The Buddha and the Bee

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Cory Mortensen and his memoir The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America’s Forgotten Roadways on a Journey of Discovery.

Author’s description

Life-Changing Journey…

…But this is NOT a typical blah-blah-blah memoir

 

Planning is for sissies. A solo bike ride across the country will be filled with sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and 80 degree temps every day, right? Not so much. The Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, an alkaline desert, and the Sierra Nevadas lay miles and days ahead. Disappointment with unrealized potential, and the thirst for what’s next drew farther away in the rotating wide-angle shockproof convex rear-view mirror.

 

“I will ride my bike down a never-ending ribbon of asphalt wearing a backpack.”

 

Cory Mortensen began his bike ride across the United States from Chaska, Minnesota, to Truckee, California, without a route, a timeline, or proper equipment. Along the way, he gained more than technical skills required for a ride that would test every fiber of his physical being and mental toughness. Ride along as he meets “unusual” characters, dangerous animals, and sweet little old ladies with a serious vendetta for strangers in their town.

 

Humor ■ Insight ■ Adventure ■ Gratitude ■ Peace

 

From long stretches of road ending in a vanishing point at the distant horizon, to stunning vistas, terrifying close calls, grueling conditions, failed equipment, and joyous milestones he stayed the course and gained an appreciation for the beauty of the land, the genius of engineering and marvel of nature.

About the Author

Cory Mortensen has ridden his collection of bicycles over a million miles of asphalt, dirt, mud, and backroads. In addition to the cross-country journey detailed in this book, he has traveled to over fifty-five countries, cycled from Minneapolis to Colorado solo to raise money for children born with congenital heart defects. He’s completed sixteen marathons on five continents, and survived three days of running with the bulls in Spain.

Cory is a certified Advanced PADI diver, and has enjoyed taking in life under the waves in locations all over the world. In 2003, he took time off from roaming, and accidentally started and built a company which he sold in 2013. That same year he married his best friend and explored the state of Texas for two years. The couple sold everything they owned, jumped on a plane to Ecuador and volunteered, trekked, and explored South America for sixteen months before returning to Phoenix, Arizona, where he works as a consultant and is soon to be a bestselling author.

The Buddha and the Bee is his first memoir in which he shares how a two month leave of absence redefined his life’s trajectory of sitting behind a desk and his decision to break society’s chains so he could live life on his terms.

What is This Author Passionate About?

… Evicting all those negative voices that have been living rent-free for all those years deep inside my head and focusing on my time with family and friends.

I read a book called, 20,000 days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now by Robert Smith. That, along with some interviews I listened to with Jessy Itzler, and my focus and priorities are now turned to concentrating my time with my wife and my time with family and friends who make me better, who challenge me, who do in fact judge me in way that makes me better.

I have great friends I see only once a year — if I live to be as old as my dad, that means I will only get to see these great friends 18 more times. I want to make the most of those times.

Additionally, I’m all about experiences: I like to travel, I like to do things I have never done. I’m fortunate to have found a wife who supports and enjoys travel as much as I do and supports my want to do new things.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.TheBuddhaAndTheBee.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BuddhaAndTheBee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CoryMortensenAuthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CoryMortensenAuthor/

Buy the Book

Amazon Hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/Buddha-Bee-Cory-Mortensen/dp/1735498114
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735498122
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FLLBBP9
Indiebound  Hardcover: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735498119
Paperback: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735498126

Yes There Is a Giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter here to win.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

It seemed as if I was the only person on this road. I saw no cars, no trucks. I didn’t even see an airplane or contrail. The human race could have been completely wiped out, and I wouldn’t know it, just like I didn’t know what was going on back east a few days ago. As far as I knew, it was just me and the clerk at the Maybell General Store. My situation could be worse. Juliane Koepcke was seventeen years old when, on Dec 24, 1971, the Lockheed Electra OB-R-941 commercial airliner the she was a passenger on was struck by lightning. The plane immediately broke up in the air. Still strapped to her seat, she fell two miles into the jungle. She survived the fall, with a broken collarbone, a gash on her arm that would eventually become infested with worms, and her right eye swollen shut. She spent ten days alone in the Amazonian rainforest, following a stream, wading through knee-deep water, until eventually she came across a group of fishermen. After two weeks spent recovering, she led a search party back into the jungle to locate the crash, ultimately finding her mother’s body.

And here I thought I was having a bad day.

Fighting the headwind, I occasionally took time to stop and stare at the road as it vanished into the horizon. I had been biking for forty minutes and gone only five miles.

I hoped to see a town, a house, a billboard—anything that showed signs of human life—but it was just me and the road and a rather large coyote.

“Coyote?!”

A coyote stood across the road, looking directly at me.

I had some important questions. What was I supposed to do when I came across a coyote? Were they aggressive? Did they attack humans? Were they fast? Could I out-pedal him? Not with this headwind. He could catch me without even having to run.

In the lore of Indigenous Americans, the coyote was many things. To some tribes, it was a hero who created, taught, and helped humans; to others, a warning of negative behaviors like greed and arrogance; still others looked at the coyote as a trickster who lacked wisdom—he got into lots of trouble, but was clever enough to get out of it.

This part of North America was home to the Snake Indians. The Snake Indians were made up of the Northern Paiute, Bannock, and Shoshone. The Bannock believed the coyote came to help and did good deeds for the people.

I looked west and so did the coyote. I looked back at the coyote, he back at me, and then he looked west again and bobbed his head, as if to say, “Let’s go.”

I started pedaling. The headwind continued; my coyote companion making everything a bit surreal. He was now part of my journey. I put off any thoughts of him being an adversary. He was helping me get through the day.

“You live around here?” I asked the coyote. The coyote gave no answer.

“You have family? Wife? Kids?” Still no answer.

“Do you know if there is a good restaurant in Dinosaur? I’m really hungry.”

Nothing. He could only be of so much help, I guess.

We moved together along Victory Highway, fighting the wind.

Over the next few miles, I watched him as he pranced over the mounds along the highway. He’d stop and wait for me when he got too far ahead, then would continue once I caught up. I was no longer thinking about the wind or the heat or the bumpy road. I thought about the people who had lived along the Yampa River. Ruins of the Fremont people dated back as far as 1500 BC. Their petroglyphs told their stories. The Snake, Ute, and Navajo came after the Fremont and made the land their new home.

Later came the cowboys. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, Matt Warner, and Isom Dart all traveled this route when it was just a dusty horse trail, known as the Outlaw Trail.

And as I rode along with my coyote and wistful thoughts, there it was: the all too familiar sound of ninety-five pounds-per-square- inch of air leaving my rear tyre.

The coyote heard it, too. Perhaps the sound startled him, per haps it let him know dinner was ready. I looked down at my tyre and then at him. His body was turned, now facing me. I felt like perhaps our relationship had changed without my input. I thought back to lunch with my dad, when he asked if I was bringing a gun for protection. Then I looked at my flat tyre.

I took the pack off the bike, flipped the bike upside down to remove the rear wheel, and started removing the tyre and replacing the tube, as fast as I could. I looked up to see what the coyote was doing, but he was gone, vanished. I was relieved but also sad, as I was once again alone.

All Bags Go To Cleveland

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author C. S. Hale and her paranormal romantic comedy novel, All Bags Go To Cleveland

Author’s description

Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela’s addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of “eligible” gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?

About the Author

Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.

Find the Author

Website: cshalebooks.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CatSHale
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcshale

Buy the Book

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FVDJL54

 Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Focusing on the sparks of energy skittering along her fingers, she sent her magic into the printer. Angela might look like the cover model she’d once been but no one would guess that Windsor’s check-in counter was currently staffed by a pair of gremlins. Dave’s day—or rather night and morning—were about to become a little more exciting than he’d imagined. Dave would have a nice, relaxing flight to London while his garment bag went to Cleveland.

She tamped down the tendrils of guilt rising in her gut. It needed to be done. It was this bag or some mishap not of her choosing. Besides, who in their right mind would check a Louis Vuitton garment bag? First class contained specially built closets in which to hang them. She searched Dave’s thoughts again.

Where have I seen her before?

Angela snapped right back out and jerked her head down. She attached the claim sticker to his boarding pass and handed it to Dave, keeping her focus on the counter. Hopefully, her smile hid the panic now whirring in her chest like the engines that would take Dave across the Atlantic. “Enjoy your flight, Mr. Ford.”

“Always do.” With a small salute, Dave headed toward the security queue. What were the chances he’d be so cheerful in the morning?

The Ghost of Walhachin

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ramona Nehring-Silver and her middle-grade historical novel, The Ghost of Walhachin.

Author’s description

A ghost, time travel, and unusual friendships await Kean in Walhachin. Kean feels displaced at his home in Seattle since his mother recently re-married and has chosen to spend the summer in the small desert town with his aunt and younger cousin. Not long after arriving, he regrets his decision. There is no one his age. The town is too small for public amenities. Then everything changes when he uncorks an old soda bottle that was made in Walhachin eighty years prior. He becomes embroiled in an adventure to try and help a ghost retrieve a much-needed item from the past. In his quest to help the ghost he discovers the town’s spirited history and develops unusual friendships with an old man in the present and a young boy in the past.

 

“The Ghost of Walhachin is an unusual ghost story. It’s not spooky; instead, it’s an engaging tale of adventure and enduring friendships, with a slice of history.” – Helen Davies

 My Review

When I started my review of The Ghost of Walhachin, I realized I was poorly qualified to review this book. I agreed to review it because I like historical fantasy and I have a real fondness for gentle ghost stories. However, the adult in me soon became critical of its simple plot and rolled her eyes at the story’s overly-large need to suspend disbelief.

So I reconsidered my approach. This book isn’t written for people like me. It’s intended audience is middle-grade youngsters, who have better imaginations than mine. So, in fairness to the author and to the book’s potential readers, I’ve asked the ten-year-old who still lives inside of me to review this book instead. I’ll be honest. Some of her observations surprised me. Here’s what she thought.

A Review by the 10-year-old in my Head

I liked this book. I liked the ghost because he wasn’t scary or mean, just the ghost of a kid trying to get home. I also liked that he was green and green is my favorite color. I liked the part about how he got sent to this town by his mom way back in 1912 but when nobody was there to meet him he died because he ate a bad sandwich on the way.

I liked the history part, and I liked how in the present day they were looking for something lost long ago. It was like a treasure hunt but not for a treasure.

But, I got kind of confused about how this kid from today could travel back in time just because of the ghost’s memories. Like, was he really back there or not? It seemed to me like he was just inside the ghost’ s head but I guess he wasn’t because he worried so much about changing the past and he had to really be there to do that. Didn’t he?  But then I didn’t understand how a ghost can turn into a time machine for a real person.

The biggest thing I didn’t like was that there were no girls in the story. I mean most stories are about boys, or at least most of the good ones are, but usually they have a sister or friend or something who gets to be part of the adventure too only this one didn’t have that so I felt kind of left out. I also didn’t like how so much of the book was about snakes and especially about snakes eating things.

I really liked the ending but I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to give it away. I think you should read the book for yourself. But I will tell you that the best part of it is about how people can be friends and help each other.

About the Author

Ramona Nehring-Silver’s memories of living in and around Walhachin as a child and exploring the surroundings with seven siblings provided the initial inspirations for The Ghost of Walhachin. Ongoing motivation, and sometimes interruptions, came from her four children and thirteen grandchildren. She now lives in the far northeast corner of British Columbia, where her teaching career has ranged from adult art and writing classes to elementary school. Exploring B.C. and beyond by motorcycle is her favorite thing to do, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.

Find the Author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ramonanehringsilverauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19916750.Ramona_Nehring_Silver
Website: https://www.ramonanehringsilver.com/

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM: https://amazon.com/dp/022881720X
AMAZON.CA: https://amazon.ca/dp/022881720X
KINDLE: https://amazon.com/dp/B085P3JGLS
BOOKSHOP: https://bookshop.org/books/the-ghost-of-walhachin/9780228817208
INDIGO CHAPTERS: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-ghost-of-walhachin/9780228827764-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ghost-of-walhachin-ramona-nehring-silver/1136064438
BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Ghost-of-Walhachin-Ramona-Nehring-Silver/9780228817208
RAKUTEN KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-ghost-of-walhachin
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1008659
APPLE BOOKS: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ghost-of-walhachin/id1502311571

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

He examined his surroundings from behind a flowering bush at the corner of the hotel. The sagging boarded up remains of the hotel Kean knew were now a huge sturdy building with a long balcony and well-tended flower gardens. He recognized most of the other buildings lining the main road through town. Yet, even in the weak moonlight, things were different. No cars were parked along the street, and not one porch light shone. Picket fences stood straight. Everything looked new. The air smelled of green grass and animals. Even the mosquitoes weren’t biting. Probably a luxury of being a ghost.

There was no hint of sunrise. It must be very early, he decided. A good time to scout out hiding places. Using fences and brush for cover, he made his way through town. Aunty Maggie’s little store and post office turned out to be a restaurant. The post office was in a building Kean recognized as the Jorgenson’s house. A sign hanging over a barn-like building read, “Livery Stable,” and four horses stood in the adjoining corral.

He passed a store, a small real estate office, and a newspaper office. The bakery and the butcher shop surprised him the most. He had to remind himself he was still in Walhachin. Nothing was the same, yet so much was familiar.

It’s a big day for me

Hello.  I have a favor to ask of you.

My brash and intelligent 13th-century hero and her story will be available in paperback and kindle starting TOMORROW. You can order a copy for yourself today at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BY4RLX1.

My situation is that any purchases made in the next 24 hours benefit me a great deal more than a later purchase because sales during my book launch make a huge difference in how many new readers can find me. So if you’re thinking of ever buying a copy …

Honestly I’m quite excited about this new series. One of my first reviewers said “From the first page … She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much pulls the reader into a diverse, colorful and plausible world, with its own geography, culture, language and politics. S.R. Cronin has done a wonderful job creating Ilari and its peoples.”

If you’re willing to go one step further and share my good news on any social media platform at all, I’d be even more grateful. Use the blurb below so you don’t even have to think about what to say.

Thanks for considering this, and if you do try it, I hope you enjoy the book.

Paste this anywhere:

I know someone who has just published a fantasy adventure book. If you like thought-provoking speculative fiction and reading about diverse, colorful and plausible new worlds, check out She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much, the first book in an exciting new series.

Raven’s Apprentice

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author D. Robert Hardy, his memoir Raven’s Apprentice, and an exclusive excerpt shared only with this blog!

 Author’s description

Raven’s Apprentice is a compelling true story from the west coast of B.C. that launches you into the world of Raven and our interconnectedness with all living things.

 

“Suddenly, without warning, they spun on a fin and started charging the boat. My thrill turned to real panic. Killer whales attacking a boat. Had there ever been such a thing? A paralysis gripped me. Now, within striking distance, they slipped into an arrowhead formation just below the surface. If the leader of the pack didn’t bring the boat down, his flanks would.”

 

“At about 20 feet off the bow, the frontrunner broke the surface, peeling waves off his rostrum as he continued his commitment to engage. Bracing for impact, my hands squeezed into the railing…”

 

Travel with me aboard MV Lady Guinevere. Witness being charged by transient killer whales, stalked by wolves and walking creeks so pristine you feel as if you were the first human to experience the wonder of nature.

 

“You have succeeded in bringing the reader on the voyage with you and into the deeper experience of transcendence and heightened awareness. Some of your experiences are literally skin tingling, many will leave your reader thinking and remembering for a long time to come.” – Sid Tafler – Writer, Editorbr.

 

“Don Hardy’s RAVEN’S APPRENTICE is a great and compelling story, both nuanced and vivid, that will leave readers wanting to head off on adventures of their own.”

– Heather Stockard – IndieReader

About the Author

Born in Halifax Nova Scotia. Grew up in small-town Cumberland, BC. but could not wait to get out and make his mark. Toured throughout Canada and the US as a professional musician until he realized he hated touring. Settled in Victoria, BC. Wrote six unpublished screenplays until he had real success with a stageplay called “A Garland for Judy.” It toured down the west coast from Bellingham to Los Angles but topped the bill in San Francisco for six months to sold-out shows. Eventually settling into technical writing and developing online courses for most of his working life. Raven’s Apprentice is a memoir that captured the imagination of a retired CBC executive who said, “You must bottle up all of this adventure into a book! …being rescued by transient killer whales encounters with wolves, spirits in the kelp … it’s all too exciting!” And so it is done.

Find the Author

Connect with D. Robert Hardy:
WEBSITE https://www.droberthardy.com/
INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/ravens_apprentice/?hl=en
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/drobert.hardy.1/

Buy the Book

Purchase Links:
AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228822297
AMAZON.CA https://amazon.ca/dp/0228822297
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B08CS193XX
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/ravens-apprentice/9780228822301-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ravens-apprentice-d-robert-hardy/1137324048

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

The Exclusive Excerpt

As I bounced along the logjams, a shot of adrenaline spiked, and the hair on my head felt charged. I was being watched. It had been the same experience all summer. I would arrive in the creek and within 10 or 15 minutes I would feel the pressure of another presence. It was the one creek where I had to wrestle my heart from filling my throat.

I slowed my gaze to scout the creek’s edge of low-lying huckleberries. I assessed every drop of rain, every leaf, every blade of bent grass. The ammonia smell from the fish carcasses lingered, but the earthy moss smells now blended with the autumn leaves, freshening the air. But there was another smell though … underlying the dominant fall fragrance that heightened my sense of danger even more.

Fear rang out. “Just be in the moment. Breathe. Don’t give into the mind’s trick of manifesting fear out of nothing. It was probably just a combination of smells that made it smell like …”

A game we have all played as children is gazing at clouds and imagining something within. We might see an elephant stampeding across the sky, or a peacock in the flowered wallpaper of our bedrooms. This was an essential part of the development of children with creative minds.

As I began to look closer at the underbrush, my thinking reversed. I was no longer imagining what I could see within the pattern but looking at the whole pattern.

My eyes adjusted to the larger picture before me. Then I saw them – eyes – unwavering and intense, maybe ten or fifteen feet away, and close enough to attack before I could respond. They were the eyes of something that couldn’t be convinced not to further their intent. I was looking into the soul of an animal that knew no fear and was at the top of the food chain in the forest. And the prophetic words of Willy Hanks came back to me … “If they let you live.”

The Sinister Superyacht

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ana T . Drew and her cozy mystery novel, The Sinister Superyacht.

Author’s description

French tycoon Jean-Louis Ponsard is having a bad year.
Unwise investments, canceled orders, deals falling through…
In the thick of it, his yacht becomes the scene of a suspicious death, and his year of misfortune hits the bed of the Mediterranean Sea.
To make matters worse, the victim isn’t just anybody.
She’s his much-hated mother-in-law.

Onboard, caterer Julie Cavallo and her quirky grandma Rose do some poking around.
But every luxury cabin hides a secret.
Every passenger has an alibi or no reason to want the victim dead.
Discretion rules.
The crew keeps mum.
So do the marble countertops, gem-incrusted walls, and gold sinks.
When the cops take charge, things go to pieces, and not only for the Ponsard family.

Can Julie dive to the murky bottom of the sea, unravel the case, and come back up still breathing?

About the Author

Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.

 

Find the Author

Website: ana-drew.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/ana-drew
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnaDrewAuthor
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ana-t-drew
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/anadrew
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoranadrew

Visit ana-drew.com for a free cookbook and a game!

Buy the Book

Amazon Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Sinister-Superyacht-Provence-Mystery-Investigates-ebook/dp/B0882J3652

The Sinister Superyacht will be released November 20.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

 

A Very Witchy Yuletide

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author D. Lieber and her contemporary pagan holiday romance novel,  A Very Witchy Yuletide.

Author’s description

First love is hard to forget, and even harder to ignore…
Evergreen Pendre wasn’t planning on going home for Yule. But when her Mom tells her the old coven is coming for a visit, she wants to see everyone. Well, almost everyone.

After four and a half years, Sawyer Collins finally has a chance to reconnect with his first love, Eeva Pendre. He might have been too shy to tell her how he felt before, but he’s changed. And he’s determined not to let her slip away this time.

As the coven prepares for Yule, they are reminded that not everyone has the holiday spirit in this contemporary Pagan holiday romance.

My Review

I chose to read this book because it offered me a chance to learn about modern pagan celebrations and the chance to experience the point of view of a legally blind main character. These two potential windows into other worlds overrode my promise to stop reviewing romance novels because I find them too predicable.

First: the paganism. I’m fascinated by any religion I know little about and I thank the author for her excellent job of introducing the beliefs, customs and problems of pagans in 2020. The first two were cleverly interwoven into the plot, never leaving me feeling as if information had been dumped upon me. The third, involving  persecution of pagans in today’s society, was done with gentleness, showing  the tolerant as well as the extremists from mainstream society. For those who claim to be open-minded, or at least fans of freedom of religion, this book is food for thought about the deep-seated biases that still exist against older religions.

Second: the visually impaired main character. The author says she lives with much the same situation as her protagonist, so clearly she writes from a well-informed and a sympathetic point of view. I, however, know far less and was confused when the main character could read a menu by holding it very close, or pick out the shape of clock hanging over a door. Obviously I know little about the range of impairment included in legal blindness. So although I was inspired by Evergreen overcoming her physical challenges, I was also surprised by how little her situation seemed to impact her or her story. Perhaps that is the point?

Third: the romance. So, most romance novels make me want to scream. Not frustrated obscenities or anything, but something very specific. “Why don’t you two people just talk to each other!” In fairness, everything I’ve ever read by Shakespeare makes me want to scream the same thing, so this is not a specific knock against romance novels.

However, this book didn’t have that effect on me. Why not? It is the classic story of two people attracted to each other who fail to communicate until the last several pages. But here it at least makes some sense. They’ve both finished college and haven’t seen each other for four years, since back when they were shy and confused high school students. Upon meeting, they revert back to that OMG-he-can’t-possibly-like-me frame of mind that is the rightful domain of insecure kids. (Are there any other kind?) They work through this and find the grown-ups they’ve become. Kind of simple, but it worked for me and I liked their story. I mean, nobody should be screaming at kids for feeling insecure, right?

So, this was all around a good read: informative, interesting and satisfying.

About the Author

Lieber is an urban fantasy author with a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.

Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).

Find the Author

Website: www.dlieber.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dlieberwriting
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/d-lieber

Check Out All of Her Books

Conjuring Zephyr June 2016
The Exiled Otherkin November 2017
Intended Bondmates June 2018
In Search of a Witch’s Soul (Council of Covens Noir, #1) March 2019
Dancing with Shades (Council of Covens Noir, #0) August 2019
Once in a Black Moon March 2020
A Very Witchy Yuletide October 2020

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a hand carved tree of life tarot/jewelry/keepsake box (carved by DhewaDecor) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

As Eeva shifted her weight from foot to foot, swaying in time, they started the simple steps of the dance, circling each other.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Sawyer encouraged. “You remember. Ready for the staff?”

Eeva smiled. “Go for it.”

Sawyer struck out with his staff, and Eeva met it with hers. He did it again with the same result. And so they went on in rhythm, the mock battle playing out in a dance. They circled each other. They clashed in the middle. They retreated.

Sawyer’s heart raced as the exercise made him warm in his coat. He took it off, his steps still in time. Eeva did the same, her breaths punctuated by white puffs from her lips.

“Ready to try the end?” Sawyer asked her.

“Come at me,” she challenged, her voice teasing.

Sawyer attacked, bringing his face in close to hers, their staves crossed between them. This was where he was supposed to push them apart. She was to fall to the ground, defeated. But as they locked eyes, and he felt her breath on his face, they both froze.

Georgian Romance Revolt

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Lucinda Elliot and her satirical/dark humor novel Georgian Romance Revolt.

Author’s description

Elaine Long is trapped in the body of the heroine in a warped cyber version of an historical romance. Something has gone drastically wrong, with the characters talking and acting outside the script, and her coachman is exactly like one of the author’s Golden and Reckless hero types.

Worse, the disgraced earl turned highwayman anti-hero – one of the author’s Dark, Mean and Moody hero types, has stolen the heroine’s betrothal ring, which just happens to be Elaine’s escape device.

Elaine, once eager to escape from everyday life and being taken for granted by her part-time boyfriend into this cyber version of her favourite author’s fictional world, isn’t even confident that this story can guarantee a happy ending, even if she does have three or four hero types in it with her…

A darkly comic, fast moving spoof on the tropes of  historical romance from four times BRAG medallion winner Lucinda Elliot.

My Review

This is a funny book. It’s funny in the sense of making you laugh out loud and it’s funny in the sense of being strange and hard to describe. I’ll start with the first.

Georgian romance novels are ripe for satire and Elliot does a fine job taking aim at all the easy targets like handsome heroes with perfect teeth and some of the more difficult ones like chaperones, forced seduction, and social inequities. She tells her story through the eyes of Elaine, a modern, slightly futuristic woman inhabiting the head of a romance novel heroine. Elaine’s take on this partially-sanitized fictional world provides another layer of humor.

But having two women living inside of one body, often fighting for control of it, is also where the story gets odd. Elaine is in eighteenth century England by way of a  virtual reality entertainment system that malfunctions, adding a sci-fi help-I’m-trapped-in-a-video-game subplot. Because even the best of satire is only funny for so long, I began to enjoy the get-me-out-of-here subplot more than the Georgian-romance-gone-wrong story.

Then it starts to get weird. Without giving away too much I’ll just say the 1960’s author of the original novel gets involved along with Stonehenge, reality and maybe multiple dimensions. Then Elaine’s own personal life enters the scene as well.

Balancing all this is quite a feat. I think Elliot pulls it off but by the end I’d have preferred a good bit less of the Georgian romance, and a more thorough resolution of everything else.

The author says in her bio that she loves a good laugh. She certainly provided me with several and for that I am thankful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes reading something different and who enjoys satire.

About the Author

Lucinda Elliot, four times winner of the BRAG medallion for outstanding self published fiction, was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. When she was growing up, her family lived in various large, isolated old houses in various parts of the UK as they used to renovate such places  in the days before it became fashionable. She lived for many years in London and now lives in Mid Wales with her family.  She loves a laugh above anything.

Find the Author

Visit the Author on her blog at: https://sophieandemile.wordpress.com/
Find her on her Amazon author page at: https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-Elliot/e/B008YU9B58
Find her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ElliotLucinda
Find her on Goodreads  at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6469356.Lucinda_Elliot

Buy the Book

Buy Georgian Romance Revolt on Amazon. The book will be on sale for $0.99.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Aurelia wrinkled her well-shaped nose at inside of the carriage. The floor littered with rubbish, including a filthy boot, the broken handle of a dagger, a blood stained handkerchief and wisps of straw left over from the winter.

A false nose lay on the seat. It was as grotesque as that worn by the messenger the day before. To lighten Betty’s mood, Aurelia showed it to her. “They have stolen the idea from Earl Lawless’ band.”

The man guarding her scowled thunderously. “That is a scurvy lie. We never nab their tricks; they does ours.”

“I am happy to hear that you are so scrupulous,” returned Aurelia. “Do not fret, Betty. This is an adventure such as comes to  a few.”

“Then I wish I wasn’t one of them few, Miss Aurelia!” The girl burst into tears, and Aurelia took her hand.

 

Neurogarden

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bryon Vaughn and his science fiction techno-thriller, Neurogarden.

Author’s description

Where can you run when there is no place to hide?

Brenna Patrick is a brilliant technologist specializing in neural-cognitive functions and AI. She has cracked the code to solve one of the most troublesome problems in the field, and turned that into the multi-billion dollar NeuralTech Corporation.

Working quietly with the U.S. Department of Defense, NeuralTech is poised to leapfrog the competition with a revolutionary system for tracking people, starting with the world’s most wanted terrorists. But there are only so many terrorists in the world, so who’s next?

When a pair of Columbia graduate students, Jenny and Leo, stumble on the dark secret of NeuralTech’s success, it kicks off a tense game of cat and mouse. As they fight to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against them, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance…

NEUROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they’ve read the last page.

About the Author

Ever since reading Douglas Adams back in my formative years, I have had an interesting relationship with humor, science fiction, and technology. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, so yeah, I’m old, but only until scientists have cracked the code on transplanting our brains into shiny new vessels.

My body may be showing signs of wear, but I’m keeping my brain tight.

When I am not dreaming of far off worlds and writing, I am living a semi-normal life working in New York City, and watching movies with my wife and her spastic cat, Moss.

Find the Author at

Web site: https://www.bryonvaughn.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/bryonvaughnauthor
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bryonvaughn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bryonvaughn

Buy the Book at

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Neurogarden-NeuralTech-Corporation-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08F7BWCDZ 

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

In a lonely pod on the 77th floor, Jenny floated. The only indication of life was a slow, rhythmic sway as the blue feeding solution swirled through the chamber, pushing through her body and out into the next in the chain. Her eyes closed to the world around her, a world she could no longer sense or interact with in any tangible way. Her body was there, but her mind had joined the others, and despite her ongoing confusion, she was now a resident of The Garden.

Her connection to the others came in ebbs and flows, their memories, their thoughts crashed into her own like waves on a distant, rocky shore, smashing at each other in an indiscernible mashup of sensation. In a moment of clarity, she wrapped her mind around her situation, how she had wrestled to free herself, the needle had plunged into her arm, the slow, sweet descent into slumber. Though the silent lucidity was fleeting, chased away, replaced by another barrage of brainwaves from the others.

–Welcome.

Somewhere in the melange, the chaotic furor of a thousand minds, there was a single voice, some kind of controlling singularity. Commanding attention, its words marshalled the disparate collective of thoughts, ever so briefly, into a cohesive direction.

–Welcome to The Garden.

“Who are you? Where is this place? Why am I here?”

–Time for that later. First, you must learn the rules.

The Trapped Daughter

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jay Kerk and his psychological thriller The Trapped Daughter.

Author’s description

Have you ever been trapped somewhere? I have.

Have you ever found that the world does not believe you? I did.

 

I have been betrayed by the people I trusted the most. They coil around me like snakes, lulling me with whispers about protection and safety and for your own good.

 

They offer up pills like sweets, promising me relief. Just take the meds and everything will be fine, Belle – the meds, Belle, the meds.

 

Everything will not be fine, and it never will be again. Justice is gone from the world. I have been wronged by Gabe, the man I loved most, and when I turned to others for backup, they sided with him because he’s a star. When I ran to my father for safety, he locked me up in his great big mansion and threw away the key. Now I drift like the ghost Gabe pretended I was, my bare feet tasting the coldness of rich tiles, my breath turning to ice.

 

Gabe isn’t real, they tell me. They insult me, they spit at me, then smile and pretend that they wish to help. Meanwhile, Gabe is out there, luxuriating in all that I won for him, and I suffer and burn.

About the Author

As a physician, I used my clinical background to keep the readers on their toes.  All options are on the table. Is Gabe real? Did Gabe ever love her? What was their relationship? Was he her husband, and did she kill him? Is Gabe her brother?

My name is Jay Kerk, and I am a 33 year old. I am a medical doctor, and I use my background to illustrate unlikely but realistic situations revolving around the alterations of the mind.  My first book A Predator and A Psychopath, self-published in July 2019, received five stars from Readers Favorite and 4 and a half stars from Self-Publishing Review.

Find the Author at

http://www.Jaykerk.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayKerk/
https://www.instagram.com/authorjaykerk/
https://www.goodreads.com/jaykerk
Twitter: @KerkJay

Buy the book on Amazon

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HXQFHSB

Yes, there is a giveaway.

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Prologue

When locked up in my room, I can no longer imagine good things.

I take a piece of paper out of my notepad and cut it into small pieces. On each piece, I write: I am Belle. My father is holding me hostage at his home. I sign them all and fold the papers until they become small enough. I then scatter them around the room, under the closet, beneath the mattress, under the carpet, in the cabinets, and inside the drawers.

A few minutes later, I realize that all of the pieces I have hidden could be discovered in one sweep. If something happens to me, I want the police to know about my father. I start again. This time, I cut the paper into larger pieces so I can write a longer message.

My name is Belle Andresson. My father is holding me against my will at our home. My father is dangerous and unpredictable, and if something happens to me, he is to be blamed. Today is the eighth day, and most of the time I am trapped inside my room, with no means of communication.

I hide the papers in places they cannot be found easily: on top of the closet, taped to the curtain, and in a sealed bag in the toilet tank.

My fate is unknown to me. I can only think of escaping to survive, but before escaping, I must know why my father is doing this to me.