Wednesday, 13 January 2016

My life in books

I had a really mixed collection of books since last Wednesdays post both in quality and genre, all of these books have come compliments of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So let's get started.


Little bits of Karma By Laura Simmons.

I was really looking forward to reading this book as I find past life regression and tarot readings fascinating and the idea of a story that explored both of these aspects was an exciting one.

Sadly though the book didn't quite live up to my expectations. From the start, I could see there were issues. The dialogue didn't flow well and had me rolling my eye's quite a lot. It wasn't that it was necessarily bad, it was just too realistic. I know that probably sounds strange, but let me explain. If you take the time to stop and listen to people talking, perhaps in a cafe or at the bus stop, you will see that real conversation usually includes a lot of pauses, "um's" and "er's", quick changes of topics and people tend to take a slow and roundabout way of getting to the point.
As a writer you can't do this, you have to take everyday chatter and polish it, into something that is to the point, keeps the readers interested and flows well.

Laura failed to do this for me at the start of this book, and I often felt she was trying to be clear about who was talking all the time, which left me feeling irritated. It's important to remember that your readers aren't idiots, they don't need you to constantly be telling you who said what, so it's important to keep that in mind when you write.

Because of these issues. the fast part of this book really dragged for me, and I was certain I was in for a tedious read. That said, things did improve, so much so that I started to believe that the author had been switched for a new one part way through. I began to get hooked in the story, to enjoy the character and the journey's she was taking into her past lives. My opinion of the book began to change and I started to feel as if this book might actually deserve a four-star rating possibly even at a push the full five-stars.

The subject matter of past life regression had clearly been well researched, as had Tarot cards, and it was only once that I felt the past life in question was a little far fetch. That being her time in Atlantis, where animals and humans had been combined to create depressed, sickly beings of a mythical nature.

As the book went on and we came closer to the end I started to find more areas where I was left with a sense that the author had used this book as a mind dump. Throwing in anything and everything that came into her head with no real care about how believable or realistic it may be.

This was a problem for me because the book in meant to be based in real life as we know it, with a little bit of magic thrown in via the idea of past lives and a higher plane where we travel in spirit form, between lives, in order to decide where and who we want to be in the next and what lessons we wish to learn. Yet, the fantastical kept invading into real life and by the end of the book, the unbelievable comes out in bucket loads.

(Spoiler alert warning: If you plan to read this book for yourself and don't want to know what happens at the end look away now. I hate revealing plot related items of the books that I read, but, in this case, it really needs to be said. You have been warned!) 

We all love a happy ending, but for Holly, this is taken to extremes in the most unbelievable ways. Toward the end of the book not only does she find the man of her dreams, but when she goes to get married on the beach, she bumps into her ex-husband Alex, who she hasn't seen in years and recently befriended again on facebook. She bumps into him at the exact same beach where she is getting married at the exact same spot they pick out to hold the ceremony when he had no idea she would be there and she had not invited him. Now, she already has her other ex-husband in her wedding party, the ex-husband who used to be physically and mentally abusive to her, and he's there because she met his current girlfriend at an exercise class and became practically best friends with her, and did I mention that the man Holly is marrying is, funnily enough, this friend's ex-husband, though Holly didn't meet him through Lisa, she met him at work.

If you think that's a lot of coincidences, it's not over yet. The wedding party makes a huge deal on the wedding day about getting lottery tickets. Charlies, Holly's soon to be husband picks out some special numbers, and you'll never guess what, but all those numbers come up, and even more, amazing, they come up in the exact same order as Charlie wrote them down. So now Charlie and Holly who were already pretty comfortable off, compared to most have won the jackpot, on their wedding day and are Millionaire's.

You'd think that would be it wouldn't you, that their life couldn't possibly get any more fantastic, especially as they are already in their 50's, but your wrong, because despite  Holly having been in an 11 year relationship with James, in which they did not use protection and received no happy surprises, just a short marriage to Charlie produces twins. Now, you might think "Well, James was clearly infertile." But you'd be wrong because James and Holly break up, earlier in the book, because James has been having an 8-month affair in which, guess what, James knocked up his mistress Amber and produced a beautiful little baby girl.

So yeah, it's all a little bit too unrealistic don't you think? The sad part is that this book really has the potential to be a great story. The plot, for the most part, is good, if only these area's were fixed and there were a few less miraculous happenings.

(It's safe to start reading again.) 

I would love to see this book pulled, polished and re-released with some of it's issued ironed out and if this happened, I would definitely be tempted to buy a copy.

As it stands though this isn't a book I'll be adding to my bookshelf.

Still this is only my opinion and everyone is different, so if you are interested in learning more about this book you can read the back cover blurb below.


Little bits of Karma by Laura Simmons

A captivating story of reincarnation, redemption, and forgiveness. Even though Holly O’Rourke is having problems with her longtime significant other, James, she has never entertained thoughts of infidelity…that is, until the day she has a chance encounter with Charlie, a handsome coworker. James promises he will change and work on their relationship, but Holly’s feelings for Charlie just won’t go away. Distressed by her mixed emotions, Holly schedules an appointment for a reading with a psychic medium, where she discovers her adulterous past lives and their tragic consequences. Holly learns to do her own past life regression through self-hypnosis and uncovers not only lives that she shared with James and Charlie, but how the other people in her present life have been with her in the past—the threads of their lives interwoven for centuries. Holly is stunned by recurring themes and the issues of karmic justice that need to be addressed. Where will her karmic path ultimately lead? Find out in Little Bits of Karma, an entertaining new book about spiritual cause and effect.


Hanover house, The kickoff to the Hanover house Chronicles by Brenda Novak. 

Hanover house is the brainchild of Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot. A secure facility in which she can monitor, record and study the most twisted of minds.

After being attacked by a psychopath boyfriend in her teens and losing three of her closest friends to his sadistic ways, Evelyn has been determined to discover just what makes psychopath's tick in order to save others from the same fate, In her pursuit for answers she is successfully putting herself at risk from the very man who set her on this path to discovery. The man they never caught, who see's Evelyn as a tantalizing piece of unfinished business, that he is determined to complete.

I read this book in a matter of hours, starting it just before bed, I was loath to put it down and picked it up again the moment I woke. Despite having a whopping 50 books published already and a whole host of awards to her name, Brenda Novak was an author I'd never heard of before, but one who's name, I am sure will be gracing my over and over again, in the future.

Her writing is tight, flows well and incredibly well constructed. Her plot is pure genius and she kept me hooked from beginning to end. I cannot recommend this author or Hanover house enough.

I urge you to give this book a read, you will not be disappointed.

As always, here's the back covers blurb:


Hanover house by Brenda Novak

Welcome to Hanover House…. 

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them? 

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst. 

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries. 

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong... 


 High Witch by Mona Hana  

Brayden lives an unassuming life, working and living in an Inn so that  he can support himself and his mother back home, but when Arial walks into his life everything changes in a very magical and at time terrifying way. Forced to flee in order to save themselves, they head out on a journey of discovery, magic, witchcraft and love, in a whirlwind tale that will leave you breathless. 

I was drawn to this book the moment I saw it, the cover is beautiful and back cover blurb was interesting. Mona Hanna is not an author that I have heard of before, so I had no idea what to expect, but that said I am glad that I picked this one up and grateful to Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was a quick easy read, with characters that were likable and a plot that was interesting. I think; however, that this book would have benefitted from being a little longer. It all felt a bit too rushed for me and it made it that much harder for me to really fall into and believe.

That said, Mona is an amazing author with a huge talent for words. Her dialogue was great if a little overly mushy for me at times and her characters were both likable, and for the most part, believable. 

I would recommend this book to others and would also be interested in reading more by Mona in the future. 

If you'd like to know more about this book here's the back cover blurb: 


Brayden dreams for thirty nights, tortured by the vision of a beautiful woman. When Ariel Williams walks into his inn, he sees that she’s the one he’s been obsessed with in his night time journeys. But Ariel is fleeing an arranged marriage and keeps shyly to herself, until the worst happens and by mistake she casts a spell on a guest. Brayden works with Ariel to help her control her magic but discovers she’s a High Witch — one of only three witches in the world with a rare kind of power. Immediately the two must flee; evil warlock Julius wants to enslave Ariel — mind, heart and body. Julius and his lover the High Witch Nadia will stop at nothing to capture Ariel, and the danger threatens to tear Ariel apart from Brayden. Ariel’s only hope is that her love for Brayden and her newly-discovered powers are strong enough to save them.


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