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the GreatReads! "The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story || Ursula K. Le Guin"

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Helen of Sparta
Helen of Sparta
Price: £3.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMALIA BRINGS AN AMAZING CHARACTER TO LIFE!, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Helen of Sparta (Kindle Edition)
Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella is a historical, Greek mythological and fantasy fiction, richly drenched in myth and legend which follows the story of the famous Spartan princess before she was brought to Troy, caught between her duty as Princess of Sparta and her defiance of the gods to protect all of Greece from the scourge of war.

It is hard to tell whether Princess Helen was a real person who once walked on the face of this earth or if she was merely the creation of some fertile mind, but many of us would want to believe such a person once lived, as did the Greek gods and goddesses. In writing her story, Amalia has done everything within her power and reach to make Helen of Sparta both magnificent and believable.

A book doesn't need to be believable to be dazzling and intense but Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella is solid, readable and engaging. You will appreciate Helen's journey in the story because the author has done a commendable job in researching her story, painting clear and vivid pictures of not only Helen, but also the other players in the story as well.

You will get to meet Theseus - the king of Athens and the son of both the god Poseidon and Aegeus, Acamas - the youngest son of Theseus by his second wife Phaedra, Adrastus - the king of Argos, Aegeus - the previous king of Athens, Aethra - mother of Theseus, Agamemnon - the king of Mycenae, Ajax the Great - prince of Salamis, Alcyoneus - Helen's Egyptian tutor, Antiope - the first wife of Theseus, Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty, Apollo - the sun god and of music and poetry, Artemis - Goddess of the hunt and virgins, Tyndareus - the king of Sparta and a phalanx of other Greek mythological figures.

You will love reading Helen's journey as much as you will love Amalia for bringing these amazing characters to life through the pages of her book. We may never know when these characters exactly lived or if they ever existed at all, but you will love their stories, nonetheless - of their adventure, romance, valiant feats, incredible strength, tragic lives, valor and bravery. Helen of Troy (a wealthy kingdom across the Aegean Sea) or Helen of Sparta (a landlocked city in the southeast of Peloponnese), it is the story of the character that melts into the heart of the reader and not the places where she lived.

#Received an uncorrected advanced reading e-copy from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

The Gemini Effect
The Gemini Effect
Price: £3.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Gemini Effect (Kindle Edition)
The extermination of the human race began in a salvage yard.

Under the left rear fender of what remained of a 1962 Chevrolet Nova, to be exact. A rusted shell of what was once called a Chevy II--a "Deuce" to those who loved them--built at the old Kansas City GM Leeds assembly plant during the last week of November 1961. Wagon Train was America's favourite TV show in the winter of '61. On the radio, Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" replaced Dion's "Runaround Sue" at the top of the Hit Parade. Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, and the rest of the New York Yankees had won their nineteenth World Series by beating the Cincinnati Reds 13-5 in game five. Thus begins the story...

It is difficult to say how much I like The Gemini Effect by Chuck Grossart just simply because I really can't measure it against other books. It is awesome, just so different from others. When I received ARC of the book over twenty days ago, and started on this journey through the writing of Chuck Grossart, there was no looking back. It was a wild ride, unpredictable and the author truly knows how to keep the suspense and intrigue right through to the end.

It is about biowarfare specialist Carolyn Ridenour, Colonel Garrett Hoffmann, a man who'd witnessed the slaughter of hundreds of his troops--and innocent civilians and President Andrew Smith, former Navy Admiral and battle-scarred hero, who are faced with the daunting task of saving civilization as city after city is literally eaten alive by creatures the world has never seen or known, with the military's conventional might useless. But to save themselves and others they must act and act immediately.

It had been twenty years since the war. The northern hemisphere of the planet was a desolate, uninhabitable place. Where once-great cities had stood, nothing but twisted, radioactive debris remained. Once-fertile farmland was now a sandy, charred expanse, choked of all life for thousands of years to come. All the great nations of the Prior Time had passed into history. To the south, however, other great cities were taking their place. In some cases, built by hand. Brick by brick by brick. The survivors were constructing a new world. And it looked nothing like it had before. Peace had settled over the southern hemisphere. National boundaries, some that had lasted for centuries, faded away. Monetary concerns were no more. Starvation, poverty, disease--all had passed into the pages of the history books. This was the New Time.(from the Epilogue)

The Gemini Effect by Chuck Grossart is superbly crafted with an outstanding plotline, well-developed characters, and a surprising but twisted ending, totally unexpected. If you love surprises, and would want to read something quite an unusual, this is a must-read.

#I am grateful to the author for providing me with an uncorrected advance reading copy, and during the course of which we exchanged over seventeen emails. Thank you, Chuck for the copy, and congrats for writing a brilliant story that is simply unpredictable but quite satisfying in the end.

The Fire Sermon
The Fire Sermon
by Francesca Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.50

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELECTRIFYING POST-APOCALYPTIC NOVEL!, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Fire Sermon (Hardcover)
Richly imagined, The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig is the first book in the projected The Fire Sermon trilogy. It is a futuristic post-apocalyptic book set four hundred years in the future. What makes this book strikingly different from others in its genre is its portrayal of a world without technology, the result of a devastating nuclear fire that sets the clock back hundreds of years. And it is a world where all humans are twins, another consequence of nuclear radiation. All pairs are identified as Alpha, physically fit, and Omega, those born with physical deformity and are treated cruelly.

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig is an electrifying novel with elements of fantasy and science fiction which follows twins Cass and Zach, and their struggles to survive or perish together. Zach as an Alpha is rising rapidly in the Council while Cass is determined to bring about equality. This story about twins with fatal bonds is a real piece of inspiration, and will capture the hearts and imagination of readers.

The Sin Eater's Daughter (Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy 1)
The Sin Eater's Daughter (Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy 1)
by Melinda Salisbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ORIGINAL, COMPELLING & FIERCELY GRIPPING!, 24 Feb. 2015
I received an uncorrected advance proof compliments of Scholastic Books. And before I go into what's the book is all about, first, let me share what I felt when I opened the book packet. With the title and release date on the back cover and "I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch" on the front cover, it was an unusual way of printing Uncorrected Advance Proof. I have received several hundreds of ARCs but none comes with the title at the back.

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury is a gripping story that will suck you into the world of Twylla, the main protagonist. I never expected such a dark and powerful story but this one is truly complex and different. Melinda is a gifted writer, a totally different breed, one can expect many more masterful writings from her in the future. The Sin Eater's Daughter is no ordinary debut work. It is distinctively daring and masterful, and I don't recall having read any book with a similar plot or setting before. And there is a love triangle with lots of intriguing and fascinating characters. But this is Twylla's story and she is irresistible.

Author Melinda writing is simply amazing. She crafted the story with the finesse of a long-standing author. Her brilliance and creativity makes for a compelling read. The plot twists are unexpected and the pace is simply breathtaking. You will love Twylla's story and will be immensely impressed by Melinda Salisbury's writing.

Mightier Than the Sword (Clifton Chronicles)
Mightier Than the Sword (Clifton Chronicles)
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £31.24

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ARCHER SUPERBLY BUILDS UP THE MOMENTUM!, 24 Feb. 2015
When a bomb timed to detonate at three in the morning was discovered just eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds before hand aboard MV Buckingham on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, there is a frenetic scramble as Harry Clifton, Giles Barrington, Colonel Scott-Hopkins and Sergeant Roberts raced against time to avert a massive disaster.

The Clifton Chronicles, a saga that criss-crosses continents, and one in which the lives and loves of Harry, Emma and Giles are tried and tested through friendship, betrayal, secrecy and manoeuvring continues with all the trademark twists and turns that have made the compelling and spellbinding story of the Clifton and the Barrington families Jeffrey Archer's most ambitious work to date in the fifth volume of the series, Mightier Than The Sword.

Originally planned to be the fifth and final book in The Clifton Chronicles series, Mightier Than The Sword, which is to be followed by two more volumes, is an adrenaline-fueled read with plenty of surprises dealing with the business side of the story, boardroom power struggles, politics and terrorism. True to Archer's style, it is a superb read and begins where the fourth book in the series, Be Careful What You Wish For, left off by resolving the issues surrounding the bombing of the ocean-liner. Archer also takes a look at the IRA, the Cold War and the developments in the Communist bloc, particularly in East Germany and Soviet Union, focusing on dissidents.

The courtroom drama unfolding in England and Russia are superbly portrayed. Most of the action moves between New York, Russia and England. The characters are as engaging as ever with new issues and challenges. Harry and Emma's son, Sebastian, seems to have come of age and is making his presence felt.

I think most readers will truly enjoy Mightier Than the Sword though following the saga has been quite taxing. There are some truly fascinating and endearing characters like Robert Bingham, Maurice Swann and Cedric Hardcastle. Lady Virginia Fenwick and her conniving friends Major Alex Fisher, Desmond Mellor and others proved to be worthy adversaries for Harry, Sebastian, Emma, and Giles. The commitment of Yelena to her incarcerated husband Anatoly Babakov is truly admirable. And the romance between Sebastian and Samantha Sullivan is something out of this world.

Simply put, the book begins with a bang and ends with a....! The best book in The Clifton Chronicles saga so far!

#I received an uncorrected advanced reading copy of MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD from the publisher in exchange for honest review.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2015 6:20 PM GMT

Price: £3.99

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OF BETRAYAL, MENDACITY, SHAM AND REDEMPTION!, 1 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Wreckage (Kindle Edition)
Wreckage by Emily Bleeker follows the story of Lillian Linden and Dave Hall, survivors of a plane crash, who were rescued after almost two years off a deserted island in the South Pacific. They had a harrowing and heroic story to tell, and are supposedly delighted to be reunited with their families. But there seems to be something amiss about it all. Lillian, however, is convinced that sometimes you have to lie to protect the ones you love. For the last eight months she repeated to herself that it was the right thing to do - to lie and to deceive friends and relatives, and perhaps, the whole world. And it was easy to lie. She believed that if it were harder to lie maybe she could stop, but lying was easy, much easier than telling the truth.

Genevieve Randall, a TV host with a news program, is not convinced by their stories. She is determined to get to the bottom of it. She believes that Lillian and Dave were lying. But how will she unravel the truth? And what is the truth behind the big fat lie? Will Lillian and Dave survive the scandal of lie they were telling the world if exposed? Was there any compelling reason that forces Lillian and Dave to enact the farce they eventually carried out? How will Jerry and Beth, their spouses, react if the truth ever comes out? Will it have any adverse affects on Josh and Daniel, Lillian and Dave's kids?

Author Emily Bleeker skillfully navigated through treacherous waters as she crafted a story that is most improbable but hugely impressive as a read. I love the suspense, and how it was building up with every turn of the page. Though the story revolves around the plane crash and its aftermath, there are different threads which keep one's heart pounding. Emily certainly knows how to keep the reader interested as the big picture unfolds.

#Received an uncorrected advanced reader's copy for honest review.

The Mermaid's Sister
The Mermaid's Sister
Price: £3.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FASCINATING AND MESMERIZING!, 1 Feb. 2015
Originally titled as Seashell, Stork and Apple Tree, The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble is a young adult fantasy which won the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult Fiction category. Quirky and fanciful but beautifully written, this is a superbly paced story and if you are in for a story with a happy ending, you wouldn't want to miss this.

Set in the mountains of Pennsylvania in the 1870s,The Mermaid's Sister is about seventeen-year-old Clara Amsell and her sister Maren who are the adopted daughters of Auntie Verity, a half-faerie healer woman. Clara loves her sister and her life on the mountain. She is on the verge of adulthood and blooming with life. But she has a few problems to solve: first, Clara believes that she may one day become a stork. Her second problem concerns her feelings. With age catching up on her, she begins to develop romantic feelings for her best friend O'Neill who is like a brother to her.

Clara's third and most debilitating problem concerns her sister Maren, who is slowly growing scales, and turning into a mermaid. Clara has to take decisions, and quickly. Will she let Maren die or take her to the sea? As they live in the mountains, far away from the sea, Clara must quickly take her to the sea before she dies. On the way, Clara, Maren and O'Neill encountered problems. Determined to save Maren, Clara has to fight the odds that stand in her way. Will they be able to save Maren? Has she come a mermaid? With well-developed characters and plot designed to fascinate and enthrall, author Carrie Anne Noble has done a painstaking research with a realistic setting for a fictional story with elements of magic and myth: mermaids, a pet dragon, and enchanted tea.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2015 3:31 PM GMT

The One That Got Away
The One That Got Away
Price: £3.99

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Anthony Award winner and a Crime Writers Dagger Award finalist, and a thriller writer par excellence, Simon Wood has entertained and fascinated fans with more than a dozen mystery, thriller and suspense novels, including Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, We All Fall Down, Asking For Trouble, The Fall Guy, Hot Seat and Did Not Finish. His latest offering, The One That Got Away, tops all his previous works in terms of suspense, momentum, thrill, and drama.

ZoŽ and Holli had driven hundreds of miles across state lines from the Bay Area to Vegas, hoping to enjoy themselves. Once they got to Vegas, they threw off the grad-student respectability and gambled, drank, and partied. And when ZoŽ comes to her senses, she was tied up in a shed and Holli’s scream of pain renting the night air. When ZoŽ manages to untangle herself, and knew it was suicidal to attempt to save her friend, she made a dash for safety but not before hearing Holli screamed, “No, no, no. Help me, ZoŽ!”

Holli’s scream for help haunted ZoŽ, and author Simon Wood crafted an unsettling story of guilt hovering over her, forcing ZoŽ to return to the scene of the nightmare of a year ago to seek justice for Holli and piece together the jigsaw puzzles that threaten to stay with her the rest of her life. The One That Got Away by Simon Wood is a breathtaking suspense mystery thriller, furiously paced designed to keep one hooked from start to finish as the main protagonist is on the trail of a psychopath. In ZoŽ, Simon Wood has created a stunning character who is vulnerable yet determined, a character who will endear with most readers.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2015 11:52 AM GMT

Guardians of the Night (A Gideon and Sirius Novel Book 2)
Guardians of the Night (A Gideon and Sirius Novel Book 2)
Price: £3.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPERBLY WRITTEN, COLOURFUL CHARACTERS!, 6 Dec. 2014
Guardians of the Night by Alan Russell is the riveting sequel to the bestselling novel Burning Man, and marks the return of Detective Michael Gideon and his German shepherd partner Sirius enmeshed in a strange and bizarre case, unlike anything they have ever encountered before. In a tale stranger than fiction, a homeless man reportedly witnessed what he believed to be the murder of an angel.

Gideon and his partner Sirius care called upon to investigate the baffling case. Reluctantly the duo set off to investigate the case. Their halfhearted investigation soon turns more bizarre with the death of the homeless man. Now it is up to Gideon and Sirius to make sense of the strange murders and establish the identity of the man referred to as “the Reluctant Hero.”

Author Alan Russell has written an engrossing novel that is both awesome and delightful. While the story in itself is both amazing and incredulous, mixing mystery with suspense and thriller brilliantly. Guardians of the Night borders on science fiction while it is a crime thriller with a lot of suspense and mystery thrown in. Alan Russell’s passion is contagious and many readers will find this book difficult to put down.

by Stephen King
Edition: MP3 CD

5.0 out of 5 stars REVIVAL WILL ROCK YOU TO YOUR BONES!, 7 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Revival (MP3 CD)
Stephen King's Revival will rock you to your bones! Yes, you heard me right. This period piece set in the mid-20th century about faith and addiction is so petrifying that author Stephen King was quoted as saying, "It's too scary. I don't even want to think about that book anymore. It's a nasty, dark piece of work. That's all I can tell you." For fans who have missed his trademark spine-chilling harrowing tales with the sedate Mr. Mercedes: A Novel which was more in the mold of a thriller than a horror novel, Revival marks a triumphant return to a genre which is almost synonymous with his name.

Revival by Stephen King is the story of Jamie Morton and Reverend Charles Jacobs, whose lives disturbingly interlock, with serious consequences, for fifty long years. Jamie was only six years old when the Reverend Charles Jacobs with his beautiful wife Patsy and infant baby first set foot in the sleepy hamlet. Like most people in the small Methodist congregation, Jamie quickly bonds with the Minister and his family. Jamie and Jacobs share a lot of things in common, but electronics was their abiding passion. Things seem to be going great for everyone.

Though the Reverend Jacobs is an affable man: well-loved and adored, everything he stands for crumbles under the weight of grief and fury, transforming even his very own life. A gruesome car accident claimed the lives of his wife Patsy and their child, leaving Jacobs devastated. The horror of the accident left an indelible mark on Jacobs. He begins to question his faith and the very purpose of his existence, and buries himself in the pursuit of his hobby - electrical experimentation to tap into the secrets of the universe which is "one of God's doorways to the infinite." Physically and emotionally exhausted, Jacobs's harsh experience drained him of all his faith and belief in God prompting him to give a fiery sermon which would have made an atheist hang his head in shame. He was sacked and asked to leave town.

At the other end, Jamie grows up to be a rhythm guitarist but in a whirlpool of drugs, sex and rock `n' roll, traveling and performing all over. He's no longer the devoted Methodist youth that he once was. He has matured over the years and has become a skeptic. A chance reunion with Jacobs at his electricity-based carnival act sparks off a chain of events which take both Jamie and Jacobs to the edge. Jacobs too is no longer the amiable minister that he once was. He has been transformed almost beyond recognition - a frenzied man intent on unearthing secrets which are beyond the realms of humanity. Jacobs heals people with the electrical inventions he has made but Jamie discovers that there are more to it than meets the eye.

In Revival, horror master Stephen King crafted a tale of two men brought together by faith, separated by tragedy and reunited by their obstinate passion for the extraordinary. It is an unsettling story of a man driven by an unquenchable passion and a scientific curiosity that borders on madness. It is a spellbinding supernatural thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat with the frightening portrayal of its main characters and the suspenseful plot which will leave even long-time fans gasping for breath. Revival by Stephen King is designed to rock you to your bones.

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