Sunday, 6 May 2018

Mastering Stocks - Michael K. Brown

                Mastering Stocks is an essential guide for anyone looking to get into the risky hobby/job of trading stocks. As the author states, you can get rich from playing the market but if you don’t know what you are doing then you could conceivably lose everything you invested and be left with nothing. Hopefully, reading this will address any questions you may have concerning your new adventure. This is exactly why I chose to read this book. I have a few investments that I leave in the hands of others to deal with but I would love to learn more so that I can take an active part in trading them. I didn’t want a dry read that would bore me to sleep before the second chapter and the cover of Mastering Stocks caught my eye with its bright coloring and its succinct title. Inside are thirty-nine chapters containing everything you could ever want or need to know about trading stocks. There’s information about how to get into the market and how much money you should have to back up your trading (at least $25 000 U.S.). If you don’t want to go for the high end stocks, then there is a chapter about penny stocks and the pros and cons involved with trading them. Each chapter is laid out in such a way that there is a lot of information but it is presented in an interesting manner. Mr. Brown doesn’t lecture or come across as a know-it-all. Instead, he lays the information out for the reader and it’s up to them to decide whether or not they are prepared for the risk that can happen if they venture down this path.
                Mastering Stocks does solely deal with the stock market in the United States, although the author does mention other markets, and this should be kept in mind while reading the book. As an example of how risky the market can be, Mr. Brown mentions a few stocks that seem fairly sure to be around. One of those is Sears which is now bankrupt; at least it is in Canada. Obviously, this is a very risky business and this book will certainly help with deciding if you want to partake or not.
                I read this in digital format and it worked perfectly on my ereader.

Sonny from Outer Space - Pamela Foland

                Sonny from Outer Space is the third children’s book written by Pamela Foland that I have read and reviewed. The other two were a part of the Megan’s World Series and I enjoyed those quite a bit. This is the first younger children’s book from Ms. Foland that I’ve read and I found it to be really sweet and well written.
                The story is about a little alien named Zonny who offers to go to Earth to get more provisions for his “people”. He decides to take the form of a dog and names himself Sonny. He finds a little girl, aptly named Pamela, who takes him into her home to live with her and her other two dogs.
                This is a really cute little book with bright and colourful illustrations. They do seem a little different from those in other children’s books but I think they are of a different style than what I am used to seeing. There are some nice little lessons in the story as well, something that seems to be a signature of Pamela Foland’s books. The character of Pamela is a pleasant, kind and polite little girl. She is a good representation of how we all would like our children to be and I like how Ms. Foland has this character model positive behaviours. Pamela’s love for animals, both the character and the author, is very evident by the way the story plays out. Little Pamela is a very responsible and considerate pet owner and treats her dogs with love, something that children reading the book will hopefully pick up on and practice in their own lives. The ending is really sweet as well and I hope this book will lead to future adventures with Zonny and Pamela.
                There is one minor editing error with the illustrations that show Sonny’s collar. His name appears as Sony, not Sonny. This isn’t a huge problem but older children may pick up on it. I read this on my ereader and the text and illustrations formatted to my ereader perfectly. The cover is well drawn and will draw the attention of little ones.

The Fallen - Ravek Hunter

                The Fallen, written by Ravek Hunter, is the first novel in the World of Atlantis series that is filled with magic, deceit, romance and intrigue. There is some sex but not enough to bother someone who doesn’t like to have a raunchy romance read in their books.
                Young Eselt is betrothed to the much older Duke of Tintagel and is happy to do so until she falls deeply in love with Drystan, the Temple Knight, whom the duke sent to escort Eselt to him at his castle so that they can be wed. A sordid affair starts with a lot of sneaking around and secret meetings. Unfortunately for them, someone who has a strong dislike for one of them decides to try and destroy their lives. In another aspect of the storyline, Aja is a healer that helps Eselt recover from an illness during her journey to the duke but it’s soon found out that doing good is not what Aja’s true intentions really are. By the end of the book, there is a very interesting twist that will lead to, hopefully, the next book in the series.
                My first suggestion for anyone about to read this book is that they flip to the back of the book and take a look at the Glossary and Cast list. There are a fair number of characters and this list will help the reader keep everyone in order. I originally picked this book up because I loved the cover and I thought that the story with a Temple Knight and a princess would make a good guilty pleasure read. The book does start a little slowly and I found the love story part of it to be a bit boring and it seemed to take up a lot of the story. I think the main reason I felt this way is that I enjoyed all of the other parts so much. The mystery surrounding Aja had a great twist and the addition of dwarves, leprechauns and other mystical creatures really added to the story. It is a really interesting world that Mr. Hunter has created and a lot of thought has, obviously, gone into developing it. I really look forward to reading the next book in the series and finding out what happens to Drystan, Eselt and the others in the World of Atlantis.
                I read this in digital format and it transferred to my ereader perfectly.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Megan's Munchkins - Pamela Foland

Megan’s Munchkins is the first book in Pamela Foland’s children’s series, Megan’s World. This is a great little series for children starting out reading chapter books or around the grades of 4 to 6. There aren’t any illustrations so if that’s something a child is interested in or if they need pictures to refer to as an aid to help them read, then this may not be the book for them. However, the story is very applicable to children and would be of particular interest to kids with a love for animals.
                The main character, Megan, finds some orphaned new-born kittens and decides to take them home and look after them. She keeps this a secret from her parents because members in the family have pet allergies and therefore there has always been a rule that no pets are allowed. The book follows Megan as she researches how to raise the kittens, how she must hide them from her parents, and how she deals with the aftermath of their discovery.
                I love finding a book for young children that not only provides an interesting story but can also teach them something. Megan’s Munchkins is exactly that kind of book. Megan is a well written and believable character that realistically represents the emotions and thoughts of someone in this age group. The book touches on learning responsibility, being truthful and even a bit about budgeting. One of the things I like about the Megan’s World Series is how supportive Megan’s family is of each other, even when someone does something that may not have been the best decision. In fact, all of the characters are much the same way and I think this is a wonderful aspect to have in a children’s series.
                I read the second book in the series first and I have to say that this first book is better although I think a child would benefit from reading the series in order and discovering Megan’s world and family that way. This is truly an enjoyable book.
                I read this in digital format and it worked well on my ereader. The cover is absolutely adorable, especially for cat lovers.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Eternal Victim - Dexter Morgenstern

Imagine waking up to the sound of incessant beeping and, in the distance, a horrible tune being whistled. You don’t know who you are and everywhere you look you see nothing but shadows. Worse yet, when you look in the mirror, you don’t see a reflection. This is the opening of Dexter Morgenstern’s creepily addictive book, Eternal Victim. It starts with an edge-of-your-seat style of writing that carries throughout the entire book until a satisfying ending that, for me, was unpredictable.
                Eternal Victim is a unique story for the reason that the reader doesn’t find out who the main character is until the very end. She is only known as the Witness and although I had my suspicions throughout about her true identity, I was not entirely sure until the end and I saw how all of the various characters were tied together and in what way. Most of the characters are ghosts (or maybe all of them are!) which also made this a strangely interesting read. It’s difficult to say much about the main character, the narrator, because the reader doesn’t really learn a lot about her other than that she has a lot of perseverance for not giving up after repeatedly witnessing horrific deaths over and over. For reasons unknown to her, she must witness these deaths at the hands of sadistic serial killers through time and in different places in the world. She’s also pursued by decaying ghosts, the victims of the killers, called preta, who want to pull her down into their murky depths. She knows she must solve a puzzle each time in order to escape that particular horror but to what end, she doesn’t know. Each time, escaping becomes harder and harder.
                It would have been quite easy for this book to become tedious and unenjoyable but in this case, the pace was fast and the book was kept short so that there was no need for the reader to become bored and give up on the twisting story. It’s eerie in a way that a good horror story should be and I enjoyed every page.

                I read this in digital format and other than a few minor editing errors, it was presented well. Normally, I wouldn’t have liked this type of cover but in this case it worked well. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Megan The Pet Whisperer - Pamela Foland

Megan, the Pet Whisperer is the latest installment in the Megan’s World series written by Pamela Foland. I haven’t read any of the previous two books but I’m always on the lookout for interesting reads that will help pave the way for developing a love of reading in youngsters, so I decided to try this book out. Written for children from grades 4-6, this is a nice little book that is the perfect length for children moving on to chapter books. At only one hundred and twenty pages, it has a good interest level and chapter length to ensure that a child doesn’t become frustrated and they will have a sense of success and completion upon finishing the entire book.
                The story is about Megan, a little girl with a keen love of animals and a desire to nurse them back to health. In previous books, she rescued and is currently raising four kittens and this story continues here, with the “munchkins” needing more of Megan’s time as she tries to start a pet sitting business. She also starts looking after a monkey in the vet’s office and must try to manage all of these things while still doing the things that a young lady wants to do. It’s these sorts of struggles that make Megan a believable and realistic character. They aren’t life and death decisions but at Megan’s age, it certainly seems so to her. She is also discovering which direction she may want to take in her future, career wise. She has a definite knack for calming down upset pets and her quiet and gentle demeanor seems to work not only on the animals but also on their owners. I loved the character of Megan and her positive attitude sets a good example for those reading the story. It was also nice to read a story where the adults surrounding Megan were supportive of her goals.
                This is a book that I would feel very comfortable giving to a ten-year-old to read and know that not only will they learn from the level of reading but from the story itself. I would recommend Megan, the Pet Whisperer to any blooming young reader.
                I read this in digital format on my ereader and it translated perfectly. The cover portrays the story well and would draw the attention of the intended age group.


The Bruja - Michael Molisani

The first thing that made me want to take a look at this book was the rather creepy cover. It definitely exudes and aura of horror which is exactly what I was in the mood to read. Bruja is the Spanish word for witch and Maggi is a battlewitch nearing the end of her life. Before she passes on, she wants to make sure her beloved son is as safe as possible now and in the future. To ensure his safety, she will need to kill the entities who have been chasing her since before the collapse of mankind which has turned America into a land of desecration and where everyone has to fight for their survival. The story alternates between the present-day apocalypse and Maggi’s past life before she realized exactly who or what she was. Both story lines are equally entertaining, and the author uses this style of story telling to not only introduce characters from Maggi’s past but also to develop the main character from a young street hood to a formidable battlewitch. Often, when an author alternates storylines, one will be really good and the other will be a bit “blah”. In The Bruja, however, it really works and both stories are really well written.
                I found the character of Maggi to be a strong and realistic woman who has to adapt to the changing times without losing her humanity. She struggles with it, but I found her to be much more human than she sees herself to be. I actually liked her and I’m not usually a fan of this type of character. The author has given her a softness that she tries to hide in a world where weakness means death. The other characters are interesting but not particularly developed and, honestly, they don’t need to be in this particular book. I would have liked to have seen more of a couple of them but I hope that will be the case in future books in the series. Maggi’s foster daughter, Mayy, is an interesting individual who, as I found out by the end of the story, will play a huge part in the second book of the series so I hope to see her become a lot more developed. The settings in the book, both past and present, are well detailed and the world of war and destruction in the future is created uniquely in a time when apocalypse books are a dime a dozen.
                I really didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did and I think it was due in great part to my enjoyment of the character of Maggi. It is definitely a great read for anyone who enjoys a bit of magic and a lot of the apocalypse.

                I read this in digital format and it worked perfectly.