Allure of the Gypsies (Legends of Windemere Book 3) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover by Jason PedersenBlurb

 

Reeling from broken trust and a battered spirit, Luke leads his surviving friends to the town of Haven where his past will catch up with him.

While Luke faces his family and the woman he abandoned at the altar, his enemies have recruited a deadly ally. Kalam the vampire marches on Haven with an army of undead that will leave a hero at death’s door. To revive the fallen warrior, Luke and Nyx must plunge into the mountain lair of Kalam and steal his spellbook. Exhausted and lost within enemy territory, the pair are going to need the help of a gypsy girl named Sari who may be more trouble than her new friends expected.

Against a strong and experienced adversary, what will Luke and Nyx need to claim victory on the charred battlefield?

My Perspective

Allure of the Gypsies follows Luke, Nyx and Aedyn as they make their way to Luke’s home town of Haven, which he left in disgrace a year earlier. However there is more waiting for him at home than he bargained for.

The story follows pretty much straight on from where it left off in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Apart from old favourites Luke, Nyx and Aedyn, we are introduced to a new character, Sari. I honestly found it extremely hard to like Sari. I found her to be a bit of an idiot however I’m not sure if that’s just an act so we will see. I really enjoyed the Lich and Trinity in this book and the banter between them.

I enjoyed the adventure and storyline of this book immensely however i felt that it was a bit all over the place. It didn’t flow as well as the previous two and sort of rambled a bit towards the end before ending very abruptly. I also felt there was a lot of unnecessary dialogue that could have been scrapped to make the book tighter and more interesting. I also found that there wasn’t a lot of mystery or twists and turns. Even though i enjoyed reading the book, i didn’t really keep me guessing or on my toes.

I really enjoyed the action scenes and even wished there was a bit more action – there seemed to be less in this book than the other two.

Overall this book was an enjoyable read however i felt it fell a bit flat and almost felt like simply a filler book to tie up some loose ends, introduce a crucial new character and get to the beginning of the next book. If you’re interested in an enjoyable fantasy series then i would definitely recommend Legends of Windemere however you really need to start with the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero.

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Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

When the manicured evil genius, Captain Neptune F. Bone, disappears in the Red Sea while diving for a lost sarcophagus, that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet, Cairo Jim, is called in to try and help find him in the dark and watery depths.

But when Jim, Doris the macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel take the plunge, little do they know that what they are about to find will become one of the most flabbergasting discoveries in the history of archaeology!

My Perspective

Cairo Jim and the Sunken Sarcophagus of Sekheret follows the trio as they embark on a rescue mission to find Captain Neptune Bone and solve the mystery of the message left in his fez. However what they unearth is far beyond their wildest expectations.

I really liked this story because it was a different setting to the usual – it was set underwater! The inventiveness of the author was really quite good and i loved the different creative ideas he put forward to explain all manner of things.

As usual Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda are your lovable trio. However there was quite a twist with ol’ Captain Neptune Bone and Desdemona. I think it worked quite well and there were moments where you couldn’t stand Bone (as usual) as well as other moments where you felt quite lovely when they all worked together for their common good.

Like the previous Cairo Jim novel that i reviewed, this one wasn’t as silly per se, however it was really interesting and had a bit of a depth so i quite liked it. It was still very much a funny Cairo Jim novel for children however it was slightly more mature.

Although the main premise of the story might be obvious to the more mature reader, all of the other smaller parts are not at all and keep you guessing.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and definitely one of the more interesting Cairo Jim novels.

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

A Turkish Tale of Treachery

In the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, an astonishing relic has been unearthed!

What connection to the bygone goddess Artemis does this relic hold? What astonishing powers could be unleashed if it were to fall into the wrong, evil and manicured hands?

Cairo Jim-that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet-and his friends Doris the Macaw and Brenda the Wonder Camel find themselves faced with the greatest threat to nature itself!

My Perspective

Cairo Jim Amidst The Petticoats of Artemis follows the trio as they hunt down Neptune Bone and Desdemona, who have discovered the Petticoat of Artemis and are searching for the buckle and the belt. Once all three have been found, there is no telling what Bone will do with the power that it will give him.

I didn’t find this story as silly as the other Cairo Jim books that i have read. It was still silly, just not ridiculously so. It would still greatly appeal to children, it was just toned down a bit.

Again Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda are all lovable, as Neptune Bone and Desdemona are not. There was a new character added to the mix who i wasn’t sure i wanted to become a regular…they were a lovely person, it just created a possible angle that i would rather not have happen.

The story was interesting and funny however not as mysterious or cryptic. The outcome of the story was easily guessed.

Overall it was an enjoyable read however i felt it fell a bit flat compared to the other Cairo Jim novels.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

29485885Blurb

A mysterious seaman hides at a country inn; cut-throats raid a sleepy English village; suddenly, young Jim Hawkins becomes the owner of a map leading to a lost tropical island and a fortune in stolen gold. Three adventurers–Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey–set out to find the treasure. — But they trust the one they should most fear, Long John Silver. Charming, brave, ruthless, murderous, Silver fills the squire’s ship with pirates. And on the desolate, fever-infested island, the quest for gold becomes a deadly war of hide and seek. Desperate defenders against merciless killers battling over a cursed treasure won with blood, buried with blood, sought with blood. Incredible wealth that Jim and his friends can only claim…

My Perspective

Treasure Island is the story of how Jim Hawkins came to be in possession of a treasure map and the journey and adventure he went on with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney to acquire it.

I’m really in the mood for adventure stories at the moment so this is exactly what I felt like reading.

I really liked Jim. He was an easygoing young man, eager to please, hardworking, quick thinking and he had a lot of courage. Doctor Livesey was also an easy character to like whether Squire Trelawney I found a bit too freely spoken and over confident. John Silver was friendly and very easy to like, which of course made me suspicious. The rest of the crew were typical pirates, or “buccaneers”, self interested, not too smart, violent and drunk on rum all the time.

The story was very interesting and well paced, keeping you on your toes and turning the pages quickly. I did find some of the language hard to understand at times however it added to the feel of the story so I wouldn’t change it.

Overall it was a really enjoyable story, well written and full of adventure. I would definitely recommend it if you like classics, adventure stories or historical fiction.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower (Legends of Windemere Book 2) by Charles E. Yallowitz

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Blurb

Luke Callindor and his friends are about to learn that the life of an adventurer can be brutally unforgiving.

Hungering for another adventure, Luke agrees to escort the heir of Serab along the L’dandrin River and into the safety of Gods’ Voice. A deadly gauntlet of cunning traps and savage creatures lay before the young warrior and his companions. Lacking the powerful magic needed to combat his enemies, Luke’s survival and victory may be in the hands of his newest ally. That’s if the temperamental Nyx doesn’t set him on fire first.

Luke will bravely face everything that is thrown at him, but how can he defend himself when he’s ignorant of the truth behind his mission?

My Perspective

I’ve been meaning to read this book pretty much straight after I read the first book in the series, Beginning Of A Hero (Legends of Windemere Book 1) by Charles E. Yallowitz. I bought it ages ago however I don’t have a Kindle so I have to read it on the computer, which I find annoying. Anyway a few months ago I was lying in bed holding my sick, (then) eight month old son who was only sleeping if he was in my arms, and all that was in reach was my phone. I’d already been through heaps of emails and it was doing my head in, I’m really quite sick of social media at the moment, what I felt like was digging into a really great fantasy book. Aha! I thought to myself. I will download the Kindle app onto my iPhone.

I usually wouldn’t be interested in reading on my phone because it’s small and I’m not a fan of reading on a backlit screen however it was the best choice I had! So I go to download the Kindle app and lo and behold, my iPhone 4 is too old to support the latest version. Bugger. I researched how I could get around it however it requires your computer (you download the app through iTunes and then when you go to download it on your iPhone as you’ve already “bought” it, it asks if you want to download an older version that is compatible with your iPhone. Very sneaky). Anyway after he woke up, I got onto the computer and worked my magic and soon I had the Kindle app on my iPhone with this book ready to read in preparation for his next sleep.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower follows Luke and his new friends; Nimby, Fritz, Aedyn and Fizzle as they make their way to the city of Gaia to collect the apprentice of Rainbow Tower and board the River Scout to protect Kellia, heir of Duke Solomon on her journey home to Gods’ Voice. However now Luke has major enemies – not just the Lich but his demon servant, the Hellfire Elf who has sworn revenge. Although Luke and his friends expect trouble on their journey, little do they realise just how much trouble they will get – and that those two aren’t the only enemies that they are up against.

As it has been two years since I read Beginning Of A Hero, I really should have read it again to refresh my memory as I vaguely remember some details but it’s very hazy and I was a little bit lost with some things. Surprisingly the author doesn’t waste any time doing the “big recap” that so many books do where they basically give a summary of the previous book at the beginning of the next book. I found this both good and bad. It’s great because if you’ve just read the previous book, it really is a waste of time and it’s almost like it’s bringing up to speed any readers who haven’t read the previous book (which unless it’s by accident, why wouldn’t you start at the beginning?) however it’s also bad because if it’s been a bit of time between books, it’s nice to have a bit of recapping to help jog your memory. However in my case, it’s been long enough that I really should have reread Beginning Of A Hero.

Again, I really loved the characters. Luke continues to grow and mature and although he can be stubborn and reckless, he’s definitely not as annoying as the first book. It was interesting to read and learn more about Nimby, Fritz and Aedyn. Without spoiling anything, I was surprised at who I started to like more and the flaws that appeared in some of the others. Fizzle was as adorable as ever and I really enjoyed getting to know the new characters.

There were a lot of action scenes and sequences throughout this book involving both sword play and casting of spells. I really enjoyed reading how the characters interacted with one another while fighting and using their strengths together to help defeat their enemies.

There were quite a few twists throughout and I really didn’t see any of them coming! It was quite refreshing to be able to read a book and really go along for the ride without knowing what was coming next.

There was a lot going on in this book, not too much that it felt too busy, just a lot that it kept you absorbed in the story and keeping up really kept you on your toes. Interestingly enough, the book is fairly medium paced so although there is a heck of a lot going on, it doesn’t feel rushed at all and isn’t too slow that it bores you.

I’d also like to point out that in my review of Beginning Of A Hero, I mentioned there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout and the book could have been edited a bit more closely. I’m happy to say that this book was not like that at all. On that note, the author has definitely improved and this book was really well written (not that the first book was terrible, however it was the author’s debut and it’s good to see improvement – it gives credit to the author and the series). I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book, and this series. You really need to start with the first book in the  series though, Beginning Of A Hero. Like I said in my previous review, it has all the things a great fantasy should have: strong characters, both good and evil; a quest; mythical creatures; battle scenes; and even some romance. I am really looking forward to continuing the series!

Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx by Geoffrey McSkimming

Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

A Tale Of Incalculable Inversion

When that well-known archaeologist and little-known poet, Cairo Jim, and his friends Doris the macaw, and Brenda the Wonder Camel, and Jocelyn Osgood make the ‘find of the century’, a new enemy on the scene sets out to discredit Jim and destroy his hard-won reputation…

My Perspective

Cairo Jim And The Secret Sepulchre Of The Sphinx, follows Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda once again on the dig for an historical wonder. However they know not what they are looking for. And just when they thought their lives were forever at peace due to the demise of the evil Neptune Bone, Mr Impluvium, an evil and conniving man, turns up on the scene.

The story was again a silly yet well written children’s story. I do find that after awhile some of the silliness gets to me however I have to remember that it’s not written with my age group in mind. I loved these books as a kid and didn’t find the silliness over the top at all back then.

I really liked the storyline and the mystery throughout. Although some of it was obvious, not all of it was and there were some parts that really kept me guessing.

Again, the main characters are extremely likeable – Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda – and Mr Impluvium the slimy villain everyone loves to hate. What he did in the book was pretty mean and nasty and you really feel for Cairo Jim and his friends.

Overall it was an enjoyable and light read that I would recommend for children and adults who like a silly adventure/mystery with a bit of history thrown in.

Into The West by J.A. Campbell

Into The West by J.A. CampbellBlurb

Tina Harker is a typical teenager. She loves hanging with her friends at the mall, buying shoes, and getting manicures. Most of all, she loves horses. Her life is everything she wants until her father drags their family to Arizona. Now she’s living in a virtual ghost town in the middle of the desert, millions of miles from the nearest shopping center.

The one small highlight in the dreadful situation is the local ranch. They have a horse Tina can ride anytime she wants. Trying to make the best of her situation, Tina goes on her first cattle drive and gets a lot more adventure than she expected.

Bandits, cattle thieves, and a really cute cowboy are only the beginning as she finds out the ranch she is coming to love is in grave danger. Can Tina find the strength to travel back in time and save the ranch when her very life is on the line? It’s no simple trip to the mall, but with a little help from her cowboy, she might just save the day.

My Perspective

Into The West follows Tina as she is uprooted by her parents from her city life in New Jersey and moved to live out in the desert in Arizona. At first she’s extremely unhappy however the prospect of being able to ride at the local ranch whenever she wants in return for work makes the move a little easier. However soon she is involved in an exciting adventure, nothing of which she could have ever had back home, with a cute cowboy to boot.

This book is aimed at ages thirteen and up and is a light adventure/fantasy romance. Even though I still enjoyed it, there were moments I was rolling my eyes. However thinking back to when I was a teenager, I would have lapped this kind of story right up.

It was written well, the pace was steady and it kept your interest throughout. There was a lot of excitement and adventure and the romance was G rated, which was refreshing and I would be comfortable letting my teenager read.

Tina was relatable and easy to like. She really grew and matured throughout the book and the person she became was definitely a positive role model for teenage girls. Rowe was a sweetheart and it was very easy to like him.

Overall it was an enjoyable, light read that held my interest. There were some parts that were slightly unbelievable however what fantasy isn’t? I would definitely recommend this for teenage girls or even older females who like young, innocent romances.

This review is based on a digital ARC provided by the publisher.