Puzzlebook:104 Puzzle Quizzes by Grabarchuk Puzzles

Puzzlebook:104 Puzzle Quizzes

by Grabarchuk Puzzles

Genre: Puzzles

The Grabarchuks seem to be a never-ending source of great puzzles! This fifth Kindle puzzle book is every bit as challenging as the first one. It has new puzzles that challenged my brain no matter what difficulty level they posed. This book in particular mixed it up, providing an even mix of puzzles that stumped me and puzzles that I got right away, almost on instinct. I think I do best at the spacial reasoning type puzzles where you decide based on shape what the answer will be. There were fewer repetitions of the same puzzle in this book than in 101 puzzle quizzes. There were also quite a few that “got me”. I thought that I knew what the answer would be, but I was surprised because it was a trick!

I viewed this book on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 inch with the Android Kindle app. I did have some trouble with this machine’s “select picture” feature. When I tapped on the answer I wanted, it tried to highlight the image of the button rather than clicking it. This is probably a feature of my new tablet I haven’t learned how to turn off yet ;). Also, with the small size, there was an occasional answer choice that appeared on the next page, and one or two where all answers were separated from the puzzle by a page.

Other than the limitations of my device, 104 Puzzle Quizzes was an entirely entertaining experience. Grabarchuck has proven their ability to provide consistently challenging and fun puzzles again and again.

Buy on Amazon

Puzzlebook: 100 Matchstick Puzzles by Grabarchuk Puzzles

Puzzlebook: 100 Matchstick Puzzles

By Grabarchuck Puzzles

This new puzzlebook takes a different approach altogether than the other Grabarchuck puzzle books. Using the matchstick configuration challenge, it focuses just on the mechanics of this type of puzzle. But don’t worry, the variations are still many and fascinating. Instead of a multiple-choice answer format, this Puzzlebook provided the problem, a hint, and then a solution to see if you got it right.

This Puzzlebook wasn’t one I’d sit down and solve all the way through. Since there was less variety of puzzle type, I was more likely to do a few at a time every day or so. The thing I really liked about this type of puzzle is that it translates to actual objects. You can copy the puzzle with pencils, popsicle sticks, or matchsticks and work out the problem as a group if you like.

I played this puzzle on a Galaxy Tab 2 7 inch tablet, and the smaller seven inch screen pushed out some puzzles to two pages. It still worked the way it was supposed to work, though. The clever format with connected links taking you to hints and solutions worked well. I liked the hints feature in case I wasn’t sure about my answer, but wanted to still try to get the right one.

These were a bit too challenging for my 8-year-old. She actually found an alternative answer for puzzle number 2 with some leftover shapes, but had to have hints for each one. I think it would take some practice to get the kids’ brains ready to solve this kind of abstract puzzle. It would be a great homeschool activity!

The Grabarchuck family has created another fun, challenging, and creative puzzle book to exercise your grey matter! Just don’t light the matches before you solve the puzzles.

Buy on Amazon

You Can’t Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland

You Can’t Shatter Me

by Tahlia Newland

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Five stars

What would you do about a bully? When a high-school girl named Carly is faced with a harassing boy named Justin, will she be the superhero she wants to be, or will she wilt before his tyranny? She has in her favor a new hairdo, a wild imagination, a supporter named Dylan with surprises behind his nerdy exterior, and people around her who care about her and encourage her to take the high road. Sometimes the high road seems pretty darn high.

Tahlia has woven a tale of high imagination with You Can’t Shatter Me. Though the plot is all too real and the characters live in a regular world, their flights of fantasy carry us with them into amazing places. Emotions become man-eating plants and fire-breathing dragons.  Wishes for courage turn into superhero suits. Is it all just imagination, or does it have an effect on the real world?

I love Tahlia’s snappy writing and fantastic imagination. You can’t ever predict what is going to happen in her books, because reality doesn’t necessarily apply. A regular tale about bullying becomes a whole new world in her hands. A story that might bore me because it doesn’t apply to my life, suddenly becomes fascinating because of the amazing way she spins it. Due to mild swearing and some threatening language, I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger readers. You Can’t Shatter Me is an excellent story for teens facing bullying situations, or for anyone who enjoys fantasy.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Smashwords

Available through all major bookstores world wide from mid August. If you would like to be notified of it’s release, please fill in the form here.

Visit the Goodreads page

Book trailer 1 link  – http://youtu.be/ysXMYoJUsO0

Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene

Mark of the Loon

by Molly Greene

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Madison Boone is a real estate agent and house “flipper”  in Sonoma, California. In her hunger for the next house to renovate and resell for profit, she comes across the fascinating B estate. With the help of her best friend and lawyer, Genevieve Delacourt, Madison acquires the Blackburne estate. It seems she has taken it right from under the noses of a mysterious buyer who has sinister motives. What kind of amazing  payout could cause such aggressive action from the other buyer? What mysteries are hidden in the quirky old home among all the memories and mementos left by the Blackburnes? Who is lurking around outside the house? Can Madison let herself open up to Gorgeous Cole Welles?

This mystery novel was the embodiment of everything you imagine when moving into a home. “What if there is more to this place than I thought?” It’s what you always think. You know you do! Every exciting flight of fancy is explored and this time there is something behind all the suspicions. We also get a healthy dose of romance for the main character and her friends.

Molly writes a rich story full of lush descriptions. Her characters are deep and chock full of relevant issues for women. She explores divorce, career priorities, living alone, bereavement, and other issues women face.

The only thing I didn’t love about the book was the sometimes excessive description, especially at the beginning of the book. All the descriptions were beautiful and gave me an exact picture of what was being described. But it felt like it interrupted the story on more than one occasion. This is really a personal preference though. I know that more than one of my friends would pinch me for saying that.

The style was a very natural, gradual one, with mysteries popping up here and there amidst regular life. Madison was an engaging character that I could really connect with. Her fears about being hurt by others and her drive to ignore her pain by covering it up with busyness really spoke to me. I also really liked the subtle insertion of hints of the paranormal without so much that it became a paranormal book. It added to the mystery and gave it a wider appeal.

Now I have to go and figure out what I can unlock with that mysterious key I found under my baseboards!

Buy on Amazon!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mollygreene
Website/blog: http://www.molly-greene.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5561802.Molly_Greene

About the Author:

Molly Greene is an author, blogger and freelance writer with an extensive real estate background. Her debut novel, Mark of the Loon, is available on Amazon. Molly has renovated six homes over the years and is currently completing number seven, all the while plotting her next book and her next life adventure. Visit her blog at http://www. molly-greene.com and follow her on Twitter! https://twitter.com/#!/mollygreene

Puzzlebook: 100 Puzzle Quizzes by The Grabarchuk Family

Puzzlebook: 100 Puzzle Quizzes

by The Grabarchuk Family

Wow! What a cool idea! This is a whole new use of the ebook format that I would have never have thought of. Using the in-document hyperlinks in the Kindle format, the Grabarchuck family have made a fun and brain-exercising quiz book that works like a program more than a book. Primarily math and spacial puzzles with a few tricks thrown in, this was a fun two-and-a half hour exercise. Increasing in difficulty as it progressed through the problems, I got to number 97 before I couldn’t figure out any of the puzzles and had to guess. I’d say that was a good balance, challenging enough without missing out on very many questions. I loved the cute and modern smileys references!

I ran the puzzles on my Toshiba Thrive tablet with Android operating system using the Kindle app. It worked great in the standard book format, but when I tried to flip to the landscape view, some of the quiz answer choices appeared on a different page. The colors were stimulating and having it in a portable format was especially good for ease of play. Since it is a “Family” puzzle book, I tried it out on my kids too. They were able to use it with ease, provided they could read.

Mira, our family’s almost-eight-year-old puzzle princess, thought the games were  fun until about half way through, and too hard after number 60. Her favorites were the “arrow ones”. They were also a good reading challenge for her age group. (“Mommy what does this spell…D…I….”)

Caius, age 11, thought it was “OK”, however he was enrapt. He ignored everything, playing up to number 70 until the bacon was done cooking. He snapped at his sister when she tried to interrupt him too, so I think he was just being cool. He did say he thought there were too many repeats of the same puzzle with a higher difficulty level.

I haven’t seen anything else like this puzzle book! Great job, Grabarchuks!

Buy on Amazon!

Evolussion by Kathy Bell

Evolussion

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Science Fiction, Technothriller

In this second installment, Adya Jordan, who has been transformed into Dawn Westgrove, knows about the undefined threat to Earth and that she has a big role to play in saving the planet. Now what is that? We jump ahead past the alarming concept of one woman and 29 men pre-emptively repopulating earth and proceed directly t to the birth of the last of Dawn’s 53 children, Hope. (Don’t worry. She has superhuman powers, so it isn’t as awful as it sounds.)

Nicholas Weaver, the initiator of the regressions, makes his long-delayed final incarnation to search for Dawn’s daughter, Hope. This is his last chance to see the planet saved and see his true love one more time. Once he finds his long-lost love, his daring experiment to save Earth is revealed, and Three Eleven’s extensive and world-changing preparations can be put into action.

I won’t ruin the surprise, but a new and more terrible danger appears with the implementation of defense against the first. Dawn and her children are not what they first appeared to be and a malevolent force threatens Earth, instead of a random disaster. Dawn has to step up to rescue Humanity again!

This book is even better than the last, without the confusion of why Adya/Dawn is always perfect and always knows everything. In fact, she moves beyond her area of expertise facing the horrible threat she discovers faces Humanity. She’s older, more mature, and has faced sorrow. Still, the entire planet is on her side, including the supernatural.

Many themes are touched on in this book. Dawn loses children to disaster and faces the breakup of an important relationship. She gives birth, is deposed from her position under grave suspicions, and communes with the spirits of the planet. Busy lady! Though they are all dwarfed by the danger to the world, Dawn faces each with all the strength she can, and the help of a plasmid that is more than just a cell anomaly in her body.

I already have the third book and will be reviewing it soon, but be prepared to buy all three books, because you just can’t turn away from the fate of the world!

Buy on Amazon

Visit Kathy’s blog http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/

Regression by Kathy Bell

Regression

by Kathy Bell

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Mystery surrounds Adya Jordan. She may look like a forty-year-old wife and mother, but her past holds a deeper, and much longer story. This story begins its revelations when her car is struck by another in a traffic accident and she awakens in the hospital. But she finds that she is now fourteen years old. Struggling to discover why she is young again, catapulted back to her younger days, she explores her world and journals her memories.

Telling all of her experiences would ruin the surprise! Suffice it to say that she finds a home in a company called Three Eleven. The leaders of this company are just like her, sent back from the end of a different lifetime, but all male. The company, nonexistent in the reality she remembers, is bent on discovering a great and cataclysmic mystery, occurring on November 11, 2011, unless they can all find out what it is and prevent it.

This story took me less than two days to read because it was so well-written! Events flowed seamlessly and one adventure lead to the next. I was always wondering what would happen on the next page. The concept of the cataclysm and its solution was fascinating, and Kathy Bell thought a lot about every aspect of the scientific approach to preventing the end of the world. She also threw in a dash of magic with the supernatural occurrences witch drove Adya toward salvation.

The character of Adya was loving and emotionally real, but I think it was a mistake for the author to create her with no flaws. Adya never made a gross error. She had no idiosyncrasies. Not only that, but she always knew everything and was always right. If it weren’t for her warmth, I would have disliked the character for being a preachy  know-it-all. The only thing that saved her for me was her fervor for humanity, her fellowmen, and her own children. She would have been one of my favorite characters ever if she had managed to get dressed down or say the wrong thing. Heck, if she hadn’t known everything about everything all the time that would have done it. She didn’t even burn the steaks at her barbecue! Toward the middle of the book I wanted to put a frog in her bed or tie her shoelaces together or something. A feeling of sympathy for her faults and a sense of shared humiliation would have made me love Adya Jordan.

That was really the only thing I would change about this book! Adya was still a pretty awesome lady and the story was a super-duper page-turner! I really appreciated the classiness with which Kathy treated the more intimate moments of the plot, too. Sexiness was preserved but trashiness was not included.The action was well-timed and the plot was smooth as butter.

Now I really need to get the next book, Evolussion! You will too if you read Regression. Just do it. You know you want to!

For more about the author, visit http://kathybellauthor.wordpress.com/

Purchase on Kindle