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:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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WALK IT OFF by RUTH MARSHALL

Title: WALK IT OFF

Subtitle: The true (and oddly hilarious) story of how I learned to stand, walk, pee, run, and even have sex again, after a nightmarish diagnosis turned my perfectly awesome life upside down

Author: RUTH MARSHALL

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTO-BIOGRAPHY

Length: 257 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER ARC

Received From: GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

Release Date: JANUARY 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7362-2

Price: $26.00 CDN / $21.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

First off, let me say that I ADORE the title of this book. I generally am averse to book covers with long subtitles, however this book would not have caught my eye without it.

I was lucky enough to win an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) from GOODREADS and I am very glad I did.

This memoir chronicles one woman’s journey to find out what was causing the bizarre symptoms she was experiencing, through diagnosis, surgery, rehab and beyond.

I suppose I should tell potential readers right away that this is NOT a self-help book. Instead, it is the unflinchingly honest memoir of a woman who goes from leading something closely akin to a charmed life, to discovering that no life is perfect.

I have never met Ruth Marshall, but after reading her story, I feel confident in stating that she is an amazing woman. This is not due to the fact that she is famous (or as famous as any Canadian television actress can be), nor is it because of her health issues. My opinion of Ruth as an amazing woman is based on her honesty.

It could not have been easy to chronicle her medical condition and her efforts at recovery, and yet she has done so while managing to be surprisingly honest. She does not shy away from the “icky” stuff. She talks about everything from poop to sex to shoes.

It’s human nature to want to ‘put your best foot forward’ (yes, pun intended) and to present yourself to the world as close to perfect as possible. However, if this memoir had been written that way, it would not have been authentic, nor would it have been such a compelling read.

Ruth has been able to tell her story in such a way that instead of pitying her, you find yourself following her journey with rabid interest.

You will want to cry at times, yet at others, you will be laughing along with her – and a few times you just might find yourself laughing at her antics.

It may not have been her intention, but this memoir also has lessons to teach us all. Firstly, even though Ruth looked perfectly healthy and happy, she was struggling with a wide variety of symptoms. Not yet diagnosed, and working at a voice acting gig, Ruth says: “I was able to stand for the entire voice session, ignoring the temptation to rest on the stool behind me. Neither the producer nor my voice partner seemed to notice the effort it took for me to remain perfectly upright, making me wonder for the thousandth time: If no one else was noticing, was anything wrong with me.”

This is something that many people struggle with. But, as Ruth proved, it is important to listen to your body and to be your own healthcare advocate. Do NOT ignore your symptoms.

By all accounts, Ruth Marshall is a terrific actress, but I believe she was always meant to be an author.

Judging by the readability of WALK IT OFF, I am sure others will agree. This memoir is destined to become a Bestseller and I would bet money that Ruth Marshall’s name will be on literary lips everywhere in 2018.

I rate WALK IT OFF: THE TRUE (AND ODDLY HILARIOUS) STORY OF HOW I LEARNED TO STAND, WALK, PEE, RUN, AND EVEN HAVE SEX AGAIN, AFTER A NIGHTMARISH DIAGNOSIS TURNED MY PERFECTLY AWESOME LIFE UPSIDE DOWN as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Excerpt from Chapter One:

“I wanted to be an actress from the time I was six years old and have been one since I was twenty-five. My career has been notable for three reasons: I got naked in my first film role; I was in a television series with Billy Ray Cyrus; and for eight seasons I played a Mom on the Canadian teen drama DEGRASSI. The biggest chunk of my career, however, has been made up of commercial voice work. My voice has sold everything from Ikea kitchens to condoms.”

Ruth Marshall was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is known for her work on Casino Jack (2010), Doc (2001) and Dolores Claiborne (1995).

She graduated with a degree in English from McGill University in Montreal and then returned to her hometown of Toronto to pursue a career in acting.

Ruth Marshall made her feature film debut in the lead role of Candy in Love and Human Remains.

Marshall is also a stage actor and was critically acclaimed for her one-woman performance in 4 Letters, 5 Years, which she wrote, produced and starred in.

In 1994, Marshall took on the role of Celeste in Transit of Venus at the Globe Theater in Canada. In addition to her career as an actor, Marshall is also a very accomplished voice actor as well.

Features & TV Movies:
Love & Human Remains (1993)
TekWar: TekJustice (TV-1994)
Dolores Claiborne (1995)
Waiting for Michelangelo (1996)
Too Close to Home (TV-1997)
Half a Dozen Babies (TV-1999)
Dogmatic (1999)
Apparent Woes (2006)
Baby Blues (2007)
Daniel`s Daughter (TV-2008)
Degrassi Spring Break Movie (TV-2008)
Casino Jack (2010)

TV Series – Cast:

Wild C.A.T.S. (voice, 1994)
Doc (2001-2004)
The Path to 9/11 (mini-series, 2006)
Degrassi: The Next Generation (2007-)
Flashpoint (2008-2009)
TV Series – Guest appearances:
F/X: The Series (1997)
Power Play (1998)
This is Wonderland (2004)
Zoe Busiek: Wild Card (2005)
Puppets Who Kill (2006)
Love You to Death (2007)
Friends and Heroes (voice, 2007)
The Dating Guy (2009)
She’s the Mayor (2011)
The Listener (2011)
The Firm (2012)
Rookie Blue (2012)

To learn more about Ruth Marshall and her new career as an author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

NORTHERN STARS – CANADA’S CELEBRITY DATABASE

INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE

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

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PINTEREST

YOUTUBE

THE BEDTIMEASNAURUS by Mike Bayliss is one of the best children’s books I have read in a LONG time. 5 Stars and a BLOG TOUR

Title: THE BEDTIMEASNAURUS

Author: MIKE BAYLISS

Illustrator: MEGAN EGAN

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION

Length: 26 LARGE PAGES

ISBN: 978-1-9998572-0-2

Produced By: IMAGINATE CREATIVE LTD

Printed By: LEMON PRESS

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Buy this amazing children’s book online at AMAZON US

DESCRIPTION:

A charming collection of gorgeously illustrated poems to encourage fun and bedtime bonding between parents and their children.

The bright pink flamingoasaurus spends its day standing on one leg looking for something to eat.

The round and delicious tomotoasaurus sings a tune while soaking up the sun.

These are just two of the imaginative and amusing dinosaurs dreamed up in The Bedtimeasnaurus, the sometimes naughty and always hilarious poetry collection for children by Mike Bayliss.

Developing the idea for over thirty years while working on other projects , Bayliss was encouraged to publish his collection after being diagnosed with stage IV non – Hodgkin lymphoma in April 2017, using his work as a positive outlet for his energy as he worked to battle the illness.

Complimented by charming illustrations, opportunities for kids to draw their own dinosaur creations and simple quizzes on each of the characters, The Bedtimeasnaurus not only provides an entertaining read for young children before they go to sleep but also offers a valuable chance for parents to connect and engage.

Purchase from Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Bayliss was born in Walsaill West Midland, UK, Bayliss is an entrepreneur that owns companies in several industries including building supply and property development. He also owns Bespoke Brewery, which opened in 2012 and has since won a number of awards for its craft beer. He lives with his wife and three children in Forest Dean, UK. This is his first book.

Check it out on Facebook

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

(Copied from her website)

DESIGNER, ILLUSTRATOR AND PAINTBRUSH-WIELDING VANDAL.

Hi there! My name is Megan Egan, and I’m a Brummie who just loves to create!

Creative Soul and Daydreamer, forged at Imaginate Creative in Leamington Spa, evolving into an Art Director at School of Communication Arts 2.0 in London.

I like drawing, pens, cats, big cities, drum & bass, spray paint, trainers, wine, weird clothes, clouds, graffiti, stickers, books, touchy-feely things, seals, cider, nice packaging, funky lights, bright orange, bare brick walls, scarves, abandoned buildings, olives, colouring in, bones, big windows, untouched snow, scribbling, pizza, fresh bedsheets, the smell of petrol, coffee… and I just bloody LOVE neon!

To learn more about this illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK.

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

LINKEDIN

This blog tour was organized by RACHEL’S RANDOM RESOURCES

NEW RELEASE – THE UNREMEMBERED GIRL by Eliza Maxwell earns every one of the 5 Stars and then some. THIS IS A MUST READ. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Title: THE UNREMEMBERED GIRL     

Author: ELIZA MAXWELL   

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 332 PAGES  

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 1, 2017

ISBN: 9781542045858  

Price: $14.95 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

DESCRIPTION:

In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It’s all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather—a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric—from ruin. But they have no idea they’ve become the obsession of the girl in the woods.

Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family—something she’s known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can’t resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry’s mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.

Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny—and that of Henry’s family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who’s claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.

MY REVIEW:

“In this place, it was easy to forget that the world had turned the corner into the twenty-first century. Time was different here, as if a spell had been cast that slowed the revolution of the earth. Those who lived and died nearby were touched by it, carrying the traces on their fingertips, in their lungs, woven through their hair. It was inescapable.”

It is here, in the deep forests of East Texas that Henry lives with his parents. They live in the cabin where he grew up. The  difference is that he and his parents have switched roles and Henry is now the breadwinner. His bootlegging business won’t make them rich, but they have enough to scrape by.

When a ragged, dirty young woman emerges from the woods, Henry isn’t sure what to think, but his mother immediately senses something about the girl and takes her in.

That one simple act of kindness has a profound effect on Henry’s entire family, and after that day, he knows, their lives will never be the same.

Rife with tragedy, both past and present, and filled with more secrets than the entire US Government, this book will draw and hold your attention for its entirety.

Author Eliza Maxwell’s descriptions are so wonderfully vivid that I felt as though I was immersed in each and every scene. I was entranced, and despite the fact that it was 3am, I couldn’t put the book down even though I knew I would suffer from lack of sleep the next morning.

Don’t believe me? Read the following:

“The tall, stately pines that grew in drier soils soon gave way to the curving, dripping beauty of the cypress that thrived in the swamp. The ground sloped downward, giving a body the subtle sense of being pulled into the bottomlands that waited patiently just around the corners, where the dark heart of the marsh beat with a symphony of life. Stinging, singing, ancient, and deadly life, where the alligators were king, the snakes and snapping turtles were barons, and the woodpeckers were court jesters jangling their bells from the tops of the trees.”

Eliza Maxwell clearly has a gift for descriptive setting and, as if this were not enough, she also has the talent of perfect pacing. Filled with moments of heart-breaking tenderness, and others of extreme terror, this book is impossible to put down.

With realistic characters and so many surprising twists and turns that readers will be thinking about this book long after turning the final page.

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

I would like to thank NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book. 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

ELIZA MAXWELL lives in Texas with a patient man, two impatient children and a bird named Sarah.

There’s also a bird dog. She lives a tortured existence.

A writer, painter, and a British television addict, Eliza loves nothing more than the quiet parts of the world, a good cup of coffee, and sitting on the front porch.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    
GOODREADS     

SMASHWORDS           

PINTEREST         

TWITTER           

FACEBOOK         

INSTAGRAM         

AMAZON    

CHAPTERS     

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:  

Lake Union Publishing offers absorbing works of contemporary and historical fiction that make perfect book club picks. From lush sagas to laugh-out-loud fare, Lake Union Publishing has a story for every taste, season, and mood, from bestselling and debut authors alike, including Allison Winn Scotch, Camille Pagán, Rhys Bowen, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Helen Bryan, Catherine McKenzie, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, Emily Bleeker, Elizabeth LaBan, and Steena Holmes.

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

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE    

FACEBOOK       

TWITTER     

INSTAGRAM          

INSTAGRAM SECOND PAGE      

 

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK THAT I JUST HAD TO COPY:

…he had enough on his own plate to keep from eyeing what was on his neighbors’.” 
“[Henry] didn’t drink because he’d seen every kind of reason for diving into a bottle, seen them up close and personal. But he’d never seen a solitary soul come out of the back end of a bottle any better off thanthey had gone in.”

Maybe God did live here … But if that were true, there was no denying God had a cruel side.”

“It was late. The part of the deep night when it’s impractical to do anything useful, but sleep won’t come, so the mind swirls around in the dark, skirting past old memories and bumping against unvoiced desires.” 

 “A stray thought occurred to him that if it weren’t for women, in all their cloaks of unfathomed mysteries, men would lead very boring lives.” 

“I’ve found that most people are generally a danger only to themselves.”  

Some places hold on to death the way used fireworks hopd on to the stench of gunpowder and flames.”

“Yeah, you got that look on you too. Like trouble done got your number down by heart.”

“But I gotta tell you, friend. You’ll never appreciate the daylight till you’ve walked on the dark side of the night, without even the stars to show you the way.”   

“Nothing on God’s green earth can make a man feel as alive as the love of a bad woman.”

There’s no shaking loose of that. Doesn’t matter where you go, once she’s in you, that’s where she’s gonna stay. It’s like a virus. Nothing to do about it but hope you’re still kicking once it runs its course.”

“Grief had melted away most of the humanity that Livingston had possessed, leaving little behind. A mechanical man with a suit of skin hanging off him, powered by a smoking, burning passion.”

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      

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FACEBOOK       

INSTAGRAM   

RELEASE DAY BLOG BOOK BLITZ – CHOSEN by R.S. BROADHEAD – Horror Fiction at its Finest PLUS GIVEAWAY

Chosen

Author: R.S. Broadhead

Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, Thriller, Horror

Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Read for FREE in KindleUnlimited: Amazon

Black eyes. No emotion. No sympathy. Only emptiness.

Piper McAdams’s life was normal. Career? Check. Boyfriend? Check. Friends? Check. One unsettling run in with a homeless man turns everything from normal to terrifying. She begins seeing…things.

Things she can’t seem to explain or make any sense. 

As if things aren’t already getting out of hand, Piper receives news that the only family member she has is dead. She thinks maybe a trip across the country to her hometown will get her away from all the strange events happening.

After a late night accident, Piper isn’t in her hometown burying her loved one. She’s in a town called Hell. All she wants to do is leave, but the people seem to be holding her there for some reason.

A reason she feels threatens her life. Around every corner things become darker and scarier.

Can she escape what is coming for her?

About R.S. Broadhead


I was born and raised in the small town of Jackson, AL, which was chosen as the back drop for my story. Growing up with very little recreational activities I had to do something to help the time pass and make things in my life sound more exciting than what they actually were. That’s when it all started….a scrapbook that held a countless number of photos of my friends and me. Of course these were normal photos, but I would take these photos and create an array of different stories that lead into one blossoming fictional world.

I have been married for nine years to a wonderful and very supporting man and have been blessed with two spunky, prissy girls. However, our family wouldn’t be complete without our whizzy, gassy Pug. I graduated from Troy University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

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NEW RELEASE – HUNTING THE FIVE POINT KILLER by C.M. WENDELBOE is a thriller that will keep you guessing. 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

Title: HUNTING THE FIVE POINT KILLER           

Series: A BITTER WIND MYSTERY BOOK ONE       

Author: C. M. WENDELBOE          

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, MYSTERY 

Length: 456 PAGES

Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK BOOKS      

Received From: NETGALLEY    

Release Date: OCTOBER 8, 2017   

ISBN: 978-0-7387-5320-1    

Price: $15.99 USD (PAPERBACK) 

Rating:   5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    


DESCRIPTION:    

Former Denver homicide detective Arn Anderson never thought he’d be broke enough to take on a cold murder case. Or desperate enough to do it with a TV reporter. Or pathetic enough to go back to his rundown childhood home, after he swore he’d left Cheyenne for good.

But here he is, hunting a serial killer who also appears to have come out of retirement.

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the murders, the Five Point Killer is back for blood—and Arn could be next.


MY REVIEW:

Do you enjoy thrilling mysteries with head-shaking twists that you won’t see coming? If you do, HUNTING THE FIVE POINT KILLER is the book for you.

This is the first book in a new series following a retired former Denver Policeman named Arn Anderson.

Arn left Cheyenne many years ago and had planned never to return. That was before he lost both his beloved wife and his mother. After their deaths he became the sole owner of the now dilapidated, but once regal home built by his great-grandfather.

After leaving the house boarded up for almost a decade, Arn has decided to renovate and to bring it back to its former glory. However, renovations are more expensive and much more difficult  than Arn had anticipated. So, when an old friend, a reporter for the local news channel, offers Arn a job helping her to investigate a cold case, Arn reluctantly agrees.

Thinking that he may rattle a few feathers, but not caring in the slightest, Arn puts his investigative talents to work.

What happens next will put lives in danger as the serial killer becomes active once again.

Author C.M. Wendelboe has mastered the art of character believability. Arn Anderson may be a brilliant detective, but he is also human. He has flaws, and is due to these flaws that he comes across as so “real.” As readers learn more about Arn’s past, the reasons behind some of his actions and behaviors become clear, exactly as it is in everyday life.

The Five Point Killer is unlike any other serial killer I have read about in the past few years and everytime I thought I had pinned down his (or her) identity, something else would happen to change my guess. Even the ending was unexpected and as far as I am concerned, this is the earmark of a truly great mystery. I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

C.M. WENDELBOE entered the law enforcement profession when he was discharged from the Marines as the Vietnam war was winding down. In the 1970s, his career included assisting federal and tribal law enforcement agencies embroiled in conflicts with American Indian Movement activists in South Dakota.

He moved to Gillette, Wyoming, and found his niche, where he remained a sheriff’s deputy for more than 25 years. In addition, he was a longtime firearms instructor at the local college and within the community.

During his 38-year career in law enforcement he served successful stints as police chief, policy adviser, and other supervisory roles for several agencies. Yet he always has felt most proud of “working the street.”

He was a patrol supervisor when he retired to pursue his true vocation as a fiction writer.

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

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: 

Celebrating ten years of the very best in mystery fiction, Midnight Ink publishes everything from quirky cozies to chilling thrillers.

From the outset, Midnight Ink has been dedicated to sleuthing out and fostering new talent, from their longest standing series by Jess Lourey, Sue Ann Jaffarian and Karen MacInerney to award-winning mysteries by G.M. Malliet and Catriona McPherson.

Prepare to burn the midnight oil with a Midnight Ink mystery.

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

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4 Stars for the extraordinary tale of a man who spent 27 years alone in the woods – A new book by MICHAEL FINKEL called THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS 🌟🌟🌟🌟  

Title: THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS      

Subtitle: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE LAST TRUE HERMIT

Author: MICHAEL FINKEL      
Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY

Length: 203 PAGES  

Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Release Date: MARCH 7, 2017   

ISBN: 978-1-101-87568-1  

Price: $25.95 USD / $32.95 CDN

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Photograph of Knight’s camp in the Maine woods. Photo Credit: Maine State Police

DESCRIPTION:  “In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries.”

Photograph of Knight’s camp in the Maine woods. Photo Credit: Maine State Police

“Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.”    

MY REVIEW:  

This book is a New York Times Bestseller, and after reading it, I can understand why. The subject matter will draw you in and you will find yourself developing an opinion on the “hermit.” 

Mugshot of Christopher Knight Photo Credit: Maine State Police

I find it fascinating that anyone could just one day decide to walk into the forest with minimal supplies and not come out again for decades.

I am sure that most of us have had the thought that it would be great to get away from it all, but even so, our idea of that “retreat from the world” almost always has a limited time frame. Humans are just not wired to be completely solitary … at least, most of us aren’t. As proof of this, think about jail. When an inmate severely misbehaves, the punishment is solitary confinement, and even the toughest, meanest, most hardened criminals attempt to avoid it. In fact, in 2015, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria adopted revised rules banning solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment. The changes are referred to as the “Mandela Rules.”     

Christopher Knight is “the hermit” who this book is about. He is an anomaly to the belief that people need contact with others to survive. 

Christopher stole food and other essential items to help him survive, and created a hidden camp that wasn’t far from civilization and yet, somehow he was able to stay hidden and alone for over twenty years. Author Michael Finkel has done a terrific job of trying to understand the nonunderstandable and readers will be unable to put this book down. 

Photograph of Knight at his camp in the Maine woods. Photo Credit: Maine State Police

This book is very much worth reading, and even though it includes a sketch of Christopher Knight’s camp as well as a sketch of the geographic area of Maine where his camp was located, I was extremely disappointed that the actual photographs taken by police were not included in this book. I would also have liked to have a photograph of Christopher Knight included as well. It is due to the lack of photographs that I am rating THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS as only 4 out of 5 Stars. 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

*** Even though the pictures are not in the physical edition of this book, there are multiple photographs available on Michael Finkel’s website; perhaps they will make it into future editions of this book.***   

Because I was curious as to what Christopher Knight looked like, I searched on YouTube and found this video:    

 

     

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

MICHAEL FINKEL is the author of “The Stranger in the Woods” and “True Story,” which was adapted into a 2015 major motion picture, starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.

He has reported from more than 50 countries and written for National Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine.

His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting, The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Non-Required Reading.  

Michael lives with his wife and three children in western Montana and southern France.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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Watch the following video for an author interview:

THE VISITORS by Catherine Burns is one of the creepiest books I have ever read. 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

Title: THE VISITORS

Author: CATHERINE BURNS

Genre: FICTION, THRILLERS, HORROR 

Publisher: LEGEND PRESS    

Type of Book: EBOOK     

Received From: NETGALLEY   

Release Date: OCTOBER 3, 2017

ISBN: 9781785079160     

Price: $14.99 AUD     

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟   

MY REVIEW:

THE VISITORS by author Catherine Burns is creepy with a capital “C.”

This tale will have readers questioning the lives of their neighbors and possibly their own family members.

Freaky, eerie, and terrifying are all appropriate adjectives to describe this realistic psychological thriller. THE VISITORS is equal parts thriller and horror. In fact, I believe this book should (and probably will) be turned into a movie. If that happens, I will be at the front of the line.

Catherine Burns has created two of the most horrifyingly realistic characters I have ever encountered.

Marion Zetland is the kind of middle-age woman that is times past would have been labelled a spinster or even a hermit. However, she fails to fit those molds exactly since she doesn’t live alone. Her older brother lives in the house as well. Marion’s brother John is continuously verbally abusive to her and she seeks solace in a bed full of her teddy bear “friends.”

Their family had money once and the siblimgs grew up in the same Georgian townhouse that they still occupy. Once a grand home, the siblings have allowed the house to fall into disrepair. In fact, even Marion, who seems to have stopped growing both physically and emotionally around the age of twelve, realizes that if she ever had a visitor, they would think that she and John were hoarders.  

Though Marion is odd, John is not only strange, he is also creepy and often sadistic toward anyone who crosses him. The worst thing about John is his secret in the cellar. Marion knows very little about what goes on down there. She just knows that is where he spends most of his time and she tries to put it out of her mind.

When John suffers a sudden heart attack, Marion realizes that she will have to go to basement. It is there that she has to face John’s secret, and she will be forced to decide what to do about it.  

As readers delve deeper into the pysches  of both Marion and John, what they find will astonish, disgust and horrify them.   

As a reader this is a book that really is ‘impossible to put down.’ I suggest that once you are ready to read this book, that you set aside an entire weekend. Tell the kids to order pizza ’cause Mom is too busy reading. 

I rate THE VISITOR as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Captivating and astonishingly readable, THE VISITORS is one of the creepiest books I have ever read. There are no police chases or secret service agents trying to save the world in this book. It doesn’t need any of that. Instead, it focuses on the characters and does this so well that it deserves it’s 5 Star rating.


**Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. My review was not required and is completely voluntary.

                                      One of the book’s alternate covers    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


CATHERINE BURNS was born in Manchester.

She is a graduate of Trinity College, University of Cambridge and worked as a bond trader in London before studying at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography and teaching film theory at the University of Salford.


The Visitors is her debut novel.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: 



Legend Press was set up in 2005 and is focused primarily on publishing mainstream literary and commercial fiction. We are based in London, UK.

Legend Press is now the most successful independent in 30 years to start up with no capital and runs a range of successful across-industry initiatives and joint-ventures. Legend Press is part of the Legend Times Group.

To learn more about this amazing independent publisher, visit the following links:

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