Physical Fitness XBX 12-Minute Plan for Women is a short book that provides an exercise program for women who are over 20. Each age group has a suggested length they should spend on each workout. Useful information on reasons why someone should be fit, weight control, and how exercising can change how you feel physically are also provided. In addition to tips, there are also charts that provide which exercises a woman needs to complete and how many for how long. There is also a useful chart to fill out goals and progress.
This book was a quick and interesting read. One of my favorite parts of the book was that it gave pointers on how to exercise by not exerting oneself and taking it slowly. Another part I loved was that they cautioned people, who may not be able to exercise, to consult with their doctor. It is important to note this because not everyone is on the same health or abilities level. Exercise should not hurt, and people should stretch beforehand as well as take it slow. That is why the author suggests a certain amount of days on each workout as well as not trying to get all the exercises done in the amount of time if you struggle with it in the beginning. I think it is great to tell people to slowly build up their workout routine rather than trying to rush and possibly harm themselves. While it seems like there are a lot of exercises to do in a short amount of time, the book does state to do them at your own pace and continue to work toward the goal. Do not get overwhelmed or be intimidated. It is important to not hurt or strain yourself.
I also like that there are charts to show you what exercises to do, how long to do them, and how many to do. The chart was a little confusing at first but easily understood with the explanation. The pictures in the book are very useful. Not many people, myself included, would know what some of the exercises were. Additionally, with each increase in the charts, new steps are added to the exercises. The illustrations show exactly how the exercise should be completed and really help with any confusion. Finally, if you have a physical copy of the book, it gives you spaces to write goals and where you are. So if you have a specific goal to meet weight wise, you can write it in the book.
There were a couple of things I would have liked to see. For instance, the author mentions how research indicates certain aspects of health and exercise, but it would give it more credibility with references. The book mentioned healthy eating, as such, I think it would have been better to include more detail on this topic. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who would be interested in looking to help with their sedentary lifestyle.
Pages: 100 | ISBN: 1910843008
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All Your Fears follows Kim, a seemingly normal person, but something sinister returns from her past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The inspiration for All Your Fears comes from different sources. The plot is loosely based on a crime that occurred in the UK some year ago. In order to create a compelling novel I needed to look at alternative ways to drive the narrative, make it interesting and keep the reader guessing. Hours of research furnished me with material gleaned from paranormal events and case studies centered around psychological disorders, particularly with reference to the emotion of fear and what causes it.
Kim is an intriguing character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
The novel portrays the main character, Kim Robins, as a deeply troubled young woman with a huge emotional burden. She is basically a ‘good’ person: forgiving, compassionate and trustworthy. Most of all, though, she is vulnerable and therefore wary of people and their intentions. Kim’s mental state quickly deteriorates as the novel progresses, and reaches a point of no return. She does, however, possess an inner strength that enables her to fight on, as it were, in the search for spiritual release.
This novel expertly delivers mystery and suspense. Was the story planned or did it develop organically while writing?
Before I began writing the novel I planned the beginning and the end. I formulated several chapters, wrote them, and decided where to go from there. I found that ideas came to me during the writing. The characters, once fully formed, started to ‘speak’ to me; they take on a life of their own. As an author, you have to make sure you don’t deviate away from the plot otherwise it loses focus. The novel has a moral side to it and hopefully will ask the reader to make their own judgements on various aspects of the characters’ motivations.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am taking a break from writing and pursuing my other interests. I do, though, have an idea for another novel entitled, Chapter 13.
Kim Robins lives a contented life in a peaceful market town. One evening, she encounters a maniac driver who narrowly misses running her over. History teacher Jay Yeldon drives by moments later, takes her home and examines her sprained ankle. A romantic relationship soon develops, but as the weeks progress Kim is plagued by disturbing, bizarre incidents and mounting fear. Trusting nobody, she seeks spiritual help, only to be cruelly deceived.
Fearful that Kim will come to harm, Jay turns detective and discovers the shattering truth about the woman who loves him.
Someone is out to destroy her and will stop at nothing.
Jay faces a moral dilemma and becomes isolated. Undeterred, he conceives a daring plan to expose her enemy, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected, horrifying climax that changes his outlook on life forever.
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In Degsy Hay: A Juvenile Redeemed, Brian Montgomery sets himself up as a modern day Horatio Alger or Charles Dickens, telling a tale of a hard-done-by young man who overcomes his humble beginnings to become something more.
Degsy Hay, born inside a UK prison to a heroin addict, inherits his mother’s chaotic life, as well as a mysterious diary with missing pages. At age 16, he’s released from McAlley-Stoke youth facility with no prospects. He spends a few months on the streets, during which he assembles a small entourage including a three-legged dog named Sadface, a girlfriend (and her young son) and several homeless tradespeople. Before long, though, he’s back in McAlley-Stoke, where, through a mix of violence and charisma, he quickly becomes the Gaffer, the big man in the youth correctional facility. He launches a reform campaign to encourage the young offenders to educate themselves during their incarceration and convinces (via a bloody riot complete with hostage-taking) the facility itself to treat its wards more humanely. All the while, a mystery around missing children and how they’re connected to the missing pages of his mum’s diary builds around him.
Montgomery gives his hero/narrator a distinct voice, rife with Cockney slang, locating him squarely in the rough and tumble housing estates of urban London, a lot of “nar’mean” this and “geezer” that. But for all his streetwise exterior, Degsy is a kind soul at heart and looks out for the people around him. It seems that everyone he meets has a lesson to teach him, even if they have to die a grisly death for him to learn it. The people closest to Degsy have a nasty habit of ending up dead, or filthy rich. Sometimes both.
For a book that tackles some extremely difficult topics like poverty, addiction, and child abuse, Degsy Hay can be a bit simplistic at times. It seems more concerned with showing how one extraordinary character overcomes these heinous hurdles with a plucky attitude and a few well-placed friends, and yet there’s an internal logic to it too. It’s Degsy himself who tells the story, and so why wouldn’t he place himself at the center and give himself all the credit?
On the surface, the story of a streetwise youth pulling one over on the world with nothing more than his wits, a few friends, and a three-legged dog should appeal to middle grade readers, but the very strong language and heavy theme of sexual abuse are better suited to older readers with a bit of maturity to process the trauma at the core of Degsy’s tale. More sophisticated readers, though, might find the very Dickensian style of storytelling a bit old fashioned. But then, we’re still reading Dickens, so why not? At any rate, the colourful language and Degsy’s unforgettable voice should keep them interested.
Pages: 180 | ASIN: B07K7VSQF8
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Fire in the Heart, a novel by Lesley J. Mooney, traces the experiences of young Rianna as she copes with both unrequited love and a marriage that has swept her off her feet and into a new and sobering reality. When Lord Rowan McClaron introduces himself to Rianna and her friends, she has no way of knowing that her life in Scotland is about to change–and change for the worse. Her marriage to Rowan is plagued with secrets on both sides, and her seeming inability to produce an heir brings Rowan’s wrath upon her.
Fire in the Heart is a unique blend of romance and mystery. Mooney manages to keep the reader invested in Rianna’s plight by revisiting the strange and unsettling behavior of her husband, Rowan. Rianna, by all accounts, is an abused woman. What begins as a romance novel soon turns into a story of a woman trying to find ways to appease an increasingly abusive and disturbed husband. Mooney is more than effective at describing the heartbreak and the terror of her heroine.
Mooney paints a bleak picture of Rowan McClaron. He is as realistic an abuser as I have seen in novels of this genre. From beginning to end, he is that vile character the reader will want to see either make a turn for the better or be offed. The author is quite adept at giving readers a villain worthy of loathing.
Rianna’s desire to satisfy Rowan’s desire for a child is the primary focus of the storyline. I was, in fact, quite surprised that there was so little time spent describing Rianna’s pregnancy. Things move very quickly once Rianna finds out she is indeed carrying a child. I would have preferred the plot have been drawn out a little longer with regards to the long-awaited birth.
The dialect is absolutely delightful. Accents are thick and take a couple rereads at the outset, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading even the richest comments and slang-laden comments.
I admit I was thrown completely by the use of single quotes as a way of denoting dialogue. This took a bit of time to get used to and prompted me to do a quick bit of research. I wasn’t familiar with this particular style used by publishers in the UK. However, after a couple chapters, I found myself more concerned with the plot and less aware of the quotations themselves.
One thing I found a little difficult to look past was the changing of tenses mid-paragraph. The change from past to present and back with no obvious explanation was hard to navigate at times. Though it doesn’t permeate the book, these small lapses in consistency made for some awkward reading.
Mooney offers readers action, romance, and intrigue in one neat package. Rianna is a woman fighting battles with which many readers may identify. Her stubbornness and the fierce manner in which she protects her son make her a main character to remember.
Pages: 340 | ASIN: B01N7XHUZD
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The Green Line Divide is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, travelogue, and humor as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Yes, I entered a Commonwealth competition in my younger days and in my mature years i expanded it. So, i already had a skeleton, and this is why romance comes late as the hero was not in my competition story. Truthfully, i did not think much about romance at that time in my youth.
I found Alexis to be a very well written and in depth character. What was your inspiration for her and her emotional turmoil through the story?
She is what i was when i was in my twenties, and perhaps what i would have like to be. And, some turmoils, both inner and external are true.
This novel does a fantastic job of exploring the culture of the places that Alexis visits? Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
Yes, a lot of research had gone into it. eg for skiing i contacted the ski club in Cyprus; researched on fruits and vegs for the seasons; timings for boat travel between the two islands; vintage cars and perfumes; it took me 3 days to find something on Russia and i came up with the Russian watch anthem; i phoned around to ask for Cyprus beverages; I contacted the Cyprus and Swedish embassies in the UK who provided me with correct information, eg on Swedish wedding traditions, and Cyprus on the boundary greenline between the north and the south. And since i have lived in Cyprus and visited Rhodes Island, it was not difficult to visualise and write about it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have started one which i have put aside as i am concentrating on hospital training as a clinical coder. The next book will be romantic again but more of a serious nature. It has started off on a comical political footing though.
Romance, humour, and drama abound in this fast-paced, playful novel–and so, too, do questions and surprises. The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils encounters readers with people from various parts of the world, including exotic destinations like Cyprus and the Greek island of Rhodes. And follow a young woman named Alexis as she struggles with gamophobia and tries to come to terms with her independence, relationships, and the future.
Smitten with a handsome Swede named Sven, a United Nations officer, Alexis plans to marry him, but has a lot of issues to confront if she’s to make it down the aisle–and, as she confronts them, The Green Line Divide is sure to touch your heart, educate you, tickle your funny bone, and put a smile on your face.
Will Alexis ever marry? Or will she find an excuse to run away from it all–again? Step into this book for answers. Along the way, you’ll also learn new travel, leisure, and entertainment ideas.
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I Spy with My Little Eye analyses and discusses our changing behaviours as a society. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was important for me to write for three different reasons. First, on a personal level, researching and writing this book has helped me think through a number of concerns that have been in the back of my mind for a while about the direction in which our society is heading. As a result of this process, I’m more convinced than ever that I, as a parent, need to make active choices that go against some of today’s societal trends if I’m to provide my children with a sensible worldview and a solid starting point in life.
Second, I find it worrying that there isn’t greater debate about the values and norms underpinning our society. I think we need to acknowledge and perhaps rethink many of our behaviours if we wish to solve some of the symptoms of ill-health that are plaguing our societies, such as stress and anxiety, financial indebtedness and shallow aspirations. It’s difficult to change course if we don’t know where we’re heading. Acknowledging the problems is therefore a good start. I raise a lot of issues for discussion in this book and it’s my hope that it will be used for spurring debates in schools, book clubs and other places.
Finally, as I see it, questions around morality have too often been outsourced to, and monopolized by, organized religion. What I want to show by using the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues is that being religious is not a precondition for being concerned about, and engaging in discussions around, morality.
This book uses a combination of statistics, quotes and recent topics to illustrate various points. I thought the research was outstanding. What was one thing that surprised you while you were researching this book?
On the whole, the data I used in the various chapters supported the hunches I already had about the issues I raise. In that sense I wasn’t particularly surprised by what the data showed. That said, I was still horrified to have my suspicions confirmed, especially when it came to statistics concerning children, such as the large amount of time they, on average, spend in front of screens, and the little time they spend outdoors.
This book looks at some of the problems affecting Britain s society today. Is there a problem that is unique to Britain? What is a problem that is shares with the world?
Although I’m drawing on material mainly from the British context, the issues I’m discussing are applicable to many more countries than the UK. I would argue that much of what I write about are trends found across the Western world. For example, in the first chapter titled Pride I discuss how today’s ‘celebritisation’ – the increased celebration of celebrities – affects the aspirations of young people towards careers that come with fame and glamour. This trend is far from unique to Britain. Seeing, for example, that the reality TV series Keeping Up with the Kardashians is apparently aired in 167 countries, I would say this issue is rather widespread.
Also, the role of the West as a predominant exporter of popular culture and information means that the norms and values we experience today in Britain may well be the norms and values experienced across the developing world in the years to come, if they aren’t already.
I think it would be a worth-while exercise to organize cross-cultural debates around the issues I raise in this book. For example, it would be interesting to set up panel debates at universities for students from different countries to discuss commonalities and differences in how they perceive values and norms playing out in their respective societies.
I understand that you currently live in London, but you’ve also lived in various other countries. How has this affected you as a citizen?
I was born and raised in the Northern Swedish countryside and I have moved many times as an adult, both within countries and across countries and continents. For over a decade now I’ve called England my home; starting off in London, moving out to the Essex commuter belt, and more recently setting up shop in rural Devon.
These moves have naturally altered the mirrors in which I see myself in relation to other people and cultures. Each time these contextual mirrors have changed I have had to step out of autopilot mode and take stock. In that sense, I think the many moves have made me wiser and more understanding as a person. They have also added a comparative perspective to my societal observations. For example, I think I have a better grasp of American politics because I’ve lived in both Montana and Washington D.C. And, I think I understand European geopolitics better because I’ve called Sweden, France, Spain and the UK my home.
On the other hand, I would probably have exercised a louder societal and political voice if I had stayed in my home country. Being an immigrant comes with a natural wish to blend in, and to be accepted. Especially after Brexit, I have sadly found myself adding things like ‘my husband is British’ or ‘I’ve been in England for many years’ when I meet new people simply to justify my existence in this country. I must also admit that I’ve had a fear when writing this book that people will think ‘who are you to come here and judge us?’ I sincerely hope the book won’t evoke such feelings.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
In my next book I highlight the Western world’s evaporated trust in politics, business, and international institutions and argue that we need to tackle this lack of trust through greater focus on integrity and honesty in public life. I shed light on a number of the mechanisms believed to induce integrity through interesting (and hopefully amusing) cases from around the world, including whether Donald Trump’s fibbing can be stopped by naming and shaming, and if FIFA’s culture of corruption is finally an issue of the past. My intention with the book is to re-package academic research into an approachable format and let interesting cases bring the theories to life.
The book is only in its research phase so it won’t be ready for publishing for quite a while still.
Which direction is our society heading in? Does it provide a good enough nurturing ground for the next generation to flourish? Is it time we took a good look at our values and behaviour and changed course? Dr Linnea Mills offers a frank discussion about the prevailing norms and values in today’s Britain, interpreted through the seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. She tackles head-on topics as diverse as celebrity culture, work-life balance, immigration politics and economic divisions. This is a book for anyone with a keen interest in society, philosophy and politics. Get inspired and join the debate.
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I’m With You is a gripping novel that follows young Remiel as she tries to evade assassins sent by her father to avenge the death of his wife. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
Remiel is the backbone of the story – I had the idea for her character first, and the plot evolved from there. I’m With You is a very character-driven story in general, so once I established the basic plot, my ideas shifted around to fit the characters. I shaped their personalities and relationships, then molded the remainder of the plot to connect them and aid their development.
The book starts in the industrial city of Kelvar. I found this backdrop to be detailed and interesting. What did you use as a starting point to create such a vivid backdrop to the story?
I did a summer semester abroad in England during my college years and spent a lot of time in London, but I also traveled to several other cities and towns, and I drew a lot of inspiration from the places I visited. During my time there, I got to study history, architecture, writing, and various other subjects, which influenced the initial framework for Kelvar and the nation of Empirya. I also aimed for a less “modern” time period and took additional inspiration from 1930’s/40’s America. For Kelvar specifically, I drew from particular parts of both London and New York City.
The relationship between Remiel and her brother Ciarán is intriguing. What themes did you want to capture when creating these characters and their relationship?
One of the main messages I hoped to convey through the story is the impact and significance of family, which is partly expressed through the sibling bond between Ciarán and Remiel. Even when their lives are flipped completely upside down, they can always rely on one another. I also utilized their relationship to illustrate the theme of acceptance, as Ciarán accepts Remiel for who she is despite her “gift,” and that encourages him to accept others as well. In a way, I view their bond as the heart of the narrative, which serves to fortify their connections to the other characters.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a YA fantasy novel that will (hopefully) become a series, and I hope to put it out soon! I also have ideas for a potential companion novel to I’m With You – like a collection of short stories or something similar – but nothing set in stone.
When fifteen-year-old Ciarán Morrigan eavesdrops on a conversation between his father and two mysterious strangers, his life–and the life of his little sister, Remiel–is changed forever. After their father makes a startling decision, the Morrigan siblings are forced to flee the only life they’ve ever known and embark on a dangerous adventure across the nation of Empirya. With the help of a disinherited vagabond, a cynical violinist, a fire-juggler with a fierce temper, an aspiring mechanic, and a cheerful librarian, Ciarán and Remiel must fight to escape those who have been hired to hunt them. But will Remiel’s dark secret prevent the Morrigan children from finding a place they can truly call home?
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When live-action-role-playing adventure goes horribly wrong it’s up to our battered group to save the day! Dale, his girlfriend Jane, sister Katie and friend Gavin are off on a LARPing adventure. Dale isn’t used to this style of play and is finding himself wishing it was bit more interesting. One must be careful what they wish for in The Barrow of the Damned by Jonathan J. Drake. After a few days enacting their scenes the group is presented with a special module by Mr. Stephens, their coordinator. He leads them to a barrow where they will go to combat with other friends in an orcs-versus-adventurers play. They’ve even got a game master to keep them in line. All seems to be great, until the group steps foot in the creepy crypt for the first time. It’s dark, foreign and crawling with things that go bump in the night. Will they survive? Where are they, exactly? Finally, who is the one pulling the strings behind this adventure? Be careful what you wish for.
The story begins with a shock as a young man meets his end inside the barrow. This poor fellow will play an important role in the tale to come so it’s a good idea to remember him. The story isn’t too long with short chapters that serve to change up the perspective now and then. We get a good glimpse at what is going on from the viewpoints of all involved. There is a lot of blood and gore in this story, so if that’s not for you it would be wise to steer clear. Those who like a fantasy-adventure tale with a bit of horror will find this tale is right up their alley. The story appears to take place in the United Kingdom, although definitive places are never mentioned. Based on the terminology the characters use and the way they speak it is assumed that is where our tale unfolds.
While the story is relatively entertaining with shadows of J.R.R. Tolkien and some black humour dabbled about, the overall execution could use some polishing. There are grammatical errors and strange capitalization on words that pop up here and there which detract from the overall story. There are some key elements that aren’t explained very well that can leave readers with more questions than answers after completing the journey. Questions like, why are the Fates, who have origins in Greek mythology, in some barrow in what appears to be rural England? How did they get there? How long have they been there? From what we read, it seems like they have been there for a while, trying to steal something from a spirit who was created by the gods. With a name like O’Fleistus it’s assumed this spirit would be of English origins, but it’s not really explained. We get a bit of an explanation, but it could have been fleshed out much more instead of being revealed in fleeting conversation.
A little bit of blood and horror can dress up any LARPing event. What began as fun and games quickly turns into mayhem in The Barrow of the Damned by Jonathan J. Drake. This book has some very good potential if it had been fleshed out a bit more. There is opportunity to expand and explain more of the black-humoured story found on these pages. Aside from these minor drawbacks, it’s a fun and quick read. This tale is quite gruesome for the faint of heart. If that’s your cup of tea, you can’t go wrong venturing into this Barrow of the Damned.
Pages: 263 | ASIN: B00B79MVZA
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Stealing Magic follows three characters as their worlds collide and they must help each other. Earth’s trees carry all the magic that the residents of Androva are trying to harvest. Where did the idea of harvesting magic from trees come from and how did that help you write the rest of the story?
Great question! The idea of magic-taking, or harvesting magic, came first, and then I needed to find a believable source of that magic. I live in the South of England, at the end of a street that’s completely ordinary, apart from the ancient woodland next to it. ‘Ancient woodland’ in the UK means that the trees have been around since at least 1600. It’s easy to imagine there could be something magical about trees that old.
It helped to balance the rest of the story. Although Earth didn’t have any magicians, it did have a lot of powerful magic. If anything were to happen to that supply of magic, it could (and eventually does) cause enormous problems for everyone.
Shannon is from Earth and learns of her magical abilities when Jax and Darius go to Earth to harvest magic. What were some aspects of these character that you felt had to be different and some aspects that you felt had to be the same?
I loved writing all three characters, but especially Shannon. She’s just an ordinary teenager, until she touches some of the magic that Jax is harvesting. She has no idea what she’s capable of. I needed Shannon, Jax and Darius to have quite distinct personalities, not just to keep the story moving forwards, but to give them each the chance of learning something different from their adventure.
However, I wanted them to be friends, and to trust each other. Making them close in age, having them be honest with each other, and also able to have fun together, was important for that.
Some of the key themes in this book are loyalty, family bonds, trust and letting go of the past. Do you feel that these were important ideals to write about or did they happen organically as you were writing?
The loyalty and trust, and the bonds of family and friendship, were important right from the start. All the excitement of discovering magic could seem pretty meaningless otherwise. And of course, the characters can only overcome their challenges if they work together. Everyone has a part to play.
The idea of letting go of the past happened more organically. It became obvious as I was writing that the adults in the story allowed the past to shape their current decisions in a way that the teenagers didn’t. I ended up exploring what was good and bad about that.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will that book be published?
I am about to start writing the fifth book in the series. The fourth book, Controlling Magic, will be published at the end of December 2016. Shannon’s friend Penny is now a main character alongside the other three underage magicians, and this time they’re up against an enemy who can turn their magical ability into a disadvantage. Each of the four books has a self-contained story, as I can’t quite bring myself to write a cliff-hanger!
What would you do? Would you open your eyes, if you were the one that heard them? Two magic-takers from another world, arguing about whether they can collect what they came for before you wake up. It sounds like a crazy dream, or a practical joke. But what if the air around you started to vibrate with an invisible force field? What if, all at once, it felt terrifying yet familiar too?
You would have no way of knowing that your life would change forever. That this discovery would set you on a path no-one from our world has taken for centuries. Towards a deadly enemy, and a fight that you will almost certainly lose. All you know is that your heart is beating so fast you’re worried they will hear it, and your brain is starting to buzz as the force field reaches it. Would you open your eyes?
Join Jax and Shannon as they live through the most exciting and terrifying ten days of their lives (so far). This is the first book in the Legacy of Androva series.
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Fragile Things is a somber look at the bleak lives of council estate residents (which is a form of government housing) Jennifer and newcomer Ebony. Jennifer, a recovering heroin addict, struggles for a life that she can call normal while Ebony fights to keep the monster inside of her from coming out. They both struggle to find something to live for in a town where the only interesting thing that’s happening is your routine drug deal. In the midst of their troublesome lives they stumble upon each other and find comfort in each other’s friendship and mystery in each other’s lives.
The first things I noticed about Fragile Things is the writing, very concise contemporary writing that’s intriguing in its simplicity and underlying eerie foundation. I was endlessly interested to see what kind of odd situation Jennifer would find herself in and I was constantly wondering (or worrying) when Ebony was going to let her demons take over and rip someone to shreds. Fragile Things is a short read and ends rather abruptly, but sets up nicely for the rest of the series and leaves you with a definite feeling that something peculiar is going on with the people and the town.
Kindle Edition, 105 pages