03 November 2018

Book for Fans of Arthurian Legends (Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello)

Do you love the Arthurian legend?

Do you have a reluctant reader in your life?

Are you a huge fan of middle-grade fiction? 

Well, if you said yes to any of those things then you need to check out the book Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello. Here's a bit about the book (courtesy of the author) -

His one desire...To be a knight.
His future queen...At times reckless.
Best friends…Bound by Friendship and Loyalty.

When their adventure turns deadly & dangerous, Guinevere & Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle. Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle. Renegades—foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess—steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more  danger. As the plan quickly unravels, Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available as an ebook or in print at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

What I Thought

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! First, I am a young adult and middle-grade fiction fan and love being exposed to new books in these areas. I think I've become a huge fan because I've been particularly stressed out in my personal life the last couple of years and as a result, I gravitate to books for these age groups. 

Anyways, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is part of author Cheryl Carpinello's Tales and Legends for reluctant readers. I can tell immediately it's for the reluctant reader because it's fast moving and captures your attention immediately. 

Also, it's so obvious in this book that the author loves the Arthurian legends. She captures this time period so perfectly. This truly made me want to learn more about it and read even more books about this legend (which I know little about!). The plot kept my attention and I really got attached to these characters.

And I have to say the ending really makes me want to read the next book. It was so awesome to see Cedwyn and Guinevere mature and grow as characters. I thought that was well done.

Anyways, I encourage you to pick up this book! It was a fantastic read. While this is book two in a series but I never missed out on what happened before.

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available as an ebook or in print at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

By the way, this book is part of the WOW! Women on Writing tour. If you want to read and review amazing books like these, send me an email at [npyles86] at gmail dot com. If you are an author and are interested in WOW's blog tours, send me an email to that same address.

 I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

29 October 2018

Interview with Author Patrick Canning, Author of 'The Colonel and the Bee'

I am so excited to feature Patrick Canning on my blog today. He'll be sharing his experience writing his book The Colonel and the Bee, the hot air balloon ride he did for research, and his writing process. Before you read the interview, here's a bit about the book:

Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic. 
One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.
Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon. 
The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.

Me: Thank you for joining me today! Tell me about your book The Colonel and the Bee. 

Patrick: I see it as a coming of age story (something like Jane Eyre) planted into a Jules Verne-type adventure.

Me: That sounds amazing. What inspired this novel? 

Patrick: At some point I just started thinking about an idea where people travel around in a hot air balloon, get into adventures, and help solve problems of people they meet. I wanted escapist entertainment that was still smart and had some soul. 

Me: Oh I love the idea of people of people traveling around in hot air balloons! What was your process in writing it? 

Patrick: My process is to keep a file/document where any and all related story ideas go: dialogue, setting, theme, research, images, anything. Once that gets substantial enough and a narrative comes into focus, I make an outline. All that accumulated data gets translated into some kind of chronological story. Then comes a break-neck first draft without stopping for revisions along the way. I try to take a little bit of time away from the story to keep an objective eye, then revise as many times as sanity allows, including valuable feedback from beta readers and editors.

Me: I really love your writing process! So tell us about the research you did for this book. And I couldn't help but notice your blog post here that talked about that hot air balloon ride you took! Tell us about how that influenced your book.

Patrick: Yes! The hot air balloon ride was amazing. I would say things like that help with little details like things the balloon operator said or sensations I might not have expected to have (aside from take-off and landing, hot air balloons are incredibly steady). I did some additional research on the early days of aeronautics (including ballooning), lots of plants and flowers (given the Colonel’s hobby), and Victorian vocabulary, including some phrases that the reader will probably only understand in context. That unusual vocabulary seems to be the most divisive element for readers so far.

Me: I love the fact that you had such incredible in-person experiences to enhance the vibe of this book! Also, I love the circus setting that starts out this book and the era the novel resides in (the 19th century). What drew you to this time period and setting?

Patrick: The Age of Exploration had technically ended the century before, but that was more about colonialization and countries fighting over new territory. In some ways the 19th century had the entire globe mapped out, but the ink was still wet, and there was still plenty to explore. I thought a hot air balloon was a good technological fit, and the Victorian speech could match the playful spirit of the story.

Me: It sure does add to the story! Who do you hope reads this book and what are you hoping they take away from it?

Patrick: Anyone that needs a refuge or wants to travel but can’t at the time might find the book interesting. I hope people are drawn in by the novelty of the story, but leave with something more valuable, whatever that may be to them personally.

Me: Do you have any peculiar writing behavior that you'd like to tell us about?

Patrick: Not really, I try to keep the whole process as non-exotic as possible so it’s easy to get down to business. Coffee and/or tea are usually involved. Characters in the book argue over which is better but I love both.

Me: Oh coffee for sure! Now, last, but certainly, not least, if this book was made into a movie, what 5 songs do you imagine you would hear throughout the film? 

Patrick: This might be a lame answer, but given the time period I don’t think any modern tracks would fit! Some kind of classical score would probably do the trick, as long as it was whimsical and thrilling and awesome.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! For anyone who is intrigued by Patrick's book, be sure to purchase it on Amazon.com or add it to your GoodReads list. 

About Patrick Canning

Patrick Canning was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Illinois, and now lives in California with his dog, Hank. He is primarily focused on turning coffee into words, words into money, money back into coffee. Visit his website at PatrickCanningBooks.com.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I will receive small compensation.

27 October 2018

3 Suggestion on a Saturday Night

Can you believe that October is almost over soon? And with October 31st looming, that means Halloween is almost here! What do you have planned on Halloween? Trick or treating? Watching scary movies? A costume contest? I would love to know!

By the way, if you are in need of a one of kind, never been seen before costume, you must consider the Air Dancers® Inflatable Tube Man Costume. It's a costume version of those business Air Dancers you see in front of businesses. I love it! So a special shout out to them as they are sponsoring this post. Check out their website and purchase your costume.

So, here are my three suggestions on a Saturday night.

Saturday Night Book Suggestion: Recently I purchased a book by Wendy Webb and it was only because of a book I read by her a few years ago. So, my suggestion is The Vanishing by Wendy Webb. Read my review of it on my blog.

Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: If you love crime thrillers than this TV movie epic may be up your alley. It was released several years ago and is about three generations of police chiefs all trying to catch a serial killer. It's a miniseries called "Chiefs." Check it out on IMDB. You'll love it!

Saturday Night YouTube Suggestion: Are you into watching movie clips? Well, if you are I have an amazing list to share with you. This is a YouTube list of Academy Award Winning Moments that I put together. Have you see any on this list? Check it out!

Again, special thank you to Air Dancers® Inflatable Tube Man Costume. Check out their website and get their one of a kind costume just in time for Halloween.

This post has been sponsored and I have received compensation from the sponsor.

13 October 2018

A Life Lesson from a Dream

Last night, I had a dream that I was in a bike race.

Photo via Pixabay Creative Commons

In my dream, my fellow racers and I had reached this small town which was filled with people. Here, we were supposed to take a break. Families and supporters were there to greet the racers. But instead of taking a break, I pushed on in the race. However, before I could venture off into the next leg of the race, I opened up this piece of paper that contained the rules. One of the rules said you weren't allowed to continue the race while everyone was taking a break.

The dream faded into something else, but what I took from the dream was that I often have a hard time letting go. I don't give myself enough time to truly have a break. It's something I am dealing with even more so now that I don't have a job.  Or maybe, it's something I have become far more aware of.

We need time to reflect and to give our spirit time to restore and rest. As a Christian, I try to at least honor Sunday as my day of rest, but even then I find myself working on little projects here and there. Never really resting. Always doing.

So, this dream was a lesson to me that it's time I give myself more of a break. It's important to let go sometimes of constantly doing. Don't be in such a hurry that you miss an opportunity to rest.

When was the last time you let yourself take a break? 

29 September 2018

3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night

This week sure flew by! I thought I'd share the quote from HealthyPlace.com since it's been a tough week for a lot of people. I have been seeing a lot of women share their own #MeToo moments lately and that is incredibly brave.

So hopefully this Saturday night you can relax with loved ones and enjoy one of my suggestions!

1) My Saturday Night Reading Suggestion: I just finished book four Diamond of Darkhold from the Book of Ember series. What an incredible series this was and I'm so sad to see this end! So my suggestion tonight is to read City of Ember. It's a middle-grade series, but I'm a kid at heart and would recommend this for any adult or middle-grade reader. What a rewarding, heart-warming story that is filled with adventure, excitement and profound lessons along the way.

2) My Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: The movie I recommend this week is Frequency. It's with Dennis Quaid and he's so great in this movie. It's a mix of drama, time travel, and a mystery. As you can probably tell from the types of books I really enjoy reading, I'm into the time travel theme, so if you love that theme like me, you ought to watch this movie. Check it out on IMDB!

3) My Saturday Night Music Suggestion: Instead of one song, I thought I'd share with you the playlist I love to use when I'm writing. The songs don't have words, which allow me really to get lost in my thoughts. I hope you enjoy it!

I'd love to know your movie, book and music suggestions for tonight!

24 September 2018

Wrongful Death by R.D. Meyer [A Review]

I love when a blogger I follow has a book published and I get the chance to review it! I've been following R.D. Meyer for years and I recently got the chance to review his book Wrongful Death. One thing is for sure, he is a powerful writer. Each time I've read his work, whether or not it was my taste of fiction, his writing is recognizably excellent. Here's a bit about the book Wrongful Death.

About the Book (Courtesy of the Author):

Things were going great for high school senior Christian Gettis. He’d been accepted to his college of choice(The University of North Carolina), had a girlfriend that adored him(even if she wasn’t as, um, affectionate as he might have wished), and he had a circle of friends that helped him get into the trouble teenagers seem to get into(like supergluing the seats at graduation to await unsuspecting spectators). His parents could be a pain, but he handled them with a mix of teenage snark and feigned indifference. All in all, life couldn’t have been much better.
Then death got in the way.
Run off the road by a reckless driver, Christian finds himself alone, his plans for life torn apart by someone who didn’t even bother to stop to see if he was alright. His sole friend is now a mysterious guide calling himself Alexander and telling Christian that the only way to move past the veil and properly into the afterlife is to avenge himself on the person who killed him. Christian accepts this with all the grace most teenagers in his position would, which is to say that he hates it.
With Alexander’s help, he quickly locates the woman he believes to be at the heart of his accident and starts exploring his new abilities. Over time, he learns how to affect the physical world, albeit in limited ways, and gradually makes the woman’s life hell. He knocks over items in the kitchen, makes facial impressions on the windows, and gets inside her head to create nightmares. However, as Christian does the things ghosts are famous for doing, he gets trickles of new information that make him question if he’s doing the right thing, or even if he’s haunting the right person…
What I Thought:

This was a unique experience for a ghost story. Usually with a ghost story, you experience the person being haunted, not following along through the ghost doing the haunting. Yet, Christian doesn't read like a standard ghost. He's very much who he is when he was alive, yet very angry and confused with everything that happened to him. It's a chilling read in a different way, because I tend to feel bad for the woman he's troubling. It was fascinating though to see Christian taunt her and then when everything falls apart, that's when the story really captivated me. This is an excellent book for someone looking for a different kind of ghost story. This took me by total surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like I said when I first started this book too, the writing is excellent. R.D. Meyer does a great job in describing settings and scenes and the elements surrounding each of the characters (both dead and alive).

Purchase your copy on Amazon today! 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links for which I will receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.

22 September 2018

3 Suggestions on a Saturday Night

The last time I did this type of post seemed to be a great hit for me! How are you doing this fine Saturday night in September? I love this time of year as the seasons change and the weather grows colder. Fantastic for sleeping in and enjoy warm drinks. The fall leaves are coming in and cloudy days are becoming the norm. Anyways, my latest update to life is that I recently lost my job. So, I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things and gather together a routine. What's new in your life?

So, here we have today three suggestions on a Saturday night. Last time I did this, I did a movie, a book and a song. Maybe I'll do the same again!

1)  My Saturday Night Reading Suggestion: Is it cheating to have more than one suggestion? So, I'll suggest a book I was asked to review along with a book I'm reading on my own. The first is The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (just reviewed last week!. You will LOVE it if you love anything related to time travel. The other one is a favorite of mine called And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. That one is about a marketing company going under and it's hilarious and touching all at the same time.

2) My Saturday Night Movie Suggestion: If you are open to something a little weird tonight, try out the show part of the TV series Hammer House of Mystery called, "Child's Play." I won't give anything away but it's weird and entertaining. And you can even watch it on YouTube:

3) My Saturday Night Music Suggestion: "Bring on the Rain" by Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw. I feel like that's appropriate lately. My faith in God has helped me in this very difficult time I've been in and songs like these just convey the peace I have in my heart.

I'd love to know any of your book, movie or music suggestions. Let me know in the comments!

21 September 2018

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain [A Book Review]

I couldn't wait to tell you the book The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamblerain. The unfortunate thing is it's almost impossible to tell you about without giving something away. So, how do I describe this book?

Set in the 60s, we first meet Caroline Sears in a physical rehab facility taking on her very first patient, Hunter. He's a little unusual to say the least, and him knowing the lyrics to a brand new Beatles song no one ever heard before is only the beginning. We skip ahead a bit and now Hunter is married to Caroline's sister, Patty. Caroline is lives with them following the loss of her husband, who died in the Vietnam war. She's pregnant and what makes it all worse is that she finds out her baby has heart problems that could be fatal. She could lose her child. What can she do? Well, Hunter proposes a solution. One that Caroline can't even wrap her head around. For the sake of her own child though, she's willing to try anything.

This book was an unbelievable experience. I thought at first it would be something kind of light hearted and maybe a bit sad and maybe a great summer read. Oh, how I was wrong. This book grips you and doesn't let you go. I loved Caroline's determination to help her child and her bravery. The depiction of how Caroline manages to help her child was so well done and believable. The whole time I'm wondering to myself, "Wow, will she help her child? Will this work??" I confess that I stayed up until 2 am on Saturday reading this book! THAT is how much of a gripping read this is!

As for the setting, I loved the setting of the 60s and the beach layout of where Caroline lives with her sister and brother-in-law. I also loved New York too and all the people that surround Caroline in her journey to help her child.

If you loved the Time Traveler's Wife (and even saying THAT is giving too much away) than you should read this book. Be sure to find out where you can purchase this book for yourself by visiting this link here.

I received the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

18 September 2018

The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe by Mary Maurice [A Review]

I love this time of year. It's the time when seasons change, the air gets a bit cooler, and the fall leaves start to come in. It's a bit different for me this year because I was let go of my job last Monday. One week later and I'm still surprised I'm not venturing out the door. Luckily, I was able to read a great book over the weekend and I can't wait to tell you about it. It's called The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe by Mary Maurice.

Here's a bit about the book:
Susan Jordan awakens at her Santa Fe apartment, cloudy and disoriented. Her clothing is unfamiliar. Where has she been? Her nose crinkles as she smells his scent. Jack's back! Rubber filled legs brace against the stone cold tile floor as she reaches for the pile of mail haplessly setting on the table. Dozens of letters! Jack Monroe never stops. Susan wishes he would just leave, take his advice and go back to Detroit. He's gaining to much control! He's taking over!

What I Thought: 

The book is written in the form of letters being written back and forth between Jack Monroe and Susan Jordan. Jack provides descriptive details of his journey to the Santa Fe area as well sticking with his mission to help Susan. This book is an incredible journey into the human mind and tormented psyche. I thought this book was incredibly written and a fascinating experience as well. I'm very much into books written in the form of letters and what's revealed ever so slowly in the book makes it an even richer and more intriguing experience.

This was an incredibly satisfying and interesting read. I highly recommend if you are looking for something a bit different to add to your reading list. It really gives you an inside look into the struggles of mental illness. It's a subject close to my heart too.

Be sure to purchase your own copy of The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe by visiting this link. 

Visit the WOW! Women on Writing launch day post to follow along the rest of the tour. Let me know if you'd like to be added to the tour as a late participant as well! If you want to join in other WOW! Blog Tours, send me an email to nicole[at]wow-womenonwriting.com.

About the Author: 

Mary Maurice wrote her first poem when she was in the ninth grade, and hasn't stopped writing since. Catching the fire at an early age, she continues to dedicate her time to the craft.Ms. Maurice has completed several novels of fiction and poetry, and has performed readings in distinct cities around the country. She presently resides in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Connect with Mary online:

Website: www.marymaurice.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MMauriceAuthor

I received a copy of the book in exchange of my honest review. This post contains an affiliate link for which I receive small compensation if you purchase through my link.

14 September 2018

An Excellent Book if You (or Your Kids) Love Adventures!

I am so excited to be part of this incredible book tour with author Fiona Ingram. The book I'll be chatting about today is called The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper. Here's a bit about the book:

A plane crash! Lost in the jungle! Hunted by their old enemy, will Adam, Justin, and Kim survive long enough to find the Third Stone of Power? With only a young boy, Tukum, as their guide, the kids make their way through the dense and dangerous jungle to find the lost city of stone gods, where the Stone of Power might be located. River rafting on a crocodile-infested river and evading predators are just part of this hazardous task. Of course, their old adversary Dr. Khalid is close behind as the kids press on. But he is not the worst of their problems. This time Adam will clash with a terrible enemy who adopts the persona of an evil Aztec god, Tezcatlipoca, and is keen to revive the ancient tradition of human sacrifice. Adam, Justin, and Tukum must play a dreadful ball game of life and death and maybe survive. Will they emerge alive from the jungle? Will Dr. Khalid find the third Stone of Power before they do?

The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is now available to purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.\

What I Thought:

This is a middle grade fiction book, but I can tell you right now how much I enjoyed this book. It's book three of a series, but it didn't hold me back from enjoying it at all. Along the way, the characters help out in referencing events of the past to give you some background (without overdoing it, of course). So, I wasn't lost at all.

The setting of the book was incredibly vivid. You can just sense the thick jungle that surrounded the three adventurers - Adam, Justin, and Kim. I was so excited - yet scared - every step of the way! It's like I couldn't read this book fast enough. I was so eager to find out what happened next. 

As far as the characterization, each character was unique and vivid to me. They each had such unique personalities. I felt so bonded to them and their journey along the way.

Most of all, the writing on this was so well done. Fiona is a fantastic writer and has an excellent way of weaving you into the story and not letting you go. I can't wait to read the next book and highly recommend it!

Want to read books like this one and be part of WOW! Blog Tours? Be sure to send me an email to nicole[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
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