Posted in reviews

The Rising Tide: Liminal Sky: The Ariadne Cycle Book 2 by J. Scott Coatsworth Review

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

Years after Earth’s destruction, those who survived travel on the generational ship Forever, but face troubles as a series of events could lead to the total loss of free will and humanity as we know it in author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Rising Tide”, the second book in the Liminal Sky: The Ariadne Cycle series. 

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The Synopsis

Earth is dead. Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind. Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history. 

The Review

This was a brilliant sequel to author J. Scott Coatsworth’s first novel in this amazing new sci-fi series. As in the first book the author takes the time to split the book into three parts over the course of several years. Getting to see the evolution of this ship carrying the remaining humans was inspired, from those who knew and loved on Earth and their struggle to adapt to their new home to future generations who know only the generation ship, this was a genius storytelling device. 

What really stands out is the variety and depth of the characters the author utilizes in this book. Jumping around into different generations definitely gives readers new characters rotating into the plot, as well as the Immortals who are part of the ship’s hive-mind. The complex nature of these characters and their connection to the ship help drive the mysterious events of this narrative that put humanity in such danger of losing themselves, making this an instant hit read. 

The Verdict

A stunning, lengthy yet passionate read, author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Rising Tide” is a phenomenal sequel that deepens the mythology of the series in a wonderful way. The evolution of mankind and the way they connect to the hivemind of the ship is great to see unfold, and the growing cast of characters help keep the reader invested in this extensive and fantastic mythos the author has crafted. This is a story of survival, love, and of evolving and learning to let the past stay in the past. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author 

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Ushered into fantasy and sci-fi at the tender age of nine by his mother, he devoured her library of Asimovs, Clarkes, and McCaffreys. But as he grew up, he wondered where the gay people were in speculative fiction.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently–he sees relationships between things that others miss, and often gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He transforms traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He also runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband, Mark, sites that bring LGBTIQA communities together to celebrate fiction that reflects queer life and love.

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Website/Blog: www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Dreamspinner Page: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_1189

QueeRomance Ink Author Page: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

Posted in reviews

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson Review

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

A young girl must find a way to save her mother from a nefarious Madame in the town of Tombstone in author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver”. 

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The Synopsis

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

The Review

This was a fast-paced, intricate character study and intense YA historical read. The author does a great job of focusing on character development within the narrative, and the historical nature of the novel was very well researched and integrated naturally into the book as well. 

The story takes off immediately from the very first pages, with a murder leading to Carissa’s discovery of her mother’s condition and the lengths Miss Lucille will go to secure her business. The young woman risks it all to save those closest to her, and historical fiction and YA fans will love the intricate way the setting plays into the character’s arc and the narrative overall. 

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The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver” is a truly one-of-a-kind read. The historical fiction YA adventure is filled with a gritty Western theme and does a great job of giving a voice to people who are usually relegated to background characters in the typical Western novel, making this a wonderful read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

Website:

Amazon:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53167218-blood-and-silver

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RealValiBenson/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Posted in reviews

The Patient by Linda Thackeray Review

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

After centuries of the realm of magic being separated from humanity, one psychiatric doctor, one homicide detective and a slew of others are about to discover the hidden evil that threatens the world and the magic that has been hidden from them for so long in author Linda Thackeray’s “The Patient”. 

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The Synopsis

Four hundred years ago, the elven realm lost their greatest magician to the modern world. Now, they are returning to avenge the forces that took him…

When the world was known as Avalyne, humans and magical beings lived in harmony upon it. But over time, the elves retreated behind the Veil that separates the modern world from the magical realm.

In the present day, New York psychiatrist Doctor Dan Ellis finds himself treating an elderly homeless man, brought in for vandalizing the imposing Malcolm Industries building. The old man insists on calling Dan ‘War Dragon’ but can recall nothing of his own past or identity.

But Dan is not the only one interested in the old man’s treatment. Malcolm Industries are keen for Doctor Ellis to hand the petty criminal over to them, for reasons unexplained…

Meanwhile, three elven brothers slip from behind the Veil to search the world for the evil that befell their greatest protector. But all is not as it appears, and it seems their allies are every bit as concealed as their foes.

As Dan struggles to reinstate his patient’s memory, he discovers a dangerous secret that threatens not only his life, but the lives of those around him.

Can magic triumph over an invisible evil that has ruled the planet for centuries?

SCROLL UP AND GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!

The Review

This was a phenomenal and truly unique fantasy read. What starts out as a psychological thriller/drama tone quickly shifts into a full-fledged fantasy realm that turns the genre on its head. 

What really stands out here is the author’s creation of creative new mythology. The fusion of not only magical realms but incorporating it into the history of our own world and even the origins of one of the greatest legends of the world, that of King Arthur. The relationship developed between characters like Dan and his allies only serves to enhance the growing mythology of the author’s brand new mythology. 

The Verdict

Evenly paced, action-packed, and hard-hitting, this is a must-read summer fantasy read. Full of grit and creativity, the story’s shifts in tone are quite natural and engaging to readers, and the story leaves the audience wanting more from what one can only hope becomes a prominent new fantasy series. Be sure to grab your copy of “The Patient” by Linda Thackeray today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in a village in Malaysia and delivered by underpaid midwife, and Ann, an irritable new mother (who wouldn’t be after 48 hours in labour?), X was named by a deranged grandmother with too much creativity for her own good. Once out of her pain-induced stupor, Ann decided to give her new daughter a proper middle name to avoid the risk of being put into a home later in life.

And so, she was called Linda.

Linda was an unremarkable child, save a few notable incidents, the discovery that a pot lid is not a substitute for Wonder Woman’s tiara (five stitches), four-year old don’t need to shave (no stitches but lots of toilet paper) and utility truck drivers are not necessarily qualified operators of their vehicles (seventy stitches).

At eight, Linda received religious enlightenment when she saw Star Wars at the Odeon Theatre and hence began her writing career.

For many years, the cages of various pets in the Thackeray household were littered with pages from Linda’s scribblings. Subjects usually ranged from whatever science fiction show was on television or at the movies. There was lots of Star Wars.

At 17, Linda moved to Sydney, Australia and was disappointed it was not occupied by Paul Hogan types with big knives and croc skin jackets but pot-bellied blokes with zinc cream and terry towel hats. Linda’s father (also known as that bloke who buys me stuff to piss mum off when she’s mad at him) settled in the town of Young, a community of 6000 people with no movie theatre.

Linda survived this period in the wilderness by raising kangaroos and writing original works but eventually got saddled down with the necessities of life and though she continued to write, work came first. Work, HBO, comic books and rent. It’s a kaleidoscope.

Even the kangaroos left out of boredom.

In 2014, Linda decided to start writing seriously again. Mostly because Australia’s strict gun laws make it very difficult to ‘go postal’ in the workplace. Moving to Woy Woy, which is Aboriginal for ‘Big Water’, she’s dipped her toes into the Indie pool and found she needs a pedicure. Her books are labours of love and championed by her friends on Facebook.

Eventually Creativia Publishers, appalled by Linda’s inability to conduct any marketing, offered to publish her books out of sheer exasperation.

Supported by two cats named Newt and Humphrey, she spends her days trying to write novels while having unclean thoughts about Michael Fassbender and Jason Statham, sometimes together.

Author Page: https://www.lthackeray.com/

Amazon Central Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Thackeray/e/B00NE63G76/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Scribee31oz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Scribe31oz


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8331182.Linda_Thackeray

Posted in reviews

The Ocean Raiders by Jackson Coppley Review

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

Nicholas Fox returns as a mysterious artifact tied to the ocean and the death of a close friend lead him to a mysterious villain named Frost and a group of assassins in author Jackson Coppley’s “The Ocean Raiders”. 

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The Synopsis

More Action and Adventure

With

Nicholas Foxe and His Team of Code Hunters

Nicholas Foxe jets to Venice to spend time with an old flame. Expecting romance, Nick instead finds himself immersed in murder and intrigue.

Nevin Dowd, a billionaire who owns a number of high-tech companies, is in Venice to help save the city from the next big flood. His underwater excavation work uncovers a mysterious object with curious markings. He calls on Nick to decipher the code.

In Istanbul, British intelligence discovers an ancient letter which tells of a machine hidden in the ocean that can draw massive power from seawater, but at enormous risk. Is this seawater energy machine connected to the object Nick is trying to decipher?

In Switzerland, Nick’s team guards a device that contains advanced knowledge, including details of the seawater energy machine. A group of assassins working for someone known only as Frost, attempts to steal it. Who is Frost, and is he responsible for the murder of someone close to Nick?

Can Nick and his team of code hunters get to the machine first before it destroys Venice?

The Review

One of the hardest things an author can do is not only maintain but capitalize on the momentum of a first novel and put it all into the sequel, and yet that is exactly what author Jackson Coppley has done. The action, the intrigue and the mystery all came together naturally and left me as a reader on the edge of my seat. 

The author equally balances the sci-fi and historical action and mythology with great character development in this sequel. The shocking turn of events through the novel keeps readers invested in the protagonist Nick Fox’s journey, and the reveal of the mysterious Frost will leave readers floored as the nefarious actions of the criminal are revealed. 

The Verdict

An evenly paced action-adventure and science fiction narrative, author Jackson Coppley does a marvelous job of upping the stakes and drama of this harrowing historical fiction/sci-fi series with “The Ocean Raiders”. Full of intrigue, romantic promise, heartbreak and unimaginable threats, this is the perfect summer thriller for fans of a good action-adventure read, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jackson Coppley, a consummate storyteller, illuminates in his writing what happens when technology intersects with human behavior and emotion. Coppley weaves his stories from a sophisticated knowledge of technology and an understanding of human behavior. Coppley’s resume includes a dynamic career with leading world communications and technology companies, and the launching of what the press called “a revolutionary software program” during the rise of personal computing. As a world traveler, Coppley developed an interest in and an understanding of cultural differences and nuances which play an important role in his stories. His YouTube video on the Hmong people of Vietnam, as an example of how he investigates other cultures, received thousands of hits. It is this sensitivity about human behavior combined with the understanding of the potential of technology that brings to his writing a glimpse of what is yet to come.

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/jcoppley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jcoppley

Website: www.JacksonCoppley.com

Check out this amazing review over at Author Anthony Avina’s Blog!

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton Review

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

A tragic loss and desire for a better life leads a woman down a dark and dangerous path into the past and future in author Karen Hamilton’s psychological thriller, “The Last Wife”. 

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The Synopsis

In Karen Hamilton’s shocking thriller, THE LAST WIFE (Graydon House, July 7, $17.99) Marie Langham is distraught when her childhood friend, Nina, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before Nina passes away, she asks Marie to look out for her familyher son, daughter, and husband, Stuart. Marie would do anything for Nina, so of course, she agrees. 

Following Nina’s death, Marie gradually finds herself drawn into her friend’s lifeher family, her large house in the countryside. But when Camilla, a mutual friend from their old art-college days, suddenly reappears, Marie begins to suspect that she has a hidden agenda. Then, Marie discovers that Nina had long suppressed secrets about a holiday in Ibiza the women took ten years previously when Marie’s then-boyfriend went missing after a tragic accident and was later found dead. 

Marie used to envy Nina’s beautiful life, but now the cards are up in the air and she begins to realize that nothing is what it seemed. As long-buried secrets start surfacing, Marie must figure out what’s true and who she can trust before the consequences of Nina’s dark secrets destroy her.

The Review

The author does an excellent job of ramping up the suspense early on in the story. At first glance, the mystery of the promises Marie made to Nina seems harmless, but they are anything but. The edgy nature of the thriller lends itself well to the cast of characters and their hidden natures.

The author’s focus on character development really shines through in this thriller. The mark of a good mystery shows in this narrative, as the characters all show evidence of both good and nefarious intentions, marking them as well-rounded and complex characters that are both relatable and engaging to readers. 

The Verdict

An edge-of-your-seat thriller, author Karen Hamilton’s “The Last Wife” is a must-read summer mystery that is reminiscent of the shocking and electrifying mystery surrounding Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”. The characters steal the show as by book’s end those you thought you could trust suddenly are not, and readers are left shocked as the book comes to a close. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @KJHAuthor

Instagram: @karenhamiltonauthor

Facebook: @KarenHamiltonWriter

Goodreads

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Author Bio: 

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend.

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Now Here is an Excerpt From “The Last Wife” by Karen Hamilton


PROLOGUE

Clients trust me because I blend in. It’s a natural skill—my gift, if you like. I focus my lens and capture stories, like the ones unfolding tonight: natural and guarded expressions, self-conscious poses, joyous smiles, reluctant ones from a teenage bridesmaid, swathed in silver and bloodred. The groom is an old friend, yet I’ve only met his now-wife twice. She seems reserved, hard to get to know, but in their wedding album she’ll glow. The camera does lie. My role is to take these lies and spin them into the perfect story.

I take a glass of champagne from a passing server. I needn’t be totally on the ball during the latter half of the evening because by then, people naturally loosen up. I find that the purest details are revealed in the discreet pictures I snatch during the final hours, however innocuously an event starts. And besides, it seems this event is winding down.

The one downside of my job is the mixed bag of emotions evoked. I rarely take family photos anymore, so normally, I’m fine, but today, watching the wedding festivities, the longing for what I don’t have has crept up on me. People think that envy is a bad thing, but in my opinion, envy is a positive emotion. It has always been the best indicator for me to realize what’s wrong with my life. People say, “Follow your dreams,” yet I’d say, “Follow what makes you sick with envy.”

It’s how I knew that I must stop deceiving myself and face up to how desperately I wanted to have a child. Delayed gratification is overrated.

I place my camera on a table as the tempo eases and sit down on a satin-draped chair. As I watch the bride sweep across the dance floor with her new husband, I think of Nina, and an overwhelming tide of grief floods through me. I picture her haunted expression when she elicited three final promises from me: two are easy to keep, one is not. Nonetheless, a vow is a vow. I will be creative and fulfill it. I have a bad—yet tempting—idea which occasionally beckons me toward a slippery slope.

I must do my best to avoid it because when Nina passed the baton to me, she thought I was someone she could trust. However, as my yearning grows, the crushing disappointment increases every month and the future I crave remains elusive. And she didn’t know that I’d do anything to get what I want. Anything.

ONE

Ben isn’t at home. I used to panic when that happened, assume that he was unconscious in a burning building, his oxygen tank depleted, his colleagues unable to reach him. All this, despite his assurance that they have safety checks in place to keep an eye out for each other. He’s been stressed lately, blames it on work. He loves his job as a firefighter, but nearly lost one of his closest colleagues in a fire on the fourth floor of a block of flats recently when a load of wiring fell down and threatened to ensnare him.

No, the reality is that he is punishing me. He doesn’t have a shift today. I understand his hurt, but it’s hard to explain why I did what I did. For a start, I didn’t think that people actually sent out printed wedding invitations anymore. If I’d known that the innocuous piece of silver card smothered in horseshoes and church bells would be the ignition for the worst argument we’d ever had, I wouldn’t have opened it in his presence.

Marie Langham plus guest…

I don’t know what annoyed Ben more, the fact that he wasn’t deemed important enough to be named or that I said I was going alone.

“I’m working,” I tried to explain. “The invitation is obviously a kind formality, a politeness.”

“All this is easily rectifiable,” he said. “If you wanted me there, you wouldn’t have kept me in the dark. The date was blocked off as work months ago in our calendar.”

True. But I couldn’t admit it. He wouldn’t appreciate being called a distraction.

Now, I have to make it up to him because it’s the right time of the month. He hates what he refers to as enforced sex (too much pressure), and any obvious scene-setting like oyster-and-champagne dinners, new lingerie, an invitation to join me in the shower or even a simple suggestion that we just shag, all the standard methods annoy him. It’s hard to believe that other couples have this problem, it makes me feel inadequate.

One of our cats bursts through the flap and aims for her bowl. I observe her munching, oblivious to my return home until this month’s strategy presents itself to me: nonchalance. A part of Ben’s stress is that he thinks I’m obsessed with having a baby. I told him to look up the true meaning of the word: an unhealthy interest in something. It’s not an obsession to desire something perfectly normal.

I unpack, then luxuriate in a steaming bath filled with bubbles. I’m a real sucker for the sales promises: relax and unwind and revitalize. I hear the muffled sound of a key in the lock. It’s Ben—who else would it be—yet I jump out and wrap a towel around me. He’s not alone. I hear the voices of our neighbors, Rob and Mike. He’s brought in reinforcements to maintain the barrier between us. There are two ways for me to play this and if you can’t beat them…

I dress in jeans and a T-shirt, twist my hair up and grip it with a hair clip, wipe mascara smudges from beneath my eyes and head downstairs.

“You’re back,” says Ben by way of a greeting. “The guys have come over for a curry.”

“Sounds perfect,” I say, kissing him before hugging our friends hello.

I feel smug at the wrong-footed expression on Ben’s face. He thought I’d be unable to hide my annoyance, that I’d pull him to one side and whisper, “It’s orange,” (the color my fertility app suggests is the perfect time) or suggest that I cook instead so I can ensure he eats as organically as possible.

“Who’s up for margaritas?” I say with an I’m game for a big night smile.

Ben’s demeanor visibly softens. Result. I’m forgiven.

The whole evening is an effortless success.

Indifference and good, old-fashioned getting pissed works.

Excerpted from The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton, Copyright © 2020 by Karen Hamilton 

Published by Graydon House Books

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen Review

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

A powerful book of poetry that dives into the complex nature of female identity and the roles they’ve been forced into playing in society throughout history comes to life in author and poet Elizabeth Hazen’s book, “Girls Like Us”. 

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The Synopsis

Girls Like Us is packed with fierce, eloquent, and deeply intelligent poetry focused on female identity and the contradictory personas women are expected to embody. The women in these poems sometimes fear and sometimes knowingly provoke the male gaze. At times, they try to reconcile themselves to the violence that such attentions may bring; at others, they actively defy it. Hazen’s insights into the conflict between desire and wholeness, between self and self-destruction, are harrowing and wise. The predicaments confronted in Girls Like Us are age-old and universal—but in our current era, Hazen’s work has a particular weight, power, and value. 

The Review

What a moving work of poetry. The author does an incredible job of bringing the pain and emotion that many women in life have had to endure through society’s expectations and the roles cast upon them through her work. As someone who considers himself a feminist and someone who has always wanted to live in a world where my mother and sister could live knowing they were viewed by everyone as equals and were respected, this poetry really spoke to me on a personal level while also feeling personal to the author at the same time. 

What really captured my attention as a reader was the way the author writes, in which many of the poems were written with such precision and detail-oriented writing, and yet felt personal to the author and broad enough for others to connect to on their own personal levels. The complexity of the layers of this poetry speaks to the simple desire for equality so many seek throughout their lives, and the ongoing fight to bring that equality to life. 

The Verdict

A truly one of a kind read, the author and poet Elizabeth Hazen and her book “Girls Like Us” is a truly amazing work of poems. The raw emotions combined with the true and often sad realities the poems capture of life connect with readers on an intimate level, and the theme and heart of the book speak to so many that readers will not be able to put it down. Be sure to grab this quick yet powerful read today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hazen is a poet, essayist, and teacher. A Maryland native, she came of age in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the pre-internet, grunge-tinted 1990s, when women were riding the third wave of feminism and fighting the accompanying backlash. She began writing poems when she was in middle school, after a kind-hearted librarian handed her Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. She has been reading and writing poems ever since.

Hazen’s work explores issues of addiction, mental health, and sexual trauma, as well as the restorative power of love and forgiveness. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Alan Squire Publishing released her first book, Chaos Theories, in 2016. Girls Like Us is her second collection. She lives in Baltimore with her family.

GoodReads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50162841-girls-like-us

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2U4wdtg

Alan Squire Publishing (also available is a SoundCloud Audio reading from her first collection): https://alansquirepublishing.com/book-authors/elizabeth-hazen/

Schedule for Blog Tour:

May 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

May 15: Allie Reads (Review)

May 19: the bookworm (Guest Post)

May 26: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

May 28: Impressions in Ink (Review)

June 2: Vidhya Thakkar (Review)

June 9: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)

June 11: Read, Write and Life Around It (Review)

June 15: Readaholic Zone (Review)

June 16: Read, Write and Life Around It (Interview – tentative)

June 24: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

June 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

June 30: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

July 9: The Book Connection (Review)

July 22: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

July 7: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight/video)

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Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Robert J. Sawyer

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My father was an author of books on macroeconometrics, his field of specialty, and my great uncle had written a definitive volume on antique salt shakers, so the concept of writing a book was never daunting to me.

I had some great school teachers—particularly in the fifth and sixth grade, where it happened to be the same woman, although she was Miss Matthews the first year and Mrs. Jones the second!—and also in high school who were very encouraging.

In fact, I’ve got a phone message on my answering machine right now from one of those high-school teachers, Bill Martyn, that I need to return. It’s been forty-one years since I graduated from high school, but he just called to say he’d loved my latest novel, The Oppenheimer Alternative.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

This is the 75th-anniversary year of the birth of the atomic age, with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seemed like a good time to try to delve, as only a novelist can, into the inner lives of the people who were responsible for unleashing hell on Earth: Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, General Leslie R. Groves, and, most notably, the scientific leader of the Manhattan Project, the mercurial, tortured J. Robert Oppenheimer.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The theme of not just The Oppenheimer Alternative but some of my 23 other novels, too, is that the world would be a far better place if the brightest people simply stopped making the things the stupidest people wanted them to make. No general, president, or dictator can make an atomic bomb—only geniuses could do that—and instead of saying nope, they dove right in.

The great irony is this: it’s arguable that, although Oppenheimer and others were salivating at the notion of an essentially unlimited budget—the spent two billion 1945 dollars, which is the equivalent of $28 billion today—to create the atomic bomb, the head of the German bomb project, Werner Heisenberg, knew the folly of letting a madman like Hitler have such a thing and so he may very well have deliberately failed to build one.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Well, “this particular genre” is one that actually I may well have created: hard-science fiction secret/alternate history.

My novel is a real, honest-to-goodness accurate and carefully extrapolated science-fiction tale built on sound science woven into the gaps about what we know really did occur between 1936, when The Oppenheimer Alternative begins, and 1967, when the novel ends. Nothing in it contradicts anything we know to be true, but the reader will be treated to what I hope they’ll consider a mind-blowing science-fiction tale as well as a heart-wrenching historical-fiction story.

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5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Perhaps surprisingly, it would not be my main character, the J. Robert Oppenheimer of the book’s title, but rather his erstwhile friend and then betrayer, Edward Teller.

Although ironically Teller wrote his memoirs and Oppie never did, it’s Teller—the man often cited as the principal inspiration for the title character in the movie Dr. Strangelove—who leaves me scratching my head.

Teller really said, “No amount of fiddling will save our souls” and he really did go to see his dying colleague, Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi, to, in Teller’s own words “confess his sins.”

But even with such apparent misgivings he just went right on pushing for bigger and bigger bombs—ranging in size from merely genocidal to ones that would trigger the extinction of most life on our planet—as well as shilling for Ronald Reagan’s fatally flawed Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) until the day he died.

What the hell was Teller thinking? He was great with kids, often carrying candy for them in his pockets, and he loved his own children and grandchildren—and yet he was monstrous.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook, for a few reasons.

One: I’m a long-form writer—a novelist!—and so the character-count constraints of Twitter make it ill-suited for me.

And two, as all good writers know, the heart of good writing is revision: you can’t edit a tweet, and but you can go back even years later and correct typos or ambiguous phrasing on Facebook.

I long ago hit the hard-coded 5,000-friend limit Facebook has built into its architecture, but you can still follow me there—as 6,500 additional people do—and join in the daily lively discussions and debates we have there.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

In 1997, I came out of a deli in Los Angeles and saw Gordon Jump, one of the stars of WKRP in Cincinnati standing on the sidewalk, so I went up to him and said, “I’d just like to shake the hand of the man who uttered the funniest line in sitcom history.”

We chatted for a bit, and I asked what he was doing just hanging out in front of a deli. He replied a young wannabe actor had said he’d take him to lunch here in exchange for some advice about getting into the industry. I asked, “What advice are you going to give him?” And Gordon replied, “Don’t get into the industry.”

Seriously, this is an awful time to be a traditionally published author. In the thirty years I’ve been a novelist now, there have been enormous cost reductions for publishers—no more re-keyboarding typed manuscripts, no more sending page proofs by courier, instead of servicing thousands of small bookstore accounts mostly just servicing a few big ones, having authors do their own promotion via social media instead of publishers advertising their books, etc.

But every penny of those costs savings—every single one—has been kept by publishers, with none passed onto authors. Meanwhile, in addition to the production of print books for distribution to bookstores—the one thing publishers are good at—they also demand ebook rights, audiobooks rights, and they’re trying to get a piece of the film and TV action, too.

So, my advice is simply this: license your intellectual property as narrowly as possible and only let a licensee have rights to specific aspects of it that they have a great track record with, and make sure they’re making real money not just for themselves but for you, too.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’ve been asked to write a lengthy original audio drama, and I may, or may not, sign the contract for that; we’ll see. But really, the new books on my horizon right now are books that are new to me: I’m just catching up on my reading!

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About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada’s best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.

Robert Sawyer grew up in Toronto, the son of two university professors. He credits two of his favourite shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Search and Star Trek, with teaching him some of the fundamentals of the science-fiction craft. Sawyer was obsessed with outer space from a young age, and he vividly remembers watching the televised Apollo missions. He claims to have watched the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey 25 times. He began writing science fiction in a high school club, which he co-founded, NASFA (Northview Academy Association of Science Fiction Addicts). Sawyer graduated in 1982 from the Radio and Television Arts Program at Ryerson University, where he later worked as an instructor.

Sawyer’s first published book, Golden Fleece (1989), is an adaptation of short stories that had previously appeared in the science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories. This book won the Aurora Award for the best Canadian science-fiction novel in English. In the early 1990s Sawyer went on to publish his inventive Quintaglio Ascension trilogy, about a world of intelligent dinosaurs. His 1995 award winning The Terminal Experiment confirmed his place as a major international science-fiction writer.

A prolific writer, Sawyer has published more than 10 novels, plus two trilogies. Reviewers praise Sawyer for his concise prose, which has been compared to that of the science-fiction master Isaac Asimov. Like many science fiction-writers, Sawyer welcomes the opportunities his chosen genre provides for exploring ideas. The first book of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, Hominids (2002), is set in a near-future society, in which a quantum computing experiment brings a Neanderthal scientist from a parallel Earth to ours. His 2006 Mindscan explores the possibility of transferring human consciousness into a mechanical body, and the ensuing ethical, legal, and societal ramifications.

A passionate advocate for science fiction, Sawyer teaches creative writing and appears frequently in the media to discuss his genre. He prefers the label “philosophical fiction,” and in no way sees himself as a predictor of the future. His mission statement for his writing is “To combine the intimately human with the grandly cosmic.”

Posted in reviews

The Tech by Mark Ravine Review

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

A young FBI agent takes charge of a new team, and discovers that a series of new cases are mysteriously tied to a shadowy organization in author Mark Ravine’s novel, “The Tech”. 

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The Synopsis

Alexandra has just taken charge of her new team, a motley crew of screw-ups at the Arizona Field Office, the latest in a series of forgettable assignments. With a history of rebelling against authority and blunt speaking, she vows to change her ways and make this assignment work.

Within minutes of her taking charge, she is drawn into a bank robbery case. She leads her new team to catch the robbers but discovers that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. The very next day three girls go missing. Before they could be trafficked out of the country, she races against time to rescue them. Soon, she begins to realize that all the cases coming her way are mysteriously connected. As she unravels the threads of a massive conspiracy, she discovers that a secret organization with immense power and authority is behind these horrific crimes. Forces within the FBI thwart her every move to discover the truth. Helping her navigate this maze is the shadowy Michael Patterson. But can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? Soon, witnesses disappear, suspects are killed, with her life and the lives of her team in lethal danger. Will she come out of this alive? Will she uncover and expose this cabal? As time starts running out, Alexandra Cassidy has to evade indictment and defy death in a deadly game of cat and mouse. 

The Review

The author has excelled in his debut novel. The characters are fully developed and do an amazing job of pulling the reader into the narrative as a whole. The complexity of the plot really keeps the intrigue and suspense of this FBI thriller alive, weaving together various cases and plots involving human trafficking, bank robberies and murder. 

The author does an amazing job of crafting a narrative that focuses on a tech-based approach to investigative work and yet makes it accessible and easy for the average reader to delve into, even venturing into sci-fi territory with the sophistication of the tech used in the investigations. Yet it is the character development that really shines the brightest in this novel, crafting a unique blend of suspense and bonding between the protagonist and the team of characters she finds herself surrounded by. 

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The Verdict

A must-read action-fueled thriller, author Mark Ravine’s “The Tech” is a smash hit debut novel. The author has put together a memorable cast of characters and an amazingly interwoven plot that ticks every box in the classic FBI thriller and takes it up several notches. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Guest Post

Guest Blog Post: How Can Walking Help with Loneliness by Author Joyce Shulman

Most of us have heard that walking is good for our bodies: walking can reduce our risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, dementia, diabetes, several types of cancer, and more. Some of us have heard that walking is good for our brains: walking can help improve our decision-making, boost our executive function, and fuel our creativity. And many of us have heard that walking is good for our emotional well-being: walking can boost our mood and can be a valuable tool in the battle against depression.

But what about loneliness? Can walking help there too?

We believe so. A study my company undertook last year revealed that women who regularly walk with their friends are 2.5 times less likely to feel lonely often.

Why is it that walking together is so powerful?

First, we are social beings and we are wired to crave — and enjoy — shared experiences. Researchers believe this comes directly from our biological need to belong: our ancestors were a whole lot safer walking in the woods with their tribe than they were walking the woods by themselves.

Second, our hormones help. Walking increases levels of oxytocin — a hormone that heightens our connections with others. So when you walk with a friend, your biology helps foster a deeper, more meaningful connection. And yes, oxytocin is the same hormone that is released during childbirth and nursing, which makes sense because it encourages us to bond with our babies.

Third, extensive research shows that our brains process differently when we are walking. Because only part of our brain is occupied with putting one foot in front of the other, the rest of our brain is free to roam, to think more deeply. More importantly, when we are walking together, we can comfortably take the moments of quiet to process and give ourselves the chance to think, and connect, more deeply.

Finally, because conversations tend to flow more easily and because walking together provides an activity — and one that takes place away from home — it is far more comfortable to invite a new friend for a walk than to invite them to your home. Indeed, many mom friendships have been formed from the question “Do you want to take a walk after school drop off?” 

In short, walking together can be an incredibly powerful antidote to loneliness. It provides the perfect environment for conversation and connection. It offers time and space, free of distractions. It gives us the increased pleasure that comes from sharing an experience. It delivers a blast of oxytocin that encourages us to connect with one another. And it provides an easy way to begin to connect with a new friend.

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About the Author

Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH-NR50srbDzKdUBx5BPgQQ

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

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— Blog Tour Dates

May 25th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 26th @ Karen Brown Tyson’s Blog

Stop by Karen’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about how you become inspired to write a book.

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 28th @ One Sister’s Journey

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 30th @ One Sister’s Journey

Stop by Lisa’s blog again today where you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman where she talks about why do women need to take care of themselves. A timely post in this day and age!

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 2nd @ Lady Unemployed

Visit Nicole’s blog and read Joyce Shulman’s guest post about beating brownout (the precursor to burnout).

https://ladyunemployed.com/

June 5th @ Wellness Connection Utah

Visit The Wellness Connection today and read thoughtful insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.wellnessconnectionutah.com/blog

June 6th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Stop by Anthony’s blog again where you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman on how walking can help with loneliness.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 8th @ Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog today and read her interview with  Joyce Shulman, author of the book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

June 10th @ Bookish Tay

Stop by Taylor’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 12th @ The New England Book Critic

Visit Victoria’s blog today and read her insights into Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/

June 13th @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 15th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Visit Jessica’s blog today and make sure you read her review of author Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://jessicasreadingroom.com

June 17th @ Bookish Tay

Visit Taylor’s blog again and you can read a guest post written by Joyce Shulman about how to keep fear from standing in your way.

https://tayepperson.com/

June 19th @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

June 19th @ Second Wind Leisure 

Stop by Terri’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better. You can also read a guest post written by the author about the power of yet.

https://secondwindleisure.com/

June 20th @ Cafeyre 

Visit Karoline’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://cafeyre.wordpress.com/

June 21st @ Simply Nourished Wellness

Visit Stephani’s blog again and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about the value of walking. Don’t miss it!

https://www.baconandwhippedcream.com/

June 22nd @ And So She Thinks

Visit Francesca’s blog today and read her interview with Joyce Shulman, author of Walk Your Way to Better.

Home

https://andsoshethinks.co.uk/embed/#?secret=1ilLtrNQ9d

June 23rd @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 24th @ Cathy C. Hall Writes

Visit Cathy’s blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://c-c-hall.com/

June 25th @ D-Mom Blog

Don’t miss Leighann’s review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

http://www.d-mom.com/

June 26th @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Stop by Deborah’s blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

Welcome!

http://www.deborah-adams.com/embed/#?secret=lWbZ45jh7z

June 27th  @ Deborah Adam’s Blog

Visit Deborah’s blog again today and you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman about the commitment to women walking their way to better.

Welcome!

http://www.deborah-adams.com/embed/#?secret=lWbZ45jh7z

June 28th @ Bev A Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog today where she reviews Joyce Shulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/