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The Golden Cage: From Entrapment to Empowerment

The Golden Cage: From Entrapment to Empowerment by [Zaher, Margot]

The Golden Cage: From Entrapment to Empowerment is a motivational self-help book penned by Margot Zaher. Zaher uses her “golden cage” metaphor to explain how people get themselves trapped in relationships, careers, etc. that they find hard to escape from. She explains that leaving those “safe” cages may lead to better outcomes for those stuck inside. Zaher helps take some fear out of taking that first doozy-of-a-step. She will give courage to the frightened and hope to the hopeless. She will hold readers by the hand and lead them right out of their comfort zones. She gives a guide on how to break free from traps and become empowered, as the title suggests.

Zaher exposes her own wounds for the benefit of others. That’s a brave and scary thing to do. Readers will appreciate her vulnerability. People will identify with Zaher’s turmoil and her struggle to step out on a limb and leave the familiar. The scenarios found in the book are relatable. Everyone has a regret. It may be staying in a relationship too long for the sake of “security,” staying in a miserable job because of fear, or staying stagnant because of the fear of change.

I think the book would probably work best as a daily devotional sort of read. I think it can be most effective in that capacity. Otherwise, it may feel redundant and repetitive. Taking a bit at a time to ruminate on would be better than reading it through like a novel. It is a book to work through, not a book to fly through. There are some open ended thoughts that require reflection and contemplation. This makes the read more of an interactive experience for the reader.

Speaking of devotional, I appreciate Zaher’s openness toward a higher power. Most devotional books I have read were pretty narrow as far as their references toward God. I like that Zaher leaves room for anyone to be able to read this book. She refers to God as God, higher power, source of life, etc. She helps to give advice and direction to readers without trying to dictate their personal beliefs. This is refreshing in this kind of book.

Margot Zaher bravely gives us her innermost thoughts, feelings, and struggles to pore over and relate to. The book is great for “thought for the day” passages if taken in its short sections. Zaher bursts through the myth of false security to show readers the brighter future they can discover if they are brave enough to shake off their chains.

Pages: 142 | ASIN: B07HVJ7V4J

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Tarnished Tiara: The Mysterious Death of an Ingenue

This is a coming of age tale that follows the life of Cece Turner, a girl from Baton Rouge, and her cousin, Liz, who lives in South Carolina, who grow up with a deep bond that continues into their adulthood. There is a particularly vivid story when Liz saves Cece from a snake which seems to solidify Cece’s sense of trust and love for her cousin. Cece, always in awe of Liz, a beauty pageant girl and talented woman all around, cannot believe the tragic arch of her cousin’s life and how things turned the way they do.

This story takes us through different phases and times of these girls’ lives. The author spares no details and builds strong characters available for the reader to form connections with throughout the story. We experience moments that guide and direct their lives. This is a fascinating and original story. The hoarding/animal hoarding aspect was particularly interesting to me. This type of story is so tragic because you see the innocence of a human being and then the arch of their life that does not end well. It is heartbreaking to see how Liz is impacted throughout her life by the way her mother treated her as a child. As a parent this part was particularly intriguing and disturbing to me. It is also interesting to see Cece’s life progress and grow old with her. This is certainly an ambitious story, but I did not feel bogged down with details.

The legal issues around the death of Liz was very interesting. There is so much in this book that seemed like realistic representations that families might experience following a situation like this, including handling the estate and the emotions. I liked the scenes in the courtroom that were so full of passion and tension.

There were times I felt the author could have delved deeper into some of his characters’ motivations and deepest feelings. There was a lot of ground to cover though so it may have been too much to include too many descriptions on that level. All in all, this was an entertaining biopic novel that spanned an entire lifetime and lead the reader through the lives of these two women. There are a few twists in there and the ending leaves an opening for a sequel.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B07HY7T8RM

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I Am and the Spirit Walks with Me – Trailer

Some time ago, I advanced to a new level of spiritual transformation consisting of awareness and consciousness. Many things transpired to enhance my level of consciousness and lead me to a new journey of refined cosmic consciousness. This is where spirit began to speak to me about the things I had encountered through my life’s journey. The sexual, physical, and emotional abuse traumas in my life became a way for me to help others in this world.

I had to heal myself first to help others, and it is through that healing that I became consciously aware that I was a natural healing vessel. All my traumas served to give me strength for my own spiritual journey. I now share my gift with the world to help other overcome their traumas and the negative experiences in their lives and to teach people how to thrive in this world instead rather than exist. To bring forth this information, I knew that I must speak truth, and fear could not play a part in this healing process.

In my book, I share a variety of examples that are real life-related events, and how each negative event created negative brain patterns. Negative experiences can be transformed into positive brain patterns which create a healthier way of living, and open spiritual pathways toward higher consciousness.

It feels great to be in a state of awareness, and consciousness to know where my life is heading. The things that impacted my life that kept me closed up for so many years no longer have a hold on me. It wasn’t always that way. I had taken on victim energy, and through my transformation, I learned how to release this energy and regain my power. Overcoming these traumas has opened my heart to sharing information as a healing tool for many other people.

My goal is to reach and transform as many lives as possible to awaken other people to this same level of consciousness, one soul at a time tarting with mine. I am inspired and motivated by the outer realms of my mind that which I see but may not yet be visible to others. I try to stay open at all times to receive new information to deliver to those who are open to new possibilities and want to receive healing for the body-mind-spirit.

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The Blood Dagger

Misty Hayes Author Interview

Misty Hayes Author Interview

The Watchers follows Larna and her friend Corinth on a mission to destroy the most vile of vampires, Gabriel. What were some ideas you brought from book 1 in the series and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book?

I wanted Gabriel Stanton to be more than just a one-dimensional villain. In Volume two, it was important that I show his motivations on why he does what he does, but I also wanted to make people hate him, and then by the end of the book make him a little less vile. In Volume three I will definitely play on this more.

With any vampire book today you can’t help but compare it to Twilight, which I think your book far exceeds. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing?

It’s funny you should mention Twilight. I mean, I get it, Twilight is one of the most popular stories out there. I started writing The Blood Dagger series in 2012 – at the height of Twilight’s popularity. Twilight was in part, one of the reasons I started my own vampire series. But it was really important for me to create a more relatable female protagonist. Someone far from perfect; who had a lot of growing to do in order to find her strength. It was also extremely important to me that my story more about the plot and less about pining over the love interest. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the ‘chosen one love triangle’ scenario, but I didn’t want to make it the main focus. My sources of inspiration are Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, and Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Mind series.

If Hollywood came knocking, what actresses/actors would you cast as the main characters?

Oh man! Don’t tease me . . . I would absolutely LOVE for this to happen! And I unashamedly admit that I might have thought about it:

  • Larna – She’s always existed solely in my head, but I saw Dumplin’ the other day and I loved Maddie Baillio’s performance in it. She played Willowdean’s friend, Millie, in the Netflix original movie.
  • Corinth – He’s a mix between Zach Levi, Andrew Garfield, and Jay Baruchel – I’ve actually never publically told anyone this until now.
  • Alastair – I don’t have anyone set to play Alastair – I haven’t found his Hollywood Doppelgänger yet.
  • Gabriel Stanton – Justin Baldoni from Jane the Virgin.

Where will book three in The Blood Dagger series pick up and when will it be available?

Volume three will pick up right where I left off from The Watchers. It will be just as action-packed and full of suspense. There will be plenty more surprises and plot twists included. Volume three: Tree of Souls is planned for a release date set in December 2019.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Watchers: The Blood Dagger Series by [Hayes, Misty]

Eighteen-year-old Corinth Taylor didn’t sign up to become a Watcher—an elite warrior destined to restore balance to the human race—he was chosen. Corinth can barely control his own hormones … much less the deadly blade. And to make matters worse, his best friend, Larna, just so happens to be the very thing he’s supposed to eliminate.

But when vampires and slayer find a common enemy, Corinth knows it’s his innate calling to hunt evil down. And evil has a name: Gabriel Stanton. The enigmatic vampire who escaped their capture, has plans for Corinth, Larna, and Alastair … and it’s a threat they’ll never see coming.

When the line between good and evil gets crossed, devastating consequences start to happen. As Watcher and vampire worlds collide, Corinth must decide where to place his trust: with his old allies or his killer instincts.

An upstart slayer. A clan of vampires. What could go wrong?

It’s only the end of the world.

The Watchers is the second book in The Blood Dagger series, a high-octane paranormal YA thriller. If you like witty heroines, unconventional relationships, and friendships that can withstand the grave, then you’ll love Misty Hayes’ high-stakes story.

Sink your teeth into a fun, fierce vampire series today.

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The Moral Dimensions of Humanity

Margaret Lindsay Holton Author Interview

Margaret Lindsay Holton Author Interview

Trillium follows three Canadian families as their stories intertwine over generations and through many obstacles. What served as your inspiration while writing this novel?

I began this novel in my mind almost a decade ago. I did a rough outline at the time and popped it into my writing box. I had wanted to write a work about the rural farming landscape that supports us in an engaging and believable way. At the same time, I wanted to investigate the moral dimensions of humanity on a broader canvas than my previous two novels.

It was while I was researching ‘screen culture’ for an article that I began to see the ‘key’ in how I could manifest this current work.

Many of the revolutionary technological innovations that we now take so much for granted, like electricity, indoor plumbing, the automobile, aviation and the pill, happened within the last century. These life-changing innovations have allowed us to leap forward in an unprecedented way. As a result, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to fathom what life was like, (and still is like for many), without these modern conveniences.

Using a class structure, over the passage of time, allowed me to examine the impact of these techno-innovations on the evolution of the three very distinct families. As example, the O’Sullivan clan, because of their wealth, had immediate access to the innovations of the day long before the poorer classes, be it a telephone or a tell-a-vision. This access established ‘privilege’ for generations to come.

The characters and families were well developed and distinct. What were some driving ideals behind the families development throughout the story?

As I mentioned above, one of my desires in crafting this work was to examine the adopted moral structures of humanity.

Firstly, each family in this story comes from a very different inherited religious background. Religious doctrines shape our morals and are often manifest in the minute decisions that we daily make, for good and/or evil.

When we decide on anything, underlying that decision is a choice about the betterment or ruin of ourselves and others. Whether it be the 10 commandments, or The Golden Rule, or social ostracism or foul play, organized religions provide humanity with a moral framework. How we internalize these inherited religious codes greatly impact how we socially engage with others, especially within families and within civil communities.

A bully, as example, is, fundamentally, someone who never internalized the difference between ‘right or wrong’ behaviour. If they did internalize the ‘rules’ at an early age, they know full well that they are choosing ‘wrong’ behaviour when they bully. The inevitable internal conflict can manifest in many ways through the eventual self-destructive use of drugs and alcohol or the exercising of perverted power in intimate relations. Very often bullies continue to act out destructive behaviours on themselves and others because they have no understanding or fear of consequences. Simply put, they have no self-governing set of ‘rules’.

I would argue that, basically, bullies secretly desire the ‘structure’ of ‘good parenting’. Many bullies, aside from a deep craving for attention, want to be disciplined. But if their own parents never exhibited ‘good behaviour’, (as result of their own upbringing), the likelihood that a child will develop ‘good behaviour’ is very slim. When a child sees how their bullying parents achieve their desired ends, that child naturally internalize these ‘lessons’ and will act out in the same way in later life. And thus, the cycle of abuse continues. I have demonstrated how this vicious cycle re-occurs within generations throughout the novel.

Secondly, the impact of ‘media’ to shape our moral structures has increased exponentially over the past few decades. Within this historical fiction, I have slipped in some of those media innovations, beginning with the literate broadsheets of the eighteenth century. I moved into radio culture prior to WW2, and then introduce the advent of black and white film and television in the mid to late 1940s. Computers began to impact our work places and then enter our homes as recreational ‘video games’ in the mid 1990s.

Today, we are rapidly moving from a hard-won literate culture to a super stimulated visual culture. We are bombarded by a visual plethora of ‘info-entertainment’ from an assortment of screen sources that are designed to over-stimulate our dopamine receptors. All of us have succumbed to ‘click bait’. I wanted to reveal some of this increasing intrusive dependency towards the end of this novel. Though, overall, the latter media intrusion of the internet is intended as a sub-text to the on-going generational actions and reactions of the dominant characters at that time.

Finally, to be clear, I am not suggesting that organized religion, per se, is a panacea for the ills of humanity. We all know that religious indoctrination can obviously swing too far to the extreme. But I do believe that sound ‘elder’ teaching, supported by tight communities of engaging families, can sincerely help floundering individuals who flail. I demonstrated that kind of communal guidance and support when Tom Hartford’s descendent, Faith Hartford, wisely counsels Tony Di Angelo after his unhinged act of revenge. Her display of forgiveness was a profoundly social act of instruction – and acceptance. Faith was very kind to an emotionally wounded man.

This story takes place in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario Canada during the 1750’s. Why did you choose this time and place for your novel?

The story starts in the 1750s. Like a skipping stone on a body of water, time does skip forward quickly. At the middle of the book, the lineage of the three diverse families coalesce at a summer bonfire bash in 1965. The remainder of the novel plays out over the following decades, and the story ends in 2001. I ended the work then because I did not want to enter too far into the digital age.

I chose the Niagara region as emblematic of a ‘border-territory’ and the evolution of a farming culture that eventually specializes in wine-making. This region is beautiful, with the escarpment above and the great lake of Ontario below, and relatively unknown on the world stage. It’s a fascinating area, historically, and well worth a visit.

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

I am developing an audio version of this title and hope to have that available by the summer of 2019. I also feel that this work has the innate potential to be an engrossing television series that will appeal to a broad range of viewers. I am going to attempt to do that too.

Screen culture now rules the marketplace of ideas. If I hope to impact others with this story, I really must try to reach a wider audience beyond the realm of the literate.

TRILLIUM could easily have a sequel, but, at this time, I have no intent to do that. As I mentioned, it has the potential to be a wonderful television or Netflix series …

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Insightful, compelling, engrossing and enlightening, TRILLIUM intimately portrays the intertwining evolution of three very distinct families in the wine-making region known as Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe region, Ontario, Canada. …It all starts when 19-year-old Tom Hartford crosses over the mighty Niagara River in the 1750s … Readers will meet Maaka, an ingenious indigenous trapper; Franco, a dirt poor Sicilian labourer; Paddy O’Sullivan, a sweet-talking Irish con-artist and sweet Cate, the Hamilton port prostitute. And that’s just the beginning! All unfolds with a pair of motherless red-headed twin brothers, a diabolical hate-filled drunkard, two devoted raven-haired sisters, an obsessed land developer, hard-working Mexicans, a blind man, a handsome Italian-Canadian wine-maker, a blessed treasure trove of attentive mothers, one demented vineyard-wandering wife – and a startlingly beautiful, simpleton savant, Anna.A 250 year-old story about three families: the good, bad … and ugly.

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It Was A Twisted Path

Luciana Cavallaro Author Interview

Luciana Cavallaro Author Interview

The Labyrinthine Journey follows Evan on his continued quest to locate a sacred object and stop the advent of Christianity? What were some themes you wanted to bring over from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?

I wanted to explore the concept of what if Christianity never happened, and what events may have prevented the birth of Christ. What if the Greek gods were to learn they would be superseded by a single divinity? How would they react and what would they do? Are their powers omnipotent or are they impeded by restrictions and what are they? This is what I wanted to delve into in the trilogy, and offer an alternative. If Christ wasn’t born, then which deity would prevail?

The main theme is self-enlightenment, growing and learning from experiences whatever the challenges or situation. As each book is written, it is my hope Evan and his companions continue to grow and become more self-aware and enlightened. Destiny is another theme I wanted to explore and develop further in each book. Was Evan destined to be the hero, go back to his past and prevent the rise and birth of Christ? Or does his destiny and the world’s change once he makes a decision or when he acts? Is he controlled by forces that he cannot see or feel? In essence, I wanted to explore the idea of whether destiny shapes who we are, how we think and what we do. Family was another theme I wanted to include, Evan is very close with his parents and deceased sister, and mentions in book one various familial experiences. In book two, his recollections of his family are still there, however his surrogate family, Dexion and Phameas, and half-brother, Homer, who he discovers at the end of book one, become pivotal in the story. He and Homer are Zeus’ offspring, and the family ties are even stronger with the High Priestess, who is his sister. Darkness and light are another theme, which is hinted at in book one, grows in book two, something that I will explore more in book three. The darkness is within Evan, his transformation evident when he gets angry and his eyes turn black, a characteristic he shares with the High Priestess, though she tends to use her particular abilities when they are in trouble.

How did the idea of the gods from Greek mythology fighting monotheism develop into a story for you?

It was a twisted path, much like the journey the characters go through in book two, the original concept for the story looked very different to the books I’ve written. It was meant to be about how the Atlanteans re-emerge from the destruction of their home and re-discover the world in which they once inhabited. It didn’t have enough for me to explore or write, so I re-read Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey. They are my go-to books for inspiration as is Joseph Campbell’s books. Then I had an epiphany, if the gods created such havoc through one war and for one individual who tried to return home, what would they do if they discovered that their existence, their omnipotence, their control over humans was threatened? I didn’t think they’d like it at all! And that is how my idea for the story evolved.

I think you did a fantastic job of building great characters in this story. What is your writing process like in developing your characters?

Thank you very much for the compliment! I tried very hard to make sure each character had his/her own personality and I wanted each to stand out, even if their role was a minor one.

I have in mind what they look like, how they sound, how they walk, the colour of their skin and hair, how tall they are or short. I then write their details out on a proforma, similar to the old index cards, a character biography. I have three separate documents: one for master characters, major and minor. On each of these ‘cards’ I have their names and age; their pertinent biographies including occupation (if they have one); physical features; distinctive language; goals/motivation; fatal flaws and saving grace. These help me keep the characters consistent and ‘flesh out’ who they really are. I got this strategy from reading: The Writer’s little helper by James V. Smith Jr.

When I am writing, I visualise the characters, how they interact, what mood they are in, their body language, speech inflections and little quirks they have. For example, Phameas, who likes to keep his hair and beard curled, a Phoenician style and sign of a man’s virtue, is upset when Evan has radical haircuts and shaves. However, the characters don’t always allow me to write how I want the story to go, they interfere, a lot. I guess that’s only fair, as it is their story I am writing.

This is book two in the Servant of the Gods series. Where will book three take readers?

In Book three, Evan and his companions find a way to leave the Isle of Hephaistos, and sail to Crete. They are a bit concerned, as prior experience has seen them shipwrecked and the Argo badly damaged. They island hop, that is Jason’s preference to ensure they don’t run into the Cyclops again. It is at one of the islands that Evan encounters the Dark Master, and have a conversation. When they arrive on Crete, they discover ancestors of the island who had escaped the deluge. One of the islanders shows them the way into King Minos’ labyrinth, where Evan will face the Minotaur. What happens in between, who knows?

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2) by [Cavallaro, Luciana]

Follow Evan as he continues his odyssey as Servant of the Gods in The Labyrinthine Journey. The quest to locate the sacred object adds pressure to the uneasy alliance between Evan and the Atlanteans. His inability to accept the world he’s in, and his constant battle with Zeus, both threaten to derail the expedition and his life.

Traversing the mountainous terrain of the Peloponnese and Corinthian Gulf to the centre of the spiritual world, Evan meets with Pythia, Oracle of Delphi. Her cryptic prophecy reveals much more than he expected; something that changes his concept of the ancient world and his former way of life.

Will Evan and his friends succeed in their quest to find the relics and stop the advent of Christianity?

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Can Any Changes Be Called Revolution

Sanjay Lahiri Author Interview

Sanjay Lahiri Author Intervie

Comrade Netai and the Chronology of His UG Days is a personal and emotional story of Naxalite movement in the 90’s. Why was this an important book for you to write?

There are multiple reasons behind writing this book. First point is obviously, I had this experience which I wanted to share with others. Second- To my knowledge perhaps this phase of Naxalite movement (Now Maoist) has not been captured by any novelist since whenever Indian literature refers Naxalite movement they refer seventies and moreover tries to represent in black and white; quite contrary to the reality. Third- I wanted to raise the question – how come that all socialist revolution ended up of being suppliers of cheap labour and eventually strengthening the philosophy which they supposed to overthrow. Can any changes be called revolution. I took ten years to complete this novel.

Netai is an interesting character that I enjoyed reading about. What was the inspiration for his character and development through the story?

Thank you. Inspiration was my experience. The dedicated marginal people (although may not be quite clear about the philosophy) and squalor and deprived life I witnessed.

This book gives a unique look at the considerations given to decisions, elections, and organization of a revolution. Were you able to provide any personal experiences to this story?

Yes, apart from this book I am having many experiences which I think need another book to share. However, I would like to share one of the most painful experiences i gathered and which still haunts me. There is small place name Manoharpur in Singbhum district (now in Jharkhand but then it was in Bihar. i am talking about 1990) adjoining to Orissa and known for mines of iron ore mostly dominated by a big house. From Manoharpur about 30 to 40 km away there was village named Tonto. There was no proper communication from Manoharpur to tonto. Only one bus plying in morning and evening. otherwise there was commercial lorries which carried people too. Apart from that there was only one goods train carrying iron ore.Otherwise those places were not accessible. I was surveying those ares on behalf of my organization and along with one of my colleagues we reached to that village-Tonto. The first hut we arrived found the door was ajar. I peeped through and found some people stood moaning surrounded a person lying on a sagged charpoy. One of them saw us and rushed to us with a gesture of help. We were not able to communicate as we did not know their language neither they. The figure of the person, lying on charpoy, sent shivers down my spine. The skeletal structure was lying spreading its arms across. A white thin cloth was wrapped around waist. The breast squeezed to such an extent as if stuck to bare protruding ribs and i took some time to realise it was- she. Her slimy eyeballs were moving slowly inside the socket. Her tongue was intermittently flicking out from her wizened mouth; as if trying to taste life. They took me as a medical practitioner and requested me to save her. No they were wrong i was not a medical practitioner however, usually, I would carry some basic medicine but I knew that would not work. Literally we escaped from the spot just providing them some medicines. That moment and that figure still haunts me.

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

My next book is- A Joker and A Witch. When it will be available – only time can say.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Comrade Netai and the Chronology  of His UG Days : An Inside Story of Naxalite Movement from Nineties by [Sanjay Lahiri]

In the nineties, he joined to a splinter group of Naxalite to be associated with the ongoing struggle for the emancipation of the working class and was rechristened as Netai.

However, in subsequent years, he was dismayed seeing the peer rivalry, manipulation to grab power in the organization. Walking with the arms squad, Netai realized that, to the party, the expansion of arms struggle was the sole yardstick of revolution.

Netai’s home turned into a permanent shelter of comrades and gradually thrown into disarray with aimless siblings, cataract ridden mother and a lonesome father, still a sole bread earner despite being retired from a government job.

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The Dragon Shifters at Southgate

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate: Book Two of the Seers Series by [Leclerc, Sherry]

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate is the second book in The Seers series. It opens with the protagonist, Talwyn, fleeing for her life. At only eight years old she is still considered a baby by her people, who live for hundreds of years. Hidden under a rock by her mother, Talwyn evades detection, but emerges from her hiding place without a home or a family to return to. Three hundred years later and Talwyn is still haunted by the memories of that tragic day. Moreover, as a Seer she has now been having visions of an even more bleak future.

The world is laced with what Talwyn calls “ley lines”. Lines that form a diamond shape and surge with powerful energy that sorcerers can harness. Where the lines meet, a sorcerer’s power would grow even stronger, and this location is called the Source. Talwyn relays the history of the battles fought over the Source and the great powers it grants. This rich backstory is what kept me turning pages. It’s intricate and intriguing but leaves room for your imagination to wander. A powerful sorcerer by the name of Anceannmor discovered the nature of the Source and that when the planets align just right, the Source has unprecedented effects. In this case, it granted Anceannmor a great boon. The sorcerer opened a gate to another realm and let the demons of that realm roam free in the world. I enjoyed the balance of power in this world, things were believable (as much as they can be in an epic fantasy novel) but was still fascinating.

Talwyn explains how the gate was closed and that keystones were crafted and distributed all over the realm along the ley lines. However, if the keystones are united and the celestial alignment is just as it was when Anceannmor initially open the gate, the gate would open once more. The pace of the novel picks up quickly and rarely lets up. I enjoyed the balance between story telling and action. Champions such as Talwyn have sworn to protect the keystones, but as the very same celestial alignment draws near Talwyn and the other Seers having been having worrying visions of the future. Thus, Talwyn takes it upon herself in a race against time to find and warn other people who also protect their keystones: the elusive dragonkin.

Talwyn must gain access to this closed community who are equally as devasted by the actions of Anceannmor, and equally cautious of outsiders. The story follows Talwyn’s journey to visit the dragonkin, and in particular to win the trust Dreyken the Dragon Lord. But Talwyn’s duties as a champion and protector of the realm often conflict with her wants and needs, as she struggles to live in the aftermath of Anceannmor’s tyranny. Anyone familiar with The Elder Scrolls series will feel right at home in the myth and legend built around the people and world.

The Dragon Shifters at Southgate is Sherry Leclerc’s seconds book in The Seers series and is a fantastic follow up to the previous book. The world is so rich with lore that one constantly feels welcomed back to the novel by its secret forest or the mountainous caverns of the dragonkin. The high-fantasy of this novel adds an interesting abstraction to the very real feelings of loneliness that an individual may face in the aftermath of hardship and war. For this reason, I give the book a four out of five for its intricate plot and the realism that sits at the heart of the fantasy.

Pages: 425 | ASIN: B07LC437FY

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Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals

Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals by [O'Malley, Timi]

Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals, by Timi O’Malley, is a fascinating journey through the author’s life. O’Malley brings her readers to her table where she fulfills their need to be nourished in more ways than one, and it is at that table where the author invites her readers into more diverse chapters of her life.

Connecting her love of culinary traditions with her belief that we are all connected through our purest and most basic needs, O’Malley makes it very easy to understand just how easy it is to achieve true happiness. Consuming Love sends a message of love and togetherness, but more importantly, it teaches us how we can find genuine satisfaction and fulfillment by just noticing the world around us, and by being consciously present within it. O’Malley masterfully intertwines her love of food with her experience to paint a wonderfully meaningful picture for her readers.

The people you will meet along O’Malley’s journey are incredible, but it is in O’Malley’s reaction to the personalities around her that seem even more so. She has deep respect for the people that have had an impact on her life, whether those people created positive experiences or negative. In fact, her reaction to everyone that she has shared meals with have one thing in common, and that commonality is a large part of what makes Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals so special. Everyone, it would seem, is a teacher, and over a plate of delicious cuisine is one of the best ways to be truly present with the people who pass through our lives.

For anyone who wonders about the nature of happiness and why some people are better at maintaining it than others, this book is a must read. Those interested in hearing of adventures across the country and into the far reaches of the globe would also be interested in this book. And for anyone who would like to gain a better understanding of the value of presence in our lives, Consuming Love: The Joy of Sharing Meals might just be the book you’ve been looking for. Timi O’Malley certainly deserves the full five stars for her offering to the table of life.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B07L3Q91CG

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Ain’t No Messiah

Ain't No Messiah: A Novel (Tales of the Blessed and Broken Book 1) by [Tullius, Mark]

Ain’t No Messiah by Mark Tullius is a dark and intriguing novel about the life of Joshua Campbell. Set in the United States, it’s a tale of his life, from birth to adulthood. Significant family members such as his mother, father and brother walk some of his journey with him as well as childhood friends that reappear in early adulthood. Estranged family members are in his mind all the while and readers meet them briefly as he tries to connect with them.

Having almost died at birth, Joshua’s father labelled him the messiah. His father continues to use this label throughout Joshua’s unusual life; citing near death experiences as miracles. His father publishes books about him and fashions a new church and business on the miracles of the messiah. Despite calling him the messiah, he  verbally and emotionally abuses and neglects him on a regular basis. Joshua consistently refuses to believe he is the messiah and begins to rebel against his father’s rules. Eventually, at 17 he decides to run away, and experiences the world in a new light, but finds he still can’t shake the title of Messiah.

As the story progresses it is unclear whether he seeks out trouble, or trouble seeks him out, and this grey area is what kept me engaged throughout the story. Joshua is dragged into a world of sex and drugs, but he still has to run from his label as the messiah and his tyrannical father. As Joshua is pulled deeper into this world it becomes unclear who he can trust and things turn into a life and death situation. This reminded me of how Stephen King sets up his stories to deliver poignant ideas through simple prose.

Ain’t No Messiah kept me engrossed until the very end. As I read I kept questioning whether Joshua would break free forever from his father, or if he would be tempted by the life of fame and comparative comfort? At times I questioned his life choices and whether he could trust the people he aligned with. The main characters were well developed and believable. However, I felt there were far too many minor characters in the story that kept entering and disappearing. At times it became difficult to keep track of who was who. This detracted from the overall story as I had to pause and try to remember who the character was and why they were important to the story. The transition between flashbacks to past events and present day were clear at the start of the book, however near the end they became less clear which also distracted from the overall continuity. Overall this is an interesting and well written book that delivers a thought provoking message by putting a fascinating character in evocative situations that beg one to reflect on the choices we all make in life.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B07KCQ8P17

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