5* Review for Life’s Rich Tapestry ~ Woven in Words by Sally Cronin #shortstories @sgc58

Sally’s book would be perfect for everyone in lockdown, as every story and illustration will make you glad to be alive!

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Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, micro fiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word micro fiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.

 

Our Thoughts

There is such wonderful variety in Life’s Rich Tapestry by Sally Cronin.

A really lovely collection of poems and short stories, all delightfully illustrated.

Always a fan of Sally’s storytelling, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Originally bought as an eBook, I will be purchasing a paperback copy for my bookshelf, so it will always be there to read again (and again!)

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody #UrbanFantasy @marciameara

 In Marcia Meara’s second instalment of The Emissary Trilogy, a Riverbend spinoff series of novellas, we find our three heroes at it again. Beautiful new places, exciting new adventures, and a whole assortment of new problems await them, bringing tears, laughter, and an extraordinary amount of love along with them.

 

Our Thoughts

Not all sweetness and light this time, as Azrael gets serious about equipping both Jake and Dodger for their job of helping souls in trouble.

I loved the chapter about the training session, and how Dodger and Jake reacted to the new strong-arm tactics.

I loved everything about this book just as I did in the first of the series.

The way Dodger tries to cope with his insecurities, and Jake’s capable and patient attitude. Azrael had me laughing, he tried hard not to lose it as he struggled to get his point across to these very different personalities.

You never really imagine an angel getting cranky, now do you?

The missing element between Jake and Dodger, always a possible father-son relationship, really gets going in this book. I found it beautifully written and very emotional as I never got to know my own father.

Altogether though, I thought they made a great team as they travel around the country, helping us mortals keep on the straight and narrow.

A subtle reminder that some of us in this world can’t be helped, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to know someone cares enough to try!

 

About the Author

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream.
Three years later, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia has published five other books to date, all of which are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format: Wake-Robin Ridge A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2 Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love
You can reach Marcia via email at mmeara@cfl.rr.com or on the following social media sites: The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Twitter: @marciameara
To keep up with Marcia’s latest news and giveaways, and win FREE stuff, sign up for her Mail List here: https://marciamearawrites.com/mail-list-win-free-stuff/

 

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Our Review of Prelude by Widdershins

 

Shamans come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, from all the continents of the Earth. We’ve been around since the human race realized there was more to existence than just the physical, and we’ll be around long after the last star has died, when the Wheel turns to renew All.

Becoming a Shaman is not for the faint-of-heart or the timid-of Spirit. It is not an easy Path, nor should it be. The responsibilities are great and require harsh testing before one is judged capable of shouldering them.

There are many Pathways to becoming a Shaman, and I came to understand mine through my Earth-based, Goddess Spirituality, She who is the First Mother of Us All, in all Her forms.

‘Prelude’  is the story of my very first steps along that Path. It is part memoir, part Shamanic adventure, and part guidebook, with a dash of dire warning on the side.

From the moment I came across a giant statue of Bast, I knew my life would never be the same. There were times I froze, bled, burned, raged, and cried.  My life, my past, the shadows, and the shining moments, all the things I believed defined me, were challenged, until nothing but a truth, my Truth, remained.

Join me as I confront my monsters, discover my true Name, and come to understand that the Physical world I grew up with was just a tiny corner of a much vaster Cosmos.

Our Review

I have always been one to muddle through life, never quite knowing what or why anything happens.

I always knew there should be more to this life than just drifting from moment to moment. I didn’t understand what it could be, or where to look for the answers, or what to do with whatever I found was a complete and utter mystery to me.

From the first page of Prelude, this part memoir, part shamanic adventure written by Widdershins, I knew I had found something.

Could it be the path to my own enlightenment?

In the beginning, I doubted it, for I had been searching most of my life for some meaning, some reason for all those years of questions. But something called out to me and made me read on. Gradually, I discovered a guide to show me the way to understand what I had always sensed, but never found on my own.

This beautifully written and emotional book showed me how to reach my own truth, and will be a valuable reference for the rest of my life…

©Jaye Marie 2020

 

 

 

 

5* Review for The Light by Marcia Meara~#UrbanFantasy @MarciaMeara

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The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.

Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.

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Our Review

I had been looking forward to reading Marcia Meara’s latest Wake-Robin Ridge story, as I am a devoted fan of the adopted, delightful eleven-year-old star of the previous books, Rabbit. I expected to be welcomed back and was not disappointed!

This story is all about the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights, a very real phenomenon, something that has puzzled people for years and had Rabbit entranced. I wondered if he would end up discovering something connected to his own special gift, his ability to ‘read’ people and sometimes see the future.

Along the way, he becomes involved in a murder mystery, turning what I thought would be a light-hearted story into something seriously more complicated.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Light. The quality of the writing, the wonderful cast of characters and the sublimely complicated plot left me in awe of the author’s talent.

Cannot wait for the next in the series!

Five* Review for A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs #Thriller @KathyReichs

 

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Number One New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her nineteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and the reason the dead man had her phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.
 
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.
 
To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
 
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes …

Our Review

Temperance Brennan is back, but not in the pink if you know what I mean.

In this story, she has all kinds of problems, most she doesn’t have a dog’s chance of overcoming.

But you just know she will find the way.

This is the first story by Kathy Reichs I have read, but I have long been a fan of the popular tv series based on these books. It has been a real eye-opener to meet the real character.

She may not be the person I thought I knew, but she is someone I recognise. The same attention to detail and overwhelming need to know the truth.

It took me a while to accustom myself to this totally different Bones compared to the one I have been watching for years, but my first impression was favourable. The Bones in this book is a sensible, technically minded, deep thinking woman, one with a shocking sense of humour and the ability to swear like a trooper. Definitely, my kind of role model!

In A Conspiracy of Bones, Temperance is exhausted and confused, trying to come to terms with losing her job and her recent life-threatening brain trauma. She becomes involved in a nasty and mysterious crime through anonymous images and messages sent to her phone.

Written in the first person, I could feel the alienation with her circumstances, and be inside her head to know how her brain works. Frustrated with being incapacitated and unemployed, she desperately wants to discredit the one person who conspired to steal her job. Trying to solve a case long-distance tries her weakened capabilities to their limit, but fascinating to watch.

I loved the scene where she finally managed to fall asleep while looking at a tiny statue of Ganesh. I wondered if she was praying for him to solve some of her problems…

 

Biography

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From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as one of only seventy-seven forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Dr Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerising forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.

Kathy Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Kathy Reichs has served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Board in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

A native of Chicago, she now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal. Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. All eleven of her novels have been international bestsellers. She is also a producer of the chilling hit TV series Bones. 206 Bones is her twelfth novel featuring Dr Temperance Brennan.

 

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Many thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book, due to be published on March 17…

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Paranormal Novella DARK MAGIC by @TomCW99 #TuesdayBookBlog

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Baby’s blood… Virgin’s tears… Chainsaws… It’s remarkable what some magicians keep back-stage.

Two magic shows: the Maestros of Magic touring the country, playing provincial theatres; the Carnival of Conjurors successful in the West End. When the Maestros learn that the Conjurors are using real magic – Black Magic – to do their tricks they decide that they must use their own, distinctly unmagical, stage skills to stop them. Soon people are dying on stage – but can the Maestros really beat a team that has the devil on their side?

A darkly humorous thriller by a writer who knows the world of magicians and stage magic.

Tom Williams is the author of six previous books, but this is his first novella (33,000 words).

 

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Our Review

I think a part of me has never grown up, for I love anything magical.

So when I saw the amazing cover for Dark Magic, I knew I had to read it.

The title told me this would not be about the kind of magic that children adore, there would be no fairy-tale animals or rainbows, but my curiosity pulled me into the story anyway.

Tom Williams introduces us to the modern world of magic, and is probably a magician himself, for he seems to know so much about it.

This story is about two rival magic shows, The Maestros of Magic and the Carnival of Conjurors, both touring the UK.

We get to meet all the diverse characters. Beautifully created, real life people from both groups as they compete to be the most successful.

When members of the public begin to die after some of the Conjurors incredible performances, the Maestros want to know why. Some of their rival’s acts seem unreal, but they know magic doesn’t exist, that everything is just a lot of smoke and mirrors, but it does seem as though the Conjurors have something else up their sleeves.

This story takes you for a funny but often sinister ride into the wonders of the magic world as the Maestros try to find out what is going on, and then as they try to stop it.

I really enjoyed Dark Magic and will be looking out for more from Tom Williams in the future!

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Coming Soon… Grinders  by  Craig Boyack @Virgilante

Announcing a new release from the master of speculative Fiction!

Over to you, Craig…

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I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

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We are really looking forward to this one, for the story is unbelievably imaginative. That’s always the case with Craig’s work, so I recommend keeping your eyes peeled for news of Grinders release. I know we are!

 

The Outsider…

 

The Outsider…

 

When I found out that one of my favourite authors had written a new story, and that it was being serialised on tv, I knew I had something good to look forward to. Having to wait for each episode might stretch my patience into a wafer, as I don’t like to stop reading when enjoying a good book, but I was already hooked.

 

Stephen King is best known for horror stories like Carrie, It, and The Shining.

Based on the first two episodes, The Outsider is a classic King story and in structure and tone, it feels more like a murder mystery than a horror story. Mild spoiler alert: it’s both.

What’s the story about?

The Outsider tells the story of the gruesome murder of a young boy in the fictional town of Flint City, Oklahoma. Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) investigates, though it’s not a tough case to crack as mountains of forensic and eyewitness evidence point to beloved local teacher and baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman, who also executive produced the series and directed its first two episodes). But Maitland has a solid alibi for the crime, which means that it looks like Frankie was murdered by a man who was somehow in two places at once.

 

The series is loyal to the novel’s dryly grim tone, with Mendelsohn perfect as the weary but honourable small-town cop and Jason Bateman coolly moving as a man who’s watching his life explode in front of him. The first two episodes play out pretty much like the beginning of the book, slowly unfurling the mystery: after the discovery of Frankie Peterson’s body, witness after witness can tie local coach and family man Maitland to the crime. He was spotted offering the kid a ride in his van, and then later seen covered with blood. The crime scene is finger-painted in his prints, his blood type was present, too. But Maitland was also captured on video in a totally different town at the time the crime was committed, attending a teaching conference with countless colleagues who can all vouch for his presence. And his fingerprints are found at the conference site, too.

It would seem that the coach was in two places at the same time, but this can’t be possible, even for Stephen King.  The title begs a question too, who is this outsider?

 

I will be reviewing The Outsider when the series ends…

 

 

#Tuesday Book Blog: Blue Lake Christmas Mystery (Blue Lake Series)  by Cynthia Harrison #RomanticSuspense @CynthiaHarriso1

 

All Holly wants for Christmas is to prove to her parents that her pricey college education was worth it. When she lands a reporting job in tiny Blue Lake, where the chill winds blow off Lake Huron all winter long, and a guest dies at a dinner party, she isn’t sure she can meet that goal. Holly has a second writing gig as a true crime reporter in mind, but there’s only one problem: the new love interest keeping her warm is determined she should not write about the one thing her heart desires.

Bob has one goal: to get his life back on track after a train wreck of a relationship with a fragile first love named Lily. Oh, it would also be nice to feel excited about work again. Not to mention Christmas. Holly’s new in town and she stirs something cheerfully seasonal in him, but when he realizes she’s willing to take down Lily for her own purposes, he decides a holiday romance is the last thing he needs.

 

Our Review

 

Towards the end of last year, I noticed the arrival of several seasonal books on the run up to Christmas. Most of them a fun, light-hearted read for the holidays.

Blue Lake Christmas Mystery is so much better than that.

A clever, well- written mystery that twists and turns, with a fast-moving complicated plot that I couldn’t put down and I loved how the last chapter sorted out all the loose ends!

Holly Fass is ambitious, devious and hopeless at getting what she wants out of life in this Hollywood style romcom/detective novel, but she gets top marks from me for trying!

This is book four in the Blue Lake series, and I was late coming to the party as I hadn’t read any of the others. (something I will be catching up on soon)

I have also read and thoroughly enjoyed Cynthia Harrison’s brilliant detective thriller, Lily White in Detroit.

 

A word from the author… Along with a twenty-year career as an English teacher, I have been a staff reviewer for Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly and written features for popular magazines, including Woman’s World. BLUE LAKE CHRISTMAS MYSTERY is my fifth novel for The Wild Rose Press. I live in metro Detroit with my husband, Al. We have two grown sons. Since 2002, I’ve blogged at http://www.cynthiaharrison.com. Email me anytime at cindy@cynthiaharrison.com. http://www.cynthiaharrison.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Masked Singer…

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The Masked Singer

 

Our family had been looking forward to ITV’s exciting new game show, as it looked hilarious. A surreal singing contest where heavily disguised celebrities in some of the most amazing costumes proceed to drive everyone crazy trying to guess who they are.

Such a brilliant idea, but the arguments in our house have reached epic proportions, bordering on insanity as we try to outguess each other.

Personally, I needed subtitles for the cryptic clues as I couldn’t hear what the celebs were saying, as their voices were electronically distorted.

In the first show, we were introduced to Queen Bee and Duck; Unicorn and Butterfly; Chameleon and hedgehog.

The Butterfly turned out to be Patsy Palmer, Bianca from EastEnders, but none of us had guessed that!

In the second show, we met Monster and Fox; Tree and Pharaoh; Octopus and Daisy.

The Daisy turned out to be the politician, Alan Johnson, a former Home Secretary. We wouldn’t have guessed that one in a million years!

My family are convinced they know who the tree is, and I think the Unicorn is John Barrowman. I’d know those sexy legs anywhere!

The fox has to be Nicole Scherzinger…

Only one mask comes off in each show, so the suspense will rise substantially while the waiting (and arguing) continues.

Despite almost causing a meltdown in our living room, we cannot wait for the next show, as it’s absolutely brilliant!

©Jaye Marie 2020

Have you seen it? I love comments, so please scribble a thought or two!