Book Review “Siren’s Song” Heather McCollum

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Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.

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First lines: Carly Ashe, BFF bordering on sister, flaps her hand in my direction as she stares through my mom’s opera glasses. “Jule! They’re moving in, and you have to see this!” She shoves the golden binoculars into my hand and points across the road toward the new subdivision of colossal homes set on three-acre manicured lots-Amberly Heights.

Siren’s Song is a bewitching novel. Like the Siren’s of lore, McCollum’s writing will draw you in and never let go.

The Siren theme is a well used one but McCollum weaves a unique story all it’s own. Jule is a teenager whose life has been recently turned upside down. Her mother is battling mental illness and the worries of regular teenagedom are interwoven with her mother’s celebrity and all the crazy that brings. It’s clear there is a real family connection between Jule and her parents. I enjoyed learning their family dynamic and was delighted that the protagonist had a good family. 

The idea that someone’s singing can be so beautiful that it holds people captive is a more realistic concept than people might think. Music is an integral part of our daily lives. It’s our muse when we need inspiration. It’s our therapist when we need to work out emotions. Music already has the ability to elicit a wide range of emotional responses as well as assist the listener in recollecting memories. The idea that it can hold our minds is very believable and brings a realness to the story. That thread of realness carries the paranormal aspect of the story. It assists the mind with imagery through out the story and keeps the words flowing at a nice pace. This is a story you will definitely get lost in. I know I did.

The play between Jule and Luke is riveting. The romantic in me loves the idea of perfect matches. The tug o’ war these two go through is heart wrenching and I found myself getting more and more caught up in the story as I read. I even found myself invested with the supporting characters and their plight. At one point in the book Matt hits on Jule and tells her “she has options”. This is the only conflicting thing I found in the book. She doesn’t actually have options. She is only one person’s siren. It’s not one size fits all. I would like to see McCollum explain that passage. In my opinion, it pulls away from the story and confuses the reader.

The climax does have some pretty intense violence and almost violence.  

I love almost everything about this story. The characters are fully formed and interesting. The story is unique and captivating. Fantastic book. 

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Siren’s Song  | Series:  The Guardians Series  |  Author(s): Heather McCollum |Publisher: Spencer Hill Press / Publication Date: 3-18-2014 |Pages: 376 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1939392824 |Genre(s): Paranormal Romance & Science Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-13-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

P.s. The book I was sent has a different cover than the one listed on Amazon. Both are awesome so I’m not too worked up about it.

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Book Spotlight “The Keeper and the Rulership”

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In a world where both magic and mathematics are forbidden, Raneh is growing magic and she can’t seem to stop. She’ll face the death penalty if anybody catches her, so she hides it in the weeds of her family’s land, pretending to be a typical eighteen-year-old heir. And it works.

Until the Ruler comes to visit.

Now, with the purpose of the Ruler’s visit a mystery and not only her safety but her family’s reputation in danger, she has to find a way to do the impossible:

Stop growing magic.

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What are reviewers saying?

“The Keeper and the Rulership” is a delightful fantasy for readers of all ages. Author Emily Martha Sorensen has created a nicely done world in which people freely get to choose their roles – landowner, mathematician, vassal, magician – yet they have to follow strict rules for whatever role they pick.     – Drebbles

This was a very unique read. I blew through this book. This world was so interesting that I cringed every time I had to put the book down. I just had to know what would happen next. – AlliesOpinions

I highly recommend this book for those love well-written feel good adventure stories, suitable for ages 5 to 120! – DeepThought

With an average of 4.4 stars this is a book you don’t want to miss! 

About the author!

Emily Sorensen Author Pic

Emily Martha Sorensen is the author of The Keeper and the Rulership, Black Magic Academy, and the Fairy Senses series.  She also writes and draws a webcomic that updates every Friday: To Prevent World Peace.

She has four adorable little monsters (*ahem* children), and her husband is magnificent, wonderful, and even a great writer in the bargain: he wrote the fantasy book Prophecy, and he has a second book forthcoming soon.

Book Review “Time in a Bubble” Ken Hart

synopsis

It is the conclusion of the 1970′s. People indulge. It is the end of the Me Generation and the beginning of the era of greed and conservatism. Love, education, resolution, cultural differences, sex, and the finding of a voice drive this third novel of the Ron Tuck Series. With an all girl catholic high school as the setting and the light that comes from internal and external fires as the motivation, Ron discovers the person that he was meant to be and the things that he must leave behind.

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I want to start off by saying that when I accepted the offer to review this book I was not aware (or made aware) that this story contains very detailed sexual encounters. Had I of been made aware (since my review policy clearly states I don’t read erotica and this has some pretty raunchy sex scenes) I would not of promised a review. However, promise I did and here it is.

Beyond the sex stuff this book has a whole boatload of issues. 

The cover has absolutely nothing at all to do with the story. It’s boring and unrelated.

If you look this book up on Amazon or Goodreads there isn’t even a blurb or real description of the story. I had to hunt the one I put in this post down from the authors website. Expecting someone to buy your book without a blurb or summary? Uhm…just…what?

The story line falls completely on its face. There’s no organized story here. It reads more like a memoir than a fictional story. There’s no real plot or climax. I’m confused on so many levels after reading this book.

For not really having much of an actual story this book is incredibly long! 528 pages! 

The only good thing I have to say about this book is that the characters are extremely well developed. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Ron pretty well. That’s not to say that Ron made any sense but I did feel like I knew him. I did enjoy reading his evolution as a teacher. That was interesting. This is the only thing that keeps this book from getting only 1 star.

I’m rating it 2 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: Time in a Bubble  | Series:  Ron Tuck Series  |  Author(s): Ken Hart |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing Company / Publication Date: 7-14-2013 |Pages: 528 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1475044249 |Genre(s): Literature & Fiction |Language: English |Rating: 2 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-12-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR

This prompt comes from the ever resourceful “The Broke and Bookish”. Each week there is a different theme! It’s a fun way for bloggers to connect and readers to get to know us better! It helps the writing community get a little extra promotion for their work as well as give some pretty great intel to readers looking for a new read!

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The original prompt is below:

Books On My Fall TBR List

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

ladys slipper cover The Spectra Unearthed Cover

moonstone-beach-cover save-an-angels-kiss-for-me-cover

pale-highway-cover the-sweet-ones-cover

pawned-queen-cover transcending-queen-cover

dominics-nemesis-cover all-the-help-you-need-cover

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What’s on your list?

Book Review “Biggest, Baddest Book of Bugs” Anders Hanson & Elissa Mann

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Flutter into the world of creepy, crawly bugs! The Biggest, Baddest Book of Bugs will take you on a journey to uncover the most dangerous and fascinating insects, spiders, centipedes, and millipedes. Discover amazing bug abilities, strange behaviors, and crazy camouflage. Hang on to your hats! Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Super Sandcastle is an imprint of ABDO Publishing Company.

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This is a informative and fun book about creepy crawlies! What kid doesn’t like bugs? My two are fascinated by their tiny wings and legs and their amazing eyes! 

While at the library I let the kids pick whatever children’s books they want. More often than not a few books like this pop in the bag and I do my best to encourage their curiosity. 

BUGS had just the right amount of information mixed with fun to keep my mini readers entranced. The cover is bland and I expected the pictures to be a bit boring but they weren’t at all! Might work on that cover a bit though. It’s not very eye catching.

The only complaint (other than the cover) that I have is that this series ( Biggest Baddest Books for Boy) is incredibly sexist. I dislike teaching children that some things are aimed toward their gender and those are the things they should be interested in. I’m very unhappy with this categorization. Bugs are for everyone. Period. 

Due to the boring cover and sexist categorization I’m rating this book at 3 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: Biggest Baddest Book of Bugs  | Series:  Biggest Baddest Books for Boys  |  Author(s): Anders Hanson & Elissa Mann |Publisher: Abdo Publishing Company / Publication Date: 12-1-2013 |Pages: 24 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1617834059 | Genre(s): Non-Fiction / Children’s / Insects |Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-11-2016 |Source: Copy from Library 

Best Book Reviewer Lists

Are you an author looking for a book blogger or reviewer for your book? It’s not super hard to find the lists but I know sifting through them to find good ones can be a pain. Below are a few sites that I think are worth it. Click on the images to be taken to the site!

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I love The Indie View. I post my review links weekly on their site. 

Book Blogger List

I haven’t done a whole lot with this site yet but plan to check it out further in the coming weeks.

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Here at AlliesOpinions we are working on screening book reviewers to begin our own list. 

Lilyn at ScifiandScary has an innovative way of helping authors get reviews. Check out her site!

That’s all for today. I’ll keep looking and adding to this list. 

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What lists do you use?

Book Review “The Poverty Industry” Daniel L. Hatcher

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Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.
 
In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue. The poverty industry is stealing billions in federal aid and other funds from impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. As policy experts across the political spectrum debate how to best structure government assistance programs, a massive siphoning of the safety net is occurring behind the scenes.In the face of these abuses of power, Hatcher offers a road map for reforms to realign the practices of human service agencies with their intended purpose, to prevent the misuse of public taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that government aid truly gets to those in need. 
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What you read in this book will definitely make you mad. That inherent distrust most people have for their governing bodies exists for a reason. Well, it exists for many reasons and this book details a whole pile of them.
Hatcher has done his research and his findings are incredibly shocking. This book is aptly named. Those in poverty are being systemically farmed for sympathy money. When you drive around your town and you see homes falling apart, insanely skinny kids wearing faded clothes covered in holes you feel horribly for those suffering people. This elicits a emotional response that is a factor in your voting ideology. You vote and approve of measures to help lift those poor souls from their poverty prison. You don’t realize that those policies are actually keeping the poor …well poor. The farming bit I was talking about..well they are farming your sympathy which really translates to your taxes.
Hatcher outlines these atrocities in easy to understand detail. He introduces these scenarios with real people and  elicits a personal connection from reader to cause.
Most of what I read in this book was enlightening and very upsetting. I know that it will for sure change the way that I vote. I think it is for reason’s like this that the idea of Democratic Socialism looks better and better. We are not a great country if we allow those who are vulnerable to suffer.  
Hatcher has illustrated the issues plaguing the poor and outlines a plausible array of solutions to these issues. 
Excellent book. 5 stars.
5 stars
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The Technical Data:

Title: The Poverty Industry  | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): Daniel L. Hatcher |Publisher: NYU Press / Publication Date: 6-21-2016 |Pages: 288 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1479874729 | Genre(s): Non-Fiction / Government / Poverty |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-10-2016 |Source: Copy from Netgally

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There is also a documentary that was done to bring awareness to these issues. Check it out on Netflix! It will blow your mind.

 

 

Book Review ” A Place To Call Home” G. A. Whitmore

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A Place to Call Home is the heartwarming and inspiring story of an abandoned white German shepherd puppy named Toby and his cross-country search for a forever home. Narrated in part by the animal characters in the book, the reader experiences Toby’s world through his eyes and those of the animals he meets on his journey.  

Toby’s life begins on a farm where the carefree, happy days he has known come to an abrupt end when his breeder decides to “dispose” of him and his sister Tara because of the color of their fur. With the help of a kind farmhand, the two puppies escape unharmed.

After a tumultuous time during which Toby is shuffled from place to place, he is finally adopted, but he quickly realizes his new family has deep-seated issues that put him in danger, and what seemed like an ideal home, turns into another place he must escape from.

As Toby struggles to find a forever home where he can feel safe and secure, he experiences some painful losses, but he also makes new friends–friends who will help him to trust humans again and teach him the power of love.

Inspired by a true story, this middle grade/young adult novel can be enjoyed by dog lovers of all ages.

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First lines: Toby huddled beneath the small table in the corner of the room. His eyes darted back and forth in fear. The corner – at one time a place of refuge, a place to escape from a man and his wrath – had now become a trap.

Whitmore has written one of my favorite kinds of narratives with “A Place To Call Home”. Reading from the perspective of an animal (especially mixed with human narratives) has always been something that fascinates me.

I think part of what makes this book so great is that Whitmore pours her love of animals into every page. I think these are some of the most developed animal characters I’ve met that weren’t in a fantasy novel. 

Toby’s tale is a tough one to follow but very realistic. Humanity, for the most part, looks at animals as stupid. Which really is a shame since there is scientific evidence to prove their intelligence. For people who deeply love their animal companions, the idea of them being intelligent has always been a no brainer.

Toby’s tale is an emotional and thought provoking journey to find a forever home. However, it is so much more than just a story. It bring to light various issues that dogs face at the hands of human beings. This story spotlights the trials that humanity puts on anything or anyone that is deemed inferior.

As a dog mom, there was a lot of things that happened in this book that made me angry. I hope that this story elicits a similar response in society. Angry people make changes. Dogs and other animals have very positive effects on human lives. I hope that in the future humanity has more of a positive effect on them than we have had in the past.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: A Place To Call Home  | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): G. A. Whitmore |Publisher: Outskirts Press / Publication Date: 2-19-2014 |Pages: 302 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1478700739 | Genre(s): All Ages / Contemporary |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-8-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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Into The Dark Cover

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The Heart Goes Last Cover

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The Golden Spark Cover

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Reaper Lands Cover

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How’s my list? Place your two cents below!

Book list

Children’s Book Review “The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!” Scott Magoon

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A classic tale with a timeless message gets a hugely hilarious twist.

He’s big. He’s funny. He’s not real. Or IS he?

This clever twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is told from the point of view of an unexpected narrator and, through snappy text and lighthearted illustrations, demonstrates the value of telling the truth, the importance of establishing trust, and (of course!) the possibility that a beast you created to get attention can become a real-life friend.

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This adorable retelling of the age old fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” will have you laughing out loud! My littles enjoyed the easy to understand story and my three year old even picked up that the story warns against lying. The author also throws the mini-reader for a loop by introducing one big word…Tenacious. Believe me, my son noticed. The second that word came out of my mouth he was asking me what it meant. Needless to say, I’m impressed!

The illustrations have muted colors but I feel that it helps to partner with the story instead of overwhelm it. 

I enjoyed reading this story to me son and will be keeping an eye out for further books from this author.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): Scott Magoon |Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books / Publication Date: 2-5-2013 |Pages: 48 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1442412576  | Genre(s): Children’s / Pre-school |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-6-2016 |Source: Copy from Library