Book Review & Giveaway: Jack Templar and the Last Battle by Jeff Gunhus

 

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Jack Templar and the Last Battle by Jeff Gunhus

In the last book of the Jack Templar series, Jack and his friends race to stop Ren Lucre before he launches this Creach army against humankind. But the Lord of the Lesser Creach and the Lord of the Zombies hold the last two Jerusalem Stones Jack needs to have any chance of success. To make matters worse, the Oracle predicts that one of their group will die in the upcoming fight, and Jack discovers betrayal among those he trusts most.

Even so, Jack must find the courage to lead his friends into battle. Either they collect the Stones in time to defeat Ren Lucre or die trying. It’s “Do your duty, come what may” no matter the cost. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving it a free ecopy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Jack Templar and the Last Battle is the sixth and final book in the Jack Templar series. It is full of action and suspense, as well as vampires, werewolves, goblins and any other creature you can imagine.

I have read a lot of Jeff Gunhus’s books because I like his writing style. It flows well and is easy to follow, whether it’s a young adult book or an adult book. He’s able to describe places and events so well that I can picture them. He doesn’t go into too much detail, though, which I always like. 

I feel like I’ve really gotten to know Jack and his friends as I have followed their quest for the Jerusalem stones. They have been through so much together that they’re closer than many families. A couple of his friends have even given up their humanity for this quest.

So many times it looks like it is the end of the road for Jack and his friends. Somehow, they are able to find a way to survive. Jeff Gunhus’s ability to come up with new ways to save Jack and friends amazes me. Even when they finally face Ren Lucre, it doesn’t look good, but they prove that love conquers all. 

I definitely recommend this book and the complete Jack Templar series. I can’t believe the journey is over!

 

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About the Author

 

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Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.

Website * Twitter * Facebook

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Book Review: The Kingdom of Oceana by Mitchell Charles

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The Kingdom of Oceana is the first book in a new Young Adult fantasy adventure series by Mitchell Charles.

 

Five centuries ago, on the island now called Hawaii, there was a kingdom filled with adventure, beauty, and magic.  When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise.

As warring factions collide for control of Oceana, it sparks an age-old conflict between rival sorcerers that threatens to erupt–just like Mauna Kea, the towering volcano. With the help of his ancestral spirit animals, his shape shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must overcome his own insecurities, a lifetime of sibling rivalry, and a plague of cursed sea creatures brought forth by the tiki’s spell. Can peace be restored to the kingdom? Can Prince Ailani claim his rightful place as the future king of Oceana? Two brothers, but only one can rule.

“While the book is fiction, it is heavily influenced by the rich and beautiful Hawaiian myths, legends, locales, and culture.  Many locations in the story are inspired by real places in Hawaii,” says Mitchell.

The Kingdom of Oceana takes readers on a fun and exciting adventure, with big wave surfing, fire walking, and shark taming, while also being educational and bringing to light many environmental and social issues, like ocean conservation.

 

The Kingdom of Oceana is currently available for sale on Amazon.

 

 

My Review

I received a free copy of the audiobook for an honest review.

The Kingdom of Oceana is based on the Hawaiian Islands five centuries ago. Prince Ailani is the second born to the king of the Big Island and Ailani has always assumed that his older brother, Nohoa, will become the next king. The brothers are typical brothers with the older one picking on the younger one.

It is easy to envision the beautiful Hawaiian setting as this story unfolds. The author does a great job of describing it. There are also Hawaiian myths and legends included which makes it more interesting.

The Kingdom of Oceana begins with Ailani and Nohoa unleashing a centuries old curse but there are also tensions building between the island kingdoms, as well as odd occurrences in the ocean. With so much happening, and the kingdom needing all the warriors they can get, the princes are sent on a vision quest to find their spirit animals. The brothers help each other but there is even more tension between them now that there is a princess whom they both like. There’s adventure, adversity, legend, love, and suspense and it all builds up to a surprising ending.

The narrator choice was a good one. The story is told from Ailani’s POV and the narrator has the perfect accent for it (whether it’s real or not, it’s perfect).

I definitely recommend this book for middle school readers and older. I think adults will like it as much as the younger readers.

Just a couple of days ago, I was sent study guides that go along with this book. They are great! One is titled Earth Science and the other Humanities. Both contain a lot of information about the Hawaiian Islands, discussion questions for classes, and even some multiple choice questions. These would make great resources for a class studying Hawaii and the book could be tied into the studies as well. Below is a satellite photo of Hawaii from one of the study guides.

 

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About the Author

Mitch Hookipa fixed croppedMitchell Charles’ love of the ocean and its miraculous creatures began at the age of 12 when his father taught him to SCUBA dive. From his first adventure 50 feet (15 meters) beneath the Caribbean Sea he was hooked.  He has been involved in the Oceanic Society, America’s first non-profit organization dedicated to ocean conservation, established in 1969.

Mitchell’s inspiration for The Kingdom of Oceana was born of exploring the spectacular coastline, lush valleys, and vibrant coral reefs of the Hawaiian Islands. On these excursions, he imagined what Hawaii was like hundreds of years ago. Before Captain Cook arrived from England. Before the golf courses and hotels. Before the ukulele and the Mai Tai became icons of Hawaiian culture. He dreamed of a time when the islands were an undiscovered magical paradise.

These days, Mitchell divides his time between Southern California and Hawaii. He has two teenage children and a dog named Magic.

Mitchell is currently working on the second book in the Kingdom of Oceana series, The Legend of the Nine Sacred Pearls. For more information, visit http://kingdomofoceana.com/

Readers can connect with Mitchell on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

Book Review & Giveaway: Convergence by Trudie L. Hayes

Convergence

About the Book

It was the first day of school and anxieties were running high. For certain​ ​there was the excitement of moving up a grade, but there was also the dread of anything and everything that could go wrong. Not only were the possibilities endless, they were totally out of your control. Whether or not you were accepted rested squarely on the shoulders of the popular kids. Suppose you were too short or too tall; too smart or not smart enough; too rich or too poor; or just plain different?

These thoughts were fresh on the minds of Otis, Chandler and Marissa. Three pre-teens whose paths had never crossed, although they lived in the same town in Connecticut. Their backgrounds were so diverse they may as well have lived worlds apart. That was all about to change when on their way to school a series of bizarre events lump them together. Literally!

Join them on this unreal journey to alternate realities never before re­vealed. Go back in time to a parallel past, the All Agos. Coexist in a present experience that mirrors your own, the Ne’er Now. Finally and with greater understanding, manifest in a future of your creation, the Will Be Once.

Then you will have come closer to achieving …as it should.

 

Buy the book: Amazon.

My Review

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

When I started reading Convergence, I thought it was for middle school readers because it’s about three pre-teens who are starting junior high who meet on their first day of school. As I continued to read, though, I decided that it would be a book more suited for young adults or even adults because it’s a long book and the reading is slow. 

After the first few chapters, I had some difficulty. There’s a lot going on but the writing is difficult to follow and, although the concept is good, the way it’s presented made it confusing for me. A couple things that made it more difficult were that there were no breaks in the text when it went from one scene to the next. Also, there were a lot of tense changes…one sentence in the past and the next in the present.

I did like Marissa, Otis, and Chandler and the bond they formed right from the start. The end was a big surprise and because of the ending, I believe there may be a second book.

 

Author’s Bio

Trudie L. HayesTrudie L. Hayes’ personal story and family life influenced her mission to spread the core values of self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love to children and persons of all ages. An affiliation with physically and mentally disabled adults and children spanning many years is a major contributing factor. The caregiver role has been paramount throughout much of her life, even while furthering her education or working full-time in a corporate setting.

These experiences have given her a deep understanding of the trials and struggles associated with a compromised existence. As well as the inspiration and joy derived from living life to one’s personal best.

It is through these myriad life experiences that Hayes began writing and registering several related trademarks. With a grander vision of promoting confidence and self-worth.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Hayes still calls the Nutmeg State home. The oldest of two children, she remains close to her siblings. When Hayes is not writing or managing her business, she dedicates her time to other creative outlets and artistic pursuits. Hayes has a deep appreciation and passion for music in its many forms; she enjoys writing song lyrics, performing, and has an affinity for Jazz.

 

Connect with the author:    Website  ~  Twitter

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Book Review: Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf by Miguel Lopez de Leon

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Title: Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knight of the Leaf
Author: Miguel Lopez de Leon
Publisher: Galadria Worldwide
Pages: 148
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

In book three of Miguel Lopez de Leon’s Galadria fantasy series, GALADRIA: PETER HUDDLESTON & THE KNIGHTS OF THE LEAF, Peter and his family command a mystical cast of powerful, exciting new characters in their war against the blood-thirsty tyrant, Knor Shadowray.

Reviewers of book three of the GALADRIA trilogy praise the author’s stunning artistry and skill:

“A grand finish to a YA trilogy that never fails to challenge audience expectations.”–Kirkus Reviews

“With the close of his Galadria trilogy, Miguel Lopez de Leon packs battles, travel and adventure into a story that’s ultimately about family ties.”–BlueInk Review

“Once again, the writing in this book is superb and the story is fast paced and action packed.”–SPR Review

In book one of the trilogy, GALADRIA: PETER HUDDLESTON & THE RITES OF PASSAGE, 12-year-old Peter leaves his friendless, uneventful life in the suburbs and suddenly finds himself spending the summer chomping down magical chocolates and tossing around an enchanted boomerang at Hillside Manor, the 3000 room home of his aunt Gillian Willowbrook. While there, Peter learns he is the next in line to the throne of a magnificent realm called Galadria where his aunt is queen. His position is being challenged by a ruthless nobleman, Knor Shadowray.

 

Book two, GALADRIA: PETER HUDDLESTON & THE MISTS OF THE THREE LAKES shows Peter struggling to play the role of a prince. After being accepted as the heir of the Golden Realm, his new challenge is to gain command of Galadrian princely etiquette and survive dangerous adventures with his fearless white tiger, Rune. At a parade held in his honor, Peter and his aunt are violently ambushed by a band of screeching monstrosities and a merciless dark army led by the fiendish Knor Shadowray.

 

Galadria 2In the final book in the Galadria series, GALADRIA: PETER HUDDLESTON & THE KNIGHTS OF THE LEAF, the story continues where book two left off: Knor Shadowray’s relentless attack on the ruling Willowbrook family. In a desperate attempt to save her kingdom, Queen Gillian Willowbrook sends Peter and his grandfather to the Forests of Fernell to recruit a multitude of diverse warriors to defend the crown. Populated with serpent priestesses, nature-loving knights, magical weapons, paper-thin tree nymphs, and political fairies, the final installment of the Galadria trilogy shows the Galadrian populace at their breaking point as the realm explodes into a full-fledged civil war. A flurry of riotous battles are fought against the villainous Knor Shadowray’s ambitious attempt to capture the crown of Galadria.

De Leon developed the GALADRIA series out of a love of the fantasy genre and the thrill of creating “new worlds, creatures, and story lines…enhanced with magic and otherworldly mystery.” The trilogy also tells the coming-of-age story of a boy as he learns to accept himself and discovers the family he never believed he would have. “The Galadria trilogy is mainly about a lonely boy who, through overcoming obstacles, finds out who he really is. I think everyone has an element of the extraordinary in them, and I hope Peter’s story shows that,” de Leon says.

For More Information

  • Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Watch his book video at YouTube.

My Review:

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

Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf is the third and final book in a fantasy series for middle school readers. I haven’t read the first two books in the series yet but this one stands on its own.

Peter and his grandfather have to travel into the Galadrian forests to try to get help from the Knights of the Leaf or they will lose their kingdom to Knor Shadowray. Not only is there action and adventure in this book but Peter learns a lot about his parents. 

Peter is an extraordinary teenager and a great leader but he still sometimes acts before he thinks, like a typical teen. There are also many interesting creatures such as pixies, the Priestesses of Sertania (who live with snakes), and the wraiths of the Darkened Valley (who live in the frozen carcass of a dragon).

Middle school readers who like fantasy will enjoy this book. I suggest reading the first 2 books first, though.

 

About the Author 

Miguel Lopez de LeonMiguel Lopez de Leon is a prolific fiction writer with over 30 short stories published in a variety of international literary magazines and anthologies. De Leon, who prefers to write in the mornings, began working on his first novel as a hobby. That first book blossomed into the Galadria trilogy. “One part of the writing process I really enjoy is writing the first draft of a novel…For me, it’s the time when you can lose yourself in the story the most.” De Leon lives in Los Angeles and enjoys reading historical biographies and collecting vintage comic books.

 His latest book is the fantasy novel, Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Knights of the Leaf.

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