Elixir – Ted Galdi (released Sept 2014)


This book starts engaging and then keeps you enthralled for the rest of the read.  Once I started reading I found it extremely hard to put down.  I envisage many a reader being able to read this in one sitting the quality of the writing is so good.  

We start off meeting Sean and his Aunty and the relationship between them is quickly established when we observe them during movie night.  This relationship is pivotal throughout the book.  I have to say personally it was one of my favourite parts of the book.  The relationship is well written and the author has a huge talent of being able to write convincing teenagers.  The action scenes are easy to imagine which is also a credit to the writing.  I had to laugh at the loose reference to the CIA hacking especially with recent events that have occurred in the media.  

The action weaves across the planet my favourite being in Rome as this is one of my favourite cities and I loved revisiting the Pantheon and other landmarks with our lead character.  

This is an extremely well written action thriller for young adults and adults alike which will keep you gripped from start to finish.  An exciting action packed novel with romance and family thrown in for good measure.  I simply cannot wait to read more from this author.  

Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way. 

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past. 

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.


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Filed under 5 Star, Young Adult

From Tragedy to Triumph – John Tartaglio & Andrew Chapin

20412561It is always with trepidation that I review a book about this sort of material.  It is obvious that the subject of this book is a remarkable man.  Throughout this book the strength of character is evident as you read this remarkable story.  John Tartaglio is an inspiration to many.  I particularly found this aspect interested as my best friend was a double amputee and had experienced many of the issues portrayed in this account.

The first half of this book is an enthralling read and clearly deals with the early part of coming to terms with being an amputee and getting a life of independence back.  I simply could not put this book down at that point.  However, I have to say when we get into all the individual races that were completed in order to reach the ultimate goal of the New York marathon I began to lose focus.  There was simply too many of them and not being a runner I could not relate to them at all.

This book is an odd cross between a self help book and a biography and with respect it may have been better to have concentrated on just one area.  With this in mind I would have liked to see more details on everyday struggles with living.  I would also have liked more information and in-depth feelings about John Tartaglio family.

In summary though this is a really good read about an extremely inspiration character.  The author has done an extremely good job with this book and has conveyed emotional and feeling well throughout.  I was especially impressed when I researched the book and discovered that the author completed this part time.  Well worth a read for all ages.

In 24 hours, a rare bacterial infection turned healthy 17 year old John Tartaglio to a double-leg amputee, but 15 hours and 59 minutes is all that it took for him to reclaim the life that he had left behind.

FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH is his story of perseverance over a heartbreaking circumstance as incomprehensible as it is seemingly insurmountable. Amputated up to his hipbones and told he would never walk again, John did not give up on life. Instead, he rose to do what others said he could not. Walking, running, competing, but most importantly living, he proved to them what he had always known- his disability did not define him; he defined his disability.

Sharing his journey, insight, and perspective will help:
- How you think about yourself
- How you approach problems
- How you manage expectations and achieve your goals

From those with mobility issues who need to be reminded that living an independent life is possible to the athletes who need to push and challenge themselves that much more and everyone in between, FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH can positively impact your life

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Filed under 3 Star, Autobiography

Prime Deception – Carys Jones

cover45216-smallThis is a well written books with several well developed characters.  The story is told more from the Deputy Prime Ministers point of view, a fact I believe is not so clear on the synopsis.  The book starts fast and by 50 pages I was addicted and knew I had to read more.  There is a slow portion of the book in the middle section but this did not alter my overall enjoyment of the book.  There are places in the book where I remember feeling uncomfortable about the Deputy Prime Minister and that is a credit to the writing.  I had worked out the who done it before the end but this again did not spoil my enjoyment.  I would have like to give this book 3.5 stars at it is clearly better than 3 stars but not epic enough for 4.  Well worth a read.


When Lorna Thomas is found dead in her car everyone believes she killed herself. But the day after her death Lorna was set to sell a scandalous story to one of Britain’s biggest tabloid papers. For six months she had been the Deputy Prime Minister’s mistress.

Will Lorna’s secret die with her? While her family try to move on and come to terms with her death one person refuses to believe that Lorna killed herself. Her twin sister, Laurie is convinced that Lorna was murdered and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it, even if that means teaming up the very man her sister had been having an affair with

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Filed under 3 Star, Crime

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

256683As previous reviews have commented this book is like marmite you seem to either love it or hate it.  From my part I fall into the love it category.  The initial idea for the book is very interesting and I love the idea that all the stories of vampires, werewolves and fairies are true.  The initial positive for this book in my opinion is the depth of character development.  The characters are well written and engaging this is especially true of the main character Clary.  She is a likeable character.  The other characters are very different and extremely well developed.  Cassandra Clare shows great talent when writing teenagers into her story they are likeable and realistic without being that character that is too good to be true.

The story has a number of twists and turns which I enjoyed them all.  Some of them were obvious and I saw through them but this did not spoil the story at all.  There has been criticism that there is a part in the middle of the book that could have been edited out.  Although I can see what other reviewers are saying I never felt this as I read through the book.  The use of humour throughout the book was also engaging and being a person who uses sarcasm as a weapon I liked Jace’s use of sarcasm throughout.

The story ends well and although I will be pursuing the story further I do not feel that I need to rush onto the next book.  I like the fact that it is a story in its own right as well as part of a series.

Brilliant can’t wait to see where the story develops too.

“Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt”

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end

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Filed under 4 Star, Fantasy Adventure

Avenged – Jacqui Rose

cover48967-smallWow is the first thing that comes to mind as I finish this book.  This is simply a stunning story told in an exceptional way.  I have to say that this book hooked me from the first chapter which then led me to read the whole thing in just two sittings.  The quality of the writing makes you progress through the book at great speed.  At the end of the book I was almost upset at finishing it so fast as I would not be spending anymore time with my some of my favourite characters.

It is the quality of these characters that makes this book so good.  This is the second Jacqui Rose book I have read and on both occasions the quality of character development is what drew me to her writing.  Both male and female characters are written with such expertise you find yourself equally drawn to them all.  The female characters are portrayed as feminine with enough steel through them that they are engaging.  The men are hard on the outside and soft in the middle.  The skill of the writer is through her writing of these characters you clearly see their characteristics without being told.

I also like the fact that there are a couple of characters that cross over from her other books in small cameo appearances.  I love it when authors do this as it is almost a secret connection that the author used between herself and her fans.  Harlan Coben is another author who does this with ease.

This is simply a stunning book which crosses from Ireland to Soho.  The second book I have read from this author and certainly not the last.

You make a deal with the devil; you pay your dues…

Franny Doyle has always known that her father Patrick has been up to no good. After all you don’t become one of London’s number one gangsters without ruffling a few feathers along the way. Still, she adores her dad and she knows that he would lay down his life for her – she is his number one girl and he has taught her everything she knows.

But when something terrible happens to Patrick, Franny realises that he has some very dangerous enemies. Delving into Patrick’s past, Franny becomes involved in a high-stakes game. She’s not afraid. Patrick has taught her to be a fighter and she’s determined to make him proud, even if it means paying the ultimate price – her own life.

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Filed under 5 Star, Crime

Game of Thrones – George R.R Martin

11059675I have to start this review by saying that I love the series of Game of Thrones and am addicted to every episode.  It is with this in mind I picked up the first in the series.  When I started this book I wondered if I would have enjoyed it more if I had not seen the series.  I can only imagine how complicated the range of characters would be to someone who had not had the series to help them.  I actually read this book as part of a group read and the feedback from others was that it was too complicated to follow.  As a fan I loved the fact that the book offered more information to the series and also helped explain some of the facts I had missed out on from watching the series.

The book generally is well written in easy language which flows well.  I progressed through the book at a great speed and greatly enjoyed it.  I look forward to reading the next in the series of books to continue through this great adventure.

The first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean.

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne

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Filed under 4 Star, Fantasy Adventure

1001 Tips for Writers – William A Gordon

cover46154-smallThis book is basically a collection of quotes that have been put together by the author under a collection of chapter headings.  The book does not really teach anything and the constant quotes make it a hard book to read as well as digest.  I felt that I learnt nothing from this book as all of it I could have learnt from reading the originals that the quotes came from.

In my opinion this is the authors attempt to make money out of an every popular topic of books.  I would have preferred some original thought an input on this book.  A very disappointing read.

1,001 Tips for Writers is a quotation book about writing and getting published in today’s marketplace. The quotes were culled from a wide variety of books, magazine and newspaper articles, speeches, trade journals, speeches, and articles on the Internet. Some of the major sections are “Advice on How to Get Traditionally Published,” “Self-Publishing,” “Journalism and Newswriting,” “(Writing) Novels,” “Overcoming Writers Block,” “Perseverance,” “Success and Failure,” and “Writers on Writing.” The author, who has written or edited four other books, writes: “This is a book I wish someone had given me when I began my career as a full-time author and publisher.”

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Filed under 1 Star, Non Fiction