Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Bipolar 1 Disorder: How to Survive and Thrive - Molly McHugh

Bipolar 1 Disorder: How to Survive and Thrive
Molly McHugh

This book gives you a first-hand account of living with Bipolar 1 Disorder as well as treatments and self help therapies that will help you or a loved one not only survive this serious and devastating illness but thrive. Things you can do beyond the psychotropic drugs a psychiatrist will prescribe, or in addition to taking these medications which will help them be more effective and less debilitating. It is written with heart and style, by someone who understands the dynamics intimately - not just another book by a licensed medical professional who has never lived with the disorder. You will learn how to potentially lessen the severity of its devastating highs and lows. A few chapters in the book are:

* What Bipolar Illness is Really Like 
* Understanding Mania and Hypomania 
* When Lithium Therapy Does Not Work 
* Relapse, Suicide Risk and Times Past 
* Bipolar Disorder vs Drug Addiction 
* The Difference Between Bipolar 1 Disorder and Bipolar 2 Disorder 
* Major Depression is Hell 
* Hospitalizations and Paths to Wellness 
* Social Life and Relationships 
* Bipolar Onset and Contributing Factors 
* 10 Treatments That May Help You or a Loved One 
* Discrimination a Sufferer May Face 

There is quoted material from trusted sources (medical research, psychiatric journals, mental health websites, etc.) included throughout the book, with active links for you to click on to read more about the subject.



Please Pass The Books Review:

Everything I ever thought I knew about Bipolar disorder...well, to keep from embarrassing myself, let's just say I knew nothing and leave it at that. This memoir starts with Molly McHugh as a San Francisco college student, delving immediately into the subject matter and her first traumatic experience with an episode. It is both terrifying and heartbreaking to read about, with McHugh's raw narrative drawing you in immediately—and deeply.

Throughout, the records of McHugh's experiences are straightforward and honest. There is no PC brush or glossing over of her experiences, even with the injections of with a liberal humor [such as giving her doctors nicknames like Sexy 1 and Sexy 2]. To me personally, some of the most horrifying accounts were the abuses described against the mentally ill—the most vulnerable of people. The most eye-opening were her experiences with a round-robin of antipsychotic, neuroleptic, antidepressive, and a whole host of other drugs and treatments. Lithium, the Bipolar psychotropic of choice, was dispensed liberally and came with side effects that were both damaging and unexpected ["Did you get a perm?"]. I would imagine for anyone starting on this journey and being dished out pharmaceuticals, McHugh's no-holds-barred narrative is a good of a first-hand account as one will get.

While Bipolar 1 Disorder - How to Survive and Thrive goes into great detail regarding McHugh personal struggles, the book offers a great deal of background and information on alternatives that she found success with. How acceptance and small but meaningful modifications made impactful, positive changes in her life. This isn't just the story of her initial struggles with bipolar one, it's a memoir of her life; how she was able to live and function over the decades, despite having every imaginable obstacle thrown on her path. And not just how to live—but how to flourish. And so, ultimately, what McHugh offers readers of her book is hope. Having read her story, it would seem that hope, particularly when faced with bipolar one, might just be the greatest gift of all.

FIVE STARS



A travel fanatic single Mom who has lived with bipolar disorder since her first manic episode during college at age 19. Her memoir "Bipolar 1 Disoder - How to Survive and Thrive" is the sharing of her story in the style of other mental health memoirs with much additional information added.

There are 10 alternative treatments described and much quoted material from trusted mental health sources. A book offered to help and inspire others.

Molly is a freelance writer. Her freelance writer's website with portfolio is here: www.mollymchugh.com. She blogs about BP-1 at: www.bipolar1survivor.com.




Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Sign of Change - H. El-Tahwagi

The Sign of Change 
H. El-Tahwagi 

France, 1783-
A hasty decision makes Lilette Fleur Moineau, a farmer's daughter, scrutinize what she really wants. Is she satisfied with her affluent life in Versailles, or does she want to return to the love of her life and join the uprising rebellion against the King? When the secrets of her husband unfold before her, she realizes that change is a prerequisite for freedom.


Goodreads    Amazon








Please Pass The Books Review:

Well—THAT hit the sweet spot!  Versailles? Rebellion? Secrets and deception? Check, check, check…The Sign of Change has them all.

Although she comes across initially as painfully na├»ve, the complexities of Lilette's nature blossom as the story progresses.  As much as Lilette, Lord Joseph de Bonveleur, Jerome and the other characters play their roles, the time and settings are almost characters themselves—wholly engrossing and tantamount to a tightly written plot [and all wrapped up in ribbons of symbolism].

If this is truly El-Tahwagi's debut novel, it will be exciting to see where this author goes next.

FIVE STARS

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which this certainly is.




Monday, 29 August 2016

Spotlight! Afterlife - Sandy Goldsworthy


Afterlife
Sandy Goldsworthy
(The Afterworld Saga #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
AFTERLIFE is the highly anticipated sequel to AFTERMATH by Sandy Goldsworthy. This exciting Young Adult mystery romance is a must-read.
Everything seems perfect for Emma Bennett—she has a new set of friends she adores and a boyfriend she is crazy about. But when Emma sees a picture of her hunky boyfriend kissing another girl, she begins to question if his love for her is real. As she searches for the truth, will Emma be exposed to the dangers of another world?
Ben Parker enjoys the role of high school student and boyfriend to the love of his existence. Juggling his social life with his job in the Afterworld’s Bureau of Investigation is supposed to be easy for the decorated undercover agent. But when some kid captures a photo of him in a precarious position, he’s faced with lying to his girlfriend or erasing her memory. Instead, Ben makes the worst decision of his career. Now, forced to face the consequences, he loses the only thing that matters to him—Emma.
When seemingly insurmountable obstacles separate the lovers, will the two soul mates be able find their way back to each other?

Grab book 1- Aftermath – for FREE:
22524302




Sandy Goldsworthy was raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, blocks from the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. As a child, she fantasized about becoming an author. She jotted story lines in spiral notebooks and drew images of characters that never came to life. Her passion for putting pen to paper began when her high school English teacher inspired her to be more descriptive in her work. Ever since, Sandy dabbled in creative writing, searching for that perfect shade of red and that character you want to get to know.
A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Sandy is the YA author of the paranormal romance series, The Afterworld Saga. She spends her days managing corporate client programs, and her nights and weekends drafting new plot lines in spiral notebooks. She resides in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and an energetic puppy. Learn more at www.sandygoldsworthy.com.


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Friday, 26 August 2016

Market Street Cinema - Michele Machado

Market Street Cinema
Michele Machado 

It took only six weeks for Lita to realize she had neither the fortitude nor discipline to get through college, and a single day for her parents to issue an ultimatum...

She either gets a formal education, or she gets out and starts her life.

Forced onto a fast-track to independence, Lita soon finds that her minimum wage job isn't enough to live on. With few options and a mounting pile of responsibilities, she begins work as an exotic dancer at San Francisco's Market Street Cinema.

Will her time in the gritty underworld of adult entertainment put her on the path that secures her future—or will it swallow her up and destroy everything she never knew she wanted?






Please Pass The Books Review:

Classified as new adult, I initially mistook Market Street Cinema as erotica and very nearly passed on it. While it deals with adult situations and definitely contains highly adult content, it is not page after page of gratuitous sex. What is shown to the reader is a no-holds barred peek into the life of a young, casual sex worker (not a prostitute, but a true to life stripper). She comes in the form of 19-year old Lita, who has just been pushed from the family nest after being given an ultimatum from her parents.

Instead of taking the safe collegiate path, Lita decides to figure out what she wants to do on her own and opts instead to work full time. It doesn't take long before she realizes how hard (and expensive) it is to live on your own, and after a handful of chance manifestations, she begins working at San Francisco's Market Street Cinema.

All this is set in the late 90's (1998, to be exact), so it was fun to step back to a time where landlines and payphones were still used, the internet was in its infancy, Allie McBeal was on TV, Blondie's Pizza was a San Francisco staple, and the Market Street Cinema was actually open (it closed in 2013, but the late 90's was considered its heyday).

Something that made this book a stand-out to me was that there was no love interest. Lots of men who pay money to see T&A, but not a boyfriend. Finally we have a story where a man doesn't swoop in, steal our heroine's heart, and save the day. Instead, we have a girl who comes of age and saves her own damn self—aided in part by an aging, big-sister role model of a stripper (aging only by adult entertainment standards, not real-world standards).

Market Street Cinema is a tight, well written story. There is a tragic twist that, frankly, will make every reader's heart break, adding real depth and authenticity to Lita's fate. This book is absolutely worth reading and I highly recommend it.

FIVE STARS

I received an ARC from Mint Minx Press in exchange for my honest opinion, which this is.




Michele Machado is a San Francisco born literary pundit with a significant ramen addiction. When not writing review articles or shoveling Japanese noodles down her throat, she enjoys penning fiction with a higher heat factor. In order to balance the serious nature of her "real job" with the more salacious stories she writes, and to avoid uncomfortable conversations with her grandparents, the pen name of Michele Machado was created—and the stock photo in this bio was purchased. Now liberated by a nom de plume and hidden behind a beauty at a typewriter, Michele Machado is excited for the release of her first book, Market Street Cinema, on August 15, 2016.

Twitter     Goodreads     Amazon

Thursday, 25 August 2016

When The Jaguar Sleeps - J.A. Kalis

When The Jaguar Sleeps
J.A. Kalis


A gripping, fast-paced thriller that takes the reader into the mysterious verdant world of the Amazon jungle.

Ecuador. What was supposed to be a dream holiday turned into a nightmare for a group of foreign tourists when their plane crashed in the Amazon rainforest. Having waited in vain for a couple of days for help to arrive, the survivors of the crash decided to set off on a daring journey determined to get out of the jungle alive. But while pushing on, unaware, they entered a territory inhabited by isolated Indian tribes hostile to outsiders. A territory where probably the fabulous treasures destined for the last Inca emperor Atahualpa’s ransom, had been hidden. As it soon turned out their nightmare was just beginning. Will they ever get out of the jungle alive?






Please Pass The Books Review:

When The Jaguar Sleeps is one of the very few books I've read that I honest-to-goodness kept thinking, "This story would make an incredible movie." Written in the type of vivid detail that will draw a reader right into the remote, dense, and dangerous rainforest, it's impossible not to get lost yourself in the story.

The book moves at a fast pace, driven by conflict and a tightly written plot—exceptionally well done for a debut offering. We follow our group of survivors after a plane crash turns a luxury, all-inclusive vacation into an Indiana Jones-scale nightmare. The one person most equipped and most likely to get them out unscathed [their tour guide] dies in the crash. Unfortunately for this rag-tag crew, survival in the jungle means more than just getting out amidst the usual dangers [starvation, injury, death by creepy-crawlies, etc]. As the action rolls on, the jungle offers up natives, tomb robbers, and treasure, the combination of all resulting in the plucking off of characters, one by one. And it's done with just the right balance of realism and reverie.

The conclusion leaves room for a sequel, although stand-alone readers won't be left in the lurch. That said, I look forward to reading what's next in what appears to be an excellent series.

FIVE STARS

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which this certainly is.






Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Spotlight! Dream Junkies - Anne-Marie Yerks


Dream Junkies
Anne-Marie Yerks
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Actresses in a Chicago comedy troupe, Daphne Corbett and Kristin Brewer share a stage as Jean and Jeanette, a pair of dim-witted legal secretaries upstaging the show’s headliners. When their performance attracts an ambitious entertainment agent from Manhattan, the girls move to New York with hopes of stardom and success. But the search for apartments and showbiz jobs takes them in different directions.
The shared journey leads them to understand that dreams are worth only as much as the struggle to achieve them and that the hardest part to play is yourself.





Anne-Marie Yerks is a fiction writer, essayist and journalist from the Metropolitan Detroit area. Her essays have appeared in the online editions of "Good Housekeeping," "marie claire," "Country Living" and "Redbook." She has work forthcoming in "Modern Memoir" (Fiction Attic Press) and in "Recipes With A Story" (Blue Lobster Books). Her novel, Dream Junkies, will be published in 2016 by New Rivers Press. Find her on Twitter @amy1620.







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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

#Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age - Tony Jeton Selimi

#Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age
Tony Jeton Selimi

So connected, yet desperately alone.

We have become accustomed to a new way of being alone together in a technological cocoon that covers up our real pain. Our true essence is hidden behind facades that we show to the world from the fear of being judged, criticized, and rejected. This is what brings us out of a natural state of healthy balance, is the root cause of disease, and what creates the segregation experienced worldwide.


#Loneliness is a global call for people to redefine themselves in the face of life's greatest challenges. Comforting, moving, and spiritually practical, this book is a guide to help people break through their apparent loneliness, and shift them toward crowd-nurtured world peace and the next stage in our evolution.



Please Pass The Books Review:

#Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age by Tony Jeton Selimi begins with the memoirs of its author, born in the former, pre-war Yugoslavia. He shares an upbringing that encompasses everything we fear a child might experience, but pray they will not—physical disabilities and sexual abuse. As a teenager, he is front and center during the war and subsequent dissolution of Yugoslavia, resulting in his emigration to the United Kingdom. After a rocky start inflamed by homelessness and financial difficulty, and an unfortunate marriage where an inner conflict of sexual identity rages, Selimi finds his feet—and his voice—making a bold professional and personal move that alters everything. Readers are then versed in the scientific evolution of loneliness, a breakdown of how and what impacts it, and where we can make proactive, positive changes that not only help us individually, but have wide-reaching global impact.

When I first picked up #Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age by Tony Jeton Selimi, I was expecting little more than a run-of-the-mill self-help tutorial. This presumption was further aided by the first twelve pages, which consist solely of praise for the book. As a lay reader wanting to get to the meat, I powered through and was thoroughly rewarded by what came next. First of all, Selimi's story is heartbreaking. It is powerful and poignant enough to be a stand-alone book, but is fundamental to the theories he presents afterward. The struggles and the situations he rises from—which feel desperately hopeless—lend to his credibility far more than any educational acronym found after the names of most self-help authors. When the story is told, the subsequent theories are supported by facts and evidence, in addition to Selimi's applied knowledge. This is done with a clear desire to reach the reader on a human level, and feels more like a conversation with a friend. I recommend #Loneliness: The Virus of the Modern Age to anyone who has experienced any form of loneliness, and/or has been sucked into "Facebook envy" or other feelings of unworthiness fueled by the artificial, manipulative world we find ourselves in today.

FOUR STARS

This review was written for Readers' Favorite.



Waking up to war, living on the streets of London, climbing the corporate ladder, to award winning and bestselling author, Tony J Selimi is internationally known as the human behavior, cognition and emotional intelligence expert to Celebrities, MPs, Dr's, Scientists, Therapists, Coaches, Healers, PT's, Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Senior Executives of companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Bank of America, Ignis Asset Management, Deutsche Bank, Ernest & Young, Santander, Vandercom and Mishcon de Reya across EMEA, Asia and USA.

Tony helps people increase their productivity, longevity, balance their perceptions, and master their emotions so that they purposely move forward. Like a transparent mirror Tony is known for his ability to see through people's problems, behaviors, thought patterns, and dis-empowering beliefs and help them rid themselves from lies that conceal their inner truth. He assists people to find the answers and solutions to life's obstacles, clarify their values, and cope better with their daily pressures, demands, and life's obstacles. Tony helps people get to the root cause of their issues, clarify and expand their life's vision and mission, and assist them in unleashing their interstellar existence.

Blog    Twitter    Facebook     Instagram     YouTube


Monday, 22 August 2016

Spotlight! Wicka - Christy Deveaux


Wicka
Christy Deveaux
Publication date: May 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.
Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.







Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.


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Friday, 19 August 2016

Spotlight! Up in the Treehouse - K.K. Allen


Up in the Treehouse
K.K. Allen
Publication date: July 19th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
I wanted to tell him all my secrets, but he became one of them instead.
Chloe Rivers never thought she would keep secrets from her best friend. Then again, she never imagined she would fall in love with him either. When she finally reveals her feelings, rejection shatters her, rendering her vulnerable and sending her straight into the destructive arms of the wrong guy.
Gavin Rhodes never saw the betrayal coming. It crushes him. Chloe has always been his forbidden fantasy–sweet, tempting, and beautiful. But when the opportunity finally presents itself, he makes the biggest mistake of all and denies her.
Now it’s too late . . .
Four years after a devastating tragedy, Chloe and Gavin’s world’s collide and they find their lives entangling once again. Haunted by the past, they are forced to come to terms with all that has transpired to find the peace they deserve. Except they can’t seem to get near each other without combatting an intense emotional connection that brings them right back to where it all started . . . their childhood treehouse.
Chloe still holds her secrets close, but this time she isn’t the only one with something to hide. Can their deep-rooted connection survive the destruction of innocence?
* * Some sexy time and light swearing * *



Hi all! I'm K.K. Allen, Contemporary Fantasy & New Adult Romance author of the Summer Solstice series (Enchanted, the Equinox, and the Descendants), as well as the short story, Soaring. Look for my upcoming New Adult Romance, Up in the Treehouse, OUT NOW!!
I currently live in Florida with my ridiculously handsome son, Jagger. I've always had a passion for reading and writing, so sharing my work with you all is beyond exciting. Thank you all for checking out my page. I hope you'll give my books a shot, and definitely look out for more from me. This train ain't stoppin'. ;)


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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Spotlight! Soul Symmetry - J.L. Weil


Soul Symmetry
J.L. Weil
(Raven #3)
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
A BANSHEE.
A DEATH REAPER.
LOVE TRANSCENDING.

War is coming. The veil between the living and the dead no longer exists. Evil is running rampant and the universe’s symmetry balances on my fingertips. No big deal. Of course, nobody knows how or when the hallows will strike, or who among us is a traitor.
Hordes of vengeful spirits are multiplying by the minute, closing in ranks. Zane is poised to strike, but it’s going to take more than his killer instincts, more than swords and shadows to vanquish the hallows back where they belong. Stakes are higher than ever, yet I am determined to protect those I care about—to save the world.
Restoring the veil isn’t as easy as a snap of my fingertips. Nothing worth fighting for ever is. Friendship and loyalties are tested to the limit, sacrifices of unimaginable proportions are made, but in the end, all that matters is whether I succeed or fail.

Previous books in the series:
25197912 25718187


Award-winning and Bestselling author J.L. Weil writes Teen & New Adult Paranormal Romances about spunky, smart mouth girls who always wind up in dire situations. For every sassy girl, there is an equally mouthwatering, overprotective guy. Of course there is lots of kissing. And stuff.
Most of her books are for ages 16+. They usually have what she considers the good stuff - sexual content (oh yeah) and swearing. You have been warned ;)
An admitted addict to Love Pink clothes, raspberry mochas from Starbucks, (yum!) and Jensen Ackles (double yum!). She loves gushing about books and Supernatural with her readers.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Spotlight! Midnight Sky - Amy Braun


Midnight Sky
Amy Braun
(Dark Sky #2)
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
There are secrets, there are betrayals, and there are sacrifices…
The Behemoth has been destroyed, and the bloodthirsty Hellions seem to have left Westraven. But Claire Abernathy’s mind is not at ease. A terrible disease plagues her sister, appearing to have been brought on the Vesper, the leader of the Hellions beyond the tear between worlds– the Breach.
To save Abby and stop the Hellions for good, Claire must find the machine her parents built before the attacks, and fix it before the monsters return. To do so, she needs the help of her crew, and must ignore the secrets and rivalries between her captain and the man she saved.
Because the Hellions are not the only dangers following Claire. Twisted humans and old enemies surface to stop her and destroy all she loves. While she is determined to endure the trials, a single betrayal could shatter the hope of a better world, and force Claire to make a choice that will cost her dearly…



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Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for "author voice, world-building and general bad-assery," and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn't writing, she's reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.



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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Spotlight! The Lost Knight - Candy Atkins


The Lost Knight
Candy Atkins
(The Lost Knight Series, #1)
Publication date: May 20th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
How am I supposed to save the world when I’m not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I’m on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I’m no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that’s supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion to Earth. But I’m not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.











Candy Atkins is a full‐time writer who lives with her husband and two kids in Orlando, Florida. She’s an avid reader and lover of all things fantasy and sci‐fi. Her debut novel, The Lost Knight, is volume one of the six‐part Lost Knight Series.
Her life’s journey has taken her from dining with the President to being on food stamps to running her own company. And since all author bios end by naming and quantifying pets...she also enjoys spending time with her boxer, Butler, and Wynona the cat.







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Monday, 15 August 2016

Spotlight! There Once Were Stars - Melanie McFarlane


There Once Were Stars
Melanie McFarlane
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?





Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt:

The kiss ends as softly as it began. I lean back and smile, and Jak smiles back.
“I’ve wanted to do that since we were twelve,” he says.
“You did!” I feel my cheeks get hot. “Why didn’t you, then?”
“We were barely teenagers,” he says, looking away as he wrings his hands together. “You weren’t interested in boys or kissing. At least I didn’t think you were until you snuck off at lunch one day at school, and kissed James Poole behind the locker rooms.”
“James Poole!” I burst into laughter, quickly covering my mouth so not to wake his parents. “Xara dared me to kiss him because I was the only girl in our grade that hadn’t. She bet me a chocolate I wouldn’t do it. You know me. I hate to lose.”
Jak’s face is red when he looks back at me. “I was so mad at James that I knocked him over on our way to class.” He reaches over and grabs my hand, covering it with his palm.
“All because I kissed him?”
He nods. “In that moment I realized I didn’t want anyone else to kiss you.”
I laugh, but it comes out strained. The uncomfortable feeling I got in the movie theater starts to creep back under my skin, and I try to pull my hand from Jak’s grip. “We were kids.”
His gaze bears down on me as his grip tightens. “That’s when I realized I was—in love with you.” He doesn’t take his eyes off mine, as if the answer he wants lies somewhere deep within me. He is dead serious.
“In love?”
“Yes,” he whispers. “I love you, Nat.”
A cold sweat breaks across my skin. The room feels like it’s closing in on me. Trapped. For the first time ever, Jak’s room is not a refuge, it’s a prison. His hand lets mine go, distracted by my silence, or his own confession. Whatever it is it allows me the chance to slip my hand out from under his, and rub it along my pant leg.
“I don’t know what to say,” I stammer. I look away, not wanting to see his face anymore. Uneasiness bubbles into my stomach.



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Friday, 12 August 2016

Spotlight! This is Me. - C.E. Wilson


This is Me.
C.E. Wilson
Publication date: August 11th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
A-SIST
Anthropomorphic Sentient Individualized Servile uniT
Rogan is a robot. More specifically, he is an Asist – a personalized humanoid servant that provides protection, assistance, and companionship for a lonely young woman living on her own in the city. Chloe is trying to get her big break, singing at bars and clubs all over the city at night while she pays the bills as a substitute teacher during the day. Ever since she activated him many months ago, Rogan has been her beautiful, dependable, obedient, dead-eyed security blanket. 
One morning she is shocked when he disobeys a direct command in an attempt to please her and his dull artificial eyes flash a hint of something new. Is this the result of the adaptive Asist servility programming or is Rogan actually thinking? Can a robot think? Can a robot feel? 
As Chloe struggles with these thoughts she is blindsided by the singular Niven Adams, a handsome, confident man with the voice of an angel who is everything she’s ever wanted in a boyfriend. He’s the perfect guy for her, except for one problem. Niven doesn’t approve of Asists and takes an immediate dislike to Rogan. As Niven charms his way deeper and deeper into Chloe’s heart, Rogan tries to convince her that he is more than a mass-produced disposable servant. 
With Rogan doing everything in his power to prove that his thoughts and feelings are real and Niven trying to persuade her to abandon her robot and have a normal human relationship, Chloe is trapped between the two things that mean the most to her. Does she embrace her relationship with the blond newcomer, or face that her Asist’s feelings may be more than features of his programming? 
What really makes a person a person? 
Is it a ticking muscle inside their chest, or is it something more?


C.E. Wilson is 32 years old, grew up in Millersville, Pennsylvania, and has been living in Pittsburgh since 2009. For the first few years living in Pittsburgh, she was an English teacher. Her first book, "Oath of Servitude," was published in 2012. In 2013, she quit teaching to be a full time author and hasn't looked back since. She loves spending time with her daughter and husband.




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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Spotlight! Under A Million Stars - Rita Branches


Under A Million Stars
Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.
Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?



Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/









Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Story Prompts That Work - Carly Berg

Story Prompts That Work
Carly Berg

There’s nothing like a well-crafted, guided story starter to put a stop to that dreaded empty computer screen!

Story Prompts That Work includes enough detailed prompts to write a story a week for an entire year (and then go back and use the prompts again the next year). Each prompt has enough options and examples that they’ll work well for just about anyone.

Carly Berg is a freelance writer who’s also been both an editor and a teacher, so she’s got you covered on this one.







Please Pass The Books Review

In the interest of full disclosure (as most of you already know), I must state that I am not an author…I am merely a reader and a reviewer. Still, I get excited when a book drops in my lap about the craft of writing. Carly Berg's Story Prompts That Work excited me.

And so, here I am.

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Chalk full of prompts and exercises, Berg has compiled a catalog of 52 starters that almost guarantees the continued flowing of creative juices. My favorite was #19, where readers are instructed to collect six random things from around the house and build a scene/story from them. If you've ever been curious about how you can use a crystal ball, a giant clamshell, a book, a lone taco wrapper, lipstick, and a pair of silver high heels all together in less than 400 words, Story Prompts That Work will show you. The result is creative and highly entertaining, proving Berg's techniques can be effective for those who need to cast their nets a little further out.

I recommend this guide to anyone looking for inspiration, or who happens to be in hot pursuit of their next story idea—however elusive it seems to be.

FIVE STARS

I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which this most certainly is.






Carly Berg's stories and writing articles appear in over 100 magazines and anthologies. She is the author of Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction, and Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get them Published.









Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Spotlight! THE DARK LADY’S MASK: A NOVEL OF SHAKESPEARE’S MUSE - MARY SHARRATT

THE DARK LADY’S MASK: A NOVEL OF SHAKESPEARE’S MUSE
BY MARY SHARRATT

Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, eBook, Audio Book; 416 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.
London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.
Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.
The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.


Advance Praise
“An exquisite portrait of a Renaissance woman pursuing her artistic destiny in England and Italy, who may — or may not — be Shakespeare’s Dark Lady.”
— MARGARET GEORGE, internationally bestselling author of Elizabeth I
“Perfectly chosen details and masterful characterization bring to life this swiftly moving, elegant story. As atmospheric and compelling as it is wise, The Dark Lady’s Mask is a gem not to be missed.”
— LYNN CULLEN, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe and Twain’s End
“Mary Sharratt’s enchanting new novel, The Dark Lady’s Mask, is a richly imagined, intensely romantic and meticulously researched homage to lauded poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanyer, an accomplished woman of letters who many believe to be Shakespeare’s Eternal Muse. Sharratt unfolds a captivating tale, a compelling ‘what if ’ scenario, of a secret union that fed the creative fires of England’s greatest poet and playwright.”
— KATHLEEN KENT, bestselling author of The Heretic’s Daughter
“Mary Sharratt is a magician. This novel transports the reader to Elizabethan England with a tale of the bard and his love that is nothing short of amazing. Absorbing, emotional, historically fascinating. A work of marvelous ingenuity!”
— M.J. ROSE, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows
“I enjoyed this exciting fantasy of Shakespeare’s ‘dark lady.’ There was adventure, betrayal, resilience, and above all, the fun notion that Shakespeare might have had far more than a muse to help him create his wonderful plays.”
—KARLEEN KOEN, bestselling author of Dark Angels and Before Versailles
“Through the story of Aemilia Bassano, a talented musician and poet, Mary Sharratt deftly tackles issues of religious and gender inequality in a time of brutal conformity. The Dark Lady’s Mask beautifully depicts the exhilaration and pitfalls of subterfuge, a gifted woman’s precarious reliance on the desires of powerful men, and the toll paid by unrecognized artistic collaborators. Resonant and moving.”
—MITCHELL JAMES KAPLAN, author of By Fire, By Water
“In The Dark Lady’s Mask, Mary Sharratt seduces us with a most tantalizing scenario —that the bold, cross-dressing poet and feminist writer Aemilia Bassano is Shakespeare’s mysterious muse, the Dark Lady. Romantic, heart-breaking, and rich in vivid historical detail and teeming Elizabethan life, the novel forms an elegant tapestry of the complexities, joys, and sorrows of being both a female and an artist.”
—KAREN ESSEX, author of Leonardo’s Swans and Dracula in Love
“Mary Sharratt has created an enchanting Elizabethan heroine, a musician, the orphaned daughter of a Jewish Italian refugee who must hide her heritage for her safety. Taken up by powerful men for her beauty, Amelia has wit and daring and poetry inside her that will make her a match for young Will Shakespeare himself and yet she must hide behind many masks to survive in a world where women have as much talent as men but little power.”
— STEPHANIE COWELL, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
“Prepare to be swept away by Mary Sharratt’s latest foray into historical fiction. Inspired by the true story of poet, Aemilia Bassano, THE DARK LADY’S MASK explores her relationship with William Shakespeare. Richly detailed and well researched, this lush tale brings Aemilia out of the shadows of history and let’s her emerge as one of the founding mothers of literature. Drama, intrigue, and romance will have readers racing through this brilliant celebration of the muse.”
— PAMELA KLINGER-HORN, Sales & Outreach Coordinator, Excelsior Bay Books
About the Author
MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.