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

https://www.facebook.com/events/909192432495934/

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 

PRE-ORDER NOW ON AMAZON

 
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

5 Stars for LEARNING TO FLOAT by Allan Ament – BOOK REVIEW

 

 Title: LEARNING TO FLOAT: Memoir of a Caregiver Husband

Author: Allan Ament

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 184 pages

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, MEDICAL ISSUES, AGING, STROKE

Release Date: November 17, 2014

Publisher: BOOKTROPE

ISBN: 9781620156216 

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

Allan Ament wrote this book based on his personal experiences. His wife, Deloris had a stroke and Allan made the decision to become her full-time caregiver. 

“Doing anything else never crossed my mind; she was my wife, my soulmate, and she needed my help. Of course, I would be there for her. I would use my intellect, my rationality to learn and master the skills and knowledge I would need to care for her. I would use the love and gratitude as sources of energy to keep me afloat through this journey.” 

The title; LEARNING TO FLOAT is based on how a leaf acts when it lands in water. The leaf does not struggle, it does not try to get away, it floats along wherever the water takes it. Sometimes the water is calm and peaceful and sometimes there are Rapids to contend with, but the leaf continues to float. 

Allan’s writing is emotionally raw while also being intellectually stimulating. He writes with truthfulness and introspection which many memoir authors lack. He holds nothing back and readers will love him at times and at times they won’t, but at least he is truthful. He has not sugar-coated his actions or reactions and people who have been in similar situations will recognize his brutal honesty. 

Though it may not have been his intention, but LEARNING TO FLOAT is also a story of true-love. Wedding vows usually include a vow to love each other “In sickness and in Health”, but thankfully many couples never need to find out if they can uphold that vow. Allan and Deloris had their vow tested and have come through it with an understanding that in marriage, as in life, not everything is always easy. They now know that love and marriage can sometimes be frustrating and extremely trying, and that if that love is strong enough it will endure. This memoir proves that true love will inevitably prevail. In my humble opinion, that message is just as important as anything else that readers learn from reading this book. 

This is not a self-help book or a caregiver guide. It is simply a recounting of Allan and Deloris’s journey back to health after Deloris experienced a stroke in the right side of her brain. However, even though it is not a “guide”, it is full of the wisdom Allan has learned during his ordeal. For example, when Deloris was first hospitalized, he needed help, but did not know how to ask for it, in fact, he even felt guilty for thinking about requesting help. A friend set him straight. Now he says; “I cannot fathom how anyone can go through something like this alone. Once I experienced the results of asking for assistance and felt how powerful the sense of needing others, and accepting their help, could be for both parties, it became easier. What a gift!”

I was going to write that anyone who is currently the caregiver for a loved one should read this book. However, I am amending that statement. This book should be read by every adult. 

Why should every adult read this book?

The answer is simple: You just never know when you may become a caregiver and having an insight into what it may be like will be invaluable. 

With an aging population, many people are finding themselves taking care of their elderly parents. Older people may find themselves caring for a spouse. 

So, in closing my advice is to buy and read this book as soon as possible, and hope that you never find out first-hand what Allan experienced. 

I rate this memoir as 5 out of 5 stars and will be recommending this book to all of my friends and family. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

LINKS TO THE BOOK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23563036-learning-to-float 

https://booktrope.com/book/learning-to-float-memoir-of-a-caregiver-husband/
Review in the Seattle Times

 


  Magazine article re: launch of book: (click on the logo to be taken to the article) 

 
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT DELORIS? 

Page from before her stroke – all about Delores as a writer: 

http://www.writers.net/writers/39813 

This book written by Deloris prior to her stroke:  

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

  
After successful careers as a criminal defense attorney, higher education administrator and instructor, and day spa manager, Allan Ament now enjoys retirement with his wife, an award-winning journalist and author, and their semi-neurotic cat (are there other kinds?) Born and raised in Kentucky, Allan lives with his wife on an island in Puget Sound, north of Seattle, where, in addition to writing and being his wife’s primary caregiver, Ament serves as board chair for the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (nila.edu). His work has previously appeared in academic, professional, and literary journals, and is included in an upcoming anthology, Being: What Makes a Man. Learning to Float is his first book-length work.  

4 Enthusiastic Stars for AFTERSHOCK by Valerie & Daniel Lioudis – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

 

Cover Photo obtained from http://www.audible.com

 
Title: AFTERSHOCK: A Collection of Survivor Tales

Authors: Valerie and Kristopher Lioudis

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK – Unabridged 

Narrator: Daniel Rose

Length: 7 hours and 28 minutes

Genre: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Zombie Fiction

Release Date: August 27, 2015

Publisher: Valerie Lioudis 

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

**This book contains explicit language and violence and is not suitable for listeners under the age of 16**

This audiobook alternates between the survival stories of several people after a virus decimates the world’s population. Most people are either dead or have turned into “Moaners” (zombies). 

This is the same storyline that almost every zombie novel adheres to; at least that is what I thought at first. 

Then comes the twist. Several survivors have one thing in common and that trait may just be the key to humanity’s survival. 

There are problems however. The survivors may be able to either outrun or outgun the Moaners, but what about other survivors? 

It is unfortunate, but there is one universal truth that is highlighted in apocalyptic fiction. Not unfortunate that it is included in the story, but because it is so realistic. That truth is that there are always people who will exploit any situation to their own personal benefit. This is as true in real life as it is in fiction. You need only to look at the price gouging that took place after Hurricane Katrina to find a real-life example of this concept. That is a very mild version of people doing bad things – the instances in this book are worse, much worse.

Each section or chapter of this book focuses on a specific survivor. My favourite parts were those that told the story of Max and Rocky. Max is a pre-teen and out of necessity he has had to grow up almost overnight. Fortunately for him, his dog Rocky is his constant companion. It is impossible as a parent not to root for the child to survive. And, of course, I love dogs so I wanted Rocky to survive as well. It is obvious that the authors are dog lovers because they really nailed the bond that develops between a boy and his dog. 

This audiobook stands out from other zombie novels because of the author’s incredible character development. There is a priest who has lost his faith. This to me makes him seem more real. In other books of this genre you often see religious characters that are so devout that even the walking dead are unable to shake their faith. Pardon my French, but BULLS**T. How could anyone not question their belief in a higher power when people are returning to ‘life’ after death and are attacking and eating anyone who is not yet infected with the virus?

Then, there is Daniel. He’s a soldier who was left behind by his unit. I guess the “No Man Left Behind” credo does not apply in the Zombie Apocalypse. There are other terrific characters, but I don’t want this review to be too long, so you will have to buy a copy of this audiobook to find out about the rest of them.  

The narrator for this audiobook, Daniel Rose, did an absolutely outstanding job of narrating the male voices. In fact, he did such a great job that I would recommend to the author that he keep this same narrator throughout the series. However, the one complaint I do have regarding the narration is that the chapters that focused on female survivors were also narrated by the same person – a male. Daniel Rose has such a wonderfully rich, deep and masculine voice that it would have have been preferable to have a second narrator; a female, to read those particular chapters. I think that if there were both a male and a female narrator that this audiobook would be a chart-topper in it’s genre. 

My favourite quote from this book is: “You can have all the supplies in the world, but if you can’t trust the group you’re with; you’re dead. It’s that simple.”

I enjoyed this audiobook and I do intend to listen to the next book in the series, especially since the ending of this one was a cliffhanger. I am interested to see what direction the survivors are headed and if all the separate groups and individuals will eventually end up together. 

I rate AFTERSHOCK as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The only reason I did not rate it as 5 stars was due to the lack of a female narrator. 

  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 

KRISTOPHER LIOUDIS

   

Father of six from the South Jersey Shore, Kris has always had a love for writing, horror and zombie fiction, and absurd, inappropriate humor. He co-wrote his first full-length novel, Aftershock: A Collection of Survivors’ Tales, with his total MILF of a wife Valerie. The two now live in the Pine Barrens with their pile of children and enough stockpiled Nerf weapons to take down an army of the undead.

More information about him and his books can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/Aftershock-Collection-Survivors-Valerie-Lioudis-ebook/dp/B00QO04KCY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418845543&sr=1-1&keywords=aftershock%3A+a+collection

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10684738.Kristopher_Lioudis

https://twitter.com/NotUnamused
VALERIE LIOUDIS  

Valerie was born and bred in New Jersey. She is what people refer to as a “Creative Soul”. 

Valerie is afraid of just about everything so she turns to zombie movies and books to hash out what she would do to survive if the apocalypse ever hits New Jersey. 

Valerie is the mother of SIX (yes, you read that correctly) kids. They range in age from a newborn to teenagers so she has had to become a multitasking master. 

More information about her and her books can be found here:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10684737.Valerie_Lioudis

https://twitter.com/valeriebougher

A 5 Star Young Adult Fantasy – SCHISM by Laura Maisano – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: SCHISM 

Series: Illirin Series: Book One

Author: LAURA MAISANO

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 254 pages

Genre: YOUNG ADULT, URBAN FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION 

Release Date: April 2015

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing 

ISBN: 978-1-77127-694-8

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

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

Gabe has no memory of the accident that claimed the life of his fiancé, Heather. In fact, Gabe’s mind is like one of his unused canvasses – completely blank. 

Lea spends most of her time working alone on her E.D. Project. She would rather be alone than have to listen to the other University students snickering behind her back. 

Gabe and Lea meet and the two misfits bond instantly and Gabe agrees to help her with her project. In return, Lea will try to help him get his memories back. 

When Lea’s research leads them to another dimension, the ramifications for both of them are huge. 

Want to know more? Sorry, no spoilers here! You need to read this book to find out all the details and to join Lea and Gabe on the adventure of a lifetime.

I am not usually a fan of books that use amnesia as part of the plot, but SCHISM is an exception. 

Gabe wanting to recover his memories is an example of “Be careful what you wish for, since it might come true.”

This book is considered fantasy, but it could also be labelled as science fiction or as a thriller. It could even be considered a romance. 

One of the things I really liked about this book was that it was fast-paced. There is very little “filler” in SCHISM which is a refreshing change from many Young Adult novels. 

It is not an easy task to create an entirely new world, yet debut author LAURA MAISANO has done just that. Her world building skills are excellent. Not only does Illirin exist, but it has centuries of history. She has populated it with five races (called ‘Traits’) each of whom have their own distinct physical characteristics, beliefs and prejudices. 

There is violence in this book, and though there is a bit of romance in this book, there are no sex scenes or anything that would prevent this from being read by tweens and teens alike. 

I give this Young Adult novel a 5 out of 5 star rating. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

This novel is one in which you can immerse yourself in a fantasy world that just might actually exist. A great book to curl up on the couch with on a cold winter day! 

I have one question for the author: When can I get my hands on UNITY: the next book in the series? 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
LAURA MAISANO has an MA in technical writing and is a senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She lives in Texas with her husband, daughter and their two cats. 

You can find out more about her on her blog at www.lauramaisano.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter @MaisanaLaura 

Book Signing on Jan 30th   

https://mobile.twitter.com/MaisanoLaura/status/671687169551949824

4 Stars for ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW by Jordan Elizabeth – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW

Author: JORDAN ELIZABETH (formerly known as Jordan Elizabeth Mierek)

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 200 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction, Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 2014

Publisher: CURIOSITY QUILLS PRESS

ISBN: 978-1-62007-746-7

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received a free copy of this book from the publisher I n exchange for an honest review. 

The story begins in October of 2001. Honoria just started school at Arnn High School. All her life she has lived in New York City, but after September 11th when both her parents died in the World Trade Center Terrorist Attack her Aunt and Uncle decide to move them out to the country. They now live in what used to be an inn in the tiny town of Arnn. 

Shortly after arriving in town Honoria meets her neighbor Leon who is very interested in researching the history of their town.

The townspeople believe that there is a place in their woods that is home to a witch. They call the place “Witchwood Hollow” and they say that if you enter the hollow, you will never leave. 

This story fits into multiple classifications and genres. It is paranormal fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction and it also fits into the mystery genre. Essentially this means that the potential numbers of readers for this book are huge. 

The story fluctuates between multiple time periods. While the main story is set in 2001, there are two other important timelines that the writer returns to multiple times. Those periods are the years 1670 and 1850. The author does a good job of including historic events to give the reader a sense of when each event takes place. 

The author does a wonderful job of describing the serenity of the area surrounding the woods that contain Witchwood Hollow. “To her right stretched a hayfield, the weeds swaying like ocean waves. Wildflowers poked their heads through the brown and green stalks. To her left lay a hill dotted with oak trees. The green leaves shifted to crimson and gold, the wind making the branches creak. Beyond the trees lay weedy banks, and beyond that, the woods.” It is little wonder that Albertine felt safe in such an idyllic place. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the multiple twists in this book. It made the reading experience much more enjoyable. I will be looking to read more books by Jordan Elizabeth. 

If you have read any of my reviews in the past, you will know that I take editing and proof-reading seriously. I believe that Indie authors can hold their own with authors who are represented by the major book publishers, but if an Indie author wants to have their talent recognized by a wide audience, then they need to have their work proofread and edited properly. 

This eBook is in dire need of a proof-reading or a going-over by a professional editor. I stopped counting after I noticed 50 errors. Most of these would be simple to fix, such as using the words “as lease” when it should say “at least” or omitting words completely such as in this sentence: “… they sent her postcards from city…” which is missing the word “the” before the word “city”. To me these are simple and easily caught errors. This book was published more than a year ago and there is really no excuse for these errors to still be in the eBook. 

Because of the errors I feel that I must reduce my rating of this book by one star. So, what would have been a 5 star book, now becomes a 4 star book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Find out more about this book at: 

https://curiosityquills.com/books/escape-witchwood-hollow/ 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

  
Jordan Elizabeth, formally Jordan Elizabeth Mierek, writes down her nightmares in order to live her dreams. With an eclectic job history of working as a college professor; historic costumed interpreter at Fort Stanwix, Victorian Leisure Fair, and Mayfaire on the Green; office specialist; sales clerk; election inspector; and trainer, she is now diving into the world of author.It happens to be her favorite one.

When she’s not creating art or searching for lost history in the woods, she’s updating her blog, Kissed by Literature. Jordan is the president of the Utica Writers Club and maintains JordanElizabethMierek.com.

She roams Central New York, but she loves to travel. A great deal of time has been spent in a rural town very similar to Arnn, the setting of her novel ESCAPE FROM WITCHWOOD HOLLOW.

Also visit her Author Page on the Curiosity Quills website: https://curiosityquills.com/authors/jordan-elizabeth/