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Backup Offer

Backup Offer (Stewart Realty Book 9) by [Liz Crowe]

Blair Freitag is the owner and head chef of a farm to table restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. She has plans to expand the restaurant and buy a farm of her own, but everything is put on hold when she returns to Michigan to visit her friend after a medical scare. Blair has not been home in ten years, after a painful breakup. Her ex-boyfriend, Brandis Gordon, a former addict, now runs his family’s construction company. Once Blair is back in Kentucky again, she finds that the contractor she hired to complete the renovation on her restaurant has vanished with the money she paid him and the job only half done. Not knowing where else to turn, she calls Brandis for help. They realize that they still love each other. But can they get past the wounds of their past?

Backup Offer is an emotionally-charged family saga that’s the 9th book in a series, but this book can be read as a standalone story. But for anyone who has read the other books in the series, you’ll see many of the previous characters reappear in Blair and Brandis’s story and have plenty more depth added. I liked that the book had a happy ending, which is great for anyone looking for a feelgood story. After everything Blair and Brandis suffered through while he struggled with the demons of addiction, it was good to see how he was able to turn his life around, and that she was able to forgive him for the mistakes he made in the past. Blair had an interesting occupation as the owner of a farm to table restaurant, and I liked reading the part where Brandis came to Louisville to help her when her former contractor disappeared in the middle of the job.

I felt that Blair and Brandis spent too much time apart throughout the book. Living in two different states, I felt they didn’t have much interaction until almost halfway through the story. And after Brandis helps Blair with her restaurant in Louisville, they are apart again when he returns to Michigan.

There are a few loose ends by the end of the story but, as with any good saga, you are left wanting more and desperate to read the follow up book for answers. Backup Offer is an impassioned contemporary romance novel that feels authentic and keeps things grounded, which makes the drama so much more engrossing.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B096G5DBGL

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The Magic of The Great Synergy

Author Interview
Brett Salter Author Interview

The Search For Synergy follows two young men brought together by destiny who must work together to defeat the evil threatening their world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve been inspired by many things while writing my books. For this series in particular, I used my influences that range from video games to anime to fantasy novels from my childhood to my own personal experiences. I ran the whole gambit of inspiration! Honestly, I just wanted to create a series that told a coming-of-age story with relatable characters, references to mythical lore, and plenty of unforgettable action to keep my readers turning the pages. My goal was to create something that caused readers to speculate and theorize about, ya know? A buzz around the water cooler. Or, I guess a buzz around the water fountain since I write for a MG/YA audience.

Rome and Julian are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

So, I originally wanted the book(s) to be about ONLY those two characters. And the reason behind that was because I wanted to incorporate an idea I had a while back about making two sides of a person’s personality represented by two strikingly different characters. You can read about this on my Fandom Wiki page (link below), but Rome and Julian are meant to be complete opposites in as many ways as I could think of (physical traits, family status, the way they interact with others, their reactions, their hesitation or brashness, even their knowledge of the real world). But as they are two sides of the same coin, they are brought together and solidified as a symbiotic unit by The Great Synergy. It is even reflected in the title of the book. Their individual searches AND their lives are forever realized mortally bound by the magic of The Great Synergy.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted the book to seem like a quest for answers. But not on a grandiose, epic scale. Just on a small-town, local kid in school kind of thing. I wanted to make the perspective seem to emphasize how a teenager might see THEIR world as being all encompassing even though it’s relatively microscopic compared to the real world. It’s a small step in the ever-growing narrative of my series that takes my characters deeper into the “real world” and exponentially raising the stakes with every installment. The journey of 1,000 steps begins with one, and “The Search For Synergy” is Rome and Julian’s metaphorical first step in the proposed 12-book adventure.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Although I have “written” 11 of my planned 12 books, I still have much work to do on the next book in the series. That would be book number five of The Talisman Series. My goal is to have the fifth book out late winter of 2022. Think Valentine’s Day time frame! Just in time to grab the new book and curl up on a chilly night with that dragon lover in your life. But until then, this is just a friendly reminder to hold your Talisman tight and keep a wary eye out for portals!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Fandom

“The Search For Synergy” is the story of two young men who are brought together by design to help save the world from the evil that lurks in the void. Rome and Julian will have to join their fledgling powers and become a fighting duo as knight and dragon working to fulfill a primordial destiny. This will be especially hard for Rome, who up until now, thought he was merely human.

Societal Annoyances

Tom James
Tom James Author Interview

Your Children Are Boring provides a humorous and cutting examination of modern parenting. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I think like many of us, child-free or not, we’ve noticed some in society leaning towards a position where not only are children treated like little gods, and their parents the high priests, and those who choose not as selfish and sad (particularly women). I simply felt it was time to try and point this out, and perhaps address a few other articles of faith that needed an alternative view. Now I’ve stretched that religious analogy beyond breaking point, I also wanted to make people laugh, have a bit of a rant, and to explore the subject myself. Which is why it ranged from the small societal annoyances to surrogacy.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new parents?

Firstly, I’d say, there must be someone better to give you advice than me. Then if not, I’d suggest they ask yourself why you want children? I like to think most people’s reasons are relatively decent, and not self-centred. Maybe hope is more accurate. And dig deep to think what sort of parent you think you’d be and why. I think people believe there’s this mythical switch that gets flicked and you just become one, but the best parents I know, were thoroughly wonderful people in the first place.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

I think how having a child has seamlessly been woven into social media currency and our current penchant for identity politics. That’s something I felt was not only interesting, but important. Children being used almost as a prop, or parenthood as a badge of honour. I also find the subject of surrogacy interesting as it seems to me to be a massive blind spot morally for some. And then I wanted to expand on that wonderful George Carlin bit about children being special, with the thrust being, you all say they’re special, well they can’t be, otherwise the word loses all meaning…

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

Honestly, I don’t expect anyone to agree with it all, so I hope it makes them laugh from time to time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Are you sick of a society that seems obsessed with children? Do you find modern parents insufferable?

Your Children Are Boring is a uniquely humorous look at our culture’s obsession with children, a world where virtually every advert has a squawking child in it, where pubs are full of wailing infants, and where every other Facebook post is tagged #ProudDad.

Why do parents themselves behave like infants? Why having a child doesn’t make you less selfish, why it’s extremely unlikely that your child is in fact, ‘special’, and why modern parenting is ruining everything, not least the kids themselves.

All the answers lie within, and it’s your duty to read it.

Yes, Your Children Are Boring will make you laugh, but it’s much more than that. Once consumed you must take its teachings into the world and fix society. Or something. Oh and if you put ‘Dad’ or ‘Mum’ in your social media bios, this book is aimed at you.

What Lies in the Darkness

Jon Gray Lang
Jon Gray Lang Author Interview

Twistin’ Matilda finds Jacquotte and her crew of misfits struggling to keep the ship while savage creatures threaten to break into the universe. What were some ideas that informed this novel’s development?

As planet-bound as we are, there’s always the idea that there is more out than we don’t understand. Even as we find a solution to one question, a ton of other questions spring forth from the answer. There is so much that we don’t understand. As a species, we’ve wondered at what lies in the darkness, what dangers lurk underground, in the skies above, and what slips beneath us under the waves. The wellspring of stories lies at the heart of these mysteries, as we struggle for explanations to that which we don’t know… yet.

Ancient sailors told stories of monsters attacking their ships at sea, of beautiful islands that glint with riches but are, in truth, traps with no escape. Populating these fanciful yarns are pirates and privateers, mutinous crews, ancient shipwrecks, and lost colonies. These tall tales are rife with other wondrous, mad things and they captured my imagination. They lead to a large part of what ‘other space’ is. I imagine the crew of the Matilda as they sail on the teetering edge of the world.

Space is the last great frontier and we’ve only stepped off the front porch.

What were some challenges you felt were important to Jacquotte’s character development in the story?

At the tender age of fourteen, Captain Jacquotte Delahaye was left with no choice but to take control of the Matilda and her life. From that point on, she decided where it goes, what it does, and who the ship flies for. All of that comes to an end when an old friend needed her help. She makes the rash decision to break him free from a prison ship and nothing, but trouble has been after them since. Now the haven she worked so hard to create is under constant threat and she has to make choices on the fly. All without knowing what the repercussions of those decisions will be.

Can she keep a handle on it all? Do the traumas from her past play a role in her choices? As the group splinters apart, how does she handle the separation? Do her coping mechanisms fail and spiral into more problems? Can she bring the family she made back together? Should she?

I don’t know about you, but that’s what I wanted to find out!

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?

From a writer’s aspect, I wanted to build up my processes and this book did not disappoint. Writing this book was a wild ride. My invisible muse whispered secrets into my ear and the story fell out of my fingers! I completed my first draft in a mere twenty days and it still is the most fun I’ve had writing.

It was a blast! It was intoxicating! I couldn’t wait to jump on the next one! Of course, I still had to work on the rewrite, but I was pumped!

The Matilda was very much an ensemble piece. By the end of it, the crew worked well together even as the Matilda fell through into ‘other space’. Derain knew everyone except for Anton and Anton knew everyone except for Derain. Anton has got to be wondering what Derain brings to the table and vice versa. On top of that, Galena is a wild card, and now the ship is brimming with others like her.

One of the things I wanted to learn about was how do individual crewmembers work with each other. Can they work together? Can they work with the other genorgs?

This is book two in your Matilda series. What can readers expect in book three?

The future looks dark for Jacquie and the crew of the Matilda. The mysterious Consortium ship, M33, found a lead and is getting closer to catching them. The past raised its ugly head and tore a rift in the crew. With all that happening, Luli Qing has disappeared, and no one knows why or even where to start looking. It seems like the only thing holding them together is finding and rescuing her.

With more places to visit as Consortium space expands, other questions pop up to the surface. Who covets the memories of the deep spacers and why? What nefarious plans does Mr. Leon have for the genorgs and for the Matilda? And what is going on with Lieutenant Galena Chadov?

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Cyborg.  Smuggler.  Fugitive.  Bounty Hunter.  Ex-Freedom Fighter. 

Far off into the future in a distant part of the galaxy, the Consortium controls the human colonies held together by the jump gates.  Where the Consortium doesn’t hold sway, crime flourishes.  Through the use of a hellish engine that goes where no one should, the crew of the Matilda slips its way between the two.  But nothing has gone right since they were involved in the battle over the planet Ninguiz.
Trapped within the folds of space and surrounded by living horrors, dangers lurk outside the ship and among the crew.  While their pasts ride shotgun with a vengeance, their future looks bleak.  Decisions made in the heat of the moment have consequences and payment is due. 
With mutiny and pirates on the horizon, can Jacquotte Delahaye and her crew of misfits keep the ship?  Can the lies of the past shatter this fragile family?  Will the savage creatures break through into our universe again?
Slam your harness buckles closed and sit back in the second book of the series, Twistin’ Matilda.

THE SECRET OF PLANTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT

THE SECRET OF PLANTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT by [RISHIKESH UPADHYAY]

This is an enlightening and educational book that will help readers become environmentally conscious. This book is all about plants, caring for plants, observing how they grow, and planting more. I never knew that reading about plants would be so attention-grabbing and eye-opening until I got a hold of this book. The Secret of Plants in the Environment is the right book for you if you enjoy non-fiction books that can help build the community and much more. The content in the book is refreshing and beneficial to all plant lovers. Every chapter and text in the book is based on facts. The author provides statistics to support claims in the book and also writes about personal experiences.

The Secret of Plants in the Environment has 17 chapters. At first one may feel like the chapters are too many considering the author is talking about similar topics but once you start reading; you understand why Rishikesh divided the book into 17 chapters. You will love this book because of how direct the author is. The author does not add unnecessary text. Every topic in the book is well researched and thorough. Every topic in the book is relevant and every discussion is important and will change the reader’s perception of plants at the end of the reading.

I learned so much that I did not know through the chapters in the book. Some of the topics that I read more than once include the chapters on salts or salinity in plants, waterlogging and plant adaptations, mechanosensing in plants, heavy metal stress in plants, and the response of plants to chemical agents. These chapters made me realize that plants just like pets or human beings react differently to various elements. I enjoyed reading the other chapters too, especially since they were short and easy to complete.

The Secret of Plants in the Environment will expose you to a world of plants you were not aware of. The author uses scientific terms and plant jargon that are interesting to master but they are all explained in detail. This is an intellectually-invigorating book that brings fascinating depth to botany and explores the myriad of ways that plants are affected by environmental changes.

Pages: 206 | ASIN: B08738LKJP

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Illyia (The Feigned Moon of Entiria Epic Serial Book 2)

Illyia (The Feigned Moon of Entiria Epic Serial Book 2) by [E.A. Bagby]

Illyia (The Feigned Moon of Entiria Epic Serial) by E. A. Bagby continues the tale of Giels Deo, a son of his community’s leader, a famous Shaman, and a member of a long bloodline. The Deo tribe is set on continuing tradition with their son to strengthen and sustain their family’s future legacy in the community. As Giels had initially dreamed of becoming the tribe’s lead storyteller, he knows there’s a lot of responsibility in this role, though his journey in life took a very different path; one that neither Giels nor his family expected.

The story begins with a quick, enjoyable pace that leads the reader through the adventures of Giels, which take many unexpected turns in the second episode of this series. Giels is determined to follow his goal of becoming the Lead Storyteller while overcoming many obstacles in his path to greatness. Giels encounters other risks, heroic challenges, and adventures along his journey, all while focusing on his longing to be chosen for an essential role in his community.

The author paints a vivid landscape, with fascinating characters, haunted places, and challenges that continually take the reader through Giels’ adventures and his mind, as he both realizes and faces his biggest fears and challenges along his journey. While his focus remains undeterred throughout the story, he faces other feats that he must conquer in his mind when faced with a world of infectious spirits, haunted beings, and places that he must embrace to learn and understand.

As Giels narrates his story, the reader will find the story easy to follow, with a consistent flow of adventure woven into the theme of family responsibility, with various levels of personal and spiritual influence along the way. The story is engaging, especially as Giels discovers that the world he thinks he knows has much more in store for him.

Illyia is a riveting coming of age adventure story that follows a compelling character through an enthralling journey that is relentlessly moving forward. This stirring novel will appeal to readers who enjoy engrossing epic fantasy story with a well conceived backstory and a vivid world.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B0979GD31H

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Simple Activities For Toddlers

It can be difficult to find activities to please a moody toddler and even more challenging to find something to do with only what you have on hand at home. In addition, if activities are too involved, require oddball materials, or take too long to complete, things can go downhill for a frantic parent very quickly. Fortunately, Lisa Forsythe offers parents, caregivers, and teachers of children ages 2-5 a fantastic how-to guide on quick and easy activities that hold interest and provide important lessons at the same time.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe, is a real lifesaver for families as well as teachers and caregivers. Cover to cover, the author has filled this handy book with step-by-step instructions for engaging projects and quick activities to keep toddlers’ little hands busy in a constructive and not-so-scary-for-parents manner!

This book is a gold mine for things to do on weekends and rainy days. I was especially taken with the format of the activities. Forsythe leaves no parent guessing–she lays out every activity in very simple terms, includes easy-to-access materials, and shows it all in lovely photographs that further excite kids as well as adults. I think my favorite activity is the Sea Creature Craft–so easy and just classically cute.

As a teacher, I can’t say enough about Forsythe’s attention to detail with reading, math, and writing skills. The more parents and caregivers can do at home with toddlers, the better off their children will be once they start kindergarten. These activities are rich with opportunities for little ones to practice those skills side by side with their parents–and none of it will feel like work to the toddlers.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe was written with 2-5 year olds in mind. I can see many of these activities fitting smoothly into elementary classrooms as part of thematic units. From cardboard boxes to noodles and muffin tins, the author keeps it simple and stress-free. Forsythe has given parents and teachers a true treasure!

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B08YS62P5Q

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What Drives the Serial Killer

Lynn-Steven Johanson
Lynn-Steven Johanson Author Interview

Havana Brown follows detective Erickson on a bloody case to find a serial killer preying on women in Chicago. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

Since this was a prequel to my novel Rose’s Thorn, there were only a few references to the backstory in that novel: Joe’s prior relationship with Destiny, his nervous breakdown, and the serial killer. So, when I decided to write a prequel, I had to construct the story around those things. But the story itself came strictly out of my imagination.

What were some new dimensions of detective Erickson’s character that you wanted to explore in this book?

Joe won’t let go of a case and will do whatever it takes including working himself into the ground to solve it. A paradox exists in that he decides to make a life change and begin taking good care of his physical health while at the same time ignoring his psychological health. And he begins a romance with a woman who is an intellectual and physical match for him. She will be a recurring character in subsequent mysteries. In addition, I wanted to explore his relationship with his father, since it was only touched upon in Rose’s Thorn.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Oddly enough, I don’t think of themes in my writing. I focus on characters and telling the story but not so much on theme. Now that I think about it, I guess I would say that obsession is the main theme. Joe’s fixation with catching the serial killer leads to his self-destructive behaviors. And obsession is what drives the serial killer to continue murdering young women.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I recently finished the first draft of the third installment in the Joe Erickson Mystery series. It should be published by Level Best Books next spring.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In this prequel to Rose’s Thorn, Detective Joe Erickson discovers a clever and vile serial killer preying on women in Chicago. Only a few cat hairs provide clues to the perpetrator of six mutilation murders. Joe’s razor-sharp intuition and unorthodox methods ultimately lead him on a trail fraught with twists, turns, and close calls. But pushing himself day and night begins taking its toll, and his obsession with apprehending the killer will be his undoing.
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