the blurb that pulled me in. I borrowed it and started reading immediately and read half the book in one sitting. And the second half of the book in a second sitting.

It’s the story of a china rabbit. He’s a bit stuck up, putting himself above all others. But life teaches him a lesson, and he learns what’s important in life.

I enjoyed this story. It was short and easy to read. I especially liked that it held my total attention while reading. However, more than that, it spoke to my heart and made me ‘feel’. It left me with blurred vision and the need to tell my loved ones that I love them. The author did an exceptional job writing this story. I recommend this book.

eBook review: The Happy Hollisters

The Happy Hollisters (Happy Hollisters, #1)

The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: The adventures for the Hollisters begin as soon as they move into their new house on the shore on Pine Lake in Shoreham. First, the moving van carrying their toys and their father’s important new invention disappears. Next, they learn that their house may be haunted, with a treasure hidden somewhere inside!

Right away they all set out to solve these mysteries. Each one of the Hollister children – Pete (age 12), Pam (10), Ricky (7), Holly (6) and Sue (4) – plays an important role in finding clues, along with their parents who are always ready to join in on the excitement. Even Zip, the collie, and White Nose, the cat, are part of the family, and find thrilling adventures of their own.

As the Hollisters explore their new town and make friends, they discover what happened to the moving van, and learn more about the mystery surrounding their new home. Excitement abounds when a secret stairway is discovered. Then, on the trail of a mysterious intruder, their chase leads them to a deserted hut on nearby Blackberry Island.

My review: The writing is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but the book was written in the 50s so I can accept these things. Back then, children did things they wouldn’t dream of doing now (or their parents wouldn’t allow them to anyway), and I kept having to remind myself that things were different back then.

Letting those things go, I still enjoyed reading the first adventure of the Hollister children. They are well-mannered, polite children who have been taught values and morals. That is clear. I believe there’s no harm in allowing our children today to be exposed to these good characteristics; that some may say are dying off.

This is the first story in a collection of 33 (I believe). I do have a couple of others, although they are not books 2 and 3. I highly doubt I’ll read all 33 books, but parents who want their children to read nice stories should consider this series.

Writing Update

My blog seems to have turned into a book review website over recent months. I read regularly and try to write reviews for every book that I read (including paperback, epub or audiobook). For two reasons: 1) it’s a brilliant way to keep track of the books I’ve read, and 2) I like to share my opinion so that other readers might be encouraged to read the books too.

I love to read, but I love to write too. Yet, writing posts seem to be few and far between. I would not blame you for thinking that writing isn’t on my agenda. How wrong you are.

My writing is going well. I released Domino Effect at the beginning of the year and House on the Hill in July. And now I’m working on a mini-fantasy collection. The title is uncertain right now and will be announced at a later date. What I can tell you is that there will be four short stories. All fantasy themed. I’m pleased with the way they are developing. There is no release date as yet, but I am hoping that it will be before the end of the year.

2020 will be a big year too. I have two projects intended for release. The first will be Ghost at the Cemetery (another Cat and Mouse Adventure). The second is a personal favourite of mine. Something I’ve worked on for nearly three decades! I won’t share the details of that one yet, except to say that it is a fantasy full-length novel. I’m excited to finally publish it soon though.

A well known Australian author, Fiona McIntosh, once gave me some really good advice. It was at the time I was organising and publishing a number of anthologies. She told me that what I was doing was good (for other authors) but she told me not to forget about my own writing. I didn’t see it then. I thought I was still writing, but in truth, I was not. I rarely wrote a word at that time.

Everything happens for a reason. Things in my life changed, I changed with it because I had too. Now, things have changed again and it has allowed me to find my way back to writing. And I am embracing it. I write at least five days out of seven, often seven days out of seven. And I love it.

I may not be here, on my website, writing page after page of posts. That’s because I am where I am meant to be. I am sitting at my desk writing stories–long and short. And I’m loving it!

Ebook review: The Case of the Claymore Diamond

The Case of the Claymore Diamond (The Math Inspectors #1)

The Case of the Claymore Diamond by Daniel Kenney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: When the Claymore Diamond is stolen from Ravensburg’s finest jewellery store, Stanley Carusoe gets the bright idea that he and his friends should start a detective agency. 

Armed with curiosity and their love for math, Stanley, Charlotte, Gertie and Felix race around town in an attempt to solve the mystery. Along the way, they butt heads with an ambitious police chief, uncover dark secrets, and drink lots of milkshakes at Mabel’s Diner. But when their backs are against the wall, Stanley and his friends rely on the one thing they know best: numbers. Because numbers, they never lie. 

Join Stanley and his friends in this smart and funny first mystery in The Math Inspector series, perfect for kids ages 9-12. 

My review: I wanted something to read that was quick and easy. Something that held my attention and just took me for a ride, without having to work for it.

I saw this ebook and liked the premise, so decided to give it a try. Maths isn’t my thing and I was a bit concerned that might be an issue, but it wasn’t.

The author kept the pace going. The inspector team worked well together and I enjoyed the humour and the mystery side of the storyline. The book includes some black and white illustrations, which I felt complemented the story, and gave the author’s impression on what the four main characters look like. Again, I have no issue with that.

My only issue is that while the first ebook is free, the second ebook costs $6.49 for Australians to purchase, and that is expensive (in my opinion) for a digital book. I refuse to pay that so will be leaving the series here, which is a shame.

Audio review: A Shadow on the Glass

A Shadow on the Glass (The View from the Mirror, #1)

A Shadow on the Glass by Ian Irvine

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Once there were three worlds, each with their own human species. Then, fleeing out of the void came a fourth species, the Charon. Desperate, on the edge of extinction, they changed the balance between the worlds forever.

Karan, a sensitive with a troubled heritage, is forced to steal an ancient relic in repayment of a debt. It turns out to be the Mirror of Aachan, a twisted, deceitful thing that remembers everything it has ever seen. At the same time, Llian, a brilliant chronicler, is expelled from his college for uncovering a perilous mystery. Thrown together by fate, Karan and Llian are hunted across a world at war, for the Mirror contains a secret that offers each species survival, or extinction.

My review: I’ve given it a lot of thought and decided that I could not have finished this book if I had read it. However, for me, listening to certain types of books is different.

My biggest issue was that parts of the storyline, especially the world’s history, were drawn out. Too lengthy for me. To be honest, I didn’t want to know in that much detail. Some people do, and you can’t please everyone. I realise that typically, fantasy books are inclined to do that, but it’s not something I enjoy (any more). Lengthy descriptions of any type are boring.

That aside, after some listening, I grew attached to Llian and Karan. And to be frank, I wanted to know what adventure they would experience. Llian can be a bit annoying, but I’m sure he’ll grow into someone worthy by the end of the series. We all have our ways, and we learn from experience. Llian hasn’t had it easy, but I wouldn’t say he’s had a hard life either. At least he had a roof over his head and had some semblance of normality.

In comparison, Karan’s life was harder and lonelier, which gives her the tools to look after herself in a world about to go to war (mostly). The two together manage to figure out what to do to survive.

Of course, other characters upset their plans. Some help them, some are loyal, and others betray. The mix makes for an interesting story (once all the description is pushed aside).

I’m halfway through book 2. Persevere, it gets better.

Ebook review: When Hope Springs New

When Hope Springs New (Canadian West #4)

When Hope Springs New by Janette Oke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: Leaving behind their dear friends in Beaver Creek, Elizabeth and Wynn take over an even more primitive RCMP outpost in the Canadian Northwest. Elizabeth finds herself totally isolated when the local Indian women are afraid to even communicate with her. The Delaneys thought they had already faced the most crushing disappointment of their lives when they saw little Sammy disappear from view in the arms of his father. Would they be able to survive the challenges ahead?

My review: The fourth book in the series takes Elizabeth and Wynn away from Beaver Creek and even further north. They end up living in an Indian village, in a shack with a dirt floor. The Indians in the village are superstitious and will not talk to Elizabeth. However, being used to having a Mounty around, they are civil with Wynn. Due to a change of events, Elizabeth and the rest of the village find themselves homeless and that’s when everything changes

Some of the story line I felt was far-fetched. Other sections I felt were too convenient. Overall, I continued to keep reading because of my dedication to the couple. I wanted to see where their story would end up.

I have no regrets and I felt satisfied with where this book ended. And I made the decision not to read the last two books in the series. Why? Reading some online reviews I believe the last two books in the series are not about Elizabeth and Wynn, but follow story lines concerning their adoptive children. Once I discovered that, I decided that (for me) the Canadian West series was complete.

The first book was great. The second very good. The third and fourth were not bad, but started to dull a bit. Having said that I still recommend them. I’m glad I read them.

Ebook review: When Breaks the Dawn

When Breaks the Dawn (Canadian West #3)

When Breaks the Dawn by Janette Oke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: After surviving a harsh first year in the far north, Elizabeth Delaney and her Royal Canadian Mountie husband, Wynn, are settling into the small community of Beaver Creek. Elizabeth is once more teaching school, and they seem to be gradually making a place for themselves among the Indians. And then the news arrives…

My review: The third book picks up exactly where the second book finishes. Spring brings warmth, but it also brings long awaited friends back to Beaver Creek. Elizabeth and her best friend, Nimmie, start teaching the local Indian children, they build a vegetable garden, they go berry picking, and children are on the horizon for one of them too.

Elizabeth has settled into the Indian community. She has learned the language, made friends and found her place. Yes, she missing her family and, sometimes, she misses pretty things, but she has come to love her surroundings. Five years passes before new orders arrive.

The pace slowed yet again. At times, I felt this book should have been part of the second book. Yet I couldn’t stop reading and I continued to enjoy the characters that had come to be a firm part of Elizabeth’s life.

Still recommend this series.

eBook review: When Comes the Spring

When Comes the Spring

When Comes the Spring by Janette Oke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: After a year of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse on the western frontier, Elizabeth plans her wedding to Wynn Delaney, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As they begin their new life together at his isolated outpost in the far north, Elizabeth is unprepared for the loneliness she feels and the rigors of life without any of the conveniences she’s accustomed to. Her deep love for Wynn and her faith in God seem like all she has. But will that be enough?

My review: Now we leave the TV series behind. Elizabeth is living with her brother and his family in a small town and she and Wynn plan their wedding. Elizabeth is no longer the timid girl who first came out west and is no longer scared of anything that scurries in dark corners or growls in the night. She is enjoying “civilisation” while she can knowing that once they are married, they could be sent anywhere. And when the orders come, they find themselves going far north to a place few white people, especially women, have ever been. A place plush cushions and lace curtains are not seen as luxuries, but a total waste of resources.

The pace of this book was slower than the first. However, it did pick up when the orders arrived. But I think that was mainly because of the primitive surroundings that Elizabeth and Wynn had to endure. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that there is no way I could do what Elizabeth did. Yet she did it for love, so I say no more.

The book was an eye opener, so how can I not recommend it.