Saturday, May 9, 2015

My Adventures in Weight Loss @ Weight Watchers Week 49



Today's meeting's message.  

I gained 2 lbs. back again this week. So this message really helped.

Weight: 186.4 lbs.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Adventures in Weight Loss @ Weight Watchers Week 48

So again this week....no loss, but again no gain. I'll take it.


5/2/14


5/2/14

Weight: 184.4 lbs.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zombie Tales Primrose Court Apt. 502 by Robert DeCoteau








Tommy's world is falling apart. It's the worst day of his life, but it's about to get much worse.



My Review:



Yes, another zombie book. But what else am I going to use for the letter Z???? Like I said earlier this month, one of these years I'm going to try to get every book for this challenge to be about zombies. 

I'm always impressed when an author can create a story that draws me in and keeps me interested with so few pages. At only 40 pages Zombie Tales does just that. I really liked the authors writing style.  

The story revolves around Tommy and the day in his life when the zombie apocalypse begins.  I really enjoyed the way the author built his characters. He doesn't always paint them in a great light, but you can understand how they got to where they are in their lives. Even if they aren't shining examples of humanity, by the end of the story I really wanted to find out more about what happens to them. I also want to see what has happened to the rest of the world outside of Primrose Court.  Fortunately Zombie Tales is based on the book Don of the Living Dead so hopefully I will get more answers there. 

I definitely recommend picking up Zombie Tales. It's currently free on Amazon, so take advantage of the sale. As I said above it's a short read, but it's a good one. If you've never read anything by the author before this is a great chance to take the opportunity to do so.  








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I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Y by Karen Osgood


Y


It began with a dream. . . 
“There she stood, facing the mirror. Her long, red hair fell towards the floor with the appearance of fire. The woven curls swirled with hues of red and orange. These colors appeared to dance through her hair like the colors of flame. A golden border around the mirror shown brighter than the mirror itself. The girl faced that mirror, yet her expression remained unseen. 
“She was far away, yet Lyva could see her clearly. An old, green dress held itself upon her skinny limbs. Her hands must have been clasped before her. The skin and face remained unseen. 
“For a currently unknown reason, Lyva simply knew that the girl needed help. Quickly, she ran down the long hallways towards her. The silver, metal walls seemed to stretch and twist. They gleamed and shined eerily around her. The sun was nowhere to be seen. Somehow, the red-haired girl appeared to be moving further away. Fear began to fill her mind, as Lyva realized that she would never save the girl. . .” 
So begins this story. Our heroine, Lyva, and her brother, Parnih, must set out on a quest for the missing stars, and to find an answer to Lyva’s dreams.
                      

My review:


It breaks my heart to give a good story a bad review. I want to make it quite clear that I think that Y is at it's heart a good story.  However there are a lot of technical issues with Y that made that story hard to enjoy. I understand how bad reviews can kill a book or author before they get a chance, this is not my intention with this review. I think that both this book and it's author show a large amount of potential.  So I'm going to try to be as detailed as I can with this review, not to tear the book apart, but to explain why I had the issues I did with it.  Before I get started though I want to say that I am a reviewer, what I write is my opinion. I encourage others to not just take my word on something, but to read and form their own opinions as well. 

Some books lose stars because of their lack of description. Y is not one of those.  It has great descriptions. The problem with them is that the author will over use these descriptions on a single action or item or character. I think if the author had chosen just one of those amazing descriptions it would have been fine. But using all of them, all at once just got repetitive. I kept questioning why the author felt the need to keep saying the same thing three or four different ways. It was as if they felt their original words weren't enough and they had to over compensate by repeating themselves in different ways. It wasn't just in descriptions of scenery or characters, but in the descriptions of their actions.  It really made it hard to stay in the story.

I had other issues with the writing as well. There are sections where instead of the author just describing what happened she literally would stop and say 'this is [basically] what happened' and then go on to describe what went on in the scene. It didn't make any sense. I kept asking myself why the author didn't just keep the flow of the story going. Why she felt the need to stop and say that. It completely threw me out of the story. If the author had just kept the flow of the story going, not bothered to interrupt and tell the reader that she was going to tell them what happened it would have made the story so much easier to read and enjoy. 

There were a few other issues.  The tense would change mid paragraph between past and present. Nothing major, but once again it just took me out of the story. Also, while I understand authors try to avoid info dumping I would have liked a little more background on the world the characters are in. I also would have liked a bit more fleshing out of the characters. 

The shame of it is I think a decent beta reader, or editor, could have pointed all these issues out to the author fixed them before the book was published.  I think if they had been caught  the story could have easily been 4 stars, even 5. The basic idea of the book, Lyva's quest, it kept me reading.  I had hoped the writing itself would have improved, but at the same time I still wanted to find out what was going to happen at the end. I think this author shows promise. Her story idea was intriguing and the book itself just needed polishing to pull it together. I wish I could give half stars when putting ratings on Goodreads or Amazon and the like, but unfortunately I can't. The issues with the book just overshadowed the idea of the story itself so I can't say it's a 3, but it's close, just not close enough. 

I looked into the author and this looks to be her only work so far. I would definitely be interested in seeing what else this author has to present in the future. Hopefully given time and experience this author will be able to feel confident in her own writing and really shine. 

I'm putting this review up knowing that it is the first one for this book on both Amazon and Goodreads. That's a lot of pressure so please don't hate me for not being able to give it a shining 5 star recommendation. I hope I was able to clearly show what my issues were with the book. I've had books I've read in the past that are just bad. Not only are they a mess word wise, but just all over bad. This is not one of them. I just think it should have gone through a bit more editing before going public.

Again, and this is to the author personally. I think your book was a good first try. I've seen worse, way worse. You have an amazing way with words. You're word choices and how you put them together was poetic. As I said above there are just some things you need to work on. I really don't want you to see the low star count and get angry or, worse, discouraged.  I think if you keep writing, find some dependable beta readers, ones who aren't afraid to hurt your feelings and tell you the truth, or a good editor, I think that you definitely have a promising future in the literary world.  






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I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for X:15 An Ambage Anthology






In August of 2010 a writer’s club began with a group of LEGO enthusiasts with the intention of providing peer reviews and encouragement for new authors and veterans alike. The club lived and died several times under many names until falling under the primary leadership of Andrew Page, assisted by Caleb Peiffer and Caleb Carraway. After months of writing, critique, and observations of the community, the hosts elected to compile an anthology created from the best offerings from experienced members. 

Speed-writing competitions were introduced to the Ambage by John Matz in order to assist participants in improving their typing ability and on-the-spot brainstorming as well as identifying consistent themes and flaws in their writing. 

The stories in this book form a collection of flash fiction pieces written by 15 of these authors—who share a great love and passion for writing—for 15 different themes, edited and critiqued by other members in the spirit of the original competition. From paranormal horror to historical fiction to more lighthearted fare, this anthology provides an abundance of genres and styles, tailored and twisted to the ideas and designed to be enjoyed by readers of all genres alike. 

My Review:


With anthologies I have previously given a mini-review of each story, however X:15 consists of forty-two different stories.  So giving a mini-review of each seemed a bit too much, especially considering the length of some of them, instead I will review X:15 as a whole.

I have to say I thought it would end up taking longer to read, but the pages just flew by. I attribute this to a combination of the length of the stories, as well as the fact that I enjoyed the majority of them.  I think overall they gave great examples of the authors writing abilities. Some of the stories felt complete, while others felt like glimpses at scenes of a longer novel. I think X:15 is a great showcase of the authors' work and there are quite a few that I hope to see more of in the future.

There were a few stories that I enjoyed less than others.   Some because I just couldn't connect with the story itself. Others because I just felt the story needed a little bit more. As I said above some stories seemed like scenes from a larger piece of work, but that's not the issue I had with the latter stories. I just feel if they had had a few extra pages they would have felt complete.  The stories that felt as if they were from a larger book I enjoyed and hope that the authors decide to build upon those stories so that I get a chance to investigate the worlds they are set in further.

Overall I think that X:15 is a great anthology to pick up. With over forty stories to enjoy at only .99 cents I think it's well worth the price. 








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I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Winter's Destiny by Nancy Allan





Alone, with a fall gale howling around the rafters, Amy Johnstone turns to see a woman’s rain-streaked face staring back at her through the dark window. 

The face is...identical to her own! 

Instantly, Amy's life crumbles. Something sinister surrounds her and those she loves. She is catapulted into a world she knows nothing about--a place where a killer rules, where her life is in constant peril, and where her child has been taken. 


My Review:



I went into Winter's Destiny thinking it would be different than what it was. Not from the summary, which I read, but based on the title. I know that sounds odd, but even after finishing the book I couldn't figure out the relationship between the two.  However Winter's Destiny  kept me interested from the beginning to end and I enjoyed all the different twists and turns.

Let's start with the characters. I liked watching them handle all the situations that the author put them in. Really the book wasn't just about the mystery surrounding Amy and her family, but about the characters themselves.

Then there's the story itself. The author kept the mysteries going from the beginning to end. Also she kept the action going to the end as well. There were quite a few times I wasn't sure if some of the characters were going to make it to the last page. 

The only thing that really didn't quite do it for me was the the last part of the book. Yes it was packed with action and adventure. Yes the mysteries were one by one being revealed. But compared to the pacing at the beginning of the book the ending just seemed rushed.  It was almost like the author just wanted the book to be over. I'm going to give an example but I don't want to give away too much, so please excuse me if it's vague. Ok, at the end of the book there's one more mystery involving one of the main characters, I figured it was going to be a set up for another book, but the author answers the question of what happened to the said character was answered in one quick page. After everything else that had led up to that point it just seemed like a brush off. 

Overall I enjoyed Winter's Destiny. It's not something I'd normally read, but it kept me interested throughout. Both in the story and the characters. I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars because of the rushed feel towards the end. But I definitely would recommend it, especially with beach read season coming up. 










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I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Voices of the Soul by Rene Folsom




Throughout her entire life, Ella has heard voices. Voices inside her head. She's never given much thought as to why she has this gift… or this curse, depending on which way you look at it. It's not until she meets the mysterious Jonah that she begins to question her inherited abilities as a Soul Seer. 

Learning to deal with loss and love, Ella manages to live a seemingly normal life… or so she thought. 


My Review:

Wow. All I got to really say about this one is wow.  Voices definitely surprised me. I was really impressed with how much Folsom fit into eighty-four pages. 

I was intrigued by the story from the start. I knew going in that this being a short story, that was the beginning of a series there were going to be unanswered questions. But they only served to draw me farther into the story, not annoy me.  I want to read more of the Soul Seers series to see how the author answers them.

 I liked Ella. The story is told from her perspective. But I was able to learn enough about the other characters that I wanted to find out more about them as well. For a moment the insta-love/lust with Jonah did cause me to sigh. I'm not too keen on insta-love, but the way the author ended the story it all made sense and by the last page all was forgiven.

 The ending....just oh my god. Did not see it coming. Yes, it's a cliffie. Yes, there are TONS of unanswered questions. But this is one of those endings that just makes you want to get to the next book as soon as possible. Not that easy a trick when you've only had a little over eighty pages to reel your reader in. 

Voices is definitely getting 5 out of 5 stars from me. I've already put the box set of the series, which is books 1-6 on my wishlist and I can't wait to pick it up.



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I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.