Book Review: Shadows, Shells, and Spain

About the book:36418910

 

Title: Shadows, Shells, and Spain

Author: John Meyer

Published: November 17th 2017 by Summer Nomad Publications

Source: Received in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

Lost and listless on the island of Mallorca, Jamie Draper searches for his estranged wife, Pam, who has left him without any explanation or warning. Exploring her last known location, Jamie stumbles upon an urgent letter from his missing wife promising full disclosure as to her sudden departure and her current whereabouts.

There’s just one catch: her mysterious adventure is disclosed in a series of letters she’s left hidden along the ancient Camino trail across northern Spain. Now armed with a list of clues to track the letters down, Jamie retraces Pam’s footsteps, while being both entertained and challenged by the many colorful Camino characters he meets along the way—including the enchanting Brie, who harbors her own secrets that just might compromise Jamie’s intended reunion with his wife.

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

 

”Shadows, Shells and Spain” – this title made my day. Even before I started reading the book this title made me curious and I spent some time guessing what this book would be about. Little did I know I was about to discover yet another interesting book. Around 6o% of the book I got to understand what the title was all about. And this completed my experience in such a beautiful way. Even the title is built in an interesting manner.

You get the main idea from the blurb, so let me get directly into my thoughts. Jamie Draper starts his journey in search of his wife on El Camino de Santiago. Everybody speaks of these incredible experiences they had during this trip. Everybody says it is a life changing excursion. Well, he doesn’t buy it. And he doesn’t care that much. All he is interested in is finding his wife and understanding what motivated her decision. He will find out truths that hurt and things his wife was afraid to mention. However, at some point, this trip becomes more to him than he is willing to admit. I don’t want to reveal more of the story, as this is something you will have to discover on your own.

The author has created an interesting character and has shown us his evolution in the most beautiful manner. We see him depressed, running from people, avoiding too crowded places. But later in his camino experience, he becomes social, he learns to appreciate people and their stories. We will understand that different characters, or different backgrounds and life stories can bind over the same trip to self-discovery. With all that, John Meyer has added a good amount of history about the places and cities on El Camino de Santiago. Most were very interesting facts!  The back and forth between Jamie’s marriage and his current plans, his relationship with Brie (his partner for most of the walk) and historical facts kept my interest.

And the title? I found out it starts with the end. And that’s all I’m telling you.

A magnificent experience of Spain, of El Camino de Santiago, an excellent story that will take you through a bit of Spanish history. Enjoy 🙂

 

About the Authorjohnmeyer

 

Author John Meyer writes fictional travel memoirs—unique adventure stories that combine fun facts of history with present-day drama and humor. Always revolving around a fictitious love story and always based on his own thrilling journeys.

After he was robbed in Rome and then found his faith in humanity restored at the Palio festival in Siena, he was inspired to write “Bullets, Butterflies, and Italy.” After he ran with the bulls in Pamplona and then came to the rescue of an injured fan at the Blur reunion concert in Hyde Park, he was encouraged to write “Bulls, Bands, and London.”

And after walking across Spain with hundreds of pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago, he is proud to announce the fall release of his third exciting adventure, “Shadows, Shells, and Spain!”

However, these books are more than travel memoirs. These are distinctive entries into the travel literary genre because they not only promise entertaining fictional drama, but they also provide accurate and amusing descriptions of the local people and places you will encounter in his adventures—which will hopefully enrich and inspire you all to embark on your own remarkable dream vacations!

  • • • •

John Meyer is also the studio writer for Entertainment Tonight Canada—and has been ever since the popular daily show launched back in 2005. That’s almost three thousand episodes now…and counting!

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Book Review: Fast Track to Glory

About the book:28598256.jpg

 

Title: Fast Track to Glory (Nina Monte Mystery #1)

Author: Tomasz Chrusciel

Published: January 4th 2016 by Agato House

Source: received in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

***FINALIST IN THE 2016 READERS’ FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD CONTEST***

***Named by IndieReader as THE BEST indie book of 2016 in an Action/Adventure category***

A long-lost artefact… Nina Monte has worked hard to achieve her dreams. At thirty-six she’s one of Italy’s youngest professors, and renowned for her knowledge of the ancient world. Old religious texts might make for lonely companions at night, but that’s nothing a bottle of fine wine can’t fix.

When a mysterious summons presents a career-making opportunity, Nina can’t resist. A relic has been found in a 15th Century galley and it’s the kind of discovery encountered once in a lifetime. But floating atop the depths of Lake Garda at the recovery site, Nina senses something is amiss.

A race to unveil the mystery… With local hotelier, Alessandro Pini at her side, she begins to unravel the truth surrounding the relic. She soon realizes that questions of the past pale in comparison to the dangers looming in the present.

A ruthless treasure hunter… The mystical object in Nina’s hands is no trinket; it has the power to change humanity’s perception of existence. MANY BELIEVE A GIFT LIKE THAT IS WORTHY DYING—OR KILLING—FOR.

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

After reading “The Vestals Conspiracy”, I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to read and review the next installment, or actually the first real installment in The Nina Monte Mystery Thriller Series. I must say that it was not a disappointment at all. On the contrary, it was a fast paced novel, with action on every page. Fans of Dean Brown will for sure appreciate this book, but not only them. I am not part of this category, but I do like a good adventure novel, with intrigue and a dose of mystery.

‘How do you know all of this?’ Alessandro asked, to conceal his disgust towards van der Venn.

‘Books, Mr Pini. I’m sure that you’re familiar with the concept of reading.’

Nina Monte is an exceptional professor of ancient religions and many seek her advice in matters related to relics or proving the authenticity of artifacts. This is why she is called to attend a meeting in Germany. She is to find a man named van der Venn and decide upon the authenticity of his discovery. She is not given any details at all and this entices her more. So she starts a journey to Italy, then Austria to finally arrive in India.

Crime, bribery and danger are what follow her in her adventures. She meets Alessandro Pini who will accompany her and together they will shed light on what is really going on. Tomasz Chrusciel has this amazing ability to turn things around with every page, all the while keeping the reader captivated by all the twists in the plot. The description of places, the abundance of characters and point of views are just some other things that make this story exceptional.

‘Mr Klaff, something is telling me that you wouldn’t give a thing if I fell overboard,’ she said in a loud voice to outcry the roar of the engines. Klaff laughed.

‘If you fell overboard, Lammert would break my legs and throw me into the lake!’

‘I would gladly assist Mr van der Venn in the process of doing so.’

The journey is not only a race to decipher the meaning of the mysterious artifact, but as well one of self-discovery. Nina works with facts, with things that have a logical explanation, that can be proved. But she will be united with the spiritual aspect of her personality. Alessandro is not the bravest person in the world, he is not even a good runner. But by the end of the book, he will be a worthy companion to Nina. There is a little romance going on, ignited by the adrenalin mostly.

This is a series worth following for sure. A new book will be released this year so I am looking forward for it. But you guys should check both “The Vestals Conspiracy” and “Fast Track to Glory”. Both books have religious discoveries and both books are amazing! Enjoy 🙂

 

About the Authortomasz

Tomasz Chrusciel wrote his first story at sixteen, but it would take another twenty years for his love affair with writing to become the central focus in his life.

After obtaining a master’s degree in Political Science & International Relations in Poland, Chrusciel found himself in the corporate sector. The work stoked his passion for global politics, but his imagination craved greater freedom. After moving to Ireland and falling in love, he finally left his job to become a full-time fiction author.

His debut novel “Illusive Intrusion” was followed by “Fast Track to Glory” and “The Vestals Conspiracy,” which have since earned Chrusciel a dedicated readership that continues to grow each day.

Wanderlust regularly draws the writer to extreme corners of the globe seeking new settings, personalities and historical events to inspire his next novel. When he isn’t researching destinations or convincing his cat-loving fiancée to let him adopt a dog, he’s at his computer furiously typing his latest scene, or chatting with his readers on social media.

Find him at tomaszchrusciel.com if you’d like to join the conversation.

 

Book Review: Benjamin Sorrow: One for Sorrow

oneforsorrow_banner

About the book:one for sorrow

 

Title: Benjamin Sorrow: One for Sorrow

Author: P. G. Challis

Published: May 30th 2016 by Rowanvale Books Ltd

Source: Received in exchange for a review from Authorsdb

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

Benjamin is retired. Borell is drunk. Jackson Burns, a genius scientist and an old friend of Benjamin’s, is brutally robbed of an important and powerful device. The good news is only Jackson knows the secret to the device’s operation. The bad news is he’s now being hunted for this knowledge. Benjamin leaves retirement behind and returns to the secretive Society to protect his friend and recover the stolen device. Meanwhile, Borell, a talented thief and competent killer, is hired by a mysterious woman to find the same device. With his criminal past and immoral attitude, can he recover the device first, or have Benjamin and Borell been set on a collision course?

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

Secret organizations looking for a device that can produce a massive amount of energy, what could go wrong with this book? Well, nothing! It has a secret passage or a hiding place at every page turn. It has a lot of action and not a dull moment.

Our main character, Benjamin Sorrow, is a retired detective, ready to settle down into a quiet life. But, as old habits die hard, he still has his reflexes from back in the days. Little did he expect to have use of them.  But when his longtime friend and his father’s colleague is attacked and robbed, he decides to step in and help. His connections come in handy and doors are opened every time he needs support or backup.

The most interesting fact about this book is the multiple perspective aspect. We see Benjamin in action, but as well Borell’s actions, a guy sent by a different organization to recover the same device. They start with different levels of knowledge about the mission, but where one has more information, the other has more connections. So they balance each other somehow. If Ben is in to save his friend, the other is in to collect his paycheck. They are like two sides of a coin.

As in any fight, innocents are caught in the crossfire. Lilly, our scientist’s niece and her friend Andris are chased by the same people, although they are oblivious to what is happening at home.

G. Challis has created an amazing world, with spies, secrets and devices that can act as a rapid postal service and organizations inside organizations and so much more. It is more focused on the action than character development so if you are in the mood for a great mystery novel, “One for Sorrow” is your kind. Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Bridge of the Golden Wood

About the book:thebridge

 

Title: The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living

Author: Karl Beckstrand (Goodreads Author), Yaniv Cahoua (Illustrator)

Published: August 1st 2017 by Premio Publishing

Source: received from Authors db

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

(Career/Business) #1 in 3 Amazon categories. Selected for Vermont’s elementary school financial literacy curriculum. “5 stars. A clever storyteller. … A very educational resource.” – Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite. A child with a knack for solving problems helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. Illustrated Asian folk tale teaches the value of work and includes career and business ideas plus online resources (for ages 4+). Young children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the things they learn. 530 words in dyslexic-friendly font, by a former Silicon Valley recruiter. Hard cover, soft cover, and ebook, 26 pages

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

Ok, I’m starting to love these children books and I don’t even have my own yet. This is my second book by Karl Beckstrand and I have not been let down yet. However, I believe “The Bridge of the Golden Wood” is not suitable for young ages, as 3-5 year olds may not fully understand the concept of money and where it comes from.

With this in mind, we have yet another great and wise story about a boy who, after freeing the fish from the river, uses the branches to build a bridge and help an old lady pass through it. With these lovely gestures, comes income for the poor boy. So every kind gesture is returned in one form or another. I believe this book encourages children to help where possible, while explaining a little the concept of making money.

Although there are some holes in the plot, I believe every page has reached its purpose. The illustrations are sometimes fuzzy, but when the focus is on a particular object or being, they are quite nice. From my kindle version,  I would have wanted a bit brighter colors, but that did not make the experience any lesser.

All in all, I liked this book and, after two titles by  Karl Beckstrand, I like his approach on providing useful lessons for children.

 

About the Authorkarl

 

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy.

Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—and contrasts traditional publishing with digital book publishing.

His Y.A. fiction, short stories, kids’ e-book mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books (with ESL/ELL pronunciation guides), and wordless books feature characters of color and usually end with a twist. He has lived abroad, been a Spanish/English interpreter, and speaks on diversity. He enjoys volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time).

Beckstrand has presented for SUECON (education conference), Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, California’s Capital Book Festival, Utah Educational Library Media Association, Called to Learn conference, Salt Lake City Book Festival, PCI Webinars, Utah Humanities Council, Profnet, Murray City Writer’s Workshop, Utah Housing Coalition, LUW, Midvale City Reading Program, Utah Office of Education, professional groups, and schools. His racially diverse work has appeared in: Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Brodart, Costco, Deseret Book, The Children’s Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Papercrafts Magazine, LDS Film Festival, EBSCO, Follett, iBooks, Kobo, SCRIBD, various broadcasts, and PremioBooks.com.

Website: http://karlbeckstrand.com

 

Book Review: Bees Like Flowers

About the book:bees

 

Title: Bees Like Flowers (Mummy Nature #2)

Author: Rebecca Bielawski

Published: November 20th 2014 by Rebecca Bielawski

Source: Received from Authors db in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

Watch our happy, helpful friend the Honey Bee, always so busy and buzzy and find out why bees and flowers are such good friends. Illustrations using vivid colors include many real flower species which children may recognize from their garden or have seen growing in the wild, 3 of them are named at the end of the book too. The narrator shows us what these fascinating bugs have been getting up to in her garden.

What we can learn:

concepts:

Simple ideas about the life of a bee

Bees are insects

Some common flowers: Daisy, Poppy, Sunflower

new words:

Insect, Pollen, Nectar, Hive, Honeycomb, Blossoms

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

 

I absolutely loved this book! It is really adorable and after reading just this one from the series I am convinced that the “Mummy nature Series” is fantastic to say the least.

The illustrations are very suitable for a children’s book. All faces have smiles, a lot of colors are used and each object of insect is very clearly portrayed. It is definitely a great way to attract the little one’s interest and can even raise one’s spirit. I was in a very good mood while reading it. The story is told in verse and it even has its own melody. I could easily see this in a song.

These particular drawings make the story understandable and appealing telling a bee’s story to a child who’s afraid of being stung is quite challenging, but the author has done it in a very enjoyable way. Oh, let me tell you a secret: I am terrified of bees! But after reading this book, I really like them. I even find them cute J

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What’s more important is that it is a very educative book as well. For example, there are lessons at the end in regards to different kind of flowers and kids are encouraged to find them in the story. It is both interactive and helpful.

As with most books I receive,  I have a copy in a kindle format, so I can only state my opinion in regards to the electronic version. However, I do advise to purchase the paperbacks of all the books in the series! I can tell you I am adding this to the list of titles for my future child, whenever he or he may decide to come J 5 amazing bees and flowers for this lovely book!

About the Authorrebecca

 

Once upon a time in England there was a Kiwi girl. She was unsatisfied with her job peeling onions at a factory in Norfolk and yearned for a better life where she could harness her untapped artistic potential and unleash all her pent up rhymes. One day when she realized she had no tears left to cry for the onions she packed up and moved to Spain, fell in love with a handsome Systems Administrator, had two kids, became a children’s author and lived happily ever after.

Website: http://www.booksbeck.com/

Book Review: The Vestals Conspiracy: A Novella

About the book:vestals

 

Title: The Vestals Conspiracy: A Novella (Prequel To The Nina Monte Mystery Thriller Series)

Author: Tomasz Chrusciel

Published: December 3rd 2017 by Agato House

Source: Received from Authors DB in exchange for an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

Nina Monte, a renowned professor of ancient religions, receives a cryptic message. Her former mentor and a prominent Italian archaeologist, Filippo Oliveri, needs her to come to Rome—he believes only Nina is capable of understanding the true significance of his new discovery.

But when she finally reaches the excavation site, Oliveri is gone. Instead, Nina comes across a series of clues that somehow connect an ancient prophecy, a mystical ritual, and a masterpiece of Michelangelo himself. But soon the magnitude of the discovery lures those who will stop at nothing to solve the mystery and, once and for all, silence everyone who stands in their way.

If you love historical mysteries, don’t miss this gripping read! “The Vestals Conspiracy” is a stunning introduction to the Nina Monte Mystery Thriller Series.

 Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

 My Review:

I received a review copy of this book and almost 100 pages that made me forget how time passes by and made me wonder how come this is over? Not so fast! “The Vestals Conspiracy” is a great start for a series, is a promise of more mysteries that will be uncovered by the great professors.

Nina Monte’s passion for history and ancient religion is visible from the start, from her efforts to answer all the requests she receives of lectures or participations in projects in her line of work. However, when her former professor and mentor Filippo Oliveri asks her support in his latest archeological founding, she comes to his aid. What they discover is far beyond their wildest dreams. Past and present reunite as they follow the mysteries of a religious group of women serving the roman goddess Vesta.

In their search, they will face people with less than honorable intentions, they will have their faith put to the test only to realize the importance of what they uncovered. Suffice to say that this novella is worth your time. And if you need more incentives to start the entire series, at the end of this book there are three chapters from “Fast Track to Glory” that will nurture that curiosity.

Even if I am mostly a Romance and YA reader, this type of historical mystery is always a joy. Have fun reading this amazing series and come back with your comments and thoughts below. 5 starts and I cannot wait for more!

 

“Fast Track to Glory (Nina Monte Mystery #1)” is already out since January 2016 and the second book is scheduled for this year. So hurry and catch up with Nina!

fasttrack

 

About the Authortomasz

 

Tomasz Chrusciel wrote his first story at sixteen, but it would take another twenty years for his love affair with writing to become the central focus in his life.

After obtaining a master’s degree in Political Science & International Relations in Poland, Chrusciel found himself in the corporate sector. The work stoked his passion for global politics, but his imagination craved greater freedom. After moving to Ireland and falling in love, he finally left his job to become a full-time fiction author.

His debut novel Illusive Intrusion was followed by Fast Track to Glory. Both works have since earned Chrusciel a dedicated readership that continues to grow each day.

Wanderlust regularly draws the writer to extreme corners of the globe seeking new settings, personalities and historical events to inspire his next novel. When he isn’t researching destinations or convincing his cat-loving fiancée to let him adopt a dog, he’s at his computer furiously typing his latest scene, or chatting with his readers on social media.

Find him at tomaszchrusciel.com if you’d like to join the conversation.

Book Review: Muffy & Valor: A True Story

About the book:muffy

Title: Muffy & Valor: A True Story

Author: Karl Beckstrand , Brandon Rodriguez (illustrator)

Published: August 16th 2017 by Karl Beckstrand

Source: received in exchange of an honest review

Format: e-copy

Blurb:

(Nonfiction, dogs) After a painful injury, a little dog named Muffy learns empathy for a German shepherd that has been hit by a car. Illustrated dog book teaches compassion, friendship, courage, and trust (kids ages 4 – 7). 700 words in dyslexic-friendly font by award-winning children’s author Karl Beckstrand (Mini-mysteries for Minors [multicultural/bilingual series]), illustrated by Brandon Rodriguez , 28-page picture book (also hard and soft cover) with Hispanic family, minority child, big dogs, and online extras

Check it on: Amazon  & Goodreads

My Review:

I received a review copy of this book and this is such a fine book to read to your children! I loved it so much and I do believe it is a very useful way to spend some time with the little one, while inspiring a love of books and animals.

There is a strong moral angle to Muffy’s story and a quite real one, since this is a true event, as indicated by the author. While the illustrations help the child relate to the action, the final part where the author tells the real story is more for the adult reader and thus appealing to a different kind of audience as well.

The beautiful images drawn by Brandon Rodriguez are very vivid and shiny in a sort of way. Since I read this book on a Kindle, my impressions about the format may not be as accurate. But I liked how the emotions were painted on the characters and the different variety of dogs included. I was not very fond of the way Valor’s wound was presented, maybe it could have been censored somehow, but this has not affected my rating at all.

All in all, this is a very interactive book, with beautiful illustrations that will for sure catch the attention of children. Well, even I liked it, at my almost 30 years. Now I really wished I had a dog…

 

About the Authorkarl

Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and bestselling author of 18 multicultural titles and more than 50 e-books (reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book blog, School Library Journal, ForeWord Reviews). Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from APU, and a certificate from Film A. Academy.

Once a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by two publishers (the first died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has guided Premio Publishing & Gozo Books. An engaging speaker and workshop facilitator, Beckstrand has experience in high tech, public policy, film, and broadcasting. He teaches media at a state college—including TV/radio scripts and Web content—and contrasts traditional publishing with digital book publishing.

His Y.A. fiction, short stories, kids’ e-book mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books (with ESL/ELL pronunciation guides), and wordless books feature characters of color and usually end with a twist. He has lived abroad, been a Spanish/English interpreter, and speaks on diversity. He enjoys volleyball and kayaking (usually not at the same time).

Beckstrand has presented for SUECON (education conference), Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, California’s Capital Book Festival, Utah Educational Library Media Association, Called to Learn conference, Salt Lake City Book Festival, PCI Webinars, Utah Humanities Council, Profnet, Murray City Writer’s Workshop, Utah Housing Coalition, LUW, Midvale City Reading Program, Utah Office of Education, professional groups, and schools. His racially diverse work has appeared in: Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Border’s Books, Brodart, Costco, Deseret Book, The Children’s Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Papercrafts Magazine, LDS Film Festival, EBSCO, Follett, iBooks, Kobo, SCRIBD, various broadcasts, and PremioBooks.com.

Website: http://karlbeckstrand.com

Twitter: @karlbeckstrand