Monday, November 30, 2015

Highly Recommended Read - Regina Shen: Resilience by Lance Erlick

Regina Shen: Resilience (Regina Shen book 1)Regina Shen: Resilience by Lance Erlick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn't put this fast-paced book down! The best way I can describe it is kind of like Hunger Games combined with Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a little sci fi thrown in. Great characters with strong personalities, descriptions that put the reader into the swamps with the main character Regina, and enough danger to get your blood pumping. It's probably one of the best books I've read in 2015! Highly recommended!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Guest Post: Buying Islamic Books

**** This is a guest blog post. The views in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Author Jess. ****

If you practice the religion of Islam, or if you have a keen interest in the religion itself, you would be well placed to learn more through the use of Islamic books and Arabic text.
Islamic books can be purchased across the world from a variety of sources including Islamic bookstores and online, and they can cater for a wide range of individuals.  You can also buy Islamic books for children to assist with their learning as they grow up.
Let’s look firstly at how you can find books related to Islam online…..
If you go onto any internet search engine of your choice, you can find books related to Islam by simply typing in any of the following key words:
  • Islamic Books, Arabic Text, Islamic Books Online, Islamic Books for Kids, Arabic Books, Islamic Book, Islam Book
and once you hit enter you will have a range of different options available to you to browse and potentially purchase depending on your thoughts and needs.
While it might be a common misconception, the fact remains that a lot of people feel that Islamic books are only published for people practising the religion of Islam.  This, however, is wrong.  Islam books can be utilised by absolutely anyone that feels they would like to read them, and they are designed to help you understand the religions and beliefs of the religion further.  What’s more is that a lot of Islamic book shops will stock a variety of texts that have been translated which means you can also pick one up to read even if you can’t read or speak Arabic, so there is no reason for you not to pick one up.
As previously touched upon, children are not left out either – Islamic bookstores and online stores even stock Arabic / Islamic texts for kids, and these books will play a big part in their education from the very first time they hear / read the text.  Books for both children and adults will provide continued learning on Islam and will open your eyes to things you may not have known before.
For those who are still wondering and asking themselves what the benefits of Arabic and Islamic books are then please read on….
  1. Arabic and Islamic books are very educational, allowing a person to delve deeper into their interest or religion to gain a better understanding and help them live their life according to their religious beliefs.
  2. They can be distributed out to different places to assist with education amongst groups of people too.  You will more than likely come across a range of Islamic and Arabic texts for people of all ages in the following places:  Research Organisations, Independent Scholar Libraries, Mosque Libraries, Large Academic Institutions, and Religious Seminaries.
  3. Arab literature has never been more energetic or varied than today – This means that you can select from the widest range of Islamic and Arabic texts that has been around in recent times with each piece detailing different eras and episodes of history.
  4. It promotes the engaging of people in both the Western and Arab worlds to ensure that we are together as one in life.
Arabic and Islamic texts are written by numerous authors, and there are more and more appearing now.  They each have their own insight into the world of Islam based on their experiences in life, and they are an interesting read because depending on the stage of life the author is at this decides on what you are getting.  For the older authors, you will more than likely come across readings that are reflecting on the era they were involved in and are now leaving to move into a new one.  You will receive a look back into the past to see what life has been like through the author’s eyes and storytelling skills.  For books that are authored by younger types, you will most likely be reading about their life so far with religion and look into the future to see what might be.
All in all, Islamic / Arabic books prove beneficial to a great deal of people, and have an audience all over the world, so if you want to expand your knowledge further, or if you want a change of scenery reading something new, then look no further.
If you’ve never been to an Islamic bookstore before, please do.  You will be welcomed with open arms and a calm, serene setting allowing you to relax and browse throughout the store with an open mind and nothing to worry about.
One place worth a visit should you be in or around London is the Arabic Books London Bookstore who can be found at 203 High Street, Harlesden, London, NW10 4TE or or on Amazon’s bookstore.  If you are nowhere near this location, look around your local area for other Arabic bookstores to meet your needs.
If you like to read about history, heritage, culture, and religion, or indeed any of those subjects mentioned, then where better to start than with an Islamic / Arabic text which is available for both kids and adults.

For more information on where to purchase these writings from, please visit the internet where you will find a variety of reputable Arabic and Islam book sellers and stores that are local to your area.  You will also find a variety of online shops on reputable sites including Amazon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Recommended Read - The Rebel Trap by Lance Erlick

The Rebel Trap (Rebel, #2)The Rebel Trap by Lance Erlick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I loved about this book - I loved the strong female lead, and the cast of characters was interesting. There is a good pace to the novel, with a compelling storyline.
What I didn't love - Somehow I ended up reading this book without having read the first book in the series, which slowed me down a little! I received the book from the author but must not have checked to see if I needed to read another book before this one.

Overall, great read and I need to see about reading the first one eventually! ;)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Flop - Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

Life and Death: Twilight ReimaginedLife and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I heard that Stephenie Meyer was releasing a gender-swapped Twilight book, I was curious and a little excited that maybe she fixed one of my biggest problems with her original series - namely, that Bella was a whiny little twit who goes against every feminist ideal. Don't get me wrong - I still devoured her series, they were the books I hated to love and loved to hate. But the idea that a 17 year old was ready to settle down with someone, who happened to be her very first boyfriend, and not just for life but for ETERNITY... well... it just made me sad.

Getting this "book" sucked, because it is only available if you repurchase the first book in the series but with the "bonus" flipbook. Thankfully the library had me covered, because it's lame to make someone repurchase one of your books in order to get your latest book.

Those issues aside, reading the book was kind of cringe-worthy, but still something that is an admirable undertaking for any author. Some of the characters were a little more interesting (like Dr. Cullen), but most still seemed a bit awkward as the other gender. And sadly, there were still many instances that my feminist side couldn't help but cringe - do you really have to play on sterotypes? I thought this story was to put to rest the idea that you weren't trying to be anti-feminist?

Overall - while I love the idea of taking a story and doing a gender swap to showcase that a good story can be a good story no matter if a character is female or male, this didn't really do it for me. I DID enjoy the new ending, though, even though it was a bit under-developed.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Sorta Recommended Read - Forgotten by Linda Hervieux

Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at WarForgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at War by Linda Hervieux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is an in-depth look at the pervasive race discrimination in the American military during the World Wars, and provides the tales of some of the young black men involved in the D-Day attack. These men were extraordinarily resilient and brave heroes, and few received any of the honors that they were due. My only complaint is that there wasn't as much focus on the men as on the general racist climate, but overall this was still an original look at Barrage Balloon Battalions and their impact on D-Day.

I received an Advance Review Copy of this book.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Recommended Read: I Could by E.B. Tatby

I Could: I Wish Series, Book 2I Could: I Wish Series, Book 2 by E B Tatby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second book of the series takes things up a notch - our heroine Kenza finds herself working with an enemy, with her camp dreams on the line. Mazin's back and causing trouble. Her relationship gets complicated. And did I mention superpowers?
Overall, this is a fantastic second book, with a much more cohesive storyline and character development that really works. There are still a few areas where it gets a little scattered, but it's still a fun and unique read in the YA genre.
I read a pre-release copy, so there might be a few tiny revisions and changes, but it was still great and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series when they become available!

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Sorta Recommended Read - I Wish... by E.B. Tatby

I WishI Wish by E.B. Tatby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ADORE supporting local authors, so when I stumbled upon this author at a local event in Omaha I couldn't resist trying out her books!
This first book of the series introduces us to Kenza and her Moroccan heritage mixed with Midwestern sensibility. The action starts immediately when we find out that Kenza is tied to a jinn from her family's past and she suddenly finds herself working against a great evil.
It took some work to get used to the spelling of "jinn" rather than "djinn" as I have usually seen, and the story did jump around quite a bit. It could have benefited from a bit more focus and several more chapters to really develop a more cohesive feel. However, the characters were fun and easy to visualize and there were some great original ideas that you don't always find in the YA genre. I enjoyed the mix of old myths with new technology, and of course liked the references to my home city though they were a teensy bit overdone.
Overall - a very solid read! And definitely one you should check out, because I received an advance copy of the second book and it is even better. ;)

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