Review of The Nexus Mirror @nemichaelbooks #NexusMirror #Fantasy #Sci-Fi #Review #YA #NewBook

The Nexus Mirror
By N.E. Michael
Rated: 3.5 stars

It is with thanks to the author – Noah Michael for getting in touch with me via my blog asking if I could review his fantasy/sci-fi book. So today, I am pleased to be now publishing my review of this book that will take you through a world and time of many creatures and also one that highlights some contemporary issues too, even though this is set far in the distant future.

About the Author

Noah Michael, is the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. He has two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and is currently a student in medical school. He is all about following dreams, and so despite his busy schedule, he never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from his current series, he has two other worlds in his head just waiting to be built, and can’t wait to share them with you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

Social media links:

Twitter handle: @nemichaelbooks

Nexus Mirror cover

Blurb


Thirteen tribes. Two hundred years of war. One girl, with the key to ending it all.

Ever since his father’s mysterious murder, Raiden has been having visions of beings with extraordinary powers which he sketched into comics. The man responsible for the murder, billionaire Jimmy Roko, controls the world from his lofty, impenetrable Silver Tower. Compared to Roko’s vast army of robotic creatures and soldiers, Raiden is helpless. At least he was, until the magical heroes from his comics came knocking at his doorstep…

Forced away from everything he’d ever known, Raiden is thrown into a war filled with mystical beasts and terrible demons, super-powered heroes and futuristic battle-drones, ancient portals and daring new worlds. The fate of the universe rests in Raiden’s hands as he fights against Jimmy Roko and the Chief of Shadows to protect a young girl named Sarah, the last surviving Surger, who possesses the key to the ultimate weapon.

Review

There are topical subjects, fights, a student to protect and war wounds amongst this book of humans and other creatures, some whom are almost human.

Enter a world some time in the future. Not everyone is human!
There are a whole array of other creatures. Raidens, being one type. Raiden Williams, who is a teacher and one with a bit of an attitude at times, one that some guys have with their smirking. It’s a pity as can’t immediately decide whether I like him or not.
Sarah is one of his brightest pupils. Alia and Bella are orphans trying to get by, which makes for an interesting story with some of the social aspects surrounding that.

The book covers bullying, the devastating consequences and the impact. The tone of Alia and those who are the bullies is just right as is the raw emotion. This is a book that would perhaps inspire young adult readers to think about actions having consequences. It’s good and thoughtful.

Alia is a detective, seeking answers as to what happened to Hunter, whether it was murder or suicide.

Hospitals is also a theme within this book as Bella suffers a stroke. The hospital is well described as being very futuristic.

Meet the Enlai. A tribe of people who are almost human and who learn to try to master their emotions and are Readers. There are topical elements to them too as they are asked about changing their DNA to extend their lives and the consequences to this.

What is real and what is in Alia’s subconscious is something that readers have to work out, as does this brave character.

Marcus is the most powerful Reader, which makes for interesting characterisation.

There is enough in the book to know just where you are in the time frames and as different magical and fantastical characters are met, such as shifters, zombies and super-powered pirates. There is a war to be fought and what was great was that the effects of war is also written about. Even so far into the future, war is not straight forward and there are still consequences that are felt.

There is an unexpected ending, which is touching and also in a sentence, the story is left open for the next book – The Legend of Solis.

There is certainly enough going on in this fantasy world that the N.E. Michael has created for the YA fantasy/sci-fi readers to be engaged in. The book does get off to an interesting start and good pace, then seems to slow down somewhat, before really getting into it and seems to jump a bit and could be a bit tighter in places. It is however worth sticking with because when you do that, you really get stuck into this futuristic world and all that lives there and the pace does pick up, so do give it a really good chance. You may find yourself enjoying it, like I did and wanting to find out how it ends. After all, the premise is good and for a new writer, fans of fantasy will do well in trying Noah’s books out.

I thank the author N.E. Michael for contacting me on my blog and for sending me his book. It’s always such a pleasure and honour to be asked to review.

What to expect on the blog #blog #amreading #bookish #theatre

I have many more great sounding books in my To be Read pile. Some by very established authors, some not quite so, but are starting out. All look good!
A thud after the swing of the letterbox usually signals the post is more exciting than a bill. A huge thud that sounds like it is going to go through the floor means its a hardback book. Most are paperback and that too is fine and still sounds more exciting than a bill.

I have children’s books, young adult books and adult books. During February and March, there will be reviews of children’s books that promote the eco-system, take children on an adventure, show children interesting and fun characters.

For Young Adult, there will be coming-of-age and fantasy.

For Adult, there is Crime Fiction, Biography, Humour in Fiction, Families in Fiction, Historical Fiction and more…

I have also been to the theatre recently, so you can expect a review on a terrifically cast play by Alan Aykbourn.

Thanks for following my blog.

#Review of The Minotaur’s Son & Other Wild Tales – A moving book with lots of humour, covering all the genres in short stories @kevinansbro #TheMinotaursSon #NewRelease #ShortStories #FlashFiction #Fables #HistoricalFiction #Fiction #Fantasy @BookTasters

The Minotaur’s Son
& Other Wild Tales
By Kevin Ansbro
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Kevin Ansbro was born of Irish parents and has lived in Malaysia and Germany.

He was educated at Hamond’s Grammar School in Swaffham, and at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology in King’s Lynn.

Kevin also has a background in karate and kickboxing and has travelled extensively – particularly in the Far East.

He is married to Julie, and currently lives in Norwich, England.

Click below for Kevin Ansbro’s website and social media.

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Blurb

“Once the evening’s entertainment was over the Minotaur, as naked as Nature intended, clumped into Pablo Zapata’s bar…”

A baby with a passion for theoretical physics…

A winged nymph who exacts terrible revenge…

A stolen coin that releases a wish-granting genie…

And where else would you see Ginger Rogers learning the Ali shuffle, or a humble fisherman making friends with Poseidon?

Charlatans and shapeshifters, lovers and leprechauns, ghosts and office creeps are just some of the characters that Kevin Ansbro brings to life in this volume of short stories. His tales span the globe and range from the wickedly funny to the sad and deeply unnerving. With his perceptive take on human failings, his vivid imagination and his glorious grasp of language, Ansbro’s thought-provoking stories will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

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Review

This is an excellent book to read all the way through and then later to dip in and out of. Kevin Ansbro takes readers on a journey through these “Wild Tales” from space to many countries on earth again. You will enter different ages from as far back as the Ancient Greeks to the days of the Raj, to war times to the present day. You will meet mermaids, Greek Gods, a talking cat and many other creatures and of course humans too, including the intrepid author of this book – Kevin Ansbro. You are in for a real treat. These are tales of humour, trepidation, emotion and have great twists. To write short stories is as skillful as writing a novel and Kevin does them well. There is something in there for all sorts of people. The construction of these short stories are very good, including the endings, which was very pleasing.
I recommend people give them a try. I certainly very much enjoyed the majority of them. There are stories that I am sure will suit most tastes as Kevin Ansbro has skillfully covered all  genres.

Below I have written a little bit about most of the short stories, leaving some for readers to also discover too.

First you’ll meet a mermaid, a talking cat and its owner – Jacob in Sirens. Then it is off to space to meet Captain Chuck Montana of the Galaxy Ship Orion in Chuck Montana and the 22 Century to learn what the Lurgians are. Back on earth there is a 60th birthday celebration, but things don’t exactly go as planned in Doth Thou Thinkest Me a Fool. There is also a story later on that returns to the space theme. It’s a thought-provoking story called Extinction. They are well-written and Sirens is a great way to start this book as it pulls and tugs the intrigue of this book a bit further.

You’ve got to Be Careful What You Wish For in Brighton when it comes to octogenarians – Horace and Ethel and a promise of 3 wishes that will be granted. All is mysterious and just might give them exactly what they want, but there’s a twist in this cautionary tale.

Cache en Pleine Vue or in English – Hiding in Plain Sight in the little French hamlet of Culbiso holds gossip and secrets. Madam Pettier harbours the greatest secret of all as she isn’t exactly what you would expect.

Well, what can I say, except, it’s a Fait Accompli when readers meet Charles Remington and Veronica Meyer. Everything seems like it could be too good to be true.

In The Minotaur’s Son, you meet the mythical creatures and it comes with a warning, not to take things for granted. You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with strong female, Isadora.

The Show Off really made me smile. It features Kevin Ansbro, the author of this book. Quite unusually so, for a book of this type. It has you willing him on to do well at the book talk and it has the happiest, most amazing of endings.

A Matter of Honour is set during the Crimean War and the aftermath is realised of how PTSD can really affect someone and a family. It is written sensitively, with a rawness but also, I felt with care and with such emotion that comes from a certain truth.

Meet Yara – a Maharaja’s Concubine in 1932 – the days of the Raj in The Concubine and the Postman She is nothing ordinary. There are lessons those men who are greedy could learn and beware of a curse. Read to find out about how a postman comes into this story and what happens. It may surprise you.

The Fable of the Fisherman’s Hat brings back Isadora with her husband Demetrius and also mermaids in the sea. It has adventure and trepidation and nothing will seem as it once did.

The Leech takes readers to Japan and the people creating prosperity for their economy. It isn’t just a story for Japan though, some of the themes of recognition for those who make a difference are world-wide and as a result, has thought-provoking qualities.

Dorothy in Oz is a different perspective on her re-telling her story. I enjoyed this because, of course, who would believe you when you tell people a scarecrow etc talked to you and you had to click your red heels 3 times to get home.

Meet a Leprechaun in Ireland (of course) in Pot of Gold. This has a human and ecological tale within it, which is incredibly relevant for today and especially in farming.

Waiting for Ryan is a bit of a love story between two different cultures – Ryan from England and Mishti originally from India. Set in present times, they meet in Thailand, just before the well-reported tsunami that occurred there. There’s enough of a hook to keep wanting to read to see if the couple will ever see each other again, especially since time moves on and Ryan also returns to England.

Pantheon is just incredibly funny. Who can this mysterious man be at Christmas time? Well, it is up to authors, a pop star, a soul singer, a dancer and a boxer to ponder.
Meet Dickens and Hemingway, Shakespeare, oh and Oscar Wilde gate crashing a conversation and then add David Bowie into the mix and Ginger Rodgers and Muhammad Ali, it makes for a surreal but hilarious tale.

With thanks to Kevin Ansbro for supplying me with an e-book copy of his book and for agreeing to me reviewing.

The Minotaur's Son and other Wild Tales cover 2

She Wolf by Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor #SheWolf #Education #Libraries #NewBook #Review #Kidslit #Schools #Adventure #Historical #Vikings #Norse

Review

She Wolf
by Dan Smith
Rated: 5 stars *****

Today I have decided to publish my review of the excellent children’s book – She Wolf by award winning author Dan Smith. This is a book I highly recommend to children and already Dan Smith has quite a following from primary schools. Young teenagers would also like this book too. I hope after reading the review, you will also check Dan Smith out. Below, after my review of She Wolf, you will be able to find a few links to pages within his website. Whether he is a new to you author or one you read a lot of, this book and his website is worth checking out.
For schools, there are also resources to accompany this book (see links below for his website and Twitter).
Dan Smith’s books can be found in many physical and online shops and within libraries.

About the Author

Dan Smith is an  award winning author of adventure stories for younger readers, and thrillers for adults. He loves to hear from readers.

Growing up, he led three lives. In one, he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the paddy fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of my own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say I still live most of the time.

He has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. I’ve even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but now has settled in Newcastle with his wife and two  children to keep him on his toes.

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he always loved stories, he always loved a good adventure, and he always kept writing.

She Wolf

Blurb

Northumbria 866.
Washed ashore on a frozen English beach, Ylva’s survived. She will not cry. She’s meant to be strong. She’s a Viking.

But when her mother dies at the hand of a three-fingered man, and the wolves of the forest circle closer, Ylva will need more than the memory of her mother’s stories to stay alive. Can she shape her own legend? Will it end in revenge – or is there another way?

Review

Primary schools have rated Dan Smith highly and I can see why. His writing is terrific! It has character and he really understands that writing in historical times can also be relevant and relatable for readers in present times within the themes.
First look at the maps of the journey Ylva will take. There is also much to be learned as below one of the maps is the AD 866 place-name and the modern place name. At the back is an excellent glossary and “Did You Know” section so children can learn a bit more. This is a fictional book that is also excellent for “Reading for Pleasure” or for any reading challenges. I have seen that where this book is in primary schools, children are loving and devouring it. This is a book that all children can get into. With the chapters being short and snappy, this book lends itself so well to school teachers or parents reading it out loud and for individuals to read. This book is also rated by The BookTrust. The book can be bought or borrowed from libraries.

From page 1, there is atmosphere, placing readers right in the centre of Ylva’s life. There’s action and adventure and legends of Thor, Odin and Loki within these wonderfully written pages. This book is for all genders. It deals with bereavement and courage.

Ylva is a young, fierce, independent, strong and brave heroine . Readers will first meet her by a trader’s hut as a lost, orphaned Dane in cold England, with only her dog, Geri now left for company. Her mother has died and her initial reaction is one of revenge. There’s depth to this book, but not too complex for older primary school aged children. The book goes along at an excellent pace, nothing lingers too long.

The characters are intriguing, especially the three-fingered man and there is plenty of snow and wolves within this book. Don’t be fooled by the title “She Wolf”, this is a book to delight both boys and girls alike.

The landscape is harsh and Ylva has to decide who to trust. The question of trust is important and it is a quest with many dangers. There are pearls and people who she has to decide whether to trust or not. She does however decide to trust Cathryn enough, who is a Saxon who offers her shelter.

There are beautiful tender moments too.
This is an emotional book and one, although set in 866AD is relatable, even though the times and some experiences are different.

The end is an unexpected one that will leave readers feeling satisfied.

History and fiction are expertly woven together to create an immersive story with rich descriptions. There’s a real sense of what the atmosphere was like. This feels like it could be made into a film. The story is dark, but an adventure like none-other that has the scope of interesting so many readers looking for a new, original adventure.
Readers who enjoy adventures that conquer adversity with strong characters, vikings, Norse Gods and mythology and who want to explore history would love this brilliant fictional book. Remember to read the glossary to and the “Did You Know” section to expand you understanding of some of the words of the story and your knowledge of the viking period.

Links to Dan Smith’s Website for you to explore:

Twitter:   @DanSmithAuthor

Great books from 2019 – Happy New Year and Happy Reading #HappyNewYear #2019books #2019wrapup #MyYearinBooks #BestBooks #MustReads #amreading #readingforpleasure #books #CrimeFiction #Thriller #FamilySaga #Saga #Historical #Kidslit #YA #NonFiction #Fiction #Fantasy #UpLit #Bookish

Great Books to check out and read from 2019

I have read and reviewed so many books this year. I have decided to follow the trend of compiling an end of year list of what I would consider “The Must Read or Top 2019 Books. The list will be in no particular order, but will be broken down into genre. Here you will find great Children’s Books and Young Adult books, followed by all types of crime fiction; followed by general fictional books; followed by family saga/historical fiction; followed by fantasy; followed by non-fiction/autobiographical/biographical.
Firstly, I would like to say a few thanks:

I am incredibly grateful to everyone however who contacts me through my blog or Twitter, interacts with me, sends me books to review, either personally or through publishing houses. I am grateful for the generosity of authors, publishers and bloggers for sharing my reviews on their social media platforms and websites. I thank publishers and authors for considering me and for giving me the responsibility of reviewing their books. Reviewing someone’s work is something I don’t do lightly. A lot of thought goes into it all and also I am so conscious that what is in my hands at that moment is someone’s hard work and, whether I’ve met the person/people face to face or not, I am always aware of them being human too. I must say that I do love writing my blog and I appreciate every opportunity I have ever had that has come with writing it.

I also thank those authors, publishers and bloggers who have been kind and generous in other ways too, such as help with the community library I currently lead. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.

Now onto the lists. I hope people find something new, some inspiration or are perhaps reminded that they want to check out a book. The books on the list are all on my blog, so feel free to check out the full reviews. The books can be borrowed from libraries, bought from bookshops and are also e-books on the various e-book platforms.

Children and Young Adult Fiction


Princess Poppy – Please, Please Save the Bees by Janey Louise Jones
Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford
The Hangry Hamster by Grace McCluskey
Leo and the Lightning Dragons by Gill White
Toletis by Rafa Ruiz
The Age of Akra by Vacen Taylor

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keefe (YA)

Crime Fiction , including Thrillers and Political Thrillers

Absolution by Adam Croft
Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver
In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

Nothing to Hide by James Oswald
The Poisoned Rock by Robert Daws
Death at the Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly
The Killing Rock by Robert Daws
In Plain Sight by Adam Croft
Sealed with a Death by James Sylvester
Hands Up by Stephen Clark
The Silence of Severance by Wes Markin
A Friend In Deed by G.D. Harper

General Fiction

 


The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami
A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
Let it Snow by Sue Moorcroft
Summer at the Kindness Café by Victoria Walters
Secret Things and Highland Flings by Tracy Corbett
Sunshine and Secrets – The Paradise Cookery School by Daisy James

Family Saga/Historical Fiction

Bobby Girls coverHeady HeightsTime will tell book

Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell
Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F.Frost

Time Will Tell by Eva Jordan

Fantasy

The Blue Salt Road Joanne HarrisThe Old Dragon's Head Coveer

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris (YA and Adult)
The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet
Zippy and Me by Ronnie Le Drew
First in the Fight 20 Women Who Made Manchester by Helen Antrobus
The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

I have some books to review already and working on them for 2020.
I’ve plenty of exciting things to be blogging about in 2020 and hopefully many more exciting opportunities will crop up in the future. I will also be publishing brief resumes of great theatre shows from 2018 and 2019, most of which are still running, going to tour nationally in the UK and some of which come back every so often, so could be ones to look out for in the future.
For now, I hope you enjoy what I have for my 2019 resumes and all else that is on my blog. I hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. Thank you too for following and reading my blog, without such, it wouldn’t exist. I love writing my blog and always grateful to those who give me opportunities to review and to write and to talk to people and to those who read what I write. Thank you!!!!

As I didn’t do this in 2018, here is a quick run down of the best books I read then. 
Fiction – Stealth by Hugh Fraser, Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones, The Wrong Direction by Liz Treacher, A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft.
Non -Fiction – An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe, Charles Dickens by Simon Callow, Fill my Stocking by Alan Titchmarsh.
Young Adult – Tony Plumb and the Moles of Ellodian by J.M. Smith
Children’s books – The Treasure At the Top of The World by Clive Mantle.
Reviews can be found on my blog. Please note the Christmas books are reviewed within one blog post with quick reviews.

Happy New Year 2020

 

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Review – Leo and the Lightning Dragons – A positive adventure rated 5 stars @FledglingPress @leolightdragons #lovebooksgrouptours #Kidslit #CHAS @SchoolReading #Scotland #UK #SEN #Education #Epilepsy #Charities #Libraries #Picturebook #Christmas

Leo and the Lightning Dragon
By Gill White
Rated: 5 stars *****

It is with thanks to Love Books Tours that I have been invited to review this wonderful, brave and magical book – Leo and the Lightning Dragons. I was delighted to review it and when I read through it before reading it to children, I was even more glad I had the opportunity to do so. It exceeded expectations. It would make a fabulous Christmas gift. This book isn’t however specifically Christmassy so can be bought as an all year round story to add to your child’s or school or library collection. Today I am pleased to be closing this blog tour with my review of Leo and the Lightning Dragons.

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Blurb

Sometimes You Just Need to Have a Little Faith in Yourself!

Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself.

 

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Review

There is a lot more to this short book than meets the eye.

Meet Leo, a very brave boy. Leo does exist beyond this book. This is a lovely picture book for 4 years old to at least 7 years old because children would get different things from it. All proceeds go to the charity – CHAS – Children’s Hospices Around Scotland. You see, Leo in real life has epilepsy and a rare form at that, called Ohtahara Syndrome and sadly it is, despite many treatments, it remains uncontrolled at the point of writing.
Leo is a determined boy who just won’t give up on life. Read the very beginning of the book before the story begins to find out more. This book is however fun and bursting with kindness, friendship, bravery, adventure and positivity.

Meet Leo in this brightly illustrated book. He is a knight in shining armour. His demons are the dragons, not any ordinary dragons for these dragons attack his head within lightning. He isn’t alone though. He has magical friends like witches and a wizard mixing potions to defeat the dragons. The townsfolk protest against the dragons and his parents try to cuddle them away. None of which work, but Leo, well, he is a determined knight in a suit of armour and the dragons can’t get away with it forever. Read this small adventure of this brave knight to see if he can defeat the dragons so they can be gone for good.

The book doesn’t labour over anything. The bright illustrations fill up each page, the text is large and only a few words on each page, so the pace is great for any attention span.

This is a positive and hopeful book. Whether your child has epilepsy or not or is SEN (Special,  Educational Needs)  or not, it is enough to inspire any child to be brave through any illness.

At the back of the book it gives you ideas of where and how to turn this book into a sensory book in very simple ways. They really are worth doing.

I read this book to children who are classified as being SEN and they loved it. They loved it so much that I’ve now read it several times by request and they’ve looked at it many times themselves too. Children who aren’t SEN are also enjoying this book and are getting a lot out of it.
This book has so much scope to it. It can be read as is, or as said before, as a sensory/interactive book and also it can be a conversation/discussion piece within any school (or home).

So what’s not to like? This book is perfect for Christmas and indeed all year round. You get a great story and know that you are contributing to a great cause that supports children’s hospices in Scotland.