Friday, October 31, 2014

Guest Post: Keidi Keating author of The Light: A Book of Wisdom

Keidi Keating, author of the book The Light: A Book of Wisdom, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.






About the book:

This powerful book contains chapters by 22 of the world's leading luminaries in the field of personal development and spiritual transformation, including bestselling authors Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God) and Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements).

Covering topics from co-creating a peaceful world, forgiveness, healing, and finding purpose and happiness, to chapters about health, well-being, destiny, and the mysteries of kundalini, The Light also includes practical exercises and guidance, empowering readers to achieve their greatest potential.







About the author:

Keidi Keating experienced a sudden spiritual awakening at the age of 30, after a series of transformational healing sessions. One night, an orb of glowing white light appeared in her bedroom and instructed her to put together a book of light to assist and support others on their journeys to enlightenment. She gathered some of the planet's greatest spiritual teachers and authors to contribute chapters. Three years later, after a lot of hard work and synchronistic magic, The Light spilled its rays to readers. Keidi now speaks at events throughout the world, and she continues to write books that empower people to awaken their divine inner light. She lives in Ketchum, Idaho. Her Website is www.keidikeating.com.


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Giveaway: Sweet: The Handbook for All Things Dessert from the editors of Food Network Magazine

TAKE ALL THE GUESSWORK OUT OF DESSERT! Food Network Magazine editors have picked their all-time favorite treats and put them into one amazing book. In Sweet, you’ll find over-the-top brownies, super fun cupcakes, show-off layer cakes, one-of-a-kind cookies and so much more.

This great collection includes recipes for any occasion, with step-by-step instructions and full-page color photographs to help you along. You don’t need to be an experienced baker to get started. Every dessert in this book is easy to follow—and totally foolproof. Each recipe has been triple-tested, so you know it’ll come out just right. Flip through and you’ll find some fun surprises, too: a bowl made of chocolate, a spectrum of frosting colors and a cake that looks like a giant caramel apple. 



Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!
Enter to win by filling out the form below.







Review: An Unseemly Wife by E. B. Moore

Not all journeys come to an end....  

1867. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho.

Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence, the preacher’s wife, and the tomboyish, teasing Sadie.

But as these new friendships lead to betrayal, what started as a quest for a brighter future ends with Ruth making unthinkable sacrifices, risking faith and family, and transforming into a woman she never imagined she’d become...



Received for review.

While this had an interesting premise it was a sad disappointment for me.  I though the story of a woman leaving her family behind and bravely traveling west would be inspiring but it just wasn't.

The main problem was that Ruth was so incredibly unlikable.  She was just whiny and annoying and harped on the "English" all the time.  Seriously, all the time.  She never shut up about how evil the English were, how they had no respect for her god, blah, blah, blah.  I just wanted to smack her.

I breathed a big sigh of relief at the end of the book.  Not because of the book's resolution (which was okay), but because I was just so incredibly glad it was finally over.

I really cannot recommend this unless you enjoy reading about miserable, whiny women.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay



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Author Interview: Monterial Bynoe author of the book Determination: Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me

Monterial Bynoe, author of the book Determination: Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Monterial Bynoe I am the founding pastor of the Tabernacle of Praise in Randolph, Ma. I am the father of five wonderful children and grandfather of two.

I'm married to the love of my life Lady Stella. We been married 20 years. Together we the owners of M&S Cleaning Services.

And now the author of my first book entitled Determination "Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me".


What do you do when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family and watching movies and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and traveling


When did your first start writing?

I started writing this book in 2013 and finished in April of this year.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

To be honest when I was young I didn't like to read. I think I didn't start loving to read till I was locked in prison because it was my way out.

The book that influenced me was the autobiography of Malcolm X


What inspired you to write this particular book?

As a pastor you would hear stories of people trying to achieve that goal and see their dreams come to pass and it wasn't that they didn't have faith they just didn't have enough faith in themselves or their determination to see it come to pass.

So I said I need to write a book about how I like so many wouldn't let the many no's stop me from becoming what i knew was my destiny.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I think my favorite part is seeing your manuscript for the first time.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Stick to it till you're holding a copy of your book in your hand


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

This Book can give you tools to help you achieve not only your personal goals but family and professional goals as well.




About the book:

From the heart of Pastor Monterial Bynoe comes this short-read created and purposed to inspire you to successfully navigate your life by accessing your God given gift of determination. 

Through Biblical accounts and personal testimony, Pastor Bynoe not only provides insight on how to assess your current level of determination and make the appropriate adjustments, but he also teaches you how to go further and use your determined mindset to seek, find, and carry out the divine design for your life.


About the author:

ANOINTED, BOLD, GOD-CENTERED, VISIONARY, ENTREPRENEUR and DETERMINED are all terms that are used to describe the native of Boston, Massachusetts. Monterial Bynoe is Senior Pastor of The Tabernacle of Praise, better known as The TOP Church in Randolph, Massachusetts. A man of humble beginnings, he now leads one of Randolph’s fastest growing congregations in only six years.

He attended Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts, and went on to become a graduate of Caleb Leadership Institute in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

He and his lovely wife Stella are the proud parents of five Monterial, Lamont, Ariyanna, Kiara and Kayla. They are also the grandparents of two Taylah and Monterial III.

Pastor Bynoe’s personal motto and scripture is Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”

To learn more about the author or for booking please visit MonterialBynoe.com, TabernacleOfPraiseMin.org or email Info@MonterialBynoe.com. You may also visit him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: The Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of two women in early nineteenth century America—one typical of her time, one extraordinary for it—who transform each other’s lives. 

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her husband has made it a monstrous prison. When a mysterious woman offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamboat for Mackinac Island. But after being a dutiful daughter and obedient wife, it is only as she flees that she realizes how unprepared she is for freedom. 

An exceptional woman of early America, Magdelaine Fonteneau has overcome convention to live a bold and adventurous life, achieving great wealth and power as a fur trader. But Magdelaine has also seen great tragedy and lost all that was dear to her, and she is no longer sure her hardened heart is capable of love. 

Now, Magdelaine seeks redemption by offering safe harbor to Susannah. But as their friendship grows into something miraculous, it changes each woman in unexpected ways. Each needs to learn to love again, and only together can they realize a future bright with the promise of new life.



Received for review.

I wanted to like this, I really did, since it seemed interesting but the reality was sadly disappointing.

Susannah was a spoiled little rich girl who kept whining about her circumstances - husband who didn't love her and married her for her money (which she no longer had).  Yawn.  It was really hard to sympathize with her at all, especially after her "escape".  Magdelaine wasn't much better.  She was cold and thoroughly unlikeable.  The two had so much cruelty and hatred for their former lives that it was really sickening.  I didn't find either of their stories inspiring or even entertaining.  They were just such bitter women that it was stomach churning.

The book was well written and did capture the time nicely but the characters were just such nasty people that I really did not enjoy this at all.  I really cannot recommend it.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: The Tudor Vendetta by C. W. Gortner

London, 1558. Queen Mary is dead, and 25-year old Elizabeth ascends the throne. Summoned to court from exile abroad, Elizabeth’s intimate spy, Brendan Prescott, is reunited with the young queen, as well as his beloved Kate, scheming William Cecil, and arch-rival, Robert Dudley. A poison attempt on Elizabeth soon overshadows her coronation, but before Brendan can investigate, Elizabeth summons him in private to dispatch him on a far more confidential mission: to find her favored lady in waiting, Lady Parry, who has disappeared during a visit to her family manor in Yorkshire. 

Upon his arrival at the desolate sea-side manor where Lady Parry was last seen, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery in Vaughn Hall, the more he learns that in his zeal to uncover the truth, he could be precipitating Elizabeth’s destruction. 

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the deadly underworld of London, Brendan must race against time to unravel a vendetta that will strike at the very core of his world—a vendetta that could expose a buried past and betray everything he has fought for, including his loyalty to his queen.



Received for review.

Not having read the first books in the series I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy this novel but I didn't need to worry.  The author did a beautiful job of introducing the characters so that new readers were quickly brought up to speed.

The story was actually even more interesting for me since I just finished Steve Berry's The King's Deception which is about Elizabeth I.  It gave the story an interesting new dimension and made me enjoy it even more.

This is a beautifully written blend of historical fact and fiction and is so well done that it feels completely authentic and as if you are reading a real account of the events.  Between the court intrigue inside the palace and the adventure outside it's an intelligent, well crafted story that is sure to entertain both fans of the Tudor period and spy story lovers as well.  I definitely recommend this and look forward to future books in the series!

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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Review: Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth by V.C. Andrews

Jealousy, tragedy, survival, and revenge—the discovery of Christopher’s diary in the ruins of Foxworth Hall brings new secrets of the Dollanganger family to light and obsesses a new generation. With Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind both now major Lifetime TV events, this first new addition to the Dollanganger story in nearly thirty years is a timely look at the events in the attic—from teenage Christopher’s point of view. 

And don’t forget to preorder the follow-up, Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger! 

Christopher Dollanganger was fourteen when he and his younger siblings—Cathy and the twins, Cory and Carrie—were locked away in the attic of Foxworth Hall, prisoners of their mother’s greedy inheritance scheme. For three long years he kept hope alive for the sake of the others. But the shocking truth about how their ordeal affected him was always kept hidden—until now. 

Seventeen-year-old Kristin Masterwood is thrilled when her father’s construction company is hired to inspect the Foxworth property for a prospective buyer. The once grand Southern mansion still sparks legends and half-truths about the four innocent Dollanganger children, even all these decades later. Foxworth holds a special fascination for Kristin, who was too young when her mother died to learn much about her distant blood tie to the notorious family. 

Accompanying her dad to the “forbidden territory,” they find a leather-bound book, its yellowed pages filled with the neat script of Christopher Dollanganger himself. Her father grows increasingly uneasy about her reading it, but as she devours the teen’s story page by page, his shattering account of temptation, heartache, courage, and betrayal overtakes Kristin’s every thought. And soon her obsession with the doomed boy crosses a dangerous line…



Received for review.

When I read Flowers in the Attic when I was young it scared the heck out of me but I still couldn't put it down and when I reread it recently I had the same reaction.  There's something so fascinating about the story that just keeps you flipping the pages as fast as you can read them because you can't believe the events are actually happening.  So, when I heard about the release of this newest book in the series I had to read it too and all I can say is "wow".

I love the idea of a girl finding Christopher's diary that he secretly kept while he and his siblings were inprisioned in the attic and becoming fascinating and then increasingly obsessed with it.  I think her experience mirrors our own as young readers of Flowers in the Attic.  The book just took you over and you had to find out what happened and it's the same with Kristin.  Of course, this being a V.C. Andrews book Kristin goes a bit too far with her obsession.  

This thrilling new chapter in the story continues the deeply disturbing tradition and is a wonderful addition to the series.  I highly, highly recommend it to fans of the original books as well as those new to the haunting series.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Enchantress by Maggie Anton

Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia. 

One of the most powerful practitioner of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava—whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a “man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death—the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk. 

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where “abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.



Received for review.

I've always loved reading about Babylonia so I was intrigued when I came across this book and picked it up.  When I started reading I wasn't aware that it was part of a series so I was a bit confused by some references but I quickly found my footing through the author's skillfully woven descriptions.

I'm also not exactly a Jewish scholar so some of the words and references in the book went right over my head and seriously detracted from my reading enjoyment.  

The story itself was interesting and the mixture of magic and setting made for a truly unique experience.  I really enjoyed that while the women were powerful the author did not portray the men as overbearing or weak as so many authors tend to.  Both the men and the women were strong and intelligent.

Overall, this was a very nice, well written read and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Skinnytaste Coookbook by Gina Homolka

Get the recipes everyone is talking about in the debut cookbook from the wildly popular blog Skinnytaste

Gina Homolka is America’s most trusted home cook when it comes to easy, flavorful recipes that are miraculously low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. Her blog, Skinnytaste is the number one go-to site for slimmed down recipes that you’d swear are anything but. It only takes one look to see why people go crazy for Gina’s food: cheesy, creamy Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli with only 420 calories per serving, breakfast dishes like Make-Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins" that truly fill you up until lunchtime, and sweets such as Double Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies that are low in sugar and butter-free but still totally indulgent.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 150 amazing recipes: 125 all-new dishes and 25 must-have favorites. As a busy mother of two, Gina started Skinnytaste when she wanted to lose a few pounds herself. She turned to Weight Watchers for help and liked the program but struggled to find enough tempting recipes to help her stay on track. Instead, she started “skinny-fying” her favorite meals so that she could eat happily while losing weight.

With 100 stunning photographs and detailed nutritional information for every recipe, The Skinnytaste Cookbook is an incredible resource of fulfilling, joy-inducing meals that every home cook will love.



Received for review.

Frankly, I'd never heard of the Skinnytaste blog but I couldn't resist the cover since I love cookbooks so I had to get this.

This is a low calorie cookbook so you might expect it to be packed with recipes that have zero taste but the creator did a nice job of incorporating a lot of flavor into her recipes.  It is important to note that while these recipes may be low fat and low calorie they are still quite high in sugar and salt.

The recipes are very easy to make and are beautifully photographed but many feature ingredient substitutions that may not be ideal for some people, such as avocados for butter in a cookie recipe or zucchini strips instead of lasagna noodles.  There are also some harder to find ingredients, such as faro, which may require multiple shopping trips and may make the recipes less convenient.

Overall this is a good collection of recipes for those looking into a lower calorie diet and I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It



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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author Interview: Sue Messruther author of Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1)

Sue Messruther, author of the book Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1), stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a very busy mum of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! All of my children have grown up and with currently 3 grandchildren I want to write so they can enjoy reading and use their imagination too! Plus it is a lot of fun for me too, especially with books like my new series, these are fun to sit and think and type away being as silly as I want to be.



What do you do when you're not writing?

Oh golly you are going to be so sorry you asked! Ha ha ha, ok I am a mobile carer which means that I look after the aged, disabled and sick in their homes so they can stay there as long as possible and enjoy a good quality life with independence, so for this I do morning and early tea shifts which is when they need the most help. Then when I am finished morning run for this, I swap hats and do my web design business and SEO work for clients until the tea shift! After the tea run, I help other authors with formatting of their books for print or kindle, create covers and give advice.

It is on weekends and holidays that I get to turn my attention to my books where I write under a few names and do mostly fiction because it is fun to be imaginative! 



When did your first start writing?

I have to admit that writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, as a web designer for over 15 years I have written a lot of pages and blog posts for them. However, writing books began several years ago when a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread. Then I soon turned my attention to children with “Kids in the kitchen” these are a part of the “Just for Kids” series, some of which have been translated into French. I enjoyed the creativity of the children’s imaginative cooking so much that we have organized another 4 Kids in the kitchen editions.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

My favorite book is Alice in Wonderland; I just love the imagination and creativeness of this whole story that influenced a series (that I wrote under a pen name Jackie C Myrtle) the Series is “Wonderland”. However, for this particular series the influence is Dr Seuss. I love the silly poems and cute creatures so it was with these in mind that this series grew.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

Ok don’t laugh but this is what really happened… my daughter Rosheen now 15 years is going through this stage of wearing my socks – but with a slight difference, you see it is trendy to wear odd socks! Don’t ask me why I really have no idea and obviously, I am not in fashion because I quite like to wear matching socks!

Therefore, after a week of her pinching my socks there actually came a day where I ashamedly had to wear odd socks to work!

Oh my! Now my little old ladies and gents thought it was all very cute and yes, you guessed it that is where the idea for this book originally was born.

So you’re wondering now where do the aliens come in? I was showing my odd socks that I had worn to work that day to Shirley a friend of mine, after laughing and being silly somehow, aliens came up in our conversation, now, why I can’t remember, I remember suddenly shouting “Aliens”! A very puzzled look came across her face but she is used to me and knew something was brewing in my mind and it certainly was, Sock Seekers suddenly turned from a silly idea into a reality.



What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?


I think the best part is the parade of aliens marching into the room, I mean who would think these creatures would enter a bedroom to play with socks! Now why is easy, I could create all sorts of cuddly, funny and silly creatures with lots of features!



What is best writing advice you can give?


I like to sit, close my eyes and imagine then speak – I use dragon naturally speaking so this allows me to do this and by closing my eyes I can let it flow without interruption or getting side tracked with a wondering mind! Then after I am done (these books took an hour to write initially) I go back and amend a day later, then print and read and edit again then send to the editor. While at the editors, I can then begin with the drawings, which is actually the longest part of the whole process!

Now surprisingly nobody told me off, nobody told me I was silly and nobody laughed at me, rather it was, oh when can we buy it! So don’t sit there and think any more, get in and do it!



Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about the book?

These children’s poems are part of a series and the other 3 books are all written and edited, currently they are in the cue for me to get the images done and the covers etc. I will have them all published by 7th November 2014 ready for Christmas sales.

Of course I had a little fun and created a book trailer too which you can have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ks19SgkLP4 and naturally if you want first hand news on when the others are released you can find out either at my author website http://selfpublishingauthors.co.uk/suemessruther or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/suemessruther.author




About the book:

We all have them and we find them everywhere, but never the matching pair! We are talking about odd socks, now we have heard all sorts of stories, including the most common - the dryer ate the other sock!

Now you can find out what could really be happening. Who is pinching your odd sock? Have a little fun and imagination on our Sock Seekers adventure - the Alien Caper Encounter kind!

To help you enjoy this book with your child, we have included some notes for parents. Book 1 of a 4 part Alien Caper Encounter series. 


Click the text and see it pop! Happy reading! 









About the author:

Hi my name is Sue with a family of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! With a variety of books that I have written for both on and off Amazon. I have just started writing “Kids in the kitchen” which is part of the “Just for kids” series and what fun it has been! I have to say I really have enjoyed it and have plans for another 4 Kids in the kitchenthis year. With the “Just for kids” series I plan on not only doing cooking but we will do some fun craft ideas to keep the youngsters entertained during holidays and weekends.

So why do I write? Well because it is fun and it is somewhere for my creativity to have an outlet – apparently I am a Gemini because I am born in June and the year that I was born in was the year of the rabbit, now my research tells me that Gemini’s are very creative and very active they need to be learning and discovering something new constantly and because of the year of the rabbit apparently this helps to bring my creativity to fruition or in other words finds a way to make it come to life or applicable to my life – ah so that explains it!

When I was young I would constantly start something new or seek out new ideas but never finished them and the adults in my life would always complain saying “Sue why don’t you finish …… “I must have been very frustrating for the adults in my world he he he

And so writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, then a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread which I did but of course I would give them many and so they turned into books as well

Now I am the first to admit that spelling is not my strong point and grammar well – no again not another strong point but I pour my personality into my writing and pass my work to get “graded” to spot any mistakes, but I am not perfect and neither is this a perfect world, I enjoy what I do and my only wish is that my grandchildren were in the same country as me so I could enjoy them!

This photo above is of Oscar at the time he was 7 months!!! Now you understand why I say he is a puppy of gigantic proportions! He has just turned 1 year this May.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: While the Gods Were Sleeping by Elizabeth Enslin

Love and marriage brought American anthropologist Elizabeth Enslin to a world she never planned to make her own: a life among Brahman in-laws in a remote village in the plains of Nepal. As she faced the challenges of married life, birth, and childrearing in a foreign culture, she discovered as much about human resilience, and the capacity for courage, as she did about herself. 

While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal tells a compelling story of a woman transformed in intimate and unexpected ways. Set against the backdrop of increasing political turmoil in Nepal, Enslin’s story takes us deep into the lives of local women as they claim their rightful place in society—and make their voices heard.



Received for review.

While this may be an interesting look at one woman's life and experiences abroad it was just plain boring.  Really, really boring.

The author reminded me, not so favorably, of the Temperance Brennan character on Bones.  She's frankly a rather cold woman and comes across very bitchy.  She has that same elitist view that Brennan has and it's not attractive at all.  She's just extremely obnoxious.  Yes, she's brilliant but does she have to keep harping on it?  I mean, come on!

If you can get past the author's cold, clinical attitude this may be a decent read but I just couldn't and did not enjoy the book at all.  I really cannot recommend it.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay



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Author Interview: Nefretiti Morant author of the Perspectives Series

Nefretiti Morant, author of the Perspectives book series, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a proud mom, a loving wife, and a big dreamer. I always like reading and writing. But never thought about a career as a writer until two years ago. In 2012 I started a poetry blog. After a few months of writing and posting I decided to write a short story called Perspectives. Well boy did that unleash a passion that I didn't even know was dormant. I started writing like crazy. And I was having so much fun doing it that in seven months Perspectives The Saga was done. After receiving the first proof in the mail I was just so encouraged to keep going. I couldn't stop. That's was the birth of my crazy dream of being an author. I decided to chase that with my everything.


What do you do when you're not writing?

Spending time with my husband and kids or reading. I love to curl up in my favorite chair with a blanket and a book. But writing is definitely my favorite thing to do other than spending time with my family.


When did your first start writing?

I wrote my first poem about my husband when we were teenagers. As a young adult I loved writing poems and short stories, even though I didn't think I was good at it. I didn't start writing consistently until two years ago. To tell you the truth I wasn't even sure I could write a whole book until I tried. Completing this series has been so fulfilling on a personal level. The joy writing brings me has encouraged me to pursue it as a career.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I read allot of Toni Morrison books as a teenager. I also love Maya Angelou's poetry. She's the one celebrity I always wanted to meet. Her life was a living inspiration. I always loved poetry, but through reading her work I began to understand how powerful it is to touch people with words. She was a literary genius.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

I worked in the social services field for ten years. And the idea for this book came from the realization that although we have different stories, were not that different. What makes the difference in our lives, is our Perspective. I'm a firm believer in that and I try to weave inspirational messages in my work.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I really enjoyed writing Kenneth's(Perspectives II) and Ebony's(Perspectives V) chapters in the Series. I think they are the most likeable while flawed character's in the series. Although allot of my friends love Marissa. But Kenneth and Ebony's relationship was so star crossed and tragic that is was a welcome challenge to expand their Perspectives. I love their struggle and the type of people they become by the end of their stories.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Persistence is everything. If you love something and are passionate about it, just never give up on it. The more you work at it the better you'll get and even if you don't reach stardom. As long as your having a good time doing it, its so worth pursuing. The journey is often more defining than the result.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

Perspectives is feel good roller coaster of experiences. So if your looking for an engaging collection of experiences told with vivid prose then you'll love this series.




About the books:

Seven People living in Queens New York learn the value of family and friends. Calvin struggles with alcoholism, Kenneth is in love with a woman who doesn't love him, Ebony's marriage is falling apart and she's sleeping with her boss. Marissa is a single mom attempting to provide her daughter with the best. Kaliq and Zanay fall in love under unlikely circumstances, and Althea; well Althea is in a class by herself. Journey with these seven individuals as they learn life is all about your perspective.

Kenneth the ultimate playboy finds himself falling for Kenya. A beautiful, smart ambitious Psychiatrist. Kenneth is ready to trade in his player card and settle down with Kenya. But just as it seems like Kenneth will begin his happily ever after, an old flame blows into town. Will Kenneth be able to reform his ways or will he falter under the weight if temptation.

Calvin has triumphed over a plethora of obstacles. His wife is talented and beautiful and his children are adorable and smart. Everything seems to be falling into it's right place when he lands the job of his dreams. Will Calvin finally get to enjoy life or will the actions of a manic destroy his chance. Journey with Calvin as he learns not to take his blessings for granted.

Kaliq and Zanay are college bound and ready to face the world together. Their love is strong and their bond is unbreakable. But college is a new playing field. Is their love strong enough to brace the storm of the real world. Or will the pressure of campus life tear them apart. Enjoy a roller coaster ride of deception, lust, scandal and jealousy as Kaliq and Zanay learn to navigate through the trials that come with adulthood.

Ebony is a girl from the hood with big dreams and lots of ambition. As an infant she’s abandoned by her mother. While she juggles feelings of rejection she meets and falls in love with Calvin.

Together they dream of escaping the projects and creating their own happily ever after. Calvin’s love fills Ebony with the hope that even a girl like her could have something beautiful. But soon Ebony realizes Calvin has a lot of maturing to do.

When another man confesses his love for her she's faced with making a choice between the man she loves and the man who's good for her.

Enjoy an itinerary filled with lust, romance, and intense drama in this final chapter in the Perspectives Saga. 






About the author:

Nefretiti A. Morant was born in the United Kingdom to Barbadian Parents. Nefretiti always loved reading and writing poetry. In 2004 she graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors in Psychology. Nefretiti worked for New York City's Department of Social Services for ten years before deciding to pursue her passion for writing full time. In 2012 Armed with lots of ambition and a desire to create beauty with her words Nefretiti started a poetry blog on her popular website; www.nefretitim.com. Within 19 months she created the tantalizing series; "Perspectives". Perspectives follows seven individuals who through their struggles learn to appreciate their loved ones and life. Nefretiti’s inspiration for writing comes from her belief in positive thinking and her desire to inspire individuals from all walks of life. Nefretiti currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children.




Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Book: Balanced Effectiveness at Work: How to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor without Driving Yourself Nuts by Flip Brown



About the book:

Balanced Effectiveness at Work: How to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor Without Driving Yourself Nuts is a useful compendium of tips, tools, and techniques to make being at work work better. 

Within each chapter there are conceptual definitions, sample scenarios, frank assessments, "Flip's Tips" action plans for real traction, and positive reinforcement. 

With a light-hearted but in-depth look at twenty-four wide-ranging topics, presented in a unique news-you-can-use format, it will provide you with real options, helpful resources, and renewed optimism. 

"Flip Brown's Balanced Effectiveness at Work is full of big reveals. One of the most important is how to replace perfectionism and judgment with empathy and engagement. This changes everything. You'll find inspiration on every page" -Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestseller What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"'Flip' your conceptions about balance, with Flip Brown's thoughtful, fun, insightful book Balanced Effectiveness at Work. It's pragmatic, simple yet profound, and fosters moving from speed to significance to create a more meaningful life" -Kevin Cashman, bestselling author of Leadership from the Inside Out



About the author:

Flip Brown is the founder and owner of Business Culture Consultants in Burlington, Vermont, a solo practice focused on helping organizations be the best they can be. He does this through assisting leaders, managers and employees to experience more meaning and fulfillment at work. He has a background in business, psychology, organic gardening, and rock ‘n’ roll.



Review: Bluebeard by Valerie Ogden

Joan of Arc’s close companion on the battlefield, one of the wealthiest and most respected men in France, became a notorious serial killer, nicknamed Bluebeard, who performed bizarre sexual rituals, brutal mutilations and murders on hundreds of children. 
How could this happen to Baron Gilles de Rais, a Marshal of France, a renowned intellectual, a paragon of the high medieval prince, almost Renaissance in his talents an accomplishments? There is no clear explanation. There is only speculation. 

Yet historic evidence indicates strongly de Rais, a returning soldier, suffered from severe PTSD, which perhaps triggered his latent psychopathy. His extreme depravity, his shocking fall from grace and explosive end add fuel to the precept that the barbarity of war turned this celebrated hero into a monster.



Received for review.

I have to admit that my knowledge of the Bluebeard legend was a a bit sketchy before reading this but I knew the basic outline and that was enough to get me started as the book fleshed out the legend with the real life events.

While was a truly fascinating subject the writing left a bit to be desired.  More than a bit, actually.  It was unwieldy and downright impenetrable at points as is evidenced by this gem:  Only after the carnage in Gilles's territories increased significantly did the possibility of his culpability begin to be raised.  Folk started to notice that when a child vanished, the nobleman de Rais or his henchmen had frequently been skulking around.

The writing was so obnoxious as to take away any sort of enjoyment from reading the book.  It was really as if the author were trying to show just how smart she was by cramming every single SAT word possible into her writing.

As I limped through the book it became increasingly obvious that the author seemed to want the reader to sympathize with the psychopathic de Rais.  No, seriously.  She harps on the trauma of his youth and how he most likely developed PTSD after his time in the war and how that led to his killing hundreds of children.  I find this not only disgusting but really unforgivable on the author's part.  She writes about how he was such a brutal serial killer but then seems to forget his heinous acts and writes them off as trauma and PTSD.  It was just downright offensive that the author's view is really that it was okay that de Rais killed hundreds of people because he couldn't help himself due to his PTSD.  The author seems to think that we should take a kinder, gentler look at the killer and realize that he's just a wounded man who just happens to enjoy killing people in his spare time and nothing is his fault because of the trauma he endured.

While this is an interesting new look into the Bluebeard legend and the real life events that inspired it it is not really satisfying since it seems to be written as propaganda to show that de Rais couldn't help his behavior.  If you are interested in the real life events then this an interesting read if you can slog your way through.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Author Interview: Lisa N. Alexander author of Put It Out There!

Lisa N. Alexander, author of the book Put It Out There!, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m the owner of a creative agency called PrettyWork Creative and I firmly believe in collaboration as a means for women business owners to grow their businesses. Recent statistics state that nearly 70 percent of all women business owners in the United Stated earn annual revenues of $25K or less. I believe that women who want to make more, should be able to do so and collaboration is one way to reach that goal. 


What do you do when you're not writing?

I’m plotting world domination! I’m growing several businesses at the same time, which is a lot to chew at one time, but I’m thankful for good friends to keep me sane. I volunteer for the only safe house in Texas that helps rehabilitate young girls and women rescued from sex trafficking. In between all of that, I’m Elgin’s wife, mom to a high school football player and grandma to the sweetest eight-month old you’ve ever met. 


When did your first start writing?

I started writing back in high school. I loved creative writing and even got away with writing a poem instead of an essay for an English class. My teacher was that impressed! I wrote my first book almost five years ago and have been a blogger for about that long. 


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

If you know my background this is going to sound really weird but I loved Edgar Allen Poe as a teenager. His writings were so dark but they intrigued me. He painted such descriptive pictures that I could easily see the scene and I think that’s so important in writing. Can you paint a scene with words that the readers can place themselves in the scene? It’s what I strive for in my own writings. Then there’s Judy Candis, a Christian fiction author who writes great suspense novels. Still Rage and All Things Hidden are my favorite pieces from her.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

It goes back to that 70 percent figure I mentioned earlier. I know some women are terrified to put whatever their “it” is out there and put it out there in a big way. Some women talk themselves out of their greatness even before they get started. I want to be the counter voice in their head telling them to put it out there! I want women to succeed and not shy away from their gifts, their callings, their greatness. They have to put it out there. 


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 


The first chapter on throwed-off thinking. Because we all have thoughts that are contrary to the truth of who we are. So I love that I had the chance to expound on what throwed-off thinking is and how to cure it. If you can get someone to change their mind, the battle is won.


What is best writing advice you can give? 


Write deep and cut later!


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book? 

The book is inspiring and thought provoking but it’s also practical. The steps are something you can do immediately and they don’t require tons of money but they do require effort.



About the book:

Put It Out There! 5 Steps To Kick Fear's Butt and Move Your Dream Forward is written by Lisa N. Alexander and part of her This Woman Knows Project. 

Alexander explains how fear keeps us from pursuing our dreams and putting ourselves out there and how we can overcome those fears. 

Always the great storyteller, Put It Out There contains stories that will make you laugh and have you nodding in agreement. 

Alexander weaves it all together in five steps you can take today to move your dream forward.





About the author:

Known as The Marketing Stylist™, Lisa N. Alexander has worked as an art director, graphic designer and marketing consultant throughout her 20 year career. As a consultant and now CEO of PrettyWork Creative LLC, she helps entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses through strategic marketing and planning. Lisa is also a Houston Business Blogger andHouston Business Podcaster.

Lisa describes this process as helping clients develop their WOW factor for their big marketing red carpet events. Web launches, advertising campaigns, social media marketing, new business launches are all big events that require the expertise of a stylist to help businesses put their best face forward and her clients love her for this.

Lisa is also a talented speaker and according to motivational business speaker, Karen McCullough, Lisa is one speaker she would go out of her way to hear speak. She infuses her ability to make the crowd laugh with her marketing know-how and  personal growth lessons. She leaves her audiences, inspired, informed and empowered! Lisa has even shared a story at The Moth Story Slam in Houston. She’s keeping her fingers crossed that her story may one day air on NPR.

Lisa is also the author of This Woman Knows, her personal story of coming into her own place of knowing and power. She shares this message with women through public speaking opportunities and encourages them to become women who know. Lisa also recently launched her third book, Put It Out There! 5 Steps to Kick Fear’s Butt and Move Your Dream Forward.

Lisa has been featured on Lisa Stein’s FreelanceMom.com site as one of the 10 Examples of Mom-Owned Businesses with Kick Ass Unique Selling Propositions, and Marjorie Clayman’s list of 60 Women Whose Praises Must Be Sung. She’s also appeared in an article on the American Express Open Forum Blog, and was a guest blogger for Marketing and PR expert Susan Harrow. Lisa has also spread her message abroad. She was featured in Vital Woman, a magazine based out of the UK and shared her marketing wisdom with this international audience in a Vital Woman’s Business Growth Ladder Online Event.

One of Lisa’s greatest achievements was going back to school and graduating with honors from Ashford University with a B.A. in PR and Marketing. She’s also very proud of her volunteer work. Lisa currently volunteers at Freedom Place — a safe house for young girls rescued from sex trafficking and was the former Chief Communication Officer for The Freedom Coalition.

Lisa married her highschool sweetheart, Elgin Alexander and the two have been happily married for over 25 years and have two children. The two reside in Houston, Texas.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Featured Book: Max Blizzard and the Gem of Camelot by Patrick Hatt



About the book:

Max Blizzard was like any other worker drone living in Earth's realm until the arrival of his eighth birthday. On that day his imagination awoke and Max started thinking for himself. He was an outcast the moment he let people know about his imagination. That moment also unknowingly set forth a chain of events years in the making. By having imagination, Max had given Sir Dreadvent exactly what he wanted, a way into Camelot's realm.

Now Max and his friends, Trudesile and Lester, must complete the quest that Max's father, Merlin, set out for him years ago. They must find the Gem of Camelot to defend the realm from Sir Dreadvent and his sevesties. Their perilous journey will take them from the shores of Merlinia and the ship of Davy Jones to the fields of Avalon, in the hope that they can save Camelot, save Earth, and save all the lost realms that have been consumed by Sir Dreadvent and his sevesties on their quest to remake the universe.

A tale about where your imagination can lead if you choose to follow it, with creatures large and small joining Max Blizzard on his journey. King Arthur, Oberon, Hercules, Apollo and other heroes of imagination believed to be myth will become truth as Max and his friends face the trials ahead. Let your imagination lead the way to Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot.



About the author:

Patrick Hatt can be found in the East Coast of Canada. He hates writing these things but doesn’t mind talking in the third person. He dabbles in a little of this and a little of that, not afraid to attempt something new.

He is owned by two cats, one of whom has his own blog, It’s Rhyme Time. Yeah a rhyming cat, who knew? He would be considered a both person when it comes to cats and dogs.
He is also quite the movie and TV buff. As you can probably tell does not take himself seriously and has more stuff in his head than is needed. Thus the novels as just one more form of release.

Visit Pat at http://www.pathattbooks.com.  Thanks for the visit and enjoy!




Guest Post: Jeannine Wiest author of The Alchemy of Self Healing

Jeannine Wiest, author of the book The Alchemy of Self Healing, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.






About the book:

We have more power to heal ourselves than we have been led to believe.

Your body is "Instant Messaging" you all the time.

These messages contain a unique cellular treasure waiting to be accessed. The discovery that your body (not your mind) is listening to you will transform your life. Your mind runs old programs, "defaults" to all that is familiar in your life, even when what's familiar is pain. The Alchemy of Self Healing will show you how to tap into your body wisdom that craves health and joy.

Take the Alchemy Quiz, follow the exercises, read the essays. At the end of 30 days, when you retake the quiz, you'll discover you have new resources and tools at your fingertips.

Jeannine Wiest, CMT, CST has created a week-by-week guidebook for tuning into the body so you can:

  • Transform old stories energetically lodged in your body that drain your well-being.
  • Reconnect with your body wisdom to access your creative resources.
  • Develop habits to navigate the cellular information your body communicates.
  • Respond to challenges with calm, focused energy.
  • Transform into the extraordinary version of you.


About the author:

Wiest is an advanced certified craniosacral therapist, Reiki master, and holistic coach. She has danced on Broadway, dissected a human cadaver, and today works with a wide variety of clientele from movie stars, stressed-out executives to clients who are living anxiety-ridden lives.


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Featured Book: Tall Storeys by Harry Swiers



About the book:

Trapped between his amour Shirley Wrigley and the glamorous Laura Davies his latest admirer, millionaire Peter Sykes finds himself threatened with financial death by bankruptcy.

2,500 acres of English land have lain derelict since 1944. Fred Evans wants to develop the site adjacent to Heathcity-upon-Sea. But Fred is in financial trouble. The bankers have heard a whisper that Fred, ever secretive, is in dire trouble caused by the local taxman; the narrow eyed, humourless, George A. Fronrome. Furthermore, the deviant Fronrome is licking his lips; Fronrome eager to gain promotion, along with the ensuing honours for bringing about the downfall of Evans.

Fred has been made aware of the same threat through the services of his expensive accountant, Arthur Wolfson; Arthur dwarf sized but a giant in financial stature. So, keeping it to himself, Fred has devised a scheme.

President Fred recruits a fellow golfclub committee member to ease the way towards completion on purchasing the2,500 acres. And so Peter, against his better judgment, embarks upon his latest project. Firstly to save the Evans Group from collapse, and secondly, to extricate himself from the vituperative and deadly charms of Shirley Wrigley.

His own monetary and personal fortune now in peril, Peter curses the name of Fred Evans and all that his foster brother Fred stands for.

Fred has disappeared to sunnier climes.






About the author:

Over the years Harry Swiers has written a number of articles about rough collies and contributed to photographic journals.

For 30 years he practiced as a qualified, registered insurance broker, initially running his own practice before joining with other companies in the building trade, including heavy demolition.

Harry Swiers has written and been published by Collie Rescue (rough and smooth) UK.

Tall Storeys is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770764232




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Featured Book: Toe Up to 10K: A Journey of Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury by Steven Fujita



About the book:

In June 2012, Steven Fujita went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with meningitis. After four days of improvement, he was scheduled to be discharged when his condition worsened dramatically. His blood pressure, body temperature and sodium levels all became dangerously low. He started to lose consciousness. He was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit. He had suffered spinal cord damage at the T4 level. Upon regaining full consciousness, Fujita could not speak, eat, breathe independently, control bodily functions, nor move his legs. “Once we understand what we have to go through, become resolved to see it through, and know we will survive, we feel our ordeal is not so bad,” Fujita writes. In this book, he takes the reader on a journey of recovery from a spinal cord injury. It is not only a journey of determination and hard work, but of positive attitude, of drawing inspiration, of gratitude towards those around him: his family, his friends, co-workers, and medical professionals.



About the author:

Steven Fujita is the author of Sword of the Undead, a re-telling of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

In 2012, he suffered an injury to his spinal cord and became paralyzed from the chest down. He wasn't guaranteed to walk again, but did so after six months. He wrote a book about his recovery, Toe Up to 10K.

Steve Fujita lives in Long Beach, California, continues to work on his recovery and is back to writing supernatural fiction.



Review: We Are the Destroyers by D. K. Lindler

Many thousands of years ago on a planet in the Belt of Orion, Captain Bel'lar accepts a monumental task. Overconsumption is destroying his home planet, and synthetic foods are turning his people into degenerated mutants. As one of the few remaining but persecuted Organs, Bel'lar and his small crew are sent to find the semi-mythical blue-white planet and discover if it is really a place for humanity to begin again. But the visions of his beautiful companion Ry Sing, a mystic and seer shake Bel'lar. She tells him that eons ago, 

Bel'lar was faced with the burden of saving his people from their own greed. Only then he was the Great One, the sacred head of their religion. He had seen no other way to liberate them than to destroy the planet in a great cataclysm. . . But could this vision be true? Bel'lar and his crew find the blue-white planet, a wonderful, habitable place. They return home but 350 years have passed. The Synthetics have taken over the planet and Organs don't exist anymore. Searching for anyone to take back to the blue-white planet, Bel'lar is captured and taken to the Compound of the Congress where he learns he will be sacrificed at the Last Rites of Ester. When Bel'lar is brought out to be sacrificed, the truth of Ry Sing's vision begins to reveal itself. Will he be able to avoid his destiny this time? Or is he fated to live the vision once again?



Received for review.

This had an interesting premise but the message it was trying to convey quickly took over the story and left me feeling like the author was trying to beat it into my head that big agriculture (and in fact all big corporations) are bad and that everyone should live a crunchy granola lifestyle.  Now, that's fine if it's a non-fiction book, but this was supposed to be a science fiction novel.  Obviously it still was since the characters are traveling through space and such but the heavy handed approach the author took to promoting her agenda ruined any sort of enjoyment I may have had in reading the book.

The story is interesting but the characters really have to depth to them beyond showing how evil it is to eat McDonalds and purchase the newest iPhone.

So, while well written the author's blatant agenda is too overwhelming to make this something I can really recommend, unless you enjoy reading about crunchy granola space travelers, in which case this should be a perfect fit.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Giveaway: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...


After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.


Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.


Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.



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Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love 

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens... 

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. 

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does. 

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.


Received for review.

I'm a big fan of French anything so I could pass up the opportunity to read this book set in historical France.  I liked the idea of it more than the actual book, perhaps because it ran to almost 500 pages.  Five hundred rather yawn inducing pages.

I liked Charlotte-Rose as a person since she was smart and funny and resourceful but the incessant harping on how she was punished for essentially being a feminist before it was socially acceptable was more than a bit annoying.  The first few times, fine, but to mention it on nearly every page was overkill.  Yeah, yeah, we know she was a feminist and evil men sent her to a nunnery.  Yawn.

Margherita was a completely different story.  I gather we were supposed to like and sympathize with her as the inspiration for the Rapunzel fairy tale but she just came across as completely unsympathetic.  She was just so incredibly annoying.  And, yet again, the author continued to beat a dead horse with how she was betrayed by men, blah, blah, blah.  I actually disliked her enough that I wasn't even happy or brought to tears by the conclusion of her story.  I was just thrilled the book was almost over.

While the Charlotte-Rose part of the book is entertaining the Margherita part is annoying and left me counting the pages until I returned to the "real" story.

If you can get past Margherita's whininess and complete lack of any redeeming qualities, as well as the author's constant feminist remarks then this is actually a rather good read.  If you're a feminist who enjoys historical fiction then you will enjoy this significantly more.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review: Shieldwolf Dawning by Selena Nemorin

For 13-year-old Samarra, life behind the sheltering walls of the planet Gaia is stifling. 

But when she convinces her brother, Cassian, to run away to another world, everything they know is turned upside-down. 

Forced to join the Shieldwolves, an order of shamans, brother and sister find themselves in the middle of an escalating war between two magic factions.


Received for review.

This was such an interesting and complex read. On the surface it seems like it is going to be just another run of the mill pre-teen fantasy novel but as you read you realize that it is so much more than that. This is actually quite a complex and deep story about how our choices change us and those around us. Of course, you can read it as just a nice fantasy novel and thoroughly enjoy it, but if you engage with the story and the characters it becomes an emotional journey that leaves you deeply satisfied at the end.

The story has a distinct Lord of the Rings feel to it with a magical world complete with dragons and many difficult decisions to be made, but it combines that with modern technology for a completely different twist.

Samarra and her brother are genuinely likable characters who you can really connect with which makes the story quite enjoyable.

This tale of fantasy and adventure is is a lovely read for all ages and I certainly recommend it!

★★★★ = Really Liked It



Review: The Forks Over Knives Plan by Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman

The trailblazing film Forks Over Knives helped spark a medical and nutritional revolution. Backed by scientific research, the film’s doctors and expert researchers made a radical but convincing case that modern diseases can be prevented and often reversed by leaving meat, dairy, and highly refined foods off the plate, and adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet instead…and people listened. 

Now, for the first time, The Forks Over Knives Plan shows you how to put this life-saving (and delicious) diet into practice in your own life. This easy-to-follow, meal-by-meal makeover is the approach Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman (featured in the documentary) use every day in their nutritional health practice—a clear, simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium. 

Week 1 you’ll begin with breakfast and learn how to stock your refrigerator to help support this new way of eating. 

Week 2 you’ll move on to lunch and learn the basics of meal planning to keep yourself on track. 

Week 3 you’ll reimagine dinner and find out how to combat cravings. 

Week 4 you’ll master all the tricks and tips you’ll need for the long haul, including how to eat on the go and how to snack healthily. 

You’ll also get 100 simple, tasty recipes to keep you on the right track, beautiful photographs, and advice throughout the book from people just like you. Find out why physicians, athletes, fitness professionals, and others all over the world are overhauling what they eat—and feeling better than even before. Whether you’re already a convert and just want a dietary reboot, or you’re trying a plant-based diet for the first time, The Forks Over Knives Plan makes it easier than ever to transition to this healthiest way of eating…and to maintain it for life.



Received for review.

Having seen and enjoyed the Forks Over Knives film I was intrigued to come across a book based on the diet the film recommends and had to give it a try.

This is the perfect book for those looking into a plant based diet, whether vegetarian or vegan.  All the recipes are actually ones that you can serve to omnivores as well, although it is best to confirm that there are no allergies since they tend to include non-traditional ingredients such as chia seeds, spelt flour, and dates (lots and lots of dates).

The plan is quite doable and very well laid out.  There are no bizarre rules to follow and the diet is actually one that is easy to ease into without feeling deprived or overwhelmed.

Whether you incorporate the entire program into your life or just a few recipes it's an interesting read that will make you think differently about the food you put into your body.  I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It


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