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I am Still a Rose: In Spite of it All

I am Still a Rose: In Spite of it All by [Barbee, Tonya]

Tonya Barbee’s memoir, I am Still a Rose, details the struggle of a modern woman to find stability and true love for herself and her ever growing family. This book is Tonya’s version of events of her childhood, tumultuous love life and her change of heart. She has written this aiming to promote a healthy understanding and level of accountability for bad relationships and to educate women, young and old, about the dangers of unhealthy partnerships.

The book is refreshing to read. It’s a text about relationship struggle that does not place all of the blame on the male perpetrator or plead for sympathy from the readers. It is actually written in a very matter-of-fact and frank tone. Even when there are episodes with heightened emotion, which often occur in life, they certainly seem to have been written with a clear head.

One of the most prominent themes is the importance of family and motherhood. Tonya seems to rate her confidence in her weddings based on how many of her family turn up, and she is always grateful for the help her family, particularly her mother, provides in times of need – when she cannot rely on her current husband. Throughout her adult life she always does her best to provide for her children and stresses the importance of financial stability, which she did not have when she was growing up. Even when she suffers periods of illness and relationship breakdown, she still goes to work and earns a living for her family. She choses each man believing they will be beneficial for her children, as well as herself, always wanting to complete her family.

Due to her hard-working attitude, she represents female empowerment. She is the only constant parent in her children’s lives, despite her efforts. None of the fathers come to visit the children so she has to be both mom and dad. She even makes sacrifices for children that aren’t hers – as she wants her children to know their siblings. Whatever trouble comes her way she always bounces back, ready to conquer the next hurdle. Throughout her many relationships and responsibilities, she continues to climb the ladder at work and gain qualifications.

Tonya clearly explains that she takes responsibility for not listening to her gut instincts and the mistakes she has made and works to overcome them. Admitting this takes guts, and to admit it publicly and open yourself up to the world in writing takes bravery and pride. She uses her life experience with the view to educate women and to encourage them to listen to their own and their family’s instincts. She wants women to trust themselves enough to make bold decisions and to go it alone if they have to, because she knows they are more than capable.

She might not have had the fairy tale ending like she wanted, but did end up with a great sense of pride and independence and a very strong bond with her children and family.

Pages: 159 | ASIN: B07DSTYFWR

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Undercurrents in Time

Undercurrents in Time: Book 2 of the Detours in Time series by [Schloesser Canepa, Pamela]

With Undercurrents in Time, Pamela Schloesser-Canepa offers readers a second novel in the saga of Professor Milton Braddock and Tabitha, his assistant turned wife. While the characters and time-traveling adventures in Undercurrents may feel familiar to readers, the novel is completely different from its predecessor when it comes to themes and plot action. Undercurrents is a well-written, thoughtful, and emotional work, lacking only in that it must be compared to Detours, which created such a fantastic series of adventures between a vibrant pair of protagonists that it is hard to match.

Set two years after Detours, Undercurrents’ present-day is set in 1999 as citizens prepare for Y2K, which will certainly elicit a laugh from readers of a certain age. The novel once again focuses on the dynamic duo of Milt, a quintessential frazzled scientist, and Tabitha, now his wife and mother of their son, Peter. The novel focuses this time, though, on Tabitha much more than Milt, which will likely disappoint some readers yet delight others. A new mother, Tabitha is understandably feeling overwhelmed as she tries to balance being a good mother and wife with her desire for independence – oh, and don’t forget that there’s a time-traveling car tempting her in the garage. Schloesser-Canepa follows Tabitha as she sets off on some of her own adventures to try to understand what will happen to her family in the future and to attempt to thwart the sinister Dr. George Mahoney, a rival to Milt who was introduced in Undercurrents. As in Detours of Time, Schloesser-Canepa dedicates a balanced amount of time on both action and emotion, as she skillfully lets readers into Milt and Tabitha’s psyches, yet never bore, and always has a surprise waiting around the next page.

Undercurrents in Time is full of interesting futuristic characters and quick witted dialogue, but fans of Schloesser-Canepa’s earlier novel may miss the charming yet somewhat awkward Milt, as Tabitha ventures alone in much of the story. However, Schloesser-Canepa introduces several characters who are begging for a novel of their own, including the mysterious Ellie, who I will not describe at the risk of revealing too much, and the hired actor Malachi, whose coolness is undeniably intriguing.

Readers who have not read the first installment, Detours in Time, may feel a little lost upon occasion, as Schloesser-Canepa does not spend much time rehashing the past (or future, depending on how you look at it! This is a science fiction novel, after all…), so I recommend reading Detours before beginning Undercurrents.

Schloesser-Canepa closes this novel saying she does not anticipate a third installment in the series. While Undercurrents in Time came to a natural close, it felt almost as if it ended with a fizzle, and readers of both Milt and Tabitha novels are certainly craving a bang. As a standalone novel, Undercurrents in Time is a very thoughtful, enjoyable, and unique combination of science fiction and motherhood. But, when read as a sequel to the fast-paced Detours in Time, it may leave some readers craving more high-speed journeys into the future. But, who knows – maybe Tabitha and Milt will delight readers with a surprise reappearance down the line in other stories by Schloesser-Canepa. You never know what the future will hold!

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07DCCQS3N

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Caution to the Wind

She and her partner answered the call of the sea. They wanted to heed to the breeze and sway to the wind. Such was the image of what would be expected of the sojourn. The reality was different. Marred with seasickness, a faulty water trap, uncooperative winds, and even loss of a crew member, Lin and Geoff were in for the ride of their lives. So many hurdles thrown into their plans and expectations. Frequently doubting their plans. Getting on each other’s nerves at some point. This is an outline of the journey from New Zealand to England. With an unexpected end, this story is one of a kind.

In Caution to the Wind the author does not leave even the bad parts untold. If you are going to tell a story, tell the whole of it. That is what Linda Ford has done. She has given the reader an inside view into her adventure. Her passion for the sea is evident in her narration. However, she does not let her expertise boggle the reader’s mind. She tells her story in simple language. Even providing a glossary in the back which will come in handy because this book is immersive.

Linda has quite the writing skill. Her descriptions are vivid which is perfect for the many picturesque scenes that this story sails into. The book is fairly short and can be read in one siting. From the first page, I was taken with Lin and Geoff, and did not want to put the story down until the end. The author clearly knows how to capture the readers attention.

You know when you walk up to a group of people having a conversation and it takes you a little while to catch up? That is the feeling one might experience in the beginning. The first chapter sort of starts in the middle. It feels like there should have been something before that first chapter. However, you will catch on quickly to the flow of the story.

The chapters are really short and lends to the idea that this is more of a journal with the chapters being akin to journal entries of sorts, but I was left wanting a bit more structure to allow me to be immersed in this fantastic story even further.

Some talk about bravery. Others talk about going for it. This story is inspiring in it’s ability to unveil a story that captures both of these things. I mean if Lin and Geoff can stand against treacherous weather at sea for months with overlapping disappointments, surely no goal is too ambitious. This book will have you on the edge of your seat then it will have you off that seat going after whatever that goal is that you set aside. The story is one big adventurous metaphor for the way to live life.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 0648164756

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Tainted Evidence: A Lieutenant Beaudry Novel


Imagine just having gotten back from vacation only to find out your best friend’s cousin has been murdered.

This is what greeted Lieutenant Beaudry, a renowned but controversial officer who isn’t particular in living by the police handbook. He is known to solve cases by his own rules. Will he make sure not to ruin it this time after his recent dispute? Or will he tamper the evidence just like his close friend Nico did after seeing his cousin motionless in his car.

Tainted Evidence by Michael Kent could seem like your typical murder novel except that in this story the professional assassin knows the art of prosthetics, perfectly disguising himself and surpassing immigration officers. He also makes his murders seem accidental. Nobody is suspicious until an officer was present in court when the judge suddenly lost consciousness, and later on, his life.

I liked the plot, as it stayed close enough to reality to be believable and there weren’t too many tangled lies and deceit to unravel. The descriptions of scenes are so detailed that even my imagination played it in my head with vivid clarity. Michael Kent is able to offer picture perfect scenes for his superb characters to inhabit.

My favorite character in Tainted Evidence has to be Pat. The book depicted her as an independent woman who successfully came out from an undesirable marriage. She had a struggle with her ex-husband but managed to break free, started over, recovered until becoming fully independent. I admired how she took charge of her own new life, not being discouraged by her

past, and being able to live alone and even choosing the house she and Beaudry would live in. She is a perfect epitome of a strong woman in this day and age. As fierce as her character seems, she did maintain her soft side by being as understanding as possible to Beaudry’s hectic schedule.

I also appreciated the inclusion of Jimmy, an autistic boy with exceptional photographic memory and drawing skills. I applaud the fact that his talent has been highlighted instead of his lack of social skills. I think this is a good example of Michael Kent writing, he always plays to a characters strengths.

Interesting characters and a fascinating murder mystery will give any fan of the mystery crime genre plenty to enjoy.

Pages: 220 | ISBN: 0993713165

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Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights

Kill the Teachers: Mexico's Bloody Repression of Human Rights by [Stout, Robert Joe]

Terrifyingly gritty is the world within Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights by Robert Joe Stout. Reader will not find a kind world in this historical retelling of events from the not-so-distant past. Corruption, suppression and oppression are what wait for readers within these pages. It is important to read about the past in order to learn from it: to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes again. However, learning is not the same for everyone. The brutal history of Oaxaca, Mexico is what readers are going to find themselves thrown into within this book. This small area that has never quite advanced with the rest of the country where dangerous men with big ideas crushed the spirits of those who lived there. Sometimes even ending their lives.

This book is a carefully researched and written recounting of life in Oaxaca. There are interviews with those directly in attendance of the rallies and demonstrations those who wanted reform. These first-hand accounts bring home the reality of what people were facing in this tiny state. Stout crafts his retelling of the events in his novel in easily digestible chunks. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the history, politics and subterfuge in books like this. Those who are not history buffs may be turned off by the content at first, thinking it too dense for their enjoyment. They’re not wrong, as a lot of information is covered in this book. This is not something you pick up to read while relaxing in the backyard.

That being said, the layout and the formatting of the book are reader-friendly. The chapters are peppered with quotes from interviews and the content is presented in a way that makes it easy for readers to absorb the information they are reading without feeling like they signed up for an intensive history course. The data is dense, but it is not difficult as it flows like a novel would. It is not dry and boring.

It is easy to see that Stout had a competent editor as the errors in grammar and style are minute. It is not easy to share the fragmented history to a world that is not familiar with its roots. Stout appeals to the reader in such a way that learning happens naturally.

Those who are looking for a political or historical thriller will find their needs met with Kill the Teachers: Mexico’s Bloody Repression of Human Rights by Robert Joe Stout as he shares the non-fiction reality of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is the real-life story of a state that has a bloody history. At times, this information is devastating to read, especially when the reader realizes that this did not take place hundreds of years ago, but within the last half-century. However, this truth is something that we should not avert our eyes from, but learn from instead.

Pages: 316 | ASIN: B07C883C1S

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The Vegetarian Diet Guru: Nutrients-based Diet Planning

The Vegetarian Diet Guru: Nutrients-based Diet Planning by [Kumar, Shantha]

There are many reasons to go on diet but person who is looking to lose weight would not be on the same diet as one who is diabetic. They have different nutritional needs. The same applies to one who is also on an exercise regimen because a person who undergoes rigorous physical activity requires protein. Their diet would therefore need to have a bit more protein than the regular diet. There is need for knowledge of all these considerations before going on a diet otherwise it will be unsuccessful. Or, you will end up malnutritioned.

This book seeks to provide a roadmap for proper diets. Diets based on nutritional needs and requirements rather than fads. A guideline for formulating personalized diets and menus. With hundreds of recipes to choose from, this book is the perfect companion to find and enjoy a new diet. It will even be possible to sustain the diet plan all through. It takes the hard work out of diets.

Dr. Shantha Kumar has done extensive research on the subject. She has vast knowledge of nutritional needs and diets. She uses all of that in ensuring this book applies across the board. She provides information that caters to different tastes and preferences while always being informative and useful. What I really liked about this book was that her ingredients were always easy to find, and did not require going to a specialty store. She uses easy to find ingredients, most of which are not prone to causing allergic reactions. All this greatness with a splash of Asian sizzle.

In this day and age when there are a lot of diets and recipes online promising to do great things, one needs something reliable and practical. Material whose sole purpose is not to trend but to actually help people achieve their wellness goals. This is what I think The Vegetarian Diet Guru accomplishes. She does not lecture or order the reader around. She explains her reasons for having different ingredients with a table of meal equivalents of nutrients among other resources. She explains everything about metabolism and its role in diets. Reading through the recipes gives you the feeling of being in a kitchen with a close relative. You just want to hang on to every word and master every single movement.

The recipes do not require top-notch culinary prowess and the directions are always clear and concise. I enjoyed how the recipes were laid out for anyone of any skill level. She gives precise instructions. You will enjoy cooking just as much as you will enjoy the foods. This book provides multiple useful tables that are meant to help the reader understand the choices and why everything is important. The book even provides some menu planning templates and samples.

The author strikes a balance between delicious, nutritious, useful, and interesting while also encouraging a personal touch in every recipe. This is an essential resource for every vegetarian diet.

Pages: 390 | ASIN: B079QHR4YY

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End it By the Gun

End it By the Gun by [Obi, Kenechukwu]

Ken Obi’s latest novel End It By The Gun features charismatic and determined Beck, who’s eagerness to get a top book deal and offer for a screen play, ruins his life. The book delves into Beck’s past, his relationships with women and writing and his latest novel. It is full of dynamic relationships with both women and men, family ordeals and political strife. There’s even a spattering of nature. The novel cannot be simply put into one genre as it ventures into fantasy, political thriller and drama, so there’s bound to be a part that everyone can enjoy.

The book can be split into two parts – the first half is about Beck and his life, his dream to become a famous writer and his relationships. The second half is his eleventh novel which features Abdoullah, Farouk, and Murktar and their deadly pathogen V1B6F3.

The first half is characterized by tumultuous relationships, between Beck and his family and women. It has a fast-paced style with a masculine tone and lots of underlying energy in the short chapters. There are twists and turns constantly occurring in the chapters that jump around different time periods in Beck’s life. He experiences strange meetings, fame and kidnapping. This style of writing is inviting and leaves the reader wanting more.

However, I felt that some parts the book were awkwardly written – “I read that to mean that he must have thought I had given up on dashing away”, and I thought that it could be overly descriptive for a book that means to move quickly. I also felt that there was a lack of sympathy for women in the book – Beck’s wife is made out to be crazy with no explanation, and his agent has no name for most of the narrative.

The second part of the book begins in a way reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse. This is the book that makes Beck famous. It has a science versus nature theme which ultimately turns political, alongside this runs the age-old battle between good and evil. The nature aspect of it focuses on an area called Shonga, which is untouched by humans. This part is the gem of the book and where the writing style really works. The vivid descriptions of the forest and way of life offer a rich picture which makes the reader long to be in nature with the characters, away from their urban lifestyles.

The characters in the second half of the book are presented in a linear fashion which evokes a level of understanding which is not present in the first half of the text. The characters in this part are all from different walks of life, which goes to show how many people can influence an event.

I thought that the tone of the book is inviting, quick and full of energy and I think many people would enjoy the interesting characters and fresh perspectives.

Pages: 228 | ASIN: B07DHK1PHF

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His Father’s Blood

His Father's Blood (Legend of the Family Dyer Book 2) by [Thompson, David W.]

Ada is not a normal woman of her time. She has been on the road with her father Reverend Hartman, after her mother was killed by savages in the west, since she was just a young girl. She has never met a man or found a place that made her want to have a homestead. That is until she meets John a mysterious half breed with the shamanic lineage. John has also spent most of his childhood on the road with his father learning the shamanic path, forever he thought he would live and die alone. When they meet each other their world would be forever changed.

Unfortunately John and Ada`s relationship attracts a lot of attention. Ada`s father is unsupportive, life constantly has other plans, friends make terrible choices and John and Ada`s relationship pay the price, oh and a few demons decide to throw in some obstacles.

When I first started reading His Father`s Blood, I had no idea that I was going to be so thoroughly sucked in. The first few pages read slow but that was exactly what was needed to set up the story and the main characters. The story itself read very smooth, and the story line was consistent. The sections of the book were clearly defined and it was clear in what part of the story you were in. What really pulled the character and the story together was how accurate the history used in the book was. The style in which the fantasy and historical fiction come together was well written.

The sections in the book were easily distinguished but there were mini sections throughout the sections that could have used a clearer division. The fix for me could have been even a little more space in between the end of one section and the beginning of the next.

This book was attention grabbing, and thrilling. My Fathers Blood Book 2 Legends of the Family Dyer has definitely made it to my top 10 best books of this year, and I read a lot! It is a good book if you want something a little shorter, fantasy like, and is written for a young adult crowd. I would recommend this book to any one of my friends.

Pages: 251 | ASIN: B07CS7SSQW

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Deja Vu All Over Again Book Trailer

At fifty-five, Nate Evans is a washed-up Hollywood screenwriter whose life has gone to hell in a handbasket he climbed in to by dumping his high school sweetheart 40 years ago. The girl who got away, Julie Cooper, was widowed at a young age and left to raise her two kids alone after her husband was whapped to death in a tragic carwash accident. Nate has always been obsessed with his high school days, and when he learns Julie is single and working at their alma mater in his hometown, he writes a script and follows it to recreate their teen years in hopes of starting his life over. It’s the ultimate mulligan… Except that Julie is afraid of growing old alone, with a life where the only men she’s intimate with are Ben & Jerry and their Chunky Monkey ice cream, so she settles for security by deciding to marry her boss at the school. Even though Nate’s return and his Peter Pan view of life, draws her out to rediscover the spirited girl she used to be, she rejects his attempts at a relationship because he burned her once and she doesn’t trust him. You can hardly blame her, except that she doesn’t see her rat fink fiancé is in serious need of finking and Nate needs to torpedo the relationship before she gets hurt, without becoming collateral damage himself. He writes a script for “Happily ever after” and puts it into action knowing that if he gets caught it will be Déjà vu all over again.

Available at Black Tie Books

The Masked Queen’s Lament

The Masked Queen's Lament (The Gift-Knight Trilogy Book 3) by [Madeley, Dylan]

Author of the epic fantasy series, The Gift-Knight Trilogy, Dylan Madeley brings to you the third and last in the series, The Masked Queen’s Lament. A brilliant novel that blends medieval times with on-going issues of the world we live in today.

A fantastical and medieval plotline combining elements of eccentricity, adventure, treason, power, knighthood and intrigue. The Masked Queen’s Lament continues Madeley’s narrative from books 1 and 2 (The Gift-Knight’s Quest and The Crown Princess’ Voyage) to conclude the dramatic twists and revelations conveyed throughout all three books.

The story is set in the medieval era where “Alathea enjoy[s] the feeling of all the thunder-men staring at her, not daring to blink, ready for her signal.” As a ruler of the land, the protagonist attempts to recreate a world in how she perceives it to be. However, all is not as simple as it seems. Alathea must reign in all of her troops in order to combat the wicked witch “Crown Princess Chandra Kenderley”. A real medieval plot line that allows the reader to envision concepts of reigning, power, control, and misjudgment.

Dylan Madeley does a fantastic job at writing fluently with regards to his characters. The characters are well described, and I was able to clearly envision what they would look and act like. The author clearly knows how to build his characters. Despite being the third book in the trilogy, Madeley still continues to keep the reader’s attention with these characters, reinforcing how their presence in the book is key to its success.

What I loved about this book is how the story follows the life of power and reigns. Think about this book like a Game of Thrones episode – packed full of terror, excitement, uncertainty, and conflict. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware that the end result is going to be via battle, and who wins that battle is very much left in suspense until the very end. I won’t provide any spoilers for those of you longing to read this book, but what I can say is that the ending does not disappoint!

The only downside to the book is the flow. I found it slow at times, particularly in the first few chapters. However, the pace does pick up as the reader is subject to more action between the characters, and this is where it got more interesting for me. What makes for good reading is uncertainty, eccentricity, and uniqueness, and I believe the author of The Masked Queen’s Lament does this outstandingly. The grammar and punctuation is strong, and the narrative is creative and unique.

An emotive, fantastic, epic medieval storyline that is well-written and well-thought out by the author. Dylan Madeley has proven to be a great author, and this book is a great way to end The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Pages: 476 | ASIN: B07DD18H76

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