I was provided a complimentary copy of this soon-to-be published book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Awaken A New Myth: Goddess Warrior on the Hero’s Journey Author: Karen La Puma To be published: Soul Source (10 Jan 2018) Format: Paperback Pages: 204 Genre: Non-Fiction – Spiritual
What’s it about?
“Awaken a New Myth” is the first of 10 spiritual books (A Toolkit of Awakening Series) Karen La Puma has written after nearly 3 decades as an astrologer, hypnotherapist, reiki master and spiritual counsellor.
Weaving the work of Carl Jung, particularly of the Collective Unconscious and archetypes, and Joseph Campbell, in his mythological exploration of the hero’s journey, Karen La Puma proposes a new way of being.
“Awaken a New Myth” entreats readers to discover our light, to have courage to take this journey of discovery. It is premised on our belonging together as a greater Whole. The book is divided into 4 parts (Overviewing the Journey, Answering the Call, Appreciating the Positive and Discovering Purposeful Living) which mirrors the 12 stages of Joseph Campbell’s mythic structure of the Hero’s journey, the journey though taken embodied as the Warrior Goddess.
The abstract language La Puma used can be inaccessible to readers new to the spiritual path, predominantly undefined terms except for the Glossary towards the end.
The use of italicized words and capitalized abstract nouns (eg. Archetypes, Source, Essence, True Nature, Love, Divine, Being) are distracting and confusing, as I attempted to fully grasp their meaning as La Puma intended them. Perhaps it is La Puma’s intention to leave her message abstract and open to her readers’ subjective interpretation?
Awaken a New Myth is a book of ideas, rather than a theoretical exposition. It is a book with heart, and to engage the mind, greater depth is required. Nevertheless, La Puma puts forth her model of the “Goddess Warrior Magnetically Creating the Hero’s Journey” as the “answer for these quickening times, because we now have the ability, the map, and the keys to awaken and co-create a better world”.
Despite the language perhaps more suited to those already on spiritual and mythical paths, the message is a call to live authentically with a willingness to step up to our best self.
As a self-help book, Awaken a New Myth poses many reflective questions to guide readers on the Warrior Goddess’ Hero Journey which readers dedicated to the practice will find insightful answers, and for whom this resonates, a new way of being.
The sub-title “A Brief History of Tomorrow” caught my attention, and as my daughter said, “of course! You are a nerd”. 🙂
Title: Homo Deus: Brief History of Tomorrow Author: Yuval Noah Harari Publishers: Vintage Arrow (3 April 2017) Format: Paperback Pages: 400 pages Genre: Non-Fiction – Literary
What’s it about?
What is the meaning of life?
What is the purpose of life?
What compels human evolution?
What motivates human society?
What is the future of humankind?
Yuval Noah Harari attempts to answer these questions and provides, as indicated in the sub-title, a possible future based on human history. It is a book about an apocalyptic future in which technology plays a major role.
Harari is a history professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whose widely-acclaimed 2014 book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” plotted the history of human activity. “Homo Deus” (literal translation to Latin, man-god) is thus a sequel, if you like, to “Sapiens” in charting what the future will hold.
Harari is quick to qualify his hypotheses, that should this book enlightens and thus changes the future away from the trajectory which he predicts then he has done his job. Ominous, doesn’t it?
It is Harari’s proposition that for this century, humans’ search for meaning will be directed at playing God – to create new life forms and as intelligent designers of our own Utopia – that is to achieve bliss, immortality and divinity. This is contrasted with historical human activity geared towards merely meeting our basic needs of overcoming sickness, hunger and war.
“The entire contract [between humans and modernity] can be summarised in a single phrase: humans agree to give up meaning in exchange for power.” And for this, there will be a price to pay.
Against the backdrop of rapid technological advancement, Harari suggests we will live in the age of data-ism, in which our faith in data and algorithms will be sacrosanct, as our faith in God was. And with the accelerating rise of technology and machines, long-term future is not imaginable nor predictable. Thus, his initial qualification.
The book does not envisage the end of humanity, rather humanity as we know it. It perhaps serves as a warning against mindless and unconscious reliance on technology and data, and it begs the question: which would you choose – consciousness or intelligence?
And let me end with this – quoting Harari:
The rise of AI and technology will certainly transform the world, but it does not mandate a single deterministic outcome. All the scenarios outlined in this book should be understood as possibilities rather than prophecies. If you don’t like some of these possibilities you are welcome to think and behave in new ways that will prevent these particular possibilities from materialising.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, especially to readers interested in alternate or different perspectives, and willing to explore diverse conceptions of human civilisation.
I wasn’t sure what I would find – a good reason to read any book 🙂 . And then I cried. Not to worry, you may not as the propensity to break into tears is subjective.
Title: Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone. Author: Brene Brown Publishers: Penguin Random House UK (Sept 12, 2017) Format: Paperback Pages: 194 Genre: Non-Fiction – Spiritual
What’s it about?
You would be certified as having lived under a rock if you have not heard the name “Brene Brown” – a research professor at the University of Houston, Texas and author of numerous bestselling books. Her TED talk “The power of vulnerability” is a must-watch.
“Braving the Wilderness” is Brene Brown’s latest book investigating the landscape of connection and belonging in our human experience. To what or whom do we belong? What is true belonging? Why is connection necessary? The sub-title “The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone” gives away the premise of the book – that it is takes courage and we must stand alone to belong.
As with the saying, you cannot truly love others until you truly love yourself, the same applies to true belonging. Brene Brown calls this “belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone”, “a wilderness – an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching”. Supported by immense research data, anecdotal ad personal stories, “Braving the Wilderness” posits that until we brave this wilderness, we cannot arrive at true connection with and belonging to the world.
This is a deceptively simple book to read, using inclusive language that connects and in her own voice, Brene Brown provides a blueprint, practice she calls it, contained in the acronym B.R.A.V.I.N.G. to traverse this wilderness.
This book open doors to greater insights, and a lover of alternate perspectives in particular will love this book.
Speaking her truth and giving readers the space to find theirs, this book is not a self-help book. Rather it is a book encouraging us to think for ourselves, to be ourselves, to embrace the humanity within us, in these times of polarised opinions and dysfunctional connections. It urges its readers to find their own wilderness, though “the price may be high, the reward is great”.
Would I recommend it?
Though as I said you may not cry, this book is sure to spark a recognition within you, a truth which will cause you to explore the life you live. Approach with curiosity.
When we first met Danni in Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia, she was in training at the Marshall Academy. Now she’s graduated and has been spending the last seven months in Paris on her first assignment. Her boss doesn’t like that she’s been assigned to work under him. She’s been living in a rodent-infested apartment until she’s given the opportunity to upgrade. And her first encounter with a new recruit, Sebastien, leaves much to be desired if you ask her.
While training Sebastien, they come across a case where an affluent couple’s necklace and painting were stolen. During their interview with the couple, Danni and Sebastien find that they have a detached attitude toward the theft. Once the items are mysteriously returned, the couple still seems to not care about the whys or whos their possessions were taken.
Aside from all that, Danni reconnects with a former interest and falls head first. He’s what most every girl wants to bring home to Mom and Dad: a bad boy.
I have to say I enjoy the first book in the Weeia Marshals series, Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia, the most. But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this one. I did. Weeia on My Mind kept me turning the pages even when I needed to put it aside. I loved the action, the mystery, and romance was a big part of the story as well.
Danni is a character to adore. She’s snarky, witty and fun. She knows her stuff and despite what others think of her, she’s out to prove any haters in her life that she knows her job and that she can do it well. Of course, she has a lot of trouble doing so, but luckily, after an awkward first meet with her new trainee, she found a fellow Weeia who actually doesn’t treat her like she’s weed to destroy.
Weeia on My Mind has just about everything you’d want in a story. Romance, action, intrigue, betrayal…you name it, and it’s there. It has a much darker tone than in the previous book but any fan of urban fantasy is bound to enjoy.
In my opinion, there is no need to read the books in order. But I say if you want to pick up a copy of Elle Boca’s novel, start with Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia, the first in the series. You’ll get to know Danni a little and by the time you read Weeia on My Mind, it’ll be like having a cup of coffee with a friend.
Elle is the author of the Weeia urban fantasy series about superhumans. The Unelmoija series is set in Miami. In the Garden of Weeia, a novella, is set in Portland, Maine, and her newest Marshals Series is set in Paris, France. Growing up the only child of a monkey mother and a rabbit father she learned to keep herself entertained and spend time reading.
Mercer Street is the second book of John A, Heldt’s American Journey five-part series. Like the rest of the books, it’s not required to be read in order. I started off with the third novel, Class of ’69. I quickly became a fan of Heldt’s writing and couldn’t wait for more. I was glad this one didn’t disappoint.
Now that I’ve read all five, in this second book, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities with the other novels, such as repetition in the dialogue between characters, which made me begin skimming. Although it’s the second book in the series, it’s the fifth one I’ve read, and reading some of the dialogue became tedious. That said, I don’t plan on subtracting any points from the book because I truly enjoyed the story that was weaved together.
Professor Geoffrey Bell and his wife, Jeanette are the only characters that remain in each of the books. I like them, particularly Geoffrey. They aren’t present much, which is a shame but understandable. They are the keepers of a time traveling tunnel built by Bell’s distant relative, Percival Bell. Every so often, they choose people as a guinea pig of sorts to travel to certain parts of the past using this tunnel. The way the return is by use of a magnificent crystal.
In Mercer Street, Susan Peterson travels with her mother, Elizabeth, and daughter, Amanda, to the year 1938, to Princeton, New Jersey. There, the trio gets swept up in love, honor, and heartbreak as they embark on a journey of a lifetime.
As usual, the story line is intriguing and fun to read. Heldt does an amazing job with his research to make this story believable. Of course, with any story messing with events of the past, anything can happen. I’m sure if you had the opportunity to walk into yesteryear, you’d be tempted to make the most of it. You’d want to make new friends with amazing people, even fall in love….after all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And just like any story messing with events of the past, even the smallest change may have major consequences that could impact the current times.
I won’t say whether it did or didn’t in this book. That’s the fun part of turning the pages until you’ve reached the end. Mercer Street is a light, clean read, one that you can’t put down.
John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.
Wow! This was an amazing read. It’s hard to write up a brief summary of what this book is about because there was so much going on. It opens with bodies falling, bullets flying and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve read a lot of science fiction novels and I have to say this is one of my favorites. So much blood was shed during the course of this book as the world of Frihet rebelled against Earth. Earth’s only chance for victory is the alien ship Spearhead, run by Joniskyredread, a Sklalen, who we refer to simply as Jon, and his human friend, Bryant Johnson.
There are a lot of characters throughout this book and they all seem to pop out from the pages. There are obvious evil ones, good ones and the ones we don’t know whether or not we can trust. No matter which side they’re on, the characters are to be remembered. In reference to Jon, though, I sometimes had a hard time keeping in mind that he was an alien. We’re reminded of his gray skin now and again; however, being referred to as Jon throughout most of the book just made him seem human.
The writing was tight and well done. I almost heard the war going on within the safety of my own home. My biggest issue was the POV. I noticed it especially toward the ending that we’re in one character’s POV and suddenly we know what the other is thinking or feeling. I don’t think it happened too often earlier on but it’s possible I overlooked it because I was too engrossed in the tale. It’s also possible it was meant to be that way in order to help the speedy pace. Either way, I prefer to focus on one person’s mind. Additionally, what really gnawed at me were the use of characters’ thoughts. I like it when authors italicize the thinking so it’s kept separate from the narration. This author didn’t do that. There were a lot of times when it’s a lone sentence in a paragraph, making it first person. After that one sentence, the narration would continue a new paragraph in its usual third person, until a short paragraph later, it’s back with a lone sentence in the first. It just struck me as awkward. But still, I rate this book as amazing. I feel any science fiction fan or any war lovers would enjoy this book. It’s a thrill ride you need to buckle up for.
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Born in 1959 and getting older by the hour, Neil Davies writes Horror and Science Fiction. When not writing books, he likes to write and record music with his son, as The 1850 Project, and paint. His favourite authors are, in no particular order, Richard Laymon, Steve Gerlach, Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert, H Rider Haggard, Guy N Smith, H G Wells, Bram Stoker, Dennis Wheatley, Connie Willis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Graham Masterton, Sax Rohmer… with more being added all the time. His favourite musicians include Nightwish, Nils Lofgren, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, Prince, Cat Stevens, Jimi Hendrix, My Chemical Romance, King Crimson, Yes, Spock’s Beard, Gentle Giant and lots more. In art he admires the cover work of Chris Foss and Bruce Pennington, and maintains a healthy dislike of modern and abstract art. He’s still writing and refuses to stop however much people ask him to. Expect more published works soon.
Sarah is a young, strong-willed woman who is nothing if not loyal to her family and friend. She’d been hurt in the past, which resulted in her fear of falling in love, so she vows to avoid it. When she meets Luke Patterson, it’s an instant affection. They connect on a level which surprises her and she finds herself at ease whenever he’s around. While she’s struggling with unwanted feelings for Luke, she finds herself blackmailed by another man into an engagement to save her family’s honor and their land. Luke, on the other hand, has his own secret to protect. While he works to save the woman he loves from sacrificing everything, he tries to help her overcome her fear of love.
A Taste of Love is an excellent, fun to read on the beach novel by Cathy Padilla. The story was well-written and the scenes were clean, meaning there were no erotica or bad language, which was good.
Throughout most of the book, I was hoping to find more of a fault to Luke. He seemed a little too perfect; however, I still liked the character and wished there were men just like him. Sarah, though set in her ways, bounced around whether or not she should trust Luke. After her past dealings with love, it’s understandable. However, at times, I just wanted to tell her to take a deep breath and calm herself. A few parts in the story, character-wise, I didn’t care much for. One time Sarah wanted a friend to find out what the statute of limitations to murder was. Maybe it’s just me as a mystery writer/fanatic but I thought it was a crazy thing to ask. There were a few other brief scenes such as that that struck out as weird. Thankfully they didn’t stay in my mind as I continued to read.
My biggest issue in the story was the point of view changes. However, I later found out after reading the novel that it was meant to be in the omniscient point of view. There was a scene when it’s mainly Sarah’s POV and she’s talking on the phone with her Aunt Laura, we know that Laura winks at her sister, although Sarah obviously can’t see her. I normally prefer to know what’s inside one person’s head during a particular scene because at times ended up confusing me. However, I ultimately decided to overlook POV changes because I enjoyed the story.
While I did figure out some of the plot points, there were one or two which shocked me toward the end. I would certainly enjoy reading more romance from this author. I believe she has the ability to go from being good to great. It’s one of those sweet novels where you turn the pages and realized you’ve spent hours reading when it only feels like a few minutes.
When I started to read ‘The Rushing of the Brook’ (which I received free for an honest review) I originally thought it was a coming-of-age story for young adults, as quite a lot of the book is written in a young ‘teenage’ style and at the beginning focuses on the aftermath of a tragedy that affects four pre-teenage boys who set out for an adventure one afternoon in October 1987, along with their thoughts and feelings at the time. However, with the addition of a serial killer at large it soon becomes obvious that this book is for adults only.
The plot is excellent and fast moving, and for the plot alone I would give 5 stars. Unfortunately the formatting suffered on my Kindle as I had not received an e-reader version, with words and paragraphs broken up, and sometimes it was hard to tell which person was speaking. In my opinion the book would be improved by a re-write to suit adult readers, but I give ‘Rushing of the Brook’ 4 stars as the plot is very good and I enjoyed reading the story to the end.
Scarlett Johansson attempted though did not succeed in getting this book banned. Intriqued? Read on.
Title: the first thing you see Author: Gregoire Delacourt (translated from French by Anthea Bell) Publishers: Weidenfeld & Nicholson (August 11, 2016) Format: Paperback Pages: 245 Genre: Fiction – Contemporary; Romance
What’s it about?
This is a quirky book of the plight of being famous at first glance. But it is more than that. It speaks of love and loss, of our need to be seen for who we are, especially by our loved ones.
“the first thing you see” is about a handsome unassuming motor mechanic living in a French provincial town, a man with little experience of the world beyond this town, a man whose young life is beset by tragedy.
Then one morning, a movie star turns up at Arthur Dreyfuss’ front door and his life is changed. But she is not what she may seem. Jeanine Foucamprez is after all suffering from an identity crisis. How and why did she choose Arthur?
Arthur and Jeanine are lost, both traumatised by the presence of unloving parents. Yet with each other, they re-discover their lost innocence. Their faiths in the purity of love are restored.
New encounters, or at least those that seem important, always have that effect: you don’t feel sleepy, you never want to sleep again, you want to tell the story of your life, all of it…, and then that hope – you wish you had always known each other, so that you could embrace and love each other, knowing why, with confidence…
How sweet is this?! But there is more… This is a story of love with a twist, though somewhat easily detected.
Delacourt’s eccentric references to celebrities, movies, and poetry make this book a fun romp through the entertainment industry, both French and American.
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction
The Gate Guardian’s Daughter is the prequel to KT Munson’s upcoming dark fantasy series, which will be released in July 2017. With only 28 pages, it’s a very quick read. I happily read it in one sitting during a break at work. OK, so I was a little late getting off work. I enjoyed the story that much.
Elizabeth is only ten years old, aching to become a normal child. But she can’t be normal when her adoptive father, Matheal, is insisting she remain nearby. The reason being is that Elizabeth is special. Matheal knows that one day her true nature will be unleashed.
This is yet another story I’ve enjoyed reading by KT Munson. It’s to the point but does well in giving us the general background of Elizabeth and her family, while providing us with just enough surprise to make us want more. It was a very well-written intro to The Gate series, and I, for one, can’t wait until the first one is released.
K.T. Munson is a freelance author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.
Murder Without Pity is a slow-moving suspense, told in a way that makes you want to turn the pages and keep going. If I had the chance to read it in one night, then I probably would have. It wasn’t even the mystery portion of this novel that I enjoyed so much, although I enjoyed trying to solve the crime before reaching the ending. While I had a few suspects in mind, I feel that there could have been a little more foreshadowing or red herrings to help solve the mystery. As a mystery author myself, I certainly understand how hard it is to throw in red herrings without giving the plot away. There were, however, enough twists to keep me yearning for more.
This story was much more than just solving the strange murder of a man. The investigator, Stanislas Cassel, spends a good amount of his time interacting with the people of France, hoping they either won’t judge him or they just don’t know that he’s the grandson of a French propagandist for the Nazis during their WWII operation. This part of his family’s past mortifies him, so Cassel attempts to avoid anything political and hopes no one will recognize him. Of course, we all know that’s not always possible. And as Cassel continues his investigation, he finds himself in the midst of a larger wickedness beyond the small crimes he prefers to investigate.
This wasn’t a book where you can easily skim a few words here and there…let’s face it, we all tend to do that, whether we mean to do so or not. If you’re focusing on solving the mystery, then it’s possible something would be missing between the lines on the pages. Even reading carefully, I’m sure I missed a thing or two. And if you’re only along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s portrayed, then skipping around will force you to miss out. I’ve never been to France, and as someone who would like to one of these days, I felt I had a good idea of what Paris was like during the time this story takes place. The writing splayed across my mind as though I was watching a movie. It was so beautifully descriptive, whether it was about the thick fog smothering the city or Cassel’s thoughts.
I would most certainly enjoy reading more from this author.
Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars
A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.
After his parents are murdered by the Ministry Breakers, Oren flees New Arcadia to the dangerous Miralaja desert, leaving behind his once comfortable life and his best friend, Clementine. With his mentor, Khalil, he begins to learn the truth of his path and unfolds the devious plans of the Ministry. Meanwhile, Clementine has to survive on her own by thievery. When she performs her latest job infiltrating the Ministry Defense building, she barely manages to escape. Soon, she catches up with Oren and Khalil and together, they embark on an epic journey of survival and unraveling ancient mysteries.
I enjoyed Recreance. For the most part, it was fast paced. The only time I felt it sluggish was when it would jump without warning to the past. Sometimes I had to reread it for me to say, “Oh, we’re not in the present anymore, I understand what’s happening now.” It was meant to bring more debt to the characters and their lives but I found myself skimming over some parts because I wanted more of the here and now.
The skipping between the past and the present was my main issue with the story. Other than that, I loved the plot line and the world building. The characters were easy to get to know, especially Khalil and Clementine. I loved Khalil so much. He had great humor and I felt he breathed life into the story. The chemistry between him and his apprentice, Oren, was great. Clementine was smart and very resilient. Again, she had amazing chemistry with Oren, which says a lot about his character. So, I guess in truth, there is no way to choose a favorite character.
Recreance is a great start to the series, a magnificent way to introducing the characters and the evil ways of the Ministry. It held my interest, especially as I neared the end of the novel because it was hard to put down. I wanted more and I wanted it right away. Very well done.
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
I was born in British Columbia, Canada, but spent most of my youth on the beaches of Maui. Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to explore my passions. I’ve had harrowing experiences as a helicopter pilot, drying cherries in the desert mountains of Washington state. I’ve toured with a band down the eastern seaboard in a $2,000 van, surviving on Arby’s fixins, and selling CDs for gas money. I’ve built websites and designed logos for businesses all over North America. Of everything I’ve tried, writing fantasy is by far the most exciting and fulfilling.
My whole life I have been fascinated by stories. Especially the kind of stories that transport you into incredible worlds where the impossible becomes real; where epic battles between good and evil rage across the centuries. This sense of escape and wonderment are what I hope to embody within my own work.
World of the Innocent is a sweet story of two young people, Jhoi and Marcas, as they explore themselves and romance. Jhoi (pronounced JOY) is a young, African-American woman who’s poetic and guarded. Marcas is admired by many but is viewed as strange.
Nadine Keels creatively weaves a genuine romantic tale of two people who falls in love before they realize what’s happening. The words across the pages are vivid enough that you get a feel for not only the scenery but for the characters’, particularly Jhoi and Marcas, sentiments as they explore their budding relationship and faith in God.
Time goes by quickly in this novella and at times took a few seconds for me to realize that it had been a few days or even a month from the last sentence. The ending came as a surprise to me (in a good way) but I wanted more of an elaboration because it had the opportunity to draw some tears.
Either way, this was a sweet YA novella that deserves a chance in the limelight.
Nadine. A French name, meaning, “hope.”
With her lifelong passion for life-enriching fiction, Nadine C. Keels enjoys reading and writing everything from short stories to novels. Her fiction works include Love Unfeigned and The Movement of Crowns Series, and select pieces of her lyrical poetry can be found on her spoken word album, Hope. Lyricized. As the founder of Prismatic Prospects, her communication company, Nadine has served as editor for a number of titles, and through her writing, from her books to her blog posts, she aims to help spark hope, inspiration, and genius in as many as she is privileged to reach.
“Sarabande” is a story of two people navigating through their lives, bound by their pasts which they must reconcile in order to have a chance at a future they want.
Colin Ashe is a man losing his identity. He suffers from epilepsy which is triggered by music. His anxiety surrounding the possibility of unexpected occurrences keeps him away from a job he loves, and costs him the respect of his wife and potentially the love of his son. Then Colin digs up a box buried in his backyard some twenty years ago by a then young girl.
Anna Brawne is now a renowned cellist, committed to music and Bach. She had buried the box with its secrets to maintain a connection to the one place she calls home.
This box forges a link between her and Colin, creating an intimacy which is the catalyst for the events to follow. With the death of her mother, Anna broke free from the bonds of expectation, only to encounter Colin’s desperate attempt to hold on to his.
Where does integrity lie, in the this age of online connection? Is emotional intimacy enough to sustain a life longing to be complete? Will love redefine the measures of a real life?
What fate awaits Colin and Anna?
Would I recommend it?
Yes, Sarabande is a beautiful love story of triumph and love. I could not put it down and I’d bet neither will you.
And I cannot resist – here is Yo-Yo Ma’s interpretation of JS Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (Sarabande).
Bully Boy Blue is a short psychological thriller by John Nicholl, author of White is the Coldest Colour and When Evil Calls Your Name. This novella takes only an hour, maybe an hour and a half to read for several reasons. One, it’s only 62 pages, and two, it’s extremely engaging. From the beginning, we get inside the head of the wife (Kathy), who is married to an abusive husband. Like many abusive husbands, only Kathy gets to see his dark side.
As usual, John Nicholl weaves the tale in a way that forces us to become a part of the story. There’s sympathy for Kathy, who has no one but her sister to turn to, there’s hatred for her husband with his hateful slurs and degrading abuse toward his wife, and there are people that surround them that you just want to slap for their ignorance.
I could tell how the story would end, but it pleased me just the same. With every piece of his writing (I’ve read and enjoyed them all), John Nicholl grows and digs deeper into your psyche. And the titles he comes up with is always pure genius. Well worth the read! My only complaint is I want more!
John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which have been Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com. Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.
Rebirth is the first of a three-part science fiction series entitled The Praegressus Project. Eighteen-year-old Chris and his mother were both taken in the dead-of-night. Soon, Chris awakens in a cell. Confused and frightened, he has no knowledge of where his mother is–only that she’s accused of treason and children must pay for their parents’ crimes. Chris must join forces with others just like him in the fight for survival against a group of doctors who are experimenting with science in order to enhance the human race.
The premise of the story kept my interest from start to finish. It held at a steady pace with a couple of action scenes here and there. Most of the setting takes place solely in the cells, so there wasn’t a lot of world building; however, that didn’t drag the plot. Unlike most science fiction stories, Rebirth wasn’t about building a world, but about character development. It’s hard not to like the characters, particularly Liz, the young woman Chris first meets after he awakens in his own cell. Chris, on the other hand, took awhile for me to like. But I believe out of the small group, Chris was the one who grew the most–and maybe that’s what author Aaron Hodges had in mind, although I can’t vouch for sure.
I believe Rebirth would fit just about any type of readers. There’s just about everything one could want: science, fantasy, friendship, love, power, and survival. It’s clean of bad language and no sex scenes. There is a bit of violence, though, but it’s not heavy, so no gore. It only shows how evil these experimenters are. They treat their captors as if they’re lab rats.
There were some errors here and there, but I’m quickly learning not to count against it…especially since the errors were few. After all, we are all human, and shouldn’t be expected to be perfect! Even the greatest has misprints at times. I don’t know if Aaron Hodges edited his own work or not, but as a professional editor myself, I’ve learned that it’s not easy editing one’s own work.
Rebirth was well-written, tight and a story I couldn’t wait to finish just to find out what happens. Aaron Hodges is definitely on the fast track to becoming an excellent science fiction novelist. I can’t wait to read more from him. Highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…
Although I’ve read novels based on aliens, and I wouldn’t turn down a chance to read books about aliens, it’s not technically my type of thing. I tend to be very picky with the alien genre. Spirit Raiders is about such: alien abductions, the threat to humanity, advanced technology, and first contact…pretty much everything a die-hard science fiction fan would enjoy.
The plot was complex, very slow moving, filled with a lot of technical things I had trouble grasping…mostly because I’m not very technical-inclined. While much of it was science fiction, the reality of some of the technological terms was very well-researched to make the fiction appear realistic. Sometimes, I had to re-read the information to grasp what it was saying…remember, I’m not much of a technical person, so at times, the information didn’t do enough explaining for me. Other times, however, I was overloaded with information and caught myself skimming a tad.
With a little bit more editing, the writing could have become tighter and stronger, earning a higher rating. I like to be shown what’s happening during the scenes, rather than being told. It helps me visualize better, even if I’m reading about things I just don’t understand.
If you’re one that loves aliens and you can understand a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, then I recommend you taking the time to read this book. Don’t be put off by the slow-moving parts. It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. Once I did and continued reading, I was pleased to find that it ended with a well-built, action-packed climax
Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India, who grew up on everything sci-fi. Science Fiction has its own charm of unravelling mysteries, boldly going where no man has gone before [yeah I know it is from Star-trek :)] and to seek and find explanations for the unexplained. This is more or less what excites a true sci-fi enthusiast.
Savio is one of the enthusiasts too and he is presenting his own version here. Mystery surrounds us in many ways and it is mammoth in proportion to what we know. No one knows what lies beneath the ocean; no one knows what lies beyond our solar system; no one knows how vast the universe is; no one knows if any other extra-terrestrial form exists, but still the pursuit of knowing the unknown will continue unabated and will continue to excite us. This excitement is what Savio attempts to bring out in his books.
Savio is blessed with a supportive family and has a day job in India. Writing is his passion and he also writes for many blogging sites. When not writing and not working, which, of course, happens a lot of time, Savio likes to while-away and watch sci-fi movies.
“The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose traces the soul of Arky Levin, a film composer. Arky is separated from his wife, Lydia. She has asked him to keep a promise. And he does. So why is he troubled? In his restlessness, he wanders into the MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist Is Present.
The novel spans the 75 days in which Marina performed between the months of March and May of 2010. It goes through the seven phases of a project, as identified by Marina, being:
So it is that the lives (as projects) which intersect Arky and Marina’s eventual encounter are changed.
This is a story of love, and how we perform love every day.
Love accounted for so many things. A series of biological and chemical interactions, A bout of responsibility. An invisible wave of orality that had been romanticised and eternalised. A form of required connection to ensure procreation. A strategic response to prevent loneliness and maintain social structures.
When Lydia said, “[g]o and write. Make wonderful music. Know that I love you. Have no regrets” then shouldn’t Arky do what she has prescribed?
That is what Arky believes, until he is compelled to discover love’s true gift. And this compulsion is through the art of Marina, whose performance in the MOMA demonstrated the power of connection and the magic of “being seen” by another, beyond the material visibility that is reflected through the context of this novel – the New York rich and celebrities who came to sit with Marina.
This is a story of courage, Arky’s and the participants in “The Artist Is Present” with Marina; people at the crossroads, like Jane, who observes the performance then leaves wondering,
Had it been enough to sit on the sidelines? Had she somehow missed an opportunity for something life-changing, some act of courage?
The courage to not succumb to the should and ought of this world, to face the uncertainty of beginnings.
This is a story of connection – to our past, to each other in the present, and to the future. That we hold the history of us and humanity within us. How we are shaped by the convergence of our past, present and future.
Now, day after day, he looked into the human face, painted with curiosity, and he saw the abyss of history within a human heart. Everyone was its own beaten, salvaged, polished, engraved, carved luminous form.
A connection to our raison d’être – of being open and available to that which calls to us, soul-deep, and honouring it.
All that they are is stored up loud and insistent inside them. But what does it take to be an artist? They have to listen. But do they listen? Most people are filled up with a lifetime of noise and distraction that’s hard to get past.
If Arky’s life is a project, what is the gift? His to receive or to give?
Would I recommend it?
“The Museum of Modern Love” won the 2017 Stella Prize. A thought-provoking and enjoyable book definitely worth checking out!
It has been a while since I last brought you a new interview, but I’ve recently translated a book that I was sure you would be interested in. And its author was kind enough to answer a few questions too.
Here I introduce you to Antonio Flórez Lage.
When and how did you start writing?
I am a reader that every so often goes over to the Dark Side and writes. I have read a lot since I was a young child, but I started writing in an organised fashion a few years back. At first, I was writing articles for a magazine but little by little I became more confident; now I have accomplished my dream of publishing a book and on top of that I’ve won an international prize.
I am very happy.
Could you tell me something about your experience as an independent writer?
I am a vet and therefore I was not familiar with the publishing world, but I love to try different things. I’ve learned new skills and I have enjoyed the whole process. Now an important publishing company has made me an offer, but I haven’t accepted it yet. Perhaps I will, in the future, to have a different experience and be able to focus only on writing.
What is your fondest memory (so far) of your experience as a writer?
There are many, I could not pick only one. The joy of managing to make your stories reach other people, of touching your book hot off the press, of seeing it on a bookshop window side by side with the books by your most admired writers, of leaving a special memorial to those with whom you’ve shared some time in your life, of reading a positive review, of being surprised when a writer compliments your style, of seeing how your sales spiral out of control in Amazon, becoming emotional when somebody shares a quote from your book… Knowing that your words will break the space-time continuum to reach where you won’t be able to is something that makes one’s mind boggle.
What are your favourite genres (both as a reader and as a writer)?:
I read everything, I like to change and jump from one genre to another. As a writer, I’ve started by writing a story that includes mystery, action, and adventure (always with a touch of humour), but I’d like to try other genres too.
What made you decide to translate your book?
The story has been very successful in Spanish and has received very good reviews in Spain as well as in many Latin American countries. Once I managed to make the jump to other countries I share a language with, the next step, the next challenge I wanted to take on was to get it translated into English. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it does and to hearing the opinions of the people who read my novel in that language.
Can you tell us something about your book?
The best thing to do is to share the description:
In the outskirts of a tiny Galician fishing village, there is a huge rock that hides a mysterious submarine cave. What happens to those who dare to go diving there? Several events from their childhood drag the protagonist and his peculiar friend back to that eerie place.
They meet again, years later, and set off on a seedy trip around Mexico, full of action and dangers. The unexpected outcome of that journey changes the life of the protagonist forever.
This novel is one of a kind: it offers the readers a special something; a unique quality that means the story does not leave us when we close the book. Some readers are already applying its lessons to their own lives…
Do you have any advice for other writers (especially those at the beginning of their careers)?
I can offer you the same advice I give myself, although I don’t know if it will be useful to others.
Writing is very addictive because it offers very tempting rewards. Because of that, it is dangerous to let yourself get taken over by that Dark Side and give up reading to focus exclusively on writing. However, reading is what can help you the most to learn and to improve, to grow as a person and to find what a Jedi would call ‘the balance of the force’. That is why I have not looked for shortcuts and I carry on reading every time I get a chance, and I enjoy every page to the maximum.
I was curious about quite a few things about the story itself (where the author got the inspiration for his novel from, if the locations, especially the Rock of the title existed or no) but he likes to play his cards close to his chest and told me that he was happy to answer any specific questions readers had if they contacted him directly.
A BEST-SELLING NOVEL IN SPANISH. SPECIAL LAUNCHING OFFER.
RECEIVED WITH CRITICAL ACCLAIM. “Full of humour, sensitivity, action and mystery.” Discover a not-so-touristic Mexico and the bleakest Galicia.
THE REVIEWERS SAY “‘If I jump, I’ll kill myself; if I don’t jump, they’ll kill me.’ With these words, in an eerie landscape full of rocks and black waves that reminded me of Hitchcock, begins the novel The Rock of the Missing. This book keeps moving, from the initial Hitchcockian scene, later becoming a chilling road movie that takes us across a scorched Mexico, full of gunshots, drug dealers and dead bodies, and ending in a permanent return to Galicia, where the whole thing begins… I recommend you read this novel if you wish to enjoy the art Antonio Flórez uses to carve his sentences if you want to join in an adventure full of humour, sensitivity, action and mystery.”Lavadora de textos, Ramón Alemán.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Antonio Flórez Lage (A Coruña, 1977). A vet, passionate about the sea, travelling, and books, who writes about a world he knows very well.
10% of the profits obtained from the Kindle Book will be donated to ASOCEPA Coeliac Association.
Facebook page for the book “The Rock of the Missing”: