Book Review: Eric Olafson: Space Pirate by Vanessa Ravencroft

Eric Olafson: Space Pirate (Eric Olafson Series) by [Ravencroft, Vanessa]Title: Eric Olafson: Space Pirate by Jennifer Niven
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 589 pages
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Inkitt
Publication Date:  Marc 15, 2016
Rating – 4 stars

It’s the year 5019, and the Milky Way Galaxy is teeming with exotic species.

The majority of the known civilizations have formed a multi-cultural mega organization called the United Stars of Galaxies.

This Union is protected by the brave men and women of the United Stars Space fleet against external threats.
Eric Olafson, born and raised under harsh conditions of the traditional and inward looking society of Nilfeheim, left his planet to fulfill his dreams of becoming a Starship captain.

When Eric gets kidnaped by an unknown organization and brought to Sin 4, a lawless Planet deep in free space, he slowly starts to discover his central role in an ancient conflict of cosmic proportions.

“This is what Sci-Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters.” – Reed T

“This story has all the right things such as strong appealing characters, great world building, aliens mystery,and more.” – Fran L

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

This book is about the adventures of Erik Olafson, a space pirate who finds himself in some sticky and outlandish situations. Although it is a book that takes place within a series it can definitely be read as a standalone title, which is how I read it.

Coming off of a Sci-Fi kick that most recently had me read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I was definitely in the mood to read this book and I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was humorous and adventurous. It had a lot of action right off the bat which I really enjoyed. I loved the characters and learning about their relationships with and perceptions of our main character.  Another thing I really enjoyed was the inclusion of certain aspects of Norse mythology in the story. While I am not super proficient in Norse mythology and it’s major characters, I was definitely able to draw some connections and recognized some key figures so those were really great Easter eggs to discover in the story. I just thought this story was really unique and original which made me enjoy it so much. An chase through space with a character that is running for their lives and discovering new places and people is always a fun time. 

Overall, I enjoyed  this story and would definitely like to read more from the author and of these characters, four stars! If you are a Sci-Fi fan, I definitely think you will enjoy this book and get it. I do think that others who are not really into Sci-Fi may have a harder time getting the book and handling all of the information and detail that is given. 

You can purchase your own copy of this book here: Buy Eric Olafson, Space Pirate on Amazon

Happy Reading everyone! 

Vanessa RavencroftAbout the Author

It all started in 1989 when my friends and I played Role Playing Games such as AD, Midgard, Traveler etc. Not really satisfied with the selection of commercially available RPGames, I created a new one called Action World. Our RPG evolved into the Galactic Chronicles and I am now almost 22 years in that Universe. There are 34 handwritten 500-600 page books in the Galactic Chronicles series. I love to write and spend time in this universe.

Now I have dedicated readership from all over the world and this makes me prouder than I could ever express in words. (Sad testament for someone who claims to be a writer, I know)

Want to know more about my world? Ever wondered what a viking handshake looks like? Or what kind of licensing you need to carry certain cybernetic weapons? I have written over 13,000 pages about the Universe on my GalNet Wiki which you can check out here: http://galnet.wikia.com

You can also follow me on Twitter & Facebook for more information and sneak peeks into the Galactic Chronicles:

https://www.facebook.com/ravencroftvanessa/

 

Blog Tour Book Review: This is Not Over by Holly Brown

About This is Not Over

• Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 17, 2017)

You’ll have your deposit within seven business days, just like it says on Getaway.com. I’ve put through a refund to your credit card for the full amount, minus $200 to replace the stained sheets…

Miranda

When 30-year-old Dawn reads Miranda’s email, she sees red. People have always told Dawn she’s beautiful, and she just hopes they don’t see beneath—to how she grew up, to what she’s always tried to outrun. She revels in her getaways with her perfect (maybe too perfect) husband, the occasional long weekend in luxurious homes, temporarily inhabiting other people’s privileged lives. Miranda’s email strikes a nerve, with its lying intimation that Dawn is so dirty you need to throw out her sheets.

Beware of your “host”

I wouldn’t have left a review at all, if I didn’t feel it was my civic duty to warn others…

57-year-old Miranda thought she’d seen it all, but she can’t believe her eyes when she reads Dawn’s review. She’s a doctor’s wife but she needs that rental money, desperately. People might think her life is privileged, but they don’t know what’s really going on. They don’t know about her son. She won’t take this threat to her livelihood—to her very life—lying down.

Two very different women with this in common: Each harbors her own secret, her own reason why she can’t just let this go. Neither can yield, not before they’ve dredged up all that’s hidden, even if it has the power to shatter all they’ve built.

This is not over.

This is so not over.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Thursday! I’m excited because tomorrow is Friday and also because I’ve been reading some pretty great books so far this year. That always makes me happy!

I just finished This Is Not Over by Holly Brown. I’d like to thank both TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for giving me the chance to be a part of this book tour and read the book in exchange for an honest review of it.

This Is Not Over told in the alternating perspectives of our two main characters Dawn and Miranda. When the story starts Dawn and her husband have just returned from vacationing in Santa Monica where they rented Miranda’s home for a short while. Not satisfied with the rental and incensed by an email she has received from Miranda advising that she would be deducting the cost of ruined sheets from Dawn’s security deposit, Dawn decides to leave a review of the rental (and the owner) on the site she booked it on. This is the start of a furious back and forth between both women and it quickly becomes personal.

I wasn’t sure at all what to expect from this story. When I read the description, it intrigued me instantly and I just really wanted to see what it was all about and upon reading the premise, where the story would go. I did read a few reviews for it and saw it had mixed reviews so I was nervous going into it but I ended up really liking it. I was not a fan of either main character but that didn’t stop me from being able to enjoy the story.

I really liked the short chapters and the mix of formats used in this book, it was a pretty fast read for me once I got settled and buried my nose in it. I went into this book thinking that it was a psychological thriller and I think that may be where people are getting confused, it’s more of a light suspense novel I would say. I definitely would not try to compare this to some of the heavy psychological thrillers that are out there because if you expect that of course, you will be disappointed when you don’t get that. It definitely is a book that keeps you on your toes just interested in what these characters are going to do to each other next, it kept me wondering what was going to happen and where the story was going. Although I didn’t love either character, I was interested in what they did and seeing the inner workings of their brains, the assumptions and misunderstandings they made.

Overall, I thought this was an entertaining read. I think fans of reality TV, specifically the housewives shows, might really enjoy this book. These two characters are VERY dramatic and take things really personal, although they both do have some very serious things going on in their lives so I can kind of see why they’re fixating on this one thing. It’s something they are both fighting to control and everything just spins out of whack. When you sit there and read it, it seems so ridiculous but it is actually something that could very well happen in real life which is why I really liked it.

3.5 stars

About Holly Brown

Photo by Yanina Gotsulsky

Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. She is the author of the novel Don’t Try to Find Me, and her blog, “Bonding Time,” is featured on the mental health website PsychCentral.com.

Connect with Holly on Facebook.

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Book Review: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

25489025Title: The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Genre: Adult Fiction
Length: 192 pages
Format: Print – Hardcover
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Rating – 4 stars

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.
 
A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

I did have a small idea of what the book was about going into it from hearing a non-spoiler review of it and I do know that this book has been praised and enjoyed by omnivores and herbivores alike, which intrigued me even more. It also won the Man Booker International Prize, which is of course a wonderful honor and I’m glad to have finally read a book that did. I need to make more of a habit of that.

The Vegetarian is told in three acts. Each act is told by a different narrator but connected by Yeong-Hye, our main character. After a dark, hellish, traumatizing nightmare Yeong-Hye renounces meat and essentially all other animal derived ingredients. This decision does not sit well with her husband and the rest of her family and as she changes, all of their lives are changed drastically as well. Interspersed throughout the sections we get snippets of thoughts from Yeong-Hye represented in Italics that give us a look into what she is going through and I really appreciated that.

It definitely was very dark and shocking. In some ways it was beautiful but also brutal and haunting at the same time. There were things in it that made me incredibly angry and then incredibly sad, which to me is evidence of some really great writing. It made me incredibly angry that she was immediately deemed crazy for her choices by literally everyone around her.

I do love the commentary that this book is making about social norms and what happens to those that “shirk” them, how they are viewed and treated by even loved ones. When Yeong-Hye decides to make this life altering change, the way she is treated was incredibly maddening and heartbreaking. As a Vegan who was for two years the sole plant based eater in my family and friends(my husband joined me after and I met my first vegan friend IRL), what our main character experiences was so far from my own personal experience BUT I have definitely heard stories quite similar in ways to how she gets treated though not as extreme as in this book. I also found it a little disturbing that Yeong-Hye pretty much withers when adopting this lifestyle change when I have only seen so many flourish and I had a hard time with that because it made me feel like people who read this book would think that is what happens to people when they make a change like this. But I think it’s important to understand that Yeong-Hye and the rest of her family had some really deep rooted family issues. So there are alot of deep issues playing underneath this story – mental illness, abuse,  PTSD, obsession and more.

I wasn’t sure what this book could accomplish in 192 pages as that is so brief but even though it is short, it definitely packs a big punch and is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time. This book has been translated and I think that it is one of the best translations that I have ever had the pleasure of reading since it was able to evoke such emotion and thoughts from so many people. 4 stars.

Happy reading everyone.

Book Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

25111004Title: November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria, an imprint of Simon and Schuster
Page count: 310 pages
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Rating – 5 stars

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

It’s been a little over a month since I read November 9 and I have now had enough time to process my abundant feelings about it. I started the book on November 9th with the intention of reading it on that one day but I ended up taking a few days to finish because I didn’t really want to finish it, if that makes any sense at all.

November 9 was actually my first Colleen Hoover book. I don’t know if it was the best one to start off with but that’s okay, because I really loved it. I ended up giving it five stars.

So, November 9 is a contemporary romance novel about a Fallon, who is a former actress turned voice actress. When Fallon was younger, her father’s house caught fire with Fallon in it and as a result she is scarred on half of her body. She is really self-conscious about her scars until she meets Ben, who is the first guy to make her feel as though her scars make her beautiful. They are both travelling two very different roads in their lives but there is not denying that sparks fly between them, unable to commit to a steady relationship for reasons of their own, they agree to live their lives (with one homework assignment each) and meet up every November 9.

Wow! So I really loved this story. It was definitely a very unique plot, or at least one that I haven’t yet read. I was instantly intrigued when I read the synopsis but it was actually better than the synopsis lead me to think it would be. It is told in the alternating perspectives of both Fallon and Ben. I loved them both as our main characters. They are both far from perfect, which I loved about them. They each have their unique set of problems that we got to see as they separated and lived their lives up to the next November 9th when they would meet again. It was wonderful how they would separate and pick right back up where they left off the year before. I loved seeing the different journey’s they both took during their time apart and how meeting each other shaped their lives and who they became while the years went by.

This book definitely went places that I didn’t think it would go when I started reading it and even towards the middle half. I am not going to spoil anything in case you haven’t read it yet, but yeah…I was surprised, which is a good thing. This book gave me a lot of feels…warm, fuzzy ones and then it also broke my heart and crushed it into tiny pieces. It definitely has some of my new favorite quotes in it. ❤

Needless to say, I loved this book and gave it five stars. If you haven’t read this book, you totally should! Especially if you are into contemporary romances, I believe this one qualifies as a New Adult Romance although I am not too well versed on that genre. It’s definitely possible to read this in one sitting, for sure! I am ready to read more Colleen Hoover, let me know if you have any recommendations on which of her books to read next. I do have It Ends with US ready to go on my shelf but I will probably read that one in January!

Blog Tour Book Review: Brave New Weed by Joe Dolce

brave-new-weed-coverAbout Brave New Weed

• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (October 4, 2016)

The former editor-in-chief of Details and Star adventures into the fascinating “brave new world” of cannabis, tracing its history and possible future as he investigates the social, medical, legal, and cultural ramifications of this surprisingly versatile plant.

Pot. Weed. Grass. Mary Jane. We all think we know what cannabis is and what we use it for. But do we? Our collective understanding of this surprising plant has been muddled by politics and morality; what we think we know isn’t the real story.

A war on cannabis has been waged in the United States since the early years of the twentieth century, yet in the past decade, society has undergone a massive shift in perspective that has allowed us to reconsider our beliefs. In Brave New Weed, Joe Dolce travels the globe to “tear down the cannabis closet” and de-mystify this new frontier, seeking answers to the questions we didn’t know we should ask.

Dolce heads to a host of places, including Amsterdam, Israel, California, and Colorado, where he skillfully unfolds the odd, shocking, and wildly funny history of this complex plant. From the outlandish stories of murder trials where defendants claimed “insanity due to marijuana consumption” to the groundbreaking success stories about the plant’s impressive medicinal benefits, Dolce paints a fresh and much-needed portrait of cannabis, our changing attitudes toward it, and the brave new direction science and cultural acceptance are leading us.

Enlightening, entertaining, and thought-provoking, Brave New Weed is a compelling read that will surprise and educate proponents on both sides of the cannabis debate.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Brave New Weed by Joe Dolce. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours.

Brave New Weed is a nonfiction book all about Cannabis. It discusses the origins, history and possible future of the plant for the world and specifically, the United States. It was a really fascinating discussion on the arguments against and for marijuana use, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. I found the origins and the history of marijuana use to be super intriguing, especially when it came to the medicinal use of cannabis oil for cancers.

I really enjoyed reading this book. While I’m still not close to being an expert on the topic, as someone who knew next to nothing about the plant or it’s history, I definitely feel like I learned a ton of really interesting and really useful information from reading this book. The author discusses the topic in a serious and at times, lighthearted way that I really enjoyed. I loved how the book was sectioned between old, new and future. I also really enjoyed reading about the authors travels throughout the world, visiting dispensaries and talking to scientists and growers and I loved the discussion on how the plant is grown and used in the different places. One thing that I never knew anything about that this book made me super interested in was how Cannabis is considered a Schedule I category drug while others like Cocaine and Meth are schedule II, which after reading through this book, I think is CRAZY!

It is going to be interesting to observe the future of Marijuana in the US and I am so thankful that I have read this book so that I am more familiar with the topic. Also, If you read this book I definitely recommend reading the appendix! Five star read!

joe-dolce-apAbout Joe Dolce

Joe Dolce is the former editor in chief of Details and Star magazines, and has written for many of the world’s leading publications, including the New York Times, Gourmet, and Travel + Leisure. He is the CEO and founder of Joe Dolce Communications, a presentation and media-training company based in New York City. He is not a stoner.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin

just-fine-with-caroline-coverAbout Just Fine With Caroline

• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 11, 2016)

From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher Harper Collins for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for my honest review of it.

Just Fine with Caroline is the second book I have read and reviewed from Annie England Noblin. You can read my review of her debut novel here: Sit! Stay! Speak! 

This book is about Caroline, a young woman who finds herself back in her hometown working in her family’s shop and taking care of her mother who is struggling with Alzheimer’s and her adorable, deaf dog Yara. Though not what she had initially envisioned her life to be like, Caroline is content in the town where everyone knows your business and newcomers aren’t exactly welcome. But Caroline soon finds out that even small towns have their secrets.

I really enjoyed this book and the feel of the setting. I love the small town vibe and the secrets that lie beneath the surface, in the history of the people there. 

What I loved most about this book were the many characters involved in it. I thought they all had such vibrant personalities and individual histories. It was fun to see them interacting with each other and to learn more about all of their lives and how they intertwine. The small town setting where everyone knows everyone was really fun, I just realized that I am a fan of books that are set in this type of setting. It made the book feel familiar and somewhat cozy to me.

I’ve said it before and I will say again, put a dog on the cover or in a story and you will have my heart. I am such a sucker for this type of marketing lol. I can’t control it. I am definitely a sucker also for how the author writes dogs in her stories. For me, this story was centered more on the people in the story though while her debut novel featured a dog that was more of a prominent character in that story so I guess I was expecting the dog in this one to be a more prominent character as well. But that’s okay, I still really really enjoyed this book and am giving it a four star review. It’s official, after two hits with me I am a Annie England Noblin fan and am looking forward to reading more in this series and just more of her writing in general. She is an ace at lovely, contemporary stories that are at the same time cozy and thought provoking. She usually deals with heavy subjects in her books but manages to also keep the story light and fun with some really good romance. Check this one out!

 

Annie England NoblinAbout Annie England Noblin

Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Connect with Annie on Facebook and Twitter.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters

yesternight-coverAbout Yesternight

� Paperback: 400 pages
� Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core.� A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O�Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they�re no more than the product of the girl�s vast imagination.� But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am happy to bring you my review of Yesternight by Cat Winters. I received this book from the publisher Harper Collins through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Yesternight is a historical fiction story about a young trained psychologist, Alice Lind, who travels the country testing children’s educational aptitude for the department of education. On her current assignment she meets an extraordinary young girl who seems to have the knowledge and memory of someone twice her age, quite literally claiming to have lived another life. Meeting her sends Alice on a hunt for answers, not only for the child and her family, but also for herself.

Yesternight wasn’t quite what I was expected it to be, which turned out to be a wonderfully good thing. I definitely wasn’t expecting to react to it the way I did. When I finally read this book, it had been months since I had last read the synopsis so I went into my read of it with fresh eyes and no clue as to what to expect, other than the front cover as a clue. I was way off judging from the cover. I expected a women’s historical fiction book. While I definitely got that in this book, it was actually so much more than that. It was unexpectedly creepy, which was awesome for an October read! I don’t know if this book was meant to be chilling and suspenseful but I read this book between the hours of 12 and 4 in the morning with the rest of the house asleep and all the lights off (except my handy dandy book light) and it was definitely a bit creepy! Aside from that, this was a wonderful read. It definitely dealt in the realm of women’s fiction as our main character, Alice, is  working in a predominantly male profession and is struggling with the preferential treatment of men in her field and in academia. She is very much an independent, modern woman in command of her own sexuality which I loved to see in this book.

I just really loved that this story was so layered. We have that women’s fiction layer but deeper than that there is this mystery/thriller beneath the surface that I did not expect but was fascinated by. This was a thrilling, entertaining story that I would highly recommend to historical fiction or mystery fans alike. Loved this book, I could not put it down! A five star read!

Photo by Tara Kelly

Photo by Tara Kelly

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters’s debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a�School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.

Find out more about Cat at her website, and follow her on tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram,�Facebook, and Twitter.

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