Sunday, 2 December 2018

Book Review: James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation (Middle Grade)

                          James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation
 by
 Colm McElwain 
  
 

Publisher: Self Published
Publication date: 1st November 2018
Series: James Clyde Book #2
Pages: 352
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Copy courtesy of the author

 

Picking up shortly after the events of the first adventure, James Clyde returns with his best friends Ben and Mary Forester to his grandfather’s house in search of a map that will lead them to the Tomb of Salvation – an ancient shrine, where the three diamonds of Orchestra must be returned with the promise of immortality.

James and his company of adventurers journey through treacherous lands fraught with danger and meet many obstacles along the way – dangerous assassins on board a train, the dastardly Gilbert, also known as the ‘man in black’, and even an unlikely encounter with a fabled lake monster.

If they reach the Tomb of Salvation, James knows they will then face their greatest threat, for the tomb is said to be home to a terrifying demon – an entity that has shown no mercy to anyone who has ever entered its lair.

 
James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation is the second book in the James Clyde series and follows straight on from book one, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra. You really need to read the first book in the series to get the most from this story.

James and his group of friends must reach the Tomb of Salvation before the evil Queen Abigail. The first to drink from the cup of salvation will receive ultimate power and everlasting life.
In the first book we learn that James has the power to fly and Mary has the power to heal but we are left in the dark as to Ben’s power. In this book we find out Ben’s talent bestowed on him by the diamond. The story is told in both James and Abigail’s POV.
The writing is uncomplicated and the short chapters are perfectly suited to children aged 7 – 11 years. There is lots of light-hearted banter and enough danger and adventure to keep readers turning the pages.

The kids, in the story, act like kids; they laugh a lot, make silly jokes, get scared at times but always venture on. They treat the whole thing like a big adventure, relishing time away from the adults. The adults, unsuccessfully, try to rein the kids in and tell them what to do but generally know that they are capable.

McElwain includes themes of working together, problem solving and decision making culminating in the ultimate question; is power more important than friendship?

The second novel in the James Clyde series will lead you on an action-packed adventure full of mystery, suspense, danger, hope – and, yes, salvation.

I highly recommend this series to Middle Grade readers.


My Rating    4.5/5                   🌟🌟🌟🌟.5 

watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/7V_x8JLJRT0
 
 
photo courtesy of Goodreads




Colm was raised and educated in Monaghan, Ireland. He is a Physical Education and Business teacher and likes reading books, watching films and playing sport.                                                      He has always loved storytelling, whether through literature or film. James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra is his first novel and brings a very fulfilling creative experience spanning a number of years to an end.   

You can connect with the author at the following sites:

Goodreads  ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  


 
 

Friday, 30 November 2018

What's arrived in the Burgeoning Bookshelf's Mailbox in November



Books that have arrived in my mailbox during November and what I'm excited about reading next



 Back cover blurb

Picking up shortly after the events of the first adventure, James Clyde returns with his best friends Ben and Mary Forester to his grandfather’s house in search of a map that will lead them to the Tomb of Salvation – an ancient shrine, where the three diamonds of Orchestra must be returned with the promise of immortality.

James and his company of adventurers journey through treacherous lands fraught with danger and meet many obstacles along the way – dangerous assassins on board a train, the dastardly Gilbert, also known as the ‘man in black’, and even an unlikely encounter with a fabled lake monster.

If they reach the Tomb of Salvation, James knows they will then face their greatest threat, for the tomb is said to be home to a terrifying demon – an entity that has shown no mercy to anyone who has ever entered its lair.

The second novel in the James Clyde series will lead you on an action-packed adventure full of mystery, suspense, danger, hope – and, yes, salvation.


 Back cover blurb

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the TerezΓ­n ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.


 Back cover blurb

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn't what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .


Back cover blurb
 
Morton Hall, with its beautiful, ruined grounds and its reclusive mistress, Emilia Morton, is full of mysteries. For freelance editor Anne Marie, the wild garden has become a serene and secret refuge from her loveless marriage. The only other regular visitor is Cape, the hall’s part-time gardener, who is forbidden to tend to anything except the magnificent maze or to meet his enigmatic employer.

When Emilia dies, Cape and Anne Marie are astonished to find themselves among an unlikely group of villagers named in her strange will. Morton Hall, including its dazzling art collection and once glorious grounds, can belong to the community forever, but only if they work together to bring the garden back to life within a single year.

As they try to put their differences aside to restore the tangled grounds, long-buried secrets are unearthed. Can the past be forgiven as hope and new love begin to bloom?


Back cover blurb
 
 Sometimes a girl just has to do what’s in her heart …

By day Miles Franklin, named after the famous author, is a successful lawyer. But by night she writes historical romance novels under the pen name Emma Browning. When Miles’s assistant covertly enters her boss's novel in one of Australia’s biggest literary awards—and it wins—Miles’s perfectly ordered world is torn apart.

Lars Kristensen smells a rat. As the CEO of Iconic International, the company publishing Miles’s prize-winning novel, he’s determined to meet the author and uncover her true identity. But Miles is equally determined to protect her privacy—and to keep writing. Even if it means mastering pole dancing, and choreographing a love scene in the back of a horse-drawn carriage … Well, she is a romance writer, after all.

Miles has the grit to keep her secret, but Lars has the smouldering looks and arrogance of any romantic hero she has ever imagined.

Hmm. Sometimes a girl just has to turn the page …
 


Back cover blurb
 
WYATT: MASTER THEIF
Some people just work better alone. Wyatt's one of them.

He's been getting by on nice quiet burglaries - one man jobs - when he gets wind of something bigger. A corporate crook, notorious Ponzi schemer, set to face court and certain  jail time. About to skip bail the old fashioned way, on a luxury yacht with a million dollars in liquid assets.

To Wyatt it sounds like something he should get into.
He's not alone.

 Back cover blurb

 On the outside, Tena’s childhood looked like a fairytale. Her father was one of the richest men in the state; her mother was a regal beauty. The family lived on a sprawling farm and had the only swimming pool in town; Tena was given her first car—a royal blue Camaro—at twelve. 

Behind closed doors, her parents' marriage was a swamp of alcohol, rampant infidelity and guns. Adding to the turmoil, Tena understood from a very young age that she was different from her sisters, all  beauty queens and majorettes. She didn't want to be a majorette - she wanted to marry one.

On Tena's tenth birthday, her mother walked out on her father for good and Tena was left in the care of her black nanny, Virgie, who became Tena's surrogate mother and confidante - even though she was raising nine of her own children.

It was Virgie's acceptance and unconditional love that gave Tena the courage to stand up to her domineering father, the faith the believe in her mother's love, and the strength to challenge the bigotry that defined her world and to be her true self.

 Back cover blurb
A cruise – no matter how magical – can't change your life. Can it…?

Clever, charming dressmaker Ketty Clift is embarking on her final cruise from Sydney before she must make serious changes in her life. Supported by the ship's all–powerful maitre d' Carlos, she has a mission: transform the lives of those who join her at her dining table every evening. Not only can Ketty turn Cinderellas into princesses with her legendary style–eye, but she has a gift for bringing people together.

But this trip is different. As the glamour and indulgence of the cruise takes hold, and the ship sails further away from Sydney towards the Pacific Islands, it becomes clear that her fellow travellers – a troubled family, a grieving widower and an angry divorcee determined to wreak revenge on her ex – are going to be harder work than usual.

As Ketty tries to deal with her own problems, including the unexpected arrival on board of her long–lost love, Leo – the man who broke her heart – as well as troubling news from home, she begins to realise this might be the one cruise that defeats her…


Back cover blurb
Ten terrible dinosaurs standing in a line, soon began to mess about until there were....nine!

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, a lively counting book first published in 1997 and now reissued.



Back cover blurb
A celebratory edition of this classic book, now twenty-five years old and never out of print.

originally published in 1994, Dinosaur Roar! by Henrietta and Paul Strickland is now seen as a modern classic, a book every preschool child will love.


 What's arrived in my inbox during November

Back cover blurb
Magic is real, Thomas. No matter what happens, always remember that magic is real.

Seven years have passed, and Thomas hasn't forgotten. He hasn't forgotten the blue of his dad's eyes either, or the tickle of beard on his cheek as they hugged goodbye. Last moments with a parent are memorable, even if you don't know that's what you're having at the time.

Now, with his 13th birthday rapidly approaching, Thomas's search for magic is about to take a radical and unexpected turn. At an out-of-the-way shop filled with dusty leather books, a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes offers him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows. The price is high and the rules are strict, but there's no way Thomas can resist the chance to look inside.

With the mysterious book guiding the way, a strange new world is revealed – a world in which Thomas has a name and destiny far more extraordinary than he ever imagined. But time is short. Even as Thomas uncovers his secret family history, enemies emerge, threatening to end his rise to power and destroy everything he holds dear.


Back cover blurb
TILL DEATH DO US PART. When Jake Adams uttered those words to his wife, Stephanie, he had an entirely different intention in mind. Industrious, determined, dedicated, devoted to his wife and children, he plans to give her, and them, the world. What Jake lacked in education, he made up for with willingness to learn and work hard so as to reap the rewards. In the end, it paid off—or so he believed. Stephanie should have been happy. And after all they went through together—the scares, dares, jobs, babies, successes, failures, lovers, separations, and second chances, why isn’t she content? What will it take? What is it that she wants him to do? As he struggles to discern truth from lies, it becomes a matter of being dead wrong or dead right. Find out who gets what’s deserved in this latest novel of emotional twists and turns by Nesly Clerge.

Back cover blurb 
A warm and witty multi-generational romantic comedy, set in a coastal Australian farming community, from international bestselling romance author Marion Lennox. Dr Jennifer Kelly has reached the pinnacle of her career as a successful Manhattan obstetrician, complete with ambitious, blue-blooded fianc�. After a desolate childhood with a distant grandmother, life seems everything she's ever wanted.

When a grandfather she's never heard of leaves her a dairy farm on an isolated Australian island - plus one depressed dog, thirty geriatric cows and a bunch of ancient surfboards - she plans a quick trip to put the farm up for sale. Her aloof, socialite grandmother Muriel is appalled, yet insists on accompanying her.

Once there, Jenny finds herself caught, by cows, by turtles - and by Jack McLachlan, the overworked island doctor who desperately needs her help. Muriel's caught too, with ghosts of her wartime past threatening to crack the shell she's built with such dedication and care.

But isn't Manhattan their home? How can two women give up the perfect world they've worked so hard for by taking a chance on...life?
 
 
 


 What am I really looking forward to reading? This is going to be a hard pick as I am keeping myself down to three 'I can't wait to get my hands on it' books. 

Southern Discomfort - I don't read many memoirs but I like the sound of this as Tena overcomes adversity and finds her true self.

Kill Shot - I haven't read Garry Disher before and this is book 9 in the Wyatt series so I'm hoping I will love it so I'll have another 8 great books to look forward to.

The Ruin of Kings - When I saw the words epic and fantasy in the description of this book I was sold immediately. This one isn't out until February 2019 so look out for my review.

I've already read James Clyde and the Tomb of Salvation and On the Same Page so those two reviews we be posted soon  




Anything here that takes your fancy? I'd love to know what is on your must-read list for December.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Book Review: The Winter Soldier (Historical Fiction)

                                      The Winter Soldier
                                                   by 
                                          Daniel Mason




Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia 
Publication Date: 25th September 2018
RRP: $29.99
Pages: 352
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher

From the bestselling author of The Piano Tuner, comes Daniel Mason's The Winter Soldier, a story of love and medicine through the devastation of the First World War.

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.
But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon’s scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient and nurse forever.

From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and, finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.





This is my favourite type of Historical Fiction. Stories that follow ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events during the war. Be they doctors, soldiers, nurses or civilians, everyone has a story that needs telling.

This story follows Lucius Krzelewski, from a well-off Austrian family, through his years of medical training. Mason highlights how training during this time was not hands on but merely observation only. When the war breaks out the students are fast tracked to doctor status and sent straight to remote makeshift hospitals treating an endless run of wounded soldiers. Lucius is sent a converted church in a remote area of Northern Hungary.

The majority of the story takes place during Lucius’ time at the makeshift hospital in Lemnowice, Hungary and how the doctor, nurse and orderlies deal with the terrible wounds, rats , plague, soldiers with shell-shock, typhus, louse, lack of food and the freezing conditions. As the small group of medical staff bond we also get to learn about their lives, their triumphs and their failures. With one particular failure having far-reaching effects and will linger with Lucius long after he leaves the hospital.

There is much to this novel with mentions of early medical practices and experimental medical procedures, the food shortages and the black market. The social aftermath of the war is highlighted by a greater divide between the haves and have-nots and the need for arranged marriages.

The story is sombre and atmospheric, quite often harsh and brutal. There are tender moments dispersed throughout with an underlying story of love and loss.

The ending was bittersweet. A twist I certainly didn’t see coming. 

Content: War related injuries

My Rating   5/5              🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info



Photo courtesy of Pan Macmillan
Daniel Mason is a physician and author of the novels The Piano Tuner and A Far Country. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages, and adapted for opera and theatre.
A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, he is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in the humanities and medicine. He lives in the Bay Area with his family. The Winter Soldier is his third novel. 


You can read more about the author and his books on his website: