Blog Archives

Love and Sabotage

Love and Sabotage by [Martha Tolles]

Love and Sabotage follows Marty Gregg, a new graduate beginning her first job. She is a female journalist in what is still a man’s world. To further complicate Marty’s life, her fiancé is away at war, stationed in the pacific during WWII.

This is a story that is easy follow, which is certainly a benefit in a mystery novel as riveting as this one. The novel is narrated by our captivating young protagonist Marty, and we follow the trials and tribulations she faces working in a male dominated industry whilst constantly awaiting word from her fiancé. As she follows a breaking story readers are treated to glimpses of the quaint town she lives in, and the complex relationships she has. There are delightful descriptions of the town, including many descriptions of the houses and buildings, as well as the gardens and trees. Author Martha Tolles cleverly integrates several community features such as the library that makes the setting feel realistic and like a character on its own. Set during World War Two, most of the references to technology, clothing and speech are consistent with this time period, which allows the reader to be immersed in the story.

I enjoyed the main characters in this story and felt that they were well developed. Marty, the young female journalist pinning for her fiancé Eddy who is away at war, feels like a trope but its given much more dimension with Marty’s unique personality. She is clearly dedicated to her job, this is shown by her thoughts, her conversations with others, and actions. However, it is clear that being a young female journalist during the war can be difficult in what is still essentially a man’s industry. We see her hesitation in dealing with her employer’s sexual overtones, as well as other men who are not accustomed to working with women. Understandably, her fiancé Eddy is never far from her mind, however we never really learn much about him. Another complex relationship is the relationship between Marty and her friend Grace. Their relationship encompasses both a personal friendship and a working relationship. We see Grace authentically try to support her friend from her employer’s advances, whilst still maintaining her own professional relationship with him. It’s a relationship that I thought was intriguing and wanted to see more of.

Love and Sabotage is a mystery novel that is easy to read and, because of that, is easy to get wrapped up in. The setting descriptions allow the reader to immerse themselves both in the town of Rye and the circumstances for civilians living in WWII. Fans of historical fiction will find plenty to enjoy in this compelling novel?

Pages: 182 | ASIN: B07MHQXKJT

Buy Now From B&N.com

Tides Beneath Unshattered Love PARIS Trilogy – Book Trailer

If you dont believe in love at first, sight?”

Embark on an unexpected journey…

Alexandria embarks on an unexpected journey in her new single life that will force her to question her lifelong friendship with Samantha. She will discover the connection between Alessio, Samantha, and Fredrick. Alexandria carries her own secrets, involving a man she meets in Paris while also battling strong desire for Alessio.

Available February 2022

 

Educate In Fun And Exciting Ways

Tommy Balaam
Tommy Balaam Author Interview

Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet follows the Captain and his hound onto a planet filled with sweets, but they learn that filling up on treats has consequences. Why is the subject of healthy eating important to you?

As someone who fluctuates in weight, having tried most diets at some point (which in turn has created an unhealthy relationship with food), I know first hand the importance of creating good eating habits early on. From energy levels, weight and general health, it’s so important to have a good diet. After all, you are what you eat! I always aim to educate in fun and exciting ways, which hopefully this book does.

What is your process for creating the vivid art in your books?

Hire an illustrator… I’m only half-joking because Daniel does all the amazing drawings. From an author’s point of view, it’s about having a clear vision of what you want the pictures to look like.

How did the idea for Captain Fantastic begin? Did you play around with any other ideas or characters before settling on him for your series?

I trained as an actor and I stumbled across children’s entertainment whilst looking for a side hustle. After a few years of working for other people‘s companies, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own party business. I wanted the parties to be superhero themed, so I messed around with lots of alter ego names and it was my dad who suggested ‘Captain Fantastic’, thanks Gary! Fast forward 10 years and we have been voted the UK’s no.1 children’s entertainment company, which I’m extremely proud of!

What can readers expect in the next book in the Captain Fantastic series?

Captain Fantastic and the Undersea Monster is my next masterpiece (I hope)! Captain Fantastic wants to explore the depths of the ocean but gets a little too excited and forgets to listen to people’s warnings.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Imagine a world made of chocolate and sweets. Captain Fantastic and his hungry hound, Winston, think they might have landed on the best planet in the universe, with its marshmallow clouds and candyfloss birds.

They explore everywhere from Cookie Dough Cove to Mount Honeycomb, but it’s not long before they find out what happens when you eat too many treats. What will our space voyagers need to do before they can board spaceship Zippity-Zap for their next exciting adventure?

“Parents reading this to their children can use it to start a conversation about healthy eating in a non-judgemental, accessible way that children will respond to.” Dr Gummer, Good Play Guide

Second in the exciting series of intergalactic adventures, based on the awesome and educational Captain Fantastic parties.

Rose’s Thorn: A Joe Erickson Mystery

Rose's Thorn: A Joe Erickson Mystery by [Lynn-Steven Johanson]

Rose’s Thorn is a wonderfully suspenseful and creative murder mystery. The plot centers around everyone’s worst nightmare: a seemingly quiet town turned into a hunting ground for a dangerous predator. Someone is violently abducting, raping, and killing the town’s young women, but there are so many clues that are missing. Not even the town’s police force is exempt from suspicion. Joe Erickson and Destiny Alexander must work together to create a profile of this vicious killer and put him away. But they have some chemistry of their own to spice up the plot.

Rose’s Thorn is fantastically woven with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing and on the edge of their seat. Each character is introduced in an artful and believable manner that gives the reader a sense of who they are right away. Even if that character does not stay in the story for very long. The action scenes as well are very compelling; it comes quickly and with heart-pounding intensity. There is also an element of dramatic irony that will make the reader want to shout at the characters and tell them what is going on! The characters are realistic and most are likable and relatable which makes the story that much more enjoyable.

It is a funny coincidence that a lot of these characters have names beginning with “J”. Joe himself is a unique take on the hardened cop in that he is not overly so. The audience is able to relate to Joe and see how he is affected by events and emotions unlike the common version of the trope, but we still get the sense that he is a tough guy who will get the job done. Even the minor characters who make small appearances are unique and realistic which draws the reader into the book even further as it appears to be completely plausible.

Rose’s Thorn is a riveting crime fiction that lures you in with a seemingly simple yet complex murder mystery and delivers an absorbing investigation for those that love police procedurals. I loved the plot, the characters (especially the strong female co-lead, Destiny), and the twists and turns. Author Lynn-Steven Johanson has written an thriller that anyone, teenage and up, could enjoy at any time. Just be sure to lock the door!

Pages: 271 | ASIN: B085SX5WNN

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Moreva of Astoreth

The Moreva of Astoreth (The Peris Archives Book 1) by [Roxanne Bland]

For a beautiful mix of romance and science fiction, look no further than Roxanne Bland’s The Moreva of Asteroth. It follows the tale of Moreva Tehi, the granddaughter of Devi goddess Asteroth. Told through her own perspective, this story tells us of Tehi’s bigotry and open disdain for those she perceives to be of a lesser race. However, as we read from chapter to chapter, we see a change in her disposition. Things especially start to change when she is banished and forced to live in a far-away land among the common laborers she so despises; the hakoi. In the process, she finds love; an unexpected twist in the storyline.

While this book has a lot of details about Tehi’s supernatural powers and scientific exploits, it doesn’t overwhelm us with information. The author has a unique way of bringing to life Tehi’s experiences, making it seem like we are living through her, discovering things with her, one step at a time. Moreover, we get a front-row seat into her complicated love life; her constant struggle between her growing romantic desires and trying to keep her vow of loyalty to Astoreth. But as much as love is a major theme in this story, there are also other themes running concurrently. For one, there is a major emphasis on the need for belonging, especially in the main character’s life. Throughout the narrative, she feels like she doesn’t quite fit anywhere and is constantly plagued by a feeling of loneliness. Fortunately, this is resolved with the onset of genuine love. Another major theme is obviously prejudice and bias. Over and over again, we see how Tehi looks down on the hakoi and how some of the hakoi are biased against her. Ultimately, it becomes clear that a lot of the rules and assigned ways of life of the people of Asteroth are based purely on prejudice.

But if there is one thing that I really love about this book, it has to be the fact that its prose is light and very easy to read. Additionally, its plot is solid and its dialogue gripping. If you’re looking for something with witty comebacks and strong-willed characters, this is it. I also have to applaud the author’s creativity in creating an alternate world that’s imaginative and has its own languages. The Moreva of Astoreth possess an emotional depth that few science fiction adventure stories do, and this is why I highly recommend this book.

Pages: 455 | ASIN:  B08D1XKTLC

Buy Now From B&N.com

Their Ability To Be Loved

D.J. Hawkins
D.J. Hawkins Author Interview

This Mess You’ve Made follows the lives of two people who face many obstacles and find strength to overcome them together. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?

Every story has more than perspective. We often only think of ourselves as the main characters in our lives and more often than not, this never captures who we really are. Realistically, we are more than we believe and sometimes, we are even a villain in someone else’s story. For the purpose of this novel, I wanted Savannah and Aryn to be portrayed through the eyes of each other so their ability to be loved is able to shine through. We don’t necessarily need someone else’s validation to feel worthy of love, but it helps us gain perspective, confidence, and strength.

Savannah and Aryn are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

I take pieces from my life, my relationships, and build characters. I take both the good and the bad from people who have impacted me. I also take the negative and positive qualities I see in myself. I try to make my characters simultaneously unique yet highly relatable. I wanted Savannah and Aryn to be characters you’d like to know in real life, people you’d root for and cry for, but love enough to be willing to tell them when they need change for the better.

What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

I really wanted to explore the devastating effects depression, guilt, and anxiety can have on a person. Mental health is still such a taboo topic and it’s often described as “tragically beautiful.” But not only do people experience depression, guilt, and anxiety in different ways, but we shouldn’t try glamorising someone feeling like a stranger in their skin, or feeling disconnected from those they love, or feeling like they have no future. These are serious issues that we need to have open discussions about because more people go through these struggles than we realize.

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

My next book is actually completely divergent from “This Mess You’ve Made.” My next novel is called “Quietus” and it’s a dark, paranormal romance novel (new adult). It should be available for purchase late spring/early summer. Here is the blurb: There is an age-old prophecy that foretells of a girl born from death itself. Devlin Raben is that girl, a witch born with death trailing her shadow. She has lived her entire life in the dark, feared by those outside the witch community as an omen meant to bring the world to its knees. She has always been a prisoner to fate and a prophecy she never chose to be part of. Now, she is hiding in plain sight, afraid of her power and the war she is destined to start. But can she truly defy fate when love and her freedom are also at stake?

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Facebook | Instagram

Savannah has one goal in life and that’s to make it to high school graduation. Seems simple enough, but the demons in her head make it near impossible to think about the future. They know she’s yearning for something that’s nowhere near her grasp, and she’s been holding on with the hopes of some day reaching it. But it’s becoming harder to hold on and all she wants is to let go. Aryn considers himself to be a special breed of monster and is constantly confronting the aftermath of one fatal mistake. He has no idea where he’s headed, but he’s more afraid of the past than he is of the future. The only thing he yearns for is to forget. That is, until he meets Savannah. Their story is one of chaos, anger, first love, and healing as they try to save one another from themselves. But you know how it goes: you can’t save anyone who doesn’t want to be saved.

Zero-Day Rising

Zero-Day Rising (The BetterWorld Trilogy Book 3) by [T.C. Weber]

Zero Day Rising is the third book in author T.C. Weber’s BetterWorld series. It is a futuristic cyber thriller that tackles the issues of data privacy, an increasingly controlling government, and the role of digital giants in our daily lives; all issues that are relevant today. It tells the story of sisters Kiyoko and Waylee who are caught up in a fight against an insidious and ever-growing media conglomerate and a corrupt government.

Kiyoko and her team are an intriguing and likable bunch. It’s set up such that it’s basically them versus a pretty depressing world, but somehow it’s easy to have faith in their ability to pull through. I have recently become interested in cybersecurity and the role it plays in today’s world, so the hacking scenes were my favorite parts. I thought that the technology and jargon used in the book felt authentic, and I enjoyed reading about the psychological element that goes on behind the scenes.

Some of the explanations of the devices, like the ‘polyflex neal interface’ or the multiple mentions of the ‘peer-to-peer network’, were a bit on the technical side but were so interesting, and placed in context, that they’re easy to roll with. Overall, there’s a great balance the author achieves by making the action convincing yet immensely readable.

I particularly enjoyed the relevance of the plot in today’s world. The idea of the media in cahoots with the government, working to control people via information, no longer seems like a science fiction story. I can easily think of many global political scandals that involved the unfair use of data by social media giants and other media networks. It is interesting that this has started reflecting in fiction novels as well, as it makes reading T.C. Weber’s novel an engaging yet scary experience. Either way, I appreciated the way the author managed to create what could easily be an “alternate-universe” version of our planet. Even more, I loved the fact that the protagonist was a girl who was equipped with technical skills that rivaled most hackers’.

Overall, Zero Day Rising is a gritty technothriller that i would recommend to anyone who is interested in examining the dangerous ways information can be used against humanity. Or even for anyone just looking for a thrilling cyber-adventure.

Pages: 353 | ASIN: B08PZBCZMT

Buy Now From B&N.com

Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet

Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet by Tommy Balaam is an imaginative and educational children’s adventure story of a spaceship captain and his dog Winston. When Winston is hungry and they find that there’s no food in their fridge, Captain Fantastic gets an idea. They travel to a Chocolate Planet full of sweets and treats for them to devour. They roam around, eating nearly everything in sight. When they return to their ship they’re so stuffed that they can’t fit through the door and don’t feel well. How will they ever get home?

Tommy Balaam’s has fun story full of vivid imagery, and it’s use of onomatopoeia and rhymes just makes the book much more engaging an interesting. The art in the book reminds me of a comic book style, with bright colors, clear pictures with some depth to them along with floating text boxes. The detailed artwork is visually appealing and will easily capture any child’s attention. This book does a fantastic job of delivering a message on health, eating, and exercise. It is certainly one of the more creative ways that I’ve seen to educate children on these topics. 

I am giving Captain Fantastic and the Chocolate Planet, by Tommy Balaam 5 out of 5 stars. Filled with incredible artwork, a sweet story, and fantastic characters, this a perfect gift for young readers. 

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08PJPWJ18

Buy Now From B&N.com

 

%d bloggers like this: