Two Novellas: Quinn Lydia

Two Novellas: Quinn LydiaTwo Novellas: Quinn Lydia highlights JC Norton’s exceptional ability at drawing likeable, well-defined, intelligent characters. Both novellas are character driven and develop in a limited setting. “Quinn” develops mostly in his house and studio; “Lydia” mostly on an expeditionary cruise ship, with a few exceptions in each story.

“Quinn” focuses on what may happen when someone is told they have a terminal illness. Such a death sentence descends on Quinn Evans, an artist and professor. How do you live and what plans do you make? How do you tell your co-workers and family?

“Lydia” follows Lydia O ‘Brien on an expedition cruise to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Divorced, Lydia isn’t necessarily looking for a long-term relationship. Her life as a photographer engulfs her completely in a warm cocoon. Then, meeting Maurice unsettles her to a degree and rocks her boat, figuratively. In her mid-thirties and financially secure, does she need or want a relationship with a partner who admits he is bisexual?

Quinn and Lydia drive their stories forward. They both are personable and likeable. One can very much wish to be a part of their circle of friends. Secondary characters such as Quinn’s ex-wife and son, and Lydia’s friend, Maurice, enhance the story in a positive way. Upbeat but not sugar-coated, even when dealing with death, both of the stories in Two Novellas: Quinn Lydia were a joy to read.

I will be reading more of JC Norton’s work later in the year, such as Avenging Angels, the next in the Stone Ayers series, and Christine’s Cruise. (See my reviews of Orca and Scot Free, the first two Stone Ayers books.)

Two Novellas: Quinn, Lydia
by JC Norton
© 2022

Drums of War

Drums of WarThe tension that was building between the Parliament (led by the Puritans) and King Charles 1st in Michael Ward’s Thomas Tallant series boils over in his newest addition, The Drums of War. (See my reviews on his first two Tallant novels, The Rags of Time and The Wrecking Storm). Chaos in London’s streets and elsewhere is a main weapon of Parliament’s supporters, at least so far. Often brutal chaos erupts – breaking and entering, jewel theft, riots in the street. Then the hell of war breaks loose.

While Sir Ralph Tallant refuses to take sides, Tom and Elizabeth both help, each in their own way. Tom joins the Trained Bands. Elizabeth does research and detective work to help friends and acquaintances track thieves and burglars; then helps tend the wounded as skirmishes begin.

Ward’s characterization is perfect. Thomas Tallant is smart and patriotic. His dislike of war doesn’t prevent him from taking sides, albeit reluctantly. Meanwhile, his father insists on riding the fence. His excuse is that he’s on the side with whomever seems to allow his business to continue.

Smart and courageous describe Elizabeth Seymour. Her interests include astronomy, science, medicine and detection. Elizabeth is a good foil for Tom. She’s mentally strong, helping William Harvey tend the wounded at a primitive MASH site close to skirmishes between the king’s supporters and Parliament’s supporters. When the supplies she brought ran out, she just “soldiered on.” As she thought about the wounded she’d already tended to, “she laughed bitterly at the memory of those who said the war would be over after one encounter. She always thought it a forlorn hope…she knew it for what it really was – a bloody fool’s dream.”

Even secondary characters, such as Jake Dibden, a sailor who works on the river, are well executed. Visualization of Dibden, with his strong arms and shoulders, rowing Tom downriver to search for caches of gunpowder stored for the king’s army, comes easily with Ward’s erudite description.

Ward’s descriptions of the chaos amid fog off the Thames during skirmishes of the civil war are exceptional. The Drums of War is excellent reading. Lovers of historical fiction and mysteries will be speedily drawn in.

Bad Fortune

Bad FortuneBad Fortune by Thomas J. Thorson is so hot, it sizzles in your hand. This fourth book in the Malcom Winters Mystery series grabs you within the first few pages.

We get to learn more about Rebecca and also about Leo’s real family. Family members usually stick together, right? Not so in this case. Far from it, in fact.

Strange things start happening to Rebecca, such as someone hacking her credit card. And someone attacks Leo. What does this have to do with Sara, an ex-friend of Rebecca? Who would want to attack Malcom and Vinn’s friends? What can Malcom and Vinn do to help?

Thorson fills out the depiction of Leo and Ted/Rebecca to some degree. Maybe someday we’ll learn a bit more about Malcom Winters and V. N. (Vinn) Achison. Why did Malcom assume the name of another person? This was discussed briefly in Heirs Apparent, the first book in this series. (See my review of Heirs Apparent). Let’s hope for more personal background on Malcom and Vinn in future outings .

In my view, letting us into Mal and Vinn’s previous lives, even a tad, would add oomph and intensity to these two characters and their blossoming love affair. As it is, sometimes they seem a little superficial. Both Malcom and Vinn have secret past lives. Will the reader ever learn the how, where and why of their earlier lives? Let’s hope that we get at least a tiny peek behind the curtain in future additions to this enjoyable series.

I received a copy of Bad Fortune in exchange for an honest review.

Bad Fortune
by Thomas J. Thorson
© 2022
Thorshammer Books

Knock on the Door

Knock on the DoorRoberta K. Fernandez’s A Knock on the Door ramps up the mystery and the suspense. Three murders in three months. All employees of SpringWare, a software and gaming development company. What was it about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) software project that was getting so many of SpringWare’s employees killed? Who would be next?

Rita Johnson, personal assistant to SpringWare VP Mark Mason, and previously to Jack Crawford, was one of the first to smell a rat. Especially when she went to download files for a certain project from Crawford’s computer after his death. Jack’s death was labeled an accident, but was it really? Why were some encrypted? Why was Mason being so secretive about this project?

Needless to say, Rita’s curiosity got the best of her, and she made a copy of the files for herself. She uncovered a connected, unrelenting, deadly series of events. Whom could she trust?

Tension and suspense mount slowly and steadily as Rita uncovers what’s happening with help from Lori, widow of Jack, Jacob Browning, another SpringWare employee, Nathan Schilling, a reporter for a local paper, and eventually Matthew Abernathy, a local police officer. These amateur sleuths begin getting closer to the truth about SpringWare’s project for NSA and Mason’s relationship with Carl Baxter, the NSA director. Then even Rita is murdered in what was meant to look like a hit-and-run accident. Who would be next among the seekers-of-truth group?

Fernandez starts the suspense early and continues to ramp it up with this apparent first novel in a series. Her characters are well drawn, and the amateur sleuths become a tight-knit group as the action advances.

I received a free copy of A Knock on the Door via www.ireadbooktours.com in exchange for an honest review.

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.