SKYJACKED by Shirley Golden @shirl1001@urbanepub light easy read #SciFi #SundayBlogShare

SkyjackedSkyjacked by Shirley Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Skyjacked is an easy read scifi suitable for a wider reading audience. It begins in 2146 with a young boy undergoing experiments for an energy which he emits, and his ability to “read” others.

The book then continues eight years later. We meet Corvus a spaceship pilot. He is about to take some prisoners to a penal colony on Europa, however once arrived he finds a small coup and he and his spaceship are hijacked. Four ex-prisoners take Corvus and two of those he was transporting and set off for an unknown planet.

Needing fuel, they encounter a planet of A1 Robots and Corvus’ instincts about one of his captors come true. On another planet when searching for water they are waylaid by pollen from mysterious plants. Attempts to reach out for rescue invite dangerous aliens and the action increases when they set off on a rescue mission.

There’s enough action and character relationship developments to keep the pace interesting. The quantity of scifi gizmos and gadgets is enough without it being overwhelming. Overall an enjoyable quick read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Separated from his son, only a galaxy stands between him and home… The year is 2154, and Corvus Ranger, space pilot and captain of the Soliton, embarks on a penal run to Jupiter’s prison moon, Europa. It should be another routine drop, but a motley band of escaped convicts have other ideas. When Soliton is hijacked, Corvus is forced to set a new destination, one which is far from Earth and his son. Unable to fight (or smooth talk) his way to freedom, Corvus finds himself tied to the plans of the escapees, including their leader Isidore and a gifted young boy who seems to possess strange abilities. Desperate to return to Earth and the son he left behind, Corvus is thrown into the ultimate adventure, a star-strewn odyssey where the greatest enemy in the universe may very well be himself. 

About the author

Shirley Golden

Shirley Golden has fiction publications in anthologies and magazines. Some of her stories have won prizes, and many have been shortlisted in competitions. She is a novelist who writes historical fiction and fantasy. Her debut novel, ‘Skyjacked’, a space fantasy, will be published by Urbane Publications in the spring of 2016.

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EAGLE RIVER by Isabelle Kane #NA sports themed #Romance @KaneIsabelle #weekendblogshare

Eagle RiverEagle River by Isabelle Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eagle River is a New Adult sports themed romance set in and around Wisconsin and revolves around the sport of American football.

Kjersten and Galen were school sweethearts but broke up when Galen’s mother died. Unable to deal with the loss Galen cut Kjersten off, but never forgot her. When he sees her with a rival football star at a local fair, Galen’s jealousy rockets. He vows to apply to a college away from Kjersten.

Galen’s father is a disabled drunk, but Galen’s always had lots of support from his football coach, a man troubled by a secret he holds. At coach’s wedding, Galen and Kjersten are brought together once more, but their relationship path is still a rocky one, just how many times can a girl be left dangling before she walks away?

This storyline theme is a popular one, with high spirited players and a love triangle. I would like to see it have another run through editing to iron out areas with clunky dialogue, typos and areas where it needs it a bit of a polish to make it more of an enjoyable read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Rivals, Galen Odgers and Cam Fawst have shared many things. Both are favored sons of Eagle River Wisconsin, quarterbacks of the same legendary football team. Both have been raised by strong women, and both love the same beautiful girl. But there is a secret about one of them, a secret that a mother took to her grave, that his high school coach swore never to reveal, and one whose consequences continue to reverberate. Can love survive the ultimate betrayal and the revelation of a decades old secret?

About the author

Isabelle Kane believes that romance and love are among the most delightful aspects of the human experience. She seeks to provide her readers with rich tapestries of stories in which love is just one element of the forces that intertwine the lives of her protagonists. She believes every dreamer deserves the adventures and escape offered by an exciting novel. The greatest sources of joy and inspiration in Isabelle’s life are her husband and their three children. Isabelle is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds an MA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT WHO KILLED VIVIEN MORSE? by @DianaJFebry #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Who Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J Febry

Who Killed Vivien Morse (DCI Hatherall Book 4) by [Febry, Diana J]

Although I haven’t read the preceding books in the series, this wasn’t too difficult to settle into. DCI Hatherall is waylaid by the local, loves to complain, busybody, Glenys Pitman, who is well known at the police station. She has seen a man dressed in Druid robes behaving suspiciously in the woods. A humorous exchange follows before DCI Hatherall is able to usher Glenys on her way. Returning to his office, his partner DI Fiona Williams informs him the body of a young social worker, Vivien Morse, has been discovered in Silver Lady Woods.

Vivien’s estranged husband, Nigel, is the most likely suspect for her murder initially. That is, until Vivien’s supervisor goes missing and a prison inmate along with his paranoid and obviously disturbed erstwhile girlfriend, are thrown into the mix. The list of suspects grows. Although Fiona is still convinced there’s something off about Nigel, it seems the client Vivien visited before her death could be linked to the murder and missing supervisor.

This is a well thought through and tightly woven mystery with a twisty, somewhat convoluted plot, requiring plenty of concentration, and unconventional characters. I particularly enjoyed the Druid, Dick Death (or Dee-ath as he likes to pronounce it), his (female) dog, Colin and over the top Gladys. There’s a feeling of some sort of history between Peter and Fiona, but not having read the previous books, I’m not sure how accurate that is. And it seems Fiona’s current relationship might not be all hearts and flowers.

The humour and banter offset the darker side of the story extremely well. Vivid and atmospheric descriptions convey a real sense of the locations and characters. From the start I could picture Peter Hatherall – a man approaching middle age, with a younger, second wife, resenting the fact he had to work at keeping in shape but proud of his full head of dark hair. He is purposeful and determined to find the murderer, and won’t run with an obvious theory until he has explored every avenue. There are plenty of threads to unravel and needless to say, I didn’t guess the outcome.

Well written with sharp, witty dialogue, a fast paced, intricate plot and a mix of quirky and interesting characters makes for a very enjoyable read.

I chose to read and review Who Killed Vivien Morse? for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.

Book Description

Vivien Morse, a young social worker is discovered battered to death in Silver Lady Woods. Everyone assumes she was attacked by her estranged husband until her supervisor disappears. The connection appears to be Vivien’s last client. A damaged and disturbed girl who believes a bundle of rags is her lost baby and never leaves the family farm while she awaits the return of her lover.

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DON’T GET MAD GET EVEN by @ColinGoodwin1 @PublishingPush #Cricket #comedy #SundayBlogShare

Don't Get Mad Get EvenDon’t Get Mad Get Even by Colin Goodwin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three point Five stars.

Don’t Get Mad Get Even is a jolly tale with a northern counties village cricket club setting. The storyline takes place during one last desperate season for the cricket club as they struggle to win a league cup and thus keep their club open. No win and the land gets turned over for housing.

A large cast of characters fill the pages in this comedy of errors punctuated with dry dark humour as more than one person sets out to sabotage the club and take advantage of their loss. From the couple who have just moved to a house on the green, the long suffering resident who boarders up his windows against the cricket ball, to the lad the team dropped and the greedy son of the landowner who hopes to take advantage of his invalid father.

This book would suit those who have been immersed in village cricket, especially readers who appreciate a bit of Lancashire style humour. It is a quick light read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

As the cricket season starts, so do the shenanigans…

Life is tranquil in the quintessentially English village of Throttle – until the local cricket team receives a devilish demand.
When industrialist and landowner Sir Alfred Bullock is laid up, his devious son Roland, devises a get-rich-quick scheme. He gives an ultimatum to the cricket club: win a trophy by the end of the season or we take back the ground you play on and sell it for development.
In a desperate attempt to win games and hold on to the pitch, the club enlists the help of a professional whose skills – to the delight of the local ladies – extend far beyond the cricket Field. Roland, together with an unscrupulous estate agent and two dodgy builders, hatches malicious plans to ensure the team loses its games. Meanwhile, village residents whose houses are devalued by being on the perimeter of the pitch take matters into their own hands to ‘fix’ the club’s failure…
Greed, scandal, tragedy and farce ensue as the cricket club fights for survival against increasingly dangerous sabotage…

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MANIPULATED LIVES by @HALeuschel #Shortstories

Today’s team review is from E.L. Lindley, she blogs at http://lindleyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

E.L. has been reading Manipulated Lives by H A Leuschel

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Manipulated Lives by H. A. Leuschel is a collection of five short stories, each very different but linked by the theme of manipulation. Every one of the stories is unusual, intriguing and thought provoking in their own way.

 Leuschel captured my attention from the onset with the dramatic and mysterious opening of the first story, The Narcissist. What is immediately apparent is that Leuschel is a skilled writer who delicately constructs her stories so that like onions they unfurl for the reader layer by layer.

 Leuschel cleverly alternates her stories between first and third person narratives and both styles have their advantages. For example, The Narcissist is told from the perspective of first person which lends an air of mystery and allows Leuschel to demonstrate how the narcissist in question is blind to his own behaviour and therefore unable to make amends. In contrast, Runaway Girl is told from multiple viewpoints in third person which undermines the idea of a true version of events and leads us to question who is manipulating who.

 The beauty of Leuschel’s collection of stories is how they highlight the way we, as humans, often blind ourselves to the truth which can make us both manipulators and victims. The stories are all character driven by realistic and flawed characters and this allows us to relate to the behaviour depicted no matter how extreme it may become.

 The frightening reality is that, given the right set of circumstances we could all find ourselves falling victim to a manipulator. A lack of confidence or feelings of neediness means that the slightest show of kindness or flattery could have a profound effect on our emotional compass. The strength of Leuschel’s stories for me lies with the fact that her victims aren’t necessarily likeable and being a victim doesn’t preclude being a manipulator as well.

 Leuschel presents a convincing argument that the power of the manipulator is a combination of psychological and physical coercion. Some of the manipulators are presented as dangerous psychopaths whilst others are propelled by a sense of their own importance and entitlement. Leuschel also explores the idea of whether manipulators are simply born that way or created.

 The most sinister of the stories for me is My Perfect Child as it is one that resonates with our child-centric society. By creating a supreme sense of self worth in her son and never challenging his demands or destructive behaviour the mother creates a monster. She then colludes with her son by justifying his dysfunction to everyone around her. I think most of us probably know parents with similar attitudes to child rearing even if the outcome isn’t as extreme.

 Manipulated Lives raised many questions for me but perhaps the most difficult one is whether there is any such thing as harmless manipulation. We all manipulate to some extent in order to get our own way, whether it’s like the lonely octogenarian Tess in Tess and Tattoos, who likes to pretend she’s dead to get her carers to spend a few more minutes with her or emotionally punishing people for not being who we want them to be. However, having read these stories and being shown the ugly side of manipulation, I for one will be more mindful in the future.

 I really enjoyed these five stories and reading them reminded me of how I often overlook the form of short stories in favour of novels. Fortunately though Leuschel’s skills in creating distinct storylines and characters have made me realise what I’m missing out on. Especially during the busy Christmas period, when free time is often limited, I can’t recommend these stories highly enough. Plus they are the perfect antidote to all that festive sweetness.

Book Description

Five stories – Five Lives. 
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance? 
Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. 
In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Next, there is Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself and finally Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth. 

About the author

H.A. Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel was born and raised in Belgium to German parents. She gained a Licentiate in Journalism, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. Helene moved to the Algarve in 2009 with her husband and two children, working as a freelance TV producer and teaching yoga. She recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. Manipulated Lives is Helene’s first work of fiction.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT BLANK SPACE by Jennifer Young Romantic #Thriller @JYnovelist

Today’s team review is from Chris, she blogs at http://cphilippou123.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Chris has been reading Blank Space by Jennifer Young

Blank Space (Dangerous Friends Book 1) by [Young, Jennifer]

Suspense, politics, and romance combust in this action-packed thriller.

Bronte is shocked to find a stabbed man in her kitchen, and even more shocked when he effectively kidnaps her to escape. The police are involved, and their aim is more focused on Bronte’s connection to anarchist Eden in the run up to the G8 summit than to her troubles. But is all as it seems?

The suspense was palpable, and the writing energetic. For me, the right-wing/ left-wing divide depicted in the novel felt a little outdated and overly simplistic, and the plot a little predictable. I did enjoy the interaction between the protagonists though.

*Thank you to the author for providing an ARC

Book Description

When Bronte O’Hara finds an injured man in her kitchen in the run-up to an international political summit in Edinburgh, a world she thought she’d left behind catches up with her. When the man makes his escape, the police seem less interested in finding out where he went and how he came to be there than they are in Bronte’s past – more specifically, her ex-boyfriend, Eden Mayhew. Eden’s an anarchist, up to his neck in any trouble around – and he’s missing. The police are keen to find him, certain that he’ll come back. Who can she trust – and what has the Eden’s disappearance got to do with the handsome stranger?

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE BEAUTY OF THE FALL by @marcellor #Contemporary #Fiction

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs here http://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading After The Fall by Rich Marcello

The Beauty of the Fall: A Novel by [Marcello, Rich]

My Review: 5 stars out of 5

Confession. I read The Beauty of the Fall on my Kindle. As I usually do for reviews, there were many pauses to highlight or bookmark or make notes, especially of some particularly beautiful phrase, metaphor, or line of poetry. At least, until my Kindle crashed, and the entire book disappeared into the unforgiving ether. After I downloaded the book again, and finished reading, I realized that my notes didn’t matter.

The reasons I love this book are broader even than the beautiful writing. And they are as precisely narrow as the definition of “fall”—a thing you can name, and a thing you can do:

“fall” defined by Google:

  • move from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control. Dan’s fall really starts when his workaholic lifestyle leads to the collapse of his marriage, followed by the death of his ten-year-old son Zack.
  • (of a person) lose one’s balance and collapse. He self-medicates his guilt and loss with scotch and obsession with his work at the software company he built with his best friend and boss Olivia.
  • decrease in number, amount, intensity, or quality. But when Olivia fires him, Dan has nothing left to center himself. antonyms:rise With the help of gifted therapist Nessa, with a core group of friends, and especially with his new love Willow, Dan literally climbs a sycamore tree to stop his freefall. He begins to build his relationships into a new company and a new life.
  • be captured or defeated, die in battle. Even as his new company is poised for epic success, Dan sabotages his personal life and puts everything he’s built at risk.
  • pass into a specified state, situation, or position. Dan’s self-destructive desperation is tempered by his talks with his dead son Zach, and by the love of his friends, and even by The Code—an evolving core set of beliefs for his business and his life.
  • be classified in the way specified. Dan’s journey begins as a pilgrimage to Fortune 500 companies, especially the technology giants. Inspired by a collection of small rocks he finds on his son’s grave, Dan begins leaving small pyramids of rocks to mark the stages of his journey. But when he’s robbed by a hitchhiker he’s befriended, Dan decides to abandon the pilgrimage and go back to what he does best—visionary leader. Taking the pyramid as symbol for his new company, Dan shares his dream of a company that could literally empower users to change the world. But even as the new company succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, Dan remains trapped between business success and a personal life spiraling out of control: “…ascension and fall were inextricably linked in my mind.”
  • Autumn. Dan’s fall starts and ends with the view through the CEO’s office window, a beautiful view of a fall landscape. But what once seemed to signal the end of growth and onset of winter is actually renewal. “The fall leaves are dotted with rich reds, bright yellows, and burnt oranges, though today I’m drawn to the greens. They’re living fully in the morning sun, aware and unaware of the endless rebirth cycle that lies ahead.”

On one level, The Beauty of the Fall is about one man’s straightforward journey to building a successful company. On another level, it’s almost a metaphor for what love looks like—as a lover, a father, a colleague, a friend.

Dan—who has failed at all those things—is still surrounded by people (mostly women) who love him in different ways. There is the almost maternal care from his therapist Nessa. Wilow’s spiritually romantic love energizes Dan and gives him permission to succeed with his idea for a new company. The frankly sexual physical act from prostitute Katie literally crucifies him even as it provides relief. Dan is left with the realization that his single most successful relationship, at least in terms of time spent together on a daily basis, is with Olivia his oldest friend/enemy. But in a bittersweet act of hope at the end, Dan not only realizes that he’s achieved all his goals, but that success even provides a surrogate daughter figure who seems to combine the best of himself and Willow.

There are a few things that didn’t ring true for me here. Time periods to develop world-changing software, let alone propel new companies into the stratosphere were astonishingly brief. I would have liked to see more actual content in the building of the company, but maybe that’s just my been-there-done-that experience. There were a few times when important information is slipped in as flashbacks or later recollections, taking me out of the story as I tried to figure out what happened and when. For example, I found it annoying to have to wait to find specifics of Zach’s death, or to realize what happened to Willow. And don’t even get me started on passing Equal Rights Amendment—languishing before Congress since the 1920s—in one year with the help of speedy-developed tech.

But all that pales beyond the achievement of this rich and layered novel. Anyone who has ever worked for a tech company will recognize the trappings—the fancy espresso machines, the sense of mission that makes a business into a cult of leader personality, the feeling that sacrifice of time, sleep, and occasionally hygiene will lead to the holiest of grails, the IPO.

And there is the other, darker side of business success in the toll it takes on personal relationships. Dan’s self-awareness is brutally honest: “With each of my lovers I didn’t have the same joy I got from work, or later the joy of being a dad I had with Zack. The truth: my best romantic relationship, if one judges such things by length, was unromantic. I saw Olivia almost every day for sixteen years, and I loved her. Together we were better than we were alone. We had a vision and a purpose; we built something that lasted.” 

Author Rich Marcello draws on his own corner office experience to nail so many aspects of this story. I particularly liked his depiction of savage power struggles. Pitted against longtime friend and adversary Olivia, Dan realizes: “This is as much about power as it is about content, and any emotional break in my voice will confirm in front of the whole board that Olivia is the pack leader.” And then…wait for it: “Olivia smiles as if the blood is already on her teeth.”

That kind of spectacular writing, interspersed with actual poetry, business vignettes drawn from life, and development of a deeply flawed, complex, and charismatic main character made this one of the best books I’ve read this year. For anyone with a technology background, The Beauty of the Fall is a must read. For everyone else, it’s a present right now, even as fall’s beauty heads to winter.

Book Description

 TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE CHARTS A HIGH-RISK, UNCONVENTIONAL PATH WHILE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF HIS SON

Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.

Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. He then recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.

Guided by Dan’s leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?

About the author

Rich is a poet, an accomplished songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and the forthcoming, The Beauty of the Fall, due out in 2016. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies. The Color of Home was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and melds together honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.” The Big Wide Calm was published in 2014, also by Langdon Street Press. The US Review of Books stated, “Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all of the basic requirements of best-of-show in the literary fiction category.” The Beauty of the Fall will be published in 2016. Faulkner Award Winner Mark Spencer commented, “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.” As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher. Rich lives in Massachusetts on a lake with his family and two Newfoundlands, Ani and Shaman. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Latecomers.

Rich is a poet, an accomplished songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and the forthcoming, The Beauty of the Fall, due out in 2016. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
The Color of Home was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and melds together honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.” The Big Wide Calm was published in 2014, also by Langdon Street Press. The US Review of Books stated, “Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all of the basic requirements of best-of-show in the literary fiction category.” The Beauty of the Fall will be published in 2016. Faulkner Award Winner Mark Spencer commented, “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.”
As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet.
For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.
Rich lives in Massachusetts on a lake with his family and two Newfoundlands, Ani and Shaman. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Latecomers.

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#NewRelease MOTIVATE ME! by @ShelleyWilson72 #Affirmations #Spiritual #TuesdayBookBlog

Motivate Me!Motivate Me! by Shelley Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Motivate Me is a non-fiction happiness and wellbeing book. Just 64 pages it offers the reader the opportunity of some fun inspirational guidance in the form of positive affirmations.

Two ways to read the book are: Firstly you could work your way through it choosing one page per week, or you can think of a question or problem and allow the pages to fall open randomly to give you their wise words. Either way works well.

Taking inspiration from her own life and teaching, Shelley has produced a beautiful book which would make an ideal gift for anyone wanting to open themselves to positive experiences.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

Your weekly guide for happiness! Designed to give you a weekly boost of motivation, this sixty- four page guidebook will offer you a positive dose of inspiration throughout the year. Listen to your inner voice, pick a page, and then take meaning from the message you receive.

About the author

Shelley Wilson

Shelley divides her time between writing non-fiction titles for the self-help and personal development genre, and developing characters and worlds for her young adult fantasy fiction books (written under S.L. Wilson).

A single mum to three teenagers, she enjoys reading a wide variety of genres, cooking, running and arts and crafts. She is an avid list maker and pizza addict, enjoys going out for coffee with friends, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, and reading in a beautiful garden. 

She would love to live in the Shire but fears her 5ft 10inch height may cause problems.

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FOXDEN ACRES by Madalyn Morgan #WW2 #HistFic #FamilySaga #Bookreview @actscribblerdj

Foxden Acres (Dudley Sisters Saga #1)Foxden Acres by Madalyn Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Foxden Acres is book one of the Dudley Sisters Saga, WW2 Historical fiction with a romantic theme.

The book opens with a prologue, a family group wait at the station for the arrival of the train bearing soldiers coming home from the war.

Chapter one turns back the clock; pre-war, New Years Eve 1939. Bess is a trainee teacher in London, her father works on the Foxden estate, she has grown up riding the horses on the estate. Allowed to borrow books from the estate library, Bess is caught tip-toeing out by James.

Keen to get to know the grown up Bess more, James suggests they meet in London, but this isn’t their destiny, war breaks out and Bess is offered the job turning Foxden into a productive farm supplying home grown food for the nation. She finds herself busy with land girls and a makeshift hospital for war veterans.

Whenever James visits their friendship blossoms, despite social barriers, but will he ever be free to love Bess in the way she wants? And will Bess ever feel good enough for James?

This is a cosy read for those who like light war time family sagas.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

On the eve of 1939 twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, trainee teacher and daughter of a groom, bumps into James, heir to the Foxden Estate. Bess and James played together as equals when they were children, but now James is engaged to the more socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh.

Bess takes up a teaching post in London but when war breaks out and London schoolchildren are evacuated she returns to Foxden to organise a troop of Land Girls. 

Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess. But by this time Bess has come to know and respect Annabel. Can she be with James if it means breaking her best friend’s heart?

And besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost…

About the author

Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

Madalyn was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live. There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.

In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn learned to touch type, completed a two-year course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.

Madalyn is currently writing her third novel, China Blue, the third of four books about the lives of four very different sisters during the Second World War. First and second novels, Foxden Acres and Applause, are now available.

Visit Madalyn Morgan online:

The Foxden Acres Website: https://sites.google.com/site/foxdena…

Non-Fiction Blog: http://madalynmorgan.blogspot.co.uk/

Fiction Blog: http://madalynmorgansfiction.blogspot…

Actress website: http://www.madalynmorgan.com/

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE SORCERER’S GARDEN by @DWallacepeach #Fantasy

Today’s team review is from Suzanne, she blogs at https://suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Suzanne has been reading The Sorcerer’s Garden by D Wallace Peach

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My Review

Wow, this was a breath-taking adventure that barely stood still.

I was intrigued by the title and the blurb really stood out for me, anything to do with writing and writers and I’m sold! As I started reading, possibilities whirled through my mind…

The start of the story felt a little over the top in the action sense. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but then I realised this was the start of Cody’s story – his tale of slaying the dragon with his brother. I thought this was very cleverly done by the author. This larger than life action helped to distinguish between Madlyn’s real world and Cody’s work in progress. However, as the story developed everything becomes more complicated for Madalyn and soon the two worlds are colliding and you have no idea what is real and what is part of the world within Cody’s story. I was as confused as Madlyn, but that wasn’t an issue, it made the reading experience more exciting. The only complaint I have is that the action was so full on and constant, sometimes I just needed a breather.

I liked Madlyn, but I really liked the two brothers, Cody and Dustin, and their mysterious grandmother, Lillian.

I loved the end. Everything came together and not as I was expecting it too. I was very happy with the conclusion, and the fact this was a standalone novel. But there could easily be more to this story and these characters.

My final thought – The author showed great skill weaving this tale. It was a very enjoyable read, if not a little exhausting!

I recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy and loves a story with relentless pace.

4 stars

Book Description

Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.

Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.

Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners. Grandmother Lillian’s a meddler with an eye for the esoteric, dabbling in Dustin’s life and dealing out wisdom like a card shark. One innocent conversation at a time, she sucks Madlyn into the Lofton story, dubbing her the princess and bestowing on her the responsibility of both grandsons’ destinies.

And all Madlyn wanted was a simple reading job.

Uninspired by her self-imposed stack of literary selections, Madlyn opts for Cody’s work-in-progress. Fantasy isn’t her favorite, but with only four chapters completed, reading The Sorcerer’s Garden should be no sweat, right?

Little does she realize, the story will begin writing itself and, by the hand of destiny, become her own.

About the author

D. Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit.

Tolkien … literally changed my life.
I love to write. It’s a luxury I never expected I’d have time for – life got in the way. You know how that goes – kids, work, chores… sleep. I worked for 18 years in business where amassing coin was the all-consuming objective. It required huge amounts of time and mental energy. And for me personally, it was soul-slaying.

Then on September 11, 2001 two planes flew into the World Trade Center. I was working in Connecticut, about 2 hours from ground zero, and remember sitting in a conference room, watching the second tower fall. 

That tragedy initiated a process of redefinition for me, an evaluation of what was vital and important. Life felt short and precarious, and I started to wonder if it was time to do something that actually mattered. I began to write.

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