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Love, Loss, Long Beach

Love, Loss, Long Beach by [Pasquale, Christiaan A.]

4 Stars

Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?

The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.

He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.

The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.

Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.

By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?

This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.

Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ

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Do The Inner Work

Kaylene Hay Author Interview

Kaylene Hay Author Interview

In For the Love of Self you outline strategies that helped you with healing different imbalances in your mind and body. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wanted to give others some alternative suggestions to healing their issues because this had worked for me. I believe that we have the power within us to heal ourselves if only we believed and trusted in that. Our intuition, and we all have it, is a wonderful tool to tap into. We can too easily give our power away to the opinions of others, and the scientific/medical treatments that are offered, because of fear and a lack of knowledge. Drugs and surgery are not always the answer. I’m just very happy to say that my theories worked for me so I wanted to share that with the rest of the world. Maybe they can work for others as well. Now, wouldn’t that be nice!!!

In this book you describe your journey from stage 3 vaginal cancer to recovery. What was the biggest lesson you learned along the way?

It was important for me to find the root cause, to understand and heal the mental and emotional reasons that created the dis-eases/imbalances in my mind and body, because if I didn’t, I believe the cancer could come back again. I’ve seen this time and again with others until the body can’t tolerate any more treatment. But I also know that it’s everyone’s prerogative, and I respect that, to make the choices as to how they want to deal with their life’s challenges. We all have lessons and experiences to work through in our life and one way is no better than another.

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

To believe that anything is possible, and then do the inner work to achieve the desired outcome.

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

At this point in time, another book has not been conceptualised as I’d like to give my current book all the focus and energy it needs to give it a fair chance to reach and help the people that need it the most.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram| GoodReads

For the Love of Self: The Proven Tools and Strategies for Healing My Life by [Hay, Kaylene]

When Kaylene Hay was diagnosed with Stage 3 vaginal cancer, her doctor advised her to have surgery. Because of her strong belief in cause and effect, she wanted to find out what could have contributed to this cancer, and particularly in the genital area. What she discovered, shocked her.

In For the Love of Self, Hay outlines the guidelines and strategies that helped with the healing of different diseases and imbalances in her mind and body, all woven within a collection of her life’s experiences. She tells how the success gained by using these strategies can be applied to any situation, and she shares the importance of looking beneath the surface of any presenting health issue to find the root cause, emphasizing surgery and drugs are not always the answer.

Through her own discoveries, Hay encourages others to find the courage to heal their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues by taking responsibility for their health and well-being. For the Love of Self shows how all of the answers are within and people must find their way back to health, happiness, and empowerment by taking charge of their life and doing the inner work to achieve their goals.

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Resilient and Courageous

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

Tarrant Smith Author Interview

The Love of Gods is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, supernatural, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Actually, I initially was trying to write a mystery with a hint of a simmering romance which I hoped would span several books, but I discovered pretty early on that I am a romance writer and not a mystery writer. So, I tossed my first draft and started over.

Lugos and Keely are interesting and well defined characters. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in their characters?

Lugos is based on two different Celtic gods which gave me a place to start. I immediately understood who he was, what would be important to him, and a good portion of his backstory from the very beginning. And so from that jumping off point, he became a vivid character in my mind. I wanted him to value his intellect over his brawn. I also him to value humanity over his own kin. As for Keely, her southern sass is based on a waitress I know, and the awful taste in men is a nod to a dear friend of mine. Because Lugos is an immortal, I wanted Keely to have a resilient and courageous nature so that Lugos’s god-ness didn’t overpower the relationship. Even though she’s a mortal, Keely had to be his equal in many ways otherwise the relationship wouldn’t work.

I loved the backstory and world building in this novel. What were some sources of inspiration for you while creating this story?

I spend a lot of my time researching various myths and much of the characters’ backstories are tied to my understanding of those myths. The various gods in The Love of Gods all have their own histories in Celtic mythology and I drew from these. The shifter and witch communities have rich literary traditions that gave me a direction, a roadmap, of how they might respond if the world of the Pale truly existed.

This is book one in The Legends of Pale series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?

I’m happy to say that I am hard at work on several books in this series. The Fate of Wolves is the next book and will be out near Christmas this year. I have already finished book three, The Dreams of Demons, and if all goes to plan I’ll release it in spring 2020. I’m currently writing the fourth book, The Souls of Witches and I’m absolutely in love with the main characters. But then, that’s how it is with each book I write.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

Lugos had given his word when the world was still young, before he’d endured the wrenching pain of her soul being torn from his. Lifetime after lifetime she’d returned when he’d needed her most, when the apathy of his kind had eaten away at his resolve and his heartfelt vow seemed pointless. One would think he’d be able to protect a single mortal, after all, he was a god. But two long centuries had passed since he’d held her, since he’d been whole. Now, she was back and Lugos had a decision to make; claim the only woman he’d ever loved, or deny his soul’s deepest craving and grant Keely a chance at a peaceful life without the dangers that populated his world. For five years, Lugos had chosen the latter with the hope that the fates might overlook them this time. That was still his plan when the goddess Rhiannon called seeking his help. Lugos should have known better.

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Dream a Dream That Never Ends

Kirby Lord Author Interview

Kirby Lord Author Interview

Myrrendryl is a thought provoking fantasy novel that follows Davey as he escapes to a world very different from his own. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

I came up with the idea for the novel from a thought; What if when you die, you pass completely unaware and simply dream a dream that never ends. That, coupled with a deep love for horror fiction and stories that are more than the sum of their parts.

Davey is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to explore with his character?

I really wanted Davey to be relatable, I wanted him to be the Everyman Hero, but even with the best of intentions, sometimes, doing the right thing is never cut and dry. I wanted him to struggle with bullying, abuse, loss, unrequited love, and being an outcast. In the end, even with the odds piled against him and despair baring it’s poisoned fangs, I needed him to make the choice that matters.

I found ‘Cardboard City’ to be fascinating and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind this and it’s backstory?

Let me answer this, with a question. Was it ever really there? Sure, it seemed like a magical place, but for all it’s glamour, couldn’t a Maytag box and a rat chewn blanket be paradise?

If it was there, it was because a common belief brought these youths together and kept them focused on a singular goal. A little paint here, some salvaged materials there and soon, they had their own community.

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

I’m currently working on a novel of the prodigal son.

James is a successful businessman in the city, but he harbors a deep secret. He is not who he says he is. A lawyer and private investigator track him down to tell him his mother is dead and her estate leaves him as the heir. Now returning to the small town he left far behind he is assailed with memories both good and bad.

But this town holds it’s own secret, and someone or something is very glad to see the son return home.

Hopefully out this year, but at the latest, it will be next.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

The curtain, the veil, the void, the abyss. So many names for the mystery of the beyond. People spend a good part of their lives just wanting to lift the heavy canvas of the circus tent and take a peek inside. Eventually they’ll know, in the end, we all know, but mankind is an impatient beast. Sadly, for most, if they ever could pull aside that curtain, they would spend the rest of their lives trying to forget that they ever had.Myrrendryl tells the tale of four seemingly unconnected youth bound to one another in a way none of them could have guessed and knowing would threaten to shatter their very existence. The hands of fate appear to play them like marionettes, but are they truly controlled by fate? Or are they their own masters? A story that questions what is real, and what is the sands of dreams. A story ultimately, about the human condition and what deep down, we are willing to sacrifice.

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My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict

My Name is Erin, and my Mom’s an Addict by Amy Voltaire is the story of Erin Whitaker, a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is a heroin addict. Erin went to live with her grandparents when she was five, after her mother left. When Erin got home from school one day, her mother was gone and never came back. Ten years later Erin’s mother has reentered her life. She’s finally gotten clean and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. Though reluctant, Erin allows her mother back into her life. But when she relapses, will Erin’s anger cause her to lose all the other people in her life as well?

This story focuses on the effects of drug addiction, not just on the addict, but on the other people in their life, children especially but also siblings and friends and even parents-in-law.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the dark theme of substance abuse and drug addiction, there were bits of humor in the story. The author had an engaging writing style. And I really liked the main character, Erin. The whole book was written from her point of view, so I always knew what she was thinking and feeling and why she acted out at times. I didn’t like that Erin kept getting angry about the situation with her mother and taking it out on other people, who were not the source of her anger. But the author offered compelling motivation for her actions, and Erin worked to improve her anger-management issues.

I liked the relationships portrayed in this story, especially between Erin and her best friend, Grace, and Erin and her boyfriend, George, who also acted as a good friend to her. And Erin’s grandparents did not just see caring for her as a duty. Even when she was difficult, they loved her, and they enjoyed having her living with them. Their interactions were funny and sweet. I loved the way Erin acted with Sweetie, a chihuahua poodle mix.

Although the story did not have a conclusive ending, it was hopeful. I believe this story is a realistic portrayal of the realities of life for children affected by drug addiction, and even though it is a work of fiction, this book will resonate with people who are going through a similar situation.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1939696496

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Stolen Time

Stolen Time (Community Chronicles Book Two) by Jenn Lees is a time travel fiction story about a dystopian future. The book begins in the Scottish Highlands in the year 2056, then jumps back to Present Day. After the U.S. Stock Market crash, plunging the world into chaos, Scott Campbell saves Caitlin Murray from a mob, but there’s something strange about him. He acts like he knows her, and he seems to know future events. He claims that he must protect her because she’s needed for her coming role as a great leader. Caitlin thinks he’s crazy, until he proves that everything he’s said is true. Will Scott be able to keep himself and Caitlin alive amid violence and the fall of human society? Or will his act of traveling to the past change everything about the future?

This book has an interesting premise and I enjoyed reading the story. Although it is Book Two in the Community Chronicles, this story can be read without reading the first book. The Glossary of Scottish Words at the end of the book is helpful for readers unfamiliar with some of the terms used by the characters.

The author’s descriptions of the chaos and struggles for immediate survival were vivid and I could picture what Caitlin and Scott were seeing and experiencing as they escaped from Edinburgh. But then the book got bogged down a bit by a slow pace when they hid out in a cabin in the Highlands, while Scott taught Caitlin survival and fighting skills. This section did not hold my interest as well as the rest of the story, when they were in constant danger.

The portions of the story that take place in Present Day were told primarily from Caitlin’s point of view. At the beginning, I felt just as confused as Caitlin since I didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on and I didn’t know why Scott acted like he knew her when she first meets him. It is only later that he tells her the details of their relationship. Once Scott revealed their connection in the future, I would have liked to see more glimpses into his “past” with scenes from his point of view. In either case, this slow build up and reveal was intriguing and, I thought, the best part of the novel.

I liked the interactions between Caitlin and Scott, and I enjoyed the romantic element in the story, which showed a love that spanned across different timelines. As soon as I finished the story, I immediately wanted to start reading Book Three in the series, Rory’s (Caitlin and Scott’s son) story.

Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0987644807

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Case Two ~ The Kept – Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter Traile

If anyone tells you hunting ghosts is less dangerous than chasing down real-life criminals, they’re wrong. Very, very wrong.

Case two takes us to a New Jersey Shore Inn. A beautiful, yet dead opera singer seems to be begging for help, but her pleas do nothing but terrorize the locals.

While trying to decipher the clues to her 1919 disappearance, uncovering hair-raising horrors, it becomes clear that Jason and I no longer see eye-to-eye.

Jason wants me to stop meddling with the supernatural. He wants me to stop risking my life by interacting with demons and spirits.

What he doesn’t understand is this is my life. These tortured souls need my help in order to move on. How do I walk away from that—from them?

But the better question is—how do I walk away from him?

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A Beautiful Country

Linda D'union Author Interview

Linda D’union Author Interview

Rachel is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?

I decided to set her character around my own experience as a nurse in my earlier years and incorporate places I have visited.

This was a mystery novel that was filled with unexpected twists. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?

I wanted to capture Myanmar particularly as it really is a beautiful country with lovely, friendly people. I have visited Myanmar 5 times so I guess that speaks for itself. The book just evolved on one of my visits to Burma, when sitting at the beach after visiting their main jewelry market (Scot’s Market) where there was a plethora of ruby’s on sale.

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

I have since written 2 other books of different genre. The Power of Childhood Dreams ( a pre-teen book) and Turn Pain Off – both of which are under my marital name. Linda Hehir.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Ruby Ransom by [D’union, Linda]

Kidnapping Mystery: A thrilling adventure with a touch of romance and an unexpected turn of events.

Derek young man arrives at the hospital unconscious. Rachel, a nurse, finds strange objects in Derek’s shoes. Facing an ethical dilemma, Rachel investigates the objects further. The theft of Derek’s clothes from the ward and Rachel’s bedroom being ransacked indicates that Derek’s attacker is still looking for something he desperately wants. Alerted of these events Rachel began to feel anxious that her life could be in danger through inadvertently becoming the temporary custodian of the strange objects she found amongst Derek’s property. Upon Derek awakening, she felt compelled to help him. In asking for Rachel’s help to save his child, Derek sets in motion a course of events that leads himself, Rachel and Max, the grandson of an Australian exporter based in Thailand, into dangerous territory. Travelling halfway across the world transporting the ransom to save Derek’s child, Rachel is kidnapped in Thailand and transported to Myanmar (Burma) and in the process of risking her life falls in love – a love destined to ….

Ruby Ransom is a unique combination of mystery, suspense thriller, romance and includes a medical theme. It brings together three strangers, where trust, fortitude, courage and intuition are required to help save a child from captivity, with an unexpected outcome.

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For the Love of Self

For the Love of Self: The Proven Tools and Strategies for Healing My Life by [Hay, Kaylene]

For the Love of Self: The Proven Tools and Strategies for Healing My Life is exactly what the title implies: a story of how the author, Kaylene Hay, healed herself with her thoughts and practices. Hay describes herself as an intuitive healer. She claims to have healed many of her own illnesses and works on healing the illnesses of others without surgeries or drugs. In this book she describes many incidents where she says she healed herself.

In the book, the author sums up her beliefs by saying, “I believe that, with the help of my Angels, guides, and spirit family, I chose the perfect set of circumstances for my soul’s growth before coming into this life.” She continues on to say that everything that happens to a person is meant to be and that the way we experience life is how we were meant to experience it. She does not believe that the environment we are raised in has anything to do with what happens to us. She also believes heavily in the power of numbers and discusses at length the significance of dates in her stories.

This book, and the methods described within, rely heavily on positive thinking and how our thoughts impact our health. The author reiterates time and again that one must think it for it to happen. I see no drawbacks to thinking positively in life. While I would not rely solely on positive thoughts to cure my cancer, I believe that thinking positively cannot hurt as an addition to medically treating the disease.

Throughout the book the author presented her methods as ‘proven’ but there were no references to outside sources that corroborated her finding. All methods that were ‘proven’ in the book seemed to have been ratified by the authors own experiences. I would have liked to see more references to other studies done by other groups of researchers that substantiate her findings. I am willing to admit that, while I see no proof it is true, I also cannot prove it is not true.

The book could be a great read for someone who believes in the power of positive thinking and is seeking an alternative medicine approach to healing, but I would add caution and suggest you always seek medical treatment in conjunction with the methods provided in this book. I believe that how one receives this story is dependent on one’s belief system when it comes to illness and treatments for those illnesses.

Pages: 94 | ASIN: B07JJ6LPQN

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The Love of Gods

The Love of Gods (The Legends of the Pale Series Book 1) by [Smith, Tarrant]

 

The Love of Gods, written by Tarrant Smith is the first book in the paranormal romance series, The Legends of the Pale.

The story is an intriguing combination of a murder mystery and love story. As with any good romance, the story has a masculine hero – Lugos.  Despite being a god, Lugos prefers the company of humans. Whilst Lugo is investigating the death of a high-ranking witch his relationship with Keely Ann Lee, a Southern bar tender develops from a simple friendship into romance. Unbeknownst to Keely, Lugos has loved her over several different lifetimes. This time, he will do all he can to protect this mere mortal.

The story is set in Pale, which are a group of supernatural communities, but the characters are spread over different physical locations including Ireland and America.

There is a large and daunting cast of characters, which appear and disappear throughout the book. The author provides a comprehensive character list at the beginning, which is appreciated, but flipping back and forth gets a bit disruptive. The number of characters is further complicated by the fact that these are paranormal characters such as demons, witches, gods, shifters, demigoddesses and familiars. Each character has their own special powers as well as personality and location. That said, it did not take long to get my head around the number of characters and any fan of epic expansive fantasy novels will appreciate the intricate backstory that Tarrant Smith ha created.

Interwoven into the story are both paranormal and human experiences. Characters constantly move from using human technology such as cell phones, luxury cars, classic cars, security systems and Google maps to teleportation and shape shifting. They move from the mundane such as using passports to shifting from human form to animal form. This adds interest and intrigue and ensures the story is fast moving.

The dialogue between characters is rich and realistic and enhances the relationship between characters. The tale is also enhanced with some interesting metaphors, for example, Keely is described at one point as “a puddle of need”; which is my new favorite phrase.

The Love of Gods is a well written story. The dialogue is engrossing and most of the characters and their loyalties are intricate but explained in depth. Both the love story and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.

Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07PWB8V36

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