Recent Silence

Hey everyone,

Sorry about my recent silence over the past several weeks.

I had bilateral knee replacement surgery on August 9th from which I’m still recovering.

I hope to begin posting reviews again with the next few weeks.

Stay tuned!

Two Roads to Paradise

Two Roads to ParadiseTwo Roads to Paradise (by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith) deals with a very divided America. This second offering in the Be Careful What You Wish For series continues where The Way Out left off. The world is recovering from a pandemic caused by a genetically modified corn that was originally constructed to become biofuel for a deep-space mission to Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri galaxy. But since it was quick growing, the new strain of corn was used to feed the burgeoning population as well. The downside of this new supposedly wonder food showed up a few years later with reduced live births and fewer viable male babies.

Seems the corn negatively affected the Y chromosome. So, more birth defects and infant deaths. With the return of the Alpha Centauri I, in The Way Out, after a strange 40-year absence, hopes for a cure and vaccine had been high, aided by the unaffected male crew members. But no such luck.

In Two Roads to Paradise, it’s now about three years after the events portrayed in The Way Out. Hunter Young, one of the crew members on the Alpha Centauri I, is now an official in President Margaret Marshall’s administration. He’s also a member of the K Group, a resistance group be trying to rectify the cure and also de-radicalize the country, which had grown ever more divided along red and blue lines.

A major part of Two Roads to Paradise covers a trip Hunter Young takes to meet Lydia Statham. Statham is a former major in the US Army and a leader in the resistance. Travel is tough because of tension and border patrols between the various disgruntled red and blue sections. Thus, he travels by water along part of the Great American Loop. He then crosses northern Mexico by car to get to Nevada.

Young, Latham and other resistance members attempt to steal a new cure from a group who want to only provide it to certain groups of white people. All does not go as planned with the resistance’s heist. What is to become of the K Group? Can anybody calm the frayed nerves on both sides of the country’s divided population?

Gordon Jensen is spot on with his characters. One can see Hunter Young, the man of action, twitching and wiggling a foot as he sits through another interminable DC meeting. Lydia Statham, although polite and friendly, is still very much a retired major and a good leader in the resistance. In his travels from Washington, DC, to Nevada, Young engages with well drawn characters who stand out as individuals.

Jensen covers a few current hot topics, such as pandemics and how the government handles information releases and acceptance of a new vaccine. Another topic is the tension between blue and red states. Jensen heightens the tensions. Groups of states band together into different regional zones based on the predominant ideology of each alliance. Canada and the northern part of Mexico are now called The Americas, rather than just the United States of America. Jensen’s outlook may well be very prescient.

Overall, a well-written work. One exception in an enjoyable read is a rather dull dissertation on the politics of the territorial divisions.

I received a free copy of this work from ireadbooktours.com in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post – Donna Roe Daniell

Guest Post – Donna Roe Daniell

Although I will not be reviewing Ms. Daniell’s new book, I still wanted to pass on the following information.

Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe DaniellThree Pillars of Personal Transformation Await You: Are you Ready?
by Donna Roe Daniell

How do you know when it is time to make a change in your life, to change a behavior, to switch gears and move in a healthier direction, to let go of a relationship, to notice your pain? The first pillar of finding this discomfort in your being, in your behaviors is to slow down, to do less and actually take time to notice what is happening. This step of noticing is mindfulness —paying attention to what is going on in this present moment and examining it closely. Can you stop and pay attention and allow yourself to be curious instead of judgmental, critical or self-blaming?

This brings us to the second pillar of personal transformation: Self-Compassion. Finding a way to be kind to yourself and patient and loving when you are struggling with a difficult situation, feeling a lot of pain, moving really fast to get through something, facing a shadow part of yourself rearing its ugly head is self-compassion: bringing in care to yourself when you are struggling. This also takes being willing to stop and notice what is happening, taking that first pillar of mindfulness to the next step of being kind and caring to yourself when you totally need it — instead of hoping you’ll get kindness from someone else soon. You can give it to yourself and hold yourself gently as you let your feelings arise and fall.

When you create this kind of healing container for yourself with these first two pillars: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, you are ready to utilize the third Pillar of Personal Transformation: IFS. Internal Family Systems Therapy is a healing roadmap and deep dive into yourself and all the parts of you that keep you moving through each and every day. It’s a total path to self-awareness and self-love and along the way you get to heal yourself too. It is a safe way to get an intimate connection with your feelings and your behaviors and to love yourself into a healthier place! You can learn about IFS from books and many resources, but the best way is to engage in working with an IFS Therapist or Coach who can empower you and hold you in Self-Energy and Self-Love until you can do it for yourself. You can also explore it in a safe container like my retreat.

And you can explore and develop all three of these three Pillars of Personal Transformation at my FALL RETREAT this October 28-31 and again October 26-30, 2022. Can you give yourself four days and three nights to just listen and allow these tools to manifest? Imagine what kind of shifts might bubble up and what layers might be lifted?

In addition, all three of these Pillars are also explained through the stories in my memoir: A Midlife Voyage to Transformation. When you read this book you will be able to understand more how to feel your feelings and experience them in your body. You will also be able to learn about the 5 Stages of the Midlife Voyage to Transformation. See what stage you are on in your midlife voyage right now—It will help you get so much more out of the retreat.
Are you ready? This is the moment to take action for yourself and start with purchasing my book on Amazon. Watch for my WORKBOOK/ BOOK GROUP GUIDE to A Midlife Voyage to Transformation coming out in 2022.

A Midlife Voyage to Transformation

 

 

Join us for this tour from July 25 to August 5, 2022!Book Details:

Book Title:  A Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe Daniell
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  233 pages
Genre: Memoir / Women’s / Personal Transformation Self-Help
Publisher:  Mindful Books
Release date:  June 2021
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

Can You Step into Your Power and Birth a New You at Midlife?

YES! Midlife, and the major events that encompass the ages of 35-65, can be devastating or powerful for women. But we can choose to be awakened at this powerful time of life. This memoir is the story of Donna Daniell’s healing journey through the five stages of the midlife voyage-Lost at Sea; Finding a Mooring; Deep Diving; Rebirthing; and the New You-to find self-love, resilience, and feminine wisdom. It is also a roadmap for other women on the midlife journey, charting a course that transmutes challenges into inner rebirth and stepping into the power of the Wisewoman.

FIND YOUR OWN INNER STRENGTH – TAKE THE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION!

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon
add to goodreads

 

Meet the Author:Donna Roe Daniell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has had a private
practice in the Boulder/Longmont area since 2005 called Balance Your Life Coaching & Psychotherapy. She has offered family therapy and individual trauma treatment using mind/body trauma tools such as mindfulness, yoga and IFS through her psychotherapy practice. Since 2015, she has focused her coaching practice for women in midlife on unique programs to specifically empower women going through major midlife challenges to grieve and rebirth themselves through the 5 stages of her Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Today, through her website, Donna offers on-line courses, Talks and live workshops, mp3 guided practices to support this book, and adventure and mindfulness retreats in nature for women wanting support to wake up, become unstuck, and find a transformative healing path through life’s challenges.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub ~ goodreads


Tour Schedule:
July 25 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 26 – Locks Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 27 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
July 28 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book review / giveaway
July 29 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
July 29 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Aug 1 –
Mostly Mystery Reviews – book review / guest post
Aug 3 – Books for Books – book review
Aug 4 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review / author interview / giveaway
Aug 4 –
 Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Aug 5 – Novels Alive – book review / giveaway
Aug 5 – Kam’s Place – book review / author interview
Aug 5 – Mel_literate – book review / guest post

Enter the Giveaway:

Midlife Voyage to Transformation Book Tour Giveaway

Gordon Jensen – Guest Post

The Way OutBeing a writer—as in a professional writer who has published some work—seems like a glamorous, elusive way of life to anyone who doesn’t understand that if you find that you express yourself best in written form, you are a writer. And you don’t have to be published, by a big publisher or on your own, to be able to call yourself that. I wrote for decades, even published other people’s books that had a lot of my writing in them, before I let myself say, “I am a writer.” It always felt audacious and risky to claim that. I guess maybe it was a bit of imposter syndrome. But the moment I allowed that, the moment I became brave enough to really see myself that way, was the moment my writing went to an entirely different level and my career began to flourish.

I believe being a writer means you think in words more than images. That’s not to say you don’t see images in your mind, but that you are more focused on what words can best describe what you see. How can you conjure that same image for another person by describing it when they can’t actually see it? The same is true with feelings, emotions, and sensations. What combination of words can accurately and most effectively convey what is intangible and inside of you? The beauty of language is that it has that power. A Polish independent bookstore created an ad campaign a number of years ago with the slogan, “Words Create Worlds.” No truer words have ever been strung together, in my opinion.

The Way Out – Interview

The Way OutEarlier this evening I posted a review about The Way Out by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith and Gordon Thomas.

Following is an interview with the authors conducted by Lauren Carr, Senior Virtual Book Tour Coordinator and owner of iRead Book Tours.

How did you do research for your book?

Cara: With each book I began with an outline of the chapters so I had a sense of what I wanted to cover, and then I made a list of the possible subjects that would require research and worked my way through them using the internet to access websites created by scientific organizations, military, government, history, etc. On some topics, I consulted individuals I knew or had access to and asked them questions or gave them segments to review to offer critiques of how information was incorporated. For the pieces that were entirely speculative—where something doesn’t exist yet—I gathered as much existing information as possible and projected where it could lead, and then looked for research that suggests the projections are plausible.

Which was the hardest character to write?

Cara: In the case of The Way Out, the narrative voice was the hardest to decide. At the time of writing, we didn’t know whether Hunter would emerge as the hero of the series because there was such a full cast, so I didn’t want to use his voice for the narration. However, I also didn’t want to use an omniscient observer narrative approach because there were so many surprises and plot twists that I didn’t want a narrator who knew what was coming. It was important for the narrator to be learning about all of this right along with the reader as it unfolded. That is how we ended up with the interview style for that book.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Pursue a life in creative arts. There are no guarantees, except that you will be criticized. But, if you are willing to lean into it and take the risk anyway, the reward is an incredible feeling of fulfillment.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Gordy: I’m retired, so now I have the time to write.

How long have you been writing?

Gordy: Only a few years. The Way Out was my first book, but I have thought about the story for years.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Gordy: This is a fun question for me to answer as I am a history buff. I rarely read novels. I mostly read history books. My top 12 events in world history that I would like to experience/participate in and/or live through are (not in any particular order): events leading up to and after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea’s journey across the US and back; the Titanic voyage; Alexander the Great’s campaign; Columbus’s trip to the New World; Genghis Kahn Conquests; Marco Polo’s trip; Ibn Battatah’s trip; Magellan’s trip around the world; Moses’ leading the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land; Napoleon’s expedition from France to Moscow and back; To be in the thick of the group of the Founding Fathers of the US during the writing of America’s Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights.

The Way Out

The Way OutThe Way Out by Gordon Jensen, with C. Highsmith and G. Thomas, begins in the near future, 2025. The Alpha Centauri I is the first manned spaceship to be sent to the planet Proxima b, in the Alpha Centauri galaxy, 4.24 light years. All is going well on what would have been a ten-year mission (measured in earth time) until the spaceship encounters increased energy pulling them towards what is assumed to be a black hole. Forty years later, the spaceship appears and plummets into the ocean. After a short prologue on board the spaceship, the rest of the story is told in the form of interviews conducted by a documentarian-journalist who talks with a NASA employee who communicated with the spaceship the day of its return to Earth and major crew members.

Their arrival dispels the idea that the spaceship had been lost after entering what everyone thought was a black hole. The interviews with the crew illuminate the cool, guarded reception the crew received upon being rescued from the sea after plunging to Earth. No hugs and kisses with loved ones. No ticker tape parades. Why?

Apparently, things had changed significantly between 2025 and 2065. Fewer men, more women in power, what else had changed? Global population had fallen to just over 2.5 billion people. Why? Seemingly, when eaten, the genetically modify organism (GMO) corn used as biofuel for the spaceship interacted with the male Y chromosome and rendered it inert. This became another viral pandemic. Consequently, fewer babies were born, and even fewer of them were males.

New World Order?

Think about the world with no sports teams because of insufficient males to compete. Or a world with reduced digital and electronic communications because of a war that broke out fighting over who would control the supply of the new corn prior to the recognition of its drawbacks and repercussions. Think of the decrease in population where most survivors migrate towards metropolitan areas away from the devastation caused in agricultural areas based on trying to destroy the new corn with its ominous side effects.

The near-future Earth world created by Gordon Jensen has many of the same problems as our present-day one. Scarce resources, and fights over those resources, are still all too real. Unconscionable actions deemed necessary by the government “for the greater good” are taken or suggested that affect the human rights of the spaceship crew. Pandemics still rage and vaccines are still viewed as problematic by some of the population. Conspiracy theory alarmists would have a field day with everything carried within the vaccine in Jensen’s created world.

I enjoyed this fictional world and the characters within it. However, as stated previously, the story moves forward by means of interviews with the major characters. This is an interesting concept. On the other hand, vivid action and suspense are rather subdued. Everything is relayed to the reader second-hand and is seen through limited viewpoints. However, we get to meet each important character and learn their foibles up close.

I recommend The Way Out and look forward to reading Two Roads to Paradise, the second book in Gordon Jensen’s Be Careful What You Ask For series.

I received a free copy of this book from ireadbooktours.com in exchange for an honest review.

The Way Out
by Gordon Jensen
with Cara Highsmith and Gordon Thomas
© 2018

Q and A with A. A. Abbott

Lies at Her Door by A. A. AbbottEarlier today I reviewed Lies at Her Door by A. A. Abbott.

The following is a Q&A with the author conducted by Lauren Carr, Senior Virtual Book Tour Coordinator and owner of iread Book Tours.

Why the pen name “AA Abbott”?
It was a shameless attempt to place my books right at the front of your bookshelves! I’ve seen from surveys that roughly half of readers file their books alphabetically. Others might arrange them by size or color. My system is more basic: I confess that my house overflows with books, and they’re shoehorned into crannies everywhere.

Do you write about what you know?
I was certainly inspired by real life, especially when a sinkhole appeared in a nearby garden. Like Lucy Freeman in “Lies at Her Door”, I live in a tall, thin house in the English city of Bristol. My home is part of a gracious old terrace painted white. I think of it as resembling a wedding cake. However, although I draw on my own life for inspiration, Lucy is nothing like me. She is much younger, for a start! I can assure you, too, that “my” sinkhole was devoid of skeletons. Lucy, her neighbors and the crescent where they live are very much fictional.

How do you research your books?
For Lies at Her Door, I read manuals on British police procedure and sent copious questions to retired police detectives, forensic specialists and a fellow writer who lives in France. (At one point in the book, the British cops have to get information from their counterparts in France.) A former detective also read my first draft and pointed out my mistakes. I am hugely grateful to all my helpers for giving their time so generously.

What’s the best advice you had from your editor on Lies at Her Door?
My editor, Katharine D’Souza, is also a writer. I’d recommend her book, “Park Life”, to all women over the age of forty. She is incredibly good at describing her characters’ emotions and she urged me to focus on Lucy’s feelings in particular. Thanks to her, we can taste Lucy’s chocolate, feel her sugar rush and sympathize with her guilt.

You publish a dyslexia-friendly edition of all your books. Why?
All my books are published in ebook and conventional paperback formats. Although I’m not dyslexic, some of my relatives are, and accessibility is important to me. As an indie author, I can publish different editions easily, so I chose to have dyslexia-friendly versions printed. They use a large sans serif font and are super-easy to read. One of my books (“Bright Lies”) is also available as an audiobook.

Where to Find Lies at Her Door and other books by A. A. Abbott

Read Lies at Her Door free with Kindle Unlimited, or buy it in ebook, paperback, hardback, large print or dyslexia-friendly print. Follow author AA Abbott on Twitter and Facebook, and find out more about her at https://aaabbott.co.uk/.

 

Lies at Her Door

Lies at Her DoorLies at Her Door, by A. A. Abbott, seems to be a novel dealing with characters whose lives are not what they seem or had envisioned. Who, if anyone, is telling the truth? The mystery at the center seems to highlight what’s missing from the lives of Neil Slater and Lucy Freeman. And even Sebastian and Dan Freeman. Lucy wishes she was thinner and not responsible for the care of her invalid mother. Lucy feels unloved—her mother calls her a pig and fat, and otherwise derides her daughter. Jennifer and Sebastian, Lucy’s parents used to deride her for the inability to keep a pet alive for even a short while. But Lucy cooks for the household and helps dress and assist her mother since her mother contracted Parkinson’s. Why the derision of a daughter who is competent, kind, and at least nominally pretty? Is something else at work?

Why does Dan, Lucy’s brother, stay away from home? Is it just that he enjoys the superstar lifestyle since his band became popular? Or is there something more sinister? Why does he live alone with just a bodyguard?

Neil wishes his girlfriend, Gemma, would move in with him. But Gemma professes that she loves living in the country. Neil’s job as a detective keeps him in Bristol.

Jason Jardine, one of Dan’s fellow band members, goes missing. Lucy even gets blamed for Jason’s disappearance. Then Jason’s skeleton is found in a collapsed cellar only accessible from the Freeman house. When Lucy finds her mother’s diaries while clearing off a bookshelf, she hopes to find out the truth of what happened. But Sebastian disposes of the diaries before Lucy can read them. Why?

Why is Lucy Freeman the nexus in the mystery of Jason’s death? Neil think Lucy is the murderer. Why? Does Neil even remember that Lucy babysat him once when he was four? And supposedly gave him a drug-laced brownie? Drugs meant for the members of Dr. Sweet, Dan’s band. Was Lucy even aware of the drugs in the brownies? Why does Lucy remember almost nothing from the last time she saw Jason?

Lies at Her Door is a slow, but inexorable crawl to the denouement in the search for Jason’s killer. Lucy is a well-drawn character. Her father, a professor, is fairly well drawn. Jennifer, Lucy’s mother is just a shell of a woman for the majority of the novel due to her illness. But she impacts the story, nonetheless. The plot, although a bit slow, benefits from Abbott’s tight, straight on prose. Alternating the narrative from the perspective of both Lucy and Neil provides more information than would otherwise have been possible.

This was a fairly good read.

I received a free copy of this book from ireadbooktours.com in exchange for an honest review.

Lies at Her Door
By A. A. Abbott
© 2022
Perfect City Press

The Beached Ones

The Beached OnesWhat would it be like if everyone thought you were dead? What if people walked by you and didn’t seem to notice you? A few people, like your ex-girlfriend, Jolene, and her new boyfriend, Brent, can see you. But Isabella, the medium, can’t. You seem solid enough to yourself. Normal functions work—you can eat, drink and wear clothes. You swear you are alive and well. But one moment you’re at the ocean helping beached whales and the next you’re lying by railroad tracks; then you’re in the Midwest. With no idea how you moved from place to place. Welcome to the dystopian world of Daniel Shepard in The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story.

Story keeps the reader off balance by inserting flashbacks of Daniel’s earlier life in a single-parent, dysfunctional household. Daniel escapes that environment by becoming a motocross stunt rider. One of his current desires is to get to San Francisco to meet his younger brother, Tony. The other is to reclaim Jolene.

I never really became involved with the characters in this novel. They all seemed like chimeras. Daniel seemed the most solid, alive character even though he apparently died from an accident at a motocross show prior to the beginning of the novel. Ghostly as he is, Daniel is the anchor holding the lives of those within his sphere together. Daniel feels responsible for everyone who touches his world, no matter how tangentially. That includes Trisha, a teenager who he doesn’t know, who commits suicide in a parking lot while Daniel stands helplessly nearby.

Straightforward or Beached?

Are our lives as straightforward as we would like to believe? Do we absolutely know where we’re headed at any given point? Or are we pulled this way and that? Do we live a vertiginous life as Daniel does in both human and spirit form?

Are the beached whales that Daniel attempts to save at the beginning of the novel synonymous with, and representative of, those humans in his life whom he also tries to save? Hmm, read The Beached Ones and draw your own conclusions.