Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review - Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

Forever Odd (Odd Thomas, #2)Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by HarperCollins
Source: Own Copy

'Every so often a character so captures the hearts and imaginations of readers that he seems to take on a life of his own long after the final page is turned. For such a character, one book is not enough-readers must know what happens next. Now Dean Koontz returns with the novel his fans have been demanding. With the emotional power and sheer storytelling artistry that are his trademarks, Koontz takes up once more the story of a unique young hero and an eccentric little town in a tale that is equal parts suspense and terror, adventure and mystery-and altogether irresistibly odd.

We're all a little odd beneath the surface. He's the most unlikely hero you'll ever meet-an ordinary guy with a modest job you might never look at twice. But there's so much more to any of us than meets the eye-and that goes triple for Odd Thomas. For Odd lives always between two worlds in the small desert town of Pico Mundo, where the heroic and the harrowing are everyday events. Odd never asked to communicate with the dead-it's something that just happened. But as the unofficial goodwill ambassador between our world and theirs, he's got a duty to do the right thing. That's the way Odd sees it and that's why he's won hearts on both sides of the divide between life and death.

A childhood friend of Odd's has disappeared. The worst is feared. But as Odd applies his unique talents to the task of finding the missing person, he discovers something worse than a dead body, encounters an enemy of exceptional cunning, and spirals into a vortex of terror. Once again Odd will stand against our worst fears. Around him will gather new allies and old, some living and some not. For in the battle to come, there can be no innocent bystanders, and every sacrifice can tip the balance between despair and hope. Whether you're meeting Odd Thomas for the first time or he's already an old friend, you'll be led on an unforgettable journey through a world of terror, wonder and delight-to a revelation that can change your life. And you can have no better guide than Odd Thomas.'

My Thoughts:
I mainly read this as a challenge to myself because I have so many series reads I have started and not finished and I really want to complete at least one this year.

Even though I didn't really enjoy the first book as much as I wanted to because of all the people out there who think Odd is just so great, I went into reading this instalment with an open mind as I have seen a lot of great series start off with a bit of a bland first book but then surprisingly get better and better as they go along. I now have to admit that I am pleased that I persevered as I really enjoyed this instalment much more than I did the first one.

Yes, the story is a little bit far fetched and some of the plot developments are quite handy considering the situation that Odd has himself in, but hey, I don't read books to be reminded of reality, I read them to be entertained and taken away into another world for a little while. Therefore, I found that once Forever Odd really got going around halfway, I almost couldn't out it down.

Personally I think that Odd is a much stronger and interesting character in this book compared to the first one where I found him to be a bit whiney and annoying. I'm hoping that this development within him continues as the series goes along and I'm actually looking forward to starting the next one.

If this is the way the Odd books continue then I can definitely see why they are talked about by so many people and defended by regular Koontz followers everywhere.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review - Troll Mountain: Episode 1 by Matthew Reilly

Troll Mountain: Episode 1Troll Mountain: Episode 1 by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ebook, 65 pages
Expected publication: April 8th 2014 by Momentum 
Source: Netgalley

'A dauntless young hero.
An army of brutal monsters.
An impossible quest.

Journey to the mountain ...

In an isolated valley, a small tribe of humans is dying from a terrible illness.

There are rumors, however, that the trolls of Troll Mountain, the valley's fearsome overlords, have found a cure for the illness: a fabulous elixir.

When his sister is struck down by the disease and his tribal leaders refuse to help him, an intrepid youth named Raf decides to defy his tribe and do the unthinkable: he will journey alone to Troll Mountain and steal the elixir from the dreaded trolls.

But to get to Troll Mountain, Raf will have to pass through dangerous swamps and haunting forests filled with wolves, hobgoblins and, worst of all, the ever-present danger of rogue trolls ...

The journey to the mountain has begun.


My Thoughts: 
I initially chose to read this short story because I am a huge Matthew Reilly fan. I admit I was very interested to see how he would go in writing a Fantasy type story as opposed to the Action/Adventure books he normally does.

Troll Mountain revolves around a boy named Raf whose sister gets taken down with the terrible illness that has been attacking their small tribe. Raf is determined to save his sister by jouneying to the dangerous Troll Mountain to steal the famous elixir that the trolls have developed against the illness.

I really enjoyed the first instalment in this three part series and was definitely left with wanting to know more. Raf is an interesting and determined character and although this is a very short read, you are given enough of an insight into him to know that he won't be easily swayed from his mission.

I can't wait to find out a bit more about the Trolls from Troll Mountain as it's a subject I haven't really encountered in a novel before.

My one complaint was that I would have loved this instalment to be just a little bit longer. I felt a bit disappointed that there wasn't a little bit more of the story revealed but the ending certainly sets the reader up for what is hopefully a very interesting adventure ahead.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spotlight On: Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and the Loose Change Collection Agency by Dan O'Brien

You’re never too old to have one more adventure 

Brought to life by Steve Ferchaud’s vibrant drawings, this story for all ages by Dan O’Brien lets us know that it is never too late to have one more adventure. 

An Excerpt:

Robert Pendleton opened one eye as the light of a passing car flashed over the window, shattering the darkness into prisms. He rolled onto his back on the beat-up couch and yawned as he reached his hands up and rubbed his eyes unceremoniously. 

He looked out over the darkness at the digital clock. The red digits spelled out a quarter ‘til midnight––nearly fourteen hours of sleep. He smiled and grabbed one of the cushions of the couch, burying his head in it. Just enough sleep, he reminded himself. Robert felt that anything less than twelve hours of sleep was very nearly too little. 

He grasped blindly for the TV remote. 

Groaning as he lifted his head, he looked at the empty table––his eyes drawn by another flash of a passing car. He couldn’t see clearly, but he knew that the remote had been there before he had fallen asleep nearly half a day ago. 

“Could have sworn….” he mumbled as he pushed himself up and brushed his hand around the top of the table, finding nothing. “Where did….”

Another groan escaped his lips as he lifted his body to a sitting position and threw aside the cluster of pillows that he had gathered around himself. He reached out for the lamp, but instead knocked it to the floor with a resounding thud. 

Robert muttered as he stood up from the couch, and then sank to his knees to search around in the darkness for the fallen lamp. Reaching around on the shadowed floor, shards of the broken lamp scattered like pieces of light. 

He turned his head, peering beneath the large space underneath the couch and saw the reflection of the buttons on the remote. The off-gray piece of machinery was underneath the couch––only darkness lingered beyond it. He reached out as he spoke again. 

“How did it get all the way down there?” 

Robert flexed his hand and strained as he twisted his back to reach farther; yet, the remote remained just out of reach. He pulled his arm away with a huff and craned his neck to the side, staring underneath into the darkness below the couch. 

His eyes widened as he saw the impossible: there was something beyond the remote. He shook his head and closed his eyes, whispering to himself that he didn’t see what he thought he had.

“I saw a little man,” he whispered to himself as he opened his eyes once more and nearly gasped as he did so. 

The figure was closer now and he could make out the outline clearly. A tiny man rested just beyond the remote. 

“What in the name of…?”

“Not here in the name of nobody, laddie. I be a friend though,” crooned the miniscule figure as he interrupted Robert and stepped forward, placing a hand on the darkened and slick surface of the remote. 

A tam-o’-shanter crested his bright red hair, the shaggy mane blending perfectly into his equally crimson, neatly trimmed, beard. 

A billow of whitish smoke drifted from the long-stemmed pipe that he held clenched between his lips. 

Robert fell back and knocked aside the adjacent table. Rubbing his eyes, he spoke a single word: “Leprechaun.”

About the Author:

Dan O’Brien, founder and editor-in-chief of The Northern California Perspective, has written over 20 books––including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club’s Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: Contact him today to order copies of the book or have them stocked at your local bookstore. He can he reached by email at

Would you like to win a remarked copy of Conspirators of the Lost Sock Army and Loose Change Collection Agency signed by the author and illustrator?

Simply follow the author here and here and a few winners will be randomly selected on March 20th!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Spotlight - Let's Dance by Frances Fyfield

Let's Dance

by Frances Fyfield

on Tour March 3-31, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 9780062301390

Purchase Links:


When Isabel Burley returns home to care for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's, she finds a bemused, angry old woman, prey to the threats of failing memory, the inability to run her household - and the local villains who are eyeing her isolated home. But as the villains close in, Isabel finds herself struggling with her own emotions. She thinks she has come home to do some good, but is she really looking for the love she lacked as a child? Alienated by her mother's growing eccentricity, the two women become locked in a relationship of love, conflict and simmering violence, with roots that go deep into the past.

Read an excerpt:

He had a torch, ever well-equipped, lay on the ground and pulled himself under the car without a word of protest. She could hear his breathing, a grunt that turned to humming as the light played. The humming stilled her conscience that he should be so willing, but she was still pleased when he emerged, stood and dusted himself off. George never seemed to feel the cold and nothing was ever too much trouble.

“Nothing,” he said. She doubted if he knew anything more about cars than she did, but allowed herself to be reassured.

She moved within three feet of him, never going closer. The sky was clear as water, dark while luminous. They pivoted together, noticed of one accord. A flickering light from the house half a mile away, nothing more than an unnatural glow.

“George,” said Janice, querulously, “what’s that?”

“She’s on fire,” George said, almost admiringly. “That silly old love is on fire.”

Author Bio:

"I grew up in rural Derbyshire, but my adult life has been spent mostly in London, with long intervals in Norfolk and Deal, all inspiring places. I was educated mostly in convent schools; then studied English and went on to qualify as a solicitor, working for what is now the Crown Prosecution Service, thus learning a bit about murder at second hand. Years later, writing became the real vocation, although the law and its ramifications still haunt me and inform many of my novels.

I’m a novelist, short story writer for magazines and radio, sometime Radio 4 contributor, (Front Row, Quote Unquote, Night Waves,) and presenter of Tales from the Stave. When I’m not working (which is as often as possible), I can be found in the nearest junk/charity shop or auction, looking for the kind of paintings which enhance my life. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, I’m relaxing by the sea with a bottle of wine and a friend or two."-Frances Fyfield

Catch Up With the Author:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review - 11/22/63 by Stephen King

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hardcover, 849 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Scribner
Source: Own copy

'If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? Would the consequences be what you hoped?

Jake Epping, 35, teaches high-school English in Lisbon Falls, Maine, and cries reading the brain-damaged janitor's story of childhood Halloween massacre by their drunken father. On his deathbed, pal Al divulges a secret portal to 1958 in his diner back pantry, and enlists Jake to prevent the 11/22/1963 Dallas assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. Under the alias George Amberson, our hero joins the cigarette-hazed full-flavored world of Elvis rock'n'roll, Negro discrimination, and freeway gas-guzzlers without seat belts. Will Jake lurk in impoverished immigrant slums beside troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald, or share small-town friendliness with beautiful high school librarian Sadie Dunhill, the love of his life?

My Thoughts:
This book is one of those that seems to stay with you for a while after reading it.

I have to say that it definitely wasn't what I was expecting when I first started it. I knew it was a bit different to the usual King books, but being a King reader for over 20 years I still guess I had a bit of a set path that I assumed it would follow. Boy, was I wrong!

In short, this book was amazing. The amount of research and detail that has gone into this book just stunned me. It also made me extremely curious about a topic that I really wasn't all that interested in before. Being Australian, the JFK assasination never had as big an impact over here than it obviously did in the USA but I now have a much greater appreciation for the conspiracy theories and stories that I have heard about this major event over the years.

The main character of 11/22/63 is Jake and I thought he was such a genuine and likeable guy who really did want to do what he thought was the best thing for his country. I really enjoyed seeing how Jake handled the time travel and adjusting to life in another era and then watching him develop as a character while even finding love along the way.

Many of the other main characters were the same. Very well developed, interesting and easily able to be imagined in the real world. King always seems to create such good characters to me and this book is no exception.

The ending was definitely not what I was expecting but after thinking about it for a little bit it really was the best option, although quite a sad one. You really feel for poor Jake by the end and all the years and effort he went through and it makes you really think about what you personally would do if given a similar opportunity and faced with the same hurdles.

King is certainly a versatile writer when he wants to be!

The Book Depository

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Blitz - Will Shakespeare and the Ships of Solomon by Christopher Grey

Will Shakespeare and the Ships of Solomon
By Christopher Grey
Publisher: Basilicus Press (February 3, 2014)
Genre: Thriller


Post-War Treasure Hunt, Old World Secrets

In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church.

With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father’s property.

The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world’s most coveted treasure.

Author Bio

Christopher Grey is an author of fiction focusing on conspiracy theories, secret societies and the occult. His special brand of storytelling dives into conspiracies and the occult from the point of view of the secret societies, attempting to dispel popular mistruths and paranoia prevalent in the mainstream.

Grey's fascination with the secret world began when he was sixteen after a chance meeting with a conspiracy theorist in a coffee shop sometime in the 1990s. The conversation with this man led Grey on a lifelong scholarly endeavor to learn about secret societies and the occult from a skeptical and secular point of view.

Over the past 15 years, he has been involved in various fraternal societies and has sought to explore the undercurrents of human civilization–to uncover the hidden histories and the forces and patterns that have designed what society has become and to demystify the hidden forces in our society that, for so long, have been vilified and misunderstood.


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