Indie Author Spotlight- Jean C. Joachim

Do you love hot romance stories that keep you on your toes? Jean C. Joachim is a prolific author whose characters you would be hard pressed not to fall in love with! Want to know more about her books? Check out our review of “Dan Alexander, Pitcher”! We’re set to review the next book in the “Bottom of the Ninth” series, “Matt Jackson, Catcher” in the next week so keep an eye out!

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Jean Joachim is a best-selling romance fiction author, with books hitting the Amazon Top 100 list since 2012. She writes mostly contemporary romance, which includes sports romance and romantic suspense.
Dangerous Love Lost & Found, First Place winner in the 2015 Oklahoma Romance Writers of America, International Digital Award contest. The Renovated Heart won Best Novel of the Year from Love Romances Café. Lovers & Liars was a RomCon finalist in 2013. And The Marriage List tied for third place as Best Contemporary Romance from the Gulf Coast RWA. To Love or Not to Love tied for second place in the 2014 New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America Reader’s Choice contest. She was chosen Author of the Year in 2012 by the New York City chapter of RWA.
Married and the mother of two sons, Jean lives in New York City. Early in the morning, you’ll find her at her computer, writing, with a cup of tea, her rescued pug, Homer, by her side and a secret stash of black licorice.
Jean has 30+ books, novellas and short stories published. Find them here: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com. Sign up for her newsletter, on her website, and be eligible for her private paperback sales.

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WARNING! This interview has what could be interpreted as spoilers!

Q: What gave you the idea to begin writing “Dan Alexander, Pitcher”?

I’ve loved baseball since I was sixteen. After writing my football series, “First & Ten”, baseball seemed the next best place to go. And who wouldn’t want to start with the pitcher. I wondered what would happen if the pitcher saw a pretty girl in the stands. Then the girl became a hot dog vendor, then she couldn’t be just any vendor. And thus Holly’s story was born.

As I wrote Dan’s story, he struck me as a nice guy from a small town, unpretentious, and unchanged by his new found wealth. In some ways, he and Holly were opposite, which is, perhaps, what attracted Dan to Holly.

Q: Dan Alexander strikes me as a small town guy-next-door type. However, he’s also no stranger to the finer things in life and expects his mate to be classy and sophisticated. Was it difficult to find that balance for his character?

Not at all. I think he was completely taken with Holly’s sophistication. She was an unusual mix of a woman who could take care of herself, knew what to order in a French restaurant, but also needed protection and understanding. That unusual mix of qualities is what attracted Dan.

He’d never met a girl like her, who wasn’t falling all over herself or him for attention. And a girl who wasn’t impressed by a lot of money, but who was easy with living well relieved his mind about her ever being a gold-digger. She tumbled into his life and opened his eyes to the fact that a girl from a rich family might actually be deprived in some ways – for example, never going to an amusement park. She made him feel like a big man, her protector and yet she had things she could teach him, too. It was a perfect match.

Q: The man on the cover is exactly as I felt you described Dan. Did you see the model first and base Dan’s description on him or was it a happy surprise?

I had Dan pictured in my mind. I looked at models with a photographer until I happened on Chandler. The moment I saw him, I knew he was the perfect Dan Alexander. And, besides, he was hotter than hot. He’s exactly what I wanted for the cover. I’m glad he fits the description.

I designed the jersey he’s wearing. If you’ll notice it says “Nighthawks” on it. The cover shots have all been taken with photographers. None are stock photos and no fancy graphics were used. Those are real uniforms.

Allie- I LOVE that these are real uniforms! You should sign these and sell them! I’d buy one!

Q: In the book, we learn that Holly is paying for her wild streak and bad decisions. I felt there was an emphasis on her predicament being her fault, but with the distance from her parents growing up….isn’t it a bit their fault too?

Absolutely! I totally agree. I had to show how they treated her so the reader would understand why Holly made the mistakes she did. No, it was not totally her fault. Her parents needed to take some of the blame. Perhaps the humiliation they suffered was their pay-back for the cold way they treated her growing up.

Even though she had neglectful parents, the world is not a forgiving place. If you make a mistake, you pay for it.  That was made clear in the story. No matter how her parents treated her, Holly had to make good choices in her life and take responsibility for them. She learned that lesson the hard way. But in the end, I think she grew stronger from the ordeal. And the love of Dan was her reward for facing her predicament squarely and being honest.

Dan was very healing for Holly. Her time with him let her know that she was worthy of love and that there was someone who would protect her and care for her, even though she’d made some mistakes. His loyalty went straight to my heart – and her’s, too.

Q: When you write, is the story already present in your mind or does it slowly materialize as your writing progresses?

When I start to write, the story and the characters are  in my mind, but not fully formed. I know how it’s going to end, but often it takes a different twist and turn along the way. I love when that happens. I have thrown out scenes and even changed plots after beginning a novel. The story takes me where it needs to go. Sometimes I have to be patient, but it always appears and makes the story better.

Q: In the story, Holly’s identity was initially discovered and caused her to “disappear” on her own. Later in the story, she makes the decision to trust in the system again and everything seems to work out. The story doesn’t explain how she was initially found out. Could you elaborate on this?

Someone leaked Holly’s whereabouts for money. I didn’t want to pursue that because I felt it would sidetrack the plot, hijacking the story from Holly and Dan and injecting Flash Kincade into it with a bigger role.

Yes, he paid someone to give him the information. It took him a while to find the right person and persuade them, but that was it. I did wonder if that would leave some readers hanging. I guess it did! I will clear that up with a sentence or two in a later book. Thanks for this question.

Q: Do you have any writing quirks?

I’m sure I must, but I don’t think so. Every writer thinks they are normal, but “normal” people would probably think we’re nuts. Maybe my biggest quirk is that I talk to my pug, Homer, about my stories when we’re out walking. I ask him questions and work out plot points. That seems perfectly normal to me, but the people of NYC probably think I’m crazy.

Allie – I’ve never been to NYC but I’m sure a nice looking lady with an adorable pug is the least of their worries. I mean…have you seen that documentary about the rat problem in NYC? Everyone is probably too busy dodging rats! J/K (ish)

Q: What kind of music do you listen to when looking for inspiration?

Sometimes I listen to music to inspire me. When I wrote Love Lost & Found that takes place partly in St. Thomas, I played the song “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys over and over again. Most of the time I prefer to write in quiet. When I do put on music, it’s classical. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven are all soothing and allow me to focus on my inner thoughts.

Q: Other than writing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

I enjoy crocheting, taking long walks, and going to the movies. Photography is my most consuming hobby. I love to take pictures of nature and interesting things around me.

Just For Fun Questions

Q: If you could time travel, where would you go and what would you do?

I’d go back to the time when Louisa May Alcott was writing or Jane Austen. Regency England, with it’s elegance and intrigue, would be fascinating.

I’d be a fly on the wall in drawing rooms of wealthy, titled people watching and listening to them live their intriguing lives.  I’d love it. Yes, I’m a huge Jane Austen fan.

The Roaring ‘20’’s in the U.S.A. interest me, too. Life was fast, every changing and the clothing styles were awesome! I’d be a speakeasy singer by night and a demure secretary by day.

Allie- I’m also a huge fan of Jane Austen. 

Q: Imagine you are stranded on an island. What three things would you most want with you? (other than people, food, shelter and necessities for life)

Music! Art materials. I love to design and do occasionally design a cover and I do all my own marketing designing, including creating my logo. A camera. Chocolate and books! Of course, books.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would you pick?

I’d love to be able to fly. I adore birds and envy their ability to pick up and soar. To see the world from different vantage points and to be able to sit, high up, in a tree and contemplate life would be heaven.

Q: If you could live in any world in any book or movie, what movie/book would you pick?

I’d jump right into the pages of “Pride and Prejudice”, or any other Jane Austen book. I think being around during the tumultuous times in “Gone With the Wind” would be fascinating!

I recently watched the movie, “The Big Chill” again. Being back in those times with those folks would also be fun.

 

JCJ- Thank you for inviting me to this interview, Allie. It’s been a lot of fun answering your questions.

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Fed up with cheating women, Dan Alexander, star pitcher for the New York Nighthawks, grew restless. Searching for something more than a bar babe, he zeroed in on a girl in the stands. He never expected to see a beautiful chick pushing frankfurters. But the hot dog girl looked as smokin’ as the food she was selling.
Holly Merrill found a place to hide in plain sight, as a vendor at Nighthawks’ stadium. Keeping her secret safe and simply happy to stay alive, she never considered finding love an option. After all, a bad girl doesn’t deserve a decent guy, does she?
Coming off his best season ever, Dan went into the playoffs, hell bent on winning the pennant and playing in the World Series. But could he maintain his focus on the field, where everything was going right, when off the field everything was falling apart?

Dan Alexander, Pitcher – Bottom of the Ninth Series

Fed up with cheating women, Dan Alexander, star pitcher for the New York Nighthawks, grew restless. Searching for something more than a bar babe, he zeroed in on a girl in the stands. He never expected to see a beautiful chick pushing frankfurters. But the hot dog girl looked as smokin’ as the food she was selling. Holly Merrill found a place to hide in plain sight, as a vendor at Nighthawks’ stadium. Keeping her secret safe and simply happy to stay alive, she never considered finding love an option. After all, a bad girl doesn’t deserve a decent guy, does she? Coming off his best season ever, Dan went into the playoffs, hell bent on winning the pennant and playing in the World Series. But could he maintain his focus on the field, where everything was going right, when off the field everything was falling apart?

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This book has been personally reviewed by AlliesOpinions! 

To see the review, click the title below.

Dan Alexander, Pitcher

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Review Stats

Amazon: 4.8 Stars!

Goodreads: 4.6 stars!

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About The Author

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I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. When other kids wanted to be doctors, teachers or firemen, I wanted to be a writer.
As soon as I could read, I began devouring books. I’d read anything I could get my hands on, but Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Nancy Drew mysteries were early favorites.
In school, term papers were my favorite homework. While others bemoaned the amount of work involved, I jumped in, burying myself in research and writing the document with care.
Still fiction was my first love. After college and a degree in English, I fell into the world of advertising. After many years in corporate America, I went my own way. Working and raising two kids took all my energy and creativity. But when the youngest went off to school, all the story ideas in my head came to life. Mac Caldwell and Callie Richards landed in my head and refused to leave. So I told their story. What started as one book has become six. Now I greet my characters every morning at six and jump back into their story, enjoying every minute. I’m blessed to be able to work at something I love and share my space with my husband as well as my beloved pug, Homer. More than 26 books later, I’m still up at the crack of dawn, crafting the tales of the people who live in my head.

Want to know more? Check out her website! 

https://jeanjoachimbooks.com/

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

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Book Review “Dan Alexander, Pitcher – Bottom of the Ninth” Jean C. Joachim

Fed up with cheating women, Dan Alexander, star pitcher for the New York Nighthawks, grew restless. Searching for something more than a bar babe, he zeroed in on a girl in the stands. He never expected to see a beautiful chick pushing frankfurters. But the hot dog girl looked as smokin’ as the food she was selling. Holly Merrill found a place to hide in plain sight, as a vendor at Nighthawks’ stadium. Keeping her secret safe and simply happy to stay alive, she never considered finding love an option. After all, a bad girl doesn’t deserve a decent guy, does she? Coming off his best season ever, Dan went into the playoffs, hell bent on winning the pennant and playing in the World Series. But could he maintain his focus on the field, where everything was going right, when off the field everything was falling apart?

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The first thing I want to say to anyone thinking about not reading this book due to its Baseball theme is….DON’T PASS THIS BOOK UP! It is fantastic! You don’t need to be into Baseball to enjoy the story. I am far from a Baseball fan and I couldn’t put this book down. Both Holly and Dan are compelling characters that will drive a spike into you with their authenticity. 

One of my most favorite aspects of this story is how different Dan and Holly became who they are. Two completely different upbringings and yet Joachim expertly brings them together in such a believable way that I won’t be surprised if ballparks across America find themselves over-run with “hot dog girl” applications. There is even a review on Amazon from someone who is a hot dog vendor! 

The story isn’t all romance. Joachim weaves a thrilling thread with Holly and her ties to a sketchy ex-boyfriend. Right from the first page, the hazardous and perilous life of Holly draws you in to her desperation and regret. While reading, I was constantly concerned for her safety. This book kept me on my toes in more than one way. 

Beginning with the introduction of Dan, I felt an immediate kinship with him. Coming from a small town myself, his charm and authenticity  really made me want better for him. While successful and incredibly talented, I loved how Joachim made him imperfectly real. He’s not the best there ever was. He’s not a Baseball prodigy. He’s a guy who is improving in many areas of his life. He’s like a regular guy who is growing and learning with each new experience life throws at him. He’s a guy you would be hard pressed not to like.

Since a good part of the secondary characters are single….I’m looking forward to future books exploring their lives and future (possible) loves!

I loved everything about this story. It’s sweet but tense. Thrilling and comforting. The best of both worlds. I highly recommend it.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Dan Alexander, Pitcher | Series: Bottom of the Ninth  |  Author(s): Jean C. Joachim  |Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  / Publication Date: 9-21-2016 |Pages: 240 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1539025665  |Genre(s): Romance / Sports |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-17-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

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“The Bloodless – Awakening” Book Review

The year is 2100-something, Daniel Justice is just another geneticist working for GoD Laboratories, a big box, publicly traded biotechnology company. Then one day he proved that resurrecting the dead was not only possible, but economically viable. Back in the old days, this would have been a massive ethics debate, but in a world where religion is all but extinct, the conversation is a whole lot different.

Once someone is resurrected they are welcomed back into society with open arms, right? Wrong. They are shunned and treated like third class citizens. Abuse will only be tolerated for so long and when their patience is up, the resurrected population rises up and rebels against the very people who created them.

His coworkers are either dead or have vanished without a trace, but by a combination of luck and his own determination to live, Daniel escapes a similar fate. With the military already embroiled in an all-out war with Russia, it’s up to him and a small group of mercenaries to fight back against what is turning into a quiet genocide. Their survival depends on fending off overwhelming numbers of enemies that only desire death and destruction. Or does it?

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“The Bloodless” begins by dropping you right into the action. Right from the start your blood is pumping and your heart racing. Within the first few pages the characters quickly start to flesh out and the group dynamic forms quickly. It’s rare when I feel an immediate connection with any character, let alone an entire group of them. For someone who is fairly new to the novel game, Gibson does a good job building that bridge between reader and novel. That certainly isn’t easy but it appears that Gibson has a natural talent for it. If only he would of continued with that skill throughout the entire book. Instead, he does well in the beginning and misses lots of further opportunities to build later on.

“The Bloodless” initially comes across as another zombie story and that’s really too bad because while having zombie like attributes, the creatures that Gibson has created aren’t exactly zombies. For those of you who are heartily sick of the same zombie story being told over and over, let me quell your worries. “The Bloodless” is very unique and not at all a retelling.

The one area that I would like to see Gibson put some work into is transitions. When a new task is set before the team the writing is abrupt and I think Gibson is losing out on opportunities to world build and deepen his story line. This applies to the loss of characters too. There is a sense of sadness and loss but those feeling are only portrayed at face value. I would like to see Gibson take these events and use them to round out his characters. He is doing well on most all other avenues to build his characters but this one. Unfortunately, this is doing its fair share of damage and in doing so is keeping this book from being great. Without these corrections the book is still entertaining and I would label it “good”. However, without revision this book isn’t one that would stick with me for long. It lacks the depth.

The ending could also use a bit more work. This is another opportunity that Gibson should of used to deepen the readers knowledge of the world as well as give a bit more perspective into the whys of the worlds current standing. It appears that the main character is deep in the dark on most of the whys and his lack of perspective in some circumstances is a bit of a stretch. 

On the bright side, Gibson sneaks in a clever bit of foreshadowing. Those of us who picked up on it are looking forward to seeing it pan out.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Bloodless – Awakening | Series: The Bloodless  |  Author(s): Andrew Gibson  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Services  / Publication Date: 9-2-2015 |Pages: 230 (Print) | ISBN: B014VDN1PC |Genre(s): Science Fiction|Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-20-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

To Be Read List!

How goes it my book besties? Here’s a sneak peak into what I’ll be reading this week! I’ve received some e-mails from a few antsy authors wanting to know what’s next in my queue so I’m going to bring back the weekly TBR post. Just a reminder, I review books for free and am also the mother of two very small children…. so it may take a while to get a review out. However, as you may already know…when I do review a book I take care to explain any issues I have with the book as well as heap on praise when a book blows me off my feet! I love reviewing books and I hope that by doing so I am connecting readers with awesome stories! Click on the covers to get more information about each book! If you have read any of the books on my list hit me up in the comments and let me know what you thought of it! No spoilers though! Ain’t nobody got time for that.

To Be Read

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Currently Reading

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Upcoming Reviews

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To Be Read

 

Book Review “Brain Rules for Baby” John Medina

What’s the single most important thing you can do during pregnancy? What does watching TV do to a child’s brain? What’s the best way to handle temper tantrums? Scientists know.

In his New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina showed us how our brains really work—and why we ought to redesign our workplaces and schools. Now, in Brain Rules for Baby, he shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. This book is destined to revolutionize parenting. Just one of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control.

Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice. Through fascinating and funny stories, Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops – and what you can do to optimize it.

You will view your children—and how to raise them—in a whole new light. You’ll learn:

Where nature ends and nurture begins
Why men should do more household chores
What you do when emotions run hot affects how
your baby turns out, because babies need to feel safe
above all
TV is harmful for children under 2
Your child’s ability to relate to others predicts her
future math performance
Smart and happy are inseparable. Pursuing your child’s
intellectual success at the expense of his happiness
achieves neither
Praising effort is better than praising intelligence
The best predictor of academic performance is not
IQ. It’s self-control
What you do right now—before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and through the first five years—will affect your children for the rest of their lives. Brain Rules for Baby is an indispensable guide.

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When I was pregnant with my first child I worried about everything. Me and every pregnant woman ever. I wish I would of have this book! Almost every question I had as a soon to be mom is answered! Best part about this book is that if, like me, you don’t find it while pregnant, the information has a wide age range. I learned a lot and will be implementing new approaches to my parenting.  My husband learned a ton too! This is a must have for both Mom & Dad!

The book is split into chapters and answers some of the most pressing issues parents face. Medina cites his methods with solid research and when the science is a bit lacking he is upfront and explains why he included that bit of information. So much of this book is backed up by research that your reading list will grow longer as you work your way through the book.

I found a lot of other good reading from this book and I, for one, am thankful that Medina so meticulously cited everything. With the absolutely insane amount of parenting books on the market, Medina’s book stands as a shining example to other authors. If you’re going to give advice….have the proof to back it up. Don’t contribute to the noise.

My favorite section of the book is “Smart Baby: Seeds”. Medina breaks down each point in an easy to understand format but goes into great detail. This book really is the holy grail.  

Medina includes interesting anecdotes throughout the story that are sometimes funny but always thought provoking. I really loved how Medina gave us the history of the IQ test! I had no idea!

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book to parents. Medina has written a solid “manual” for not messing up your kid.

Thanks friend!

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Brain Rules for Baby | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): John Medina  |Publisher: Pear Press  / Publication Date: 4-22-2014 |Pages: 336 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0983263388 |Genre(s): Parenting / Non Fiction|Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-08-2017 |Source: Copy from library.

Book Review “The Shade of the Moon” Susan Beth Pfeffer

The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.

It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

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This is the fourth book in the “Life As We Knew It” series. It remains one of my all time favorite apocalyptic stories. Pfeffer has crafted these characters so expertly that I often find myself missing them and rereading the series. From the beginning, this story has rang so terribly real that I often open my curtains to check on the moon. You know, just in case.

One of my favorite things about this addition to the series is Jon’s narration. Before reading this book, he was the character I felt I knew the least about. In the other books he has mainly been in the background. It was interesting to see this world from his perspective. Interesting to see him deal with the two worlds he finds himself part of. That constant uncertainty would be unnerving. 

The class system that Pfeffer created is fascinating. The dehumanization of the “grubs” is a lot like what we do to the poor. Towards the end of the book, the “clavers” no longer acknowledge that the “grubbs” are human. Powerful people were spreading stories to further that ideology. Watching Jon struggle with the entitlement of living in the enclave while also being constantly reminded that he didn’t actually “belong” there was conflicting. Part of me wanted to kick his butt for being such a little jerk and not appreciating everything that everyone was doing for him. That part of me was assuaged when Jon rallies and helps his sister.

This series is a good look into a possible future and a cautionary tale to remind us all how fragile our society really is.

5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Shade of the Moon | Series: Life As We Knew It  |  Author(s): Susan Beth Pfeffer  |Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers  / Publication Date: 9-16-2014 |Pages: 304 (Print) | ISBN:  978-0544336155 |Genre(s): Science Fiction / Young Adult / Apocalyptic |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-04-2017 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

Children’s Book Review “REX” Simon James

From the inimitable Simon James, a heartwarming story about a surprising dinosaur adoptive dad.

Once upon about 65 million years ago, a terrifying tyrannosaurus roams the earth. He spends his days raging through the jungle, scaring every other dinosaur in sight with his fierce roar. Then, one night while he is sleeping, an abandoned egg cracks open and out pops a tiny dinosaur who decides right then and there that this scary tyrannosaurus is his father. And so begins the touching story of a little dino and his search for a dad—a tale sure to resonate with families of all stripes.

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When it comes to Children, there is undoubtedly a huge demand for anything Dino. Both of my kids love dinosaurs and we have thoroughly exhausted two libraries worth of anything and everything Dinosaur. The same themes are often seen but when I picked up REX, I found a story that was not only fun for the kids but also dealt with a weighty issue.

See, there are a lot of kids out there who either have no family or live in a single parent household. Speaking as a child who was abandoned by both of my biological parents, there is a truck load of emotions that accompany these situations. As a kid who loved to read, it seemed that every book I picked up was about families or the main character had a family member who was trying desperately to find them.  

There really isn’t much children’s literature that deals with adoption or abandonment. This book handles it well. 

When we first meet little Rex, we know he is abandoned and that emotion is merely mentioned but not explored on. I was dissapointed until I read further and discovered that it is handled. This book doesn’t deeply examine this situation but in my mind, it’s perfect for its age range. It hits on the beginning of what children like me are looking for… association. Just to know that someone (even a make believe Dinosaur) knows about my life would of let me know as a child that I was not as alone as I felt.

Fantastic job. 5 stars.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: REX | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Simon James  |Publisher: Candlewick  / Publication Date: 7-12-2016 |Pages: 40 (Print) | ISBN:  978-0763672942 |Genre(s): Preschool / Adoption / Foster / Orphan |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-02-2017 |Source: Copy from Library.

Best Dinosaur Books For Kids!

Do you have a kiddo who is absolutely obsessed with Dinosaurs? My three year old son and even my one year old daughter are entranced by everything Dino! They live and breathe Dinos! They sleep in Dino pajamas. They eat off Dino plates. Heck, they even have Dino silverware. Having this level of obsession in my home has given me an insight into some pretty great Dinosaur books for kids. Let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of them. Here is a list of ten that we have read (not yet reviewed) and loved!

Treat the Dino lover in your life!

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What Dino books have your kids attention? We would love to see your list!

Best 50 Books of 2016

How goes it my fellow bibliophiles? 2016 has been one hell of a year. This year we have seen the death of many a beloved celebrity, a sketchy election and monumental social action. As for books, well, this year I have read some truly amazing stories. From fiction to non-fiction, my world has been rocked by the talent and bravery of so many authors. AlliesOpinions reviews a wide range of genres and I know there is something for every one this list! I am proud to present my picks for your viewing pleasure.

Note: Not all of the following books were released in 2016. This list is made up of books that I read, reviewed and loved this year. Click on the covers to learn more!

Enjoy!

delilah-dusticle-trans-adventure-new-cover         Fairest Book Cover            Life after the undead cover           Stick and Stone Cover     the-cabin-angela-shori-new-cover             The Dean Machine Cover sol of the coliseum cover        The Free Bronotosaurus      inequality book cover visionsight cover           The Split Book           walk in the flesh cover Britain at War Cover      The Insect Hotel Cover     Where Death Is A Hunter Cover

A Frog In the bog cover    Clean Cover       Smashing Book Cover                         The island on the edge of forever revised cover         Simply the wildside cover    Kyle evans cover Silverwood Cover               reaperlands-updated-cover     Eboracum Cover The Unknown Soldier cover               Titanborn Cover        Into The Dark Cover      Delivering Virtue New Cover      Solomon Crocodile Cover     The Keeper and the rulership cover       The Poverty Industry Cover            Private Lucky Cover          trauma shame and the power of love Cover        A Howl for Mayflower Cover           Fling Cover          sirens-song-cover

a-place-to-call-home-cover           the-virgin-queens-daughter-cover         all-her-secrets-cover

there-was-an-old-sailor-cover       hands-across-the-sky-cover              i-become-you-cover

moonstone-beach-cover             burned-cover       missing-mona-cover

the-oldest-soul-cover   where-memories-meet-cover  Timesmudger Cover

 

 

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2016 delivered some awesome books! I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring!

 

Book Review “The Collector” Nora Roberts

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a novel about a woman who needs nothing, a man who sees everything, and the web of deceit, greed and danger that brings them together—and could tear them apart…
 
When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one…
 
Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Chalking up their intense attraction to the heat of the moment, Lila agrees to help Ash try to find out who murdered his brother and why. From the penthouses of Manhattan to grand Italian villas, their investigation draws them into a rarefied circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away and stolen; where what you possess is who you are; and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession…

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I want to kick this off by admitting that this book has been sitting on my shelf damn near all year long. My husband bought it for me earlier in the year when I was buried in my review pile. I’ve run my fingers over it’s cover at least 20 times wishing I had time to read it. Nora Roberts writes some pretty amazing books and I’ve been looking forward to (finally) reading “The Collector” for far too long. Considering I built up some serious anticipation for this book, I had to take a couple of days after reading it to decompress and make dang sure my review would be on the actual book and not my preconceived ideas of how it was going to go down. After decompression, this is what I’ve got.

The only character that I felt was close to fully fleshed out in “The Collector” was Lila. That’s not to say that she didn’t need some work. I thought I had a pretty good eye on who she was until Ash came into the picture. All the sudden, it was like Lila’s independent nature was squashed. She didn’t put up the fight I was expecting of her and it blurred who she was in my head.

I feel like Roberts should back almost all the way up with Ash. The “brooding artist” stereotype ruined him for me. I love his art and his steady side but found the few things I loved about him stomped on by his downright shitty behavior and inconsiderate nature. I could see that Roberts was trying to convince the readers that while brash, Ash cares about those around him but I’m not buying it. For the most part Ash acts like a douche and I don’t like him. I don’t think he is a good fit for anyone and feel that his behavior is abusive.

One of the main themes in this book is Obsession. The reader is hit with two forms. One slightly veiled in its intensity and the other’s is blatant and frightening. The veiled obsession still unsettles me. I felt the character exhibited some pretty frightening narcissistic traits that were passed off as bluntness. There is a big difference and I don’t like how this was passed off as a healthy relationship. 

The nefarious obsessor is blatant with his disregard for any life other than his own. I can see the distance Roberts tried to put between the “Obsessor’s” but felt that by only vilifying one she glossed over abuse in less obvious forms. Obsession is dangerous.

I love Lila’s profession and found it interesting to get a glimpse into that world. Roberts found a way to make house sitting seem exciting and I felt the job added nicely to who Lila was as a person. While having Gypsy tendencies, I felt Lila is also a very steady person. Someone to be trusted and cherished. Her kindness and thoughtfulness is so at odds with Ash’s domineering personality!

The book is well researched and the premise intriguing. I came away from the book with a mixed bag of emotion but ultimately enjoyed reading it. After serious consideration, I still feel like the book could stand to be reevaluated by the author. There is too much conflict for the romance to come across as anything other than abusive and I feel Roberts should consider this a bit further and consider who she really wants Ash to be.

3 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Collector | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Nora Roberts  |Publisher:  Berkley / Publication Date: 4-15-2014 |Pages: 485 (Print) | ISBN:  B00FX7REI6 |Genre(s): Romance & Suspense |Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 11-27-2016 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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

Chris Pelloski Author Pic

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.

synopsis

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 Clews Author Pic

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 Sorensen Author Pic

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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Click Here To Buy!

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

David Stringer Author Pic

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 “Juliet’s Journey” Kathy Gates

 

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Juliet Carlsen is grieving the loss of her mother. Six weeks after the funeral she is about to arrive in a tiny village in northern Italy. The village, Baiardo, is home to an art school where she is to spend a month as a volunteer. Her best friend had convinced her that a change of scene would do her good but, as she nears her destination, she is not so sure: was it really necessary to travel so far out of her comfort zone?

Baiardo turns out to be her haven. The warm welcome and serene beauty work their healing magic. The attentions of a handsome local named Luca don’t hurt either. Then someone from Juliet’s past shows up and turns everything on its head.

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 As someone who has never been out of the US, I greatly enjoy traveling through books. Travel books continue to build my ever increasing desire to see all this great planet has to offer. Travel novels, like this one, are responsible for their fair share of wanderlust. Appeasing the desire to see the world by experiencing it through the eyes of a character in a book works for a little while but, a book like this one will come along and instead of quelling my gypsy nature…. it feeds it. Juliet was a great character for me to do my traveling through. Her appreciation for this small town in Italy is wondrous. I could feel the warmth on my skin. I could imagine the cream and sand colored buildings covered with creeping vines. The imagery in this story is well done.

Lets talk about Luca! What a sophisticated sounding man! Talk about googly eye worthy. He sounds so handsome! Just the right amount of gruff. A mans gotta have some gruff. 

Don’t all budding romances have a bit of blunder thrown in? Haven’t we all done something that we later want to bang our head against a desk repeatedly for?

I also love how they save the school! Housing addition hell is a particular peeve of mine. I am definitely one to appreciate the charm and character of a well built and well aged building. It irks the crap out of me when some joe-blow big shot comes in and tears these wonders down to build some cheap vacation nonsense. So, yay for the author having the same thoughts as me on that one.

I really enjoyed this story. It gets the full 5. ( I’ve been on a roll lately with good books!)

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: Juliet’s Journey | Author(s): Kathy Gates |

Publisher: Katherine Gates / Publication Date: 7-24-2015 |Pages: 57 (kindle edition) |
ISBN: B012IADIPI | Genre(s): Clean Reads Adult Romance | Language: English |
Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 9-30-2015 | Source: Copy From Author

Book Review for “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

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At first, I was apprehensive to read this book. My mother in law died of cancer a few years ago and it has been tough on the whole family. 

The authenticity of the feelings that Hazel experiences blew me away. The struggle she has here is so real. Dealing with these issues as a child and a teen is something I couldn’t imagine. How outcast it must make you feel. Which lets be honest…as a teen we all already feel like outcasts. 

I completely understand her worry about people getting attached to her. My mother in law often joked that she was a ticking time bomb. I can’t imagine how lonely that feeling really is. Especially for someone who hasn’t had all those years without being sick. 

Gus is such a cool guy! So much personality! He’s a whirlwind. Gus is that perfect person to help you remember that as long as your alive….you may as well live. I loved him from the moment he explained his cigarette metaphor. Clever fella.

Their love story is so special. It brings tears to my eyes to think of that grasping feeling they both must of had. That feeling the rest of us take for granted. Whereas, we have this “that’ll never happen to me” attitude…they don’t. It’s already happened.   

I learned myself years ago that funerals are for the living. The person everyone is talking about isn’t what those left behind need to heal. It’s keeping the rest of us off the cliff to oblivion. It’s reminding each of us that we are still here. So, make the best of it. Do something with it. Never take it for granted.

This book spoke to me on so many levels. 

I give it the full 5.

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Fault In Our stars | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): John Green  |Publisher: Penguin Books / Publication Date: 4-08-2014 |Pages: 336 (Print) | ISBN: 978-0142424179 |Genre(s): Fiction / Young Adult / Cancer / Social & Family Issues|Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2015 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

 

Book Review “The Scale” Mika Jolie

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams. The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms. When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

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Sexy Alert! This book is so hot it’ll smolder and burn down your bookshelf! This couples chemistry is lava. It’s straight gasoline and matches! Jolie really knows how to kick romance novel butt!

Alongside being one hot romance novel, this book also addresses some pretty serious issues. Especially body insecurity and eating disorders. Kudos to Jolie for masterfully navigating these grave issues. 

Body insecurity plagues almost everyone at some point in life or another and Minka’s struggle came across so authentically that my heart ached every time she stepped on that scale or chastised herself. I love Minkas character. I loved being part of her journey. Jolie has real skill with connecting her readers to her characters on a deep emotional level. I found myself almost immediately emotionally invested in Minka and that only deepened the further I read.

Jason is also masterfully crafted. Jolie really dove into his character and his complexities were fascinating. Jason’s struggle with his past deepened his character and helped to fully flesh out who he was. He was a bit boorish at times but also very perceptive and achingly kind in others. I loved his approach with Minka’s body issues. 

The only setback I have with this book is the stereotypical gender roles. While most of Jolie’s character building is amazing, each time she threw in a stereotype the hold the story had on me loosened. People are individual and throwing in these “masculinity” stereotypes just tarnished the authenticity of the story. My main point of contention is that Jason had an abundance of sexual partners while Minka had considerably less. With her body image issues this narrative helps deepen her character but I found myself disillusioned with Jason’s promiscuity. I can understand he went off the deep end for a bit but that wasn’t the only time he had this issue.

This is otherwise a solid book and I enjoyed reading it.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Scale | Series: Martha’s Way  |  Author(s): Mika Jolie  |Publisher: My Happy Chaos Publishing  / Publication Date: 9-9-2015 |Pages: 300 (Print) | ISBN: B0156VKSK4  |Genre(s): Romance  |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 2-18-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

WWW Wednesday

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This prompt comes from Sam over at Taking On A World Of Words. Leave a comment with your list or a link to your blog! Click on the covers for more information about each book.

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What are the three W’s?

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What are you reading next?

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Currently Reading

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 Senator Aphid only wanted to improve his country, though after four years in the District of Laws he really should have known better. He’s removed from office and soon grudgingly finds himself paired with Frog Dell, the reckless and self-indulgent hermit of the junkyard.

As the two evade the wrath of a government run amok with corruption, dissension spreads through the public, and conspiracy reigns. What role does psychiatrist and part-time inventor Weasel McKenzie play in the upcoming Archministry election? How does front-runner candidate and acclaimed playwright J. Thomas Capra plan to fix the broken nation? Who’s being stalked by merciless bounty hunter Jack Dingo? Why is Dead Fish wandering an empty version of the world?

The pressure escalates quickly in this twisting, zany, fast-paced and subversive satire that, like real politics, requires (and prefers) absolutely no prior political knowledge.

NOTE: This book is the heavily revised second edition of the now out-of-print book Frog Dell’s Junkyard.   

Completed

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Fed up with cheating women, Dan Alexander, star pitcher for the New York Nighthawks, grew restless. Searching for something more than a bar babe, he zeroed in on a girl in the stands. He never expected to see a beautiful chick pushing frankfurters. But the hot dog girl looked as smokin’ as the food she was selling. Holly Merrill found a place to hide in plain sight, as a vendor at Nighthawks’ stadium. Keeping her secret safe and simply happy to stay alive, she never considered finding love an option. After all, a bad girl doesn’t deserve a decent guy, does she? Coming off his best season ever, Dan went into the playoffs, hell bent on winning the pennant and playing in the World Series. But could he maintain his focus on the field, where everything was going right, when off the field everything was falling apart?

Up Next

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A self-centered teddy bear becomes real and has to learn how to live in this new reality. He is soon joined by other teddy bears with differing personalities. Together, they embark on a series of comical adventures as only fun loving teddy bears can.

Come join them as they
•Discover all the intricacies and rituals of living in a Queendom
•Cope with a chocolate chip cookie shortage
•Survive the prospect of being on Santa’s Naughty Kids List
•Put all their education from comic books to good use
•And much, much more

If you enjoy the characters and humor of Calvin and Hobbs, The Far Side, and Peanuts, you will definitely fall in love with this comical company of teddy Bears as they experience the world from their unique perspective.

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Life In This Moment

I hope this post finds you in a much better state of mind than I am today. Yesterday, very unexpectedly, my landlord decided to call and rip my world out from under me. After previously discussing an extension of my lease they decided that due to the “economic climate” their words….not mine, they were not going to extend my lease after-all and have instead put the house up for sale and think they already have a buyer. 

Since I was expecting to stay here for at least another year, I had not been looking for another home to lease. In the area I live, rent houses go fast so one must jump on the good ones basically the minute they pop up. 

I know what you’re going to say…..why not just buy a house? Good question. We were actually looking at a few homes to buy but were having a hard time finding what we wanted and now it looks like we have no choice but to rent. At least for a bit longer.

I guess what makes me the maddest about this whole thing is the flippant manner in which my landlord informed me. Like it’s no big deal. Like 30 days is plenty of time to come up with more then $3,000 for deposits and moving fees. I mean, who doesn’t have 3k just lying around….right? 

I’ve been in a frenzy ever since. I’m starting to feel like the better part of humanity really has lost their ability to be at the very least considerate.

If you’re looking for me…..I’ll be glued to Zillow trying not to end up homeless.

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BOTBC #5 Who Won? Aerisia or Novus?

AlliesOpinions is pleased to announce that Aerisia – Land Beyond The Sunset has won cover battle #5! In a virtual KO, Aerisia came away with every single vote in it’s favor. That’s a first for BOTBC! Thank you to everyone who participated! 

Sarah Ashwood’s reward for kicking major cover butt is a free BOOK SPOTLIGHT!

Woot! 

Aerisia – Land Beyond The Sunset was reviewed by AlliesOpinions in 2015. Can’t wait on the spotlight to learn more? Check out our review and get a copy for yourself! Aerisia LBTS is the first book in “The Sunset Lands Beyond” series and is one of our favorites!

Aerisia – Land Beyond The Sunset Review

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Congratulations to Sarah Ashwood!

Keep an eye out for her Book Spotlight! Help a woman out and share this post!

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