August 23, 2018
Fighting to Win is the first book in the Elite Book Series created by Nicole Flockton.
What star swimmer Mitch Osborn and World Champion diver Julia Ashland have is the real thing. Then, a scandal turns Julia’s world upside down. Not only does she need to toughen up and prove her innocence but she also needs to protect the one she loves, even if it means breaking his heart and hers in the process.
Now, it’s the Olympic Games and Julia comes face to face with Mitch. With the scandal still not far behind her, she is torn into several pieces. A piece wants to prove her worth in the diving team, another piece wants to protect Mitch at all cost, and still another longs for him and what they had.
With the backdrop of the 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016, this is an enjoyable book about love, for sports and for another person. The author describes the extreme workout and strenuous training that athletes undergo in the name of their beloved sports. Moreover, she portrays not only the hardships they have to face and the sacrifices they have to make but also the reward that awaits the winner.
The author did a good job in presenting the story by starting with the scandal already over. It makes the book so much more interesting in that a question hangs in every meaningful word, spiteful comment and hopeful thinking. In addition to the interesting premise, the author created a set of well-developed, admirable and endearing characters. Both Julia and Mitch are tough, passionate and dedicated athletes, but while Julia is selfless, Mitch proves himself to be understanding and forgiving, qualities that not all men possess.
However, I found the plot, somehow, predictable. With no shocking and unexpected revelations, the story seems too simple and traditional, which may be a good thing for a certain set of readers. Moreover, I noticed some errors within the entire book which are thankfully very few.
August 21, 2018
Hello, there! I just want to share another exciting news to all bookworms out there. Ms. Victoria Randall, author of the Children in Hiding Book Series, a suspenseful and exciting dystopian thriller, just released another book last month, The Witchstone.
The Witchstone is an adult dark fairy tale that features an exceptionally beautiful witch and an enigmatic wizard. I have the honor of reading it and featuring it here on this blog.
The Witchstone was actually published in 1974 and though the author made slight revisions, the old and the new versions are essentially the same. What more, Ms. Randall also released TheWizard’s Gift, the backstory that will shed some light on questions readers might have about the stone and how it came to the witch’s possession.
Ms, Randall is also the author of The Golden Helm which I also featured here on this blog.
Q. Do you have a special ritual to set yourself in writing mode?
A. No, I just snatch moments when I can have relative quiet to think. Between my husband watching Spanish novellas which usually feature screaming or wildly weeping women and my grandson needing help, those moments are rare. Usually they are late at night.
But I keep a pen and notebook at my bedside, because inspiration frequently strikes at night.
Q. When did you realize you wanted to be a book author?
A. I don’t describe myself that way. I just enjoy writing books. I needed to make a serious living, and not being Charles Dickens, chose a more secure career in nursing. Besides, you can’t swing a cat without hitting an author, whereas nurses are in demand and useful. If you had stomach pain which would you rather have next door, a writer or a nurse?
Q. How do you come up with names of your characters?
A. Sometimes they just appear out of nowhere. Other times I go through lists of baby names.
Q. Do you prepare and follow an outline?
A. Absolutely. Every time I try to pants it, I end up with pages of stuff that go nowhere. At least I need to know how it ends. I usually read the end of books also, because I like to be prepared if it’s going to end tragically.
Q. Do you ever consider co-writing a book? If yes, with whom?
A. I’m afraid not. I know few other authors in person, and those I know don’t write scifi or fantasy.
Q. What is the best thing about being a writer?
A. An occasional fan letter is nice. But I enjoy the process and the challenge of exploring ideas and worlds in succinct yet evocative ways.
Q. As a book author yourself, do you have a book that you consider your favorite. If yes, what is it?
A. My favorite books are Charles Williams’ spiritual thrillers, and the best of those is The Place of the Lion. Although his style is obscure at times, he manages to combine exciting adventures, such as dealing with an escaped lion, with supernatural elements such as Plato’s Ideas being real creatures.
Q. What are your purposes in writing books?
A. My purposes are first, to entertain, second to present a Christian worldview in well-written fiction. I try not to be in-the-reader’s-face about it, but it’s just there in the background and the assumptions.
Q. How do you get over writer’s block?
A. I haven’t really had the problem of writer’s block. If I know where the story is going, I start writing it. It will often be clumsy and incoherent at first, but you can always go back and revise. In fact, you must go back and revise, but at least you can see in what direction you’re heading.
Q. If The Witchstone is ever turned into a movie, who would you like to play Sibele and Fenrulf?
A. Strangely enough when it first came out, there was talk that Warner Bros was interested in the film rights. I wasn’t enthusiastic, because I was afraid they might make a horror film out of it because of all the dark elements in it. But if it were, I think David Giuntoli, from Grimm, would make a good Fenrulf, and Scarlett Johansson a lovely Sibele. It won’t happen, but what fun to fantasize!
That was great! Yes, and it's not only so much fun to fantasize it is also absolutely free!
Thank you very much Ms. Victoria Randall (@Entlover27)! I’m looking forward to reading more of your books.
You may check out the other books of Ms. Randall featured on this blog:
August 18, 2018
No Peace After War: Twenty-Six Short Stories and Poems Illustrating Life After Combat is a collection of moving and unforgettable stories and poems depicting the life of soldiers, and those of their loved ones after military service, written by Claire St. Hilaire.
With a foreword by SPC Dennis Murphy, the entire book collection is told in alternating perspectives between first and third person. The stories are arranged in alphabetical order, with Abandoned being the first and Zenith being the last. The author uses descriptive words lavishly portraying not only vividly detailed scenes but also the profound and innermost feelings and emotions of characters.
The stories and poems depict the pain, the suffering, the guilt, the nightmares and references to untold horrors that plague a former soldier’s nights. Moreover, they portray the anguish suffered by widowed wives, orphaned children, bereaved girlfriends as well as the sorrow of the family from witnessing the changed behavior and the entire personality of the returning warriors. Furthermore, they told not only of death but also of life of service and honor. Mostly importantly, however, the stories/poems glorify the sacrifices of the veterans so that we, civilians, would continue to live in peace.
This is a touching and moving book that gives us a glimpse of a world we know nothing about and which we will never understand. I particularly like the stories: Betrayed, Guts, Knowledge, Left Behind and Zenith.
The author also includes a Crisis Information chapter for veterans in crisis.
August 12, 2018
World, Incorporated: A Modern Dystopia is a suspenseful political thriller written by Tom Gariffo.
Agent Sliver is the personal covert operative to the CEO of World, Incorporated, one of the five supercorporations that practically run the country in the year 2058. With a hazy past and a dicey future, Agent Sliver lives in the Chrome Wind, an airship with several state-of-the-art systems including a talking computer that serves as his companion and the closest he gets for a friend.
Agent Sliver’s life is ostensibly simple. He works for the CEO of World, Incorporated by eliminating possible threats to the supercorporation in exchange for a lucrative compensation package which include the Chrome Wind, an indeterminate credit points for his purchases, a supply of Serum that he very much needed to function, and an outstanding promise of revenge against the CEO of a rival supercorporation. Then, an unexpected turn in one of his missions disrupts his routinary existence.
This is an exciting and suspenseful thriller that depicts the possible future of the United States of America. Personally, I find it well conceptualized albeit a little complex which other readers may find more exciting. The writing style varies from casual and conversational with a predominantly sarcastic tone to journalistic and academic. The major character is well-developed with a sense of humor and relatable need for revenge. However, other readers may have mixed or even conflicting emotions toward Agent Sliver. I, for one, find him compassionate one instance and callous the next. Finally, though I prefer it to be more conclusive, I enjoyed the ending of this book which somehow promises more from the author.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable read with its shocking revelations and unexpected turns of events. However, I find it too detailed for my taste, thus a bit verbose. Though this is generally a good thing, other readers may find it taxing. Moreover, I noticed errors within the entire book which, though only a few, may detract from the overall reading experience.
Congratulations to Tom Gariffo (@TomGariffo) on such a great book!
World, Incorporated was OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on August 1st 2018. You may check it out at Online BookClub.
August 2, 2018
Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the fifth book in the exciting young adult fiction book series Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency created by Iain Reading.
Kitty is in Rome. With her trusty De Havilland Beaver seaplane tied up at a small marina in a tiny fishing village on the coast, Kitty, after so many adventures, finally meets again with Charlie.
After feasting on the best ravioli, enjoying an authentic Italian dessert and an unfortunate encounter with a wheelbarrow full of walnuts, Charlie and Kitty meet new friends. And before the night is over, they make an astonishing discovery, that of a stolen Van Gogh painting hiding in plain sight, or probably more.
This is another exciting installment in the delightful Kitty Hawk book series. It features numbers stations, decades-old cryptic radio broadcasts, unbreakable mathematical codes, decoding pads, coded and hidden messages, and notes on a musical scale. Moreover, the story takes the readers not only to the streets and alleys of the eternal city of Rome but also to the historical city of Nuremberg, the former Nazi Concentration Camp of Dachau and the breathtakingly beautiful old town of Salzburg with references to the Cathedral of Light and the famous classic musical film the Sound of Music.
As with the first four books, this installment is filled with puzzles, riddles, mysteries, and of course, chasing scenes. Though I find this particular book less suspenseful than the previous one Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic, it is just as informative and as interesting.
Finally, while the most important part of the book for me is, and always will be, the information imparted and integrated in the story, my favorite is that part about Kitty and her realization regarding the movie Sound of Music. I find it so hilarious that I think I will never get over it, ever.