5 Stars for Melanie Karsak’s Steampunk short story: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST

Subtitle: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story

Author: MELANIE KARSAK

Genre: FICTION, SCI-FI, CHRISTMAS, STEAMPUNK

Length: 41 PAGES

Publisher: CLOCKPUNK PRESS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2014

ASIN: B00RA6ZA1Q

Price: $1.02 on Amazon

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

The main character is a young woman named Lily. She is the captain of the airship “Stargazer.” Lily has entered the Yuletide Airship Race ever since she was young, and last year she had almost won. This year – 1820 – Lily was determined to win.

Lily would never admit it to anyone, but she is lonely and Christmas being the next day amplified her loneliness.

Will Lily finally be able to beat out all the other airship captains? And what will she do about her loneliness?

Melanie Karsak’s world-building is superb. The Steampunk version of London where the story takes place is highlighted by vivid imagery.

What a gift! Melanie Karsak has the ability to describe a scene so well that you can visualize it easily in your mind. For example:

The rooftops were covered with a powdering of crystalline snow. The gaslamp light made everything sparkle. The waves on the Thames twinkled with golden light.”

I rate this short story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I highly recommend this wonderful Steampunk Christmas tale.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this story.

To sign up to Melanie Karsak’s Newsletter, click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series.

She is a steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne.

Melanie currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.

She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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DADDY DARKEST by ELLERY KANE is a dark & twisted YA thriller worthy of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: DADDY DARKEST

Series: BOOK ONE OF THE DOCTORS OF DARKNESS SERIES

Author: ELLERY KANE

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 358 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780692880968

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I wish my first plane ride had ended in a crash. An unforeseen plunge to Earth. A few minutes of white-hot terror, followed by a rising ball of fire. And no survivors.”

Samantha is a small town girl who just graduated from high school. She has her entire future ahead of her and she can’t wait. Her best friend, Ginny surprises her with a weekend in San Francisco.

Samantha knows her Mom would not approve so she waits until she is already on the plane before answering her mother’s texts and calls.

Samantha and Ginny may be best friends, but they are polar opposites of each other (except in physical appearance since they look so much alike, they could be sisters.

Samantha is quiet. Ginny is loud. Samantha does not like to flirt. Ginny seems to have learned to flirt in the womb. Samantha is careful, Ginny is not. Ginny likes to go with the flow, Samantha would rather have a plan. But, despite their differences, or maybe because of them, they compliment each other and their trust in each other is complete.

What neither of the girls know is that the amazing and fun weekend they’d planned is about to turn into a nightmare. One in which Samantha will discover that everything she thought she knew about her life, has been a lie.

Fast paced, heart-thumping action that will appeal to her new target readership of Young Adults and will not disappoint her adult fanbase.

This book, however, should come with a warning and could be a trigger for survivors of violent crime; including, but not limited to, stalking, mugging, domestic violence and especially to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I enjoyed most every part of this book and am glad author Ellery Kane has chosen to bring the issue of childhood sexual abuse into the light. She has included a description of one of the ways that pedophiles groom their victims. I believe this is important. The more information that is distributed to people, the less likely they or their loved ones will fall victim to this type of crime.

Tackling a sensitive subject while crafting an unforgettable thriller could not have been easy, but Ellery Kane has done exactly that. It is for that reason that I chose to rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers. An avid short story writer as a teenager, Ellery recently began writing for enjoyment again, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Ellery’s debut novel, Legacy, has received several awards, including winning the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, young adult, e-book category, and the Gold Medal in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards, teenage category. In 2016, Ellery was selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

To learn more about Ellery Kane, visit the following links:

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FACEBOOK

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AMAZON

CHAPTERS/INDIGO

More titles by this author, click HERE

PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW: A Novella of Ghosts by GWENDOLYN KISTE will challenge everything you thought you knew about ghosts. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW

Author: GWENDOLYN KISTE

Genre: URBAN FANTASY, ADULT FICTION

Length: 94 PAGES

Publisher: BROKEN EYE BOOKS

Release Date: NOVEMBER 28, 2017

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW: A Novella of Ghosts

New weird urban fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste, follows the (after)lives and times of five ghosts and their haunts, combining contemporary fairy tale and urban legend in a story that shows that being dead isn’t always a bed of roses.

Releases November 28, 2017, from Broken Eye Books.

Mary, Mary: Always hitchhiking the same lonely highway, she calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her as Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to the same decrepit, nowhere mansion, she’s always got her sisters.

Call her name three times, and Bloody Mary appears. In the poisoned garden, Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary. Downstairs, Mary Mack, forever building her own coffin. And brooding with her horse skull, the restless Mari Lwyd.

They are the Marys, embodiments of urban legend and what goes bump in the night, every child’s nightmare. But as the walls between their realities start to crack, the shadows threaten oblivion. To save herself and her sisters, Rhee must unravel who the Marys are before the darkness claims them.

MY REVIEW:

In a dilapidated country house with “… trim around the windows the shade of old urine, the faded stonework as dejected as first love” resides a very unusual family.”

“We’re a house brimming with Mary’s, the mortar bursting at the seams with urban legends and deranged nursery rhymes. We don’t know how we got here, and we don’t know how to leave.”

Thrust together in an afterlife that not a single one of them asked for, are five women, all named Mary.

Each Mary is a ghost and each has their own mystique. For example, most readers have heard of the legend of Bloody Mary and that if you look into a mirror and say “BLOODY MARY” three times, she will appear; dripping blood.

Each night the Marys separate and head out to haunt people in the style required by their respective legends.

The Marys return home after haunting each night, they gather together around the dining room table and share the night’s adventures, just like families everywhere sit together at their kitchen table for supper every night.

The Marys are reasonably happy – as happy as five dead women can be, but their happiness won’t last much longer. Something is coming for them and unless they find a way to fight it, they are doomed to an existence where no one can see or hear them – a fate much worse than death.

The storyline is spectacular. Although this novella is only 94 pages long, or perhaps because of its length, no unnecessary scenes are included. This means the action is non-stop and readers will not want to put this book down – they will feel compelled to find out what happens next.

The author has done a superior job of character development and it becomes impossible for the reader to feel negatively toward the Marys. In fact, they become sympathetic characters. Readers will be rooting for the Marys. It may seem strange to empathize with a ghost, but you will understand when you read this book.

Those who enjoy tales of ghosts and of unrequited love will enjoy this book.

I rate PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

QUOTES:

“… he looks real now. Real and wicked as heartache.”

“… leans in close, and I taste his breath, all jagged ice and coffin dirt and winters that never end.”

**Thank you to Broken Eye Books for providing me with a free copy of this novella.**

COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR:

“Folklore and fairy tales have always been a huge inspiration for me, both for their whimsy and their remarkably dark underpinnings. As a horror writer, there’s nothing as familiar and unsettling as many of the original fairy tales most of us grew up reading.”

“In that vein, Pretty Marys All in a Row started from a conversation I had with my husband, who is a fellow devotee of folklore. He and I went through all the Marys who appear in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and other legends. It’s astounding when you list them all, how often the name appears in different incarnations (ditto for the Jacks, though he’ll have to wait for another story).

“That conversation led me to a series of questions that immediately unnerved me. What if these Marys know they’re storybook legends—and what if they want no part of it? If the choice to be in our folklore was never theirs to make, then what if we’re perpetuating their torment by continually retelling these tales? And if the Marys, like Resurrection Mary and Bloody Mary in particular, are the embodiment of nightmares, then what kind of powerful force controls the nightmares? That last question terrified me most of all—the notion of something else, something unknown to them, controlling the Marys—and from there, Pretty Marys All in a Row was born.”

“Ultimately, the story became one about loss and identity and finding yourself and your home and family, even when all other choices have been ripped away from you. To have Pretty Marys join the incredible roster of releases at Broken Eye Books is beyond thrilling and humbling. This is a journey that’s been a wonderful one to take as a writer, and I hope that readers feel the same way.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction author based in Pennsylvania. Her short stories have appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone, Black Static, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among other outlets.

Her debut fiction collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, is available now from JournalStone.

You can find out more about her online at the following Links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

______________________________

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Broken Eye Books is an independent press, here to bring you the odd, strange, and offbeat side of speculative fiction.

Their stories tend to blend genres, highlighting the weird and blurring boundaries with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.

More information can be found at the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

TWOFER MURDER BLOG TOUR, VIDEO INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Book Details:

Book Title: Twofer Murder by Lauren Carr

Category: Adult fiction, 400 pages

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Acorn Book Services

Release date: November 17, 2017

Tour dates: Nov 1 to 30, 2017

Content Rating: PG + M (Please be aware that TWOFER MURDER is a murder mystery. There are depictions of murder and some violence–though easy on the gore contents. No f-words but there may be some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as “damn”, “hell” and “Oh God!”. Some depictions of brief sexual content (kissing). No drug use or underage drinking among the protagonists.)

Book Description:

Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead!

Lauren Carr’s Twofer Murder is a 2-for-1—making it a must-read for any mystery fan!

Buy the Book:
 
Watch the trailer:
Meet the Author:

 

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR:

 

What are readers saying about Lauren Carr’s mysteries?
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iREAD BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

Nov 1 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight with video
Nov 1 – Working Mommy Journal– book spotlight with video
Nov 1 – Read Lovely Books – book spotlight with video
Nov 3 – The Girl Raised By Books – book spotlight with video
Nov 3 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight
Nov 6 – Blooming with Books – book spotlight with video
Nov 7 – FUONLYKNEW – book spotlight with video
Nob 8 – Christa Reads and Writes– book spotlight with video
Nov 9 – Laura’s Interests – book spotlight with video
Nov 10 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight with video
Nov 13 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Nov 13 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight with video
Nov 14 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight with video
Nov 15 – Literary Flits –  book spotlight with video
Nov 16 – Travelling Through Words – book spotlight
Nov 17 – Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – book spotlight
Nov 20 – My Journey Back – book spotlight
Nov 21 – Amie’s Book Reviews – book spotlight with video
Nov 22 – Nighttime Reading Center– book spotlight with video
Nov 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight
Nov 24 – Perfect Chaos – book spotlight / video
Nov 27 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight with video
Nov 28 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight with video
Nov 29 – Deal Sharing Aunt – book spotlight with video
TBD      – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight with video

THE DENOUNCED is the beginning of a new YA Dystopian Trilogy that is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Title: THE DENOUNCED – A GREY SUN

Series: THE DENOUNCED – BOOK ONE

Author: S.J. SHERWOOD

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED – To find out why this author chose to self-publish, read his explanation HERE.

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-9997929-0-9

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In a future divided into Secular and Non-Secular Quadrants, a crime punishable by death is to cross Quadrants and become a Denounced.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety Denounced, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold — one that will change the world forever.

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

MY REVIEW:

“In less than an hour my life will end.”

Thus begins THE GREY SUN, the first book in THE DENOUNCED TRILOGY.

I dare anyone to read that opening line and not be drawn into this book.

Who is this person that will die within an hour? What is happening? How does the person know he or she is going to die? Is this person a male or a female? How old are they? What is the reason they are going to die? Are they sick? How are they going to die? Is it a natural death? Is it murder? Who is going to kill him/her? Why? How does he/she know they are going to die? How do they know when they are going to die?

All these questions flash through the readers mind, and all of them (and more) are prompted from a sentence containing a mere nine words.

As we read a bit further, some of our questions begin to be answered, but each answer only spawns more questions, piques more curiosity and sucks the reader further into the story. The ability to achieve this is the mark of a talented author.

I love books that draw my attention immediately, and more importantly, are able to maintain my attention page after page. THE GREY SUN does exactly that.

It is difficult to believe that this is author S.J. Sherwood’s first ever attempt at writing Young Adult Fiction. He writes with the perfect voice for young adult audiences. In fact, if you were unaware of the above fact, you would think he has been writing fiction for teens for years.

Sixteen year old Ned is a character that will appeal to both teenage boys and teen girls. The guys will look up to him as a smart, tough protagonist that they would want to be friends with, young women will also look up to him, but they will also want him to be their new book-boyfriend.

How can a normal, red-blooded young woman not want to soothe Ned’s tortured soul and show him that he doesn’t need to be alone in the world any more? Add to that the fact that he would make an awesome protector and is both intelligent and resourceful, and you have the perfect recipe for a YA heartthrob.

Don’t let what I wrote above to take anything away from the story itself. Yes, Ned is “hot,” but that is only one tiny part of this tale.

The Dystopian world that S.J. Sherwood has imagined is revealed in small snippets and readers learn about Ned’s world as he learns about it. Although there is a resolution at the end of this book, there are also many unanswered questions which I am excited to find out the answers to. For some reason I do not feel cheated, even though I did not receive all the answers. Leaving questions unanswered without angering your readers is a difficult task to achieve, but this author somehow makes it seem easy.

I have read literally hundreds of Dystopian novels, for both Young Adult and Adult readers and this reality that S.J. Sherwood has created is one I will not forget. I think that part of the reason why I feel this way is because there is still so much to learn about Ned’s world. The possibilities are endless. I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you enjoyed A GREY SUN – BOOK ONE of the DENOUNCED SERIES, you need to add SHIFTING HORIZONS to your watch list as it is the soon-to-be-released as the second thrilling instalment of this wickedly interesting Young Adult Dystopian series.

*** Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

QUOTES:

“It’s dangerous to let yourself dream when you’re in the System.”

“People will either come to you or they don’t, and if they don’t, you generally don’t want them anyway.”

“… I have to do something that I’m not good at, that I think none of us are good at, which is to work together. Be a team.”

“In the few days of being here, we’ve already become brainwashed … You start to become what they impose upon you. I have a natural urge to rebel against it … I ache so badly to be free.”

“Freedom is something you don’t dare talk about when you’re in the System.”

ABOUT THE REST OF THE DENOUNCED TRILOGY:

Book Two will be titled SHIFTING HORIZONS.

Pod Fifteen has escaped to an unknown Quadrant. Who do they trust and where do they go next?

If the rumours are true, thousands of orphans are heading toward Ilse’s trap. If Ned and the rest of Pod Fifteen are to save the orphans, they would need to return home and fight a System that wants Ned dead.

With time working against them and tough decisions to be made, hard-fought friendships will be put to the test. Loyalties will be cut to the bone. Character flaws will be further exposed.

What will Ned and Pod Fifteen ultimately do?

Find out in the next explosive instalment of The Denounced, available in the first half of 2018 with the final instalment, Book 3, CREAKING DAWN, set for later in the year.

If you would like a sneak preview, as well as additional information about the release dates, please sign-up for The Denounced Newsletter HERE.

ABOUT AUTHOR S.J. SHERWOOD:

S.J. Sherwood grew up in a small town in rural England and spent most of his youth dreaming of escaping to the bright lights of a metropolis.

His dream came true in the form of winning a Scholarship to Drama School. He was an actor for a short time. At various times in his life, he was a construction worker, a waiter, and an ice-cream man to name a few. He then went back to school and entered the corporate world.

The one constant in his life has been a passion for storytelling.

When he is not writing and spending time with those he loves, you’ll find him in a wetsuit, splashing in the sea, where he will be dreaming up his next story. He currently lives in London, England.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK

AMAZON


ESME’S WISH is an astonishinly brilliant new Young Adult book. 5 Enthusiastic Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: ESME’S WISH

Series: “ESME” SERIES: BOOK ONE

Author: ELIZABETH FOSTER

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY

Length: 252 PAGES

Publisher: ODYSSEY BOOKS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781925652246

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

DESCRIPTION:

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the actions of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother – so why can’t she?

But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.

After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. Esme soon discovers that her mother, Ariane – a talented painter of myths and legends – once led a secret second life in the crumbling canal city of Esperance. The more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her mother at all…

Esme’s Wish, a fantasy with a mystery at its heart, leads the reader into a beguiling world to which they’ll want to return again and again.

BOOK TRAILER:

MY REVIEW:

This is a tale that is utterly enchanting and totally consuming. I found myself even dreaming about the wonderous world of Aeolia created by the extremely talented Elizabeth Foster. This is something that rarely happens to me. In fact, I can count the number of times it has happened to me on a single hand.

To put that into perspective, only books such as R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the HARRY POTTER series have had this effect on me. Am I saying that ESME’S WISH is on par with these genre-defining tales? Well, I won’t go quite that far yet, but only because this is only BOOK ONE. Ask me again once I have had the pleasure of reading the entire series.

Although this book is targeted at the Young Adult audience, as was the Harry Potter series, this book also holds incredible appeal for adult readers as well.

Esme is swept from a world in which her father remarries a woman she despises, giving up all hope after seven years that his wife will ever return. He, and everyone else, including Esme, believe that her mother is dead. She thinks that the reason she has been told that her mother was lost at sea is because they are hiding something much more sinister. Being a typical fifteen year old, she sets off to visit the last place her mother was seen alive – hoping for clues as to what really happened to her.

Instead of discovering a secret clue, she is swept into the sea and pulled through some sort of portal into the wonderous world of Aeolia. This reminds me of Harry Potter leaving London by going to platform nine and three quarters.

Who among us has not thought of somehow going to a different world? This book delivers on that fantasy and Elizabeth Foster’s world building is spot on. The people of this fantasy world all have some sort of magical gift which manifests in young adulthood. I don’t want to give anymore away, but the plot is terrific and readers will be drawn in and continually surprised by the mystery of what happened to Esme’s mother.

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

QUOTE:

Esme “… had become entangled in matters… with forces far beyond [her] understanding – and it seemed there was no right way forward.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ELIZABETH FOSTER was born in Brisbane, Australia. She read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds.

Once she started writing, she never looked back. She is at her happiest when immersed in her stories and plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters.

Elizabeth now lives in Sydney, Australia where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.

Her first novel, Esme’s Wish, a fantasy-mystery for younger teens, was released by Odyssey Books on October 30, 2017. Esme’s Gift, the second in the trilogy will follow in late 2018.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

KOBO: You can read the first chapter HERE.

PUBLISHER OF ESME’S WISH:

ODYSSEY BOOKS is an Australian Independent publishing house. It was founded only eight years ago, in 2009 by Michelle Lovi.

They only publish 12 to 18 books per year. Odyssey Books produces quality literary and genre fiction, as well as memoirs and creative non-fiction.

They live for the adventures that books provide and are not afraid to take risks with new writers and new ideas.

To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

PINTEREST

YOUTUBE

BACKBONE: Living With Chronic Pain Without Turning Into One by Best-Selling Author KAREN DUFFY hits shelves on November 7th.

Title: BACKBONE: LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN WITHOUT TURNING INTO ONE   

Author: KAREN DUFFY  

Genre: NON-FICTION, CHRONIC PAIN 

Length: 252 PAGES 

Publisher: ARCADE PUBLISHING an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing     

Type of Book: EBOOK 

Received From: NETGALLEY 

Release Date: NOVEMBER 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781628727951

Price: $22.99 USD 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


DESCRIPTION
:

AN INSPIRATIONAL, PRACTICAL, AND FUNNY GUIDE FOR EVERYONE LIVING WITH CHRONIC PAIN.

“My friend Karen Duffy, who lives with unimaginable pain, has taught me so much; that my 
complaints are the most ridiculous in the world.”     George Clooney

Over one-third of the United States population—nearly one hundred million Americans—is currently living with chronic pain, while another 133 million Americans live with some form of chronic illness. Over half of the United States population suffers from these invisible illnesses where their symptoms are not always obvious to the casual observer. Among them is Karen Duffy, New York Times–bestselling author, former MTV DJ, Revlon model, and actress: she suffers from sarcoidosis, a disorder that causes the growth of inflammatory cells on different organs of the body. In her case, her sarcoidosis is located in her brain, causing her unimaginable pain. 

For two decades, Duffy has managed to live a full life, despite living in a state of constant pain. 

In BACKBONE, a powerful, inspirational, funny, and important manual for surviving pain, Duffy draws on her experience as a patient advocate, trained recreational therapist, and hospice chaplain to illuminate gratifying methods people can use to cope with chronic pain. 

Addressing a country ravaged by both chronic pain and opioid addiction, BACKBONE offers a salve of self-sufficiency, spunk, and perseverance. 

BACKBONE is for the massive population of sufferers who are eager to be understood and helped and sends the message that despite the pain, there is a way to have a good life. 

MY REVIEW

In her introduction, author Karen Duffy states; “When I first got sick, I thought the doctors would figure it out and I’d go back to my life the way it was before. It didn’t turn out that way…I never imagined that the pain was going to last this long, that it would be endless, and that I’d have to figure out how to deal with it for the rest of my life.” I can completely relate to her and to this statement, it is exactly how I feel. Our diseases may be different, but chronic pain is something that we share (unfortunately). I felt EXACTLY the same way Karen did when I was diagnosed. 

We are very spoiled as a society, especially here in Canada. When a person gets sick or is injured, they go to the doctor or the hospital where tests are completed, a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan and/or presciption is handed out, and they get better. With chronic pain there is no cure, and treatment consists of little more than prescriptions for pain medication which helps with the symptoms, but does absolutely nothing to fix the underlying condition.

 To those who have never had to deal with pain that never stops, I say be thankful. To those who think that chronic pain sufferers are all liars and frauds, I say that I would trade just about anything to be lying about the pain I endure on a daily basis.

Karen says; “The minutia of daily life are more taxing when you have the stress of a chronic condition, and I often need to regulate my pain medication around [my son’s] hockey schedule.” Thankfully my sons are older now, but I distinctly remember doing the same thing. In fact, currently I have to wake up two hours before leaving for work so that I have one hour for the pain meds to kick in and one hour to actually spend getting ready. Reading that I am not alone in this is strangely yet incredibly helpful.

I am not someone who typically reads self-help books. This book is more of a memoir (laced with humor,) rather than a self-help book, yet it helps to feel that there are people out there who understand what my daily struggles are. I guess the saying that “misery loves company” must be true. Just kidding.

Karen offers up advice in a non-standard way. She does not claim to be an expert on chronic pain. Rather, her writing comes across more like a series of conversations with a friend over coffee or more likely a glass of wine. This is why her tips seem so genuine. They are things that have helped her to manage her pain.

Karen Duffy’s writing comes across as coming from her heart. She offers anecdotes from her own life as well as offering up quotes from experts in various fields.

I have read several books on chronic pain and I can honestly say that this book was the easiest to read and the most realistic. 

Karen Duffy does NOT promise to know how to cure chronic pain, she simply informs readers of what has worked for her to help her live with it, and suggests that what has helped her may also help others.     

She also includes modern, up-to-date links to helpful websites for those seeking more information about specific issues. 

I recommend this book to anyone suffering from chronic pain as well as family members and caregivers. I rate this memoir as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.**  

QUOTES 

As I read through this book I ran across so many quotes that I wanted to remember that I actually started keeping a list. 

Some of the quotes are funny, some I highlighted because they hit close to home and were so similar to my own life, and some I kept for no reason other than they struck a xhord with me somehow. I will leave it to your imagination to decide which quote falls into each category. 

“Chronic pain is like serving a life sentence. It’s punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.”

“… I look a lot better in person than I do on paper.”


“I take strong opiates to tamp down the burning, biting, sharp sensations. Before the morphine takes effect, it feels like a donkey wearing hockey skates is kicking me in the neck. After the medication, it feels like the jackass put skate guards on, but he’s still kicking.” 

When writing about her son playing hockey she wrote the following: 

For example, would it surprise you that the first nut cup (also known as a testicular guard) ever sported in a hockey game was worn in 1873? That the first helmet worn in the NHL was in 1973? That it took a full one hundred years for hockey players to consider protecting their brains was as important as protecting their down below.” 

“…the sinister vapors emanating from a hockey bag would flatten most people. It’s like getting sucker-punched in the face by an invisible roundhouse of adolescent B.O.” 
“… family dinners are a dim memory like dial telephones and eighteen-hour girdles…” 

“When things are easy, you miss the chance to learn how tough you are.”

“… life is going to give you some hits and you have to get up and keep going.”    

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”


“The ability to walk without pain is a gift that we don’t have anymore. Being able to walk with pain and not give up is a superpower.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

KAREN DUFFY – Bio partially obtained  from Hollywood.com 
  

Witty, alluring performer whose offbeat charm and amiability landed her a gig as an MTV VJ. Duffy’s (aka “Duff” on-air) less-than-serious approach to her job quickly made her a favorite to viewers. Unlike many of her predecessors who quickly fell into obscurity, she diversified into commercials and feature appearances.

 She made her feature debut playing a “Crack Den Girl” in the Christopher Walken actioner “McBain” (1991). Her subsequent feature credits include small roles in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” (1991), “Who’s the Man” (1993)–which also featured such MTV luminaries as Dennis Leary and Ed Lover–and “Reality Bites” (1994) in a cameo spoofing MTV’s “The Real World.” Duffy made her first substantial feature performance as a woman reminiscent of Mrs. Robinson (“The Graduate”) in the Disney comedy “Blank Check” (1994).

Karen “Duff” Lambros is an American model, actress, and author. Diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis in 1995, she has become an outspoken advocate for sarcoidosis patients and those who suffer from chronic pain. Her positive approach to coping with sarcoidosis is highlighted in her autobiography, Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass. The Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research is proud to have Duff as a board member and the Board Chair to the Patient Ambassador Program.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

GOODREADS     

TWITTER 

FACEBOOK 

AMAZON     

CHAPTERS 

SARCOIDOSIS FOUNDATION 

  

ROSEMARKED by Bestselling Author LIVIA BLACKBURNE hits shelves in 2 days. This book is destined to become a Bestseller, so grab your copy right away. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  

Title: ROSEMARKED       

Author: LIVIA BLACKBURNE  

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, FANTASY, ROMANCE, MULTICULTURAL BOOKS, DIVERSE BOOKS 

AGES: 12-18  GRADES: 7-12

Length: 400 PAGES

Publisher: HYPERION 

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY 

Release Date: NOVEMBER 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-8855-4 (HARDCOVER)

Price: $US $17.99 / CAN $18.99

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


DESCRIPTION

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art-until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule-even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes. 


MY REVIEW:

This YA novel has everything a teen reader could want. Rosemarked is a mixture of dystopian fiction and fantasy fiction and it combines the two genres perfectly.

Author Livia Blackburne has done an astonishing wonderful job of world-building. She has created not just a single city and its surrounding geography, but an entire continent.

She has created distinct races, each with their own distinct culture, religions and in some cases, language.

The two main characters are Zivah and Dineas. They come from completely different backgrounds and their life philosophies could not be more different. Yet their lives are inextricably entwined whether they like it or not.

As often happens in reality, the more time Zivah and Dineas spend together, the more they realize that despite their outward appearances, they are not so different after all. This is a lesson that readers will hopefully take to heart, and transfer into their own lives; thus reducing racial discrimination in the real world.

I was particularly impressed with Zivah’s character. She is a strong young woman who knows what she wants and will let nothing or noone get in the way of achieving her goal. Even though she is tough and fierce, she is also a caring person who wants to alleviate the suffering of others, even when it puts herself at risk. She is a terrific role model for the teens who will be reading this book.

Those who enjoy books with lots of action, some intricate politics, and a dash of romance will love ROSEMARKED. It is for this reason that I am rating this Young Adult novel as 5 out of 5 Stars and I predict that ROSEMARKED will take ìts rightful place on Teen Bestseller lists shortly after its release on Tuesday, November 7th.

**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.** 

Enter Livia Blackburne’s giveaway to win a signed copy and some swag by clicking HERE.     


ADD THIS BOOK TO GOODREADS:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children.  Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner.  


To learn more about this author visit the following links
:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

GOODREADS 

TWITTER 

FACEBOOK 

INSTAGRAM 

WATTPAD 

AMAZON 
  


FROM LIVIA BLACKBURNE’S WEBSITE – NINE THINGS ABOUT HER…  

1. She writes fantasy. Most often YA fantasy, but sometimes she branches  out.

2. She was born in Taiwan, raised in Albuqurque, and spent her twenties in Boston, where she earned an A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard and PhD in cognitive neuroscience from MIT.

3. She started her debut novel Midnight Thief in high school, because writing a novel was the only way she could get out of the mandatory camping requirement.  She finished about 60 pages.  They were 60 awful, awful pages. She finished Midnight Thief 12 years later, because writing a novel was the only way she could keep her sanity while conducting  doctoral research.  This time, she got to 370 pages, and they were much less awful than the initial 60.

4. She writes a blog about psychology and neuroscience for writers.  You can check it out here

5. Like every good Asian kid, she played the piano as a child.  She doesn’t  do that as much anymore, but still loves to sing and dance.

6. She is horrible at any sport that involve fast moving projectiles, and  dislikes most sports that involve highly repetitive movements (running, swimming, biking, etc.).  This leaves basically dancing and martial arts.

7. When she wanted sweets as a child, her mother would give her one M&M.  She thought that was normal, and to this day, has a very low tolerance for sweets.  One bite of chocolate bar, half a scoop of ice cream is about all she can take.

8. If she had to choose one author with the biggest influence on her reading and writing development, it would be Tamora Pierce.

9. Some of her favorite books:  The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  

AUMA’S LONG RUN by Debut Author EUCABETH ODHIAMBO is a fascinating look at the African AIDS epidemic from the point of view of a pre-teen girl. 

Title: AUMA’S LONG RUN     

Author: EUCABETH ODHIAMBO 

Genre: FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

Length: 293 PAGES

Publisher: CAROLRHODA BOOKS – A DIVISION OF LERNER PUBLISHING GROUP      
Type of Book: HARDCOVER    

Received From: GOODREADS GIVEAWAY     

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2784-4   

Price: $17.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS                          🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

DESCRIPTION:   

Auma loves to run. In her small Kenyan village, she’s a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma’s family needs her help at home.

Soon more people are getting sick—even dying—and no one knows why.

Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her struggling family or leave to pursue her own future? Auma knows her family is depending on her, but leaving might be the only way to find the answers to questions about this new disease.  

 

MY REVIEW:

This novel is targeted at young adults and middle-grade readers, however it will also appeal to adults.

It is author Eucabeth Odhiambo’s debut novel and was released less than two months ago.

It tells the tale of 12 year old Auma who lives with her family in a small village in Kenya. It is set in the 1980s when AIDS was first rearing its ugly head in Africa and when very little information was known about the disease.

People are dying every week in Auma’s small village and noone really knows why. They nicknamed the disease “Slim,” probably because patients wasted away before they died.

People didn’t understand why only adults were dying. The young and the elderly seemed to be spared. However, the young were often left as orphans and had to struggle to earn enough money so they wouldn’t starve. Unfortunately, many of these “AIDS Orphans” did end up starving to death.

Auma wants to get educated. She wants to become a doctor But, to do that she must first attend high school. How can she attend school even if she does receive a scholarship when her family needs her to either marry or work to keep her siblings alive?

This tale is not the story of any specific individual or family. Instead, it is the story of what many in Kenya endured before proper information was learned about this heinous disease.

AUMA’S LONG RUN contains wonderfully evocative writing that brings the setting to life for readers. This is demonstrated even in the simplest of sentences, such as: “The rays of the setting sun felt like tongues of fire upon my back.”

The characters are heart-breakingly believable and it is impossible for readers not to feel empathy for Auma and her family. The fact that author Eucabeth Odhiambo grew up in Kenya explains why the setting feels so authentic.

Part of why I like this book so much is that the author does not shy away from the horror of the AIDS victims that Auma encounters. The author wrote this book with the education of readers in mind, and educate she does. Auma sees the lesions and sores appear on her mother’s skin and takes care of her as she wastes away.
This is important. Readers need to know that AIDS is a horrific disease. As Auma learns more about the disease ravaging her village, the reader also learns. Eucabeth Odhiambo has written a story that both entertains and educates her readers and for that, she should be applauded.

I highly recommend this book and rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars for Middle-grade readers. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

To hear the author read an excerpt from Auma’s Long Run click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

Eucabeth Odhiambo is a professor of teacher education at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

As a classroom teacher she has taught all grades between kindergarten and middle school.

Eucabeth grew up in Kenya in the 80’s and 90’s and saw her friends and relatives directly impacted by the disease. “There were so many deaths,  [Eucabeth], like Auma, had many unanswered questions – partly because information simply wasn’t available, and partly because [her] society did not encourage open conversation about the disease.”

After moving to the United States in the early 2000s, Eucabeth obtained her doctoral degree and while studying AIDS education in Kenyan schools,      she returned to Kenya to interview both children and teachers. She spoke to many AIDS orphans and “…was amazed at how strong these children were. Of course they struggled under the weight of depression and desperation – not to mention threat of starvation – but life had to go on.”

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

GOODREADS    

FACEBOOK    

AMAZON     

CHAPTERS      

BARNES AND NOBLE    

 

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:  

Committed to Education Since 1959

Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independently owned children’s publishers with more than 5,000 books in print. For more than 50 years, they’ve created nonfiction and fiction books for pre-school to young adult readers and for libraries, classrooms, and homes across the country.

They bring together authors, illustrators, photographers, and educators to ensure that each book is age-appropriate and meets curriculum standards. Lerner books are thoroughly researched and exceptionally written with amazing illustrations and captivating photography that hold readers’ attention. And because each year brings a new class of students, we use our proprietary Muscle Bound®hardcover library binding so our books last a lifetime in the classroom and library. We guarantee it.

Learn more about this Publisher by clicking on the links below:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

TWITTER    

FACEBOOK       

INSTAGRAM   

F.O.L.D. BOOK BASH was terrific – Check out the amazing and diverse authors, poets and publishers I met on Saturday.



F.O.L.D. stands for FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY 

Today at City Hall in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, FOLD hosted the 2017 Book Bash. 

WHAT IS A FOLD BOOK BASH?

  • A one-day book market designed to give authors and book selling organizations a space to promote their books. 
  • A chance for the community to learn about books written by local authors
  • The ability for consumers to learn about and to purchase multicultural books that reflect the diversity of the city and  country in which they live
  • A chance to meet the authors of those books and to have them autographed 
  • As well as the chance to listen to authors read from, and talk about their books. 

    FOLD is the first and only literary festival in Canada to focus on diverse authors and stories.

    The first Festival of Literary Diversity was held in May 2016 and included more than 25 unique sessions held over three days with over thirty of Canada’s most exciting authors.

    Mark your calendars for May 3rd to May 5th, 2018 for the next Festival. There will be quite a few authors and publishers with many different sessions to choose from.

    CHECK IT OUT – YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID. 

    AUTHORS I MET ON SATURDAY  & SOME AMAZING BOOKS YOU NEED TO OWN


    #1. 

    JAEL RICHARDSON 


    Jael Richardson
     is one busy woman. Besides being the Founder and Creative Art Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity, she is also an author in her own right.

    Her book THE STONE THROWER: A DAUGHTER’S LESSON, A FATHER’S LIFE is a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The memoir received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist and was adapted into a children’s book in 2016. 

    To learn more about Jael, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS          

    TWITTER    

    FACEBOOK          

    INSTAGRAM        

    CHAPTERS              

    This is me with Jael at the 2017 FOLD Book Bash

    #2. 

    DEJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of sixteen. She finds her inspiration for her poetry in family, friends and everyday experiences.  

    DĖJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of 16. You would never know that during those early writing days, her poetry was filled with incorrect grammar. Now, like Déja herself, her writing has matured and
     developed. Her work has blossomed to include a range of topics such as love, faith and everyday experiences.

    Déja finds her poetic inspiration in family, friends and her daily experiences.

    She is known for her silly moments, big laugh and even bigger heart. She has been said to have wisdom beyond her years and uncanny insight which adds depth to her writing. She is currently living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    DÉJA’S OFFICIAL BLOG     

    GOODREADS      

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM    


    AMAZON          

    DISCOVERING DIVERSITY PUBLISHING    

    3, 4 and 5.

    I met these three very gracious and amazing women at the FOLD Brampton Book Bash. 

    About the multitalented Catherine Graham – Not only has she written the fiction novel QUARRY but she is also only days away from the launch off her new poetry collection THE CELERY FOREST which is being published by Wolsak and Wynn

    Author and Poet – CATHERINE GRAHAM

    QUARRY is a fictional story set in Southern Ontario during the 1980s. Only child Caitlin Maharg lives with her parents beside a water-filled limestone quarry, but her idyllic upbringing collapses when she learns her mother is dying. After a series of family secrets emerge, Caitlin must confront the past and face her uncertain future. 

    THE CELERY FOREST      

    Like Wonderland or Oz, Neverland or Narnia, The Celery Forest is an extraordinary world filled with strange creatures and disorienting sights. But the doorway to the Celery Forest is not a rabbit hole or an old wardrobe. The doorway is an MRI. For poet and novelist Catherine Graham, this is the topsy-turvy world she found herself in after learning she had breast cancer.

         More than a survivor’s tale, these poems are a map through unknowable terrain, infused with awareness and forgetting, written by a poet with the visionary ability to distill our sense of wonder into something we can hold.
    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CATHERINE GRAHAM, VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS: 

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

    GOODREADS 

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK    

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON       


    CHAPTERS         

         
    #4.  

    Publisher & Author Alexander Leggett  

    CEO and Founder of Two Wolves Press, Alexandra Leggat is the author of the novel The Incomparables as well as several other published works. 

    Alexandra started Two Wolves  Press as a way to nurture talent without compromise  – to work closely with Two Wolves writers to follow and trust their intuition and publish “instinctual fiction”. 

    Two Wolves Press publishes Catherine Graham’s novel QUARRY and
    Aileen Santos’ SOMEONE LIKE YOU.

    To learn more about this Publisher and author, visit the following links:
     
    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   


    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK        

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON     

    CHAPTERS       

    MORE INFO COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG POST.