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Book Spotlight

Enter the Witch by Robbie Cox

We were introduced to the Witches of Savannah in Cox’s book Come Halloween. They were side characters but even so, they were extremely interesting. I think it’s fun when the author creates an offshoot from a story. It helps to solidify the world the author develops. This story was fun to read and now I want to read the entire series RIGHT NOW. I don’t want to wait for the author. He needs to just get busy.

This is the second series from Robbie that I follow. It is just as good as Warrier of the Way Series series.  I get to meet Robbie in June at Space Coast Book Lovers Convention. Can’t wait!

She told Ericka not to touch the book! She warned her about dabbling with witchcraft. Magic was powerful. You never knew what you might unleash. Yet, Ericka didn’t listen and now she had brought the storm right to Jasmine’s door.
Enter the Witch sets the stage for The Witches of Savannah series while giving us the origins of one of the side characters in Come Halloween. We once again meet the owner of Faerie Dust, Amber Bastian, as she strives to help a younger Jasmine Burkehart rescue her friend from a spell gone awry. Cletus, a skittish ghost who seems somehow stuck to Jasmine, provides more than just comic relief in this short tale as he cautions Jasmine about the dangers of witchcraft.

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Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z. Hirsch, MD

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This was a fun book to read. I have to wonder if some of this is autobiographical or if the writer is sharing secrets from his fellow doctors. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author does a such a good job of making real characters and a believable plot, it feels like we are sharing stories to pass time while commuting on a train. I felt for Seth as he trudged through med school and his training while trying to balance his personal life and his own sanity. I am a die-heart fantasy lover, but this was a great break from make believe while still providing a lot of entertainment and exercise for my imagination.

Medical student Seth Levine faces escalating stress and gallows humor as he struggles with the collapse of his romantic relationships and all preconceived notions of what it means to be a doctor. It doesn’t take long before he realizes not getting frazzled is the least of his problems.
Seth encounters a student so arrogant he boasts that he’ll eat any cadaver part he can’t name, an instructor so dedicated she tests the student’s ability to perform a gynecological exam on herself, and a woman so captivating that Seth will do whatever it takes to make her laugh, including regale her with a story about a diagnostic squabble over an erection.
Didn’t Get Frazzled captures with distressing accuracy the gauntlet idealistic college grads must face to secure an MD and, against the odds, come out of it a better human being.

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Silver Blood by Emma Hamm

* * I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review, I liked it so much I bought my own copy of it.**

I think it is getting harder to spin the urban fantasy trope. This author created a futuristic world with a completely new twist. Supernatural humans are actually hosts for supernatural beings who have taken over the world. Some relationships are mutual and some are adversarial. Of course, there is a governmental committee that tries to oversee everything, but as in most worlds infested with supernatural beings, there is an unknown group who REALLY controls what happens.

The characters are strong and well- rounded. The plot drives the story forward. This is one of those stories my family does not like because I tend to ignore them a little bit so I can finish it. 🙂 I wanted to keep going. I wanted to get to the end. I want to read the next book. This is a great start to this series.

Two hundred years ago, our world changed forever. Two realms combined in an explosion of magic. One morning everything was normal and the next? Every human body was host to another magical creature who had thoughts and a mind of its own. However, with power comes darkness. Someone wants to wipe this earth clean and will stop at nothing to consume it.
SHE IS NOT A HERO
Or so she thought. Wren had grown up with another voice in her head but had never considered herself magical. She doesn’t have the talents other people have. She certainly doesn’t have the abilities anyone else has. But she is charming and manages her business quite well. She deals in emotions and makes people happy. It’s a simple life, but it’s hers.
HE THINKS SHE COULD BE
Burke was a bodyguard first and always. He had been sent to collect her and deliver her in person to the most powerful creatures in their world. But the moment he steps through the broken door of her shop, his world changes forever. She’s strange. She’s uncomfortable. And she’s so damned beautiful. He is convinced she is part of a prophecy that can save their world.
But how to convince her?

 

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Occupied by Joss Sheldon

**I received an audio copy of this book in exchange for a review**

The central theme of this book is so representative of our world today. The author does a good job of showing the world of war and refugees through the struggles of his characters. As I  listened to this story, I felt the heartache the young characters faced when their world was completely turned upside down. It is always more interesting to look at life from someone else’s point of view. This book nails that. The narrator adds a believable component to the story. I think he does a great job bouncing around each of the characters and even makes the exposition interesting. My only issue with this book is the second half of the story seems a little flat compared to the first part. Had the quality of the story been consistent throughout, I would have enjoyed reading it more.

Step into a world which is both magically fictitious and shockingly real. Walk side-by-side with a refugee, native, occupier and economic migrant. And watch on as the world around you transforms from a halcyon past into a dystopian future.

Inspired by the occupations of Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet, and by the corporate occupation of the west, ‘Occupied’ is a haunting glance into a society which is a little too familiar for comfort.

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The Helper

**I received a copy of this book for a review, but then I bought it because I liked it so much**

This is not like any book I have read before. There is an obvious narrator telling the whole story. The narrator is very much a part of the story and his impressions add a unique twist to the plot (no I’m not giving any spoilers). The author creates characters that pulled on my heart strings. I could not wait to get back to this book each time I had to stop for some reason. There is a lot of suspense in this story. I honestly did not know how it was going to end until the end. It’s an original story that is totally worth reading.

A tale that combines contemporary, speculative fiction with an ambiguous spirituality. The book explores relationships between lovers, friends, families, and what Powers of Good there may be.
John Sloan is a Marine Corps veteran with a life-long secret that is haunting him. He is a conduit to a healing light that draws him to people on the brink of emotional disintegration, people who are then healed and Helped by this light. His blue-collar world is shattered when he finds that his connection to this anonymous portal has vanished. He is alone, seemingly beyond aid, and in desperate need of a Helping himself.
The book tracks the intersecting lives of John and two other Helpers. His lifelong friend Dusty Hakalla is a mixed-blood Ojibwe, with a secret of his own. His power to Help is remarkable, but was once destructively misused. A career Marine, his scarred childhood and momentary abuse of power have left him jaded and bereft. Deena Morrison, also a Helper, is John’s girlfriend. Adopted as an infant, she flees John to find her birth-mother, while carrying within herself her own secret. Another character shadows their lives as narrator, Nan’b’oozoo, the trickster god of Ojibwe legend—at times sarcastic and petulant, at others insightful and humorous.
The novel travels from the gritty Lake Superior port-cities and Indian Reservations of northern Wisconsin to the Jewish neighborhoods of North Miami Beach, Florida—from Parris Island to the war zones of Kuwait and Afghanistan.

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The Eye of Nefertiti

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This is the second book in this series. However, both books are standalone stories and the author does a good job of filling in the reader of any important information needed from book one. It is very well written and well developed. I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable light-hearted series I have found. I find Nefertiti a fascinating historical figure, so this book was even more entertaining for me. I think the author does a great job creating a fantasy story that seems almost believable. This cat has more fun and adventure than I do! I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series.

The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter.
The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him.
The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.

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Book 1 The Pharoah’s Cat

The Pharaoh’s Cat

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

I am not a cat fan, but if I had a cat like the one in this book, I would buy 100 more. This is a fun book and a new take on historical fiction. I think creating animal characters are twice as hard as creating human characters. The author does an awesome job developing this cat into a round character. I really believed this cat was a real talking person. It was a fun imaginative read. It totally intrigued me and pushed me to read the next book in the series and I hope there are more.

The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death.
The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.
The cat has a good friend in the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that plague him. He has a mortal enemy in the Vizier—the second most powerful man in Egypt–who hates him for his close relationship with the Pharaoh. The Vizier’s persecution of the cat ultimately results in his fleeing with the High Priest to present-day New York City, where they find an ally in an Egyptologist’s daughter.

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The Magician’s Workshop

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This book quickly transports the reader into a world of magic and fantasy. The story starts as the main characters are getting ready to test for a spot at the Magician’s Workshop. Not everyone on the islands will be able to attend. The story follows several young adults who face some pretty big obstacles. One of the first things I noticed about this story is that even though these characters have to face adult situations, they do it as young adults. Many young adult books these days, have characters who act way older than they should. It is obvious the authors took great care to create a complete world that is different from our world, but very believable. The story evolves with a balance of exposition, conflict, and just plain old excitement. I really liked this book and have added volume two to my TBR and will review it soon.

 

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.
Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.
Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

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Train to the Edge of the Moon by Asper Blurry

**I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review**

 

This is a different book. It’s creative and edgy. The contemporary storyline proves the author is not afraid to take a risk in writing. I’m glad I read this book because the characters are loveable and feel like real people. I will warn the reader that at times it gets dark and may not make the reader comfortable, but stick with it. It is worth it.

 

Punk is no ordinary girl who takes the life as it is. She has a nasty habit of getting in troubles, she shows the middle finger to people’s prejudice and stupidity, fights against her broken identity and the corporation where she works. She always goes against the stream with her heavy, tight shoes, but still tries to be a better person. Punk’s adventurous journey to become a poet starts in a Place Without a Name, continues in Italy and London. Her train is full of laughs, reflections, modern tales about our young lives and relationships and occasional heartbreaks. You will probably love and hate Punk at the same time, but it will be difficult to forget about her wild side of the moon.

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Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, and Careening into Middle Age by Kara Martinez Bauchman

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review**

This book is so timely for my life right now. I’ve heard many of the thoughts and ideas the author expressed in my own head. She is funny. Reading this book was therapeutic. The author looks at her life in an honest heartwarming way and shared some great stories from her life. My favorite was the story of when they bought a house from the real estate agent who actually prayed with them. I laughed because I know ladies like her. Martinez Bachman is the kind of lady I would like to have a beer with on a mno.

You’re going on a journey to a strange new country where you will look different, act different, even feel different. It’s like you’re becoming a whole new person, and that person is your mother. Your new homeland is middle age, and you need a native guide to teach you how to survive here, or least to show you where the good bars are.

Written for every woman who knows that turning 40 is no reason to become respectable, Kissing the Crisis is the field guide you need to blaze your own unconventional trail through the jungle of middle age. Humorist Kara Martinez Bachman reports from the front lines of the battle to stay awake after 9 p.m., and her adventures will make you scream with laughter, cringe with embarrassment, and vow to tackle your own midlife crisis with a can-do attitude and a tasty cocktail.

Whether she’s searching for a child-friendly bar for a parents’ drinking session, starting the world’s best ukelele/harp gothic rock band, coping with a baby cursing like a sailor in the grocery store, or conquering her fear of a terrifying death during Hurricane Katrina, Bachman shows that life doesn’t end at 40 … it just gets weirder.

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