Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Book Club Murders – Book Review


The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel is the first instalment in The Oakwood Mystery Series. And damn that was a super-paced good read, perfect for a bibliophile and a mystery lover!

The story's main character Charlotte – Charley – Carpenter, the owner Old Hat, a clothing store, is part of a reading group focused around mysteries. She joins the rich-women's book club with the ulterior motive of attracting buyers to her vintage shop.

The book opens with the scheduled books to be read between August and December. The group of 8, called the Agathas Book Club, with each member labelled "an Agatha", tackles a book each month. Set in the small town of Oakwood, Ohio, the book also opens with the shocking revelation of a murder. 

The Agathas are shocked to discover that the victim is an acquaintance. They also realise that the victim was positioned in a way that reflects the murder of the book they were reading. Soon after, another dead body emerges, also linked to the book club members.

"Most of the Agathas seemed to be enjoying themselves, as if the poor woman had been killed for their entertainment. Be honest, Carpenter. You're just as curious as the rest of them."

Each character in the novel has a role to play:  corpse, amateur sleuth, killer, suspect, police officer, helping hand.

The detective investigating the killings is not-an-old-friend of Charley, but her high school crush Marcus Trenault. As soon as they meet, old love and trouble are rekindled. As the two suspect that the killings are done by a woman, Charley suggests that they are likely to have been committed by an Agatha and convinces Marc to use her as an informant to infiltrate the Book Club.

"Don't be fooled by the expensive armour, most of these women are scared to death, usually of one another."

Charley is a fun, slightly sarcastic character. She's smart, brave and passionate. She's also realistic and down to earth. At one point, she faces Marcus and tells him: "You owe me an apology."

I felt that The Book Club Murders was more crime and sleuthing than plain cozy mystery. I loved it nonetheless and would definitely pick up the next books in the series. I also enjoyed the romance aspect of the novel.

The imagery and emotions in the novel were well-written, with lots of "show don't tell".

I absolutely loved the mystery-book references and how the author brought in published mystery novels and used them in the murders. This book will have me picking up several mystery novels and adding them to my lengthy – possibly never-ending - to-be-read list.

"No one is going to believe that for a second. Look, this is the twenty-first century. Everyone watches CSI and Law & Order or whatever. If you start asking questions about who left when, and did you notice anyone acting suspiciously, how long do you think it's going to take before people figure out what you're really up to?"

And the mystery… that was plain wicked!



Note: I received a free advanced readers' copy (ARC) of The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel as part of a blog tour via Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.


Connect with the author via her Website, Twitter and Goodreads.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Takhayyal #writingprompt 45: Starry Night

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

Today, I'm featuring student and artist Yomna Ibrahim El-Mahany, whose artwork I've been dying to share with you. The artwork is original, so if you'd like to use it in your post, please credit the artist and add her name in the caption.


 
Starry Night by Yomna Ibrahim El Mahany


Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.


General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Alice and Claudio in a Tuscan Garden - Guest post by E. Graziani


Today, I'm featuring author E. Graziani as part of a blog tour for her new novel Alice-Angel of Time with a guest post.

Hello to my good friend Nada and all her followers. Many thanks for hosting me on this blog tour celebrating the launch of my newest title, the sequel to Alice of the RocksAlice-Angel of Time in which the conclusion of Alice and Claudio's journey will be available for all to read!


Book: Alice-Angel of Time
Author: E. Graziani
Publisher: Morning Rain Publishing
Publication Date: September 2016

Synopsis:

Their love transcends time, space, and conflict. 

Alice Ferro did not travel 500 years into the past to save her soulmate from persecution only to discover her journey had been in vain! Forced to return from 1512 Italy to 2029 Canada without him, she cannot focus on family, school, or friends as thoughts of Claudio constantly flood her mind. When she discovers her love’s future is dire, Alice decides she must return to the past to save him once and for all.

With some help, a bit of deceit, and a lot of determination, Alice sets off to rescue Claudio. Unfortunately, she hadn’t planned on things going so terribly wrong, and she soon finds her own life in peril.

Written with charm and intelligence, the sequel to Alice of the Rocks encompasses everything you could want in a young adult, time-travel romance. Adventure, true love, intrigue, and dynamic characters fill the pages alongside the elegant landscape of Renaissance Italy.


The theme of the tour is A Virtual Tuscany Tour with Ali and Claudio


I thought that since I recently traveled to Italy, that I would share some pics that relate directly back to my novel, Alice-Angel of Time. I hope they inspire you to pick up a copy! I also want to send out a huge thank you to Priya Prithviraj, of Writerly Yours for putting all this together. This blog tour would not have happened if it were not for Priya and Jennifer Jaquith, my managing editor at Morning Rain Publishing. Go to the Writerly Yours website for a full schedule of the entire tour – there are lots of interviews, reviews and other great stuff coming up!



In the meantime, I would like to share some inspirational pics with you – they are pictures taken by me, this summer when I travelled through Italy. 

Some of the sites we visited follow in the footsteps of our feisty heroine, Alice and her one true love, Claudio as they walked in Alice of the Rocks

Live every twist and turn in the plot, walk in the garden with them when they share their first kiss, and race through the streets of Renaissance Florence with them to escape the Medici guards. Its sequel was released on 15 September, 2016, and I am so excited for all my friends out there to read it - Alice-Angel of Time!




The first picture is of the Boboli Garden. This green oasis in Florence is the setting of Alice and Claudio’s first kiss, where they fall hopelessly in love.








The second is of a quiet spot in amongst the sprawling garden, where Claudio explains to Alice who she really is and where she comes from – it took a lot of convincing, but she finally did believe him.





I hope these lovely images of a calm garden in the city of Florence have pleased you – thanks to Nada Adel Sobhi for having me as her guest.

Keep up with the rest of the tour for more guest posts, book reviews and other posts at Priya’s blog here.


Find Alice-Angel of Time on Goodreads.

Author Bio

E. Graziani is a teacher, author, speaker and life-long learner. She enjoys incorporating strong female characters into her writing, to help inspire her readers. She has worked with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to raise awareness and educate people regarding this disease. Graziani regularly speaks to young people about her books, inspiration for writing and the publishing process.


Graziani has written War in My Town (Second Story Press), which was selected by Canadian Children's Book Centre as one of their "Best Books for Kids and Teens" - Fall 2015.
Graziani has written three other books, Alice of the Rocks and Alice-Angel of Time for young adults and Jess Under Pressure, a women's fiction novella (Morning Rain Publishing). She resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband and four daughters.

Connect with E. Graziani via GoodreadsTwitter, FacebookHer website.

Also, check out Nadaness In Motion's five-star book review of Jess Under Pressure.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Raging Waters - Poem



The sea is high,
Fury runs in its veins.
The colour
Deadly beautiful,
Calling swimmers to their doom.

Anxious,
Angry
Are the waves.

"Rage forth unto these mortals!
Rise! Rise!
And show no mercy!
Let them know fear."

I can hear Poseidon howl
From the unseen depths

"Let them see and feel
Our mighty fury!"

The colour seduces me.
But I know better.

Even a mermaid
Would lay low
From the mighty king's wrath.

And yet,
I cannot keep my eyes off it;
Never seen this hue of deadly turquoise.

Schools of fish
Rooted in their place,
The current too strong
Despite their number.

The colour calls to me,
But the waves warn me.

'Not today, little one.
We have no control!'

The wind blows strong,
From all directions.
A sail boat would flip over,
None to survive.

No breeze,
Nor water spray,
But bellowing wind,
A scorching sun,
And a deadly wave
Drenches me from head to toe.

I will heed your words.

"Come mortals!
Face me!
Face your demons,
In my once clean waters!"   



Photo credit: Nada Adel Sobhi. Location: North Coast km 87, Egypt




Written Sunday, 14 August, 2016 at 2 pm

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Contemporary romance Dreams of Her Own by Rebecca Heflin - Book Review

Dreams of Her Own by Rebecca Heflin is the third and final instalment in the Dreams Come True Series. This time, the story revolves around Millie, an assistant to best-selling romantic author Darcy Butler.


Once I started the book, I couldn't put it down and once I finished it, I just wanted to start it all over again!

Full of events, the first chapter in Dreams of Her Own introduces Millie and her soon-to-be crush, Ian. I particularly like how Heflin introduces the reader to Millie.

"Lists were her life. They provided organisation, structure and a sense of accomplishment. She loved ticking things off her list so much that if she accomplished something that wasn't on the list, she'd write it down just so she could have the pleasure of marking it off."

I totally related to Millie in the lists and marking part. There were many times that I felt Millie was like me; although her series of unfortunate events were too much for a single person but believable for a book.

From the first chapter, we see how Millie views herself, no self-appreciation whatsoever, and Ian's reaction to hearing her voice for the first time. Total contrast and comedy, especially for the reader.

Also, in the first chapter, Ian rescues Millie from a truck running a red light. After the chapter is over, the reader realises that Millie and Ian will meet again soon but under different circumstances, making the reader all tingly and excited.

"He'd saved her from becoming another pedestrian versus motor vehicle death statistic."

Millie prefers to be invisible. Although of high intelligence, she is socially awkward. Her experiences in school and in life have prompted her to wear all brown to "blend in" and avoid being noticed.

"A twinge of guilt poked her. Not for eavesdropping, but for doing to Ian what people did to her: judging a book by its cover."

Heflin makes great use of the setting through her description of Darcy's house, the interior decorating. Her use of conversations between Darcy and Ian also gives the reader a closer view of the setting. I liked that technique.

Dreams of Her Own is full of beautiful imagery and quotes. It is also full of comedy and silly situations that happen to no one but Millie. It cracked me up and made me want to give her a hug.

"She'd never been so close to a man before. Unless you counted rush hour on the Brooklyn-Queens Crosstown."

Millie is an overall quirky character, with a big, loving and caring heart. The moment things may progress between her and Ian, Darcy and her friends immediately take it upon themselves to make sure she's ok, even if that means giving Ian a clear warning "not to hurt her."

One of the techniques Heflin used was other characters' description and thoughts of Millie: "She resembled some prim, uptight spinster from a gothic novel."

"She was one big accident waiting to happen."

Both Millie and Ian have troubled pasts. Millie was neglected, while Ian suffered from abuse in addition to his dyslexia, which he hasn't shared with anyone except the family who took him in after his mother's passing.

I like how Heflin gives Darcy, the protagonist in the first instalment in the series, and Laura, the main character in the second book, roles to play in Millie's life. It also gives a sort of connection and progression in the series.

Millie's curses are hilarious and all literature-related. "Hamlet and Ophelia!" "Catherine and Heathcliff!" "Friar Tuck!"

The chapters just flowed and the pace was quick and enjoyable. Millie witnessed major character development both inwardly and on the outside. Ian's character too developed into a better understanding of others. He learnt that he needed to trust others more, especially with regards to his dyslexia.

I finished the book in two sittings, although I could have finished it in one if it weren't for personal commitments. Although the third in the series, Dreams of Her Own can be read as a standalone.

Dreams of Her Own is a quick-paced contemporary romantic comedy, not devoid of steamy encounters, especially as Millie begins to learn more about sex, a topic she's only read about in romance novels and educational books. A must read by all means, although for ages 18 and above.

"She wore her mantle of brown as he wore his mantle of tough."


Note: I received a free copy of Dreams of Her Own in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my reviews of Dreams of Perfection (Book 1) and Ship of Dreams (Book 2) in the Dreams Come True Series. Each of these books can be read as a standalone.

About the Author:

Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women's fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.
Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

Connect with Rebecca Heflin via her Website,  Twitter and Goodreads.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Emerald Key - Book blast & giveaway

EMERALD KEY BOOK COVER
The Emerald Key by Mark Frederickson & Melora Pineda

Penny and Laci are headed for a mundane summer vacation until a mysterious journal unlocks a portal to another world and they find themselves face to face with a baby dragon. In an attempt to send their new acquisition back to its home, the girls, along with two neighborhood friends, get sucked through to a mythical world. In this land, they must battle foes seen and unseen, pushing them to both their physical and mental limits. If they fail to stop the powers they’ve unleashed, it could not only destroy this strange world, but also annihilate their own.



add to goodreads

Praise for The Emerald Key

“In The Emerald Key, authors Mark Frederickson and Melora Pineda take readers on a fast-paced journey sure to enthrall not only middle-grade readers but their parents, as well. Laci and Penny will appeal to anyone looking for strong, resourceful female characters and the side characters are well-developed and hilarious, too (my favorite might be Buzz!).”
- Author Julie Gardner

“If you like fantasy and want adventure, this book is for you! It is entertaining for adults as well as middle-grade students…Just when you think there's nothing new anyone could offer in a fantasy, these two authors prove you wrong. They have created a very believable new world fraught with danger and excitement at every turn. I couldn't put it down.”
- Dani B

“I love the vivid characters and the way you can picture all the action…I would recommend this book for any age and it is a book that grandparents can buy for their grand kids and know that it is an exciting story and a safe read.”
- Amazon Customer

“A real page turner, loved it. This book is funny and an adventure story for both young and old readers. I'm looking forward to the next book!”
- MJP


amazon
barnes and noble


Excerpt:

THE PIRATES

Hallvard was gallantly dueling the taller pirate, while Ethan and Buzz were hitting the short smelly one with a stick and throwing dirt into his face. Ethan hauled off with all his might and swatted the pirate in the head, knocking him down. The rotund pirate tried to get back up and grab his sword, but stumbled and fell just as Buzz hit him in the face with a giant dirt clod. Buzz grabbed the sword, but the weight of it caused him to fall over. Ethan took it away before Buzz hurt himself.

“It’s clear; let’s go,” Penny said to Verge and Laci. As they exited the woodshed, running for the top of the knoll, Penny motioned for Ethan and Buzz to follow. They sprinted up the hill, with the smelly pirate in pursuit.


Join the Blog Tour Coming October 10th!


mark-frederickson-headshot
Mark Frederickson

Mark was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated UC Santa Barbara with a degree in film and has worked in the film industry for years. He has written several screenplays and had a show optioned by MTV. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Rebecca and his daughter Sara. This is his first novel, and hopefully not his last.






melora-pineda-headshotMelora Pineda

After Melora graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, she worked in the television industry for several years before becoming a library volunteer at her daughters’ school. Her passion for both reading and entertainment inspired her to write. This is her first novel. She currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and a pet bunny and a fish. Oh…never mind, the fish died.






Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/3/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Takhayyal #writingprompt 44: Siren or Saviour?

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.



From Deviantart via Pinterest. Author unknown.



Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·    Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·     Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you and promote your work in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spider Bones - Book Review

Spider Bones is my first read for Kathy Reichs, the author behind the books that created the police/mystery TV series, Bones.

I must say that the series was a lot more exciting than the book. While, I've seen others comment that Spider Bones is not Reich's best. I still felt overall disappointed.

The beginning put me off as I felt that Brennan – or the author or both, I couldn't tell - appeared to be showing off with her French. The novel begins in Quebec, where French is commonly used. But as a reader of English I have no need to know what each place is called in French and what it means in English. I felt it was pointless.

The mystery began as intriguing with a bizarre death, originally may have been ruled as some kind of mistake by a John Lowery. As the novel progresses, there seems to be a link between this case and another. As Brennan finds out that John Lowery had died in the war in Vietnam and was supposedly buried.

So far so good, but Brennan takes up another case in Hawaii, things get confusing, whether in switching between cases or worse when there is a possibility that the cases might be linked.

From there, Spider Bones takes confusing to a whole new level. There were parts that I kept rereading to figure out what I had misunderstood and others where I gave up and thought I'd just make it to the end – which was also confusing.

There were a lot of medical terminology, to the point where I felt that the book is recommended for med students or doctors, but at other times the information was simply written and informative.

"Dead hearts don't pump. Bleeding at a trauma site usually means the victim was alive when injured. No blood usually means the hit was taken postmortem."

I liked that Brennan was often sarcastic. I couldn't be sure whether I liked or disliked her overall in the book.


I honestly had bigger expectations for the Spider Bones. And it is not often that a series (or movie) turns out to be better than the book. But this is such a case.

Overall rating: 2 stars