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Author Blogs

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The Game of Hope – Sandra Gulland


    If you read The Josephine B trilogy, The Game of Hope is a beautiful finishing touch. If you haven’t read the trilogy (and you really should), The Game of Hope is a beautiful introduction. Here, we see the tempestuous years of Napoléon Bonaparte through the eyes of Josephine’s young daughter, Hortense. Gulland’s expertise in the Napoleonic era shines through. It is easy to feel that one has time traveled for we are instantly with Hortense as we read. Gulland, herself, is as fascinating as Josephine. Read more HERE and HERE   BLURB: Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom suffered tragic losses during the t...
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#New release Vengeance Island


There it was, the island of Gozo, smaller than many British cities, but set like a jewel in a caerulean sea under a near-permanently blue sky. What a fantasy island for rain and grey-soaked Brits and the complications of having to fly to Malta first then a ferry hop to Gozo just added to the charm and helps keep it less busy than its neighbours.However, such beauty belies a horrendous past. In 1551 the entire population of around 5,000 were snatched by Ottoman pirates and taken to be sold as slaves or taken to harems. My Xaghra’s Revenge novel is the only one I know of that devotes a whole book to this event and follows the life of one woman, Lidia, and her little family. Stjepan became tran...
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Claire of the Sea Light — Edwidge Danticat

Claire of the Sea Light (Vintage Contemporaries) by [Edwidge Danticat]
The story of Claire is overshadowed by the characters of the town who have their own stories to tell, giving the reader a window into the lives of poverty stricken Haiti. It’s a sad read with some almost repulsive bits, but one can’t help feeling deeply for these poor people. I liked the book with one caveat: The use of “would” for habitual actions in the past is a pet peeve of mine and there was far too much of that is this novel. Blurb: From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire Limyè La...
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Great book questions


Once again, inspired by Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog), I’m offering this for thought. A book you feel you need to read because everybody’s talking about it: “When the Crawdads Sing” and “Wild” come to mind immediately. No disrespect to Reese Witherspoon, whom I rather like, but even though she, and many others championed these two, I have no desire to read either. A book that’s really long: When I was younger, I’d tackle long books, but I no longer have the patience for something like “Clan of the Cave Bear” or “War and Peace.” At over 500 pages each, that’s too much of a good thing and I’m not always so sure about the “good.” A book you’ve had on your bookshelf or TB...
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Tio and Sally – 30 years with two marvelous rescue dogs.


1990 – “Mom, we’re bathing the dog.” Why am I not surprised. When my husband and kids headed to the SPCA that morning, I told them they didn’t have to rush to get a dog. They could go back every Saturday morning until they found the one they really wanted. Well, the one they really wanted turned out to be a small German Shepard cowering at the back of the kennel about to be euthanized because her two week time limit for adoption was ending. She had been found (wearing a collar) wandering the streets, but no one had come to claim her. They brought her home, bathed her, cuddled her until she dried, set out two empty plastic containers for food and water until we could buy her proper dishes, an...
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Anxious People – Fredrik Backman


I’ve been a Backman fan ever since my aunt recommended his first book A Man Called Ove. I admire his unique style. Who knew a novel about hockey (Beartown) could be so mesmerizing? Did I like Anxious People? Yes. Do I give it five stars? Yes. Do I have a couple of problems with it? Yes. There were moments in the book where I was frustrated with the pace and wanted to say, “For God’s sake get on with it.” And as he brought the story to its conclusion, he spent much too much time explaining the intricacies of life and relationships which he had already shown us so clearly in the story. BLURB: Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open ho...
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Reading and reviewing series books out of order


Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog) asked “Do you think it’s okay to read and review a sequel if you haven’t read the first book?” This question brings up others: When you pick up a book that intrigues you, do you always know if it’s part of a series? When this has happened to me, if I liked the book, I went back to the first of the series and started reading them in order. The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax was a perfect example. They didn’t all have to be read in order, but once I’d read the first, it seemed important to keep the order and, as I read, I appreciated the details that enriched the character throughout. Is it always best (or necessary) to read series in order?  In t...
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Jackie and Maria – Gill Paul


  Gill Paul states that most scenes and much of the dialogue in Jackie and Maria are invented and many details are presented as she imagines them. Still, she based the book on extensive research and she does a good job of tying together all the bits and pieces reported over the years about the Kennedy family, with the focus on Jackie and Maria Callas. What struck me was how badly both women were treated by the men in their lives. (And the women too.) In Jackie’s case neither Kennedy or Onassis were abusive per se, but both used her terribly–Kennedy seemed to take her for granted as he used her for his political advancement and Onassis as a status symbol (he also tricked Jacked into signing d...
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Changing Book Covers – Another Rant


Maybe this pandemic has made me extra cranky, but here’s another rant.   A book comes out with a perfectly good cover, one the author and cover designer and publisher spent hours debating and perfecting. Then the novel is made into a movie and we get this. Now, I suppose one could say that this is a perfectly fine cover. It’s not. The characters in my head after reading the book don’t look anything like these people so now, seeing this, my image of the characters is forever skewed and a bit of the emotional attachment I had to the book is ruined.   Another example. This original cover is a delight. Evocative, clearly communicating this man’s loneliness and isolation. This new cover doesn’t c...
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The Chaos of Mokii released


THE CHAOS OF MOKIIImagine a city which exists only in the combined minds of its inhabitants. There’s everything you’d expect in a real city including fun and trouble. Olga, has to get past the bouncer then in Mokii she finds an intruder. He is trying to usurp the virtual city because there is financial reward from the advertising revenue beamed into the visitors’ minds. Can she thwart him?New science fiction book release. A short story that only takes you half an hour to read – honestly!The Chaos of Mokiiebook at https://mybook.to/Kaos AcknowledgmentsThe idea for this city that exists only in the consciousness of a group of people came to me after reading The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi...
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American Dirt


  In my last post, I ranted about media hype for books and blithely announced that I was going to read American Dirt instead. At that time I did not know American Dirt was an Oprah Book Club recommendation. (No, I didn’t notice the little yellow sticker on the cover.) Nor did I know that the book was mired in controversy. As a non-Latina, I will not comment on the controversy, but I will say that I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico and learned from a variety of sources (some much more reliable than others) a few details of crime and corruption at all levels of government and society, so will comment with that perspective. American Dirt started out very strong and I was quickly immersed in the...
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What does Media Hype really say about a book?


This whole business about “hype” and “buzz” gets me riled. I’d love some of that for my books of course. At the same time, I think too much hype can kill a book. Hyped books that I tried: Remember the  The Da Vinci Code? Well, I ran out and bought it, read it, hated it, finished it because it was a hard cover and cost so damn much. What a waste of money. Lesson learned: At the very least wait for the paperback or go to the library. By the  way, you can still see Dan Brown laughing all the way to the bank.   The Night Circus. At least I had a Kindle by the time I bought and read this one, or rather tried to read this one, so I didn’t waste as much money. I found the bits I did read boring and...
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Six-Word Story Challenge – “Spoiler”

Warning: These can be addictive.Original link
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Book Series – Awesome or a Flop or Somewhere in Between?


Davida Chazan blogged about reading series on The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog Here and Here Responding to her prompted me to write a blog of my own.   Somewhere in Between: I read several of the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books before I finally tired of them. (He shouldn’t have written so many!) I did like them because, although they were in Botswana and I lived in Mali, the books presented a picture of the gentle side of Africa and were in many ways a journey down memory lane — i.e. I enjoyed them for the nostalgia.       Awesome:  I discovered and fell in love with The Mrs. Polifax series and read every single one in order. If you decide to try them, start with the first — The Unexp...
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Six-Word Story Challenge – “Mission”

Beware: These can be addictive.Original link
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Will You Ever Change? — Aurelie Valognes


    All families have their ups and downs and idiosyncrasies. In Will You Ever Change? Valognes provides the reader with a gentle look at the dynamics of one family in France. That the story is infused with touches of French culture and French cuisine, enhances the enjoyment of this delightful light read. BLURB: As Martine and Jacques Le Guennec prepare for their annual family Christmas dinner, Martine reminds her husband to be on his best behavior. Their son Nicolas is bringing his girlfriend, Jeanne, to their home for the first time, and she doesn’t want Jacques to scare this one off.Jacques has always ruled his roost with patriarchal bravado, and he can’t help but verbally antagonize ever...
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Don’t bite my finger…


A group of writers mainly in the UK Authors forum have produced a new release collection: Personal Bests Journal.I interloped into UK Authors years ago in order to travel on their UKAway writing retreats and so I experienced such exotic writing resorts as Greece, Northern Cyprus, Southern Cyprus, Carmarthen and Newcastle!Selected from more than 130 submissions, the 31 stories in this first edition of the Personal Best journal have been chosen and edited by short story writer, novelist and (for 16 years) Prose Editor of Gold Dust Magazine, David Gardiner. My story has its title taken from a Zen koan (short saying bulging with meaning)“Don’t Bite My Finger…”The rest of the koan says because I ...
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Early Access To World Anvil…

To view this content, you must be a member of J. I. Rogers's Patreon at $1 or more - Click "Read more" to unlock this content at the sourceOriginal link
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Update & Question…

To view this content, you must be a member of J. I. Rogers's Patreon at $1 or more - Click "Read more" to unlock this content at the sourceOriginal link
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Safe crossing – goose style – Victoria, BC


“Look left. Look right.”   Mother Goose honks sternly and the flock gathers.   “All clear. We’re good to go.” And so they do.   Before long, Mother Goose will be leading them south for the winter, but today they’ve enjoyed a bit of relaxation in the beauty of Victoria.   http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com   Original link
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