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So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Month

June 2013

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic – Meghan Ciana Doidge

cupcakes
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Meghan, Meghan, Meghan! I am expecting cupcake stocks to sail through the roof, and a run on cupcake ingredients at local markets just from reading this book. Whee!!!

OK, listen to this . . . Bliss in a Cup – peanut butter-iced fudge cake (did I say fudge cake? OMG wait a sec, I have to go get a towel . . . whew, there)  Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Sex in a Cup – chocolate butter icing with a wallop of cinnamon and cocoa in the batter. Or, this particular favorite of mine, Buzz in a Cup – mocha fudge cake with mocha butter icing . . . oh, yes, I could go on, but I might swoon from pure overload. . .

Jade is a sweetheart. A nice young half witch, half human (maybe. . . ) with a nasty tempered foster sister, a wild earth witch grandmother, and a cupcake bakery. A very popular cupcake bakery with a reputation for ‘magical’ tasting cupcakes. She has a quiet life, happy with her baking, her trinket making and her quiet, apparently fulfilling life.

Then, of course, things change. And not in a nice way. Poor Jade. Life will never be the same. Apparently she isn’t who she thought she was. But then, who is she?

Cupcakes, hot werewolves, cupcakes, mystery, oh, did I mention cupcakes? Yummy, luscious, delicious, chocolate, fudge. . . Oh. My. Goddess. The hardest thing about reading the book? First, I am dying for cupcakes now. And second? Hurry! Hurry! Write the next one, Meghan! Please!

Highly recommended.

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City) – Penny Reid

neanderthal
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Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City)

Laugh out loud!

All hail the geek! Finally, a character I could really identify with. Janie is not like any character I have read before. She is tall, and has a figure – not something that the modern mentality finds beautiful. And, she is smart. We are talking way smart – and has a tendency to spout oddball facts at the drop of a hat. Even I had to look up some of the words, and I consider my self a word geek.

The characters in the book are great! Janie and the love interests (the old one and the new one) are well written and believable. And they are neither caricatures nor ‘super people’. They are flawed people with flawed histories, trying to get it right. Yep, they are awkward sometimes, but then, who isn’t?

I laughed at many points during the book, but then, I laughed  hysterically during one particular portion of the book. I won’t ruin it for you, that the one true action section of the book made the whole thing worthwhile, no matter how much I liked the rest of the book. Who would have thought that a ball of Madelintosh aran limited dye lot yarn and a pair of Susan Bates knitting needles “the long thinck ones that beginners typically learn on with the white nobs at the end” could be turned into weapons? I laughed until tears leaked out of my eyes and I couldn’t catch my breath.

Overall? If you like humour, very realistic and unusual characters without perfect lives, this is absolutely worth reading. And reading over again!

 

Recommended.

Help Stop The Psychos In The Texas Legislature!

I received the following e-mail today. Please note – 80% of Texans believe what Rick Perry is doing is WRONG. And yet, he has started yet another bill to try to push his psychotic anti-abortion bill through the state senate.

NO ONE will provide health care, much less the costs of properly raising, educating or providing proper housing for unwanted children and their mothers. The strain on the welfare and medical system is tremendous, much less the strain on families who are burdened with unwanted children. And I can PERSONALLY tell you that the fate of an unwanted child is horrific. Being unwanted leads to abuse, psychological, emotional, and physical abuse that is beyond anything a “normal” person can even imagine. I have physical scars, but even worse are the emotional and psychological scars. I am in my 50’s, and yet, I NEVER RECOVERED. I lived. Which is more than I can say for the children who are tortured, beaten, raped, sold for sex toys, and otherwise brutalized and killed from being unwanted children. It is all well and good to talk about adoption, but I can tell you this – these children are not going to be adopted. They will spend their lives, at best, in foster care. All the anti-abortionists talk about adoption like it is the perfect solution – until they realize that those people who adopt want pretty little blue-eyed, blonde haired boys in perfect health.

A question for Rick Perry – how many unwanted children have you brought into your mansion, fed, clothed, educated and provided love and attention to?

Please – help stop this madness. Click the link below and help STOP the torture of unwanted children. Thank you.

Tuesday night was something special.

All across the country, hundreds of thousands of people were loudly standing up with Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who spoke for 11 hours to filibuster a dangerous bill that would have closed dozens of health clinics that provide services to women across the state.

It was a rare — and if the other side has their way, temporary — victory in that fight. Texas Governor Rick Perry has already scheduled a special legislative session so they can bring it up again next week.

Here’s OFA’s message for them: We’re still standing with Wendy, and we’re not backing down.

If you’re standing up for women in Texas and across the country, it’s your turn to say it — add your name today.

This isn’t just a symbolic show of support.

This is about keeping the spotlight on what these legislators are trying to do in Texas, and starting to shine that light on some of the equally disturbing attacks on women that are making their way through state legislatures across the country.

Because of one powerful woman’s voice — and the thousands of people who had her back — it didn’t go Governor Perry’s way on Tuesday night. He called it a “breakdown of decorum and decency” — and what he’s describing was the women of Texas, who literally had to scream to be heard to defend their rights from being stripped away by extremists.

OFA’s fearless Texas State Coordinator Lauren Coffee has been on the ground with our organizers, working with our allies, and making damn sure that this fight isn’t over.

Governor Perry and these extreme Texas legislators might eventually force their bill through. But even they know that what happened on Tuesday was just the start.

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people tuned in to witness the ugly efforts to strip women’s rights away.

No matter where these extreme measures pop up, OFA is going to be there, fighting for women.

Stand with the women of Texas right now — and join this fight today:

http://my.barackobama.com/Stand-Up-For-Women

Review: The Prodigal – Michael Hurley

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
Homer, The Iliad

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

the prodigal cover
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 Aidan Sharpe is a weapon. A tightly honed weapon of savage grace, designed to cut and hew his way through a courtroom, leaving a trail of blood and broken lives in his wake. And a man who, as Michael Hurley describes him, a man who refused above all else to learn from his own mistakes . . .” And a man who, apparently, neither learns from his own mistakes, nor understands the depths to which he has fallen when his world comes crashing down. A man so intent on his own destruction, so lost in admiration of his own reflection in the mirror that that he thinks, even then, to grasp glory from ignominy.

And hence begin the travels of a man, once powerful, into a world entirely new. A world that, unbeknownst to him, will change his life, and his soul, forever.

Aidan washes up upon the dwindling sands of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, a man once renowned for this ability to miss no objection, to leave no emotion unexploited; now empty and barren, a shattered career leaving him no anchor to hold against the wind, and yet no sail to cross the wine dark sea of his own inner landscape.

Forced now, to become someone he never thought to be, he settles into the home of the local Catholic Priest, and begins his life as a simple boat yard hand, surrounded by the beauty of the island and the people there. A land of unadorned and sometimes brutal honesty, where life or death lie upon the break of a wave or the gust of a wind.

Hurley’s characters are heart wrenching and uplifting by turns. A lost woman, washed up amongst the waves, with no name to call her own. A priest more interested in kindness than creed. A Bahamian sailor, with secrets of his own. And a redheaded, female Irish tugboat captain, whose openness and honesty are in diametric opposition to Aidan who, in his own words, is quite capable of betrayal, deceit, manipulation, cruelty, self-pity and cowardice. And yet, those around him still think him a good and true man . . .

Into his life comes a sailing ship, lost upon the seas, empty and forlorn, which changes not only his life, but the lives of those around him. A boat, perhaps, out of time, and out of legend. A boat which, once again, changes his life and his destiny. Or does it?

There are great swaths of this book that I found touching, heart breaking and deeply moving. There is kindness and black cruelty, deception and honesty, lies and the purest of truths. In all honesty, I was brought up rather short about three-quarters of the way through the book when it became bogged down, in my opinion, in a type of blatant religiosity which pulled down the narrative. The story line is drug down, into a fog of didactic symbolism that lessened much of the joy inherent in Hurley’s words. The story to that point was poetic in nature, carrying me along in a haze of beautiful words. The story did pick back up, though some of the joy of the story was stolen from me, much to my disappointment. But it was, in all, not a deadly issue for the overall clarity and poetry of the book.

Much is made of the human ability to change and grow, and the possibilities of absolution. The setting of the story greatly encourages that idea. The sea, unchanging in its potential for change at any moment, the poetry of the words, do much to encourage the possibilities of redemption, of an answer to the question of what makes a ‘good man’ and whether an evil man can change, can become ‘good’.

Overall, except for the hiccup described, the book is beautifully done. Hurley’s descriptions of the land, the sea, and the people are charming. The story harkens back to the days of Homer, and the sailing of the great and unknown seas. I could nearly smell the sea and hear the waves. I wanted very much to walk the streets of Ocracoke and gaze out upon the Atlantic, to horizons unknown and unseen.

Recommended.

Review: The Returns – M. K. Clinton

returns
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I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from this book. Very clever and HIGHLY entertaining! It gives the term “good fun” a whole new twist, as an Angel, a cat and four wonderfully believable dogs (oh, and one FBI agent) struggle to bring a really, really bad man to justice!

The dogs characterizations were spot-on. I could hear and see these guys in my head the whole time I was reading. Have I said it was funny? Ah, the pictures in my head! If you are a dog lover, this is absolutely a book you should read. The characters of the dogs are perfect for their breeds, as well as for the personalities of the people they used to be. Back before they had an “oops” moment that sent them to the “Heavenly Returns Department” upstairs. Oh, well, even angels make the occasional mistake!

If you have a great sense of humour, a good attitude and the ability to “make yourself comfortable” with dogs who sew costumes, work on car engines and generally behave like I can imagine my own dogs behaving, don’t miss this one. I am eagerly watching for the next!

Review: Legend of an Iron Tower and Other Fables . . . by Natalia Dobzhanska

The road of life can only reveal itself as it is traveled; each turn in the road reveals a surprise. Man’s future is hidden.” Anonymous

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

legends dobzhanska
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I don’t often wander the halls of poetry, tracing my fingers along the walls, breathing the scented air. And perhaps this is not poetry, not in the strictest sense. But to me, these words are poetry, touching my heart, my mind, my soul. A beautiful weaving of words, reaching inside you, touching those hidden places where love and grief and longing reside.

The nature of evil, of grief and loss, of exhaustion and despair. And yet, through all, a deep vein of goodness and light, of Heaven and Earth and all things between.

Natalia Dobzhanskas words speak to these times, to times of pain and times of love, an an overweening hope for redemption. Her words, filled with the horror and beauty and loss of her Ukranian homeland….. a land which, in 1657–1686 suffered “The Ruin” a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine. Where once again, as always, the people suffer the pain and death while those in power drink the blood and hopes and lives of the poor.

There are touchstones amongst these stories, words which caress the soul of each fable. For each, a line which touched me . . .

The Carrier
Oh, when will I be a carrier of Joy?”

Legend Of A Sea And A Cliff
To join her and fly to the heavens where the flaming star is twinkling to us, calling us. . .”

Together
And it bloomed so beautifully, though it was a guest from the south, and it did not fear the frosts…”

A Wrapper
And, seeing that, the wrapper went drunk with still more pride . . .”
And she was grateful to the wind . . .”

Boots For The Refuse Collector
“. . . can trolls, someone may ask, can trolls really do good deeds?”

Lilac
. . . that its dust flew to all ends of the Universe, together with the light stolen from Niall . . .”

A Hunchback
Oh, I am foolish, so foolish!” he reviled himself. “For the sake of illusory dream, I have wasted my life!”

The Gift
Can anybody fail to notice how special she is?”

Re-Lig… (Angel Incarnate)
The moment of the fall was long – but still, it was only an instant . . .”

Story Of A Little Girl And A Fairy-Tale Castle
. . . then it turned and dragged its way back pensively – to where a fairy tale lives and ends . . .”

The Man In Whom A Dragon Lived
The dragon entered his heart along with an evil intention.”

Legend Of A River And Desert Wind
The Wind whirled and gusted, spilling out all his bitterness against the ungrateful, ungracious humans . . .”

The Man Who Had No Face Of His Own
And he decided to go to a sage and ask him for advice about who he must look like now.”

Ballad Of A Sad Princess
And the sunrays broke her still wet tears into a rainbow, and the rainbow struck her in the eyes. . . “

 Poem Of A Cloud And The Sun
And the Cloud wept for the sprouts, and the sun let her go – “

 Legend Of An Iron Tower
Grief is always grief. Sorrow is not joy . . .”

Doors
. . . the course of time will never cease, there will be no turning back to the past, will never be . . .”

The Next Big Thing

I think this is a wonderful idea for all you Indie Authors out there! I know we are all on the lookout at all times to market our work. This not only helps you market, but also helps your friends market their own work!
Enjoy!

Jeff Joseph Author

My writer friend, Kathy Logan, recently tagged me for a ‘chain’ blog entitled ‘The Next Big Thing’. The deal is: I answer a few questions about my current work-in-progress, then I invite other authors to do the same. A bit like a chain letter, except it is only focused on an author’s work-in-progress. Kathy was tagged previously by Clive Eaton.  I’ve included details of their blogs so you can explore their answers to the same questions. The authors I’ve chosen have, along with Kathy and Clive, been tagged below my answers. So here goes:

 What is the working title of your next book?

Unnamed as yet but is part of The Novel Series.

A Novel Obsession

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It will be a sequel to “A Novel Obsession”.  The idea for the series came from my fascination for small town life with its virtues as well as its propensity…

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Review: Saving Grace (Serve and Protect Series) Book 2 – Norah Wilson

 

 

saving graceSaving Grace was a surprise to me. When I have read other ‘romantic thrillers’ I have usually found them not so much about the thriller as the romance, with sometimes sketchy effect. This little novel was different. It did do the romance, but it was heavy on the thriller, which suits my particular tastes.

What I felt was a great deal of respect for the author. Grace and Ray have been married for nearly five years. But what they don’t know about each other could fill volumes. In the end, while the thriller and romance writing was very good, what really impressed me is how well Norah explored the manner in which people can live together, love one another, and yet know next to nothing about who each person truly is.

While Grace and Ray are on the run, as well described in other reviews, what I found the most interesting about her writing is how she took two people and opened them up to the reader, telling a story of how we can build a shadow life for ourselves, living within a mythical self-portrait – and how that shadow life can nearly destroy both you and the people you love. Another thing I liked very much about the story, in this same vein, is the growth of Grace as a person as she began to walk out of that shadow and find herself as a person. Very cool.

In the long run, Grace saved Ray as much as he saved her. Nice!

The amnesia portion of the book is well researched and realistic, unlike other books that plunge into the murky waters of the far-from-common total amnesia, Norah handles the situation with an extremely deft hand.

Overall, this book was a very nice way to fill a few hours. The characters are highly believable, the story line interesting and not overdone. If you like romances, light thrillers, and books that allow you to see a great deal of personal development in the characters, you can’t go wrong with “Saving Grace.”

Recommended.

Read For Review: Good Enough To Share – Maria Stoneley

goodenough
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Good Enough To Share” by Maria Stoneley is a surprise in the genre. Billed as an erotic menage fantasy, the little book is much more than that. It is a story of four people I found I truly liked. I found it to be a lot more than just erotic fiction. The story is sweet – not in a saccharine sort of way, but in a very warm and caring way. All four characters are damaged very deeply, and yet they are very caring with one another. It is more than a ‘roll-in-the-hay’ book. It was, for me, about the pain others put us through and how our friends help us to work through that pain and learn to reach out to others.

Sophie, one of the two female characters, I personally identified with, as I am much like her. I stuffed the pain of my history down so deep it ate me from the inside out, just like Sophie. Holly also touched me, personally. Maybe that is why I liked the characters so much. I could identify with them.

Overall, a quick read with a bit of erotica, and a lovely story line. I will be watching for the next in this series. Maria is planning three that I know, check out her website

Recommended.

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