Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review: Godhead: Book I of the Aldariad

In Godhead: Book I of the Aldariad (Volume 1), Greg McLeod weaves a fantasy tale that merges with the real world in a magnificent, gripping saga. Seemingly disparate stories are begun, and then abruptly stop; only to be picked up again as the threads linking the two dimensions are drawn together. In Diggers Row, in the American West, in 2001, a boy named Billy disappears before his friend’s eyes while they’re out hunting. Then we are transported to Vereld, a world grown complacent over time with no apparent threat to make maintenance of the fortifications against enemy invaders seem a necessity. We meet Rather, a healer – although he terms himself more hedge wizard than mage – who is summoned to the house of a peasant couple to attend to their autistic boy. Something is terribly wrong. The boy, a savant, has covered the walls in his bedroom with prophetic sayings. Rather is able to translate and, having an eidetic memory, remember them. Then all hell breaks loose… The reader is swept into a loathsome maelstrom of black magic as a grim and awful dark god awakens and starts to get his grip on a world totally unprepared for the onslaught. There are many sorcerers willing to invest their powers in the creation of hybrid, monstrous creatures to fight in a battle that draws on black and white magic. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to three Redeemers – Anili, Jon and Orrin - whose stories merge so that they can fulfil their part of the prophecy and save humanity. The story moves from Billy’s disappearance - which elicits the interest of the US security forces, and other, more unscrupulous parties anxious to commercially exploit this new dimension’s resources – to events in Vereld that link the two dimensions, to the Nazi interest in Jon’s great-uncle’s castle that holds a great secret, and finally unites the three people who can stem the impending tide of destruction.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s hard to find the words to encompass the scope of this bold and brilliant tapestry. Although there are strong hints of the influence of Tolkien, this story is uniquely the author’s own. Greg McLeod is a true ‘Wordlord’ in that he can describe a scene so beautifully and yet so succinctly that the reader imagines themselves transported there, be it a battle, a moment of quiet beauty or introspection, or the unfolding of a character’s development. I was captivated by this tale and although the abrupt changes in the story, as a new scenario is introduced, take some getting used to, the author deftly draws the reader back and reignites their attention. I loved the side characters who got equal attention in their portrayals as much as the main characters. The seven Unborn, misshapen and frightening to behold, but tender, compassionate and gentle, were wonderful. There is such a vast cast of characters that one is hard pressed to pick out particular names. They are all well developed and serve their purpose, from Baran the soldier tasked with protecting Anili, to Torgrim the wizard mentoring Jon, to the forest folk who saved Orrin from captivity. I also enjoyed the quotes that prefaced each chapter, in which a reader may glean more about coming events as well as information about how the magicality of Vereld works. Greg McLeod has created a compelling tale of good versus evil, with a unique and yet realistic fantasy world, populated with characters that rise to fulfil their destiny for the greater good, no matter what the cost. This story has everything for the fantasy fan, as well as the reader who enjoys a deep, well constructed plot, believable and appealing characters, and imaginative and credible world-building. Five stars!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Rosabelle

Rosabelle by Linda Harrington is a delightful children’s book set in rural New Zealand, in the 1970s. The main focus of the story falls upon 11-year-old Jane Williams, and their father’s racehorse, the titular Rosabelle. When Jane’s father has a suspicious accident at the racing stables, he is unable to work for a good while; this wreaks havoc upon the family’s finances, as well as family relationships since Jim Williams is a proud man, not used to accepting help from people. Rosabelle is the family’s last hope because she is such a good racer. However, finances are so tight that Jim even considers selling Rosabelle to his so-called friend and associate, Don O’Leary. But things are going wrong all round with various farmers’ sheep being stolen from farms. When Jane overhears O’Leary making sinister remarks about her father and Rosabelle, she is on the alert to his motives. Sadly, no one believes her until disaster strikes again and more sheep go missing. With the help of her friend Marta, and with information helpfully supplied by her teacher, Mr. Dunkerton, and with surprising assistance from Rosabelle herself, Jane sets out to expose Don O’Leary and get back those sheep. But it’s not going to be as easy as she thought!

The story unfolds slowly, and this enables young readers to really get to know Jane, her family and her friends, and also to learn about Rosabelle. The pace of living several decades ago was very different as well, and the author has a delightful way of describing rural life, as well as deftly inserting interesting snippets of historical information to place readers in the ’70s context. Readers also learn more about Jane’s family history (which has an interesting outcome), and might be keen to dig into their own family backgrounds as a result. There is enough horse detail to satisfy equine fans, without overpowering readers not as familiar with saddle soap and stables!  I enjoyed this book very much; the author painted the entire story with loving strokes, imbuing it with a whimsical charm that seeps right through each page, making the ambiance, the era, the characters and their lives come to life. I especially enjoyed Jane’s Scottish teacher, the eccentric Mr. Dunkerton, and his bagpipes. The author includes a front map and a back glossary of unfamiliar words and terms which young readers will also enjoy, enabling them to place the location of the story and to understand the colloquial words and terms. This book will appeal to young readers and those who enjoy family oriented stories. 4 Stars.

Book Blast: Raising Sleeping Stones

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is very excited to be coordinating a Book Blast for a book that is taking reading in new directions. “Raising Sleeping Stones” by P.H.T. Bennet is a fantasy adventure whose story and app will help readers learn more about their own dreams. Read on for more information.

Raising Sleeping Stones

About the Book

Title: Raising Sleeping Stones (The Orora Crona Chronicles, Book 1) | Author: P.H.T. Bennet | Publication Date: December 4, 2014 | Publisher: DreamKeeper Publishing | Pages: 364 (est.) | Recommended Ages: 9 to 14

You can purchase a copy of this innovative book/app for only 99 cents until April 2, 2015!

Please note that the full functionalities of the app (e.g., music, hidden illustrations, and other interactive features) are not included in the e-book. The app is available through iTunes.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks

Kobo * Smashwords * Goodreads


The Story

***Winner of a 2013 Newbury Comics Award!***
Raising Sleeping Stones - inside pageWhen sisters Kiva and DeeDee Stone discover a mysterious plot that threatens them and everything they care about, they have to take a crash course in the ancient art of DreamKeeping to survive. As two elder Dream Keepers lead them up the Varruvyen river to the Eyle of Return, they show the girls how to gain dream powers greater than anything they had ever imagined. But can they become strong enough to face the monsters that haunt their dreams at night, strong enough to fight the enemies that draw nearer each day? The answer lies somewhere in the broken history of Orora Crona, the Valley of Dreams lost centuries ago, and whoever can piece it together first will rule for centuries to come.  

The Experience

Raising Sleeping Stones - The ExperienceTHE APP: Raising Sleeping Stones has been released as an electronic book in app form because it will do what dreams do by weaving together a story, music, illustrations, and interactive features to create a richer, more layered reading experience. STORY: The adventures of Kiva and DeeDee will become clearer and richer if you pause at the end of a chapter to think about the new clues you could use to start unlocking the mysteries of the earlier chapters ... or to predict what will happen in the next ones. DREAM TECHNIQUES: Kiva and DeeDee meet the DreamKeepers who teach them how to not only remember and explore their dreams, but also how to use them to develop incredible super powers including flying, changing shape, traveling to the past, living underwater, creating impossible buildings, looking into the future, and more. This may be a fantasy series, but most of the dream techniques the characters use in the book really work, so readers can actually get better at dreaming by following what the characters do. STORYSCORE: The music tells the same story at the same time as the words, but adds additional musical cues to help you figure out what's happening between the characters or who might be involved in the plot against them. The closer you listen to the music, the more secrets you can uncover. DYNAMIC ILLUSTRATIONS: The illustrations represent the main characters and events in the story; but, if you answer the questions at the end of certain chapters, you can unlock hidden layers to the illustrations, layers that show what lies beneath the surface of the story. TUMBLER & FACEBOOK: Readers will be able to share their ideas, questions, drawings, and/or their predictions about the book on Tumblr and will be able to find sound clips, albums of drawings, updates, and other extras on Facebook as well.  

Video Preview


About the Author: P.H.T. Bennet

P.H.T. BennetP.H.T. Bennet began exploring the world of the dreams when he was a child and never bothered to stop when he grew up. He had the good luck to have two daughters, Juliette and Paola, who not only served as the inspirations for DeeDee and Kiva, but also shared their dreams and helped him turn their family dreamwork sessions into this book. His lucky streak grew when he married his lovely wife, Mim, who tolerates his turning on a light in the middle of the night to write down ever-crazier dreams and talking about them in the morning as long as he lets her sleep in, first. Though flying dreams are his favorite, he also loves the challenge of rewinding, replaying, and revising nightmares until they have much more interesting (and less brutal) endings, the thrill of breathing and swimming at high speeds underwater, the surprise of creating new works of art, the dangers in meeting, battling, and learning from his Shadow as it changes forms, the delight of returning to Paris, where he lived for 5 years, for delicious meals, and the peacefulness he gets from dream visits with his father, who passed away four years ago. He can’t wait to hear what readers favorite dreams are and what dream skills they hope the book will help them develop. Readers can either share them with him at phtbennet(at)raisingstones(dot)com or with everybody reading the book at

Book Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: April 2, 11:59 pm, 2015 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, P.H.T. Bennet and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services