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Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Seconds Away - Harlan Coben


 
Are you a fan of Harlan Coben's novels ? Have you read and made your way through his Myron Bolitar series ? Needing a Myron fix but run out of books to read?
Try Harlan's new series starring Mickey Bolitar - Myron's nephew.
Review: Seconds Away - Book #2 Mickey Bolitar Series - Harlan Coben - September 2012
Your favourite Teen Detective is back , Mickey Bolitar - now living with his Uncle Myron, Mickey has been slowly easing into school but it seems that trouble can't stray far away from him and now with only being at school a week , he has found himself bang smack in the midle of not only a homocide but also an arson attack and if that wasn't bad enough the Chief of Police Ed Taylor has it in for Myron and Troy - the Chief's son has it in for Mickey. Seconds Away focuses on not only the homocide of one of Mickey's new friends, but also delves deeper into the Abeloa Society which is the group with the butterflies. When an old photo shows up from The Bat Lady of a man who was supposed to have died over 50-70years ago , how can i be that Mickey recognises him from the scene of his father's death ? How is it that no matter what happens in Mickey's life - all the horrible and terrible dangers that occur reflect back to his parents and who knows them? Meanwhile Mickey's new friend Ema is keeping a dark secret - what will happen when Mickey learns the truth about who her parents are ? Will he be annoyed that she lied or will he respect her need for privacy?
Find out all this and more in Seconds Away which shows readers that even in seconds away , your life that you know of can be over .
Another great installment in the Mickey Bolitar series and I look forward to reading more of Harlan Coben's releases.
 
 
 

Review: Twelve Sharp - Janet Evanovich


 
Are you a Janet Evanovich fan ? Have you read the Stephanie Plum series ?
As those who follow me will know that I am slowly making my way through the Stephanie Plum series,so here today readers I bring you Book #12
Review: Twelve Sharp - Book #12 Stephanie Plum Series - Janet Evanovich - June 2006
Our favourite and fun-lovin' bounty hunter is back in action - Stephanie Plum and this time if she's not careful , she might find herself shot and taken by a pair of male and female Ranger look-a-likes and then her job might be doled out to The Bounty Hunter lookalikes . Vinnie's Bail Bonds is running out of Bounty Hunters and is going down fast in the monetary department, Can Connie and Lula find some new Bounty Hunters and fast - ones that will fit in with their quirky team including newcomer Mervin Pickles - who was an FTA for exposing himself who has taken over Lula's job of filing which is good because she never did it anyway. Trouble seems to always follow Stephanie and in Twelve Sharp it is no different as Stephanie is being stalked by somebody claming to be Ranger's wife and scarily enough she is dressed just like Ranger. Is Ranger living a double life or is something off about this newcomer Carmen Mancoso? It seems that Ranger has gone MIA and that's not the only thing missing, somebody has kidnapped Ranger's daughter and now wants Ranger's life which includes Stephanie Plum. Can Stephanie figure out who is behind this before she finds herself kidnapped ? There are newcomers at the funeral home, will they be able to get a handle on Grandma Mazur's antics or will their first viewing end up in disaster mode and for a bit of fun - Sally Sweet's band makes an appearance with Lula as a back-up singer/dancer. For more Stephanie Plum and Friends fun, why not pull up a chair and get stuck into "Twelve Sharp".
 
 
 
 
 
 

Review: The Death Cure - James Dashner


 
Have you been following my reviews of Dystopian Author James Dashner's Maze Runner Series ?
Get ready for what was supposed to be the end of the trilogy before they brought out Book #0 Kill Order.
Here today on The Phantom Paragrapher, prepare for "The Death Cure".
Review: The Death Cure - Book #3 Maze Runner Series - James Dashner - October 2011
With the sudden uprise in Dystopian fiction amongst Teen Fiction, I decided that it was time to give The Maze Runner series a read and I am glad I decided too as I have been enjoying it and now with only one book to go , I am interested in seeing the way it will go. The Maze Runner series is firstly though, a Dystopian novel that Boys in particular will enjoy and if you are wanting to get boys into reading- this series is the way to go.
In The Death Cure , we have read as the teams have survived The Maze and The Scorch Trials and now after learning that they have the Flare or at least can contract it , they must find their way to getting the cure. Also as many of us who have read the prior books know that each of the Maze participants had their memories wiped and now those remaining few have been given the opportunity to bring back their memories - will Thomas and his friends take the chance to bring back their memories or will Thomas, Newt and Minho stand against it? In The Death Cure , we read as the two groups and remaining survivors rise up against WICKD and escape into a world of Munies - those immune against the Flare and Cranks - those who have disintergrated from having the Flare , Blissers - those who have taken the drug of being in pure ignorance of their surroundings. Personally, this was a great read but I did feel a little let-down as normally with a  conclusion of a trilogy you expect answers to past questions and I felt that this book left me hanging a bit. You will however see past characters from The first book "The Maze Runners" appear in "The Death Cure".
I do say to readers though, that if you haven't read the first two books then do not attempt to read The Death Cure as you will be like "Huh, what is happening here" ???
 
 
 

Review: From Ashes - Molly McAdams


 
Ok, Have you ever read a book that has made you want to put it down but you can't no matter what your feelings are about it ? Have you ever read a book and thought OMG why him when you are supposed to be with him ?
Have you ever picked up a book and found it such an addicting read that you couldn't put it down at all , you just had to keep reading it ?
For me, that book was Molly McAdam's "From Ashes".
Review: From Ashes - Molly McAdams - December 2012
Have you ever picked up a book and thought , OMG why am I reading this and you find yourself torn between wanting to put it down or continue reading it , but the feeling of reading it till the very end is so strong and compelling. That was what From Ashes by Molly McAdams was like for me . The book starts off introducing reader to two best friends Tyler and Cassi aka Cassidy . We soon learn that Cassi hasn't had the greatest life and has continually been beaten by her mother and step-father and Tyler has been the one she runs too , in order to be healed. When Tyler leaves to go to college, he bundles Cassi up with him and brings her along. It is this move, that Cassi will really find herself and have to take a step-back and re-evaluate her life and where and who she wants to be. Tyler has always loved Cassi and wants her to be finally "his" in the girlfriend sense , but what will happen when the sparks fly between Cassi and Tyler's cousin Gage ? Who will Cassi choose , and what will it mean sacrificing as she can't have everything both ways ? Halfway through the novel we read the introduction of two more guys - Jesse ( a barista at Starbucks where Cassi works) and Detective Connor Green ( from Cassi's hometown) - it seems that everyone wants Cassi as their girlfriend but only one will be successful ? Reading this , it does make you wonder what Cassi looks like and what type of power she has that makes all the guys fall at her feet .
So who will Cassi choose - A) Best Friend - Tyler , B) Cowboy - Gage , C) Starbucks Co-worker - Jesse or D) Detective - Connor Green ?
P.S - Talking to alot of friends, they all seem to be in Team Gage for this book but I don't know what it is but personally Gage didn't do it for me and for me I was Team Connor.
 
 
 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Guest Review: Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe


 
When you start out writing, I find it's hard to find places in order to be published and help build your portfolio, so that's why I like to offer The Phantom Paragrapher to those who are wanting to get their name out into the world of book blogging.
 
Guest Review written by Jack Myers :
When I was a little kid, there was nothing I loved more than a book about animals: talking animals, funny animals, animals on adventure. It did not matter to me what the story line was or where they went. I just loved cats, dogs, horses, and everything in between. The only thing that could make a story about animals better was if they talked. Talking animals were the pinnacle of story perfection for me. To that end, I had a book series that was my favorite for a long time. It was called Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe.
The overarching story is this: a rabbit is found in a midnight showing of Dracula and brought home to a nice suburban family. However, this rabbit has some odd points. Its coloring makes it look like it is wearing a black cape, its teeth are sharp and pointy, it sleeps all day, and it sucks the juice out of vegetables. With all these clues, the resident supernatural expert, Chester the cat, deduces that the bunny is a vampire and sets out to prove it. With the help of the narrator, Harold the dog, and eventually their puppy cohort, Howie the dachshund, Chester sets out to protect his family and prove once and for all that the bunny has sinister intentions.
With much humor, a lot of suspense and just enough creepiness to keep kids interested, the Bunnicula series is a great children’s book recommendation and a great introduction for kids to chapter books. A fun and entertaining read for all!
Author Bio:
Jack Meyers is a regular contributor for www.nannybackgroundcheck.com. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.
 
 
 

Review: Private Oz - James Patterson and Michael White

 
 
Are you a big as fan as I am when it comes to James Patterson's novels ? Do you love to read them in one sitting ? Have you been following his new Private Series featuring Jack Morgan's new PI company "Private" ?
Review: Private Oz - Book #4 Other Private Offices Series - James Patterson and Michael White - October 2012
Is there that one author who know matter how many books they release , who they release them with and what genre they may be in - you just have to read and get your hands on them . Growing up as a child it was Jacqueline Wilson but as I got older to College age , I started to read alot of James Patterson's novels and fell in love with his books and from then on I have read and will continue until one day the need might stop as it did with Jacqueline Wilson and then I will discover another author , but until then I revel in reading James Patterson's books and bring to you the next one in the Private Series.
As fans of the Private series will know , Jack Morgan inherited from his father the PI Company "Private" and now as we come to Book #4 we are reading as he takes the Private organisation worldwide. He has offices now in America , London and now home of one of the Down Under's Australia. Jack has sent his right-hand woman and girlfriend Justine over to Australia to set up a new Private Offices with Aussie Craig Gisto to head up the Oz office . If they had planned this week to be a nice quiet one with paperwork and getting things set up then they have another thing coming as it seems that Australia has been hit by not one but two serial killers and they have no interest in stopping now. Not to mention , a pop singer thinks his manager wants to kill him and sign him for a life membership of Club 27 . With three cases and a small-team of five , Can the Private Oz Office solve the crimes , get settled in and stay alive all within the span of a couple of weeks or will the Private Oz be too swamped to handle the load ?
Find out in James Patterson's and newcomer Michael White's Private series book "Private Oz" and stay tuned readers as I bring to you at a later but soonest date the next book in the series "Private Berlin".
 
 
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: One Hundred Names - Cecelia Ahern

 
 
Looking for a new Chick Lit novel to get into ? Are you a fan of Cecelia Ahern's books ?
Get ready for her latest hit .....
Review: One Hundred Names - Cecelia Ahern- October 2012
Journalism is a hard career to get into and a lot can happen in the background that others aren't aware of , so who better to write a book about journalistic expectations and disasters than one of Ireland's best journalists now turned book writer Cecelia Ahern. I have read all her books but personally , Im not too sure what it is but I haven't been personally overly impressed with her last three. My all-time favourite would have to be Where Rainbows End.
In One Hundred Names , we read as Kitty a journalist who has made a big mistake that has already ruined her career is looking for a chance to redeem herself when the Editor of Ectcetra passes away from Cancer. In a bid to make a commerative issue, Constance before she passed gave Kitty a list of 100 names - no notes, just a long list of names. Now its up to Kitty to track down them all and craft a story for each name. Can she do that in time before the magazine goes to print ? What was it that all these people had in common and what was it about their tales that Constance felt a need to record their hidden stories and treasures .
One Hundred Names is a good read and reminded me of the book Ten Girls to Watch For by Charity Schuman. It was a nice relaxing read , but alas not one of my favourites by her.
I do however, look forward to what Cecelia brings with each book she releases.
 
 
 

Guest Post : Telling a Story for a Good Cause by Deborah Heal


 
 
 
 
Writing Real Good
                                                             by Deborah Heal

Christian fiction writers sometimes think their stories are less important than the sermons, essays, and treatises of the "serious" non-fiction writer. But imaginative writing has tremendous power to teach deep truths. For example, many, many people have come to know God through C. S. Lewis' Narnia stories.

Storytelling is even an effective tool for fund raising. One Christmas, when it was time to send out the monthly newsletter for our crisis pregnancy center, I decided to use a story to help readers understand the problems families faced. Here is the letter I sent out:

 

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Luke 2:7

Now that was a crisis pregnancy! There is something so heart wrenching about the newborn King lying in a stable when he should have had every luxury in the universe.

Every parent wants the best for their precious little ones. But for some couples like, Carl and Brenda…
June, 1955. Carl was just out of the service and couldn’t find a job. And he had a wife and two kids—Brenda, three-year-old Stevie, and two-month-old Patty. So Carl packed up the family and moved, but with the recession there were no jobs. For a while Brenda worked at the dime store, and Carl stayed home to watch the kids. With no gas for the car, he walked across town when he heard the Shell station was hiring. Sure enough, the sign in the window said, HELP WANTED, but the man inside told him the job had just been filled. It was a long walk back home. “The air Force will take me back,” he told Brenda. But the Air Force was not taking men with two children.

The approaching Christmas season just highlighted their misery. “Well,” Brenda said, “at least Patty is too little to know about Christmas presents.” Or maybe she did and that’s why she cried so much. She seemed hungry all the time, no matter how often she nursed, and Brenda began to wonder if she had enough milk.

Brenda cried in the doctor’s office when he explained that, “yes, you can get pregnant even while you’re nursing.” And when baby Mikey came, he slept in a dresser drawer because Patty still needed the crib.

This Christmas season I am asking you to consider a very special gift so that we can continue to help families like Carl and Brenda’s resist the pressure to abort their baby “Mikey’s.” Your gift will allow us to help with baby supplies—like a crib for the baby to sleep in.
Apparently, my little story helped to put a face on the problems associated with unplanned pregnancies, because donations poured into the center. 

Does the story seem to overly sentimental? The "Patty" in the story is me. I’m grateful to be able to use my family’s ordeal to write real good.

 

Deborah Heal is the author of the young adult novels Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy She lives in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about southern Illinois history. She is married and has three grown children, three grandchildren, and a canine buddy named Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). Currently, she is working on book three in the Time and Again trilogy.

You may learn more about the author by visiting her website: http://www.deborahheal.com/, her  Facebook Fan Page, and Goodreads. Her books may be purchased on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

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