eBook review: Annalynn the Canadian Spy

Annalynn the Canadian Spy: Terrible Tissues by Shawn P.B. Robinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: Ten-year-old Annalynn has just been hired as a spy.

Two men and two women break into Annalynn’s home and steal a box of tissues, literally from under their noses. No one can imagine why someone would do such a thing, but Annalynn has been put on the case.

Her country needs her, but does she have what it takes?

My review: This is a book for younger readers. Readers beginning to read on their own, who have vivid imaginations and love to laugh. It was a little too young for me and I had to remind myself that it was not aimed at my age group.

It’s a quick, witty read. Older readers have to forego normal and allow themselves to be taken for a ride in unconventional ways. If you can do that, then you’ll enjoy the book.

Annalynn is just a kid but she’s up for the role as a spy. She’ll do it for her family, even though she has no training. But she is resourceful and she’s keen. Nothing will stop her from solving the case handed to her. Dangerous or not.

Hand this book to your youngster, and allow them to be swept into Annalynn’s adventure. They will enjoy themselves, and you’ll hear them laughing.

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

eBook review: She Named Me Wolf

She Named Me Wolf by Tenkara Smart

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Wolf lives in constant fear of his alcoholic father, using his imagination and wisdom beyond his years to escape the pain until he must make a choice. Either stay in this life or move on, and only his best friend, who happens to be a ghost, can help him make the right decision.

She Named Me Wolf is book one in the series The Many Lives of Wolf and is the first glimpse into one soul’s travels through many lifetimes, seeking out the light in the darkness.

My review: She Named Me Wolf is different from the usual genre I read. The blurb hinted at physical abuse and a ghostly presence, and I felt intrigued enough to read the book.

Although the main character is a child at the start of the book and a teenager at the end, I would not say this is a children’s book. It might be confronting or scary to a young reader. Yet, I felt the author handled the physical abuse in the story in a gentle way (except for a couple of places, I’ll get back to these parts later). This might help a young reader experiencing something similar. However, I believe the two exceptions and swearing indicate the book is aimed at the young adult audience.

Swearing is frequent in today’s life. Although I’m not a person who swears myself, I believe the words used in the book would mirror what would typically be said in an abusive household. In fact, I think they have been watered down a lot. Just to be clear, the book starts out with name-calling and swear words are introduced as the story nears its end. To me, the terms are used in context, and it was not a shock to read them. To be honest, in this case, I feel it gives the storyline authenticity.

The two exceptions I mentioned earlier had a real impact on me. One spoke to me because of personal experience, and I reacted to the words I read seeing another face rather than Wolf’s. The other filled me with real fear. I must give credit to the author for her craft in writing these two scenes. To invoke such a strong reaction and incredible fear in me is no mean feat. In fact, it’s impressive.

The two main character’s, Wolf and Polly, are a perfect mix. Both are smart beyond their years, yet children all the same. I enjoyed reading Wolf’s story. I felt connected to him, and that forced me to keep turning those pages. I was not surprised when Wolf excelled at his “secret” activity. I wanted to learn more about his “travels”. And, although I will never understand why, just like Wolf didn’t understand, I could accept how difficult it must have been for his mother. I’m a firm believer that we don’t know how we will react to something until we experience it ourselves.

Another thing about the book is there are a lot of uplifting phrases and sayings scattered within the chapters. The words tell a story about abuse, but they also give hope. I found the mix to be well balanced.

The only negative thing I can say is that there was a mix of American and Australian grammar/spelling/words, hence the 4.5 stars. At one point, the use of a non-Australian word jolted me out of the storyline altogether. It was like a slap in the face. A non-Australian reader may not notice this, but for me, it’s essential to be consistent.

She Named Me Wolf left an impression on me, so I have no trouble in recommending it.

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

eBook review: Esme’s Gift

Esme’s Gift by Elizabeth Foster

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Terror was within. Terror was without. Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver is faced with her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift – the power to observe the past – and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends – old and new – travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must confront their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is an enthralling fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

My review: I enjoyed Esme’s Wish (Book 1), but Esme’s Gift (Book 2) wasn’t as good. The first half of the story dragged its feet a bit, but the second half picked up the pace and was more interesting. The pages turned swiftly then.

I liked the fact that the mysteries were not left hanging until book 3. It was great to know how, when, where and why everything up to now had happened. And it was even better that these facts went together well. In fact, the book was written like a cozy mystery, but without a murder. I found that interesting and well-plotted. I appreciated and enjoyed the arrival of certain other characters as well.

I didn’t like the school scenes. There may have been a reason for them, and I guess as the main characters are school age, it made sense to have Esme return to school, but it didn’t work for me. I’m not saying the scenes were poorly written, they just lacked interest, for me. However, younger readers will probably relate to those scenes much better than I did and enjoy them immensely.

Regardless of all this, I still loved the fresh, new world that the author has created. I look forward to reading more adventures set in Aeolia and finding out more about Seth’s motivations.

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

Ebook review: The Willow Tree’s Daughter

The Willow Tree’s Daughter by Pamela Freeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: With a king for a father and a tree spirit for a mother, Betony is a reluctant princess who prefers the simple, outdoor life. This is the story of her life at the palace, her adventures with wizards, hobgoblins, unicorns and dragons, and her love for the gardener’s apprentice.

My review: A delightful story told in a fairy tale way, but with a twist. Each chapter felt like a stand alone story, but all the chapters together told the full story. The book is funny, moving and easy to read. There was a bit of everything, and something was always happening. It drew me in, and held me captive.

The characters are charming. I especially liked the main character’s strength. It’s good to find a princess who doesn’t need saving, and has a genuine connection with the people around her.

And there was even a bit of romance.

I’m glad I took a risk with this book. I’ll be reading more in the series. No doubt about that.

Recommended.

July 2020 Summer Winter Sale

If you are stuck at home, bored, because of the COVID-19 situation or if you just want ebooks at a discounted price, then head over to Smashwords. They are currently holding their Summer Winter Sale for 2020 and you can grab ebooks at super lower prices.

All my books are on special at 50% off, and Land of Miu and House on the Hill are 100% free. Go to my Smashwords profile found at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/karenleefield, scroll down the page and select the ones you’d like to purchase.

For the price of a coffee, you can buy all of my books. This offer is valid between now and the end of July. Treat yourself. 😀

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).

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 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.