Friday, March 27, 2020

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway REVIEW

Far From The Tree
Robin Benway


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•

Synopsis:

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Review:

When Grace finds herself pregnant in high school she has to make the most difficult decision of her life. She chooses to place her baby up for adoption which makes her think of her own birth mother and why Grace herself was placed for adoption. Grace's parents are understanding and have already agreed to help Grace with anything she needs to find her birth family. In fact, they already know Grace has two siblings that were also placed for adoption and they have the information to contact them. Finally the three of them meet and get to know each other, the good and the bad. Now there's only one thing left to do. Find their birth mother.

This is the most beautiful book I've ever read. My eyes filled with tears during at least half the chapters. Far From The Tree is a new favorite and one I won't soon forget.

The writing in this book is absolutely incredible. The raw emotion in this book is so well done. You can feel the emotions of the characters from their ups to their downs. I smiled for them, I cried for them and by the time it was all over I was truly connected to each if the characters. In my real life I have a lot in common with Grace, and I feel the emotions written behind her character were represented so well. I was just blown away by how well written this entire novel was.

I honestly can't say enough good about this novel. It's incredible, it's fantastic, and I absolutely loved it. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hard hitting YA.

Purchase Links:

CAN - https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0062330624
US - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062330624
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0062330624

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Death In The Sound by Rhen Garland REVIEW

Death In The Sound
by Rhen Garland


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘
Synopsis:

The year is 1900, responding to a desperate plea from an old friend, Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne, accompanied by Veronique the Labrador, travel from England to New Zealand to unravel a new and complex mystery.

For his daughter’s twenty first birthday, Millionaire philanthropist Octavius Damant orchestrates a weekend party aboard the Taniwha, a luxurious paddle steamer moored in the primordial and isolated landscape of Milford Sound.

Several high society guests are invited to their remote home for the celebrations; Sir Wesley Eade, society lawyer and his beautiful but icy mistress Lady Leonora Carlton-Cayce, Dona Carla Riva, a flamboyant Brazilian dancer, and Carolyn Nolloth, O.D’s estranged sister-in-law who has a great love of other people’s money.

But O.D is the subject of persecution; a series of anonymous letters accuse him of past crimes and threaten the life of his daughter unless he gives in to their creator’s poisonous demands.

Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne discover the odds stacked against them when an unforeseen murder is committed, and they find themselves trapped aboard the Taniwha with a killer who will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

As the body count rises, they must unravel the clues and piece together a devilish jigsaw that includes blackmail, extortion, desire, and the reappearance of the fabulous Larkspur Diamond, a gemstone with a past as murky and blood soaked as that of the relentless killer on board.

Set in the late Victorian era, with a touch of the odd, and a twist of the macabre, “Death in the Sound” continues the crime solving, paranormal escapades of Elliott Caine, Giselle Du’Lac, and Abernathy Thorne.

Book One, “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.

Purchase Links:

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B082Q39R3H
US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082Q39R3H
CA - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B082Q39R3H

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

In Death in the Sound we find ourselves at another weekend dinner party turned murder mystery. This time, we follow Elliott, Giselle, and Thorne as they try to help an old friend by savings his daughter's life. With lots of twists, turns and murder this is sure to be a party you won't soon forget.

I absolutely adore this series. This book had me transported back to 1900 and I enjoyed every second. Once again Garland is able to transport you back to a time long ago through her fabulous writing. Reading this book is like being a fly on a wall and watching everything unfold before you. I love the writing style in the Versipellis Mysteries series. The chapters flow smoothly making for an enjoyable read. The characters are interesting and entertaining. I just can't get enough of this.

While I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil the first book for those who haven't read it, I will say these books are fascinating. I also recommend reading them in order. While you can probably read one without the other, I find the first book helped to create a deeper connection with the characters.

I'm excited to see if there will be a third book and if so, will we be attending another weekend dinner party? Either way, if there's a third book I'll be reading it. This book has a lot to offer the mystery lover and I strongly recommend it.

Author Bio

Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large collection of passive-aggressive Tomtes.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, Simon R Green, and Terry Pratchett.

"I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy."

"Death in the Sound" is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the second book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series, book one “A Portrait of Death” was released in 2018.

Social Media Links:

Friday, March 20, 2020

Surviving Me by Jo Johnson GUEST POST

Surviving Me
Jo Johnson


Synopsis:

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom's lost his job and now he's been labelled 'spermless'. He doesn't exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family's future out of the water.

If they can't be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Purchase Links:

CA - https://www.amazon.ca/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

US - https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/48660416-surviving-me


Guest Post:

Grief isn’t only about death.

‘Surviving Me’ is about two men whose minds become unfit for purpose. On the front of the novel, this elevator pitch is written.

“Tom has decided he doesn’t want to live. Adam wishes he has that choice.”

There are many themes in the book but one key thread is unresolved grief, the feelings people have when they experience loss which is unacknowledged by others.

Loss is not only about death. Feelings of grief can arise in response to many different types of loss. Examples of loss that are unrelated to death include the following:-

- Loss of identity when a job is lost, when a divorce occurs or when children leave home.

- Loss of your hopes and dreams or expectations, for example if you are unable to have children or a child or loved one is diagnosed with ill health and you have to care for them.

- Loss of Autonomy when you become unable to care for yourself due to ill health or disability.

The experience of loss makes people vulnerable to feelings of depression and anxiety. Multiple losses in a short time can sometimes result in a catastrophic reaction.

Some believe grief occurs in stages. Probably the most famous formulation of the stages of grief was developed by Elizabeth KΓΌbler-Ross. She proposed the key stages of grief are shock and denial, anger, bargaining to get rid of the experience and feelings, sadness and depression, and finally acceptance.
The problem with the idea of stages is that human beings are not straightforward, everyone is different with a different personality, past and life. These factors are all important in terms of how you experience loss.

Feelings of grief in response to loss last for many years.

As a society we recognise feelings of grief after the death of a loved one but often we are not good at recognising these other forms of loss. This means that many may be feeling unacknowledged grief. This can make the feelings more intense and more likely to remain unresolved.

In my novel, Tom, the main character doesn’t have a happy childhood. It’s not terrible, the kitchen is clean but his mother is withdrawn and his father is a bully. As a little boy he feels inadequate and wimpy. It’s hard for him to ignore the inner voice in his head that reminds him of the cruel things his father said to him as a child.

In his twenties, life is good so his inner voice is quietened. He pushes himself hard to prove he is good enough but remains vulnerable to believing whatever others say about him.

When he experiences several major losses, his job, his fertility and his brother in law, old feelings of anxiety and low mood resurface. Over time, he listens more to this inner voice and less and less to the people around him. He loses contact with the things he cares about and life becomes meaningless.

Surviving Me” tackles hard issues such as depression, male suicide and degenerative disease. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Follow this link to read 120 reviews or to purchase the book on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

Jo Johnson is a clinical psychologist specializing in neurological disorders and mind health.


Author Bio


I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Social Media Link:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/shrinkingthesmirch/

Giveaway:

Giveaway to Win two signed copies of Surviving Me & five Surviving Me fridge magnets (Open INT)

1st Prize - 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up - each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Sunday, March 15, 2020

Empire's Exile by Marian L Thorpe REVIEW

Empire's Exile
by Marian L. Thorpe


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘

Synopsis:

“We cannot shape the circumstances to fit our lives, only our lives to fit the circumstances. What defines us, as men and women, is how we respond to those circumstances.”

Exiled from the Empire as a traitor, Casyn’s words echo in Lena’s mind. Determined to find Casil, the legendary city of beauty and learning, she travels into long-unknown lands. Her experiences in the first winter leave her scarred and afraid, but resolving to heal, and supported by an unexpected love, she continues her search. A chance meeting with envoys from the Empire and Linrathe, desperately seeking help from Casil, forces her to a difficult decision. Struggling to keep faith with her choices, facing the almost-certain destruction of her land and her people, Lena’s journey takes her to a deeper understanding of loyalty, sacrifice, and the dimensions of love.

Is your book part of a series / standalone? – Book III of the Empire’s Legacy series.

If the book is part of a series, can it also be read as a standalone? And if not, can you make previous books available for reviewers if they wish to catch up? Yes, although this is harder to do than the first two. I will make Book I and II available if needed.

Purchase Link:

https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/297388e0-98fd-11e9-a934-9374bd30e504

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

In Empire's Exile we begin where Empire's Hostage ended. Lena and Cillian have been exiled for breaking the truce between the Empire and Linrathe. Together the two start their journey to find Casil, a legendary place where they hope to find refuge. The journey is far from easy with many obstacles blocking their way to a peaceful ever after.

As with her last two books Marian wasted no time hooking me into her wonderful creation. With this book picking up where the previous book left off, it was as if I never left. The writing is absolutely incredible. Not only are the scenes described perfectly, but the terms used throughout the trilogy bring us back in time to make the story feel more authentic. There's really not enough I can say. Honestly, it's just a wonderful series and the writing is incredible.

I am in love with these characters. Once again, we see their growth as they face even more challenges. We continue to watch Lena grow as this journey brings it's own set of obstacles that she must face. Lena has never stopped developing sense the very beginning; she just keeps changing into an even more solid main character. Cillian has also grown as his experiences take their toll on him as well. Along with the characters we also get to watch relationships grow and evolve. With a lovable cast of characters and incredible writing, this is one series you really don't want to miss. While I am sad that Lena's story is over, I cannot deny how wonderfully her story has been wrapped up.

Overall, this is such a great series. It is by far one of my absolute favorites and I absolutely recommend it for those who enjoy historical fiction and strong female characters.

Author Bio

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

Social Media Links:

https://twitter.com/marianlthorpe
https://www.facebook.com/marianlthorpe/
https://marianlthorpe.com/

Giveaway:

Giveaway to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)


*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Degenerates by J. Albert Mann REVIEW

The Degenerates
by J. Albert Mann


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Girl, Interrupted, this fiery historical novel follows four young women in the early 20th century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, the marginalized—and institutionalized them for life.

The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51890619

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Reader
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Release Date: March 17th 2020

Purchase Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46404362-the-degenerates
Amazon: https://amzn.to/38Qx6dD
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-degenerates-j-albert-mann/1132189225#/
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-degenerates/id1470017404
Bookdepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Degenerates-J-Albert-Mann/9781534419353
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-degenerates-4
Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/J_Albert_Mann_The_Degenerates

Review:

The Degenerates follows the lives of five young girls who are institutionalized because they are believed to be morons and imbeciles. Once girls enter this institution they never leave. There, they are treated poorly and punished harshly. Their situations are heartbreaking. This will not be an easy read.

Wow.. in this well done work of fiction Mann introduces us to five characters who are considered incapable of living a normal life. We follow a very brief period of their lives and experience a small portion of what they've gone through. The situations in this book are so well detailed. It's easy to imagine the poor girls in this book struggling through their daily lives, trying to find joy in the smallest ways. The writing is excellent and draws a force of strong emotions. This book will break your heart and make you enraged. If you're looking for a book about girls who beat the system and get a better life, than you should consider picking up something else. If you want something raw and superbly written, than this is the book you're looking for.

While this was an emotionally charged, fast read it isn't going to be for everybody. Once again, if you're looking for a happy wraped-up ending this won't give you that. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written, engaging stories about difficult topics and situations.

Author Bio


J. Albert Mann is the author of six novels for children, with S&S Atheneum Books for Young Readers set to publish her next work of historical fiction about the Eugenics Movement and the rise of institutionalism in the United States. She is also the author of short stories and poems for children featured in Highlights for Children, where she won the Highlights Fiction Award, as well as the Highlights Editors’ Choice Award. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is the Director of the WNDB Internship Grant Committee.

Jennifer is represented by Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.

Social Media Links:


Giveaway:

Win (1) copy of THE DEGENRATES by J. Albert Mann (US Only)

March 11th - 25th 2020

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Click for Tour Schedule

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Chapel by Jess B. Moore GUEST POST

The Chapel
by Jess B. Moore


Synopsis:

Mallory Johansen has nearly given up on thinking she’ll get her act together – the one where she plays the part of an adult – by the time she hits thirty. As it is she’s desperate and depressed. Her only friend is leaving town, she’s paired to work with a man who can’t stand her, and she finds herself homeless. Definitely hasn’t mastered being a grown-up yet.

Otis Bell wants nothing more than to play his guitar, book acoustic bands to perform at his upcoming music venue, and be in charge of his own life. Instead, he’s working full time in his family’s auto shop. He only owns half the supposed music venue, which stands as an abandoned church and needs more than a little work. When his best friend moves away, he’s paired with an aloof girl he’s never liked as partner, and stretches himself thin working too many hours.

The Chapel is the little music venue that could. Full of potential. Full of ugly carpet, peeling paint, and exhausting work. Mallie and Otis navigate their way through a fledgling partnership, trying their darnedest to get the place up and running, while trying pretty hard not to fall in love in the process.

Purchase Links:

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chapel-Fox-River-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B082PBSNYM/
US - https://www.amazon.com/Chapel-Fox-River-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B082PBSNYM/

Guest Post:

I had the opportunity to visit The Ripped Bodice while traveling near Los Angeles, and it was a dream come true! Of course I follow the store online, and love what they’re doing, but living on the east coast, I didn’t have much chance to visit in person. Then I was invited to be a signing author at the Love N Queen Mary event in Long Beach, CA, and the perfect timing arrived for me to visit.

The shop is adorable and fun. But that isn’t the point! For me, it was walking into a safe space. A place where I wouldn’t be questioned about why I read romance. A place where it’s absolutely wonderful to be a feminist, to embrace your inner nerd with fandoms, and to stand up and be proud of the romance community!

These were my people!!

Not to mention, they have a stellar selection of romance books, by both traditionally and independently published authors. I could have easily spent all day browsing the shelves and picking up copies of books I can normally only find online.

I have two good book store options near where I live: Barnes & Noble, and Bookmarks. I am a huge fan of both! But, neither has an amazing romance selection! Barnes & Noble has a decent aisle, but it’s all standard works, and not anything I’m shopping for these days. I’d rather read Susannah Nix than Norah Roberts. I asked at Bookmarks where to find their romance section, and they keep their romance sorted within their fiction. Luckily they carry a fair share of excellent books, but they’re difficult to find unless you have time to pilfer through the shelves.

Walking into The Ripped Bodice, I sighed in relief, and couldn’t stop smiling! No trouble finding books in there! The staff was friendly, the books well organized, and the selection fantastic. Even the bathroom was a delight! I took my time in there, reading the sticky notes covering the walls, and absorbing the good vibes of messages left.

As I would be flying back across the country, I couldn’t buy many books, but I knew I wanted to pick up something while in the store. After circling the store twice, I settle on a signed Penny Reid, a “blind date with a book,” and a shop t-shirt. My friend bought a signed Sally Thorne book, at my suggestion, and I’m only a little jealous she got the last copy!

If you ever find yourself near LA, plan a trip to visit the best little romance bookshop! Okay, okay, it’s the only all-romance bookshop in the country. But perhaps with its success we’ll see a shift. If not with more genre specific stores, then with more representation of romance in our existing book stores. They can learn from The Ripped Bodice, a store funded by the people (through Kickstarter), and doing a wonderful business because of (not in spite of) catering to predominantly women.

Happy reading, and my your life (and your books) be filled with love!

Author Bio

Jess B. Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her accomplished and headstrong children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

The Fox River Romance novels combine her interests in family, music, and small towns into a thoughtful tales of growing up and falling in love. These books can be read as stand-alone, or as a series starting with The Guilt of a Sparrow.

Follow Jess on social media @authorjessb
Please consider leaving a review to let other readers know what you think!

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessb/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjessb/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorjessb
Website: https://jessbmoore.com


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster REVIEW

Esme's Wish
by Elizabeth Foster


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘πŸŒ‘

Synopsis:

A warm-hearted, whimsical fantasy tale, with lashings of mystery, magic, and mythology, and prose that 'flows like water.' Prepare to fall in love with Esperance!

When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father's wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme's mother, Ariane - 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. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother's steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane's double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.

"A fresh new fantasy, of an enchanting world." - Wendy Orr, New York Times best selling author of Nim's Island.

This inventive tale, the first in an MG-to-YA series, is an ideal read for 10-14 year olds.

Esme's Wish recently won first place in the fantasy category of the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, which recognises excellence in children's literature.


Purchase Links:

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0826KL5MG
US - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0826KL5MG

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

As our story opens Esme's mother has been missing for a few years and her father is getting married to a less than pleasant woman. Esme is sure her mother is out there somewhere so when the priest asks if anyone objects, Esme doesn't bother holding back. She isn't able to stop the wedding though and within a few days her father leaves for his honeymoon with his new bride while Esme is left with her new step-aunt. One day something happens that leads Esme to a whole new world where she will learn secrets of the past and the truth behind what happened to her mother.

Esme's Wish is a tale full of fantastical elements that is sure to satisfy any high fantasy lover. It has dragons, adventure, magic and mystery. The writing is descriptive and makes it beyond easy to picture the world in which most of the story takes place. There is a ton of action that takes place throughout the story. There's lots of magic, secrets and a few twists that I think would be quite captivating to its audience. I'd say this book would be a definite go-to when you're looking for a high fantasy.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys middle grade fantasy. Actually, I would even say anyone who just enjoys high fantasy.

Author Bio


I read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago when reading to my own kids reminded me how much I missed getting lost in other worlds. It’s never too late to find and follow your passion! I now have two books published and am about to start writing the third and final story in the Esme series. My home base is Sydney, where I can often be found running (just kidding – walking) by the water, or scribbling in cafΓ©s.

Social Media:

Website: http://www.elizabethfoster.com.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFosterAuthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/e_foster3
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elizabethfoster_/

Giveaway:

Giveaway to Win 3 x pairs of e-books Esme’s Wish & Esme’s Gift (Open Internationally)



*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Saturday, March 7, 2020

Distorted Days by Louise Worthington REVIEW

Distorted Days
by Louise Worthington


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘πŸŒ‘
Synopsis:

If she could speak to them, she would say they have exploded her heart, released firecrackers through her senses. She wishes she could call the police, the ambulance, the fire brigade, to arrest and anaesthetise and waterboard the bastards.

So what happens when your husband runs off with your best friend? When you discover the dead body of an old man halfway through your delivery round? When your house is burgled and you get beaten up? Doris, Andy and Colleen are about to find out. They’re also about to discover that you can find friendship and support in the oddest of places…

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.

Purchase Links:

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0244236143
US - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0244236143
CAN - https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0244236143

Review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Doris is left on her own after her husband leaves her after having an affair with her best friend. When our story opens Doris is currently living in the house she and her soon-to-be ex-husband have shred. She signed a prenup before their wedding so unfortunately, the house is his and he's decided to sell it leaving Doris to figure things out on her own. 

I really enjoyed this book. Doris was easy to like and sympathize with.  The biggest growth comes at the end of the story which had me clapping for Doris. I won't get into too much detail because I don't want to spoil it, but it's a really good ending. Her friends are a great cast of supporting characters that really helped bring the story to life. The writing itself was interesting. I was drawn into the story and enjoyed every minute of it. It's a great book about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and moving on.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read. I recommend this for anyone who likes short books, stories about moving on and stories about growth. I would read this author again.

Author Bio


Louise is the author of ‘Distorted Days’ and ‘Rachel’s Garden of Rooms.’ ‘The Entrepreneur’ will be available later in 2020. ‘The Thief’, a short story published by Park Publications, is available to download Louise Worthington's website.

Before writing full time, Louise worked mainly as an English teacher after getting a degree in Literature and later, studying business and psychology at Masters level.

Louise grew up in Cheshire and now resides in Shropshire.

“Louise’s characters, without exception, are skilfully wrought which make the reader genuinely care for them.”

Social Media Links:


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Cloth of Grace by Rachel J Bonner GUEST POST

Cloth of Grace
by Rachel J Bonner


Synopsis:

Cloth of Grace - Choices and Consequences Book 4

When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?

Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?

Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.

Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?

Purchase Links:

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07Y434GVC

Price : £2.99 but £1.99 if you pre-order


Weave of Love - Choices and Consequences Book 3

What if the choice you have to make has devastating consequences for others?

How can anyone know the right thing to do?

Leonie chose to sacrifice everything to save other people. Now those around her have to face the consequences – and those consequences are not what they expected.

Prospero must deal with his own guilt. He was the one who gave Leonie the tools she needed – her life was in his hands. To make the most of what she did, he will have to face up to all the family issues he has avoided for so long. Whatever he chooses to do, someone he loves will be hurt. For Leonie’s sake, is he now strong enough to make the choice he couldn’t make before?

The crisis predicted by Lord Gabriel has come and gone. But his task isn’t over. Leonie’s very existence may be out in the open but Gabriel discovers that the past is never what it seems – and nor is the present. How can he use what he now knows to bring together those who have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember? If he fails in this, everything he’s had to do so far will be in vain.

Purchase Links:

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VLMV52C
Associates : https://amzn.to/2Mq9nbY
Other Retailers : https://www.books2read.com/weaveoflove
Google Play : https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=p42wDwAAQBAJ

Price : £2.99


Thread of Hope - Choices and Consequences Book 2

What if your secrets are so dangerous they could destroy the one you love?
Is honesty always the best policy?

Leonie may have run away but Prospero will find her. He loves her and he wants a future with her by his side whatever the consequences. Only when he does find her, he ought to tell her who he really is, outside the monastery. That’ll make her run again. Dare he risk it? But if he doesn’t tell her, someone else may...

Marriage to Prospero is what Leonie wants most and the one thing she knows she can’t have. If he found out what she was really like, what she’d been, what she’d done, he’d despise her and she couldn’t bear that. Better to leave now than live a lie – but it’s harder than she expected. If only…

Gabriel is starting to discover the secrets inherent in Leonie, secrets that not even she knows, secrets that will tear the world apart. And the secrets he is keeping are tearing him apart. How can sacrificing those he loves possibly achieve peace when everything he discovers risks the death of millions?

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NBH7J2T
Associates : https://amzn.to/2BWkROL
Other retailers : https://www.books2read.com/threadofhope
Google Play : https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=bMCSDwAAQBAJ

Price : £2.99


Strand of Faith - Choices and Consequences Book 1

But for the cover reveal and launch of Cloth of Grace Strand of Faith is available free from Bookcave but requires a subscription to my newsletter.

BookCave: https://mybookcave.com/d/573d5cd1/

A girl. A monk. An unthinkable sacrifice.
When the choice is between love and life, how can anyone decide?

In a post-apocalyptic future, a girl and a monk, both with extraordinary mental powers, have compelling reasons not to fall in love. But their choices will have consequences for the rest of the world.

After the troubles of his youth, Brother Prospero has found comfort and fulfilment in the monastery. Then he discovers something that forces him to reconsider his whole vocation. How can it possibly be right to leave a life of worship and service for human desire? And if he does leave, will the pressures from his past destroy him?

Orphaned and mistreated, Leonie has found sanctuary and safety at the Abbey. When she comes into contact with Prospero everything spirals out of her control. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. She can’t do that to him. But how can she walk away from the first place she’s truly belonged?

Abbot Gabriel is faced with an impossible choice. He can do nothing and watch the world descend into war. Or he can manipulate events and ensure peace – at the cost of two lives that he is responsible for. Is he strong enough to sacrifice those he loves?

Purchase Links:

Blog – Phrases

One of the things I found when I became a mother was that I said ‘Be careful,’ a whole lot more. My kids teased me about it, naturally (still do, in fact, as does my husband). One of my own mother’s phrases was, ‘Life is made up of choices’ which was sometimes followed by ‘and choices have consequences’. Actually, it’s still one of her phrases and, to be fair, my brothers and I still tease her about it.

You can probably see where the series title for my books came from!

ClichΓ©s and phrases may also take on different meanings depending on our own circumstances. The phrase ‘I don’t know them from Adam’ will have a very personal feel if you’re close to someone called Adam. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ strikes home if you’re a published author – because of course we judge books by their covers, that’s the first thing that attracts us to them. And the cover can tell us something about the book including its genre and tone.

As a writer you’re told not to use clichΓ©s, but in everyday life and speech we use them all the time. They are short cuts in speech to help us convey an idea or make ourselves understood. Every clichΓ© or known phrase has its roots in some past or common experience, even if we don’t always know what that experience is or it isn’t a common experience today. For example, if I say ‘hold your horses’ you’ll understand that means slow down, don’t race into some activity without thinking. It comes from a time when transport was by horse drawn vehicle and ‘holding your horses’ meant keeping excited horses still while something else happened. Few of us would have that experience today.

ClichΓ©s don’t often translate well, either. What works in one language doesn’t work in another due to different cultural experiences and history. If you’re writing fantasy and building a different world you have to be particularly careful about clichΓ©s. You can’t have a character say ‘avoid it like the plague’ if your world has never experienced a widespread plague. It’ll jar on readers because your characters won’t have the personal, cultural or historical experience for that to have meaning. You can’t ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ if your world doesn’t have dogs, or be ‘poor as a church mouse’ if it doesn’t have churches.

In Thread of Hope, the second book in my Choices and Consequences series, Andrew uses a clichΓ© when talking to Prospero. He says “…this is the one that has knocked you for six?” That clichΓ© comes from cricket, where hitting a ball over the boundary scores a six. Cricket isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the series, but it does exist in that world’s past, and, in my mind at least, in that world’s present, because the series is set in our world’s future. So I hope I’ve got away with that.

In Cloth of Grace we’re introduced to a phrase that is specific to the world I’ve created, in the quote below:

He just shook his head and Lady Eleanor answered, “Many years ago, something happened and as a result, Gabriel took a vow not to leave the campus. ‘Until the four seasons meet,’ he said. That was the condition.”

I recognised that phrase. It was a Trader one, meaning something that will never happen because the four seasons go in a cycle, never meeting together.

But each season has a colour assigned to it – although there is some dispute as to which colour means which season.

“White for the winter snow, green for the spring growth, blue for the summer sky, red for the autumn leaves,” he said. I knew that as red for the summer heat, blue for the autumn rain…

Only each colour also belongs to one of the four biggest ruling Great Houses – and two of them are arch enemies so they’ll never meet either…will they? You’ll have to read Cloth of Grace to find out.

Author Bio


Rachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October. The story concludes with Cloth of Grace, released on 29th February 2020.

Rachel has a degree in engineering, which she followed with a career in accountancy which is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)

She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.

You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

Newsletter subscription link https://www.subscribepage.com/webpage

Social Media Links:
Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/author/racheljbonner
Website : https://www.racheljbonner.co.uk
Twitter : @racheljbonner1
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/racheljbonnerauthor
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomracheljbonner

Giveaway:

Giveaway to Win a complete, signed Choices and Consequences series and matching bookmarks (Open INT)

Prize includes signed copies of Strand of Faith, Thread of Hope, Weave of Love and Cloth of Grace.


*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Escape to Candyland by Yong Takahashi REVIEW

The Escape to Candyland
by Yong Takahashi


πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•

Synopsis:

What is the message hidden behind a polite smile? In Yong Takahashi's Atlanta, the immigrants, preacher's wives, strippers, and shopkeepers who pass each other on the street all have a secret story to tell. Caught between generations of family, regrets from their pasts, conflicting cultures, and even countries, each character has a reason to fiercely guard their secret lives, even as they learn that the truth must escape. Takahashi's characters chase their American dreams down back alleys and campaign trails, stumbling under the weight of the gifts their families have given them. A box of Boraxo hand soap. Change for the vending machine. A stranger's driver's license. A mother's love. The smallest exchange could prove kill or cure when you walk the streets of Candyland.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Escape to Candyland is dark, heart breaking and brilliantly written. After reading the first story I didn't want to put it down. I found myself stealing minutes throughout the day to absorb another story every chance I got. I actually finished the entire book within a few hours. Once I started it was like I couldn't stop, nor did I want to.

Life isn't always what it seems and people aren't always who they appear to be. The Escape to Candyland takes us through the lives of a variety of characters through a series of short stories that make your heart break. From preacher's wives to strippers everyone has a story and this incredible book allows us to see a glimpse inside their lives and the secrets they hide. Takahashi will break your heart many times throughout the 19 short stories contained inside this book. Each character is captured like a photograph making you care for them as if they are people you know. Raw and emotional, these amazing stories will surely show you the darker side of human nature.

The writing is simply incredible. There were a couple stories in the beginning that felt slightly rushed but the last 3/4 of the book more than made up for it. I highly recommend reading this book. It is a very fast read and worth every second.

Author Bio:

Yong Takahashi won the Chattahoochee Valley Writers National Short Story Contest and the Writer's Digest's Write It Your Way Contest. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.

Social Media Links:

Website: yctwriter.com
Facebook: facebook.com/yctwriter
Instagram: instagram.com/yctwriter
Twitter: twitter.com/yctwriter

The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff REVIEW

The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ‘πŸŒ‘ Synopsis: ‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the sq...