Review of Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike

I’ve been absent on the blogosphere lately, my apologies to everyone who’s posts I’ve yet to read. I promise that I will
catch up. Between starting a new job, an online course, writing, and well, everything else, time is a precious commodity.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing, Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

How does a fifty-year-old woman start a new life?

Meet Linda Lockwood: fifty, fat, frumpy and bullied by her horrible husband Ron and the vile students and principal at the school where she teaches English. But her life is about to undergo a total transformation.

Linda suffers a breakdown after a traumatic classroom incident, and that brings out the worst in Ron and devious principal, Wayne Forsythe. Then she is rocked to discover her husband has a shocking secret.

With her own determination and the help of friends and family, she starts to turn her life around. She begins to succeed, but there are still some more surprises in store Linda.

My View:

This is a classic, “rags to riches,” tale that does a wonderful job of creating sympathy for our down and out protagonist.

Though her circumstances have never been ideal, the bullies in Linda’s life push her to the edge with a series of offenses ranging from indifference to downright abusive. Battered and bruised (figuratively), Linda’s self esteem slides to a new low. The future is bleak.

Fortunately, she’s blessed with a strong cast of supportive family and
friends. They lift her up, infusing her with the courage to rise before the
bell rings. Linda begins to take calculated risks and discovers a new life that
she’d never dreamed was possible. When the past raises an ugly head, she
quickly banishes it with her newfound confidence.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who relishes stories about overcoming
massive obstacles to win a second chance.

Meet Toni: 

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing page-turning fiction for adults, hilarious books for children, and non-fiction. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of LINDA’S MIDLIFE CRISIS, DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.

The Brody Cody Series is for children aged 6-9: BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE and BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Connect with her and grab your copy:

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Review of, The Reckoning: A Time Travel Thriller(Book One of the Series), by D.M. Taylor

Well, it’s day three of quarantine and that nasty little COVID bug still has me holed up in our office/bedroom. But hey, it’s not all bad. This thing feels like a minor cold, and I’ve been able to get plenty of writing and reading done. Speaking of which, I’m pleased to share my latest read and it’s a good one!

The Details:

If Katniss Everdeen had a PhD in Quantum Physics she’d be a perfect fit in Dr. Taden Barrett’s world of time travel.
Can Taden’s technology save her country or will she make a choice that even time travel can’t undo?

My Thoughts:

I’m not a habitual reader of science fiction . . . but wow! This book was a literary riptide that didn’t release me until the final word. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’ve been fascinated with time travel since I knew how to read a clock.

Aside from the thrilling and 3 g-force plot twists, I believe this story appeals to the sentimentalist in most of us. If it were possible, who among us wouldn’t entertain at least the thought of returning to our past and righting a wrong, or spending one last time with a deceased loved one?

True to most tales that deal with time travel, there are caveats about interfering with the past, though not so disastrous as the destruction of the universe.

Taylor has built well rounded, strong, intelligent, and resilient male and female characters that keep things moving at a fluid pace.

The only issue I found, and this is just my personal opinion of course, was the occasional use of parenthesis. Yes, I know it’s just me being picky, but I’m not a fan of them in books. I just want you to know that they are used sparingly and in no way interfered with my enjoyment of this book. I definitely have my eye on the next one in the series.

FIVE STARS!

Please note that I do not post reviews of books that I deem to be less than four stars. Life’s too short, and if I don’t enjoy the read, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet D.M. Taylor

D.M. Taylor is a full-time writer with a constant desire to be at the beach or as close to a combination of: water, sand, and sunshine as she can. You can tell by looking at all of the freckles she has collected as evidence.

If she’s not writing in her tiny cottage by the lake, then it’s not summer. The rest of the year, she’s writing on her couch under blankets near a giant bay window. On the less romantic days of writing, and let’s be real–most of them, her pages come together while waiting in a car for one of her kids–as part of her chauffeur gig.

Her gravitational pull to science fiction, developed throughout her teacher training; where she concentrated on science education. Graduating from Michigan Tech with an Applied Science Master’s Degree jumpstarted her geeky interests. An obsession of time travel pushed through her romantic notions of the world and the easy fear she holds of anything frightening. Together, these elements created a writer of: sci-fi thrillers who sprinkles in a bit of slow burn.

Accruing in her head is a checklist of places to travel, items to accomplish, and book ideas to write.

She regenerates from deep conversation, dancing, and laughter.

Connect with her and grab your copy:

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Review of, The Prince And The Prodigal, by Jill Eileen Smith

As I look out the window, all I can see is brown . . . but that’s a good thing! Yesterday the ground was being struck by hail and sleet and today there’s nothing but clear skies. 🙂

Please let me steal you away to a place where snow never falls, and the earth bakes to a crisp under a hot desert sun. I’m talking about ancient Egypt.

The Details:

Joseph is the pampered favorite son of the patriarch Jacob. His older brothers, deeply resentful of his status in the family, take advantage of the chance to get rid of him, selling him to slave traders and deceiving their father about his fate. It seems like their troubles are over. But for Joseph and older brother Judah, they are just beginning.

While Joseph is accused of rape and imprisoned, Judah attempts to flee the memory of his complicity in the betrayal of his younger brother. After decades apart, the brothers will come face-to-face in a stunning role reversal that sees Joseph in a position of great power while Judah begs for mercy. Will forgiveness or vengeance win the day?

Bestselling and award-winning author Jill Eileen Smith brings her considerable research and imaginative skills to bear in this vivid retelling of one of the most popular stories found in Scripture–a story of jealousy, betrayal, and a reconciliation that only God could bring about.

My Thoughts:

I am extremely familiar with the Biblical account of Joseph’s life, so I was excited to read this book. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did.

This was an excellent ‘behind the scenes’ story of what must have been the dramatic, and traumatic, lives of Joseph and his family. Jill cleverly weaves scenes throughout the story that bring these historical figures to life and through her words, those Sunday School lessons leapt from the pages to become three dimensional.

The book sticks to the main facts but allows the reader an insight into the possible mindset of people who lived thousands of years ago.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Bible, history, the supernatural, adventure, or stories with great outcomes.

I’m giving this one Five Stars!

Meet Jill:

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, Wives of the Patriarchs, Daughters of the Promised Land, The Heart of a King, Star of Persia, Miriam’s Song, and the nonfiction When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and She Walked Before Us. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Grab a copy of one of her works and connect with her:

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Review of Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, by Gabriela Marie Milton

On this wintry Tuesday morning, I find myself pausing to stare out into the dark portal of my backyard window, while my fingers hover over the keyboard to conjure an appropriate review for this poetic masterpiece.  I’m no poet, so below you’ll find my best attempt. I hope it will inspire you to read this, and other works by Gabriela, and experience them for yourself.

I was unable to find a synopsis, but this is a book of poetry, after all. Instead, I’m posting the Foreword:

Gabriela is the type of poet Robert Graves had in mind when he referred to being a poet as a condition- rather than a profession. During my correspondence with Milton, it became clear that the lush scenes and stories were not invented as much as they were unleashed. They came from a mind always teeming with ideas, anticipating these moments of expression when the stuff of thought finds its form in lines, rhythm and stanzas.

As Milton said in an interview, “The days in which I cannot write, I have to compartmentalize my brain and my soul, and then bury my fantasies . . . It’s as if I must exorcise my alter ego.”

Yes, Gabriela Marie Milton is a poet of condition.

Her poetry also takes on a cosmopolitan character, introducing the reader to diverse, sometimes fantastical, spaces. In some of these spaces, I cannot help but see fragments of her life flickering by – of being raised in Europe or of her extensive travels before and after settling in the United States. But in all this movement, we’re greeted by a common theme: the universality and borderlessness of love and passion. This is where her collection truly shines and this is where her poetry must be experienced rather than explained.

Foreword written by: Brian Geiger

Editor of Vita Brevis Press

My Thoughts:

I’m one that habitually looks for hidden meanings in descriptions and words. This is where I had to adapt this thinking and do what Brian Geiger has suggested, “to experience rather than explain.”

Once absolved of these tendencies, I was able to fully immerse into the abstract, yet well-mastered palette of imagery, orchestrated by this gifted poet. Here is just one example:

Nordic Play

an island shimmers on the Nordic Sea

your eyes are madness and pale blue

under your fingers the piano

ennobles pain and makes the snow to fall

play the melancholy of winter

white adulterated by a frozen mauve

I’ll make the bed and walk in silence

to the place of roses and cinnamon

don’t follow me

remain and play under the blues of winter

the scented mystery of all the women

who never knew

the fires hidden

in the glaciers of your soul

I highly recommend this book for anyone who savors astral projection to wolf moonlit plains and sun ripened vines of tomatoes bursting with the flavors of scintillating verse.  

Five stars!

Please note that I only post reviews on books I deem four or five stars. Life is short and if I don’t like a book, I simply won’t finish it.

Meet Gabriela:

Gabriela Marie Milton is an Amazon bestselling poet and an internationally published author. She is the author of the #1 best-selling poetry collection Woman: Splendor and Sorrow: | Love Poems and Poetic Prose, and the author of Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings. Gabriela is also the editor of MasicadoresUSA. Her poetry and short prose have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Under the pen name Gabriela M she was awarded 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press (NYC). Her piece “If I say I love you” was nominated for 2020 Spillwords Press Publication of the Year (Poetic). On July 6, 2021, Gabriela was featured in New York Glamour Magazine.

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Review of Brother’s Keeper, A Short Story, by Jan Sikes

Rain! We finally have rain up here in the Great Dry North. It’s been awhile and I’m getting a bit tired of watering the plants. I do, however, like the fact that I’ve hadn’t had to mow the lawn in a few weeks.

Anyways, I’m not here to bore you with our weather issues, nope, today is another book review. A short thirty-four pager, written by Jan Sikes.

What Amazon Says:

Quentin Marks’ mother can only love one son, and from the day Rowdy was born, she makes Quentin, his little brother’s keeper. She demands that Quentin fix every problem for Rowdy and that he also protect him. The truth is, after a deadly snakebite, Quentin owes his very life to his little brother, a debt that will never be paid in full. Only now a man is dead, and once again, their mother calls on Quentin to make the problem go away and save Rowdy from prison. When is enough enough, and how much of his own life will Quentin Marks have to sacrifice?

My Turn

A poignant tale of favoritism that left me feeling frustrated with, yet sympathetic for, the MC, Quentin Marks. The poor fellow is called upon to make unfathomable sacrifices for his delinquent brother and unloving mother.

There was a sense of Quentin being served up as the Biblical, ‘sacrificial lamb.’ I was incapable of avoiding emotional investment in the story.

More than once, I found myself asking, “Why Quentin?”

He could have simply walked away, but Quentin is a true man of his word and possesses an inner strength that most will never attain.

In my opinion, any story that conjures up such strong emotions, and a cheering on of the limping protagonist, is a tale worth reading. Brother’s Keeper, certainly fits the bill.

A compact story with a great punch!

FOUR STARS!

Meet Jan Sikes:

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of the Authors Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Connect with Jan, and purchase your copy

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In my opinion, any story that can conjure strong emotions and a cheering for the limping protagonist, is one that’s worth reading. Brother’s Keeper, certainly fits the bill.

 As I’ve mentioned, it’s a quick read with a great punch.

Four Stars!