Monday, October 29, 2018

"Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel"
by A.W. Jantha

Part one of this book was a book version of the movie “Hocus Pocus” that was released 25 years ago. It was an accurate version of the movie that plays on the Disney Channel during the Halloween season. For those who have seen the movie, it is a fun written version of a movie we have seen multiple times over the years and have always enjoyed watching.

Part two of the book is an all new sequel to the story of the how the Sanderson sisters returned to try and claim their revenge on the town that hanged them 300 years previously. In this part of the story, the main characters are the children of the characters we were familiar with in the first tale. At this point in the story, Poppy Dennison, her best friend Travis, Isabella Richards, and Katie Taylor are students in the same Salem High School where their parents had grown up and fought to defeat the Sanderson sisters on that Halloween night 25 years previously. Their parents often chose not to participate in many of the Halloween celebrations as they knew what could happen should the Sanderson sisters once again find a way to return.

Not truly believing the stories told to them could have actually happened, is it really all that surprising that their children would be the ones to manage to accidentally help the Sanderson sisters to return to seek their revenge on those who had wronged them so many years previously? Or that it would be up to the children of those who had once defeated them to find a way to beat them, rescue their parents, and once again send the witches back to Hell, because if they can’t then the Evil Witches will have succeeded in taking over Salem and who knows what other evil plans they will get up to?

I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of this book to read. With this year being the 25th anniversary of the movie Hocus Pocus, I have been seeing the movie played repeatedly Halloween Season. The first part of the book is simply put, a written version of the movie, with all the expected silliness found therein. And while that silliness does continue on into part two with the new story, it is also quite entertaining. The running gags from the movie are continued, as I expected they would be.

Those who enjoyed the movie (as I did), will likely enjoy this book. It is lighthearted and as fun to read as the original story was. Generally, I found the book entertaining and a fun lighthearted read that I believe most folks will also enjoy. I think my favorite part of the story was the at the tail end of the story. In an effort not to give away too much here, I enjoyed learning some of how things came into being as well as the potential set up for another sequel to someday be written. If one ever is, I would likely be willing to read it just as I did this one.

Monday, October 22, 2018

"Eternal Diet" by Wendy Wilson

Gwen J’sarajen has always had a problem with her weight. No matter what she did to try and slim down, nothing ever seemed to work. She also had a fascination with vampires. They were always so slender and beautiful. If only she could be like one of them, effortlessly slender and beautiful forever.

After a great deal of research into the matter, Gwen came to the conclusion that vampires had to exist, and she was fairly certain that she could find one as she sets out to convince him to help her rather than kill her. After all, there were enough myths and legends about them, and even the most ancient of legends always had some sort of basis in reality didn’t they?

I was entranced by the story told in this book. It was very different from most of the other vampire stories that I have read in the past. I just wish that the editing of the book had been as well done. I ran across a great number of typos in this book that left me very frustrated while reading. Some were spelling errors, others grammatical errors, and some were simple inconsistencies and formatting problems.

Often the author had multiple characters speaking without separating the different speakers into new paragraphs. This sometimes confuses the reader as to who is supposed to be speaking and to whom. One of the other problems I found was that sometimes the city was they were in was referred to as NO and other times it was spelled out as New Orleans. I realize that it’s just a minor thing, but the first time it I ran across it, I had to pause and wonder why the character was yelling NO at someone.

I wish posted reviews allowed for separate ratings for story/plot vs. the writing within the book. If they did, I would rate the story/plot of this one as a 4, but with all the typos and errors I would rate the writing as a 2. I do hope that at some point the author will have the chance to go back through and edit this book again, as doing so would greatly improve the reader’s enjoyment of jt. And I do hope that she will someday publish more books (either with these characters or new ones) as she did have a very fascinating story to tell. But if she does, I would advise hiring an editor to help her with cleaning up the majority of the errors before publication.

Monday, October 15, 2018

"Soul Shade (Soul Stones Book 2)"
by T.L. Branson

With her father dead and his soul stone destroyed, Maya is now the Queen of a realm in turmoil. She is struggling to try and bring it under control without becoming the despotic ruler that her father had become during his reign. But with all the troubles she is facing, nothing is quite that simple. Not only are there many problems that must be solved and dealt with, but some of the countries that were conquered during her during her father’s reign are now determined to reclaim their independence.

In addition to these problems, the elves have chosen now to attack and are seeking to wipe out all humans. War on several fronts seems to have become unavoidable. On top of this is a quest to find more of the long hidden soul stones as well as needing to stop a soulfiend who is attacking innocent people across the countryside, leaving their bodies alive but without a soul inhabiting them. Those found in such a state cannot be healed. Without a soul their bodies will eventually die.

This was an interesting book that continues the story that was begun in “Soul Render.” I enjoyed the story the author has been telling, but I really wish this book had gone through another round of editing and proofreading. There were a good number of typos and other errors contained within that I believe would have been caught with another read through by a good editor/proofreader. Even though it was a good story, fixing some of the errors I saw would have made it even better.

Edited to add: I have since spoken with the author who assures me that the problems I noticed in the version I read for him have been corrected before publication. Given this fact, I have raised my star rating from a 3 to a 4 as the majority of the problems I noted should now no longer be an issue for future readers of this book.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"The Seeker's Stone #1 DNA in the Deep:
Science Adventures for Kids!"
by Kelly Epperson

Emily & John are being dropped off at what appears to be a somewhat run-down science camp where they will spend the next 3 weeks. Neither of them seems initially too happy about the idea, especially after getting their first view of the place. But as their dad points out to them, Emily does have her cell phone and can call home if once they have had a chance to spend a little time there they still wish to return home. It isn’t too long after their father leaves that the two kids discover that there is much more to this summer camp than initially meets the eye.

This is a fun little story meant for children who are ready for short chapter books. It is well written and a quite entertaining adventure story that does a very good job of teaching about DNA and how it works without feeling like it is trying to teach a lesson. I believe it will capture a younger reader’s attention and interest quite quickly and will hold it throughout the story. It was well written and well edited as well as being something that I think younger readers will enjoy.

This book is clearly meant to be the first book in a series of adventurous learning books. I think most children will enjoy not only this book, but the rest of this series as well (once they have been published). While I will admit to being older than the intended audience for this series, I still enjoyed it enough to read it entirely in one sitting. I recommend giving this one a chance. I think younger readers will really enjoy this book.

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Soul Render (Soul Stones Book 1)"
by T.L. Branson

Will Sumner and his two brothers are attempting to sneak into the King’s castle. They have hated the king for years and are now out for revenge for the wrongs committed against their family. They seek to steal the soul stone from the king to use against him. Will manages to find the stone and though he is not certain how, it seems to have bonded with him. The power of the stone is now his, though he must learn how to master that power on his own.

Like Will, his younger brother John is captured, though their other brother Robert manages to avoid detection and escape. Will and John are taken to the capital where after being questioned, they are publicly executed… at least that is what seems to happen. By managing to use the soul stone’s power, Will’s soul finds its way into someone else’s body, thereby saving his life. His brother, however, was not so lucky. Now Will must escape from the capital and find a way to evade the king and his guards while also finding a way to learn about his new powers.

This was an enjoyable fantasy novel and held my attention throughout a story that had a number of interesting subplots going on. I did run across a some typos in the book, but not too many overall, and they didn’t truly distract from the story being told. I found this to be an interesting tale and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I believe that others will enjoy it as well.

Monday, October 1, 2018

"Rescued From the Tower" by Kate Carteret

Rowena has lived all of her life as the daughter of Lord Edward and Lady Eleanor Lockhart. Neither of her parents have ever taken much interest in their daughter and her only friend seems to be her maid Violet. With a good deal more freedom in than most young ladies her age, she enjoys spending much of her day taking long. solitary walks. Usually she never runs into anyone or anything of interest, until one day she takes a different path where she finds a small hidden cottage behind an overgrown hedgerow.

Lord Elliot Spencer is the son of Duke Bartholomew of Darrington. While Elliot is young, fit, and has impeccable manners, his father is older, vastly overweight, and seemingly has neither good manners nor regular bathing habits. The duke considers his son to be less of a man than himself and is constantly telling him so. And as Elliot seems determined not to take a wife until he finds a woman he can love, the Duke has decided to take a new wife himself in the hopes of getting himself a new heir to replace his only son.

Elliot often visits a small cottage he has found hidden in the woods a good distance from his home. It is here that he first meets a young woman that he has never seen in the area before. They seem to share an enjoyment of long walks and each possess curious minds. They quickly become friends and agree to meet again at the small hidden cabin in a few days. However that evening Rowena is told by her parents that she will be marrying the older Duke of Darrington whether she wishes to or not.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. I felt the characters were well described and easily visualized. There were some things about the behavior of Lord and Lady Lockhart that had me wondering how they could behave as they did, but those things were explained before the end of the book in a manner that made complete sense in this story. I do wish, however, that the book had gone through another round or two of editing and proofreading as I ran across a number of typos and other grammatical errors. I did enjoy the story, but would have enjoyed it much more had it contained fewer errors.

"One Can Heal" by Clara C. Johnson

I’m not usually much of a reader of poetry, but this was an emotional collection of poems that seem to highlight the high and low point...