Colleen’s #Book #Reviews: “Ever Rest,” by Roz Morris, @Roz_Morris

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

From the Author

Twenty years ago, Hugo and Ash were on top of the world. As the acclaimed rock band Ashbirds they were poised for superstardom. Then Ash went missing, lost in a mountaineering accident, and the lives of Hugo and everyone around him were changed forever. Irrepressible, infuriating, mesmerizing Ash left a hole they could never hope to fill. Two decades on, Ash’s fiancée Elza is still struggling to move on, her private grief outshone by the glare of publicity. The loss of such a rock icon is a worldwide tragedy. Hugo is now a recluse in Nepal, shunning his old life. Robert, an ambitious session player, feels himself both blessed and cursed by his brief time with Ashbirds, unable to achieve recognition in his own right. While the Ashbirds legend burns brighter than ever, Elza, Hugo and Robert are as stranded as if they were the ones lost in the ice. How far must they go to come back to life? A lyrical, page-turning novel in the tradition of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Ever Rest asks how we carry on after catastrophic loss. It will also strike a chord with fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones for its people bonded by an unforgettable time; fans of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, for music as a primal and romantic force; and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air for the deadly and irresistible wildernesses that surround our comfortable world.

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My Recommendation

In Ever Rest, we explore the partnership between mountain climbing and rock music, which creates an unforgettable novel. The book revolves around Ashten Geddard, the rock star whose life and death changes the futures of his girlfriend Elza, and the other two band members, Hugo and Robert, after he plunges to his death on Mt. Everest. Ash’s body rests within the mountain’s icy grip. Twenty years later, the trio still struggle to make sense of his death.

We discover how Ash and Hugo met as young boys, how they lived through their personal family traumas, and how neither one seemed to be a complete whole without the other. From the beginning, I sensed Ash needed Hugo more than Hugo needed him. Ash possessed the charisma, the glue that brings the fans in, while Hugo proves to be the musical genius behind the Ashbirds rock group.

The novel is a character study of the lives left behind after Ash’s death. The novel shares Hugo’s journey of coming to grips with his guilt over Ash’s death, and becoming the man he always wanted to be. But the novel is Elza’s story, as well as Robert’s story, too. The threads of Ash’s death weave together each character’s narrative into the present. How will they move forward?

Now, each corpse recovered from Mt. Everest propels the characters into their own personal hell, wondering if this body will be his remains. I found it interesting that even in death, Ash commanded the show.

When an investor shows up to reunite the remaining members of the Ashbirds, Hugo finds himself drawn back into the rock scene one last time. Even Elza, now an artist, is pulled into the emotional whirlwind of the Ashbirds musical aura… until they find a corpse on Mt. Everest that only Hugo can identify. What will he find?

“Ever Rest” was not my typical read, but I found the characters to be solid and intriguing personalities. The more I learned about Ash, the less I like him, but that’s typical with a larger-than-life character. This book held my attention and I couldn’t wait to read more to find out what happened next.

If you’re looking for something different, this is the book for you. The story is engaging with characters that come across as genuine people, and there’s nothing fake about them. Something I would think rare in the world of rock stars. The plot is full of twists and turns—enough to keep you reading long into the night! I received this book as a gift from the author. I enjoyed the novel so much; I had to share my thoughts.

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Books You’ll Want to Read!

It’s been a stressful few months and I could not keep up with my book reviews. Normally, I dedicate an entire post to each book, but that isn’t possible right now. Instead, I’ve grabbed the highlights and shared what made these books a good read. Book reviews will resume after my cross-country move.

Let’s get caught up!

First up is “The Infinity Pool,” by Jessica Norrie.

The reader finds themselves on an island somewhere in the Mediterranean on one of those self-help holiday package deals that offers yoga and other activities at the aptly named Serendipity Resort. This is a place to find your inner Zen, mingle with the locals, and even confront a few of your own personal challenges. Be prepared for a book filled with interesting characters. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

The camp leader is Adrian, a middle-aged ladies’ man, whose gift is helping other people restore and re-energize. Because of this, he is popular with the female guests, many who come back year after year to take his courses. Interestingly, through much of the book he is absent, so the reader learns about him through the other character’s observations.

By the time Adrian re-emerges, he is physically and emotionally changed and nothing like the man he once was. The contrast between the old and new Adrian and the personal reactions from the other guests are a true study in human nature.

Norrie skillfully weaves a psychological mystery filled with self-absorbed characters and situations. I highly recommend this one as it kept me reading long into the night. These characters have great depth!

The next book is “Bowled, but Not Out, An Entertaining Family Drama,” by Ruchira Khanna. I received this book as a gift from the author.

I enjoy reading books about other cultures, and the author’s witty reference to Cricket in the title also caught my attention. Not only is the author Indian, but she is also English, giving the book an exotic flair. To be fair, I had to look up some Cricket references, but that only made my understanding of the characters more enjoyable.

Meet Saru, a young woman encouraged by her father’s example to compare her life challenges to the game of cricket. When Saru meets Sumeet, she instantly falls in love with him. In a few months, the two are married and Saru moves to her husband’s home where his mother also lives. And that is where life gets interesting.

Saru’s mother-in-law controls all of her son’s decisions. Sumeet is a momma’s boy, refusing to cross his mother’s wishes even if it causes pain to his wife. The mother-in-law makes Saru’s life unbearable. After the birth of their daughter, Saru makes the tough decision to take her child, Simrn, and leave her husband.

The cultural ramifications of this decision also affect Saru’s family. In defiance of tradition, Saru’s parents wholeheartedly support her decision to leave, even when she moves to New York to create a better life for her daughter.

Saru is a strong and independent woman. Everything she sets out to do, she accomplishes. The story comes full circle, when her daughter, Simrn, gets married. Will her father show up to the wedding?

This was a fascinating glimpse into the family dynamics of Indian culture and to what extent the family unit plays in shaping personality and life choices. This book was a cultural delight that will have you cheering for all the strong women in your life. A must read!

The light romance called “Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1),” by Linda Bradley, is next.

Maggie Abernathy has her Michigan summer all planned out. After a bout with breast cancer, all she wants to do is to recuperate and rejuvenate. Her life as a second-grade teacher was especially difficult this year. To add to Maggie’s problems, she is also learning to navigate life alone after her recent divorce.

When seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John, Maggie’s dull life takes an unexpected turn for the better.

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. The story was predictable, but somehow, comforting. The romance that buds between John and Maggie is even more sweet because of Chloe.

Chloe’s character clearly steals the show. The child possesses a certain wisdom that women much older than her often wish for. The only child in what had to be a difficult home, Chloe steals Maggie’s heart.

Written in the first-person, I immediately connected with Maggie’s character. There is a lot going on, and Maggie discovers she must learn to overcome some of her own issues before she can truly find herself. So true to life!

The only downside was that the book ends on a cliff-hanger, and you have to purchase the next book to continue her story. I understand it’s a series, but the author hints at a happy ending for Maggie and John. As is true in most romantic fiction there are always some difficulties in a relationship. It would have been nicer for this book to end on a high note. Still, I would recommend this book because of the interesting characters. I’m debating on whether to go further in the series.

That’s all for now.

Read a book and remember to leave a review. Authors always appreciate reviews!


COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Balad of Mrs. Molony,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. BOYACK, @VIRGILANTE

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.

The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exist? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up bloodsucking?

Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.

Amazon.com

International BOOK LINK

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Lizzie and the Hat are back in another high octane action-adventure! This time, the pair and their band have infiltrated the country-western music scene in search of a group of vampires who’ve captured a young woman to satisfy their thirst for blood.

The missing girl’s brother approaches Lizzie and the Hat asking for help because his sister is missing… there’s only one problem. He’s a vampire! To make matters worse; he has an uncontrollable lisp, pronouncing his name as Kuvun (Kevin). The Hat is ready to stake the poor guy because, well, you know, they kill vamps. But Lizzie is kindhearted. She wants to help save Kevin’s sister from the blood thirsty vamps.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… what’s wrong with being a vampire? Right?

Well, there’s a lot wrong with being a vampire. A quick trip back to the cabin leads the musical duo to Lizzie’s ancestors’ unique stash of “monster busting” equipment. The Hat explains the mystique behind Mrs. Molony and how to use it since silver bullets won’t kill a monster. To kill a monster, you either have to behead them, burn them, or stake them! Now, Lizzie and the Hat are ready for anything! Or are they?

Lizzie, the Hat, and their band jump into the county music scene hanging out with the cowboy crowd at the rodeo where the vampires that took Kevin’s sister were last seen. There’s plenty of hilarious banter between Lizzie and the Hat to keep you chuckling long into the night. The race is on to save Kevin’s sister before it’s too late.

Boyack’s strengths lay in his smooth storytelling and the dialogue between the characters. In the age of Marvel Comics, everyone loves a talented team, and Lizzie and the Hat are hilarious together. I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.

If you’re looking for a fun Halloween read… Check out “Mrs. Molony,” and “Viral Blues,” and “The Hat!” They’re better than trick or treat!

I’ve read and reviewed “The Hat” & “Viral Blues”—find those reviews below.

Colleen’s 2018 #Book #Reviews – “The Hat,” by C. S. Boyack

Title: The Hat, A Novella Amazon Author Page: C. S. Boyack Goodreads Publication Date: January 11, 2018 Formats: Paperback & Kindle Genres: Science fiction & fantasy, Superheros, Paranormal & Urban   IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS: Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her,… More

About the Author

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

~Craig~

How to Connect with the Author

Blog 

My Novels  

Twitter 

Goodreads 

Facebook 

Pinterest 

BookBub

Amazon Author Page US

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viral Blues,” BY AUTHOR, C. S. Boyack, @virgilante

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

Amazon.com

International BOOK Link

MY RECOMMENDATION

Someone is tampering with the world’s vaccine supply, replacing life-saving therapies with virulent viruses that threaten to overtake the earth’s population. Sound familiar? Now, who’s going to fix this mess?

Remember the superhero comics you read as a kid? Personally, I loved the Fantastic Four! How can you forget the iconic figure of “The Thing?” So, now that you have that visual in your mind, imagine a group of unlikely players, an extra-terrestrial disguised as a hat who is an ancient monster hunter, a sexy robot-girl, a guy who can turn into fog, and a normal American girl named Lizzie who sings in a band. They all unite to combine their magical gifts to fight a bunch of zombies! Throw in some great music and you have everything you need to save the world.

Boyack’s characters are always fun. He lets them be who they are, playing up their paranormal abilities along with their inner strengths. This time, the heros rise to the occasion as they battle supernatural villains, swarms of zombies, and even some mob bosses. Be ready for surprise shoot-outs and a few near misses as the non-stop action ramps up to a fever pitch.

Just like in the first book, “The Hat,” the dialog between Lisa and the Hat is full of cynical humor that will leave you quaking with laughter. Their banter is always magical. They behave like two old friends who know each other so well; they know what they can get away with. As usual, the Hat steals the show.

“Viral Blues” is a fun read and perfect for the Halloween season. It’s filled with amazing characters and I found the story highly entertaining. Not my usual read, but the holiday calls for stepping out of your comfort zone, if you catch my drift!

About the Author

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

~Craig~

How to Connect with the Author

Blog 

My Novels  

Twitter 

Goodreads 

Facebook 

Pinterest 

BookBub

Amazon Author Page US

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also!  Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Jailbird’s Jackpot (Faith, Family, Frenzy! Book 4),” BY AUTHOR, P J Colando

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book:

REVENGE REWARD REDEMPTION

Parolee Amy Breeden held herself together during nearly two thousand days of incarceration with a single-minded focus: to destroy the dude who did her in. 

Within hours of her release, Amy hits the lotto mega-million jackpot.“ Living well is the best revenge,” her parole officer advises, but Amy is hellbent on revenge.

A former Chicago crime boss, an estranged brother, a substitute mom, a zany house painter, a pre-imprisonment pal – and the handsome parole officer – complicate Amy’s quest for empowerment. When Amy’s longtime nemesis invades her haven, her ire ignites. She becomes more determined than ever to avenge herself.

The aging crime boss enjoins her mission. Victory is finalized when she’s able to buy her mortal enemy’s thriving bar in a fire sale… and becomes the Boss. But is that enough? Will revenge result in satisfaction? Will her personal redemption require more than revenge and the monetary reward to live well?

Amazon.com

INTERNATIONAL BOOK LINK

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Steve and Jacquie are the perfect Midwest farm couple. You sense their love for one another with each turn of the page. In Book One, called “Stashes,” Jackie and Steve Breeden, your average hard-working, dairy farming, salt of the earth type folks who live on a rural farm in Michigan. Their son Brandon and his wife, Amy, hatch a scheme to expand the Breeden’s micro dairy business by growing and selling marijuana edibles with hilarious results. 

Book Two is called, “Hashes & Bashes.” When Carl, who is Steve’s brother from his mother’s WWII love tryst who had been given up for adoption, suddenly arrives on the scene, the Breeden family welcomes him into their nest. The author introduces many new characters in this book, and you’ll laugh and cry at the same time.

By book three, “The Winner’s Circle,” you wonder what could happen next. How about throwing some lotto winnings into the mix? Jacquie’s friend, Bonnie, has fallen in love with Steve’s brother, Carl. When Bonnie hits it big with a lotto win, their relationship is changed in ways they never imagined. And that’s just the beginning! The four friends embark on a journey of discovery which leads them to some startling revelations about each other and how they view themselves.

Now, we arrive at book four, “The Jailbird’s Jackpot,” which gives a voice to Amy Breeden after she’s released from prison for embezzling funds from the local bank.

And what a story Amy has to tell. I felt like she got more blame than she probably deserved, but her early release from prison sets up the story unexpectedly. Guess who also strikes it big in the lottery? You got it… the parolee ends up stinking rich!

Amy finds herself with more money than she knows what to do with… Add in a crazy friend, an unstable brother, and a drill sergeant parole officer, along with a host of other memorable characters, and you’ve got the setting for a story that you won’t be able to put down! I never saw the ending coming!

There’s plenty of unexpected twists and turns as Amy learns how to deal with her newfound wealth. Yet, this story reminds me of the hero’s journey as Amy learns more about herself as she deals with unexpected circumstances. If you love powerful women characters, Amy Breeden just might teach you a thing or two!

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a pre-release copy of the book. I’ve read and enjoyed the entire “Faith, Family, Frenzy” Series by PJ Colando. Find my book reviews for the other books below:

Silver’s Book Reviews – “STASHES,” BY P J COLANDO

Title:  Stashes – What Ever Happened to Earn? Author: P. J. Colando File Size: 1011 KB Print Length: 350 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: Publisher: Bookbaby, 1 edition Publication Date: June 19, 2014 Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English ASIN: B00LIAZBKK Formats: Paperback and Kindle Goodreads Genres: Women’s Fiction, Humor, Contemporary Fiction *The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for… More

Colleen’s #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Hashes & Bashes,” BY Author, P J COLANDO

Title:  Hashes and Bashes: Jackie & Steve Book 2 Author: P J Colando File Size: 1337 KB Print Length: 225 Pages Publisher: BookBaby Publication Date: September 13, 2016 Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC Language: English ASIN: B01LWV02LG Formats: Paperback and Kindle Goodreads Genres: Genre Fiction, Family Life, Humor, Literature & Fiction *I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book* “FAITH… FAMILY… FRENZY! Nine… More

Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “The Winner’s Circle (Faith! Family! Frenzy!)” by Author, P. J. Colando

IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS: FAITH… FAMILY… FRENZY! Life in rural small town can dull the senses. A trio of gal pals–mired in middle age, Middle America, and other people’s problems–long to escape. When Bonnie wins the Boffo Lotto, her circle of friends urge her to lawyer up, invest, and sequester herself.  But secrets are inconceivable… More

About the Author:

I was born and raised in the Midwest, yet unabashedly aspired for adventure elsewhere, following my parents’ model.

I live in southern California, where seasons seldom matter, where any promise can be conjured and fulfilled. I write while my husband watches TV sports, which are always in season = often.

I wrote a series titled Faith, Family, Frenzy! about the small town & rural Midwest. I know the characters and settings very well and my fertile imagination creates the plots. None of the escapades I create have happened to anyone anywhere, not even me. 

Perhaps my series is a form of memoir…

I write humor and satire with a literary bent. Besides the four novels, I’ve published two short story anthologies and have a third in mind… I’m available to speak to your group or book club. I’m eager to engage with other writers and readers of my books.

I am having a blast!

PJ Colando Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: https://www.pjcolando.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PJ-Colando-224896484261076/

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Viking Sagas, The Captivating Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok, Ivar the Boneless, Lagertha, and More, in Their Historical Context” BY AUTHOR, Matt Clayton, @CaptivHistory

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Explore Captivating Viking Sagas

The period between the end of the eighth century CE and the middle of the eleventh is often called the “Viking Age” because this is the period in which Scandinavian people expanded their contacts with the outside world through trade, raiding, exploration, and colonization.

This volume presents a version of Ragnar’s saga compiled from different modern sources, along with information providing additional historical and documentary context, followed by a discussion of some aspects of modern appropriations and representations of ancient Norse culture.

The first section of the book provides a historical context for Ragnar’s saga through an exploration of daily life in ninth-century Scandinavia and of contemporary Viking culture and history.

The text of the saga itself forms the second part of the book, along with notes giving further information about how this version of the saga is presented and about elements within the story that might not be familiar to modern readers.

The third section of the book deals with representations of ancient Norse cultures in modern popular media.

Within this book, you’ll find the following the Viking Sagas and topics covered:

  • The World of Ragnar Lothbrok
  • The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and His Sons
  • Representations of Norse Myths and History in Modern Media
  • The Clash of History and Drama in the History Channel Television Series Vikings
  • And much more!

MY RECOMMENDATION

I received this book as an offer from Captivating History.com. I reviewed, because for me, Viking and Celtic mythology makes for some interesting reading. Add in the popular television series, “Vikings” and you’ve got a recipe for success.

This is not your typical history book, although there are many citations to back up this author’s references. The style of writing is clear and concise, and easy to understand. There are detailed descriptions of Viking culture, many gleaned from recent archaeological evidence.

I found the “shield maiden,” research to be most interesting. This female Viking, who lived and died around the year 900, was first excavated from a farm in Solør, Norway, in 1900. Recent discoveries reveal that she was a woman, overturning the centuries-old assumption that Viking warriors were only men.

The author deciphers many of the myths surrounding the television series, “The Vikings.” There was a man named Ragnar in the ancient texts who could have been the character in the series. The series has done a decent job in my estimation of showing Viking culture. Even more interesting to me was how many of the Norse myths found their way into the show. Read the ancient myths included in the book. The Norse were superb storytellers.

I also found the connection to a magic sword and the slaying of a dragon from the ancient Norse myths could have been the basis for the King Arthur myths. This is only my speculation and not collaborated with research. I think these older myths found their way into Celtic society repurposed to fit the needs of the time.

As a poet, the information relating to the Norse and Icelandic Skalds, (poets) caught my attention. Skalds were the poets of the Vikings, and poetry and storytelling were the most-prized art forms in Norse culture. Poetry was a gift from Odin, the Allfather chief god of the Vikings, and just being a skald with the ability to speak in rhyme also was a way to distinguish themselves as having a connection to Odin.

If you love Norse mythology and want to find out the factual truth behind the “Vikings” television series, this book will shed some light on the truth of the matter. It was a fabulous read!

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Matt Clayton is a best-selling author who is particularly known for his excellent take on mythology. Two of his best-selling books are Greek Mythology: A Captivating Guide to the Ancient Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, and Monsters and Norse Mythology: A Captivating Guide to Norse Folklore Including Fairy Tales, Legends, Sagas and Myths of the Norse Gods and Heroes.

As an author, Matt’s mission is to unveil the captivating stories from the ancient world. So far, he has done a phenomenal job in terms of giving the readers what they want. When Matt is not wearing the author’s hat, he is either reading, eating, sleeping or working on projects related to his brand Captivating History. You can check out his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMNMpSc81hvn5OC26yj-5Jw

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: captivatinghistory.com

TWITTER: @CaptivHistory

FACEBOOK: Join the group Captivating History

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also!  Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “The Sincerest Form of Poetry,” BY AUTHOR, Geoff Le Pard, @geofflepard

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

An anthology of poems, inspired by the top 100 British poems and a love of sonnets.

Amazon.com

All of life in one easy couplet

“To write poetry, I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100, and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems, has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.”

~ Geoff Le Pard

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

MY RECOMMENDATION

Geoff Le Pard is one of my favorite contemporary poets. His acerbic wit makes me laugh, and there are no out-of-bounds topics in his repertoire of verses. Some of his poetry is raw, exposing the trials and tribulations related to the everyday grind of being human. Many of his poems explore the irony of our daily circumstances with an emphasis on humor—always ready to make you smile, or possibly blush!

Le Pard has a style all his own, and he writes a form of ‘found poetry’ with inspiration from many of my favorite British poets: Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Rudyard Kipling, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, W.B. Yeats, and many others. Le Pard uses the first line of the actual poem as they wrote it, continuing on with his own poetic genius.

The second half of the book the author explores the sonnet, with poems comprising fourteen lines with an iambic rhyming scheme. This is where he truly shines. They say all poets have a favorite form they like to write and clearly; the sonnet speaks to this author.

He shares in the Genesis section of the book:

In 2007, I was taken with the urge to write poetry. From where that emerged, I will have to leave to psychologists, though some have noticed my father’s death (he wrote delightful poetry) occurred some eighteen months before I found the courage to commit myself to the ether. I found, almost immediately that, unlike prose, poetry is a more intense and challenging medium to embrace. It needs, above all else, a depth of inspiration that a short story or even a novel does not demand. It has been my joy and challenge to find and hold on to such inspiration.”

Geoff Le Pard, The Sincerest From of Poetry

I read this book in two nights, sometimes shaking the bed in quiet laughter to not disturb my sleeping spouse. This was a delightful read and the perfect gift for the poetry lover in your family. Many thanks to the author for gifting me an advance reader’s copy. This book will release on September 30, 2020.

I’ll share one of my favorite selections from the book:

Trick Or Treat

The box full of treats draws them in like flies 
Glassy-eyed children with hands reaching down. 
‘It’s rubbish chocolate,’ says John with a frown.
‘Never mind,’ says his mum, wiping her eyes
On her sleeve. ‘Sue Witch is good for a treat. 
You’ll see. Candies and fudge, all neatly wrapped. 
Though take care or you’re sure to be trapped 
In her sticky web. She’s best in the street
For her tricks.’ They hold hands as they hurry 
Along. Nervously waiting for their next gift. 
The mood will change: there’s always a shift 
As cockroaches cackle and dirty rats scurry. 
For what do you expect on Halloween?
It starts with a smile, and ends with a scream.

©2020 Geoff Le Pard

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

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Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976, the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

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In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

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The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?

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Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015.

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Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

This is available here

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Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

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Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages.

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Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

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Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.

Amazon.co.uk

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When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.

Amazon.co.uk

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Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: geofflepard.com

TWITTER: @geofflepard

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RE-Share: COLLEEN’S 2019 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Wake of the Sadico,” BY AUTHOR, Jo Sparks, @Sparks777

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Featuring Your New Weekend Count Down to Halloween Read!

Since I didn’t have time to write a new book review this week, I thought it would be nice to re-share one of my favorite reads from 2019! Are you looking for the perfect paranormal Autumn read?

About this Book

On a Caribbean dive vacation, five friends discover a centuries old shipwreck – and a karmic debt past due. 

Wall Eddington has always done the correct thing. It’s part of being British, part of family tradition. Yet somehow someone drowned.

Now, half a world away, he’s diving off an old sailboat with four American friends. As a vacation it’s a bit primitive, but just what his soul craves. 

Until they find a shipwreck. 

Untouched and impossibly preserved, the thing bewitches with promises of gold. Their rush to claim it bogs down with odd accidents and petty arguments – and Wall is not the only one with dark dreams of pain and torture. Dreams of a captain called Sadico. 

In fleeing his personal demon, Wall has run straight to its lair. 

This trap was laid centuries ago, for five souls moved on to new lives and new loves. Set by the one soul they left behind.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

When five friends embark on a Caribbean dive vacation, they encounter an evil that will change their lives forever. If you’re looking for a suspenseful read for the Halloween season, make it this book. Intrigued? Let’s meet the characters.

Melanie is a gorgeous, spoiled twenty-something who likes to manipulate men for sexual favors. Her current lover, Wall Eddington, is a cool-headed British diver accompanying her on the trip. Will Melanie ditch him for one of the other men?

Jill, voted the best student in her cousin Jon’s dive class, is determined to conquer her fears. Jon’s dive shop, the Crusty Porthole, boasts the top-rated training in Delaware. Jill’s best friend Mike, the amateur bodybuilder, partnered with Jon years ago. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s during their first Carribean dive that Jill witnesses Mike, actually stroking a moray eel who seems content to rub against his glove. But it is her encounter with a reef shark that sends her over the edge.

A petrified Jill surfaces with Wall and Melanie, leaving Mike and Jon below. When the pair return to the surface they inform the others that the reef below is actually a shipwreck!

The untouched ship beckons to the crew. The five friends dream of riches and gold—treasure!

While preparing for the monumental salvage task before them, Jon asks the girls to make a quick trip into St. John’s to see his friend, Nita at the Center for Spiritual Studies.

Once there, Nita offers a spiritual reading to Jill. Left alone to her own devices, Melanie looks for a book to read. Suddenly, an old woman offers her a book entitled, “Repeating the Past,” adding, “This is the one you’re living.” Pretty creepy if you ask me.

Meanwhile, Jill experiences a past life regression that literally made me shiver as the past and present merge into a terrifying adventure that I could not put down.

I’m not a water person, and deepwater makes me uncomfortable. The vivid descriptions of the dives made me cringe… but I kept reading on, captured by the characters and the strange occurrences that plagued the crew.

Sparks has a flair for the paranormal and those eerie elements propel this story on until the surprising ending. If you don’t believe in reincarnation there’s a good chance you will after reading this book! If not, enjoy the read. Just make sure to keep the lights on!

MY RATING

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*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

From television shows to football articles, Jo Sparkes can’t put the pen down. She’s interviewed Emmit Smith and Anquan Boldin (as Arizona Cardinals), taught screenwriting at the Film School at SCC, and went on camera to make “Stepping Above Criticism”.

An award winning writer, she lives happily in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their dog, Oscar.

Jo Sparks: Amazon Author Page
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How to Connect with the Author

Blog:  josparkes.com

Facebook: Jo Sparkes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sparkes777

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, Book One” BY AUTHOR, Paul Andruss, @Paul_JHBooks

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Book

Fairies took his brother…

When Jack sees a sinister woman kidnap his bother Dan, he knows his parents will never believe him. Nor will the police. Not when he says Dan vanished into thin air. If Jack wants to see Dan again, he has to save him. And not just him …

If he ever wants to find Dan, first he must save Thomas the Rhymer from a wicked enemy.

Bravely embarking on a rollercoaster adventure into the dark fairy realm, Jack and friends face monstrous griffins and brooding tapestries with a life of their own, learn to use magic mirrors and travel on ley lines that whip them off faster than sound

Even if he returns Thomas the Rhymer to his selfish fairy queen, she might make Jack her prisoner. With the odds stacked against him, can Jack succeed in finding and freeing Dan?

Or will he lose his brother forever?

MY RECOMMENDATION

The trilogy’s written, so I’ve reread “Jack Hughes and Thomas the Rhymer,” to reconnect with the characters. Stay tuned, because I’ll be reviewing the other two books soon. Now, forget everything you thought you knew about faeries!

This fantastic story delves into one of my favorite subjects, faeries! Not only was it geared toward the YA genre, but it also included a fair amount of historical facts to make the story shine. Those historic details make this book unforgettable.

When Jack’s older brother Dan disappears before his very eyes, he’s stunned by the mysterious circumstances of his departure. That Jack witnessed the strange abduction and doesn’t tell his parents only adds to his troubles. Jack’s mother is suffering from a chronic illness and his greatest hope is that the situation will rectify itself, and Dan will come home on his own.

One night, Jack receives a cell phone call from Dan, and when he answers, there’s no one on the line. He tries to tell his parents and the police the truth about what happened, but every time he opens his mouth to speak, his throat closes up and he’s unable to utter a single word. Faery glamours? Could be!

In the meantime, Jack notices a dirty tramp hanging around his house who only speaks in rhyme. It becomes apparent that no one can see the tramp but Jack and his friends, so he enlists them to help him solve the mystery behind his brother’s disappearance.

Jack, Ken, and Catherine become entangled in the magical kingdom of the faeries. They learn about traveling by ley lines on faery roads. They also experience firsthand the deterioration of the faery kingdom. At one point, Catherine disappears into a living faery tapestry. Soon, the truth about the land of faery is revealed to the kids. Believe me, there’s plenty of magic and suspense to keep you reading long into the night! At least, I did!

Let me just say that this is one of the most imaginative books I have ever read about the good neighbors. There are some special scenes involving one of the faery queen’s and the female character, Catherine, that captured my imagination! The author’s attention to detail and the world-building in faeryland is worth drawing your attention to. Andruss writes as if he has first-hand knowledge of how to deal with faery royalty!

Jack’s friends are reminiscent of the characters in the Harry Potter series, and I had no problem connecting with their personalities. The plot is brilliant, although I had a hard time separating fact from fiction. That’s what I call good writing!

You will find this book on Amazon.com and soon to be listed (along with the sequels) with the independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books. You will find a delightful musical rendering of characters and places from the book HERE. I’ve included my favorite for your reading pleasure below featuring the mysterious Elphame Wood.

Elphame Wood.mp3

“Elphame Wood—speaks for itself, really. The dissonant chords and drum-beats are interrupted by fanfares to remind you that you are in Queen Sylvie’s kingdom. In the first chapter, Sylvie calls Jack ‘Frere Jacques’ and her rhyme has the same syllable scheme as the song. I used an incomplete, minor-key version of Frere Jacques as a recurring bass theme to add to the sinister mood.”


 Music  for Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer, by Patrick Hartnett

I think children and adults of all ages will enjoy this magical tale. Do you love magic and all things faery? Then have a read, because this book will keep you entertained for hours.

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Paul Andruss was born and raised in Liverpool. The city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark. Keen to get out into the world, Paul dropped out of college at 17. A year later he was taking exams at Night School, while working in the local Tax Office. On the grounds that anything was better than work, he applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when they accepted his application.

After graduation, Paul worked near the romantic Lake District, so beloved of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. No, not Harry’s mum, Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddle-duck’s. He worked in Manchester and London before moving to Bodrum in Turkey. 

To finance a passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of ruined cities and temples. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign from his photographs of ancient sites.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult magical realism trilogy, the Jack Hughes Books, and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool – a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All scheduled for release with exciting new, independent Scottish publisher, Black Wolf Books.

For more information, visit http://www.jackhughesbooks.com
Follow the plot: jackhughesbooks.com/story-of-the-book
Download posters: jackhughesbooks.com/art-gallery
Listen to music the novel inspired: jackhughesbooks.com/music

How to Connect with the Author

BLOG: paulandruss.com

TWITTER: @Paul_JHBooks

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK And: Amazon US 

Follow Paul: Goodreads 

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COLLEEN’S 2020 #PAGAN #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Inspirational Visions – Oracle Cards,” BY AUTHOR, Judy Mastrangelo, @JMastrangeloArt

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

About this Card Deck:

Do you have hidden wishes and desires that have been elusive since your youth? Now there is an inspirational oracle that will take you on an exciting adventure of self-discovery and enlightenment! Explore your unique gifts through 50 stunning oracle cards and a quick-and-easy guidebook with whimsical messages that will help you enhance your life and express your deepest feelings. Create a “Mind Painting” of your ideal self—someone who you would like to become—and then ascend to unbelievable heights by developing your imagination. Talented people throughout the ages—great thinkers, authors, poets, painters, and composers—have shared wonderful creations with humankind, and you can too by developing the innate talents that slumber deep within your Soul. This is the place of wizards, magic, and fairies! Prepare to be inspired! Includes 50 art cards and full-color guidebook.

Amazon.com

MY RECOMMENDATION

It’s rare that I get to share the actual cover of a book, or in this case a deck of oracle decks! I received this amazing deck of cards as a gift from the author, Judy Mastrangelo. I had to share with you! She and I share a love for the fair folk. I interviewed Judy last year. Click the link below to read about Judy and her faery artwork.



As you can see from the photos above, the artwork is stunning! Oracle cards differ from Tarot cards as they are meant to be used to enhance your own imagination.

The artistry and detail on each card is lovely and inspirational. These cards are easy to shuffle and created from good card stock. They are easy to use, which is perfect for a beginner.

Pay special attention to the “Using the Cards” section in the guidebook. Judy suggests that we close our eyes and come to grips with how we feel at the moment. Are we trying to solve a problem, or just looking for inspiration? What answers are we seeking? Meditate and ask your questions to the ether. Shuffle the cards, fan them out, or lay them out on the table. Feel the vibrations from the cards. Your intuition may direct you to choose one or two from the deck.

Each card has a special meaning in the guidebook, and you can find insight and suggestions to help you find keys to your own personal development. This knowledge is the oracle source of your own inner spirit.

Another section in the Guidebook I was drawn to was called, “Mind Painting.” Judy shares a process wherein she sees a vision of what she wants to paint in her mind’s eye. She includes a few suggestions on how to enhance our imagination and find our own inspiration. The entire Guidebook is well worth the read.

How I use oracle cards:

While I shuffled the deck, I kept my eyes closed. I wasn’t seeking answers today. Instead, I was hunting for inspiration! After a bit, I spread the cards out on the table. I let my hands hover over them, waiting for that special surge or connection. When I felt it, I drew the card: “Dogwood Fairy.”

The message read: “Take time to dream in the flowers.” This is something that I needed to hear today! I’ve been writing like a fiend and feel worn out. The card reads:

“You’re feeling bogged down by the stress of our everyday modern lifestyle. So take a hint from the delicate sprighty fairies: Dream a while, taking in the beauty of life.

And don’t forget to talk to the flowers. They love to listen. Lady of the Dogwood Trees sits lightly on her floating blossoms, lost in sweet reverie. It is very soothing, relaxing, and rejuvenating to be like her.”

“Inspirational Visions Oracle Deck, Dogwood Fairy,” pg. 33 in the guidebook.

For those of you who know me, the number three is my number. Interesting that page 33, (double threes) imparted this knowledge today when I needed it most. Coincidence? Of course not… if we listen to our soul language, we’ll find the answers (or questions) we seek.

I’ve felt the push to incorporate an oracle deck into my usual tarot readings, which will add another dimension for interpretation. I look forward to seeing where that journey leads me.

These cards would also be good for pulling a card a day, which is a good way to study cards, especially if you journal about them. Just think of all the poetry and short stories you could write!

This deck publishes on September 29, 2020. This is the place of wizards, magic, and fairies! Are you ready to be inspired?

MY RATING

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Most of my life I’ve been drawing and painting in all genres, from Realism, to Impressionism and Abstractionism. I paint a wide variety of subjects, but various forms of Fantasy have always been the closest to my heart. This includes my Fairy Tales, Myths, and New Age Art.

All of Nature is alive to me, and I try to show this in my paintings. I love the Greek and Roman Myths in which they personify Spirits of Nature, and so I enjoy painting Deities of Trees, Water, Earth, Air, Gods and Goddesses, etc.

I have always been inspired by great artists throughout history and regard them as my teachers. Some of my favorites are those of the Italian Renaissance, the Pre- Raphealites (I like John W. Waterhouse the most), and the Hudson River School of Landscape Painters.

Maxfield Parrish is my favorite illustrator, and I feel that Sir Joseph Noel Paton is one of the greatest Fairy Artists. In my small way, I also enjoy continuing in the tradition of Beatrix Potter with her little animal people, and Cicely M. Barker with her lovely Flower Fairies.

I live happily with my Soul Mate and Husband Michael, a true Renaissance Man, who is a great inspiration to me. We live in a timeless Land of old-fashioned houses and gardens on the edge of a Mystic Woods, with trees that Arthur Rackham would have loved to paint.

I’ve taught Art, Modern Dance and Classical Ballet, and Drama to adults and children. I also created a Community Theatre Group, presenting classical literature, including Fairy Tales and Shakespeare, on stage. I have decided not to teach anymore and to devote myself solely to my Art Work. I always have been fascinated with the gracefulness of dancers and often ask them to be models for my paintings.

My Art has been licensed in many fields, such as for prints and posters, wall coverings, puzzles, calendars, greeting cards, and embroidery kits, etc.

I’ve illustrated several children’s books, including “Antique Fairy Tales”, “The Sandman and Other Sleepy Time Rhymes”, “Tales of Shakespeare”, and “Pollyanna.”

I both wrote and illustrated my book “What Do Bunnies Do All Day?”, published by Ideals. Currently, I am writing and illustrating several new books on Fairies, Elves, Angels, etc.

I daydream about my paintings for a while before putting them on canvas. This preliminary technique of “Mind Painting” helps me to develop an imaginative work of art.

How to Connect with the Author

Blog www.judymastrangelo.com

Twitter @JMastrangeloArt

Facebook Author Page at Judy Mastrangelo: https://www.facebook.com/judy.mastrangelo.9

Amazon Author Page USA: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KI3S1Y

Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B001KI3S1Y?

Dusty Saddle Publishing: http://www.dspublishingnetwork.com/imagination-books/

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