Category Archives: Review

Feature: “Northern Lights” by T. Rico

41LlYLJ9AwL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

My Review

Northern Lights is a clever paranormal work, representing more than a zombie apocalypse tale. Author T. Rico writes with ease, as the events unfold into a lesson about life and living. The story flows quite well and welcomes readers into the shocking occurrences. I was blown away by the descriptions and depictions. Countless times, I found myself saying, “wow”. The mere descriptions of the occurrence that set off the end of time were strong and vivid. I could picture every detail in my mind. Was it scary? In all honesty, when I first received my copy of the book, I made a decision to read only in the daytime. That decision changed after I’d read only the introduction.

I loved the characters! Dante and his wife Hannah, the doctor Freddy and his wife Annie, Ella and Johnny… and still more that I will not discuss because I simply refuse to give away this story. What I will say is that Rico drew away all that is good and pure and wonderful in this world. He used historical events, destinationS and locations to teach a lesson about good and evil. Don’t get me wrong, this lesson isn’t preachy – quite the opposite. His lesson is about our inner most selves. Required reading? I think so. Perhaps Northern Lights will scare some people straight.

I read because I enjoy the art of story telling. I support other authors because I value their efforts. And when I am transformed into a storyline that has given me more than just fluff, I give praise where it is due. Great job, T. Rico!

*****Be sure to check out my chat on Cultural Cocktails with T. Rico. Click Here!*****

About the Book2

“It was past midnight in Norway when Dante awoke to find his wife Hannah standing by the bedroom window. She was mesmerized by the red glare and high winds pouring into the bedroom from the Northern Lights. The freakish red tornado that touched down in the small town of Fredrikstad on this particular evening; brought with it much more than just a delightful display from the Aurora Borealis. Follow the story of Hannah and Dante as they become chosen by the forerunners to save as many people as they can from the horror that awaits them. Mutations now walk the planet under the emerald colored sky as the battle between good and evil ensues, who will prevail in this story of love and disaster?

*****

Editor’s comments: The pleasure of this novel is that it is vividly imagined. The reader senses that the writer is really seeing the things he is describing. That’s no small feat. He also has a good instinct for pacing and maintaining suspense.

“This book was so good that I got to within 15 pages of the end of the book and decided I didn’t want it to end, so I started from the beginning and read it a second time just to prolong the ending.”

Purchase your copy today:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Connect with the author:

Twitter

Blog

Advertisements

My Review: “Drumbeats” by Julia Ibbotson

 

Drumbeats Berni

Published July 2014

Drumbeats: can you ever escape your past?

Drumbeats is the first novel in a trilogy and follows 18 year old English student Jess through her gap year in West Africa. It’s a rite of passage novel set in the mid-1960s when Jess flees her stifling home background for freedom to become a volunteer teacher and nurse in the Ghanaian bush. Apprehensively, she leaves her first real romantic love behind in the UK, but will she be able to sustain the bond while she is away? With the idealism of youth, she hopes to find out who she really is and do some good in the world, but little does she realize what, in reality, she will find that year: joys, horrors, and tragedy. She must find her way on her own and learn what fate has in store for her, as she becomes embroiled in the poverty and turmoil of a small war-torn African nation under a controversial dictatorship. Jess must face the dangers of both civil war and unexpected romance. Can she escape her past? And why do the drumbeats haunt her dreams?

Drumbeats Trilogy:

Drumbeats

Can you ever escape your past?

Walking in the Rain

How do you cope when your worst nightmare comes true?

Before I Die

Can Jess’s bucket list bring resolution to her life?

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

***a Rafflecopter giveaway***

My Review

Drumbeats is about confronting challenges and looking beyond what we now. I enjoyed the cultural highlights, as well as the very deeper nature of this work. Julia Ibbotson clearly has an impressive amount of knowledge about this area, as it drives her writing. Drumbeats focuses on a young adult that seeks to venture out for a year. Her eyes are set on Ghana, and so begins her journey.

It’s a rewarding experience to be able to not only know about certain aspects of living but, most importantly, be a part of what we seek. Jess’ story is one of coming of age, interacting beyond our norms and processing life. I can truly appreciate Jess, as a determined youngster. Her family dynamics could’ve very well hindered how she approached this experience or whether she would’ve even pursued the challenges of humanitarian work. The only qualm that I would add is the author’s style of leading readers through details, by way of telling. With this exception, I would still recommend Drumbeats to readers that could enjoy a thought-provoking story.

*****

 

Excerpt

August 1965, Ghana

 

It was hotter than Jess had ever imagined in her eighteen years. Flying in from the UK bound for Accra, she had left the late August skies of the dull wet dreariness of an English summer. But as she stepped off the Ghana Airways VC10, she felt the heavy all-encompassing heat which shocked her system. Although it was only six o’clock in the evening, it was already dark and close.

The flight from London Heathrow had been a long and tiresome six hours and she had felt drained as she pulled down her cabin bag from the overhead and shuffled along the aisle behind the other travellers, nodding and swaying to the strains of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” on the VC10’s tannoy system. Her mother would have a fit: her Rulebook said no pop music; it’s the work of the devil, and no dancing: Jessamy, anyone would think you were a slut. So in the holidays, when she was home from boarding school, she’d listened to Pick of the Pops furtively in her bedroom, ear pressed to the radio.

Now, as she climbed down the steps in the heat-stifling darkness to take her first stride on African soil, she was recharged with excitement.

She was aware of the male flight attendant standing at the foot of the aircraft’s steps, watching her with undisguised admiration as she climbed down. She navigated the steps as gracefully as she could in her tan wedge-heeled sandals. In the heat, she was glad that she had thought to scoop up her auburn-gold hair loosely into a ponytail. She let go of the rail with her left hand for a moment to smooth her pale pink cotton mini dress over her slim figure. At least she wasn’t irritable and demanding like the other passengers who pushed behind her as if they were in a great hurry.

The flight attendant watched her all the way down the steps and then wiped his palm on his trousers, and held it out courteously to steady her from the last step. She took it in her own cool soft hand for a brief moment.

“Thank you so much, John. Bye now,” she smiled as she passed him and headed for the small wooden shack that served as an airport building.

“No problem, miss. Welcome to Ghana.”

“How did you know his name?” hissed Sandra, from behind her. Jess turned. She noticed that John did not take Sandra’s hand. His eyes and grin were still focussed on her.

“It’s on his name label,” whispered Jess. They walked together across to the arrivals building. “OK?”

“OK. Long flight. Tired,” answered Sandra curtly. She had been unusually quiet during the flight and, it seemed, almost close to tears on occasion. Jess put her free hand on Sandra’s arm.

“It’ll be fine. Honestly. I know you’re missing Colin.” In the short time Jess had with Sandra after they were teamed up to travel to the same school in Ghana for their gap years, she had learned all about the chap Sandra was leaving behind for a year. Sandra showed her a photograph. Oh dear, he looked a lot like Maurie. Not fanciable. AT. ALL! She herself had said little about her own personal life, and the guy she had left behind. She wanted to keep him to herself. Her first real grown-up relationship. Simon. His name still tasted so new on her lips and in her head. Had she done the right thing in dutifully fulfilling the contract to come out here, even though they had only just got together? Would he wait for her? They were an item, weren’t they? She frowned and bit her lip.

 

About the Author

Julia

Julia Ibbotson lives in a renovated Victorian rectory in the English countryside with her husband (four children, now grown up, having fled the nest), along with lots of apple trees, a kitchen garden and far too many moles. She is an author and academic, and loves choral singing, walking, swimming, gardening and cooking (not necessarily at the same time). She started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her tiny fist and has not stopped since, much to the bemusement of her long-suffering husband who brings her endless cups of coffee and sometimes even makes the dinner when she is distracted and frowning at her laptop.

She wrote her first novel when she was 10 years old, sadly never published and long since consigned to the manuscript graveyard. She loves writing novels with a strong sense of time and place and that is the basis of her latest, Drumbeats, the first of a trilogy which follows Jess through the trials and tribulations of her life. It starts with Jess on her gap year in Ghana in the 1960s.

She has also written the story of the restoration of her rectory in The Old Rectory: Escape to a Country Kitchen, which also interweaves recipes from her farmhouse kitchen and which has won a number of international awards.

Recently she found an old manuscript gathering dust in her drawer, one she had originally scribbled when she was still at school, many years ago. It was a children’s story about a boy who slips through a tear in the fabric of the universe to find himself in a fantasy medieval world. She is currently blowing off the dust and redrafting it for her publishers to let it loose on the world in the autumn. It’s called S.C.A.R.S.

She loves to hear from readers (it’s a pleasant distraction from her steaming keyboard), so do get in touch via the links.

Author Links

Author page on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Ibbotson/e/B0095XG11U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377188346&sr=1-2-ent

Author email:

juliaibbotson@btinternet.com

Author facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Ibbotson-author/163085897119236

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Author website:

http://www.juliaibbotsonauthor.com

Pinterest page:

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6017965.Julia_Ibbotson

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYlEXhHvsc&list=UUP3hKZjeUBuTMoyvZmBXbow

 

Introducing Gavin Brooks from Perri Forrest’s “Special Delivery”

Special Delivery

 

(Today’s special feature is recommended to readers over the age of 18.)

My Review

I can’t stress how much I thoroughly enjoyed “Special Delivery“! To start with, the storyline looped me in. I got caught up and lost in this scandalous man’s life. Gavin plays hardball. He’s unforgiving and unapologetic. He knows how to take advantage of opportunities, while being able to manipulate the less than favorable curveballs. The storyline was so unexpected, I found myself sending messages to the author as the plot unfolded. And the entire time, I couldn’t help but talk about Gavin to any and everyone that would listen. Gavin, Gavin, Gavin…

I can’t wait to see how the drama unfolds, especially after reading the excerpt from Book 2. I was literally salivating over the writing and situations in his life. And speaking of the writing…I enjoy reading Perri Forrest’s stories! She has a clear grasp on storytelling with cause and effect. Thoroughly enjoyed Gavin’s tale and looking forward to stalking him into the next book, and beyond. Highly recommended for anyone that enjoys drama. As a matter of fact, a must read – period!

Special Delivery” is not the first of Ms. Forrest’s work that I’ve read, but I have to admit that I simply can’t decide on my favorite. What I will admit is that I get totally lost in her bold writing, no matter the story. Today, we’ll be getting to know the main character from her latest release, Gavin Brooks. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Introducing Gavin Brooks

Contrary to popular belief, being a player is hard work. There is a lot of attention to detail that goes into it. Especially if you care about maintaining a stable team. Let me place just a small bit of emphasis on something; when I say “stable team,” I mean one that has substance. It doesn’t count if that’s lacking. Like, for real. Does not count.

I’m not like most men. The women that I entertain in my space have to have something going for them that will hold my attention. See, I have a little something called ADD. Now there’s not a man alive who doesn’t enjoy a beautiful woman. I’m no different. However, as crazy as it may sound, looks only keep me entertained for seconds…maybe minutes…that’s figuratively speaking, by the way. The fact of the matter is, I need the conversation to be stimulating, I need for her to not be so easy to catch, and I need her to know how to hold my attention if she is lucky enough to catch me. In short, I desire quality, and sadly, in my history of dating women, it can’t be found in just one. And so I roam.

Sure, I did settle down and put a ring on it for a particular woman, but things went south really quickly with her. Let’s just say that all that glitters is not gold. Cliché, right? I know. But it’s the truth and probably the best matrix anyone could have come up with. There does exist a love there, but it’s not the “in love” kind of love. As a matter of fact, and for the sake of time, let’s just call it complicated for now.

I’ve been living my life all this time by the rule, ‘Master the pussy, you master the women,’ and believe it or not, it holds true. I’ve seen it in living color. For some reason, women are really driven by penis – skilled penis, even more so. Go figure. They say there’s a power in the pussy, but fellas we hold way more power than some of us even know – once we get past the belief that simple penetration makes you the man! How mistaken you are. For every one of you misled creatures, there’s Gavin Brooks. And for every one of you who has failed at pleasing your woman, again…there’s Gavin Brooks. Ha!

Buuuttt there comes a time (and I never thought it would be me) where every man wants to retire his player card. Whew! I had to deep sigh on that one. That’s a lot of pussy to give up. But it happened, and her name is Christina. She came out of nowhere and now I can’t shake the thought of her. I threw all caution to the wind recently and stayed the night…well, not the whole night…but most of it…making love to her, looking into her eyes, and subsequently fell deeper and deeper into the spell that is her. She’s got me mesmerized and now I’m in so deep I don’t know how to get out – or even if I want to get out.

There’s a twist though. I’m still a married man, and Christina doesn’t know that. Shit is really about to hit the fan when I get home because I managed not too long ago to convince my suspecting wife that I wasn’t cheating on her, but then I go and stay out way beyond my work hours. Can’t use that one. Divorce will probably be looming, and she’s gonna shoot for the waist, but then where will that leave me? Because I’m sure when it comes time for me to tell Christina she won’t take the news so well and she’ll probably never speak to me again.

I’m in a dilemma. What do you think I should do?

*****

Perri Forrest’s books are available through Amazon.

 

Feature and Review: “Connor” by Dormaine G

Untitled-15 copy2 copy

About the Book2

“I, Connor, thought I was the average sarcastic teenager, living a normal boring life like everyone else with a crazy, annoying family. Wrong. I recently discovered that I have certain abilities. Abilities that link me to others like me, and others, unlike me, who want to cause me harm. 
I found out this world is not what I thought, as well as the strange creatures in it, and that frightens me. I had to grow up fast and find the strength to defend myself from those beings who don’t want me here or who will take my strengths by any means necessary. 
Throughout this craziness, I met a wonderful guy named Tony, who has abilities too. With him and five others like us we discover who we are and how we came to be. 
Then there is Ronin, a being who is young, smart, and cunning. He is set on taking his revenge out on me yet I have no idea why.”

My Review

Connor is Dormaine G’s debut novel, and I must say that I am pleased with this author’s work. She did an awesome job in opening up her main character to readers. The author takes a seemingly regular teenager and makes the possibilities endless for her. As Connor comes into her own and discovers some fascinating “things” about herself and deals with regular issues that we’ve faced as teenagers ourselves, I could actually imagine myself as her. And it’s an exciting journey to see how a regular teenager acquires powers, maneuvers through. Moreover the supporting characters make the journey that much more intriguing. I like how the author took her time in allowing the plot to unfold, even setting up the story for the next book.
I also loved the concept and execution. The character of Connor is well-developed and practically jumps right off of the pages. She is likable, strong and highly relatable. Clearly, Dormaine G is in her element as she knows how to capture readers with skill, adding humor to this YA/Paranormal read. I hope that this is the first of many books in this series because there is so much possibility with Connor’s story.

About the Author

(I was able to ask Dormaine G several questions about her debut novel. Check it out below.)

Q: Connor is your debut novel, and the first of the series.

How important is it to provide a strong opening to a series?

A: I feel it is one of the key elements in telling a story. When you start off strong it pulls the reader in which is want you want in order for them to keep reading and wanting to know more. If you wait until the end for the climax then what will keep the reader interested.

Q: What do you believe to be the most significant characteristics of Connor?

A: She’s a survivor, adaptable and strong willed. She has her breaking moments but then she gets right back up and keeps fighting through her weaknesses. She doesn’t believe failure is an option. Plus, her sarcasm is a major characteristic of hers that tends to get her into trouble but what’s living without a little trouble.

Q: In your own words, what can readers expect from the entire series?

A: The series is about a diverse group of teenagers who discover just how special they are. Although, they each come from different backgrounds, they are one in the same in regards to their abilities. In saying that they, learn that the people in their lives are not as they appear and through betrayal learn who not to trust. Also, they realize that their safe haven is not so safe and must find a way to protect not only themselves but the world they call home and that sometimes rebelling is the only option even if no one stands behind you.

Q: When do you anticipate the remaining books will be released?

A: Connor (book 2) should be out late summer and book three the beginning of next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Review: Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend

RRBC Selection Banner Roll Shell2

Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend introduces readers to the complex, and dare I say unfair, life of Maiya James. As parents, we are to protect and shelter our children. We are to keep them from harm. We are to stand in the face of danger and challenge it ever stage of the way. Sadly, that’s not what happened for Maiya James. Author Jules does a remarkable job of drawing out an array of deep emotions, as she takes readers on an unforgettable journey. Just when you think that things were looking up for Maiya, here comes a whole different challenge to her already complicated life. Furthermore, each and every character had a significant role in Maiya’s life – be it good or bad.

One characteristic that I look for in a hero or heroine is their resilience. In Nonnie Jules’ Coming of Age novel Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend I found such a character. As I read this raw and shocking account of a young girl’s jilted life, I couldn’t help but shed tears from time to time. And even when this child grows up, with a family of her own, I became that much more enthralled at how things developed based on her upbringing. In a way, I now consider that this might’ve been a character study about the effects of abuse.

DDNF has ridden my mind since the day I finished reading it. That is the effect of Nonnie Jules’ writing. The author has a strong command on language and excellent ability to carry a difficult plot, allowing for events to unfold as necessary. Moreover, the impact of this reading has quite simply stunned me. I am not one to give spoilers; however, I will say that DDNF can easily capture readers that are looking to be taken in by the realities of a less than perfect life.

Available through Amazon

Review: Chasing Anya (Island Adventure Series)

Anya Cover Final 350 (1)

ChasingAnya

 

Been there. Done that.

Feisty and independent, Anya Davies lives by her own rules. The one thing she’s hell-bent on avoiding is a conventional relationship. Nor is she interested in romance, thanks to her abusive ex who refuses to stay in the past. The second complication in her life is a secret that condemns her to constant guilt and a solitary life. A series of near misses and escalating threats are a third and worrying factor. Only a special man would understand or live with Anya’s challenges and demands.

Casual sex…so not having that.

Enter Christophe Mondesir. Two years ago, Anya dumped him without explanation. An accidental meeting shoots Anya back on Christophe’s radar. He refuses to be denied and plans to breach the fortress Anya has built around her heart—if she’ll commit to more than a casual liaison. He’s also determined to find out what she’s hiding. That’s if the stalker who’s after Anya doesn’t end her life first.

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

Content/Theme(s):  Sexual Content (not graphic), Post Abortion Sydrome, Relationships, Spousal Abuse,

Release Date:  January 13, 2014

Publisher: The Writers’ Suite

MY REVIEW

Chasing Anya is an interesting read that deals with a serious topic, in a realistic manner. J. L. Campbell brought this story alive with a lead character that could’ve possibly been any of us. Anya has serious issues that needed to be dealt with. Honestly, I was extremely frustrated with her behavior quite a bit. Yet, I had to realize that her circumstances were very real to many other women out there. Moreover, I felt bad for her love interest, Christophe and wondered why he didn’t just give up, due to Anya’s sometimes childish conduct.

I appreciate the fact that this book was not just a romance book. When you think about life, we all carry baggage from past hurts and relationships. This load can be so damaging and, sadly, many of us never take the time to confront the things that have damaged us in the past. Therefore, Chasing Anya provides a wonderful lesson about confronting those past hurts in order to move ahead in a positive manner.

The author drew on her Jamaican heritage to loop me into this read, as well. I enjoyed the splashing of Jamaican sayings, Patois language, and references to various locations. I lived on the Island for a year and a half, and have visited quite often. It brought a smile to my face to be reintroduced to its culture once more.

Kudos to J. L. Campbell. I would surely recommend this book to others that are interested in the mixture of culture and real life romance.

(I received an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review).

 

Where to find JL Campbell:

Social Media

Goodreads: JL Campbell

Twitter: @JL_Campbell

Facebook: JL Campbell

Amazon: JL Campbell

Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.

Review: I Live In Chile by Thomas Jerome Baker

TJB

I Live In Chile” is another wonderful read by Thomas Jerome Baker. Time and again, I’ve said that I love to learn about different cultures. In the case of Thomas’ newest release, I received all that I crave and then some. Most importantly, it’s not about statistics, instead I Live In Chile focuses on the day-to-day lives of Chileans. From the landscape to way of life, their people, music, food and interactions.

Being a lover of culture from around the world, I have to admit that this book fed my need to learn about other countries/regions/lifestyles and so on, without being presented in a formal manner. Moreover, the author’s background as “a foreigner” made the reading that much more appealing.  I recall a time when I lived in Jamaica, for a year and a half to be exact. At that time, my request to everyone was that I be treated as a local, in order to experience life as a Jamaican. I didn’t care to do all of the tourist features because those would not allow me to truly know what it meant to be a Jamaican. That feeling I am referring to is the very one that I encountered in “I Live In Chile“. Baker gives a detailed account of “his Chile”. And it fascinates me, since he was born in the USA and has since relocated to Chile, essentially going to a collectivist society. That’s another point that interests me – blending with other societies. But oh, he gives you so much to think about that I could not possibly outline it all in a book review.

Might I add that Baker has an excellent sense of humor, combined with so much knowledge! Perhaps that is understandable considering he is a teacher, but I can only imagine the tremendous job he must do with his students. To be able to relate what he knows, or has come to know, in a manner that is just plain enjoyable. This is Thomas Baker’s writing; he has a natural ability to draw readers into his world. It is always an enjoyable journey, when I open up one of his books. I would like to end my review with a quote from the book because it not only shows his sense of humor, but also his sense of adventure:

“Of course, I must make a toast, in four languages (being a man of culture and romanticism).

Toast #1 !Viva Chile! (I honor Chile, long may she live).

Toast #2 Cheers! (I honor the USA, land of my birth).

Toast #3 Tchin Tchin! (I honor France, because her language is very sexy).

Toast #4 Prost! (I honor Germany, because of her no-nonsense language).”

—–

Great job, Thomas – keep the stories coming!

Readers: Read, learn, and live!

file000675089897file000971185703