Audiobook review: The Tower on the Rift

The Tower on the Rift (The View from the Mirror Series, #2)

The Tower on the Rift by Ian Irvine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: War rages across Santhenar as Aachim, Faellem and old humans pursue the Mirror of Aachan. A desperate Tensor, leader of the Aachim people, flees with it into the wilderness, taking the brilliant young chronicler Lilan with him. Only Karan can save him, though she’s not sure that she can help herself. Tensor wants her dead, the other powers are hunting her for her sensitive talents, and Rulke the Charon broods over them all from his Nightland prison. The Twisted Mirror holds knowledge that the world can only dream about. How will Tensor use it in the final confrontation? Will Llian be seduced by it too? Or will the Mirror betray them all, in the end?

My review: Book 2 in the series. Again, I could not “read” the book, but as an audiobook, it was quite good. In fact, this volume of the series saw some action and movement in the storyline. We live in an instant world these days, and the plot for some fantasy books can be painful.

Llian and Karan’s relationship is one of those stop and go situations. Sometimes it is one of them doing the stoping. And other times it is what is happening around them. I can’t accept their relationship as being real though. Or perhaps “deep” is the word, I should have used. It feels superficial. That may be intended or not. I don’t know, but I suspect not at this stage of the story.

Thankfully, the world’s history is no longer a problem. It is assumed we know that after book one and I’m pleased to say that we do not have to read it again.

Reading over what I’ve written makes me think I’ve given the wrong star rating as it sounds like I don’t like the story or characters at all. Yet, despite all I’ve said, I have gone on and listened to book 3 and I’m halfway through book 4 so something must have kept my attention.

FREE book reviews for authors

If you have visited this site before, or if you check the archives, you will notice that I write a lot of book reviews. Normally, I write a review for every book I read.

I have decided to offer my services to indie authors and publishers. If you want a book reviewed, then I may be able to help. Naturally, I will not accept everything and anything. I have a life and I also love to write. But I will consider your book if it is something that interests me.

This service is free of charge. The only expectation I have is that you provide me with a review copy of your book. The free copy can be a paperback, epub or mobi version.

Please read my Book Review Policy for more details on what I will consider, what I will reject and what information I would like from you in order to decide if I’m interested in your book or not.

Coming soon: Journey to Freedom

Journey to Freedom cover
A mini fantasy collection

I am excited to announce a new book will be released soon. Journey to Freedom is a mini fantasy collection of four short stories.

The common themes in the stories are oppression and struggle. The main characters crave freedom, but can they find what they are looking for?

More details to follow in coming weeks, but today I will reveal the front cover.

If you are interested in receiving a free review copy of the ebook version of the book, please use the contact page and let me know which format you prefer (ie epub, mobi, pdf).

Thinking about NaNoWriMo 2019

I have officially and unofficially participated in NoNoWriMo before, but had to go into the archives of my website to find out when the last time was. It is a shock to find out that it was in 2007–12 years ago! I am gob smacked by that discovery.

In the years including and preceding 2007 I had completed NaNo twice officially. The first time was a disaster and put me off doing it again. Looking back, even though I managed to write the 50,000 words in 30 days, I felt totally washed out and the manuscript I wrote was terrible. Now I know I was not sufficiently prepared and that put a lot of pressure on me. Totally my fault. 

Then I believe a writing colleague talked me into doing an unofficial challenge, which we called a mini-NaNo. I successfully completed two of those in different years. Both times I felt good about the result and I didn’t suffer mentally or physically.

Then, I completed the second official challenge successfully in 2007 and this time was happy with myself and my writing.

I never joined the challenge again. Didn’t even consider it, for reasons I cannot explain or remember.

Last week I saw a mention of the 2019 NaNo challenge and something sparked in me. I want to enter the challenge. Officially or unofficially, I’m not sure yet. My next writing project will not be 50,000 words in length so I know I cannot reach the goal. This makes me think I’ll need to bash out the words unofficially. But, I could attempt to write two chapter books in the official time frame. If I can do that, I could join the thousands of other writers officially. 

To do or not to do, that is the question.

To be honest, I have a hankering to go official. Bash out two manuscripts in 30 days. How sweet would that be?

However, being realistic, my head is saying “slow down, you don’t want to burn out now that you’re writing regularly again”. It’s true. I am writing most days and I’m loving it. I don’t want to lose that, not ever.

I think I just talked myself into doing an unofficial 2019 NaNoWriMo, with the added thought that I might start work on the second chapter book if it happens naturally. If not, no pressure, no problem.

It’s a shame the NaNoWriMo website didn’t cater for a mini-NaNo because I would love to join the offical buzz.

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!