Friday, April 18, 2014

Gift of the Phoenix Review

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Gift of the PhoenixGift of the Phoenix When three strangers are brought together by the discovery of a common enemy, they must fight to keep the magic of the Phoenix out of dangerous hands before their world is destroyed forever. The Three must learn to unite in spite of what separates them, and unlock the magic of three stones that seem to harm as much as they help. But uniting will not be easy for Nicolai, the simple peasant with a powerful secret; Marcellus, the warrior prince who’s no longer heir to the throne; and Corren, a gifted wizard whose ambitions threaten to ruin them all. Full of magic, mystery, and a touch of romance, Gift of the Phoenix is an epic fantasy that takes the reader deep into the heart of a wondrous world and the three men destined to defend it.

My Thoughts:
3 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time getting into the book since the beginning just seemed to drag a bit. I was confused at first, but it picked up halfway through part one. The character's are interesting, and the three different personalities of the brothers bring interesting dynamics and tensions to their magical destiny to save the phoenix. Overall, a book for those who enjoy epic fantasy.

Dislikes -
 I wasn't expecting it to be 600 pages long. The book is broken into three parts and each part is pretty much its own book. It should have been marketed as an collection of three books, or broken into three smaller books to be a bit more digestible. 
Another issue was it was a bit hard to get into the character's heads. It jumps around a bit, and I struggled with why the character's did some of the things they did. Their motivations seemed a little flimsy to me sometimes. Corren's viewpoint was especially difficult to follow, and I wanted to skim his sections.
   Unexplained magical terms threw me off a couple times, and the development of relationships was a bit unrealistic in my opinion.
Likes -
   Marcellus was by the far the best character in the book. Loved him!
   The world was well built and thought out, if explained a bit vaguely sometimes. The interesting take on the mythology surrounding the Phoenix was fresh and new, and kept me intrigued. 
   The plot of this book, while it did drag in some places, was interesting enough I kept reading.

 Praise for Gift of the Phoenix “An incredibly impressive book that grips you from the very start. There is plenty of action in the story, some wonderful characters and magical, atmospheric settings. Donna has created a fascinating realm in this story which, even if you don’t consider yourself a fantasy fan, you’ll definitely enjoy.” – Excerpt of Stephanie Dagg’s review at Books Are Cool. “As an avid reader of fantasy, I often encounter boring or overused plotlines—this was neither! With a fresh new take on fantasy adventure, Cook constructs an enchanting world of magic, kingdoms, rebirth, and death.” – Excerpt a review by Artemis at Fantasy Book Lovers Unite “Gift of the Phoenix reminds me of a mix of Paolin’s Eragon and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but stands on its own as a unique fantasy-adventure. Cook creates a magic system that is intricate and unique, which can be hard to do in a genre littered with magic. The story is very complex, and yet very easy to follow… layers upon layers of intertwined plots that all culminate to a fantastic ending. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age.” – Excerpt of a review by Will Wortner at Zero2Fiction Awards Gift of the Phoenix has won several awards, including Semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Awards, and Notable Read in the Shelf Unbound/Half Price Books Indie Book of the Year competition

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DonnaAuthor Donna Cook Donna Cook is an Arizona native transplanted to Boise, Idaho, where she is delighting in the change of scenery. When she’s not writing she spends her time chasing the kids, exploring delicious eateries downtown, and dancing with her talented husband. Her fantasy adventure, Gift of the Phoenix has won several awards, including Semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Awards, and Notable Read in the Shelf Unbound/Half Price Books Indie Book of the Year competition. It was also nominated for the Whitney Award, which recognizes LDS writers. She’s currently working on the sequel to Gift of the Phoenix.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mysterious Cover's Identity Solved

I'm sold from the cover alone. Can't wait!

Important case details:
Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

Psst. Secret links that may lead to acquisition of advanced information:

About our prime suspect: Rachelle was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho not far from the setting of her mystery Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology.  She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading., Rachelle has an amazing husband and five cute kids. 

Our elusive suspect's known hangouts:
Facebook Author Page:

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Josi' Kilpack's Fortune Cookie Book Review

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Fortune Cookie  Fortune Cookie Sadie Hoffmiller has always liked things to be just so. A place for everything and everything in its place. Order over chaos. And of all things Sadie should be able to control, her own wedding is at the top of the list. With the big day just three weeks away, Sadie is busily adding the final touches to her wedding plans but the arrival of a mysterious letter from San Francisco changes everything. The only person Sadie knows in San Francisco is her older sister, Wendy, whom she hasn’t seen since their mother’s funeral nearly fifteen years ago. Sadie has faced off against murderers and criminals in recent years, yet the possibility of reconnecting with her sister is both overwhelming and frightening. Sadie soon discovers, however, that the letter is just the beginning when Wendy’s world turns out to be a place of unanswered questions, twisted truths, and more than one person with a motive for murder. The more Sadie digs into her sister’s past, the more she places her own future at risk.

My Thoughts:
5 out of 5 Stars

This was by far one of my favorite Sadie Hoffmiller books.The beginning opens with a stunning revelation that takes our quirky food-addict on one twist and turn after another into exploring the murky past of her long-estranged sister. With this very personal case, Sadie's character is explored in greater depth. When her sister is found dead and burned in San Francisco, she is confronted in this tasty, but dangerous, city  by the nephew she left abandoned to his fate, and the hurt of Pete's sudden preoccupation with his late wife. Now, doubting her own relationships, past and present, she struggles to understand a sister she'd long ago stopped trying to deal with, and the bizarre circumstances of her death. I was left one moment hurting for Sadie's difficulties, the next enthralled with her efforts to unravel a set of confusing clues that lead to far too many suspects. 

Without revealing any details, the ending completely took me by surprise. I so didn't see any of it coming from the finding of the arsonist to Sadie once again ending up in a hospital. The food descriptions made my mouth water, as usual. If I didn't burn water, I'd try every single one myself. As it stands, San Francisco has definitely been added to places to visit in the near future. Sadie Hoffmiller's story continues to intrigue and grow as her character deepens with each book. Though bitter-sweet, this tale holds all of Sadie's sass as she takes on the big city, and seeks justice for those she cares about.


Culinary Mysteries

JosiAuthor Josi S. Kilpack Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

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