Sunday, August 30, 2020

Death at the Cafe by Alison Golden – Book Review

Book: Death at the Cafe

(Book 1 in The Reverend Annabelle Dixon Mystery Series)

Author: Alison Golden

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Number of pages: 162 pages

Publication date: 24 October 2015

ASIN: B01759EIJW


Death at the Café is the first book in the Reverend Annabelle Dixon Mystery series written by Alison Golden and my first read in the series as well.

It's easy to fall in love with Annabelle from the opening lines.



"Nothing brought Reverend Annabelle closer to blasphemy than using the London public transport system during rush hour."

She's smart, sleuthing, caring, and funny. It's also cool in a way to have a main character who is member of the cloth and a woman no less.

That said, I was a bit confused by the idea of a woman reverend and the idea of reverends in general. I'm not a Christian and I don't think I've seen a woman reverend amongst Orthodox Christians. But then again I'm no expert. I quickly got over it.

Back to Death at the Café, the book opens with Reverend Annabelle Dixon going to meet a friend of hers, Mary, at a café in London, before the latter heads back to missionary work.

However, when they arrive a woman approaches Mary, hands her a paper and drops dead. Mary is also set to meet a woman named Teresa who will supposedly give her funds for the missionary work.

Once the woman drops dead, Annabelle takes her friend to visit Teresa and discover what is happening.

"Where are we going?"

"Baker Street."

"Home of Sherlock Holmes," Mary added, joviality returning to her voice.

"Perhaps he can help us with this confounding turn of events!"

Soon after the duo locates Teresa, she ends up dead. And guess who isn't happy about this and thinks it's too big a coincidence? The police.

"I don't believe anything in my line of work. I just deal with facts. You have been at the site of two very similar deaths within the past three hours. The woman at the café died from poisoning, and I would bet a large chunk of my retirement fund that this Teresa died from the same poison."

With two deaths, and Mary being framed for them, Annabelle begin sleuthing and questioning people.

Death at the Café is narrated in third person. Although most of the book focuses on Annabelle and her viewpoint, one section – or line - was from another perspective and I felt it was jarring for me.

That said, I loved Annabelle, her pure-heartedness and her determination.

Death at the Café also has some recipes at the end like "Cherishable Cherry Blossom Cupcakes." I'm new to the kitchen but I'm definitely planning on giving this book's yummy treat a try.

Overall, I fell in love with Death at the Café and finished in a day or two. It's fast-paced, enjoyable, and definitely a perfect start to the series.

Overall rating for Death at the Café by Alison Golden: 5 stars

Check out my other reviews for Alison Golden books:

The Case of the Screaming Beauty

The Case of the Hidden Flame

The Case of the Broken Doll



Monday, August 24, 2020

How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months by Patric Morgan – Book Review

This book review is quite different from my other reviews because it relates to my work. You'll find bits in blue italics. These are my personal comments.

 

How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months by Patric Morgan is the book I wanted to read 2 years ago. That said, the book is filled with helpful information and advice on blogging, content writing, and launching a blog.

I found lots of helpful ideas and tips in there that I'm planning to use and experiment with when writing blog content for my freelance clients.

By the way, the full book title is: How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months: A practical and straightforward guide to increasing traffic to your blog in your spare time - and without having to pay for advertising.

While Patric Morgan's blog (Wales on Craic) is a bit different compared to other blogs, his tips and experiments are quite helpful. That said, the part on viral posts is still a bit hazy.

I'm still of the opinion that you can't really create viral posts. You can try, but whether they go viral or not depends on your audience and some ad spend.

How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months is divided into seven parts. Part 2 is where Patric talks about finding a niche. And as a freelance writer, I can tell you that's the hardest thing.

I've been freelancing full-time for almost a year now (had previous freelance gigs in the past but as a translator) and I only discovered the idea of a niche and what it means to narrow down on niches a year ago.

I kept changing and editing my LinkedIn profile (based on the type of working I was getting and exploring) and when I zoomed in on a niche, people started approaching me.

"I always remember my first ever boss telling me that you have to invest to get money back," says Morgan. And I can't agree more.

Before I shifted to freelancing full-time, I was a managing editor and later an editorial manager for different companies. Because budgets were tight, we didn't have training options in these companies.

So, I would constantly encourage my team members to invest in courses (online or offline). Whenever I tried anything on Udemy, I'd send them the courses when they were on sale and tell them which were the good ones.

My advice to any person in the world is "don't stop learning" and that normally involves some investment. It doesn't have to be financial, but investing your time, effort, and energy also pays eventually. And it shows in your work.

There are lots of quotable parts in How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months. If I could I'd like to quote pages 39 & 40 WHOLE! I've bookmarked them for my next blog post and will see how things turn out.

Overall I want to thank Patric Morgan for writing this book. It's short, easy, to the point, and doesn't make over the top promises.

It's about one man's experience with blogging and it's not a "get rich quickly scheme" compared to what you'd often find online.

 

Overall rating for How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months: 4 stars

 

Note: I got a free copy of How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits in 7 Months by Patric Morgan as part of a newsletter subscription.

 

Other non-fiction and self-help book reviews on Nadaness In Motion

Write Your Book in a Flash by Dan Janal

The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blue Print by Alex M.

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan

 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Arrival by Henry Bassett – Book Review

Book: Arrival

(The Black Bear Brotherhood Book 1)

Author: Henry Basset

Number of pages: 35

Publication date: 1 March 2020

 

Synopsis:

A bear, known only as Caver, recounts when his planet was covered in nature and not yet tainted by human touch.

The book has many strong aspects that make the reader think. However, there are some downsides as well.

Arrival by Henry Bassett is a nine-chapter novella about a world of bears that gets invaded by humans.

Since then, humans have branched out from another world and enveloped his planet.

The differences between the two species result in an atmosphere of fear which rips apart the old way of life and enforces the creation of an apparently more civilized one.

However, how much will be lost in the process?

 

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

Arrival is narrated from the first person perspective of Caver, a bear in a world inhabited by bears only – or at least that is what it appears to be because we don't see other animals except the fish that bears hunt and eat.

"I no longer remember my original name; Caver is what they call me and it's one of the few words of theirs that I can process."

It's interesting to see how bears would look at the sounds people make, their voice, what they carry and what they are doing.

Bassett shows human voices as "screeching" from a bear's perspective. That said, I felt the word "screech" was over used in Arrival.

Once the humans invade the bear planet, they force the bears into slavery and take over their resources, laying waste to their forests.

"Polar bears, in flying eggs, who have deformed and thinned bodies?"

Arrival somehow reminded me of George Orwell's Animal Farm, though on a much smaller and different scale.

As Caver is given an axe and forced to chop off trees, he picks a tree and is surprised by this idea of "choice."

"I chose this tree, it was my choice; what a strange term for this forced and designated activity."

The "big brother" or rather "watchful government eyes" theme is particularly present in Bassett's Arrival. There are different groups of humans and we see everything from Caver's eyes.  

"It's the uncertainty that prevents me from being truly at ease with the situation."

Arrival alternates between the present state of bear enslavement and some flashbacks for when the humans first arrived.

Overall, I think Arrival has great potential. The ending isn't amazing but the novella can go much farther.

 

Overall rating: 2.5 stars

Note: I received a free copy of Arrival from its author Henry Basset in exchange for an honest review. This did not, in any way, influence my review.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Trick or Thief by D. E. Haggerty – Spotlight & Blog Tour


Today, I'm featuring a spotlight for Trick or Thief, A Humorous Culinary Cozy Mystery Short Read (Death by Cupcake) by D.E. Haggerty.

The book is sixth in The Death by Cupcake Series.

 

Book: Trick or Thief

Author: D.E. Haggerty

Genre: Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Independently Published
Number of pages (digital edition): 120 pages
ASIN: B0878QF5V9


Synopsis:

A little haunting sounds like innocent fun until a ghost plunders your stockroom.

Kristie is convinced ghosts don’t exist until food starts disappearing without a trace from the Youth Center storage. There are zero clues as to who’s been inside the building. The security guard hasn’t seen a thing, and the security tapes are mysteriously blank. When the ghost widens his hocus-pocus to include Kristie’s office, the gals of Callie’s Cakes jump in to find the culprit before Kristie can get in a whole mess of spooky trouble.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes expose the ghost before Kristie’s facility is destroyed?

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are.


About D. E. Haggerty

D.E. Haggerty is actually just plain old Dena, but she thinks using initials makes her sound sophisticated and maybe even grown up. She was born and raised in the U.S. but considers herself a Dutchie and not only because it sounds way cooler.

After a stint in the U.S. Army, she escaped the US to join her husband in Holland. She fled Holland over ten years ago when she couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more.

Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany didn’t do it for her either. When the hubby got a job in Istanbul, she jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. She’s now back in Holland, which she considers home. Sorry, Mom.

Connect with D. E. Haggerty via her Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon author page, Pinterest, BookBub author page, and LinkedIn. You can also sign up for her Newsletter.

 

Keep up with the rest of the Trick or Thief blog tour for book reviews, author interviews, and more

20 August: I Read What You Write – Book Review & Character Guest Posts & I'm All About Books – Spotlight

21 August: Nadaness In Motion & Hearts & Scribbles – Spotlights

22 August: Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews - Spotlight

23 August: Christy's Cozy Corners – Book Review & Guest Post

24 August: Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlight

25 August: FUONLYKNEW & Readeropolis – Spotlights

26 August: Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – Spotlight

27 August: Books to the Ceiling  - Guest Post

28 August: MJB Reviewers – Spotlight & My Reading Journeys – Book Review

29 August: Here's How It Happened – Spotlight

30 August: Literary Gold – Spotlight & Rosepoint Publishing – Book Review

31 August: Socrates Book Reviews – Spotlight

1 September: Thoughts in Progress & Reading Authors Network – Spotlights & ebook addicts – Book Review

2 September: Gimme The Scoop Reviews – Recipe & Baroness' Book Trove – Book Review

 

Update: Here's my book review of Trick or Thief by D. E. Haggerty

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Takhayyal writing prompt 108: The Beast

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


It's been a couple of months since I was able to post a writing prompt. Life is getting back to normal – in a way.  So, I hope this new picture will bring you out of your shell and help you get creative.

Note: This image is not mine. Found via Deviantart.com.

Look at the image and let it speak on the page.



 

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, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.

 

General rules:

·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.

·  Use the image for inspiration and write your piece in the comments below or publish it on your blog and leave the link to it in the comments

·        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 or tag me @NadanessSobhi and I'll retweet you :)

 

Let's IMAGINE!


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide – Excerpt & Guest Post

 


Today, I'm featuring an interesting kind of book and novel. I want to introduce you to Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide. I won't go into detail but will leave you with a short introduction and guest post by the publisher ForgeFiction and an excerpt from the novel, which was published on 29 July 2020.

So here it is... 

 

Writing is often thought of as a lonely activity, a singular person sitting behind a typewriter, paper and pen, MacBook, or what have you.

But one book has set out on a mission to change that. Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide is an epic fantasy novel created by over 40 people.

 

It tells the story of Ürbon, treasure-hungry raider of the western seas, who unwittingly finds himself chosen as champion by Bjarl, the rune axe of legend. Stepping forth on a quest he never asked for is Ürbon truly the one to vanquish the approaching darkness? Or could the legendary axe be mistaken, dooming Faladon to its fated destruction.

The idea to create a collaborative fantasy novel took root at ForgeFiction, a platform for collaborative writing. It allows for its users to add to a book, either by writing a chapter or adding elements to the stories universe such as locations, characters, races, etc. 

Uniting together to collaborate on this book, the creators of Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide together form the Ruinsong Order. The first novel in a trilogy is available on Faladon.com and Amazon.

 

 

Excerpt from Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide

As Ürbon reached the middle, he found the mysterious object to be a block of ice. How did a block of ice come to be in the heart of a volcano? And how did it not simply melt on the spot? Ürbon could not know. He gazed in wonder at the mysterious thing, marveling at how it kept its form despite the heat. What also gained his attention was a handle sticking out of the block. Upon further inspection, he noticed the transparency of the ice and a curious shape within. He thought he could see a large horned head and rows of teeth bared at him. The edges and hairline cracks of the icy container amplified a certain power.

Ürbon did not know why he grasped the protruding hilt. It could easily have been either an act of fate or simply the enactment of childish fantasy; the hilt being the arm of a blade of yore, and he, Ürbon, the legendary hero to lay claim to the fable.

But no amount of fable or legend could have prepared him for this.

As his hands gripped the leather, a white flash engulfed his vision. He tightened his grip to keep himself steady. An ear-splitting crack rang through his ears, the white flash growing stronger. He closed his eyes to escape the blinding light, but it was no use. He felt himself engulfed by it, lost in its freezing glare. He shuddered from the icy light, and, for the first time, Ürbon felt fear, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping fear. 

The flash dissipated as suddenly as it began, and Ürbon opened his eyes, still dazed from the blinding light, to find himself in darkness once more. The icy blue glow was also gone, and where once was a block of ice now was an empty space. Yet he still held the hilt in his hand, free of its icy lock.

What was now in his hands was an axe of ice and steel, the haft wrapped in soft leather. He recognized the steel of the axe’s pole. It was a metal used by Jödmun craftsmen, a formula of steel and a rock substrate, creating a virtually indestructible material. What was more impressive, however, was the ice sculpted atop the pole, a visage of a wyrm, whereas the wyrm’s fiery breath was of steel, forming the blade.

Ürbon knew this axe but could not believe it to be in his hands. There was only one such weapon in existence. Bjarl, the rune axe of legend, crafted by the greatest blacksmith of the Jödmun, Volstagg the Mad Smith himself.

He looked at the axe in awe. He could not avert his gaze, its wonder and beauty captivating him. This was a true legend within his grasp. How it ever came to be here, so far from home, he could not fathom.

His eyes barely tore away from the legendary weapon as a scorching fire erupted in the darkness. Ürbon saw red and orange flames, coiling and twirling around a great horned head. It rose amidst a rumble of rocks. Two blazing eyes glared at him as its mouth opened in a snarl, the flames burning ever stronger. Sharp black scales peeked out from behind tendrils of flame which flowed out from a large jaw lined with pearlescent teeth.

As if one legend within this cavern was not enough, Ürbon held back a gasp as yet another rose from the darkness. Any Jödmun would know well what creature this was, for only one could breathe flame, and they were revered as the most terrifying yet majestic of all. It's cold-blue eyes stared as Ürbon stood his ground, holding Bjarl firmly in his grip. Fear would only inflame a full-grown dragon. 


Purchase Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide via Amazon.


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