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Reviews Written by
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada)

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Armada: A Novel
Armada: A Novel
by Ernest Cline
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.47
49 used & new from CDN$ 14.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Teen gamers save the world, Aug. 22 2015
This review is from: Armada: A Novel (Hardcover)
Zack Lightman has grown up without his father, but has learned of him from the journals he left behind. As a teenager, he knows that the virtual reality games he plays are fantasy, that his father is dead and nothing can change these facts. Then how does he explain that he saw an alien space ship that is identical to the one from his favourite online game.

It's time to grow up quickly when Zack is faced with a string of seemingly impossible situations. There is no time to consult his mom or his best friends, he has to act immediately as lives are at stake.

I really enjoyed this book. It moved at a quick pace and was jam packed with action. At the same time, the story line didn't seem rushed. There was ample detail and descriptions to satisfy both teen and adult readers. Having watched my children and various nephews playing their online games, I feel that this story accurately portrays teens and their passion for gaming. The level of skill they show and how immersed they got into their games was nothing different that what happens in front of my gaming console.

I particularly enjoyed how author Ernest Cline drew in real world examples of movies and games to support the plot line, particularly including reference to the movie The Last Starfighter.

I would not hesitate to recommend parents to purchase this book for their teen reader, though they might want to read it first as I suspect the recipient won't be putting it down once started.

Penelope ( A Madcap Regency Romance ) (The Fairweather Sisters Book 1)
Penelope ( A Madcap Regency Romance ) (The Fairweather Sisters Book 1)
Price: CDN$ 1.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun romance, Aug. 19 2015
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I was looking for something different to read, I wanted pure fun and enjoyment, not something with a moral or deep thoughts to ponder and I came across Penelope the other morning. Perfect, it had romance and was set in an historic period I enjoy. Doesn't get much better than that.

After her mother died during her birth, Penelope Fairweather was raised by a unloving step-mother. When she came of age, her mother's dear friend, the Dowager, Lady Radclyff, offered to sponsor her first season in London. As Penelope is woefully unprepared to be presented to the ton, the Dowager, her daughter Lady Anne, and the mysterious modiste Madame Bellafraunde set on delicate task of turning her into a proper lady.

While the plot was generally predictable, it did have some unexpected twists and had me laughing out loud at times and cheering for Penelope at others. I found her to be a fun character, so much more interesting that one of those prim little things that the ton wants to see at their balls.

If you are looking for a romance with a light side, then Penelope is a great choice.

The Lost Prince (Fiction - Middle Grade)
The Lost Prince (Fiction - Middle Grade)
Price: CDN$ 9.59

5.0 out of 5 stars your kids won`t be able to put it down, July 26 2015
I loved this book. Adventure, swashbuckling, and a mysterious island. All the best of pirate lore along with young Dean Seaborne, a pirate spy. Wait a minute, a pirate spy. My first thought was, what the heck is a pirate spy. Simply put, it`s a pirate who spies on other pirates.

Dean has been a pirate for as long as he can remember, and that`s not all that long considering that he`s only thirteen. He doesn`t like how he`s forced to live, but can`t imagine a way out. His newest job is to infiltrate the crew of the Reckless, which is captained by Gentleman Jim Harper and to find out why that ship`s profits as so low. During it`s short voyage, he learns far more than he could have imagined. What he learns changes his life.

This is where the mysterious island with the golden trees enters the story. Oh wait, I can`t tell you any more, don`t want to spoil the surprises.

For all his life, Dean has been told what to do and now he is placed in difficult situations where he has to make important choices. This is the chance for him to choose what kind of man he will grow up to be, a cut throat pirate, or will he follow in the steps of Gentleman Jim.

I totally enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing take on the usual ruthless pirate story. It had all the action and adventure that I expected, yet it also had surprising twists and turns.

This book would appeal to pre-teens both male and female. Dean and Princess Waverly are good role models, though for different reasons. Parents beware, if you give this book to your child, be prepared for him or her to want to read it straight through in one sitting and then start all over again.

Named of the Dragon
Named of the Dragon
Price: CDN$ 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle story that builds to a crescendo, July 24 2015
Prior to reading this book, I had never pondered the relationship between an author and her or his agent. In Named of the Dragon, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw travels to Wales with her client, author Bridget Cooper. They are set to spend the Christmas holidays with Bridget's boyfriend, also an author.

Lyn is is much in need of a quiet holiday as she is yet grieving the loss of her child Justine several years earlier. After arriving at the rural farm, she is upset to find that a young baby is staying in the adjoining house.

This story starts at a gentle pace and slowly builds to a crescendo. The detailed descriptions of the sweeping landscape helped lull me into a false sense of safety. I began to second guess who was behind sneaky mis-behaviour. Was it Lyn's fanciful imagination or was there truly an other worldly intervention attempting to guide Lyn.

I really enjoyed the play off between the three authors in the story, Bridget, her boyfriend James and Gareth,the secretive playwright. It really highlighted for me that authors come from all walks of life and that they are often nothing like the persons they create in their works of fiction.

This is not a high action drama, rather a novel that you read while curled up in a quilt with a cup of tea and time to savour and enjoy the relationships while they develop.

The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller
The Summer of Dead Toys: A Thriller
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent police procedural, July 23 2015
I was only a few chapters in to this book when I knew that one story wasn't going to be enough about Inspector Hector Salgado. Author Antonio Hill has created a character that I want to read about again and again.

The Inspector has just returned from a month long enforced vacation to his homeland of Argentina when he was asked to unofficially investigate a suicide. At first, he goes through the motions of this new case, but can't let go of the human trafficking one that got him in such trouble. Hector is a good investigator, he knows not to accept things at face value, but to collect and listen to the evidence. Fortunate for him and for the dead man, Leira Castro is assigned as his new partner and she is brilliant at her job. Together, they uncover of a web of deceit reaching back years.

I loved this novel, it kept me interested, on the edge of my seat for the entire story. It combined great characters, a city that is foreign to me and a plot that I couldn't anticipated. It is an excellent example of a classic police procedural where good solid police work and investigation find the clues/leads and follow them through to their actual conclusion of a solved crime.

Inspector Hector Salgado returns in The Good Suicides and then in The Hiroshima Lovers (yet to be translated to english).

Shattering Glass
Shattering Glass
by Gail Giles
Edition: Audio CD
6 used & new from CDN$ 5.48

4.0 out of 5 stars a devastating but compelling read, July 19 2015
This review is from: Shattering Glass (Audio CD)
What could cause four seemingly normal teens to violently kill one of their classmates. Author Gail Giles Gives us the ending in the first lines of tihs story then slowly tells us how this disaster unfolded.

Simon Glass was the school nerd, the butt of jokes and was picked on just for being alive. Rob Hayes is new to the school yet quickly claimed the spot of most popular boy. It came as a great surprise to Rob's friends, when he decided to befriend Simon with the goal to make him popular. Why did he do this, was he being sincere in his concern for Simon, or did he have some ulterior motive.

In every high school there are boys like Rob, Young, Bob, Coop, and Simon. Decent kids who graduate and continue on to become responsible adults. In this school, something happened, something wrong and disturbing.

I listened to the audio book version two times. The first, I was stunned by the events, questioning how this could happen. The next time I listened to it, fully knowing what was to occur, I paid more attention to the reactions of the boys during the events. I liked even better the second time. While I did enjoy the audio book as read by Scott Brick, I did experience some confusion. At the beginning of the chapters, there are short passages/quotes by some of the other students at the school. I found it hard to know when it was Young, the narrator speaking or one of their class mates.

This is a story that grabs you and won't let go, It makes you pay attention even when you want to walk away. I could sense that they boys were heading toward something wrong, I didn't know what and I couldn't do anything to stop it. Shattering Glass contains a powerful message. It's not an easy read, but well worth the emotional toll it might take on it's readers.

By Terry Hayes I Am Pilgrim [Paperback]
By Terry Hayes I Am Pilgrim [Paperback]
by Terry Hayes
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from CDN$ 15.52

4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters and twisted plot, July 17 2015
Most of us would give up. How do you possibly investigate a terror threat when there seem to be no clues to the perpetrators. Ramon, not his real name, isn't stumped for long, he is after all a member of one of the United States most secret intelligence organizations.

The day had started in a more normal manor, helping his friend, homicide lieutenant Ben Bradley, investigate a grisly murder. Now Ramon is pulled from retirement to find an unknown terrorist. As the story continues, we learn about his background and why he is the perfect man for the job. We are introduced to the man dubbed the Saracen that Ramon must find.

I enjoyed Ramon's back story. His is a fascinating one that I never even imagined could exist. How close this fictional agent is to real life I'll never know. As for the Saracen, I was uncomfortable reading his story. Step by step, the author twisted his life and re-made him as the ultimate terrorist. I hurried reading through his story so I could get back to Ramon's.

I am Pilgrim is a well thought out story and it keep me on edge switching back and forth between Ramon and Saracen. The only problem I had was the over use of foreshadowing. When used sparingly, it can be a very effective devise, when over used, it falls flat and in this book it even got laughable. At one point it was used twice on one page. If you can over look this, it's a book well worth reading.

by Roderick Gordon
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.39
83 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Took me by Surprise, July 17 2015
This review is from: Tunnels (Mass Market Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book It came to me as a surprise. For the past two years, my nephew has been urging me to read it when I kept passing it by. Finally, he put his foot down and told me a I was missing out on a great story and it turns out he was correct.

The story starts in a hole deep in the ground, somewhere under London, where Dr. Burrows and his son will are digging for the unknown or the forgotten. A few days later, Dr. Burrows goes missing and Will sets out along with his friend Chester to find him. This search leads them to places they could never have imagined.

This book made me want to burrow under a couple of quilt, sit in a dark room with a light shining over my shoulder just enough so I could read the words on the page. I could then imagine being in the same tunnels along with Will and Chester. When the vivid descriptions of the tunnels became oppressive, I had to go outside into the sunshine for a couple of breaths of fresh air.

All the while Dr. Burrows and his son are digging around, his daughter, Will's younger sister, Rebecca is trying to keep the family functional. His mother is a wreck, rarely moving from in front of the television and seeming detached from her family.

Through out the story, we get a good feel for Will and Rebecca. They are both strong characters, children who've had to grow up quickly. Chester is Will's voice of reason. He is a perfect sidekick, almost always willing to try something new, though he knows when to pull Will back.

The tunnels came alive for me. I could imagine the dim lighting, the dust covering surface and the wonder of what they were seeing. At times I wanted to be with the boys and at others I was thankful to be in the sunshine.

This book series should appeal to pre-teens and early teens. It would be a good choice for parents to read with their younger children.

The Flood
The Flood
Price: CDN$ 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, July 9 2015
This review is from: The Flood (Kindle Edition)
A gritty, no-sugar coating look at the break down of society after a cataclysmic event. The Atlantic coastal cities were to be inundated by a record setting tsunami. Approximately 2000 people were evacuated on the cruise ship Festival of the Waves, along with it's paying passengers and staff. While they easily survived the tsunami's wrath, it was the successive waves of inhumanity that were their undoing.

Wow. I loved this book. I felt it was a realistic portrayal of the various possibilities of such a disaster. There was a mixture of the good, the bad and the very bad outcomes.

This story was carried by the differing leaders that emerged. One had a common sense, take charge approach, another a totalitarian grip on his followers, and a third found religion. Change any one of the leaders and the story could have been very different. As I was reading, I couldn't help think of some of the news coverage I have seen of natural disasters. The majority of the survivors have no idea what to do and they wait for someone else to take charge, to tell them what to do, and then complain when they don't think enough is being done for them personally. Mr. Sachs got this perfect.

At Winter's End
At Winter's End
by Robert Silverberg
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars a different look at evolutiion, July 7 2015
This review is from: At Winter's End (Hardcover)
The earth was doomed. Devastation was going to fall from the sky for thousands of years and life on earth could not continue in it's present forms. Of the six type of sentient being, four knew they would not survive, one decided to take their chance on the surface and the sixth moved far underground. After 700 000 years, the death stars were gone and it was time to venture forth out onto the renewed surface.

The story is carried by several main characters. Koshmar had long hoped that she would lead her people from their long shelter. By maintaining their long standing traditions she sought to fulfil the prophecies that had long sustained her. I didn't really like this character, but then again, leaders aren't always meant to be loved when their job is to lead.

Thaggoran was the old man of the tribe, the chronicler, who died soon after they emerged. The loss of so much of the tribe's history opened the people up to new choices and opportunities. Hresh was but a boy when he took up the role of the new chronicler. His character added so much to the story as he had to re-create his job within their new life on the surface. It was interesting to watch Hresh grow up and develop into a powerful man.

Finally, there is Torlyri, the offering woman. While underground, her job was to maintain the peoples link to their prior surface life. Once they emerge from their cocoon, her role mostly becomes obsolete but she realises that customs bring comfort to the people. This led her to go it alone and define new ones.

There is a struggle between old and new. The people have to learn from their past and incorporate that which is helpful. but let go of the rest and use this information to forge their future. The people seemed to respond in a realistic way to these challenges which made for good reading.

I was pulled into the day to day events of this tribe. I explored and learned with them. I felt their anguish when they lost members and celebrated when new ones were born. It takes a master story teller to make me feel for such imagined characters. I enjoyed every minute of this book.

The story of the people continues in The Queen of Springtime, also published under the title The New Springtime.

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