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jrbarker

JRBarker101

I blog about my upcoming releases, all sorts of other books, and other bits of fluff from my mind. I also have a passion for wildlife and the environment. Every now and then I also share poems and stories.

Currently reading

The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Necromancer Awakening - Nat Russo

I wasn't sure why I wanted to read this but something about it drew me in, perhaps it was the title, perhaps instinct. Whatever it was I'm glad it did.
I will definitely be reading the next one and it most definitely a recommended read.

Read it, read it now!

Blind Sight - Nicole Storey

I received this book in return for an honest review.

This has to be one of the best stories I've read in a long while.

Where the worlds of angels and demons collide, humans are stuck in the middle.

One family in particular feels the pressures pouring in from both sides; ordered around by arrogant, and often sociopathic angels and hunted by tricky demons that seem to be behaving strangely civilly, this family has more history and heartache on its shoulders than most.

In this family survives a vibrant and, lets face it, kick ass young girl called Jordan.

Jordan is a girl like no other, possessed with a 'gift' that others see as valuable she is kept 'safe' and is unintentionally isolated from what's left of her family.

Things change when a particularly nasty demon comes to town and Jordan is allowed to help, but things don't quite go according to plan.
Now a family history that has always been tumultuous is about to boil over and spill secrets that could potentially tear the fragile little family apart indefinitely.

Oh, and then there is of course the demon to deal with.

A Kitty Good Read

Kiwi's Christmas Tail (Kiwi Series) - Vickie Johnstone

This is book six trust me to start near the end!

Luckily for me this one can be read as a standalone.
Whether you love cats, children's stories, hearty christmas tales or all three I recommend this book to you.

Whether it's christmas or not this book is guaranteed to put you in the yule tide spirit.

It was like the literary equivalent of drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.

Kiwi's Christmas Tail was kitty good!

Purely Paranormal

Purely Paranormal - Patti Larsen

I left a review for each these books in their appropriate titles on Amazon and GoodReads.


Now to sum up the collection.
I loved all the stories, I want to follow up on the Auberdeen and Sydlynn Hayle stories, Clone 3 is also intriguing.
Not sure about Fresco and Run I like them, but not as much as the others.
All in all a good introduction to the paranormal worlds of Patti Larsen’s books.
Would recommend to anyone who is unsure of where to start in Patti Larson's paranormal series.

 

 

The Zombie Chronicles Get 3.5 Cups of Tea!

The Zombie Chronicles - Book 2 (Apocalypse Infection Unleashed Series) - Chrissy Peebles

This is now my second Zombie book and, although I liked the story,  I don’t think I’ll be picking up another zombie book in a hurry.
It turns out that zombies just don’t tickle my literary fancy but hey, you gotta try these things right?

 

I shall review this one based on plot, readability, writing skill and characters.

The story starts with a happy couple on their first date and, within the first chapter, everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
Zombies come out the woodwork and people are forced to flee, the survivors manage to hole themselves up on a series of nice safe islands.
It's  safe for all but  a group of siblings, who crash land into zombieland with a potential cure that they were supposed to be taking for analysis on another island, and an infected girl who they can't bring themselves to kill because *spoilers*.
Trapped in zombieland they are set upon by many hoards of, you guessed it, zombies.
There are some nice subplots and a few twists and turns, which I won’t discuss until you have read it yourselves!
It was a superbly action orientated story. The cause of the outbreak isn’t known at this point, but it is a mutating virus, which means it effects everyone at different rates and spreads in multiple ways.
So storyline and readability has a big fat check next to it.

Writing- the writing style and description was pretty good.  I felt like I was there struggling through with them, I bought into their situation, the action scenes were faultless and the zombies were portrayed really well. Nasty little blighters that they are.
On to the peoples! The older brother and sister were pretty cool characters but some of the motley crew felt a bit false to me. At the beginning they were supposed to be but by the end I still hadn't bought into them as people; they didn't seem to develop believably.
There was also a irk on the romance side of things, everyone got paired off, which was odd because two of the characters had to undergo a little personality surgery to make it work.  It felt like they’d been put together because they were both good looking and therefore why not?

It's written that they came together by circumstance, but I just didn't feel it.
I would like to see how this series pans out, the end of this book ended on a cliffhanger good enough to make me want to grab the next book.

However, I don't think I'll be looking out for any other zombie books. Not because I didn't like this story, but because I find zombies dull.

 

Tea Verdict?

3.5 cups of tea, the extra half star was lost on the romance and secondary characters.

 

TeaTeaTea

 

Judge a Book by its Cover- The Zombie Chronicles

The Zombie Chronicles - Book 2 (Apocalypse Infection Unleashed Series) - Chrissy Peebles

Hi folks,

It’s pretty obvious that this one is about zombies, but what else can you guess from this cover?

Begin the banter in the comments below and I shall post the review this coming Friday!

 

Keep Ponies off the Menu!

The Plight of the Dartmoor Pony

 

A few years ago I made a documentary with my other half about Dartmoor‬ Pony‬ Conservation. (You can see it by clicking on the link above)

Dartmoor ponies have been in decline since they ceased to be used as work horses in the mines of Dartmoor. Their numbers have dropped even further since their use as riding ponies has fallen out of fashion.

When we made this documentary a charity called the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust were making headway and were slowly bringing these iconic animals back into popularity.

Our little video went out across the globe and the Dartmoor Pony became famous and the charity flourished.

Today we heard that some pony owners are giving up and starting to sell these beautiful creatures for sausage meat. Our conservation video is up online for anyone who wants to see it.

Please help keep these beautiful ponies off the menu!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28465981

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAPOPg5smuY

The Night Circus gets 3 Cups of Tea

I had been looking forward to reading this for aaages, so whether this factored in how disappointing I found it, I don’t know.

I had to nibble away at this book, chapter by chapter.

Every time I got into a scene I got whisked away somewhere else, I was never allowed to settle, after a while this got wearying, then boring.

The premise was intriguing, the cover was enticing, the plot was there, even the writing skills and descriptions were there, but because it dotted around so much I just found myself distracted by almost anything that wasn’t the story.

You never got to hang around any of the characters long enough to connect, large sections of the story could be condensed into, “ this was added to the circus, isn’t it pretty?”

I can describe this book in one four letter word, “nice”, the characters were intriguing, but not enough to save the book, the storyline was o.k, but it could have been spectacular.

And that’s the rub, it could have been spectacular, if it had been laid out in a more linear fashion, if the author stuck to one scene for more than a few pages at a time, if we’d gotten to know the characters under the skin as well as outfits they wore and the circus they worked in.

I liked how it ended, it didn’t need a big flashy finish, but the journey to get to the end felt like a mirage, all glitz and glamour and no substance.

Perhaps if I’d read it in another time and place maybe it would be something more than it was, but I read it here and now and it simply felt flat.

It gets three cups because I’m haunted by the story it could have been.

TeaTeaTea

 

 

 

 

The Night Circus image is an affiliate link, which means that if you buy it I’ll get a portion of the proceeds.
Source: http://www.jrbarker.info/the-night-circus-gets-3-cups-of-tea

Ty the Bull (The ultimate anti-bullying book)

Ty the Bull - Brenda Perlin, K.D. Emerson, Rex Baughman

I’m finding it hard to write this review as it’s such a personal tale. It’s based loosely on experiences of Rex, the young man who illustrated this book and  who has found himself the victim of bullies.

He has bravely rallied round to speak out in the hopes of reaching out to others.

If only for that reason this book deserves all the stars available.

This tale follows a young boy named Ty, I think many will be able to get behind the plight of young Ty, who could never figure out what made him so different to all the other kids.

This is a very short but very poignant tale.  Anyone who has been bullied or knows someone who is being bullied should read this as a reminder that you’re not alone and it can get better.

Moving away from the message of the book I think this is well written and, considering it’s length, it’s a well rounded tale.

Adults and children will enjoy this, and they already have.

 

I award this Five Cups of Tea!

Cool kiddies yoga book!

Hello Bali: A Kids Yoga Island Adventure Book - Giselle Shardlow, Emily Gedzyk

I received this in return for an honest review.

I loved everything about this; the bright and beautiful pictures, the easy to follow yoga stances, the animals and the storyline.

It follows a Anamika; a young girl who goes on holiday with her family to Bali. The author cleverly uses the things Anamika sees there to help teach young children simple yoga poses.

Not only that but it also teaches a few Indonesian phrases and includes an instruction manual for adults on how to get the best out of the book. 

I would recommend as an educational and fun activity book for young tots and older children too.

Amazing World building.

The Whale Whisperers of Ensorclea (The Whale Whisperers Saga) - Ed Drury, Nancy Lee Parish

This was one of those books that took you on a journey. Before I knew it I was half way through.
I was introduced to a whole new world with ease and skill. Ed Drury is very rare in that he is able to create a believable world, people and history without info dumping.

The world felt so real it left me feeling that I could visit it and I feel slightly disappointed that I can't.
The story follows two races; one a peace loving tribe, who commune with their 'ancestors' and live from what nature provides, the other a sprawling and materialistic empire that is now slowly sinking into decay.

When internal struggles and a quiet war strikes the empire the two worlds collide.

In an interesting twist it is the empire that has to seek help from tribesman, but can the two worlds integrate or see eye to eye?
There are many rumblings and struggles in this book that are very subtle yet very compelling.
I look forward to reading more and learning more about the tribesmen, specifically Tsabai and Rawrk.

Neverwhere is Amazing!

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

’ve been wanting to read something by Neil Gaiman for a long time but never got round to it.

I decided to start with Neverwhere and was not disappointed.

I think I’ve found a new favourite author. It was the right mixture of compelling, exciting and graphic.

Neil very cleverly takes the well known London above and warps it into something dark and intriguing.

I don’t think there was a character or chapter that wasn’t compelling, gripping, and terrifyingly real.

As a result I’m going to keep this review short or it could end up being very long and gushing.

Suffice it to say you’ll never look at London the same way again, or any city for that matter, for who knows what lurks beneath?



I award this book Five Cups of Tea

Clone 3 Review

Clone Three - Patti Larsen

What can I say about Clone 3? The story, the concept, the characters. All check.

Meet Clone 3, AKA Trio, she doesn’t know who she is, where she is, or how she got there.

All she knows is she’s woken up in a dystopian world full of children, who fight to survive, in a world without adults and dwindling resources.

Add to that there are groups of children who seem to have been mutated into terrifying creatures by a deadly virus called the sick.

So what’s a girl to do when she find herself in this world, but follow her instincts?

I have to say that I will be reading the next in this series, I can’t wait to see how it unravels, I loved all the characters and the detail of this book. I could clearly picture every character and really got to know them and root for them.

The only thing I’m uncertain about is Clone 3’s age. I imagined her to be the only woman in a world full of kids, but Spoiler (she ends up kissing one of the older kids.)

That span me out no end. End Spoiler.

Also every time Trio found herself in dire straits I kept thinking she was more than capable of kicking her way out. She often did, but there were a few times she refrained for no apparent reason.

Family Magic Review

Family Magic (The Hayle Coven Novels: Book One) - Patti Larsen

Family magic follows a teenage girl called Sydlyn Hayle.

Syd could be a normal teenage girl if she didn’t try so hard to fit in, but when you’re mother’s leader of a coven, your father is a demon and your little sister looks like one in her down time, normal just doesn’t seem to work out.

We follow Syd, the reluctant witch, as she steadfastly refuses to use her magic and makes every attempt to break out of the coven. Unfortunately for Syd she soon finds that her reluctance in using magic means that as her powers grow so does her lack of control. To make matters worse she can’t seem to have a conversation with her mother without having raging arguments that put the whole family on edge.

Every aspect of her life seems to be dominated by her smothering coven and Syd find herself losing her temper and her control far too often.

When an evil force infiltrates the coven she is dragged into the dispute and her family is implicated Syd finds herself having to learn to control her powers and her anger.

But there is something different about Syd’s magic, something that scares even her demon father, and despite the need for Syd to take control of herself and her powers she is constantly waging a war between using her magic and bottling it up.

I really got into the head of Syd and couldn’t help but be carried away with her tempestuous temper.

The Collapsium Review

The Collapsium - Wil McCarthy

The first half was a bit of a merry go-round of a story. It seemed to go round in circles going nowhere.

Problem occurs, help sought, problem fixed.

The problem- the Collapsium, a highly dangerous project that will put a ring of crystals, composed of tiny black holes, around the sun that would increase the efficiency of transferring data and people.

The Collapsium comes into danger of falling into the sun a handful of times, and seems to be fixed by ideas that come from the brain of one Bruno de Towaji.

Sounds exciting, but it's not. He fixes it largely by staring into space, grumbling a bit, making a fool of himself at parties, and then coming up with a brilliant this'll fix it speech before disappearing off to his own little planet to work.

That's the first half of the book, poss more.

If you can get beyond that that's where things get good.

The Collapsium's problems are not an accident at all, but and act of malicious intent, but who could possibly benefit from destroying the Queendom and everything in it?

Well, those would be called spoilers.

 

I award this four cups of tea.

Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews: