Category Archives: Reading Challenges

Book Review: ‘I Have a Friend on Jupiter’ by Celine Rose Mariotti

Title: I Have a Friend on Jupiter

Published: 2nd May 2017

Publisher: Dreaming Big Publications

Author: Celine Rose Mariotti



Carlos and Indiana find a website that promises to find them pen pals from outer space. Imagine their surprise and excitement when they are paired with Mannie and Kossie, two children from Jupiter! The two pairs of pen pals are excited to learn about each other and their planets, and are even more excited to learn they may be able to visit! Will the other Earthlings be as open to a visit from aliens from Jupiter, though?



Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about Sci-fi. So who is up for finding a new pen pal from a planet far, far away? That’s just what our two young inquisitive minded children do.

So Indiana and Carlos are best friends and like nothing more than to go searching for new and exciting things on the Internet about anything and everything. The main area that they are interested in is outer space so you can be sure that if it is there they will find it. The search for fascinating facts is never ending; there is always something new to learn and if it is space related they are going to get drawn to it. On one of their searches they happen to come across a website that claims you can write to aliens from outer space. Their first thought is that it can’t really be real but hoax or not they want to give it a try. So Carlos writes an email to see what happens knowing that Indiana will write one herself when she gets home. Whether they get a reply is something else entirely.

On the other side of the galaxy it seems that these emails have gotten through to some like-minded inquisitive aliens around the same age as Indiana and Carlos. Mannie and Kossie want to learn knew and exciting things about other planets and the thought of having friends on one of them is a bonus.

What starts out as innocent pen pal chats turns into a bit a national panic when others get wind of what has been happening and who might be popping in for a visit. Going to the Observatory might be an interesting way to see the stars, and who might be planning a visit, but the people in charge might take it the wrong way.

Can these pen pal friends just meet up without extra drama surrounding them? With aliens wanting to pay a visit you know that’s not going to happen. But these guys are different, not just in looks (hello blue skin and silver hair), so you know they aren’t going to be taken advantage of that easily.

A sweet idealistic story about having a pen pal friend from Jupiter. Real or a hoax these kids want to find out. It is aimed at a younger audience but that doesn’t pull away from the story itself. Fun read with how it all comes about.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.


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Book Review: ‘Spellcaster’ by George Bachman

Title: Spellcaster

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Sublime Ltd

Author: George Bachman


Twitter: @OfficialBachman



In a turn-of-the century England steeped in steampunk and magic, Christine learns her life-threatening illness stems from her paranormal visions. During the London Season, Allie, her beloved sister and the family heir, seeks a noble match while she searches the occult underground for answers. But the only witch who can help will not do so unless Allie marries her beau, an impoverished aristocrat, so that the illicit pair can share Allie’s wealth.



Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book involving time travel. Well in a way it does as you have reincarnated souls needing to travel back to their past lives to finish a quest they were on to stop a great evil.

Christine has always felt different, mainly with the things she can do – a witch’s craft growing perhaps? Right from the start she feels the need to search for two people – Rodham and Valerie – though she doesn’t really know why, just that she needs to. She keeps calling on different spirits to help her quest, each stronger than the last, to try to find them. Seems in a way she is also connected to someone Rodham knows. Spirits reincarnates perhaps? So whom have they really gone into? Seems this is where Sir Thomas comes into play – her past life. Seems these past lives have merged with the present ones and might even be able to manipulate them into doing things to help their cause – no matter the trouble it causes.

She also seems to get weird feelings about certain people or situations but doesn’t really know what to do about them when they come about. Could this really be her or is it more to do with Sir Thomas? In his time magic is around more openly and this could be what she is drawing her feelings from. Could bad feelings be because the people she meets have past souls she, or more precisely Sir Thomas, knew.

One of the things that might be more her past self’s doing than her own is helping Lord Serton woo her close friend Allie. The reason isn’t for true love but more to do with what Lady Kinloss can gain and help her with if the match is set. From this moment on Christine has almost been charged with seeing all those close to her wed by her friends and Allie’s sisters. A job she may wish she never agreed to help with. Might get a lot of matches but are they happy ones? Allie’s it seems might not be. Whether she can find a way out of it though only time will tell.

This is where the story becomes a two in one, with reincarnation playing a part and time going forward and back. I found at times though that I was never quite sure whose head I was in. So it might have benefited with names at the top of chapters so you could understand quicker whether you were inside Christine’s head or Sir Thomas’s. The story shifts to focus more on Sir Thomas near the end than Christine. She was almost a means to an end to get him back to where it all started so he could defeat a great evil.

The great evil to be defeated in the past before the future is lost is Hane, a Spellcaster who seems to be ruling by an evil hand. His actions saw a turn of events lead those around into a darker future. His followers seem to have gone into their future selves to try to stop Sir Thomas – aka Christine – and Rodham – aka Edmund – from getting the key back to their time along with an urn. Both needed in taking the spellcaster and his followers down. Once the master fails his kingdom soon crumbles. Let’s see if our time travelling souls can get the job done.

I found this book a bit hard to get into to begin with. Mainly due to the amount of characters being introduced that surrounded Christine. Just when you think the story is going one way it changes course. Now this is actually where the story picked up a bit better. When you go back to the past lives and see how they fair in their quest. Can they save the day to take down an evil ruler? Only time will tell. I feel it could have been split into two books with the first half being closed off a bit better when the stories focus shifts. One had closure but the other is left open. Seems once a mind has merged it’s hard to break completely as they are still plague by what they had to do to get the job done.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘The Magicians Workshop Volume One’ by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

Title: The Magicians Workshop Volume One

Published: 8th November 2016

Authors: Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr


Twitter: @HansenFehr



Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.



Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with a number in the title. Seems some have gifts stronger than others but if you don’t have a colour pulled at the ceremony it will be for nothing. Each tale is different from the last but you know that eventually all players will be pulled into the same place. To what end is unclear, only time will tell.

We start with Layauna, a young magician coming into her very powerful powers. Hers seem to be haunting monstrous projection spells though, ones she can’t control yet. It’s a good thing that her grandfather, a very powerful magician, is taking her to the magician’s workshop to train then. Takes a while before we come back to her story and when we do it seems she’s in a loop of how she started, a dome that creates it. Trying to change what happened and control what she creates instead of them being too powerful after she’s created them. With how things pan out it’s not going too well to begin with and she’s been at it a while. Seems her creations might be able to become solid. A dream gift to others but a nightmare to her with what they can do. Nightmare is right; as that’s the kind of things she creates. Just needs longer to control them.

We then start to follow Kai and his friends Talia, Snap, Weston and Luge. Something that draws Kia apart from his friends is that he has a finger of a flame on his hand that won’t ever go out. They all seem to be good at projection spells with knowing what they want to create and being able to control them. Well to a point anyway. Creating a monster for a game is one thing but when it gets out of hand trouble is on its way. Could it affect his flame? People on the island think he’s trouble and after a game gone wrong, could they be right? Seems punishment was cast all round with a projection that got out of hand. Shouldn’t punish too harshly though as it seems the island is suffering due to a lack of a magician and these kids might be the future. So lets see if these creative kids have some colours on the day.

Thought Snaps dad Limmick was a right laugh. His reaction to the kids projecting something they shouldn’t have isn’t anger its ore, as he is so impressed with what they can do. Jade, Kai’s grandmother was interesting too. The fall of her husband and son, Kai’s father, put a dark mark on the family. Kai knows if he doesn’t become a magician he can’t pull them out of their misfortune. Something tourists pay good money to see so silver lining in a little way until time changes their fate.

Kaso has magic inside him too but because he’s an orphan he can’t take part in the colour ceremony until he’s 19, 3 years away. He has the ability to create warmth, which seems handy when the cold comes in. He has a younger brother he longs to protect, Coby. If he goes to region 2 he can go in the ceremony where everyone is already convinced he will have a colour and become a magician. Should he really trust strangers to get him and his brother there though? Eccentric poozers they may be but lets hope they keep their word.

Kalaya and her boyfriend Jaremon seem to be in training mode for her. He’s a mage already, his colour being green. She’s about to go to the ceremony to see the puller. Now she may be able to create things its just the colour of them that’s causing her trouble. Funny thing is that none of them really touch anyone else. You may project the feeling of touch but not many do and to physically touch is unheard of. Join later to see her in the testing stages to receive coins. More coins you have the more freedom you have to practice projections. Also helps with chances at the ceremony with getting a colour.

Let the ceremony begin. Looks like a lot of interesting young characters are about to start training at the magicians’ workshop. Time for a new era of magicians it seems. Emotions seem to play a part in what these kids can do when the time comes to test at 16. An interesting read that does draw you in but there are quite a few main and side characters to try to follow. Maybe when more are linked together it will be a little easier to follow where they might be going and how their lives are going to change forever after the colour ceremony starts. Volume 2 it seems holds all the clues.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the authors for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Cotton Candy and Tangerines’ by MR Chevalier

Title: Cotton Candy and Tangerines

Published: 7th December 2016

Publisher: Cyber Rose Design

Author: MR Chevalier



The great lover, Casanova, once remarked that he loved a multitude of women, not for the experience alone, but in a genuine effort to find the one woman who was truly worth loving.

Pierre White’s primary desire had always been to embark on a quest to find an intelligent, passionate woman to love and adore, a soul mate, a Guinevere. His very own Guinevere, even if it meant that Pierre would have to search the entire world for her.

From the elegant restaurants of Soho to the glittering hotels lining the Rive Gauche, Pierre searches for the one thing that will make his life complete. His soul mate. Life doesn’t hand him that wish, but instead gives him the opportunity to search for it. His travels take him from the arms of one beautiful woman to the next. Will he find himself looking into a lover’s eyes and seeing forever in their depths or will the search continue, one exquisite passionate exploration at a time?

This book is intended for mature audiences.



Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with food in the title. Come meet Pierre, the Casanova of the skies with being a first officer pilot. He may be looking for the one but that doesn’t mean he isn’t having fun along the way. Here we follow his sexual escapades, though a pattern is soon seen.

Emotions and passions are flying high when Pierre meets Kirsten for the first time. Just when he thinks he has missed his chance with a beautiful stranger she all but lands in his path twice in one day. He thinks it’s a happy coincidence that she is a flight attendant on his plane. Could she be someone for keeps or for fun? As she’s the first you know it won’t go smoothly. A chance encounter puts the breaks on this hot fling. Could it have been more? Time will tell. The one he really wanted but a random meet with a stranger puts a stop to that.

Seems our Pierre likes a woman in uniform and a Navy one ticks a lot of boxes. Lust at first sight seems to be more of his style. This crazy connection is leading to hot sex and a fabulous five-day holiday. He knows how to spoil a girl. He just thinks he needs a little fun after his disaster of a ‘would be’ romance with Kirsten.

After a Navy uniform he just wants to go back to what he knows best – flight attendants and perhaps even a pilot. He does like dipping his toe in the office ink so to speak. Get ready for a string of them and each with a slightly different reaction to the last. Some might be more but others just want to have fun.

A spark of attraction for some but again Pierre may see too much into what is in front of him. Some appear to be looking for a night of fun, nothing more. You then have one bold enough to bring him a drink to his hotel room on their layover, getting a nice reward for doing so. Could the reason for doing so be really what it seems? Even crazy flights don’t seem to put a dampener on his style with his layovers ending in the same way.

A chance encounter at his hotel sees him bumping into Jessica, someone in the business but this time corporate flight attendant instead. He might be offering to show her around Harrods to be a nice guy but you know he wants something more. She resists him for a while but a late night knock on the door changes it all. Could this one be ‘the one’? They both seem to be falling for each other this time and he could really help her out career wise. A spanking good time for both it seems, but will it last?

Seems he then wants to go up in the world – pun I know – this time with setting his sights on the Captain of a flight. She may be older but he doesn’t seem to mind. It doesn’t stop his lightning fast attraction he seems to get with most women he meets. This time his wayward thoughts might be all he’s going to get. He gets quite creative with his thoughts, which wouldn’t be so bad, if he wasn’t flying a plane when having them. Spacing out is not a good idea.

He likes to play with fire and closer to the end just kind of comes off as a womanizer and a bit of a hypocrite who doesn’t really care other than getting himself off. He does tend to think with his dick no matter how many times he says he’s looking for love. Seems to be that his heart was lost a while ago to someone he shouldn’t have let go of. Can another chance meeting put him back with her or will he just play the field forever?

Funny how he always seems to miss or mess up the first chance meeting with someone new but second times always the charm. His luck or fate might be holding. Is it love or lust at first sight? When it repeats over and over he may need to rethink his views on finding the one. Just because a woman sleeps with him shouldn’t mean he goes a hundred miles per hour in thinking on what their life could be. Some of these women are relationship material while others just want fun. He is a bit of a Casanova but longs to find his forever girl. With the amount of sex he’s been having he’s not very concerned with contraception though. It seems to slip his mind or not even register until after the fact. It’s a wonder accidents haven’t happened.

Interesting fun read but did get a little repetitive with his antics with any attractive woman he sees. Namely on his flights so he has someone to be with on his layovers. A few relationships along the way but you always knew which one he really wanted to be with. Whether he can keep her is another thing entirely.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Book Review: ‘Shadow Eyes’ by Dusty Crabtree

Title: Shadow Eyes (Book 1)

Published: 2nd September 2016

Author: Dusty Crabtree


Twitter: @dustycrabtree



Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year-old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.



Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about angels. You, along with Iris, might not know they are there to begin with as dark shadows are what she sees first but there has to be balance to everything so light is on its way.

Iris has struggled with a gift that was awoken within her at a dark time in her past. From the moment she opened her eyes the first time to see shadows lurking around those she loved she was scared. She has been afraid of them ever since and has no real clue as it what they are, just that she knows they aren’t good. For three years she has hidden this secret, along with a darker tale from her past. One we don’t learn of until she is ready to face it head on. Now with seeing shadows everywhere, most around people but some flouting close by, she would naturally be drawn to someone who has none or better yet seems to flow lightness from them instead.

From the onset we see a close friendship with Nicole and Lexi but sometimes friends can be fickle when guys are involved. She never really noticed much of the guys in school but slowly and surely the shy advances of Josh get to her. With him comes a group that connects with her friends too. Date night with a crowd of six it seems with some pairings happier than others – Iris and Josh, Nicole and Tyler and Lexi and Sam, though really Lexi has no interest in him at all. Starting something new and exciting with Josh is one thing but when a mysterious stranger comes on the scene it soon causes her to doubt her feelings. Patrick is someone very sure of himself, a classic flirt, so she can never be sure if he is playing or does want to get close. Not that it should matter when she starts dating Josh but the shadows seem to like playing games and he could be in their sights.

So Patrick is appealing due to not having shadows round him and with Josh getting more you can see where it might lead. He’s a master at flirting but do his actions ring true or are things not as they seem? With the new group broken it tears the girls apart but true friends are ever close at hand with Lexi and their new friend Kyra. Iris knows there is something different about her with the fact that she seems to emit light so bright it pushes back the shadows. You can tell she wants answers but perhaps isn’t ready to ask the right questions. Kyra has a calming feel about her and Iris knows she can trust her from the first moment they meet. Just happens to be in the class with her new teacher Mr. Delany. Another enigma it seems as he too, sometimes just with a look, can push the shadows back.

The shadows seem to have a game plan and Iris is at the centre of it, she just doesn’t know she’s playing. Strange things are happening around her to those she cares for and she feels helpless to prevent them. You know she suffers from anxiety but don’t know its source at first. Something happened on her 14th birthday and it forever changed her. Its not just darkness in her life she has to cope with but her families too. The more they seem to struggle the bigger the shadows become. Darkness surrounds them and until she finds her inner light she is powerless to stop them down the dark paths they are on – not their choosing but have they been pushed to go a certain way. Manipulation and whispers seem to be a key part to the shadows. Ones you need to stay clear of.

Side characters I liked were Lexi, Kyra and Hanna, Iris’ sister. They seemed to always be able to bring light and happiness back into the room. Kyra seems to be a bit of a ninja in disguise with some skills that come in handy when Iris needs them most. Her other sister was a bit harsh to her regardless of what she had gone through, especially when you know everything. Is it really her though or the shadows whispers causing her to act a certain way? The same goes for others really. Can they find their own way back? Do they even want to?

It’s an interesting supernatural mix with the everyday worries of teenage angst. Who to trust and who to push away? The line is never clear. You need to look deeper to see to someone’s soul to find the real them trying to get out. Family drama, crushes gone wrong, friendships tested and a fight between light and dark, good and evil. Which way will she be pulled and can she find the correct path to go forward? Only time will tell.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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