With Ghost Eyes The Girl 4/5 ****
M.H. Boroson - Fantasy Fiction
When M.H. Boroson was just nine years old he was a guest at the house of a friend who happened to be Chinese-American. Little did he know that visit would impact him so profoundly that he would write his debut novel based in 1898 San Francisco, Chinatown. His friend’s uncle told the boys a story of a Chinese fox lady who wore a magical pearl which gave her the ability to steal the energy of men.
Intrigued with the story, Boroson headed to the local library with the intent to read more of Chinese folklore. To his surprise books of this genera weren’t available.
He spent several years talking to and taking notes about as many Chinese stories as he could. Eventually he realized he could combine his love of Kung Fu movies, history and Chinese ghost lore to write a book; The Girl with Ghost Eyes is the final product.
Li-Lin is a young, widowed daughter of a prominent Daoshi exorcist, a ghost hunter, with yin eyes, the ability to see the spirit realm. Her father fleas China for reasons Li-Lin thinks she understands but the challenges that face her in her journey to save Chinatown will bring about a new understanding of her past and her father’s emotionless tendencies towards his only remaining family, Li- Lin.
Li-Lin not only faces the challenges of defeating some of the spirits world’s most dangerous and precarious spirits but she must also rise above the male dominated world she lives to save the only home she knows.
If you are looking for a novel filled with authentic Chinese magic, martial art action scenes, with bizarre spirits (like a walking, talking eye ball) of Asian folklore, then look no further and find yourself lost in the pages of The Girl with Ghost Eyes!
Followed By Frost 4/5****
Charlie N. Holmburg - Science Fiction
“I have known cold that freezes to the bones, to the spirit itself. The cold that stills the heart and crystallizes the blood. The kind of cold that even fire fears, that can turn a women to glass.”
Smitha had it all; wealth, beauty and status but she was pompous and arrogant. A 17 year old know it all who thought her beauty and social status would escort her graciously through life. Little did she know her attitude and refusal of a marriage proposal would result in a curse so evil she would become a danger to those she cherishes most.
As I was reading this book I couldn't help but think about the similarities between it and the Disney Movie Frozen. Minus the obnoxious "Let it go" tune, Smitha and Elsa have a lot in common. Long blonde hair, the need to wear gloves indoors and out and the whole being ostracized from their homes for fear they would turn everyone and everything to ice.
Charlie does a wonderful job of enchanting the reader, pulling them into Smitha's journey. As the reader we get to follow Smitha as she grows from a pompous, self-righteous teenager into a charitable, selfless women. We learn through the curse cast upon her that outward beauty does not compose a beautiful person, that true beauty comes from within.
Followed by Frost is a delightful read and the best literary piece thus far, by Charlie N. Holmberg.
The Glass Magician ***
Charlie N. Holmberg - Teen/Young Adult Historical Fiction
The Glass Magician is the sequel to The Paper Magician' (previously reviewed) and in my opinion, is the more entertaining of the two novels.
This book turned out to be one of those books that I was really excited about until I finished it and realized I still had a lot of unanswered questions.
I hemmed and hawed about finally sitting down to write this review. I DID thoroughly enjoy reading The Glass Magician and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy, fast adventure story, but after finishing it I’m starting to question the authors ability to character build and thoroughly develop a plot.
There’s a sincere lack of explanation regarding the villains agendas. In the first book we dealt solely with Lira but the second novel introduces yet two more villains who are just as underdeveloped. There’s no motive, no end goal. The reader is introduced to Grath who seems to be the “leader” of the excisioners though we later find out he isn’t even one of them, his bonded material is glass. The reader is also introduced to Saraj and all we are told is that he is crazy and likes attention.
The romantic relationship between Ceony and Emery is also drastically underdeveloped. I couldn't decide if Ceony's feelings were crush like or worthy of a true relationship. Apparently, the author likes to walk on the scandalous side as Emery and Ceony who are student and teacher, do eventually become a couple.
I feel as though I have already given too much away. I am reading the final book in this series, The Master Magician, but will less enthusiasm and earnest though I am curious to see how Ceony's newly discovered secret plays into her future.
The Paper Magician ***
Charlie N. Holmberg- Teen/ Young adult Historical Fiction
The Paper Magician was Charlie’s 9th novel but her first published and only after receiving an abundance of rejection letters. So many she joked about fashioning a quilt from the stack.
The book is set in historical England at the turn of the century and is filled with quirky charm and magical splendor.
Ceony Twill is assigned to Magician Emery Thane as his apprentice and begins to learn the ins and outs of becoming a master folder. Without giving too much away Ceony is, at first, very displeased with the mandated title of “folder” and arrives to her new home with a broken heart and sour outlook on the situation. Her feelings and displeasure morph as the novel wares on and her heart soon learns to love the bond she forms with paper through magic.
This is the first of three novels in the series and, in my opinion, is the least entertaining of the trio. It’s a great read and holds your attention rather well but its successors are a bit more dramatic and intriguing in content. Much of the center of this book is spent traveling alongside Ceony and she wanders through the chambers of Emery’s heart (I don’t want to say more than this in hopes it intrigues you enough to pick up the book! ) just keep reading, it gets better.
I had few qualms with this book though there are two that present themselves by the close of the last chapter:
#1. Why do Excisioners (Magicians who bond to blood and practice dark magic) exist at all. What is their goal, their purpose? World domination? To destroy all good magic? I haven't a clue!
#2. The development of a prospect romantic relationship between Ceony (Who's 19) and her instructor (whose 30 and once divorced) is absolutely NOT needed and strikes the reader out of left field. Either the Charlies attempt to kindle romance between the two was very poorly executed or the romance was an afterthought because, lets face it, love sells. Either way, it’s awkward and unnecessary.
I picked up this book on a whim as it was free with KindleUnlimited but I thoroughly enjoyed the easy read! So much so I downloaded and read its sequel and am now onto the third and final book in the series!
A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends ***
By Robin Layton
There's not too much to say about this very short read.
It's not a story but rather a collection of letters written by the young, the old and even some celebrities, to their beloved dogs. If you are looking for an easy, give you warm fuzzy feelings book, this is the one for you! Plus there are some really cute and funny photos accompanying the letters.
It would make a great coffee table book or gift for a fellow dog lover.
The Dogs Were Rescued (And so was I) -Teresa J. Rhyne ****
Theresa found the strength to battle cancer through the perseverance of her dog, Seamus who waged his own war and won. Sadly, Seamus is diagnosed with yet a second kind of cancer and it is through her journey to save him that she embarks (pun intended) upon a healthy lifestyle for her family. Little does she know her intentions to live healthier will lead to sleepless nights, nightmares and anxiety that sends her reeling into a relapse scare.
This is a tremendous read for anyone interested in animal rescue and the crazy minds of us animal loving fanatics. It is not for the easily queasy as some pretty gruesome details of current day slaughtering methods are described. If you decide to give this book a whirl, you just might find yourself rethinking that juicy steak for dinner and tossing all your make-up into the trash.
http://www.beaglefreedomproject.org/cruelty_free - Beagle Freedom Project
http://www.leapingbunny.org/indexcus.php - App to be downloaded to see if certain brands still use animal testing.
A Dog's Purpose - W. Bruce Cameron *****
This book was lent to me by my best friend and fellow fur advocate, Jen and touched me in ways not many books have.
Bailey experiences life as a stray, a beloved family pet, a search and rescue dog and finally he finds himself back in the loving home of Ethan, where he is meant, and always was, meant to be.
A Dog's Purpose is told from the view of Bailey as he describes his opinions of cats and their uselessness in the world as well as his journey to becoming a good dog. You'll laugh, cry and rejoice as you follow Bailey through his many journeys as he is born and reborn.
I won't say too much more as I don't want to give too much away but this is definitely a book worth reading.
You'll want at least a package of Kleenex for this one.
Miramont's Ghost- Elizabeth Hall 4/5 ****
Beautiful, sorrowful and entertaining are all words that describe this fluent and well composed book. After turning the last page I headed over to Amazon and Goodreads.com to check out the views and opinions of others. I was a bit surprised to learn that most people either loved or hated this book. Rarely did I see a review where the reader was standing on middle ground stuck somewhere between getting lost in the pages and just wanting the book to get lost.
Miramont’s castle is a real place located in Mineral Springs, Colorado. It was constructed in 1897 but was occupied for only 3 years before being abandoned. Without giving too much away, I am not surprised the beautiful building was abandoned. The true story and actual events of Miramont Castle will never be known, but the rumors and stories that surround the castle to this day are enough to render the building a favorite for ghost hunters and thrill seekers.
If you are looking for a historical ghost story with a bit of everything—a French upper-class family with looming secrets, a clairvoyant girl who from the time she could speak saw things she couldn't explain, a biblical yet evil aunt with a creepy and odd son, and a page turning story of how Miramont Castle came to exist in the wilds of Mineral Springs Colorado, this is the book for you!
More Books by Elizabeth Hall
If I Stay- Gayle Forman ***
Generally speaking, I am not one to like romance novels or books with exceedingly corny story lines. I did enjoy If I Stay as it wasn't overly mushy gushy but it is definitely an easy read. Not something you want to pick up if you are looking to provoke a little thought or in-depth pondering (many will likely disagree with that statement.)
Life comes to a screeching halt when Mia and her family are involved in fatal car accident, fatal for all but Mia. This is a coming of age novel that takes a drastic approach to the decisions and ultimatums teens are faced with as they step into adulthood. Mia must decide between life or death and the reader tags along for her journey.
Anne Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral - Kris Radish *
I could NOT get into this book. Normally I am pretty committed to finishing a book once I start but I just could not will myself to get past page 50. The concept is amazing, but the execution is horrendous.
My recommendation? Read the back of the book and leave it at that. The title, summery and cover are about as exciting as it's going to get.
An avid reader with a thirst for knowledge, and adventure through words printed on paper.
Books Read in 2020
*The Tattooist of Auschwitz