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Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada)
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The Iron Trial: Book One of Magisterium
The Iron Trial: Book One of Magisterium
by Holly Black
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 14.43
39 used & new from CDN$ 12.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning to a new series., Jan. 18 2015
I must admit there is not a lot I have read from either Holly or Cassandra that I have not really liked. When I read their books most get a 5 out of 5 stars. But this book was in some ways more unique and enjoyable. Maybe it was the fact that it is their first collaboration? Maybe it was the fact that many would compare it to harry potter, and it is better, better writing; better story.

From the first words I could barely put the book down. This is the story of Callum, he lives in a world where magic is real. But many do not know about it. His father has raised him alone and spent his whole life warning Callum, how bad magic is and those who practice it. He has been raised to want nothing to do with magic. So when he is summoned to the Iron Trial to determine if he will enter the Magisterium to train to control his magical abilities, he does everything he can to try and fail, and fail he does or at least thinks he does. But that is not to be his fate. He is in fact taken on by Master Rufus to train along with Aaron and Tamara. Though an unlikely paring the three soon become a true team. But their adventures to get through the first year at The Magisterium only begin with the tests to go to the school.

As you begin reading these books you have a young hero, who clearly has set ideas about magic and its place in his life. Readers are also set up to lean towards some preconceived ideas about where the book is going. And then it throws you a big curve ball. Some of the unexpected turns, and character development is part of what made this such an exciting and engaging read.

This book was a great read. It was fun and entertaining and definitely left you wanting more. Which is very good because it is the first in a new pentalogy. The bad news is the books are coming out about a year apart so there will be a long wait for book 2. This is a wonderful read from two of the hottest authors in young adult literature. So check it out, you will not be disappointed.

The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series
The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing beginning of a trilogy., Jan. 18 2015
It has been a long time since a new author or series has seized me as much as these authors and this series. In the matter of a few days while travelling for work I read the prequel, first novel and short story between the first and second novel. These are riving stories that were very hard to put down. Now to be honest they are not the sort of thing I usually read any more. These were the sort of novels I read about 15-20 years ago when Anne Rice was at her peak and I was just a university student looking for distractions from studies. But there is something about the way these stories are written, especially this first novel in the trilogy, The Blood Gospel, which grabbed my attention and would not let it go.

The basic story is that an earth quake centered in Masada, Israel, unleashes a gas that kills hundreds. Sergeant Jordan Stone is there to investigate the compound used and trace it's source and eliminate the threat. Father Rhun Korza is there to run his own investigation. And Dr. Erin Granger is called in as an archeologist against her will, to investigate a tomb found hidden in the mountain. The three are the only survivors of a brutal attack that wipes out Stone's team of highly trained military men. The three flee, and are now on the run chasing clues that should lead them to The Blood Gospel a book supposedly written in Christ's own blood. The three must explore the past in order to try and save the future. But there are many hands at play.

The Order of Sanguines is a secret society within the Catholic church, they are sworn to fight the Strigoi, vampires, but they also have other secrets. The Belial are a group who work with the srigoi.

The three main characters are wonderfully written. You really appreciate the strengths and weaknesses each brings to the team. The story is face paced and high addictive. It is like a cross between Dan Brown and Anne Rice but better than either. It is a great novel and should prove to be an awesome trilogy!

Freeing Tanner Rose
Freeing Tanner Rose
by T. M. Gaouette
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.77
6 used & new from CDN$ 11.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read cannot wait for next instalment., Dec 28 2014
This review is from: Freeing Tanner Rose (Paperback)
This is the second novel I have read by T.M. Gaouette and I have enjoyed both immensely. However the pace and intensity in this story was gripping. I barely put the book down and read it in two extended settings. When I finished this novel, I was really wishing for more. It was only when I went to do some research for the review that I discovered it is the first in a series called Faith & Kung Fu.

This story was a very intense read. From the moment Gabriel met Tanner Rose he was apprehensive and reserved. Gabriel and his mother live in the country, he studies martial arts and is a young man of faith. Tanner Rose is a very young Hollywood starlet who dresses and acts beyond her years. At every Turn Gabriel's patience and fortitude seems to be tested by this girl his mother has brought home. Gabriel and Tanner's mother were roommate in university and even though they have chosen very different path's Miss Ruth took Tanner in to try and help. Both Ruth and Gabriel have strong faith and personal practice. Tanner thinks they are just country hicks, and feels like she is being abandoned, punished, and neglected by her mother for pulling her from her party scene lifestyle. Will Gabriel's steadfast faith and strength help ground Tanner or will her wild addictive and self-centered traits rub off on him.

"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13)

The characters are wonderfully written. The solid honest ethical life of Gabriel and his mother in contrast to Tanner and her Hollywood shenanigans is a stunning look at faith in the midst of modern life and culture. The story was compelling and an absolute page turner. I can highly recommend it. It is one of the best Christian Fiction stories I have read in years, and one of the best Catholic Fiction stories for young adults I have ever read. In many ways it reminds me of Regina Doman's writings. Good solid writing crafted into an awesome story. Freeing Tanner Rose is to be the first of four books in the Faith & Kung Fu series. And I cannot wait to read the next instalment. It was an excellent read.

Ring of Time: Tales of a Time-Traveling Historian in the Roman Empire
Ring of Time: Tales of a Time-Traveling Historian in the Roman Empire
Price: CDN$ 4.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall into a wonderful story., Dec 22 2014
I must be honest and state that I absolutely love Andrew M. Seddon's Saints Alive Volume I - Saints of Empire and Saints Alive Volume II - Celtic Paths so when I had the chance to receive a review copy of his latest novel Ring Of Time I was thrilled. The book did not disappoint. Seddon has a stunning ability to take readers into the past but learn lessons they can apply daily in their lives. Some books I devour, and go back and reread, others I read and the seldom come to mind again. This book I had to take my time with, to savor, taste and wait and come back to it again. If this book were a meal it would be a rare dining experience, intended to be relished and recalled fondly again and again.

Set in the 27th century, it is a series of stories told to us by Dr. Robert Cragg, he is the first time-travelling historian. Humanity has reached new heights of technology, they can send someone back in time and retrieve them. Suffering from the loss of his daughter and wife, he volunteer's to be the first to test this new technology, in fact he becomes famous as a time-travelling historian. He is running from his pain and loss into ancient Rome. But instead of encountering dry dusty stories he finds people, many of who he comes to care about and even a few love. The places and time's he visits are:

The Ghosts of Kourion, Cyprus, AD 365
Tyndareus and Krikor, At Sea, 15 BC
Moonrise over Metzada, Judea, AD 74
The Slipper of Sulpicia Lepidina, Britain, AD 103
Dust of Caesar, Italy, AD 79
Eudaimon, Egypt, AD 132
Asellina's Last Fight, Britain, AD 84
Doctoral Dissertation, Rome, AD 113
In the Mists of Britain, Britain, AD 62
Kobrinia, Britain, AD 257
The Arms of Venus, Melos (undated)
The Philosopher's Ring, Egypt, AD 415
But bouncing around time seems to be taking a toll on his health and he knows his number of trips to the past is dwindling. He must make some decisions about the past and about his future. He has had the pleasure of walking the sands of time and he has interacted with commoners, nobility, sailors, businessmen, zealots, legionaries, druids, gladiatrix and philosophers and through it all, he finds people he can interact with, learn from and he finds he enjoys the past more than the present. . For Robert the past is not dead and gone, but alive. More alive than he ever expected to feel after all he has lost.

The story is wonderfully written, not only does the past come alive for Robert, but for us the readers also. It is an incredible read and one of the best books of the more than 115 I have read so far this year and one of the best of the past few years. It is an excellent read!

Well done Andrew well done.

Toadally Primal Smoothies: 150 Nourishing Real Food Smoothie Recipes
Toadally Primal Smoothies: 150 Nourishing Real Food Smoothie Recipes
Price: CDN$ 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection., Dec 8 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Todd has created an incredible primal smoothie book. It is ever growing with more recipes. It has an awesome index, and some ingredients I know you will never have thought to put into a smoothie. There will be enough variety that no matter your personal taste you will find many new and wonderful beverages. Todd takes us through the process from choosing ingredients to the finished product. The categories of smoothies are:

Low Carb
Dessert
Chocolate
Coffee
Kombucha
Avocado
Green
Coconut
Almond Milk
Dairy
Odds & Ends

With over 100 recipes currently it is an amazing collection. I have tried about 20 so far, a few not to my liking based on my preferences, but all of them were nutritious and well worth trying. I have a found a few that are new favorites including The Mint N Kale, Tropical Protein Boost and Papaya Avacado Coconut. Each recipe is on a separate page with a color photo, ingredients needed, nutritional data and vitamin and mineral breakdown (See sample below). It is a great tool in your health and fitness arsena. If you're Primal or Paleo, it will be an amazing resource, if you're health conscious it will give you some awesome variety to try.

Firstborn: A Tor.Com Original
Firstborn: A Tor.Com Original
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best short stories I have ever read., Dec 8 2014
There are a few hallmarks of great stories, at lease in my opinion. One of the big one's for me is does the story stay with you. I finished this story about a month ago and yet it keep's coming back to me. I have now reread it. My first impressions were 'What an Incredible story!'. And that feeling has only intensified. This is likely the best science fiction short story I have ever read and to be honest probably the second best short story I have every read.

Two brothers who have never really met, Varion the greatest warrior the empire has ever known, and Dennison his younger brother, born while Varion was away at war. Varion who has never know defeat and Dennison who has never known victory.

This was an amazing story that really has stuck with me. I highly recommend it. Great writing, excellent characters and break neck pace. My only regret is that it is a short story. I would love to read longer versions of this story, or more stories with these characters.

Wee Danny: A Novella
Wee Danny: A Novella
Price: CDN$ 1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting character study., Oct. 19 2014
One of the readers of my review blog suggested I give Gerard Brennan a try. The first one I tried was good but not great it was a collection of short stories called Other Stories and Nothing But Time. Reading it I could see where the recommendation came from, it felt kind of like reading Chuck Palahniuk or Irvine Welsh but not quite. This one was much much closer and I see why Brennan is compared to those two.

This is a novella set in the world of Wee Rockets. The main character is Danny Gibson a young tough serving time in a facility for young offenders. Danny is not tall in stature but he is tough as nails and also smart, even if that brain is often turned to destructive tendencies. He is learning how to act in front of his staff, the teachers and even his educational psychologist. But there are some things he just cannot let go. He will not show weakness. And he is vindictive. But something strange happens; Conan Quinlan a new detainee has found a soft spot in Danny's armour. Conan is on the autism spectrum and the teachers do not thing he is in the right facility. Danny sort of takes him under his wing.

This story really surprised me. It was rough and raw like other stories by Brennan I have read, and yet this one over comes that anger and harshness and shows us something else. The story was really well done and immediately upon finishing it I started reading the novel set before it Wee Rockets.

Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers)
Blood of My Blood (I Hunt Killers)
Offered by Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Incredible book and series., Oct. 19 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Of late there have been a number of trilogies that have let me down, they started off amazing and went downhill; each successive book just a bit more disappointing. That was not the case with the Jasper Dent or I Hunt Killers trilogy. With each book I had a greater respect for Lyga's powers as a wordsmith. My first response was 'Wow! An amazing conclusion to the series. With every book I read by Barry Lyga my respect for him as a writer goes up.' And reflecting back after thinking about the book for a few weeks I can honestly say this is one of the best series I have ever read. I average over 100 books a year, and to be honest waiting for the final installment in this series was painful.

As fan's will know book two ended with three simultaneous cliff hangers. Our friends Jazz, Connie and Howie are all in life threatening danger, without a lot of chance of things improving. In fact things are going to get worse, much worse. And Jazz realizes the only way he will ever catch his father is to break the law, lots of laws and maybe even do things he never ever wanted to do.

To go back to my first impressions, wow! One of the greatest things about Lyga's stories is the characters, and the growth of the characters in this story is incredible. The pace of the story and plot twists are at times overwhelming. The story is very very well written. This book was so addictive, I stayed up reading and did not put it down until I was done even though I had to work the next morning.

Blood of my Blood is an amazing story in an excellent series.

Hawk (Vlad Taltos)
Hawk (Vlad Taltos)
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vlad is back and things are about to get messy!, Oct. 12 2014
Quick review. Wow! After 14 books and Vlad is still getting better! Stayed up way to late but read it in one sitting, literally could not put it down. Vlad is back and making more waves than ever!

Full review. There were some wonderful elements in this story, specifically Vlad being forced to take a few days to mend and during that time he recalls a few different conversations which separately would not mean much to almost anyone. But as we know Vlad is not anyone. He thinks he has found a way to get right with the organization, to get the monumental price taken off his head. And all he needs to do is borrow a magic lock pick, a device that prevents sleep, an enchanted musical instrument, a magical egg, the help of a few friends and more than a little luck. But as we have watched Vlad grow over the years and the two things he almost always has going for him is good friends and luck.

The majority of this story is set back in Adrilankha with a short visit to Dzur Mountain. As we know because of the Phoenix stones that Vlad wears in an amulet that no eastern magic nor sorcery can be used against him or to detect him. Because of the stones there is a lot of walking. Someone has made the price on Vlad's head personal, and the number of attacks and their brute force is getting increasingly dangerous. While recovering from one of these, Clad has a spark moment and comes up with a plan. Pulling together memories from his grandfather's fencing lessons, drinking sessions with Kiera the their and Daymar. Vlad asks a favor and sets up a base of operations in his old offices with Kragars and the help of many others he just might be able to pull it off again.

This was a wonderfully written novel. With ever novel by Steven Brust I read I appreciate his skill as a writer more. I have been reading his books for over 30 years now and eagerly anticipate each new one and as of yet none have failed to entertain. This one was addictive; I did not sleep in order to stay up reading. It is one of the best of the Vlad books. An amazing book in a great series!

The Incrementalists
The Incrementalists
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great concept and excellent execution, Oct. 8 2014
To begin with I have loved Steven Brust's books since they first started coming out. I have read all of them more than once. But for some reason I never got around to this book, maybe it was because it was co-written by Skyler White, who at the time was unknown by me. Then I read the short story Fireworks in the Rain and before I had even finished the short story I was starting to read this book. Both the short story and the book amazed me. Incredible concept, great execution and wonderful writing!

But first some back story. The incrementalists are a secret society, but there goal is to help stabilize society and improve life for the most part. They want to make the world better, but do so a little bit at a time. But like all organizations, especially one loosely run by committee they do not always agree on how to do that. They have personal memories that go back thousands of years. They can cheat death and share lives, they can pass there essence to a new host and in the passing will either remain dominant or the new host will. Phil is the longest standing personality in the group going back over 2000 years as a primary, he has loved Celeste and they have been together nearly 400 years. Celeste is dead and they must choose a new second for her.

Ren is chosen as Celeste's new host. But things do not go exactly as expected. And soon Phil, Ren and the rest of the leadership team are in Las Vegas to figure things out. Those things get a lot messier before they get better.

The story is written in alternate chapters told by either Ren or Phil. The story is compelling, it is a true page turner. The concept was sublime and the execution excellent. It is a great book and I hope we will get more stories set in this world. I really wish I had read it sooner so give it a try!

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