Delivering Virtue – Odyssey of the West!

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Hilariously inappropriate, squirmingly irreverent, and oddly charming, DELIVERING VIRTUE will deliver you on an epic journey out of your comfort zone and into a mystical transcendence you didn’t see coming.

Didier Rain, bumbling ne’er-do-well and dissolute poet, is hired by The Church of the Restructured Truth to deliver a child-bride across the American frontier of 1854 to their prophet Nehi in his stronghold at the City of Rocks. The landscape is rife with hooligans, carnal temptations, and acts of God or Mother Nature that threaten to avert Rain from fulfilling the righteous prophecy.
 “A tragicomic story, Delivering Virtue employs biting social commentary and stinging critiques of a variety of religious faiths with Chaucerian ribaldry. Threads of satire are skillfully woven into a tapestry of humor and pathos, magical realism and historical fact, along with swashbuckling adventure, depraved violence, and moments of heartrending tenderness.” – Clarion Foreword Reviews
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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We found it to be entertaining and would explain it as the Odyssey of the west! Check out our review!

Delivering Virtue Review

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Review Stats

Amazon: 4.5 stars!

Goodreads: 5 stars!

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About The Author

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As a young man, Brian Kindall was undone by love. Oh, was she ever divine! Dark hair. Blue eyes. The smile of an angel. But then it all fell to ruin. For years afterward, the broken-hearted sap spent his time wandering about and scribbling self-absorbed tragedies that no one really cared about. His prose was impeccable, but useless to the world. Then one day, as if by magic, he matured. He peered into the abyss, became a father, got some perspective, and has been writing nothing but brilliant, entertaining novels ever since. These books – some for kids, some for grown-ups – are brimming with the absurdity, beauty, and mystery of life. Mister Kindall has become a master at playing humor against pathos, fairytales against reality, all for the sake of a good read that will surely enhance the life of any reader lucky enough to delve into the author’s adventure-laden pages.

He is the author of adult fiction novel DELIVERING VIRTUE, a Foreword Reviews 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Finalist, and middle grade novels BLUE SKY, and PEARL. Moving, memorable fiction all. He resides on the shores of a pristine mountain lake with his wife and three kids somewhere in the middle of Idaho.

Want to know more?

Check out Brian Kindall’s Website! 

or

Check out our Interview with Mr. Kindall!


 

This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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Trauma, Shame & The Power Of Love

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Bronze Medal Winner of the 2016 Global Ebook Awards.

Awarded the Readers’ Favorite® 5-Star Seal (2015).

There is a reason books that recount the regrets and advice of the dying strike so deep a chord: people who have nothing left to lose can tell their stories with a sincerity and unpretentiousness we crave but that is all too rare. In “Trauma, Shame, and the Power of Love,” Christopher Pelloski relates his own downfall from a prominent physician-scientist in the field of radiation oncology in a similarly candid way.

Without fear of losing society’s good opinion—having lost it already—Pelloski has the freedom to be sharply honest in his observations of himself and the world around him. To the question “Why would someone with so much going for him risk, and then lose, everything, by sinking so low?” he offers a gut-wrenching, soul-baring answer that dissects his decades-long downward spiral and examines it from perspectives that range from the historical to the molecular.

Pelloski chronicles the evolution of his devastating legal battle alongside his concurrent journey of recovery from childhood sexual abuse. He shares with us the lessons he learned from these experiences in the hope they can serve as both a warning and an invitation: a warning to abuse survivors not to follow his dark path of silence, and an invitation to society to deal more openly with the multitude of painful issues that have shaped not only his life but also, tragically, the lives of so many others.

Those brave enough to set aside their prejudices and preconceptions will be richly rewarded and challenged by this work.

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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We felt it brings much needed awareness to the “War on sex crimes”! To see the review, click the title below.

Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love

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Review Stats

Amazon: 4.4 Stars!

Goodreads: 3.8 stars!

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About The Author

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CHRISTOPHER E. PELLOSKI earned his medical degree from the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago in 2001. He was accepted into the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program and eventually joined the faculty at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, one of the top cancer centers in the world. After his recruitment to the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2010, he ran a full clinical practice, supervised his own basic-science research laboratory, and served as his department’s Residency Program Director and as the Director of Pediatric Radiation Oncology.

Pelloski is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and subsequently suffered throughout most of his life with undiagnosed and untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, with Dissociative Features.

In the summer of 2013, his personal, public, and professional life came to a painful reckoning.

Find out more!

Author’s Website

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Pelloski is currently working on a second book!


This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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Private Lucky! The Flying Dutchman’s Memoir.

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This true story of survival, determination, and incredible luck will lift your spirits and inspire you to never give up on your dreams! Some people are born lucky. Others make their own luck. As a boy, Hank wanted nothing more than to fly like the fighter pilots he admires in the skies over Amsterdam. When the lives of Dutch citizens are turned upside down with the Nazi occupation of Holland, his dreams will have to wait as he witnesses the tragic unfolding of events affecting those around him before finding himself in a fight for his own life. He must go into hiding before his sixteenth birthday despite the fact that he is not Jewish. After the war, his life takes another unexpected turn when he is enlisted by his father in the American Army in Germany where his inability to speak English results in hilarious missteps at every turn. He can roll with the punches if the Army will teach him to fly, but when he learns that pilot training stopped with the end of the war, it seems he’ll never reach his goal. Undaunted, Private Hank evolves into a suave and popular soldier. He learns what it means to be American, arriving in America broke but determined to pursue his lofty goals in a manner only this quirky and very lucky Dutch-American would even think of trying, flying by the seat of his pants to some of the highest levels of aviation.

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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We LOVED it! To see the review, click the title below.

Private Lucky

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Review Stats

Amazon: 5 stars!

Goodreads: 4.8 stars!

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About the author button

MelissaGuzzetta

Melissa Guzzetta has owned The Computer Tutor Training company since 1998 and has always been an accomplished writer in the technical field, though recently, she has expanded into writing memoirs. She also founded Good Luck Publishing in 2014.

Find out more on the webpage Private Lucky !

This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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It’s Rome vs Celts in this Historical Novel “Eboracum” by Graham Clews!

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The time is A.D. 71, the place is Northern Britain. Set against the founding of York, and the real life characters who founded the ancient city, this award-winning novel follows the fate of Roman and Celt alike. Cethen Lamh-fada and his wife Elena are forced from their home by the Roman engineer Gaius Sabinius, as the Ninth legion moves in. From the first skirmish at Cethen’s village, to the inevitable battle as Stannick, The Village is a riveting tale laced with dark humour, hard romance and the reality of life in dangerous times. With no dashing heroes or outrageous villains, the story is about the people of the time.

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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We LOVED it! To see the review, click the title below.

“Eboracum: The Village Review”


Review Stats

Goodreads: 4.7 average!

Amazon: 5.0 average!

Barnes & Noble: 5.0 average!

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Graham wrote his first novel, a World War II adventure story with a humorous slant, titled Don’t Budge, in 1980. The manuscript was submitted to the Alberta Search for a Novelist contest, and tied for first place against approximately fifty submissions. Doubleday Canada displayed interest and Graham met with two editors, who asked for a partial revision of the manuscript. After holding the novel for approximately a year and a half, Doubleday returned the manuscript with a letter explaining that it had been “bumped” by an author called Donald Jack. The episode was a ‘learning experience’, the principal one being a comment by one of the editors, a charming lady named Susan Dunlop. When offering words of encouragement, Susan said, “Graham, we would publish this tomorrow if you were someone!”

Somewhat discouraged, Graham hardly wrote at all over the next twenty years, and got on with his mid-life crisis: this involved politics, tough business investments and rejoining the Canadian Army Reserve at age forty five. To be blunt, he gave up on the publishing industry. However, he did submit a story to CBC radio that was selected for broadcast, won a humour award from the Edmonton Journal, and a prize for poetry.

At fifty five, Graham retired from the Army Reserve and with more time on his hands, decided to get serious about writing. In 2006 he published a middle grade fantasy novel titled Jessica Jones and the Gates of Penseron, which was evaluated, professionally edited, and kid-tested on a grade seven class in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, where it was very well received. The book revolves around the changing world of Penseron, where mind matters more than matter, and time is merely a destination. The central character is a little person, Jessica Jones, who is lured to Penseron with her unwilling brother Jake, in order to solve—among other problems—the sudden disappearance of her ancient, first century look-alike. The book won the Edmonton BookAdz best novel of 2006 award.

In early 2007 Graham published Eboracum, The Village, a novel based on the founding of the English City of York (Eboracum) by the Romans in AD 71. This novel won the Premier Book Awards best historic novel of 2007/8. A second edition was updated on completion of the final book in the Eboracum Trilogy in 2010, and it was re-copyrighted at that time.

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There are two more books in this series that AlliesOpinions is set to review! Check them out for yourself!

Eboracum – The Fortress

Eboracum – Carved In Stone

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This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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A Dystopian Society Like No Other! “The Keeper and the Rulership”

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In a world where both magic and mathematics are forbidden, Raneh is growing magic and she can’t seem to stop. She’ll face the death penalty if anybody catches her, so she hides it in the weeds of her family’s land, pretending to be a typical eighteen-year-old heir. And it works.

Until the Ruler comes to visit.

Now, with the purpose of the Ruler’s visit a mystery and not only her safety but her family’s reputation in danger, she has to find a way to do the impossible:

Stop growing magic.

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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We LOVED it! To see the review, click the title below.

“The Keeper and the Rulership Review”


Review Stats

Goodreads: 4.1 average!

Amazon: 4.5 average!

Barnes & Noble: 5.0 average!

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Purchase Links

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Emily Martha Sorensen is the author of The Keeper and the Rulership, Black Magic Academy, and the Fairy Senses series.  She also writes and draws a webcomic that updates every Friday: To Prevent World Peace.

She has four adorable little monsters (*ahem* children), and her husband is magnificent, wonderful, and even a great writer in the bargain: he wrote the fantasy book Prophecy, and he has a second book forthcoming soon.

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There is a sequel to this book! It’s set to release mid to late summer!

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This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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5 Star Children’s Book “The Insect Hotel”

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A 2013 ‘Wishing Shelf’ Gold Award Winner!!

Read the fun times and adventures Harry and his Dad share together during the day while working in their garden, then enjoy the fictional bed time stories Dad created for Harry about all the new insect friends they met that day.

The book also contains a lovely foreword from Nature expert and TV personality Bill Oddie who shares his high regard for both book and author with quotes like “if you think you can write better, I bet you can’t!”.

A book you and your young one’s will love and share together.



This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We LOVED it! To see the review, click the title below.

“The Insect Hotel”


Review Stats

Goodreads: 4.7 average!

Amazon : 5 average!

Purchase Links

Amazon : 6.00 (Paperback) 


 

About The Author

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David has recently written his first book, The Insect Hotel, which is about and includes three of his passions: His Family, His love of Nature and humor.

He is also embarking on a new career in the National Health Service, working in operating theaters.

His book, The Insect Hotel, is about him and his youngest son’s real life adventures in the garden as they attempt to occupy themselves as well as get some much needed gardening work done. Each chapter then moves onto bedtime (or should that be battle time) as David attempts to get his youngest off to sleep with some invented bedtime stories from their days adventures.

David is also very proud that Bill Oddie OBE, one of his childhood hero’s, agreed to write a lovely foreword for his book. If nothing else develops from this fun activity of attempting to write a book, he’ll always treasure some of Bill’s kind words.


This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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5 Star “The Three Graces” by Michele Wolfe

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Summary

College juniors Jessie, Isabel and Sara are linked in an unlikely friendship by visits to hidden places only they can see. Together on a trip to Hearst Castle in California an earth-shaking encounter with a stunning statue in the gardens binds them to the spirits of the Three Graces; Brilliance, Joy and Bloom.

Under the weight of school and family problems, Sara, Jessie and Isabel grow to be fast friends as they struggle with who they are and what will become of them. Until the fateful trip where they are gifted three magical pendants. Through these gifts the girls must find a way to unlock a centuries old curse and free the graces from their stone grave.

Will Brilliance, Joy and Bloom find freedom through the girls or will they forever be entombed in the statue of The Three Graces?

The Three Graces is a deep and beautiful story of discovery, of admitting to truths that have been buried, and of letting go of a past that hinders the present.

Buy it HERE!


This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! We LOVED it! To see the review, click the title below.

The Three Graces


 

Review Stats

Amazon: 4.8 star average!

Barnes and Noble: 5 star average!

Goodreads: 4.5 star average! 

Purchase Links

AMAZON – 3.99 (Kindle) 12.99 (Paperback)

Barnes and Noble – 3.99 (Nook)


About The Author

Michele Wolfe Author Pic

Growing up between the Rocky Mountains and the city of Denver in Colorado, gave me a life-long love of both the scenic and the cosmopolitan. Soon after finishing college and becoming a teacher, I decided I wanted to explore the world. I took long road trips, spent time at Martha’s Vineyard, and fell in love with the ocean and California, which eventually became my home.

My marriage of twenty-three years and my two amazing sons have been an inspiration and my greatest support. To read an article published in the LA Times about us, go to: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-affairs-20160102-story.html

Because being a busy teacher, mother and wife made finding time to write a challenge, I had to write whenever and wherever I could, even at the kitchen table. The first draft was conceived there next to my kids doing homework. Eventually I reworked it with a writing mentor and in writers’ groups.

I do a lot of research about historical times, places and people. Then I let the story and characters come to me in their own time, in their own way. I am inspired by music and art, which often influence a scene or a conversation. I hope my writing inspires others and makes people think and feel. And of course be entertained.

Sneak Peeks!

Michele is working on her next novel, Atoms of Memory, also about a work of art, this time a painting at the Museum of Modern Art in Rome.


This book has the AlliesOpinions official stamp of approval. We recommend this book!

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Book Review “The Poverty Industry” Daniel L. Hatcher

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Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.
 
In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue. The poverty industry is stealing billions in federal aid and other funds from impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. As policy experts across the political spectrum debate how to best structure government assistance programs, a massive siphoning of the safety net is occurring behind the scenes.In the face of these abuses of power, Hatcher offers a road map for reforms to realign the practices of human service agencies with their intended purpose, to prevent the misuse of public taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that government aid truly gets to those in need. 
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What you read in this book will definitely make you mad. That inherent distrust most people have for their governing bodies exists for a reason. Well, it exists for many reasons and this book details a whole pile of them.
Hatcher has done his research and his findings are incredibly shocking. This book is aptly named. Those in poverty are being systemically farmed for sympathy money. When you drive around your town and you see homes falling apart, insanely skinny kids wearing faded clothes covered in holes you feel horribly for those suffering people. This elicits a emotional response that is a factor in your voting ideology. You vote and approve of measures to help lift those poor souls from their poverty prison. You don’t realize that those policies are actually keeping the poor …well poor. The farming bit I was talking about..well they are farming your sympathy which really translates to your taxes.
Hatcher outlines these atrocities in easy to understand detail. He introduces these scenarios with real people and  elicits a personal connection from reader to cause.
Most of what I read in this book was enlightening and very upsetting. I know that it will for sure change the way that I vote. I think it is for reason’s like this that the idea of Democratic Socialism looks better and better. We are not a great country if we allow those who are vulnerable to suffer.  
Hatcher has illustrated the issues plaguing the poor and outlines a plausible array of solutions to these issues. 
Excellent book. 5 stars.
5 stars
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The Technical Data:

Title: The Poverty Industry  | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): Daniel L. Hatcher |Publisher: NYU Press / Publication Date: 6-21-2016 |Pages: 288 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1479874729 | Genre(s): Non-Fiction / Government / Poverty |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-10-2016 |Source: Copy from Netgally

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There is also a documentary that was done to bring awareness to these issues. Check it out on Netflix! It will blow your mind.

 

 

Book Review ” A Place To Call Home” G. A. Whitmore

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A Place to Call Home is the heartwarming and inspiring story of an abandoned white German shepherd puppy named Toby and his cross-country search for a forever home. Narrated in part by the animal characters in the book, the reader experiences Toby’s world through his eyes and those of the animals he meets on his journey.  

Toby’s life begins on a farm where the carefree, happy days he has known come to an abrupt end when his breeder decides to “dispose” of him and his sister Tara because of the color of their fur. With the help of a kind farmhand, the two puppies escape unharmed.

After a tumultuous time during which Toby is shuffled from place to place, he is finally adopted, but he quickly realizes his new family has deep-seated issues that put him in danger, and what seemed like an ideal home, turns into another place he must escape from.

As Toby struggles to find a forever home where he can feel safe and secure, he experiences some painful losses, but he also makes new friends–friends who will help him to trust humans again and teach him the power of love.

Inspired by a true story, this middle grade/young adult novel can be enjoyed by dog lovers of all ages.

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First lines: Toby huddled beneath the small table in the corner of the room. His eyes darted back and forth in fear. The corner – at one time a place of refuge, a place to escape from a man and his wrath – had now become a trap.

Whitmore has written one of my favorite kinds of narratives with “A Place To Call Home”. Reading from the perspective of an animal (especially mixed with human narratives) has always been something that fascinates me.

I think part of what makes this book so great is that Whitmore pours her love of animals into every page. I think these are some of the most developed animal characters I’ve met that weren’t in a fantasy novel. 

Toby’s tale is a tough one to follow but very realistic. Humanity, for the most part, looks at animals as stupid. Which really is a shame since there is scientific evidence to prove their intelligence. For people who deeply love their animal companions, the idea of them being intelligent has always been a no brainer.

Toby’s tale is an emotional and thought provoking journey to find a forever home. However, it is so much more than just a story. It bring to light various issues that dogs face at the hands of human beings. This story spotlights the trials that humanity puts on anything or anyone that is deemed inferior.

As a dog mom, there was a lot of things that happened in this book that made me angry. I hope that this story elicits a similar response in society. Angry people make changes. Dogs and other animals have very positive effects on human lives. I hope that in the future humanity has more of a positive effect on them than we have had in the past.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: A Place To Call Home  | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): G. A. Whitmore |Publisher: Outskirts Press / Publication Date: 2-19-2014 |Pages: 302 (Print) | ISBN:  978-1478700739 | Genre(s): All Ages / Contemporary |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-8-2016 |Source: Copy from Author

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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How’s my list? Place your two cents below!

Book list

Children’s Book Review “The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!” Scott Magoon

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A classic tale with a timeless message gets a hugely hilarious twist.

He’s big. He’s funny. He’s not real. Or IS he?

This clever twist on “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is told from the point of view of an unexpected narrator and, through snappy text and lighthearted illustrations, demonstrates the value of telling the truth, the importance of establishing trust, and (of course!) the possibility that a beast you created to get attention can become a real-life friend.

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This adorable retelling of the age old fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” will have you laughing out loud! My littles enjoyed the easy to understand story and my three year old even picked up that the story warns against lying. The author also throws the mini-reader for a loop by introducing one big word…Tenacious. Believe me, my son noticed. The second that word came out of my mouth he was asking me what it meant. Needless to say, I’m impressed!

The illustrations have muted colors but I feel that it helps to partner with the story instead of overwhelm it. 

I enjoyed reading this story to me son and will be keeping an eye out for further books from this author.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot | Series:  N/A  |  Author(s): Scott Magoon |Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books / Publication Date: 2-5-2013 |Pages: 48 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1442412576  | Genre(s): Children’s / Pre-school |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-6-2016 |Source: Copy from Library 

Book Review “Winter” Marissa Meyer

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The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series!

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

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First lines: Winter’s toes had become ice cubes. They were as cold as space. As cold as the dark side of Luna. As cold as –

In true Marissa Meyer fashion, Winter is fast paced and full of action. There are twists and turns and friends in the least likely of places. Winter sets its hooks in you and holds on till the end.

Meyer’s creativity for reimagining fairy tales continues. Each character is well developed and at this point in the series…well loved.

Winter’s character is one of my favorite in the series. She is loyal. She is fragile but strong. She is intelligent and kind. She is fearless but very very afraid. Her character rang true. What a ruler she would of been had the cards been stacked in her favor. Her mental illness is explained in haunting detail. How frightening it must be to live inside her mind.

Cinder continues to surprise. She has overcome so much just to get to this point and Levana definitely doesn’t make it any easier now that she’s come this far. I have to admit I enjoyed each time Cinder and her crew one upped ol Levana. If ever there was a horrible person, she’s it.

I really enjoyed this book as the fictional story it was but there are a few things I dislike when it comes to morals.

First is the push to reveal Levana’s disfigurement from her burns. A woman is worth much more than her exterior and should be judged as such. The push for people to leave Levana based solely on her looks was annoying. There’s plenty of reason’s to leave Levana without making it about her “beauty”. I think this sends a bad message.

Second is what Cinder decides to give up at the end of the book. I don’t think she is giving it up for political reasons. I felt like this was her giving her all to a relationship where Kai gives up nothing. I think this damaged the character of Cinder that Meyer has been working so hard to build.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I think Meyer used her pages well and concluded the book nicely.

4 stars

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Winter | Series:  The Lunar Chronicles  |  Author(s): Marissa Meyer |Publisher: Feiwel & Friends  Publishing / Publication Date: 11-10-2015 |Pages: 832 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0312642983  | Genre(s): Science Fiction /  Fairy Tales |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-6-2016 |Source: Copy from Library 

My Marriage Advice

The opinion of most in my generation is that I got married very young. My husband and I were both 21 when we said our vows. It’s been six years now and we are still going strong. There were a lot of people who told us that we wouldn’t make it. They told us we were making a huge mistake. People say a lot of things.

The truth is, we have made it. Yes, it has been hard. However, it hasn’t been hard in the ways they said it would be. 

They said we still needed to “shop around”. Nope, still happy with my “purchase”.

They said we needed to be kids and make mistakes. Uhm…what mistakes? Cause most I can think of will get you thrown in jail and ruin your life. Don’t think I’m interested in making much of those.

They told us we needed to really get to know each other. I think we knew each other pretty well. 

Recently a few of my friends have gotten married. Here is my advice to you and anyone else who might be interested. This advice is good for both sides of the coin. Women or men.

1: Listen.

You are your spouses closest confidant. No matter how trivial you think their problem is, listen. It’s not trivial to them or they wouldn’t be upset about it. Be their friend. Give them an ear of understanding.

2. Communicate.

If you are upset about something your spouse has done or not done. Tell them. They aren’t mind readers. Don’t come at me with the “they should just know” bullcrap. No, they shouldn’t. Don’t scream and yell. Don’t cuss them out or throw crap. Don’t act like a damn fool. Just talk. Explain your feelings.

3. Share Hobbies.

Don’t divide yourselves into “men stuff” and “woman stuff”. Get involved in each others activities. Be friends. Play games. Read books. Hike. Find common ground.

4. Be Appreciative.

When your spouse does something kind, acknowledge them for it. Every single time. Even for things as simple as vacuuming the floor or loading the dishwasher. Let the other person know that you noticed. 

5. Don’t divide over finances.

Don’t fall into the trap that so many do. Don’t look at that empty bank account and the mounting bills and blame your partner. (Unless they purposefully created the mess.) Bills are going to drown you. Living is expensive. Don’t blame your spouse for your countries economic failures. 

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6. Build each other up!

Keep hope alive. Help your spouse realize their dreams. 

7. Stay on the same page!

Talk about everything before you do it. Make sure that both parties are happy with decisions.

8. Never stop trying.

Don’t get complacent and forget about each other. Don’t drift apart. 

9. Trust one another.

Don’t be controlling. Don’t spy on your spouse. Don’t be insanely jealous of every female/male that speaks to them.

10. Be worthy of trust.

Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t mislead. Treat your spouse how you want to be treated.

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That’s all I can think of for now. It’s really not all that hard. I can pretty much sum all this advice into two words. Be considerate. There is going to be tough times. Don’t give up. Work it out (within reason). Remember why you married the person you did.

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Do you have any advice to add? Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

Discussion Topic: The Evolution of a Book Reviewer

I’ve been reviewing books for awhile now. When I look back on some of my first reviews and compare them to now, I have noticed a big difference in the content of the reviews. The quality of my reviews has definitely improved as well. As opposed to the past, I now regularly use a thesaurus to write my reviews. I edit them multiple times and do my best to avoid spoilers. (Which is really a lot harder than you would think). I dislike writing vague reviews but there is definitely a fine line that has to be balanced.

Another big difference from then to now is my standards. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a bit more selective on how I rate books and I’m a bit harder on authors with quality issues. Grammar mistakes are starting to make my eyes twitch and the list of “did not finish” is longer than I ever thought it would be. I try to give the benefit of the doubt but some of the books that are submitted to me look suspiciously like a first draft.  Now, to be fair, I’m not nit picky on grammar. I make my fair share of mistakes while writing just like the next person. It has to be pretty bad before I actually put it in my reviews. Usually, I will send an email to the author with my concerns and ask them to fix it there instead of publicly attack them for it. 

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Fellow reviewers, what are some changes that you have noticed in your reviews? What changes have you implemented?

Writers, what differences between a seasoned reviewer and a newer one do you notice the most? 

Book Review “Floor 21” Jason Luthor

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As humanity lives out the remainder of its existence at the top of an isolated apartment tower, young Jackie dares to question Tower Authority and their ban on traveling into the tower’s depths. Intelligent and unyielding, Jackie ventures into the shadows of the floors below. But will her strong will and refusal to be quiet—in a society whose greatest pride is hiding the past—bring understanding of how humanity became trapped in the tower she has always called home, or will it simply be her undoing?

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First lines: My name is Jackie, and it’s not so bad living here. Seriously. At least, I don’t think so anyway, but I guess it’s hard to say. Then again, I’ve never really been anywhere else. I’ve rarely even been below Floor 12. My parents won’t let me. They say things get bad down there, so I have to stay up here, on the higher levels.

This is one of those books that I am torn in half on. Floor 21 has great attributes that kept the story treading water but it also had some serious issues that kept it from getting above treading.

We’ll start with the bad.

Jackie’s character is seriously lacking in development. Her dialogue is air headed and lacks depth. Her character was hard to like. For me, this is a big problem. Jackie is supposed to be the “good guy” in this story. She’s the heroine. Her character should shine the brightest. She should be the one person in the story that I feel I know. Her “recordings” are basically the same information repeated over and over with a smidge of new information squeezed in. She needs work.

Now some good.

I like where Luthor was trying to go with Jackie. I think he was trying to show the metamorphosis of a misinformed teen girl to an empowered teen girl. I also like the way he introduced her race. It wasn’t a defiant statement. It wasn’t “hey look at me, I’m Hispanic or Black”. I don’t mean that to come across as racist. My point here is that her race doesn’t matter in the story. It’s not a defining characteristic.  It’s just part of who she is and is presented in a way that doesn’t make the story about race. It makes the story about her development as a person.  I think writing characters this way is another step in the war on racism. If in all of our books the characters are described using racial stereotypes, the character isn’t developed in the world of the story. It’s developed in our own miserable world. I know Luthor is capable of developing amazing characters because he did so with Commander Vick. Commander Vick is who I feel like I know best in this story. His character is solid.

Bad again.

There are some confusing aspects to the story. I can’t go into incredible detail without spoiling the book but there are some things that I couldn’t rationalize. Like the steak….? Where in a tower would they be able to produce enough grain or grass to feed cattle? The medication availability is another question mark. Most medications need a variety of chemical compounds and complex manufacturing processes. How in the heck would they obtain these items? Scavenging…well…it feels like too big of a stretch. I also don’t like the glorification of keeping a populace ignorant. It was unconvincingly justified in the story and I felt any moral meaning to the story was lost in this attempt at justification. The ending wasn’t the best either. I like that Jackie gets picked for the job she does. However, this was an opportunity to get some of the questions that are continually asked throughout the book answered and I felt like few of them were. This was another missed opportunity for Luthor to build on this world he is trying to create.

More good…

The premise of this story is incredibly unique! With more development and a rewrite of some of the more confusing aspects of the story…I could see this book hitting the shelves of some of the biggest retailers. It has an incredible amount of potential. I would love to see that potential realized.

3 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: Floor 21 | Series:  The Tower Legacy  |  Author(s): Jason Luthor |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing / Publication Date: 6-2-2015 |Pages: 356 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1530960569  | Genre(s): Science Fiction / Dystopian | Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-1-2016 |Source: Copy from author

The Booklist – 5 Books You Should Read

Since it’s well known that I’m a voracious reader, I often have people ask me for book recommendations. Due to this, I’ve decided to start a weekly list of books that I have personally reviewed. Each book has received a minimum 4 star rating from me. If you have read any of the books I’ve listed, please let me know what you thought of them in the comments! Click on the covers to be taken to the review.

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cold water bridegroom

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annalise up and down day

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dream student

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How’s my list? Place your two cents below!

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Book Review “An Incredible Talent for Existing” Pamela Jane

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It is 1965, the era of love, light and revolution. While the romantic narrator imagines a bucolic future in an old country house with children running through the dappled sunlight, her husband plots to organize a revolution and fight a guerrilla war in the Catskills.

Their fantasies are on a collision course.

The clash of visions turns into an inner war of identities when the author embraces radical feminism; she and her husband are comrades in revolution but combatants in marriage; she is a woman warrior who spends her days sewing long silk dresses reminiscent of a Henry James novel. One half of her isn’t speaking to the other half.

And then, just when it seems that things cannot possibly get more explosive, her wilderness cabin burns down and Pamela finds herself left with only the clothes on her back.

From her vividly evoked existential childhood (“the only way I would know for sure that I existed was if others lots of others acknowledged it”) to writing her first children’s book on a sugar high during a glucose tolerance test, Pamela Jane takes the reader along on a highly entertaining personal, political, and psychological adventure.

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First lines: In 1965, when I was eighteen, I ran away to Portland, Oregon. Running away was an act of rebellion, but also of faith. In one beautiful leap I would escape my family, my past, and the insufferable person I’d been living with for the past few years – my teenage self. This person was quite obviously screwed up.

This coming of age story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Pamela Jane leads the reader through her turbulent and often very lonely childhood with a gentle hand. Her writing lulls the reader into her life and its almost like sitting down to tea with someone very wise and well traveled to garner their wisdom.

I discovered Pamela Jane through my local library when I was perusing the children’s section for my son. I found “Little Goblins Ten” and was so taken with the book I wrote a Review.  From there I reviewed another of her children’s books upon request from Jane herself. “Little Elfie One” .

While reading this memoir, I often found myself wistfully looking at Jane’s books on my son’s shelf and feeling amazed at the trials it took for them to come into the world. Jane’s memoir reminds us that all people have struggles- even children’s authors.😉

Jane’s memoir is incredibly personal and introspective. She poured her soul into it and trust me, it shows. The warring feelings of discontent and the longing for the “Leave it to Beaver” home are feelings that I feel are multigenerational. 

Jane Depicts life growing up with a mentally ill mother and a brilliant father. The fears of becoming like her mother as well as the competition of achieving something great like her father must have been difficult emotions. I imagine a mental war of sorts.

How very brave of Mrs Jane to write such an intimate memoir. I am overjoyed to learn that Mrs. Jane has found peace and success in life. I greatly enjoyed getting to know this amazing author better.

5 Stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: An Incredible Talent for Existing | Series:  N/A |  Author(s): Pamela Jane |Publisher: Open Books Press / Publication Date: 2-1-2016 |Pages: 246 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1941799215  | Genre(s): Memoir | Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-30-2016 |Source: Copy from author