Book Review: The Spec Set

Spending several weeks of his summer at a geeky science camp babysitting his odd younger brother isn’t the highlighted path E wants to travel.

Spending several weeks of his summer at a geeky science camp while babysitting his odd younger brother isn’t the highlighted path E wants to travel. Then, to top it all off, paths surround him as he and his brother become the focus of the FBI in The Spect Set.

Taya Okerlund creates a remarkable story that follows two brothers on the unexpected adventure of their lives. And though Max, the younger brother, knows of his talents, Emile (E) is just discovering his. A fun YA story filled with excitement, The Spec Set is one I enjoyed reading.

My Thoughts on the Spec Set:

Told through the eyes of Emile, the Spec Set brings the fun vernacular of a teenage boy burdened by too much responsibility for a younger sibling. What makes it worse? Max doesn’t speak. On the rare occasion he does, the single word response hardly covers the required answer. Though watching his brother at science camp isn’t an idea E likes, he still stands up for him regularly. Luckily, Lilly, the latest pain in his side, likes Max and helps out as much as she can. Eventually, when E’s own reality seems to explode, Lilly and Max let him in on a little secret, and he meets the rest of the Spec Set.

I quite enjoyed reading this fun story. Much of Max’s characteristics are obviously written in a way that leads the reader to believe he has Autism with selective mutism. Having a child of my own with Autism, I found the writing well-done. In fact, the story follows kids with conditions who have developed superpowers. The story states clearly they are not savants, but, wow, do they have talents!

So often, incredible children with neuro-diversities are left by the wayside, uncelebrated despite their amazing talents and qualities. The Spec Set may be science fiction but the preface behind it isn’t.

The book could use a good proofread. There are several instances of simple mistakes, usually out of place or incorrect words. It did affect my attention to a degree, and I would preface this point before handing it to my children to read. The story is squeaky clean and perfect for both boys and girls of any age, though readability probably begins with middle graders.

The Official Blurb:

Copernicus Science camp looks harmless enough on the surface, at least no one will tell you otherwise, least of all Max McKenzie, who doesn’t speak at all. He can’t even defend himself when he’s implicated in a high stakes chemical theft from the camp lab. Or can he?

His brother Emile is desperate to help, but he’s waking up to his own problems–chief among them the fact that he’s developed an incredible (and incredibly dangerous) new ability. He doesn’t know how to control his awesome new power, and turns to the one person he’s loathe to ask: Lilly Fang.

Lilly has everything under control, including other people’s biochemistry. (Or is Emile really that crazy about her?) Either way, she’s hiding a boat-load of secrets (and secret powers).

Lilly assembles a team of friends like none Emile’s ever dreamed of to help Max.

There’s Fetu, a near giant, whose presence alone seems to suck the air out of the room. Or does he do that literally?

And Danika, who’s so shy she seems to fade right into the background. Or does she actually become invisible?

And Eliza, who never lifts a finger–but is that because she lifts things with her mind? 

The Spec Set will need all of their combined strengths (and their weaknesses) to combat a threat reaching all the way go to another universe.

More info:

Purchase your copy of the Spec Set on Amazon
Follow Taya Okerlund on Goodreads

I received an ARC copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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Book Review: ZARA by Aureola

Young childhood as a refugee, human trafficking, and drugs wreak havoc in Aisha’s life. Human kindness and love come only small doses, leaving her with a soul tormented by abuses. But an end to suffering awaits if she can overcome the hardships driving her life.

Book Review: Zara by Aureola

Author, Aureola, takes us on a journey most of us cannot fathom. Those who can, wish they couldn’t. Her novel, ZARA, explores a world where abuse by one’s spouse isn’t only commonplace, but legal, where refugees run from criminals and their abusers, and young children are sold as slaves.

My Thoughts About ZARA:

Understanding the depths of terror that abound in the world can only come as we experience it ourselves. But a glimpse through a fictional story can help us recognize atrocities, hopefully, so we can change them. Just as Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped loosen the bonds of slavery in the United States, ZARA works to loosen the bonds placed on women and children by those who seek power over them. Aureola does this by highlighting the atrocities of spousal abuse and human trafficking.

Much of the story takes place through the eyes of Aisha, a young girl who lives through the cycle of abuse time and time again. The love of those in her same position carries her through the very torments of hell. Though she wishes to escape, as is true for many, escape isn’t always possible. There are pockets of happiness and hope, but much of the book shows how Aisha survives. The survival that comes through her strength and the hands of others causes readers to cheer from the bottom of their hearts.

This story is not written by an American, so you can expect some differences in spelling and punctuation—specifically when it comes to commas and periods found outside quotation marks, which is considered correct in British English. There are also some formatting issues in the ebook that the author is currently working to fix, as well as minor grammatical errors. Some confusion may arise as the author switches from one character’s point of view to another.

I, personally, feel the author handled such volatile subjects well. Though dark subjects line each page, gruesome violence and unnecessary descriptions do not, neither does nudity, sexual acts, or other inappropriate expressions. I struggle some with the end of the book, though it is a happy ending, how happiness is discovered, leaves me disconcerted. However, I do believe the ending to be realistic.

Overall, I cautiously recommend this book. It has the propensity to help readers understand some of the complexities women and children in the world may experience and will open eyes to harsh realities while shielding them from debilitating anguish.

Official Blurb:

“I am Zara… and I know what it means to live in terror for my life…”

Born into an existence in which life and death walk hand in hand, abuse and an impending war throw Zara into a fight for survival in a dystopian society ravaged by insurgents and run by drug lords, arms dealers as well as prostitution rings. With her innocence destroyed, she survives by building a façade that sells a lie to the world. But when this is stripped away, she is left with one choice: a final end, a final silence… even at the cost of her life.

More Info:

Purchase your copy of ZARA on Amazon.

Follow Aureola on Goodreads.

Read more reviews, flash fiction, and fun at KameoMonson.com, and don’t forget to grab your FREE downloadable copy of Sometimes A Bird Has to Fly!

I received a free copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

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Book Review: The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers

The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers by Kimberly King takes Nikki Baker’s desire for her first magical kiss to a whole new level, especially now that sparkles, potions, and magical twists are involved.

Kimberly King

Behind every book stands a creative author, and Kimberly King definitely has the creativity down. The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers introduces you to Nikki Baker, a teenage girl nearing the end of her freshman year. And like so many others, Nikki wants nothing more than to experience her very first kiss. Unlike other teenage girls, she discovers she has a fairy godmother, one who doesn’t believe in turning mice into footmen and definitely doesn’t like the idea of turning pumpkins into coaches. In this debut novel, readers laugh through confused spells and wacky high school experiences as they easily relate to those embarrassing teenage moments.

My thoughts:

High school filled my life with plenty of fun, choir, sitting with the band during football games, dances, and the occasional date or three. And though I don’t often admit it, my teenage mind was wired like most other teenage girls. I wanted that magical experience where a boy’s lips suddenly careened into mine for the very first time.

Kimberly King takes those dreams and adds embarrassing moments and humiliation, giving our daughters (and us too) a great deal to laugh at. Though Nikki’s fairy godmother doesn’t appear in every chapter, we know she’s busy behind the scenes, working to get Nikki that very special kiss. Kimberly brings life to her characters, when they smile, I smiled—when humiliation knocks on their doors, I remember it knocking on mine.

I can’t wait to share The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers with my daughters, who are the perfect ages to enjoy every minute reading it. Recommending this clean read comes naturally to me as I find it a great book for all middle and high school aged girls.

The Official Blurb:

All Nikki Baker wants is her first kiss. All her fairy godmother wants is to get the job done as quickly as possible. Hilarious adventures follow when Nikki discovers her fairy godmother’s magic isn’t quite up to par…along with her taste in boys. Nobody is safe as spells bounce around from the school’s biggest nerd to the biggest jerk in ninth grade and everyone else in between.

As love triangles grow ridiculously complicated, Nikki soon discovers that being a boy magnet has its downside. One best friend starts hating her, and another stops at nothing to prevent Nikki from getting her happily ever after. Is love really worth the cost of friendship? Nikki must decide for herself, but that means betraying either her best friends…or her impatient fairy godmother.

More info:

Purchase The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers for Kindle or in Print on Amazon, or read it on Kindle Unlimited.

Follow Kimberly King on Facebook

Visit KameoMonson.com for more reviews and other writing fun, and receive your free download of my flash fiction piece Sometimes A Bird Has to Fly.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.
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Book Review: The Songs of You and Me

A true-to-life sweet romance, The Songs of You and Me reminds us that dreams can come true.

Mylissa Demeyere enters the writing scene with her first novel, The Songs of You and Me, a sweet romance about second chances. If you love simple, yet sweet love stories, you’ll want this one.

About The Songs of You and Me:

The Songs of You and Me follows the stories of Jane and Jackson. Would-be high school sweethearts, if nothing had gotten in the way. But life did, as it usually does. Now that Jane and Jackson are both single and, once again, living in the same small New York town they grew up in, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Reader’s learn about the love Jane and Jackson shared in high school through labeled chapters, similar to flashbacks, while at the same time, following their current lives as they rekindle their past friendship with a little help from Jane’s best friend and Jackson’s sister, Sarah. But the heartache of their past marriages brings pain to the forefront. Read the book to find out if they end up in each other’s arms.

My Thoughts:

“So, how did you two meet?”

It’s a question we’ve all heard and answered—one we ask each other regularly. Watching the smiles and the love pass between husbands and wives fascinates us, giving us goosebumps in all the right places. That’s what Mylissa Demeyere’s book, The Songs of You and Me reminds me of—a simple love story everyone wants to hear. To make your reading experience even better, Demeyere includes a link to a fitting song at the beginning of every chapter. While my Kindle has no speakers, I thought the idea was genius.

I found Demeyere’s writing simple and easy to read. There were some errors in the word choices and editing, but that can be expected in every book. Though I noticed the errors, I didn’t feel they detracted from the story much, if at all. The storyline is one-hundred percent believable; if you want an extreme love story, you won’t find it here. However, you will find descriptions of some mighty fine looking people, or hot, as Demeyere describes them. I did find myself getting a bit lost in the heavy descriptions of the characters’ styling choices (especially Jackson’s), but I tend to prefer limited character descriptions.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would read another by Mylissa. Though I’m not likely to read it again and again, it brought a smile to my face, sometimes it’s the simple pleasures.

The Songs of You and Me is a clean read. Expect some hot kissing and some mild swearing.

More info:

Purchase your copy of The Songs of You and Me on Amazon

Follow Mylissa Demeyere: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads
Visit her website: www.mylissademeyere.com

Have a book you’d like reviewed?

Contact me at KMonson.author@gmail.com. Find my guidelines on my Recommended Reads page.

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When Love Is Lost Release Day Celebration!

The day long-awaited has come. When Love Is Lost is live on Amazon and it’s time to celebrate!

Several years ago, I started a writer’s journey as I decided to write a book. This year I published When Love Is Lost—a clean women’s fiction novel!  In celebration of a dream realized, I’m giving away two paperback copies of When Love Is Lost to two wonderful winners.

About When Love Is Lost:

Cleaning, cooking, volunteering, attending church . . . Deb lives a monotonous life. Stuck in a loveless marriage, she doesn’t know where to turn or what to do. One day, out of the blue, a mysterious man enters her life, and her once boring existence is born anew. As he fills her heart with love, joy, and hope, she must decide whether her marriage is worth saving.

Betty’s life is nothing but fun, glamour, and shopping, especially where Deb is concerned. But can she continue hiding her torturous past from her best friend? When her past comes back to haunt her, Betty struggles to survive in a world where no-one knows the truth of her reality.

A young, pregnant mother of two, Mariah, makes new friendships with Deb as she continues her blissful journey through motherhood. But while her husband is recovering from an accident, new terrors threaten to destroy the happiness she’s worked so hard to build.

Can all three women come together to fight the battles of life? Find out in WHEN LOVE IS LOST. A novel that shines a new light on love and friendship, and keeps readers yearning for more as they cheer for three incredible women journeying through the ups and downs of life.

A Clean Read.

This book contains some ‘PG-13’ domestic abuse with other related themes. It has no graphic sex scenes (implied between married couples), nudity, or swearing. Though appropriate for most teenagers, When Love Is Lost has been written with adults in mind.

 

Praises:

“Women’s Fiction reborn. This beautiful and endearing story keeps you hooked until the very end. The adventures, twists, and turns kept me on the edge of my seat. I have found a new favourite author! Five out of five stars for this amazing addition to the world of literature.” Eanna Roberts, owner of Penmanship Editing

If you love Debbie Macomber books with a little bit of clean romance and heart-warming stories of personal tragedy and triumph, you will enjoy When Love is Lost. Kameo’s descriptions are never lacking, her story flows well, and she introduces a cast of characters you will fall in love with, or question, or hate.” Maggie Aldrich, author of It’s All Greek to Me.

“Beautifully, compassionately written, When Love Is Lost sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. It follows the experiences of three women who find strength through their unique challenges. The story is both timeless and familiar, relatable and personal. I couldn’t put it down!” Amy Klaus, author of Hearts Unshackled (coming soon).

Giveaway Information:

This giveaway begins August 14, 2018, at 12:00 AM EDT and ends August 22, 2018, at 12:00 EDT.

Rules: No purchase necessary. Ages 18 and up. US entries only. Winners will be notified by email and given 48 hours to respond. If no response is received within 48 hours another winner will be chosen. Prize value of $16.00. Odds of winning determined by the number of entries. Winners are chosen randomly. This giveaway is run by Kameo Monson from Maricopa, Arizona.

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