Blitz: Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer

Enchant
Micalea Smeltzer
(The Enchanted Series #1)
Publication date: November 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.

Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous.

The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.

When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks

 

Author Bio:

Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know. My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life. Crazy is the word that best sums up my life, but it’s the good kind of crazy and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Special Needs Children’s Book Helps Parents Talk To Kids About Kindness And Empathy

Helen Hipp, author of children’s book A Different Kind of Safari, recognised as one of the top ten autism books by Special Needs Book Review, and the Rosie and Friends adventure series, announced her second book in the series will be released on November 13, World Kindness Day.

A series written for ages four and up led by Rosie the pink Hippo, Rosie and Friends: One-Of-A-Kindness, is a value tale that helps children learn to appreciate themselves and others for their differences. Opening up conversation in a positive way, Hipp’s books offer hope and insight, that can help parents talk about difficult issues in their child’s world. The discovery book series provides children with the opportunity to identify, understand and feel supported by the characters handling similar fears, interests and concerns.

“Rosie and Friends helps children to understand their uniqueness is not a weakness,” states Hipp, “and that they should be encouraged to celebrate the positives of being different.”

About Rosie and Friends

The Rosie Adventure series are unique books, inspired by a once-in-a-lifetime trip led by the author’s father to Africawith her 14-year old son Ray, who has special needs. Helen Hipp has created a very effective way to teach children the value of seeing things as they appear compared to how they really are. She presents the issue of being different from other children in a way that children can relate to and understand – how to find happiness in spite of the challenges everyone faces.

ABOUT HELEN HIPP

Helen gained first-hand experience with autism helping her son face his unique challenges., and overcoming the barriers to finding adequate services for her son. Helen holds an M.A. in counselling, and is a certified psychotherapist and life coach at WithinULifeCoaching.com, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families.

 

Review: Trading Down by Stephen Norman

Synopsis

‘If this program is run, it will destroy this bank as surely as a neutron bomb.’

A chilling financial thriller that brings home the true threat of cyber terrorism, perfect for fans of Stephen Frey and Robert Harris’ The Fear Index

A terrifying look at what would happen to the world if the banking infrastructure was entirely destroyed, written by longest-standing ex-CIO of RBS Global Markets 

Inspired by 20 years’ experience, Norman reveals the real world behind the trading floors: the greed, the politics, and the relentless pressure to perform.

London – Chris Peters loves his work: the excitement of the trading floor, the impossible deadlines and the constant challenge of the superfast computers in his care. But the dream turns sour as mysterious meltdowns begin to hit datacentres across the grid and a true banking collapse threatens. Desperately trying to hold his marriage together as systems crash and traders turn on him, Chris must uncover the sinister truth before chaos is unleashed…

Yemen – When Zahra’s father fails to return from a work trip to Dubai, she is sure there is a simple explanation… until gruesome warnings arrive on the doorstep. As the threats become more violent Zahra’s family are thrown into a desperate race to pay off their father’s captors. But how far will her family go to meet the abductors’ demands?

About the Author

“The world has experienced cyber-warfare since the 1980s and built up elaborate defences against external attacks.  The elephant in the room is treason – an attack from within. Every week we see the devastating effect of accidental IT errors on airlines and banks and phone companies.  A determined insider could create mayhem on a different scale entirely.  Without its hundreds of systems, a major bank would sink as swiftly as the Titanic, leaving its customers without cash, wages, cards, loans and repayments – and threatening the entire financial system. 

“It is difficult to convey the terror and mind numbing panic that accompanies the simple words ‘The trading floor is down.’  During my 20 years in the financial markets, I experienced that fear many times.  When you read Trading Down, I hope you will share it, and also glimpse the brutal, high pressure world behind the slick images of traders and trading floors that you see on the news.”  Stephen Norman

Stephen Norman spent 20 years at the forefront of investment banking IT, facing industry turbulence, from the rise and fall of the dotcoms, the destruction of 911 and the banking collapse of 2008. He has worked in financial centres across the world – from London and New York, to Hong Kong and Tokyo – and has fulfilled a range of high powered roles including Chief Technology Officer at Merrill Lynch and an unusually long 7 year stint as CIO of RBS Global Markets. In 2012, he left the world of finance to focus on his writing. Trading Down is Stephen’s first novel.

Review

A gripping novel that takes the reader through a roller coaster of a story.  Fast paced and rapidly evolving story line keeps you turning the page.  The author is very adept at ensuring that the reader remains engaged with the key characters but also develops a number of sub-plots with the other characters that keeps the reader guessing how the story will unfold.

Two distinct story lines run in parallel with a number of twists and turns, keeping the reader wondering and guessing as to how the stories inter-link with a subtle twist at the end – albeit if you follow the story closely, one which becomes apparent as the characters evolve.

The only criticism, if there is one, is that the book progresses at a rapid pace without the overall story progressing.  In hindsight this was necessary but at times proved frustrating; however, without the sub-plots being developed, the final twist would not have been as gripping.

A great book that is written well, this book is a fantastic read and kept me fully immersed throughout.  I’d highly recommend this book to fans of ‘who dunnit’ books as there is plenty to keep you guessing throughout.

Reviewed By Nick

Trading Down by Stephen Norman is out now, published by Endeavour Press

 

Review: The Girl in The Glass Box by Andi Adams

 

 

 

Synopsis

A witch. An apple. A mirror. That’s all most people think of when they recall the story of Snow White. But the truth is rarely so simple. What if the Queen wasn’t born evil and the princess wasn’t always so pure of heart? Is it possible that these two women could have ended up in one another’s place?

The Girl in the Glass Box tells the story of Agrippine and Genevieve, two women who are not all that different, but who quickly learn through a series of choices, encounters, and devastating losses that the course of their fates can change in an instant. Through the influences of the people they love and lose, both are redefined as their stories head for a different sort of happily-ever-after.

Review

A dark adaptation of the classical fairy tale Snow White. The plot differs from the traditional tale as do the characters.  There is the evil Queen, beautiful Princess and handsome Prince but non are as you expect them to be. The characters are very unpredictable; which make the read more exciting.

The book invited me to develop a connection with both of the main characters Agrippine (the Queen) and Genevieve (Snow white). To my surprise they are very different yet very similar.

The tale begins with Agrippines own story allowing us to understand the reasons behind her dark choices and the fate that led her to become the evil Queen and step mother to Genevieve.  The rest of the story quickly unravels into a spiral of love and devastation.

There are small similarities throughout the book to the original tale but this version continuously shocked me with the twists and changes of events throughout.

This is not your typical happily ever after fairy tale as there are elements of romance but more heartache and hatred.

This book made a good read from start to finish. I found the final chapter provided the shock of element and surprise but was slightly disappointed how the chapter closed. I feel the writer should have ended the story sooner at the moment when Agrinnine realized she was still not the most beautiful of all.

Reviewed By: Jessica

Disclosure:  The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own.

Douglas Wells interviewed by His Better Self

I’d like to introduce you to the Author Douglas Wells, I have had the pleasure of reading his most

recent Satirical piece, The Secret Of All Secrets a great fun poke at the establishment!

 

I have also had the please of getting to know Douglas a bit better through our emails about his book and I present to you today an interview with Douglas by his better self.

 

 

Interviewer: How would you describe your work?

Wells: Demented, but in a good way.

Interviewer: Where did the idea of The Secrets of All Secrets come from?

Wells: Firstly, so that readers won’t think I’m an insufferable prig, I’m going to ignore your dangling preposition. Secondly, there’s this troll who lives under my bed. He found a USB drive under there, which gave me the idea.

Interviewer: A troll lives under your bed? What does he eat?

Wells: Your dreams if you give them to him, and he’s responsible for hiding my car keys and sunglasses just before I’m about to leave the house.

Interviewer: One of the themes in your novel is “what is the meaning of life.” Why is that important to you?

Wells: That’s an interesting question.

Interviewer: When someone responds to a question by saying, “That’s an interesting question,” it usually means he or she doesn’t have an answer.

Wells: Wait a cotton pickin’ minute there, Bub. I said it’s an interesting question because it implied that you aren’t concerned with the meaning of life. Is that true?

Interviewer: Uh, I’m the one asking the questions here.

Wells: You got me there.

Interviewer: So, why is knowing the meaning of life important to you?

Wells: Since you asked, I have to confess I put it in the book because, since time immemorial, to coin a phrase, humankind has obsessed over this question, but there’s no definitive answer to what is the meaning of life, which means if I don’t reveal what the meaning of life is, I’m off the hook. No one else knows, either.

Interviewer: That’s pretty profound.

Wells: It’s what I get paid for.

Interviewer: Do you think writers should embrace politics in their work?

Wells: I wouldn’t embrace politics or politicians anywhere, especially politicians. And don’t shake hands with one. You might not get that hand back.

Interviewer: Well, The Secrets of All Secrets seems to cast you as left-leaning.

Wells: If so, I didn’t intend it.

Interviewer: After all, one of the book’s epigraphs is a quote by Karl Marx.

Wells: No. It’s by Harpo Marx. His witticism are priceless.

Interviewer: Wasn’t Harpo the silent Marx brother?

Wells: Exactly. You know, brevity is the soul of wit and all.

Interviewer: Then why is the epigraph attributed to Karl Marx?

Wells: I dunno. Printer’s error.

Interviewer: Yes, I see. Let’s move on, shall we? How would you describe your work ethic?

Wells: Eat, drink, write, drink, write some more, nap, drink, write some more, eat, drink, sleep.

Interviewer: When you say “drink,” does that mean alcohol?

Wells: Duuuuuuhh!

Interviewer: Does alcohol improve your writing?

Wells: No, but it improves my mood.

Interviewer: Your novel lampoons many American character types. Why is that?

Wells: Hey, man. All you have to do is look around.

Interviewer: Right. The book satirizes corporate America, the government, and extremist groups. Why these three in particular?

Wells: One: they’re low-hanging fruit. Two: they’re the three entities that Americans fear and loathe the most.

Interviewer: One of the most quirky characters in your book is Speque, the grandiloquent, courtly hit man with a Ph.D. What does he represent?

Wells: I believe it was D.H. Lawrence who said, “Trust the tale, not the teller,” so my interpretation is no more accurate than yours. I will, however, give my slant on it. Speque is particularly American in that he is two sides of the American character: the educated, scholarly professor who deals in the fictional depictions of violence, and the hired gun who makes it a reality. American culture pays little heed to intellectuals but is fascinated by killers. I mean, how many movies have you seen that featured an educated, articulate person as the hero versus how many movies have you seen that features a skilled gunman as the hero?

Interviewer:  I saw Speque as simply a southern whack job with flowery manners and a penchant for aphorisms.

Wells: Interpretation is nine tenths of the law.

Interviewer: It is interesting that Speque comes from academia, like you do as a Professor of English. Do you think there are real Speques in your profession?

Wells: Oh, more than you can possibly imagine.

Interviewer: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

Wells: As long as they don’t take away the book without paying for it, mainly I want them to laugh and recognize the world I have created.

Interviewer: Who are some of your favorite writers?

Wells: Snoopy, Tolstoy, Dr. Seuss, Groucho Marx, and the guy who wrote “Novel Writing for Dummies,” or is that “Novel Writing is for Dummies?” I think a lot of writers would agree with the latter title.

Interviewer: Wait a minute, did you say Snoopy? You mean the dog in “Peanuts?”

Wells: Yep. Have you ever read his work?

Interviewer: Can’t say that I have.

Wells: You should. He’s got “It was a dark and stormy night” nailed.

Interviewer: But Snoopy and Tolstoy together? That is odd.

Wells: Therein you have the yin and yang of Literature.

Interviewer: Many writers have an overall vision about the world which appears throughout their work. What is your vision?

W ells: About 20/70. Okay, that’s a joke, which the world often resembles, but seriously, everyone out there in reader land probably has at least some notion that the world is crazy, that 6 is 9, that our leaders don’t have a clue, that good doesn’t always triumph over evil, that idiots often get promoted over smart people, that love doesn’t always last forever, that there is no such thing as fairness, that our culture obsessively celebrates and worships the trivial, but that if there is any such thing as truth, you will find it in books.

Interviewer: Whoa, Nelly. That’s not only one helluva vision, it’s one helluva sentence.

Wells: Just wait until I get going.

Interviewer: Right, well, um, on that note, we’ll conclude this interview. One last thing, though. What is your advice to writers struggling to finish their work and get published?

Wells: Eat, drink, write, drink, write some more, nap, drink, write some more, eat, drink, sleep. Oh, yeah, and it really helps if you can live with rejection.

 

*Yeah, all right. I interviewed myself, but I still think it’s scintillating.

Douglas is a Professor of English at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida. He is the father of two grown sons, and he lives with his wife and two cats in Panama City Beach.

Review: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

 

Synopsis

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. The novel follows Gustav’s family, tracing the roots of his mother’s anti-Semitism and its impact on her son and his beloved friend.

Moving backward to the war years and the painful repercussions of an act of conscience, and forward through the lives and careers of Gustav and Anton, The Gustav Sonata explores the passionate love of childhood friendship as it’s lost, transformed, and regained over a lifetime. It’s a powerful and deeply moving addition to the beloved oeuvre of one of our greatest contemporary novelists.

 

Review

A beautiful and sorrowful story about love, loss and hardship in post war Switzerland.

I didn’t know what to expect from this story and it isn’t my typical read but I can appreciate the beautiful skill that this author has.  Despite this not being my typical type of book I was captivate by the story of Gustav and how his life is affected by those around him.  I became fully immersed in the story line quickly and found myself saying….just one more page on more than one occasion.

The story showed how the tendrils of war reached Switzerland despite its neutrality and the effects that had on the lives of those that tried to help, tried to flee or tried to ignore!

Gustav’s life wasn’t one of unbridled joy and there is much sorrow in this book and I found myself more than a couple of times on the verge or tears and I loved reading the budding friendship of Gustav and Anton unfold and grow across the years.

My only disappointment with this story is the large jump from a young Gustav to a Gustav in his fifties I so wish there had been more about his time as a young adult and how he overcame the adversity he faced. I felt that I’d missed out on two chapters somewhere along the way!

 

Disclosure:  The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

Blitz: When Dawn Breaks by Melissa Toppen

When Dawn Breaks
Melissa Toppen
Publication date: November 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Life is hard.
There’s no secret in that statement.
Life. Is. Hard.
Simple enough.
But my life hasn’t just been hard…

I’ve gotten used to it over the years—come to expect it really. So when fate hands me yet another big f*ck you, I’m not even a little bit surprised. Why should I be? I mean, after everything I’ve been through, why not throw my best friend’s ex-boyfriend into the mix and see how royally I can screw this up too.

It doesn’t matter that he loved her first.
It doesn’t matter that he’s wrong for me in every way possible.
It doesn’t matter that being with him could ruin everything.
One touch and I already know it’s too late.

When Dawn Breaks is a standalone Contemporary Romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Melissa Toppen is a Reader’s Choice Award Winning and Bestselling Romance Author of New Adult, Contemporary, Erotic and Romantic Suspense. She is a lover of books and enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good novel. She has a soft spot for Romance and focuses her writing in that direction; writing what she loves to read.
Melissa resides in Cincinnati Ohio with her husband and two children, where she writes full time.

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Blitz: Dead Blue Sea by Erin Hayes

Dead Blue Sea
Erin Hayes
(The Berkano Vampire Collection)
Publication date: November 6th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic

Point Break meets Buffy in post-apocalyptic Cape Town, South Africa.

They say that surfing used to be a way of life.
In Devil’s Bay, it’s the only way to survive.

My name is Carlyle. I’m a water witch who protects the fishermen of my village from the danger beneath the waves. My days are spent on my longboard saving everyone from the fins. My nights are spent dreaming of something more than my small village isolated from the outside contact by cliffs and jagged peaks.

Then a storm strikes out of the blue, and, well, I wipe out. When I wake up, I’m on the other side of the bay surrounded by vampires who want to see me dead. Major bummer.

Only Kopano, an outcast of the fangers, seems to take pity on me. You see, Kopano also spent his nights dreaming of something more, and he thinks I hold the key. The only catch? To find the truth, we’ll have to face the dead blue sea.

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EXCERPT:

“There’s some sort of irony,” I grumble, “in being sensitive to sunlight but also having to be outside during the day. Every damn day.”

She shrugs. “Do you want me to go tell the sharks to stop being nocturnal and hunt during the day?”

I snicker. “Aw, could you? Because then the fishermen could do their thing at night. And we could all avoid the sun like good, self-respecting, UV-sensitive witches.”

She chuckles darkly. “Ag, if only! But this is what we signed up for.”

I flick some sea water her way, and she squeals in mock-shock. “I signed up for this?”

Her smile falters. “Well, your mother did. But you’re still out here.”

Not that I really have any choice in the matter. It’s what’s best for the village, and there’s no denying that. I’m the best remaining water witch—if I suddenly stopped, we all knew that fishermen would lose their lives, food would become scarce in my village, and my own sense of self-preservation would be to blame.

Stuck between a shark and a wet place, I guess.

Author Bio:

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.

She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars. You can also sign up to her newsletter and get her free starter library.

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Personalised The Snowman™ Book

Personalised The Snowman™ Book

Penwizard’s personalised The Snowman™

This year, Penwizard partnered with Penguin Random House Children’s Books, to announce their new personalised version of The Snowman™ for children and parents to enjoy at Christmas.

Adding to Penwizard’s personalised book portfolio this personalised edition of The Snowman™ includes a child’s name and customised avatar that feature throughout the story and within the classic and beautiful illustrations. Penwizard worked closely with PRH Children’s Books to produce this stunning personalised book, and created the child avatar that seamlessly fits the iconic style of this classic story, which was originally created and illustrated by Raymond Briggs in 1978.

Capture the essence of Christmas and this award-winning animation and enter the magical world of The Snowman™ in this delightful personalised book.
The book can be personalised by selecting hairstyle and colour, skin tone, pyjama colour and glasses to create a likeness to any child. The child’s name is included along with an optional personal message that is printed on the inside front page. Books are printed and mailed within 3-5 working days.

Penwizard was established in 2004 and is considered the market leader in creating print on demand stories in which children can star in their own adventure. Penwizard currently provides POD publishing for some of the biggest characters in children’s licensing Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom.

The Snowman™ is available from www.penwizard.com and is priced from 17.99 GBP plus p&p.

About The Snowman™ 

Originally published in 1978, The Snowman, created and illustrated by Raymond Briggs has become one of the world’s most popular children’s books.  Available in 15 languages it has sold in excess of 8.5 million copies worldwide with over 3 million of these sales in the UK published under Puffin editions.  Adapted for screen by producer John Coates, the Oscar-nominated animation launched on Channel 4 in its inaugural year in 1982 and has been repeated every Christmas since.  The sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog premiered on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve 2012 and was seen by over 10 million people over the festive period.   The Snowman™ brand enjoys an international audience with global broadcast of the sequel, along with an array of consumer products now available.  Snowman Enterprises Limited (SEL) is a Penguin Random House owned company.

Blitz: AnguiSH by Lila Felix

AnguiSH
Lila Felix
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: November 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

The help-wanted ad on the bulletin board at Ashland’s college was simple enough: mother seeks live-in maid for son. But it turns out Breaker James is a mess in more ways than one. He’s confined to a prison of his own making, crippled by his fear of people and any social interaction whatsoever. Every vibe he’s giving off is begging Ashland to stay away, yet she finds herself strangely drawn to him. Can she coax him out of his darkness and help him overcome the deep trauma of his past to reclaim a normal life?

A contemporary romance perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You, AnguiSH delves deep into complex human emotions and the struggle to move forward from devastating past events.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

She moved over on the bed, giving me room to get in next to her. I got in. “I’m afraid I’m… God, this is hard to admit.”

Her hand glided down my jaw. “Tell me.”

“I tried—I tried to go out the other day, just for a walk or something. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make it past the damned threshold of the door.”

Her face was pure disappointment, and I knew mine mirrored it. Admitting it to her, I felt like a shadow of a man.

“But you tried, right? That has to count. I mean, you go out with me all the time.” Her voice faltered at the end of the sentence.

“I did try. But I couldn’t go through with it.”

She scooted closer to me and put one hand on my face while she buried her own in the hollow of my neck. “Can you just hold me and forget that there’s something we can’t do? I’d like to hang on to the notion that you can do anything—just for the night.”

 

Author Bio:

Lila Felix is full of antics and stories. She refused to go to Kindergarten after the teacher made her take a nap on the first day of school. She staged her first protest in middle school. She almost flunked out of her first semester at Pepperdine University because she was enthralled with their library and frequently was locked in. Now her husband and three children have to put up with her rebel nature in Louisiana where her days are filled with cypress trees, crawfish, and of course her books and writing. She writes about the ordinary people who fall extraordinarily in wild, true love.

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