5 HUGE Stars for SPOILER ALERT: YOU’RE GONNA DIE by Korttany Finn and Jacquie Purcell – BOOK REVIEW

1a1 Spoiler Alert Youre Gonna Die Cover

Title: SPOILER ALERT: You’re Gonna Die

Subtitle: Unveiling Death One Question At A Time

Authors: Korttany Finn and Jacquie Purcell

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 109 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction

Release Date: November 30, 2015

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

ISBN: 978-1-5137-0462-3

Price: $3.99 (USD)

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. In fact, I don’t think anything like this has ever been published before.

Jacquie Purcell is a Deputy Coroner who invited 75,000 strangers, through the Internet, to ask her anything they wanted to know about death or about her job. The questions poured in and resulted in the creation of this book.

According to co-author, Korttany Finn, “Jacquie…encounters almost every aspect of death on a daily basis and has the gift for making it all sound so normal. And that, I realized, is why she is making a difference. This stuff NEEDS to be normalized. It is perfectly acceptable to discuss death in an open, informal setting and maybe even sprinkle a little humor on top.”

I’m not sure who originally quoted the saying, “There are two things in life everyone can count on … Death and taxes,” but the saying seems to still be true. Everyone will die eventually. Even though modern medicine is able to keep us alive longer than ever before in history, death is still inevitable. If someone ever finds the ‘Fountain of Youth’ this may change, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

With an aging baby-boomer population and more and more people taking care of elderly or infirm relatives in their own homes and the knowledge that death is inevitable, it is more important than ever that we educate ourselves on this topic.

When someone you love is diagnosed with a disease, it is normal to want to educate yourself about that specific disease. This knowledge enables you and your loved ones to talk openly and together, to make educated decisions.

Yet, when it comes to death, many individuals seem to bury their heads in the sand and avoid talking about death. It almost seems like they think that if they do not talk about it, that it will never happen to them. This is, of course, ridiculous.

By writing this book, authors Korttany Finn and Jacquie Purcell are removing some of the mystery surrounding the topic of death. Maybe it will help people to be better prepared when a death does occur.

This book not only tackles death of the elderly or or illness deaths such as cancer, it also talks about murder, suicide, SIDS, automobile accidents, accidental death, and much more.

Korttany Finn and Jacquie Purcell have taken a topic that is considered taboo to some people and presented it in such a way that it seems “normal.” This is a terrific accomplishment and, in my opinion, a very important step toward educating the general public.

It does not matter if you are 16, 36, 60 or even older, this book should be a MUST READ. Every one of us will experience death at some point in our lives, whether it is our own demise or that of a loved one. This book will help prepare you for dealing with it when it comes.

I believe strongly that knowledge is power. The death of a loved one is something that often makes those left behind feel overwhelmed and powerless. Reading this book won’t lessen your grief, but it could lessen your feelings of confusion and that is a very good thing.

This book is utterly fascinating and strangely compelling. I was never bored reading this book. In fact, I found myself so engrossed in it that I finished the entire book in a single day.

Before reading this book I believed myself to be fairly knowledgeable about death and dying, but I have to admit that I wasn’t as informed as I had previously thought. I learned a lot and can now say with confidence that I know the difference between rigor mortis, livor mortis and algor mortis. Do you?

Jacquie’s willingness to answer any question on the topic of death makes this book supremely interesting. For example, some of the questions answered in this book include:

* What do you think is the most painless way to die?
* What’s the strangest cause of death you’ve come across?
* When I die, am I allowed to be buried with my husband? Let’s say he dies first, 5 years before me; could they dig him up and throw me in with him?
* Can you explain the process of embalming?
* Do embalmed bodies smell similar to UN-embalmed bodies?

How can you not want to know the answers to the above questions? Plus, they are only a fraction of the questions and answers contained within this book’s pages.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I cannot emphasize enough how much I believe that every adult needs to read this book. After you finish the book you will know what things you should be discussing with those you love so that they will know what your wishes are after your death. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT and will help your loved ones and will ensure that your wishes for burial (or cremation, etc) are followed.

~ I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Buy the book in the USA HERE!

Buy the book in Canada HERE!

Buy the book in the UK HERE!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

JACQUIE PURCELL is a coroner and a married mother of four children. She has set up a website where you can go for more information. Visit http://www.askacoroner.com where you can submit any questions you have that were not covered in her book.

Follow Jacquie on Twitter at https://twitter.com/askacoroner

Follow Jacquie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askacoroner/ 

KORTTANY FINN is married to a “delightfully brainy husband” and together they have three children.

“She is devoted to taking other people’s experiences, tuning and polishing them to perfection, then bringing them to life in print.”

Check out Korttany Finn on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/korttany?fref=ts

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4 Stars – A Giveaway & Blog Tour for GIRL’S GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE

 

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Title:  THE GIRL’S GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE

Author: Daphne Lamb

Published By: Booktrope Publishing

Publication Date: August 11, 2015

Genre: New Adult Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

 

SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to the Apocalypse. Your forecast includes acid rain, roving gangs and misplaced priorities, in this comedic take on the end of the world as we know it, from debut author Daphne Lamb. As a self-entitled, self-involved, and ill equipped millennial, Verdell probably wouldn’t have ranked very high on the list of those most likely to survive the end of the world, but here she is anyway. Add in travelling with her work addicted boss, her boyfriend who she has “meh” feelings for, and a handful of others who had no businesses surviving as long as they have, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. But despite threats of cannibalism, infected water supplies, and possibly even mutants, Verdell is willing to put in as little effort as she can get away with to survive.

 

GirlsGuide

 

About the Author

Daphne Lamb was raised in the wilds of Colorado and now resides in a very different wilderness known as Los Angeles. She is a comedian and award winning writer who has worked in television, film and video games. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting comic books, discussing awesomely bad movies and thinks about what it would be like to own a cat.

She loves connecting to fans and readers, so feel free to connect!

 

MY REVIEW:

The very first sentence in the book states: “The day of the apocalypse was a really bad day.” I actually snorted when I read this. What a great way to immediately set the tone of this book.

The main character describes herself so well that I decided not to change the description at all. “…me, Verdell Sonobe, born of the Eighties, recipient of absentee parenting but constant loving care from the TV, educated in the philosophy that if I wanted it then I probably deserved it … I was a data coordinator… an inconsequential job at a now inconsequential company. Regardless, it helped fulfill all I wanted in life, which was falling asleep to true crime shows. I was one of the few people achieving their dreams on a regular basis…”

Verdell goes on to explain how the apocalypse came about, but I do not want to spoil it for potential readers so I will leave out those details. Suffice it to say that author Daphne Lamb has come up with a truly unique apocalypse scenario. I love it!

This book is almost a spoof of all the other post-apocalyptic novels on the market.

Daphne Lamb has a biting wit that I enjoyed reading. She has captured the absurdity of human nature exceptionally well.

The story follows Verdell as she tries to not only survive the apocalypse, but also to find her place in the strange new world she finds herself in.

The copy I received was an ARC (Advance Review Copy) and did have some proofreading errors, but hopefully these will not exist in the final version of the book. For example, “Following him where several smaller figures, all women.” Obviously, “where” should have replaced with “were.”

Other examples are using the word “breath” instead of “breathe” or “regiment” instead of “regimen”. Due to the typos and proofreading errors, I have to reduce my rating from 5 to 4 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Favourite Quote:

“He sort of reminded me of a clean-cut hobbit in Gap chinos, trying to test the waters of any infatuation that might be there. I tried to imagine him petting a puppy to enhance his appeal, then immediately felt bad for the puppy.”

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4 Stars for THE SKELETON SONG by Angela Kulig – BOOK REVIEW

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Title: THE SKELETON SONG

Series: SKELETON LAKE

Author: ANGELA KULIG

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 91 pages

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Release Date: 2012

Rating: 4 out of 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Before I begin writing my review of the content of this book, I feel that I must comment on the stunning cover of this novella. It is absolutely gorgeous. It does exactly what a good cover should – it draws your eye. Kudos go to the cover artist.

Now, on to the book:

Skeleton Lake certainly lives up to its name. I feel the need to mention that the beginning is a bit traumatic, but it is certainly memorable.

“Though drowning isn’t the way that most adventures start, it is the only way at Skeleton Lake.”

At only 91 pages, this novella can be read in a single afternoon. The author, Angela Kulig, has come up with a truly strange yet interesting concept.

Skeleton Lake is a place to which certain people are called. Once they are called, they come. There is no way to refuse. Once they arrive at the lake, there is no going back to their old lives.

That siren call compels them to enter the lake which is where their human bodies die. But, the soul remains. They become animated skeletons and they “grow up”. Once they reach puberty they are told who their soulmate is.

Imagine how amazing it must feel to meet the other half of yourself; to feel a sense of utter contentment. It would be pure bliss!

But, what if you wanted to be able to choose? What happened to free will? Is it really love if you had no say in the choosing of your soulmate?

You need to read THE SKELETON SONG to find out. I have to admit that the huge number of typos drove me crazy, but that is because I am a perfectionist and I expect a high level of quality from a published book.

I enjoyed this book. At times I found it strange and confusing, but I believe that was the author’s intention. It mirrors the way the main character feels throughout much of the story.

I recommend reading this book if you are a fan of the weird and the macabre.

I rate THE SKELETON SONG as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The next book in The Skeleton Lake series is already available and I have added it to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

My favourite quote from this book is: “The sight and smell was so intense, I wondered if heaven had begun to leak into the real world.”

~ I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (Information copied from www.angelakulig.com )

1 Angela Kulig Author pic

I wrote my first novel just shy of my thirteenth birthday, and at twenty-nine I still haven’t stopped. Many times, I write about dark, tragic, and beautiful things. Sometimes, I write about love. Love in it’s various forms; as love isn’t all peanut butter cups and roses, usually it’s dreadful. Often it’s cataclysmic.

All I ever wanted to do was write books, but that was the dream of a little girl and it was surprisingly easily fulfilled. Now I want to write books people read, different books, about unique places and things; shocking books, books that make you feel alive, and characters you sometimes wish weren’t dead.

5 Stars for CRYO-MAN by Kevin George – BOOK REVIEW

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5 Stars for HEDON by Jason Werbeloff – BOOK REVIEW

HEDON Book Cover

Title: HEDON

Author: JASON WERBELOFF

http://www.jasonwerbeloff.com/

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 253 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Adults Only

Release Date: February 19, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS:

In 2051, the Bhutanese Empire rules post-apocalyptic Shangri with iron-fisted Buddhist compassion. Happiness is compulsory, but making everyone happy isn’t easy in an overpopulated world. Breeders are ghettoed, homosexuality is mandatory, and Shangrians’ happiness levels are strictly monitored by hedometers implanted in their heads. Become depressed, or feel too happy without helping others feel the same, and The Tax Man will get angry. Very angry.

Gemini and Cyan, winners of the pregnancy lottery, are on the run. Cyan can’t fall pregnant, and Gemini is addicted to the Experience Machine. Will they evade The Tax Man, and find a way to end the brutal pleasures of Shangri?

The lovechild of Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, HEDON is gritty satire on a dystopia drunk with bigotry and positive thinking.

MY REVIEW:

This book is definitely not for those who are squeamish. It is meant only for adults 18+.

In a utopian world (to some) and a dystopia to others, where homosexual sex is not only the norm, but is a requirement, anyone with heterosexual proclivities must hide their nature to live in Shangri. Those that do not, or will not, are considered to be the dregs of humanity and are forced to live in the walled ghetto. Shangri citizens call them “BREEDERS” which is considered the ultimate slur.

“SHANGRI – Ensuring your happiness, so you don’t have to.”

The ghetto which is highly reminiscent of the Jewish ghettos created by Hitler during the Holocaust, is a slum. People raised in Shangri believe that Breeders are completely lawless and that they drink the blood of babies. This is again similar to the propaganda that Hitler’s Third Reich spewed during World War 2.

The ideals of Shangri are wonderful. It is the way they go about pursuing those ideals that is the problem.

This novel will force you to face some hard questions. What would you be willing to do to survive? Would you give up? Or would you bide your time and hope for a chance to fight the good fight? These are only a few of the quandaries that the protagonist faces in HEDON.

Jason Werbeloff has done an amazing job of writing about the difference between an ideal and the achievement of that ideal.

This novel is a fascinating dystopian tale that will stay with you long after reading the final page.

I have no choice but to rate this novel as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It actually deserves a higher rating, but 5 is the highest allowable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(Info copied from his website)

Hedon Author Pic

Human. Male. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Sci-fi novelist with a PhD in philosophy.

Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). Werbeloff spends his days constructing thought experiments, while trying to muster enough guilt to go to the gym.

He’s written two novels, Hedon and The Solace Pill, and the short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds. His books will make your brain hurt. And you’ll come back for more.

Subscribe to his newsletter to receive a free novel, and a lifetime of free and discounted stories: http://smarturl.it/werbeloff

HEDON OBSIDIAN book cover

 

4 Stars for WORSE THAN DEATH by Mark Allen – Novella Review

A WORSE THAN DEATH

Title: WORSE THAN DEATH

Subtitle: Day One of the Zombie Apocalypse

Author: Mark Allen

Type of Book: eBook – Novella

Length: 27 pages

Genre: Horror

Release Date: April 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*** HOLY CRAP***

That was my response to reading the very first sentence in this story. I won’t quote it here (as much as I would love to) because I don’t want to ruin the beginning for potential readers.

** I feel that I need to add a warning to this review that WORSE THAN DEATH is not suitable for all readers. This book contains scenes of graphic violence that will be disturbing to some readers. I suggest that this book is only appropriate for adult readers ages 18 and older.**

Russell Stavin experiences a recurring and absolutely horrific nightmare every night. “Except it wasn’t a dream. It was a memory.”

Russell had been a Marine Scout Sniper who spent two years in Afghanistan. He now lives on a thirty acre property located in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York with his wife and young daughter.

When zombies start to rise Russell Stavin is shocked and appalled, but he quickly learns that sometimes the walking dead can be the least of your worries.

His wife and daughter are trapped by an evil man and Russell is determined to save them despite the fact that he must somehow make his way through a horde of zombies to do it.

This book also contains a bonus short story entitled “All The Way”.

I enjoyed WORSE THAN DEATH. It is a fast-paced, gore-filled tale of the first day of the zombie apocalypse.

The author has the gift of hard-hitting writing that grabs your attention and holds it right until the very end.

I have read A LOT of zombie fiction, so it takes quite a bit to impress me. This story did that.

Also, since it is only 27 pages long it is a quick read. You can even read it on your lunch hour.

I love the cover of this novella. I don’t know if it was done on purpose, but the cover brings to my mind posters of B Horror Movies from the 1970s. It has a distinctive classic horror flair that attracted me to it.

The quote I liked the best in this book is: “The zombie went down as if bitch-slapped by the hand of God.”

I rate this novella as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Mark Allen

Mark Allen lives in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. He writes horror and action fiction.

For more information visit his blog at www.gunsgutsgod.blogspot.com

Facebook
www.facebook.com/MarkAllenWriter

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BOOK BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – BOILING POINT by Tessa Bailey – RELEASED TODAY

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BOILING POINT
by Tessa Bailey
Crossing the Line, #3
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N| Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis: Falling for a con man is the most dangerous game of all…

Con artist Austin Shaw’s been in disguise so long he’s not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he’s been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain.

Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she’s ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He’s infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she’s determined to resist him.

But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants…including a man that Polly must trust if she’s to escape their dangerous game alive.

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DON’T MISS THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SIZZLING CROSSING THE LINE SERIES….

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RISKIER BUSINESS
by Tessa Bailey
Crossing the Line, #0.5
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N| Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis: One more game. And this time, there are no rules…

After a life of pool hustling and living on the wrong side of the law, Ruby Elliott is living on the straight and narrow with sexy-as-all-hell NYPD detective, Troy Bennett. Now the only trouble Ruby has with the law is the naughty kind, pinned against the wall by Troy’s strict and spectacularly hard body. Obeying his every command. Both of them losing themselves in a lust that borders on obsession…

But then her father returns with an offer she can’t refuse: one last hustle in exchange for information. Information she’d die to have. As the pieces and the players of the game reveal themselves, Troy feels the fine edges of his control slipping—control he can’t channel without hurting Ruby. The stakes are high, and the risk higher. Because losing this final game could cost more than Ruby’s heart…it might cost her life.

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RISKING IT ALL
by Tessa Bailey
Crossing the Line, #1
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N| Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis: NYPD detective Seraphia Newsom will avenge her brother’s death at any cost. Even if it means insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and going so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock ticking down on her life, especially when she overhears something that could get her killed.

Bowen Driscol is the heir to a crime enterprise. He never asked for the job, but with his father behind bars, he has no choice but to step in and keep the operation running. But when the NYPD blackmails him with a piece of damning information in exchange for aiding an undercover cop, he finds himself on the other side of the law for the first time in his life.

Bowen knows the danger Sera is in, and keeping her safe trumps saving his own ass. The problem? She can’t know he’s on her side. And there’s the matter of the seriously inconvenient heat sparking between them that’s incinerating his resistance. But Sera only sees Bowen’s past, and men like him are the reason her brother is dead. If they’re to get out alive, he’ll have to risk exposing the man beneath, and hope to hell he doesn’t blow the whole operation in the process.

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UP IN SMOKE
by Tessa Bailey
Crossing the Line, #2
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N| Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis: Never start a fire you can’t control…

Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he’s spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin’s crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he’s now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team—all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair—Connor’s notorious iron control slips.

Erin “she’s getting away” O’Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And… Nope, that’s it. When she’s forced to operate on the “right” side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier’s eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed…

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ABOUT TESSA BAILEY

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Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

GIVEAWAY

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ – A Pirate’s Revenge by Meg Hennessy

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A PIRATE’S REVENGE
by Meg Hennessy
Secrets of the Bayous #3
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance

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Purchase: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis: Rayna de La Roche once lived a privileged life of a Spanish royal until her brother dragged her to America. In order to return to Spain, she must find a hidden treasure somewhere in New Orleans. She pairs up with a rugged American mercenary, whose mere touch unleashes her deepest desire.

Captain Zachary Nash has been accused of a murder he did not commit. On the run, he’s hired to protect Rayna. As much as he wants her, Zach cannot hope to have her, for she sees him as a common criminal. But keeping his hands off of her while they hunt down the treasure may be his toughest task yet.

As the passion sizzles between the royal and the captain, they’ll have to decide if the treasure is more important than love…

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EXCERPT

He turned toward his rescuer. “Ah, the princess pretends to sleep.”

, seems I have to sleep light these days.” She released the hammer of her pistol and hung it on her brace. “I have a magical knight. Sometimes you see him, sometimes you don’t.”

“But you did not sleep. Why?”

“Because I could not with a man in my room.” She sounded irritated, like she really had sacrificed sleep.

“For some reason, I don’t believe that was the first time you’ve had a man in your room.” He didn’t know what made him say that, except seeing her in those formfitting clothes reminded him of every time he had stood too near to her, touched her, and had to deny his feelings of wanting her. The days and nights of watching her from afar, in Cadiz, on Donato’s ship, and now here, she was the most desirable woman he’d ever seen.

“I amend, señor.” This time the princess laughed. “The first time I had a strange man in my room who was not sharing my bed.”

“You’ve had men share your bed.” He stated rather than asked because he was curious, having suspected the woman was…experienced. But hearing her say it niggled beneath his skin with just a tiny nip of jealously. To sleep in her bed, how would a man earn that right?

A smile arrested her entire beautiful face. “Again, a position you’ll never enjoy.”

He stopped walking beside her. He shouldn’t care, and knowing the Roches like he did, why would he be in the least bit curious? “Because I’m an American and you’re royalty?”

She honored his halt with a spin of her own, facing him.

Capitán,” she began in that thick Spanish accent. “I could have any man I desire. I have been bedded by kings, princes, dukes, and marquises. Why would I choose a barbaric common American?”

Maybe it was her upturned face catching the moonlight that enticed him, or the slight curve to her lips that interested him, but it was the deep lust he saw in her eyes that made him reckless.

“Because you want to.” He snagged her wrist, twisted it behind her back and brought her flush against his chest. He could feel her breathing. Her breasts pushed against his body with every inhalation in an age-old rhythm. Her lips parted slightly. He caught the flicker of her tongue as she moistened her lips—anticipating.

ABOUT MEG HENNESSY

Meg Hennessy

Award winning author, Meg Hennessy, lives amid rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin and got the bug to write while in college studying Nursing. Besides being a Registered Nurse and Clinical Hypnotherapist, Meg turned her attention to her writing career. With her father born and raised on Mississippi’s gulf coast, Meg grew up immersed in the culture of an old Southern family and writes with a strong Southern flavor. It was her sense of wonderment when visiting her grandmother’s home as a child that now bubbles upward into her writing of today. She likes to create high-energy characters against historically rich backdrops, offering her readers a vivid peek into the lives and loves of yesteryear. Her first novel, SHADOWS OF A SOUTHERN MOON, was awarded the EPIC award for Best Historical Romance in 2010, WHISPER OF GOLD, was a finalist for EPIC’s Best Western Romance. In 2011, she contracted with Entangled Publishing to write the Secrets of the Bayous Trilogy. The first book, DARK SECRETS, DEEP BAYOUS, was awarded the 2015 HOLT Award of Merit and was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Book two of the trilogy, A PIRATE’S COMMAND, was released July 2015, and Book three, the final book of the series, A PIRATE’S REVENGE, released January 25, 2016.

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5 Stars for THE END OF THE TRAIL by Louis Rakovich – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: THE END OF THE TRAIL

Author: LOUIS RAKOVICH

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 26 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Short Story

Release Date: January 7, 2016

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ This novella is currently being offered for free on Amazon.
THIS IS A BRAND NEW RELEASE. 

“The End of the Trail” was published less than two weeks ago.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: 

“A barren land of salt and snow; a castle where underground paths twist and turn in endless circles and a reclusive King has not shown his face in years; a forest where few things are what they seem. An unnamed hero must navigate through these places as he takes on the task of tracking down a supposed witch, in a story that blends dream and reality, rumour and truth, danger and hope.”

MY REVIEW: 

Louis Rakovich has created a unique and fascinating world and one heck of a good story.

I love the idea that the people live in a kingdom made from salt. He has even been able to give the reader a sense of history and of the permanence of their settlement.

For a story that only consists of 26 pages, the amount of detail included is incredible. This world of salt and snow could easily become the setting for a full-length novel or for many more short stories. 

Even though the main character is never named, readers will empathize with the struggles he has had to endure throughout his lifetime. This is achieved through skillful writing and the strategic doling out of information. 

The ending was a surprise which is always a good thing.  

I rate THE END OF THE TRAIL as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
Louis Rakovich writes sometimes- fantastical literary fiction. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including “Bartleby Snopes”, “Criminal Element” and “The Fiction Desk.” 

He grew up in Jerusalem, Israel, and currently divides his time between NYC and Tel Aviv. He is currently working on his first full-length novel – a psychological thriller.

During his free time, he enjoys cinema, curious objects and strange places. 

To find out more visit www.louisrakovich.com 

JUST THIS ONCE – Book Blitz & Giveaway

JustThisOnce_Blitz

Just This Once
by Cee Smith
Publication Date: January 29, 2015

Cover

Purchase: Amazon

Blaire didn’t know much about one-night stands, but she knew how they’re supposed to go. A night where inhibitions are thrown out, no names, no attachments, and in the morning you both go your separate ways, never to speak again. At least that’s what was supposed to happen.

Mother nature had other plans.

She established boundaries: No details, no more sex. But Joel was never much for following the rules. With a body built for sex and an appetite to match, one night with him would never be enough. Torn between the case that could make her legal career and a man who thinks of clothes as optional, how long could she stick to the rules?

About the Author

Cee Smith is a lover of the written word. Since first learning how to string a sentence together, she’s been putting pen to paper and hasn’t looked back. Though she’s no longer obsessed with blood and gore, the dark side still calls to her, often finding refuge in her current writings. Her addiction to reading is what finally inspired her to take a chance at publishing.

A California native, currently residing in North Carolina with her husband. She loves salacious stories, true love and forbidden romances—the more angst the better. Other than reading and writing, some of her other obsessions are peanut butter (don’t get her started), Michael Fassbender, and watching TV.

She loves talking about the creative process and what books she’s reading, so feel free to shoot her a line. Or if you just want to say hi that’s fine too. She swears she’ll respond.

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5 Stars for THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING by N.R. Bates – Book Review, Author Interview & Giveawy

 

At the Sharp End of Lightening

 

Book Description:

This book is an interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil.

Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

 

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Interview with N.R. Bates:

What genre do you write and why?

I write a mash-up of epic fantasy, magic realism, with a little science fiction, real science (Oceanography) and Celtic history and myth added to the mix.

Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?

If I snack at my desk, it tends to be covered in ants an hour or so later! So I don’t snack typically. Living in the subtropics has its disadvantages. Occasionally, I will drink tea with a little milk or a mug of espresso with steamed milk.

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

There were several themes I wanted to write about for the Oceanlight series. The first was a way to highlight in a different way about ocean ecology, and environmental and climate change. I decided to write under the broad genre of epic fantasy and science fiction, weaving in serious issues about the state of the planet. In these genres though there are never many characters who are disabled. Few characters are really faced with physical constraints that limit their actions. A major character in the book, Einion Morgan Alban, is faced with the realities and adjustments of being born with haemophilia (note: the British spelling; hemophilia in the U.S.). In the period I wrote for him, treatments for the condition were rather rudimentary and internal bleeds were life-threatening—I know this from very real personal experience. The difficulties still remain today despite the ups and down of medical advancement.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing short-stories, poems and song lyrics as a teenager and continued since then mostly writing non-fiction i.e., scientific papers. In my mid-twenties, I got serious about a scientific career and thus focused on communicating science to the community of oceanographers. But I could not bury creative writing forever and I felt impelled to resume writing fiction a few years ago.

Do you write every day?

Yes and No. I write scientific text almost every day; but not every day for fiction. I wish I could write fiction each day but life and my career as a scientist intrudes a lot.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The 1920’s; and living alternately in Paris and London. It would be between the first and second war; and before the Great Depression. On the Left Bank of Paris, perhaps I’d be lucky enough to meet Hemingway or Gertrude Stein, and the numerous writers, poets, painters, sculptors and hangers-on. I’d be the latter of course. In London, perhaps I’d be lucky enough to meet and interact with the Bloomsbury Group.

What is your favorite travel spot?

The Cote d’Azur in the South of France (between the old town of Nice, and then along the coast from Villefranche-sur-Mer to Cap-d’Ail). It is where the mountains and foothills of the Alpes Maritimes meet the sea. It is a place I always feel at home.

MY REVIEW:

This book was extremely different from other books I have read. It fits into the fantasy genre, but it so much more than that.

In the book the world of Oceanlight is a parallel world to Earth. The two worlds have always been separated by an invisible barrier, but now this barrier is breaking down and Earth’s environmental problems are seeping into the world of Oceanlight.

Yalara Narika is a Sea Sprite, but she doesn’t really fit in with the rest of her clan. She is sent on a mission to discover what the deadly blue haze is that has appeared over part of the ocean.

Meanwhile, back in England, a teenager named Einion Morgan has struggles of his own to deal with. Einion has hemophilia and must be exceedingly careful not to get bumps or bruises. When he is pushed off a cliff by a mysterious man in a white suit, he nearly dies.

It is not long after this that Yalara comes through the barrier from Oceanlight and Earth. It turns out that Yalara and Einion are linked and it will be up to them to not only save themselves from an evil creature bent on their demise, but they are also Oceanlight’s only hope of survival.

The author has done an amazing job of world-building. His detailed descriptions of Oceanlight and the creatures that live there are so realistic that you almost start to wonder if Oceanlight is real and the author has visited it and come back to tell us about it in the guise of fiction.

Yalara (and the other Sea Sprites) ride on winged birds called Petrels. These petrels are raised by, and loyal to only a single sea sprite from the time of their hatching to the day they die. You can learn more about the birds and their special bonds with the Sea Sprites when you buy the book.

I was thrilled when I realized that one of the main characters had a disability. It is not often that one of the main characters in a book is disabled and this was a refreshing change. This book shows that even if you have a disability, you can do amazing things and I believe that is an important message and one that will resonate with a great number of people.

This book is also a warning to everyone on Earth about the dangers of environmental pollution. In this book humans are not only polluting their own world, but they are poisoning the world of Oceanlight as well (even if they aren’t aware of it). It demonstrates the harm that can be done to our environment and the consequences it can have for birds and other creatures.

Despite the serious themes that are found in THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING, this book is not all doom and gloom. In fact, it is actually a hopeful book. There is hope that the pollution will end, and there is hope that the good in people will overcome the bad.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 Stars. I highly recommend this book.

  • I received a free copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N.R. Bates

NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.

He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.

​His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

4 Stars for LETHAL SECRETS by Quadidra S. Williams – BOOK REVIEW

lethal_secrets_bookcover

Title: LETHAL SECRETS

Author: QUADIDRA S. WILLIAMS

Type of Book: Paperback

Length: 202 pages

Genre: Thriller

Release Date: November 2, 2015

Publisher: Quadjam Enterprises Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-9719740-4-3

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free paperback copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review is not required, but authors always appreciate honest reviews. ~

 
“Have you ever looked into the mirror and seen a reflection that you didn’t recognize? The person seems familiar, but somehow you can’t place them. Well it was a Sunday morning when Kendra had this epiphany. She had spent the last two years of her life in a downward spiral. She moved from place to place and from man to man. The honest truth is that she slept with any man who would give her a place to stay while she tried to drink away her demons. There was nothing that was off limits, as long as she could drown her sorrows. She avoided anything that would make her FEEL. It’s funny the things you can do when you don’t feel, but it’s no laughing matter. With a life like that, there were only two things that could happen. The first would be realization that she had hit rock bottom. The second would be death, if she didn’t make some changes.”

Kendra had hit rock-bottom. She knew that if she didn’t get clean she would be dead within a year.

She is lucky. She heads home to her siblings and they welcome her back. On her first night back in her hometown she meets Rich. He saves her from a scary situation and she finds herself both grateful and hugely attracted to him.

They begin a relationship that quickly becomes serious. The only thing standing in the way of pure bliss is that Rich is keeping secrets from her.

She decides that she is ok with the secrets as long as he swears that he isn’t involved in selling drugs and that she is the only woman in his life.

But, secrets have a way of coming out and the secrets that Rich is keeping just might get them both killed.

I loved the fact that the author chose to tackle the issue of alcoholism in this book. Maybe just reading this will give someone somewhere the push they need to seek help. Although the book does contain alcoholism, it does not get preachy and it is not a central factor in the plot. I just thought that it was good that it was included. Some authors shy away from topics that might be controversial, but not Quadidra Williams. She seems fearless to me and I respect that.

This book moves along at a fast pace and contains enough action and plot twists to keep the reader interested and constantly intrigued. This book is unpredictable. I LOVE THAT! There is nothing worse than knowing what is going to happen and not being surprised.

This book is chock-full of surprises. As soon as you think you have it all figured out, the author reveals a new twist. This happens all the way through the book and the twist at the end will blindside readers.

This is the first book in a planned series with Kendra as the central character. I will be following this author and can’t wait to get the next book.

My only problem with this book was the horrible editing/proof-reading. I actually made a list of errors that I found so that she will be able to fix them all right away. And, the fact is that I only red the book once and was still able to find over 70 errors. I really hope she did not pay an editor, because if she did then she should ask for a refund. (Remember, this is just my personal opinion). Because of the plethora of errors I have to reduce the rating I was planning to give this book. The story deserves 5 Stars, but due to the errors I am dropping the rating to 4 out of 5 stars.

Storyline = 5 Stars     Character Development = 5 Stars    Editing/Proof-Reading = 1 Star

To learn more about this book visit:    http://quadidraswilliams.com/lethal-secrets/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

quadidra_about

Quadidra S. Williams is a wife and a mother of four who has been writing stories since she was a child. Although she has always loved writing, her career path took her in a different direction. When she completed high school, she went on to college and earned a degree in Computer Programming. She worked in this field for some years before moving on to teaching secondary school.

During this time she earned degrees in Education and IT Management. As she continued to work and teach she realized that something was missing from her life. In 2004 she wrote her first novel called “A Melancholy Note”. When she looked back on that time, she realized that it was one of the happiest times of her life. This led her to make a decision which changed her life. That decision was to focus on writing full time.

To learn more about Quadidra visit:      http://quadidraswilliams.com/

 

5 STARS for GIVING CANDY TO STRANGERS – BLOG TOUR AND BOOK REVIEW

Giving Candy to Strangers

Book Description for Giving Candy to Strangers:

 

Too many sales people are focused on the end result, the outcome—the close—and another notch on their gun! But, what if you approached “sales” from a heart-centered standpoint, with curiosity and playfulness, as though the world were your sandbox?

 What if you created relationships for no other reason than to help others and make new friends? I know what you are saying, “How can it not be about results when it comes to business?”

The bottom line is important, but if you detach from this burden while you are creating relationships, you will find that the health of your bottomline will improve on its own!

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository   Chapters/Indigo

 

Author’s Bio:

Stan Holden

Stan Holden, owner of The LooneyBin Creative Studio, has created work for many Fortune 100 companies. As a protégé, he was first published in a national magazine during the 5th grade. A graduate of California University Long Beach, his screenplay, Rebel Without A Claus, has received a “recommend” by Disney and optioned for filming. He resides in Irvine, CA, with his wife, Reneé, and their two teenagers, Sara and William.

 Connect with the author:    Website   Twitter   Facebook

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY AT THE LINK BELOW:

Prizes:Win 1 of 10 print copies of Giving Candy to Strangers  (open to USA & Canada)

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MY REVIEW:

You would think that reading a book about sales and how to attract customers and prospective clients would be dry and very uninteresting. This book is not like that at all.

In fact, I laughed out loud several times while reading this book and I absolutely love Stan Holden’s approach to sales. This is the type of person that I would be thrilled to do business with and/or purchase products from.

EVERY SALESPERSON NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK AND FOLLOW STAN’S ADVICE. If they do, they will be almost guaranteed success.

Also, this book can apply not only to sales, but to life in general. Stan’s approach to sales is also a great way to live your life and an amazing way to meet people.

I RATE THIS BOOK AS 5 OUT OF 5 STARS and I plan to follow Stan’s advice just to better my life.

I would suggest that this book should be read by everyone. It is not just a book on sales and everyone should learn something from reading this book.

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CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE BLOG TOUR STOPS:

Tour Schedule:

Jan 4 –   Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / guest post

Jan 4 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review

Jan 5 –   T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Jan 5 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway

Jan 5 –   Everyday Gyaan – review

Jan 6 –   Brian’s Book Blog – review

Jan 7 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 8 –   Life as Leels – review

Jan 11 – Olio by Marilyn – review / author interview

Jan 12 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – author interview

Jan 13 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway

Jan 14 – Puddletown Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Jan 15 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway

Jan 18 – IT Revolution – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 19 – Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway

Jan 20 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway

Jan 20 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway

Jan 21 – Divas With A Purpose – review

Jan 22 – Book Reviews Nature Photos and everything in between – review

Jan 25 – Readers’ Muse – book spotlight

Jan 26 – Deal Sharing Aunt – review

Jan 27 – The All Night Library – book spotlight

Jan 29 – Create With Joy – review / giveaway

FATED – NEW RELEASE

Fated Release

Kristyn Eudes

Fate Keepers Book 2

Release Date: March 9th, 2016

Full Wrap

Add to your TBR: https://goo.gl/dJdbgy

Synopsis

Thrust into a world of supernatural beings, Tris finds herself in the middle of ancient conflicts. Her best friend and the only person she can truly rely on, lays comatose after single-handedly pulling off the near fatal rescue of Tris.

Now she is scouring the country alongside a very brooding, emotional Lyon and an extremely irritating, annoying Orin. Will her life ever return to normal? What is normal?

Join Tris on her magical journey as she searches for a mysterious shaman and in the process, instead, finds herself and realizes she too… is special.

Full Wrap

Also available in this series

Fated Capture

Fate Keepers Book 1

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Buy Links: getBook.at/FatedCaptureKE

Join Us for the Launch Party for Fated Capture TODAY

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Synopsis

I am the Chosen.

I know!

Sounds so cool right! My very existence threatens everything Ose the leader of the Orfeo has obtained. I just don’t know how to bring him crumbling to knees yet.

That’s where Lyon comes in … *sigh.

Yep I’m smitten.

HEY! Don’t judge me.

If you had seen him you’d be smitten too. He’s all hot, sexy, protective wildness rolled into a beautiful, British-speaking male specimen and he was created just for me. Together we will do everything in our power to stop the evil from spreading and destroying the world.

 

About the Author

Kristyn Eudes was raised in a small town in Alabama, where she recently married her best friend and love of her life. Together, they are raising their combined large family along with their newly adopted Tuxedo kitty, Fluffy.

When not writing the next book in her Fated Keepers series, Kristyn obsesses over The Vampire Diaries, enjoys reading books by her favorite authors and brainstorming her next writing project.

She loves all kinds of music and art, believing that creativity opens the soul. Her favorite hobbies are horseback riding and volleyball and she absolutely adores baseball (Go Red Sox) !!!

Links:

Website: www.authorkristyneudes.com/

Facebo0k: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Kristyn-Eudes-678273115623867/

4 Stars for BOUND FEET BLUES by Yang-May Ooi – BOOK REVIEW – Release Date April 2016

  
Title: BOUND FEET BLUES: A Life Told In Shoes

Author: Yang-May Ooi

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 320 pages 

Genre: Memoir

Hardcover Release Date: April 1, 2016 

Publisher: Urbane Publications

ISBN: 978-1-910692-32-5

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is truly unique in that it is both a book and a work of performance art rolled into one. 
FROM THE BOOK’S INTRODUCTION:

“The original story of BOUND FEET BLUES was conceived as a solo performance piece for the stage, as you will see when you dive into this book. The script runs for an hour which means there was not enough space for all the stories I wanted to tell. This book therefore tells the stories behind the story in the show.” 

“While this book and the show are intended as a memoir, they are not a strict factual recording of events in my life. Neither are they fiction. Perhaps you might best think of them as a dramatized memoir or creative work inspired by true events.”

  
MY REVIEW: 

“But for me now, in writing this book, in telling these stories, I have to make a choice to move beyond those kinds of cliches. To write about not just the funny and brave and glittering things that show me in a good light, but also those things that are hard for me to talk about – my loneliness and shame and anger and sadness. To express those things that are without words, that live in that quiet unspoken place and to let you see my fragility as well as my strength, my failings as well as my triumphs” 

This book follows the author’s life journey. The above paragraph pretty well sums up what a good biography should be. 

How does a young, timid Malaysian girl end up attending a prestigious university in England?

How does a twenty three year old law clerk with a nervous stutter who avoided socializing end up on stage doing solo performance art in front of a live audience at the age of fifty? 

You will need to read BOUND FEET BLUES to find out the answers. 

I have to admit that the title of this book actually threw me off. Even though I had read the official synopsis, I thought this book would contain more ancient history and less modern biography. 

I have a fondness for historic fiction that takes place in the ancient Asian empires. This was probably brought on by reading James Clavell’s “Tai-Pan” and “Shogun” in my youth. The ancient custom of ‘foot-binding’ has both fascinated and horrified me for more years than I can remember. 

There was some information about “The Golden Lotus” but since I expected to read more about this barbaric practice and about how it had impacted the author’s family, you would think that I would have disappointed with this book. However, even though it was not what I expected, I found myself drawn into the author’s world and became intensely interested. She does a terrific job of explaining the process of foot-binding. “It was an irreversible process that belied the dainty, gorgeously embroidered slippers that the women always wore. Beneath the beauty and the delicacy was an unspeakable and relentless violence.” 

Photo obtained from http://www.cvltnation.com

 I loved the fact that the author has included multiple photographs throughout the book. I believe that the inclusion of these photos increases the reader’s immersion into the story. It felt almost like sitting around the dining room table at a friend’s house and having them pull out their personal photo album after sharing a great meal. It is like having an unedited glimpse into the author’s private life. 

This book is very much worthy of a 4 out of 5 Stars rating. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
To see the official website of the performance art production of Bound Feet Blues visit: 

http://www.storyguru.co.uk/storyguru-projects/bound-feet-blues-life-told-shoes/  

To visit the official website of the author and the book visit: https://boundfeetblues.wordpress.com/ 

QUOTES I LIKED:

“In the shadows of that moonlit night, I again let another sliver of myself slip away like a ghost.” 

“It’s strange and fascinating to imagine your parents not as your parents but as young, carefree individuals falling in love and hanging out with their friends.”

We are all light and dark, brave heroes and cowards, loving and mean, vain and generous, angry and compassionate, ashamed and accepted, funny and wise, broken and whole.” 

LINKS TO THE BOOK: 

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Feet-Blues-Life-Shoes/dp/1910692301

http://urbanepublications.com/books/bound-feet-blues/

2 page author interview with great photos : 

http://urbanepublications.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DIVA-YM-interview-Nov15.pdf

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
Yang-May Ooi is a bestselling author, award-winning TEDx speaker and acclaimed story performer of Chinese-Malaysian heritage, now living in London.

Her first novel The Flame Tree topped the Malaysian bestseller charts and was closely followed by Mindgame, possibly the first – and only – Malaysian lesbian thriller (both published by Hodder & Stoughton, now re-issued by Monsoon). She is the co-author of International Communications Strategy, which was nominated for the FT Goldman Sachs Book Award. Her TEDx talk Rebel Heart: How Small Acts of Rebellion Can Create Powerful Change was described as “electrifying” and “one of the best and most moving talks at a TEDx event”.

Yang-May’s unconventional memoir Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes tells the stories behind the story of her solo theatre piece of the same name. Bound Feet Blues, the story performance, has been described by reviewers as “powerful”, “engaging, eye-opening, funny and moving” and “beautifully performed and directed”.

http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/yang-may-ooi/

  

5 Stars for STICKING IT OUT by Patti Niemi – BOOK REVIEW – Release Date April 2016

  
Title: STICKING IT OUT: From Juilliard to the Orchestra Pit, a Percussionist’s Memoir

Author: PATTI NIEMI

Type of Book: ARC – Softcover 

Length: 248 pages

Genre: MEMOIR, NON-FICTION, MUSIC

Release Date: APRIL 2016

Publisher: ECW PRESS

ISBN: 978-1-77041-273-6

Price: $24.95 U.S. / $26.95 CDN

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
~ I received a free ARC of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 


So, I should probably admit a couple of things before reviewing this book. One is that I know very little about orchestras and musical instruments and before reading this phenomenal book, I knew exactly nothing about percussion. I had no idea that a single person was expected to coordinate and play so many different instruments. When I first read the list all of the instruments that Patti Niemi was expected to not only learn, but to perfect, I was astonished. 

 

Photo obtained from http://www.musixcool.com

 
I also admit that I had preconceived notions about how orchestra musicians lived. I thought that they all grew up in the lap of luxury and that even before landing a job and while they attended Juilliard, that they livid lavishly and knew nothing of financial hardship or struggles. I was dead wrong about this., as you will find out if you read this book. Yes, it takes money to buy the instruments and pay for lessons, so most musicians of Patti’s caliber come from well off families. However, the paying jobs are so scarce after completing school that many people end up quitting music entirely and take “real” jobs. 

Why don’t we hear more about percussionists? Why are they not given more accolades? I still don’t have an answer to those questions, but I do have a new and profound respect for anyone who undergoes the ridiculously rigorous training and never ending practicing that it takes to become a professional percussionist. 

STICKING IT OUT could have been a drab, boring book full of technical information that no one who isn’t a professional musician would understand. Instead, it is a witty, sometimes hilarious look at the life of Patti Niemi; a life that I found myself utterly fascinated by.  

She has included numerous anecdotes about her life and experiences. One that sticks out in my mind happened when she was attending music camp in the summer of 1980. One of her friends mailed her a joint. Yes, I said mailed. Not only is that just ridiculous, but since there was nowhere to smoke it, she and her friend Zora locked themselves in the bathroom and ate it off a cracker. Then they walked around the camp pretending that eating it had actually made them much higher than they actually were. 

But of course, Patti’s story is not all fun and crazy antics. In fact, this behaviour was an anomaly. Patti was an EXTREMELY anxious person. She could even have been considered neurotic, or, at the very least: obsessive compulsive. 

When Patti went to orientation on her first day at Juilliard, the students were told that whether it was playing music, acting or dancing that their chosen art was their identity from that moment on. They were informed that no one at the school cared about their private life. The students were expected only to make the school look good. That orientation speech set the tone for the rest of her time at Juilliard.

 

The original Juilliard building

 
You would think that the hardest part of Patti’s musical career was over. After all, she had been accepted to the most famous and prestigious music school in the world. But that was not the case. She knew that there were, realistically, only a few paying orchestra jobs in the entire country and she knew that competition to land one of those coveted spots would be incredibly fierce. In fact, the Juilliard students were similar to vultures in that they were waiting for existing orchestra members to either retire or die so that a spot would become available. It may sound harsh, and people may have the idea in their heads that orchestra musicians are a quiet, reserved group, but the truth is that competition for paying jobs was fierce and sometimes cutthroat. 

Patti has proven that she is an exceptional musician and she can now add “talented author” to her personal biography. 

I was sucked into this book from the first chapter and kept enthralled throughout the book. Patti has led a fascinating, sometimes crazy life and STICKING IT OUT offers a chance for those of us who are non-musical to get a glimpse of this fascinating profession. Her candidness about herself, her fellow musicians, life at Juilliard and the way she truly felt about those competing against her makes this book come alive. She also talks about a specific problem she had during her schooling that will strike a chord with many female readers. 

If you had asked me before I started reading this book what I thought it would be like, I would probably have said that it would mildly interesting, but dull. I WOULD HAVE BEEN WRONG. 

I am going to recommend this book to all my friends, as well as to the readers of my blog. Patti’s life and mine have exactly nothing in common and yet I feel like I learned a lot from and about her. Patti’s dedication to her dream is awe inspiring. She has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is today. She has earned it.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
PATTI NIEMI has played percussion in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra since 1992. She graduated from the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department in 1983 and earned a bachelor of music from the Juilliard School in 1987. Niemi was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami from 1988-1992.  

To learn more about the author visit: 

http://sfopera.com/about-us/people/bios/orchestra/patricia-niemi/

The San Francisco Opera – Photo obtained from http://www.sfopera.com