Sunday, June 28, 2015

G617 Book Review of The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Name of Book: The Invasion of Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen

ISBN: 978-0-06-229039-7

Publisher: Harper Collins

Part of a Series: The Queen of Tearling Trilogy

Type of book: Fantasy/dystopia, set in future, immortality, jewels, utopia, socialist, losing status and power, strong women, wealth, dark pasts, New London, Tearling, picking up pieces, survival, complex vs simplicity, corruption

Year it was published: 2015


With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.


There are a lot of characters in the story, but main ones include Queen Kelsea Glynn who is about nineteen, very strong and resourceful and will do anything she can for her kingdom and to make sure her people have good lives. The Red Queen is the antagonist and is ageless (some sort of immortal?) and has a mysterious and hidden past that she doesn't want others to know. She is best described as a terror of sorts and is desperate to gain or hold on to more power. Mace, aka Lazarus, is Queen Kelsea's guard and he is the one that Queen Kelsea desires to please and pays attention to. He is loyal, fair and has his own secret past. Lily is the woman born in pre-Crossing Era and in beginning she is a terrified wealthy woman who knows she isn't happy, but isn't sure what to do. She is strong, curious and is loyal to the cause.


In order to create an ideal world, teamwork is needed and required


The story is in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of view, although the primary characters are Kelsea, Lily. Aisa and the Red Queen. The story is not focused on finding a soulmate but instead is focused on survival, ruling, growing up, coming of age, mysterious visions, trying to make sense of life and so forth. It is also a mixture of dystopia and fantasy, dystopia because it takes place in the future where the characters have to rebuild, and where characters have to change themselves. Fantasy elements include immortality and mystical jewels. But yes, although I enjoy reading love/romantic stories, once in a while I would like to come upon a book that focuses on a lot more than just better half.

Author Information:
(From TLC Book Tours)

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Purchase Links

About Erika Johansen

Erika Johansen grew up and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went to Swarthmore College, earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and eventually became an attorney, but she never stopped writing.


Never did I imagine in my life that I would give a dystopia/fantasy mixture five stars, yet that is what happened, and the book deserves all of the five stars. I haven't read the previous book, thus I speak as someone who barely knows or understands the world of Tearling, yet I found the book, oddly enough, as a good stand-alone novel, although I imagine that reading the prequel will make the experience much more richer. The world and the characters easily sucked me in, and the story-line is very addictive and engaging, even for someone who never read or heard of the world of Tear before. What I also appreciated is that men and women were painted three dimensional, there are both bad and good people and neither is superior or inferior.While I was reading the book, I couldn't help but recall the Song of the Lioness Quartet, and while reading Song of the Lioness Quartet, I wondered why they bothered me? The books have a strong heroine who can defeat everyone, but upon further reflection maybe what bothered me is that women were one dimensional or perhaps I felt discomfort with the fact that the main character pretended and continued to pretend to be a boy. This book has very strong heroines but they don't pretend to be someone they're not and instead they grow into their roles and strengths.

This is for TLC Book Tours

Erika’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, June 23rd: Books Without Any Pictures
Wednesday, June 24th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, June 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 30th: Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, June 30th: Reading Lark
Wednesday, July 1st: Fuelled by Fiction
Thursday, July 2nd: Book Loving Hippo
Monday, July 6th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, July 7th: The Reader’s Hollow
Wednesday, July 8th: fangirl confessions
Thursday, July 9th: booknerd
Monday, July 13th: Spiced Latte Reads
Tuesday, July 14th: A Reader of Fictions
Wednesday, July 15th: A Dream Within a Dream
Friday, July 17th: Into the Hall of Books
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

G603 What they see; how to stand out and shine in your new job

Title of the book: What they see; how to stand out and shine in your new job

Author: Jennifer Swanson

Publisher: Influence Publishing

Publishing Date: 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77141-099-1


First impressions DO count, and so does what comes afterward! Learn how to stand out, shine and make a stellar lasting impression as you enter the workforce. We send messages constantly—through our body language, actions, what we carry with us and what we wear...and most of this has nothing to do with what we actually say. Being aware of the messages you send is the first step in learning how to build an overall (and sustainable) image of professionalism that will assure others that you are capable, competent, and right for the job. In an easy-to-read format, and with simple and actionable steps, this book will help you discover how others perceive you when you make a first impression, and will show you how to ensure that the world sees you the way you want it to.

Author Info:
(from iRead Book Tours)

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble   ~   Chapters Indigo   ~   Book Depository

Jennifer Swanson
Meet the author:

Jennifer Swanson has been teaching Communication and Human Relation skills since 1993 to college students entering the medical field. She is also the creator/host of the Communication Diva Podcast, which has an international audience and helps people in deepening workplace and personal relationships through more effective communication. In addition to teaching young adults, Swanson is an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada, has worked in the Youth and Family Ministry for 3 years, has a Master's Degree in Public and Pastoral Leadership, and is a certified conflict coach and Master NLP Practitioner. She is also a mother and step-mother to two young adults and two teens. Swanson draws upon years of expertise as she shares her passion for inspiring others to reach their full potential with readers and audiences worldwide.

Connect with Jennifer:     Website  ~  Facebook  ~   Twitter    

Listen to the PODCAST:
How Writing a Book Can Benefit Your Business –with Jennifer Swanson
on The Successful Author Podcast

Personal Opinion:

I've found it to be a very informative  book that is both interesting, factual and a lot of suggestions the author makes are common sense. What I also liked is that its short and has helpful information crammed into 100+ pages and the information is easily categorized and can be found easily. There are always suggestions and room for improvement, and she even shares some personal anecdotes from her own journey through work. I would say it has a sense of some sort of timelessness that anyone can use and understand, and for the millennials its perfect because everything is in one place and it encourages them to be the best they can be. In some cases I do feel that it tends to be a little too optimistic, but other than that, very useful and helpful information in navigating through work and life.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

June 8 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review
June 8 - Laura's Interests - review / author interview
June 9 - Room With Books - review / author interview / giveaway
June 10 - Creating Serenity - review / giveaway
June 11 - Readers Muse - review / author interview
June 12 - Book Loving Hippo - review / giveaway
June 15 - Create With Joy - review / giveaway
June 16 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway
June 17 - Back Porchervations - review / giveaway
June 18 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
June 19 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
June 22 - The Autistic Gamer - review 
June 23 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
June 24 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / author interview
June 25 - Jessica Cassidy - review / guest post / giveaway
June 26 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
June 26 - Luxury Reading - review / giveaway
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

G604 Book Review of Nature's Confession by J.L Morin

Name of Book: Nature's Confession

Author: J.L Morin

ISBN: 978-0-9895960-7-7

Publisher: Harvard Square Editions

Type of book: Climate fiction, busy-work, science fiction, growing up, coming of age, genius, cloning, nature, pollution, destruction, living on different planets, marriage, relationships

Year it was published: 2015


The award-winning epic tale of two teens in a fight to save a warming planet . . . the universe . . . and their love.


‘Honestly, it’s not my fault. I didn’t mean to invent them. Humans were polluting the planet to desolation. What else could I do? I had to save her.'

Their planet is choked with pollution. THEY can’t do anything about it . . . or can they? When a smart-mouthed, mixed-race teen wonders why the work that needs to be done pays nothing compared to the busywork that’s glorified on holovision news, the search for answers takes him on the wildest journey of anyone’s lifetime. Just as the human race allows corporations to pollute Earth into total desolation, institute martial law and enslave humanity, the two teens set out to save civilization. Can they thwart polluters of Earth and other fertile worlds? The heroes come into their own in different kinds of relationships. On their team, six-legged Wuhvie, and Any Gynoid, who pushes the frontier of scientific discovery through the Big Bang to reveal . . . the most intimate confessions of Nature . . . . Will Starliament tear them from the project and unleash ‘intelligent’ life’s habitual pollution, or will youth lead the way to a new way of protecting Nature?

Hailed as one of the "12 works of Climate Fiction everyone should read", LitPick 5-Star-Review Award Winner, and an excerpt received an Eco-Fiction Story Contest Honorable Mention.


There are a lot of main characters in the story such as Eleanor who is Kenza's and Boy's mother and is best described as a strong and a capable woman; there is also Kenza who is Eleanor's daughter and is intelligent and has high psychic energy; Boy is precocious, curious and a savant; Valentine is a mysterious girl who has her own motives and reasons for doing things, and Porter is Eleanor's bumbling husband who seems more trouble rather than useful.


The world is full of possibilities


The story is written in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of view, and first person narrative from Cuppy's poitn of view, and unfortunately there is very little warning as to when we switch characters which makes it for a bit of a frustrating read. I enjoy reading multiple characters' points of view, but I want there to be some sort of warnings when it comes to point of view switching. The summary of the book itself feels very misleading to me because it seems to be more about many things rather the promised romance, and I do feel that romance needs to be a bit more developed.

Author Information:
(from iRead Book Tours)
J.L Morin author pic
Meet the author:  

Novelist and rooftop farmer, JL Morin grew up in inner city Detroit and wrote her Japan novel, Sazzae as her thesis at Harvard. It was a Gold medalist in the eLit Book Award, and a Living Now Book Award winner. She took to the road, traveling around the world, worked as a TV newscaster, and wrote three more novels. Adjunct faculty at Boston University, J. L. Morin, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2011. She is the author of Travelling Light, and ‘Occupy’s 1st bestselling novel’ Trading Dreams, a humorous story that unmasks hypocrisy in the banking industry and tosses corruption onto the horns of the Wall Street bull. She writes for the Huffington Post, and Library Journal, Sustainable Cites Collective, and has written for The Harvard Advocate, Harvard Yisei, Detroit News, Agence France-Presse, Cyprus Weekly, European Daily, Livonia Observer Eccentric Newspapers, the Harvard Crimson and others.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


In beginning I really enjoyed the story because its unique and I also liked how realistic it felt, that the story matches the way the technology develops (anyone notice how dependent we are on google for everything?) which makes it easier for people who are not fans of science fiction or who are new to the genre to connect with the story. I found the development of society unique and something to be commended for. However, as the story continued on, I admit that I really got lost as to the plot lines and how its supposed to work. There is time travel of sorts in the story, but how does it impact the present of the story? Towards the end there is a bit more clarity and I found myself liking the story once more, especially the lessons that the main character tells them.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

June 15 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
June 15 - Book Stop Corner - review / author interview / giveaway
June 18 - fuonlyknew - review / giveaway
June 19 - The Autistic Gamer - review 
June 22 - Nighttime Reading Center - review / author interview / giveaway
June 22-  Svetlana's Read and Views - review
June 23 - Rockin' Book Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 - - review 
June 24 - 3 Partners in Shopping - review / giveaway
June 25 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
June 26 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / author interview / giveaway
June 28 - Coffee, Books & Art - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

G621 Book Review of Isaac and Ishmael by Mary F Burns

Name of Book: Isaac and Ishmael

Author: Mary F Burns

ISBN: 9781937818234

Publisher: Perfect Bound

Type of book: Biblical, siblings, rivalry, relationships, help, patriarchs, doubt, faith, matriarchs, ancient times (-1700s PME?) generations, Middle East, Egypt, travel, promises

Year it was published: 2014


Isaac and Ishmael attempts to bring to human scale the legends and mythic dimensions of Abraham and Sarah, their sons Isaac and Ishmael, and Isaac and Rebecca’s twin sons Esau and Jacob. Readers will experience the struggles, competition, betrayals and loves of these brothers, fathers and sons caught up in the overarching tension between time and eternity, a place where a new God is coming into being—Yahweh, the uncanny, irascible, mischievous, bargaining God who participated in the life of a new people and compelled them to a new way of being human.

The stormy relationship of Isaac and Ishmael has long passed into a tradition which looks to Isaac as the father of the Jewish people, and Ishmael as the father of the Arab people, particularly in Egypt. Similarly, while Jacob carries on his father’s heritage, becoming the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, his twin brother Esau, the red-haired archer who sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup, is traditionally said to have departed for the North, and populated what would later become Rome. Isaac and Ishmael explores the thorny, complex yet delicate relations between these brothers and fathers, providing a more human understanding of the differences that arise between individuals and peoples, even now as the ancient tensions in the Middle East continue to flare up in modern confrontations and war. Ever present in the story are the strong, subtle and often ambitious women of Biblical legend: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.


The characters are definitely memorable and unforgettable, and its not because they are biblical. Abraham is a strong man who also happens to be obedient and listens to Yahweh. Sarah is a strong woman but at the same time she seems to mourn her lack of ability to have children and is harsh to Ishmael due to his mother. Ishmael seems to be cunning and interested in how the family is without him and has no qualms about releasing information that Isaac might have a right not to know. Isaac is curious, a trusting young man who seems to not see bad things in others and is extremely loyal and devoted; Rebecca is a kind and a clever young woman who is determined to succeed however she can; Esau cares more for wars than learning and enjoys doing the same things as Ishmael while Jacob is clever, sneaky and cunning and also is talented in many areas. Rachel and Leah are close sisters and in this story they get along very well together.


There is always a human element to the stories, beginnings equal struggles


The story is written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view; that of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Esau, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. It definitely has an unusual writing style because quotation marks aren't used in the story, but instead its a mixture of some sort of music or harmony with no unplanned stops or hiccups. I also like how Isaac found those things out about his past. I also compared it a little to Angels at the Gates written by T.K Thorne and reviewed earlier this year. The book gave me very clear appreciation of the biblical stories as well as helped me discover the purpose of Rachel in the story. I do hope the author will continue to write about Jacob and his family as well as about Joseph and up to Moses and I also hope that she will stick to Hebrew Testament and will not go into the christian testament in the future stories.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

Isaac & Ishmael Available at

About the Author03_Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns is the author of ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, published by Sand Hill Review Press in November 2014. Other historical fiction includes THE SPOILS OF AVALON and PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2014, 2013), both books featuring the celebrated portrait painter, John Singer Sargent and his best friend, writer Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee). Mary is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. Her debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders). She will be part of two panels at the upcoming North American Historical Novel Society Conference in June in Denver, one on The Historical Mystery and the other on Art and Artists in Historical Fiction.
Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood.
Ms. Burns may be contacted by email at For more information please visit Mary Burns’s website at You can also connect with Mary on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads, or read her blog posts at:


From the moment I agreed to do a book tour for Isaac and Ishmael by Mary F Burns, I had a very strong feeling that somehow this will be a special book. And I was not wrong. Let's be honest in saying that the bible is written dryly and while interesting, it barely gives explanations or draws out personalities of the patriarchs and matriarchs. In other words, lack of human element and its heavily implied that the reader should be very familiar with the characters and their views as well as personalities. This story, however, delves into the human psyche and gives life to my favorite stories in Genesis, that of Isaac and Jacob and their respective siblings and families. What I also really appreciated is that the author stuck directly to Hebrew Testament with no hints to the christian testament, thus I didn't feel as if religion was being shoved down my throat. If you are looking to see how the biblical beginning stories should actually work and how they should look, then pick up this book and prepare to be transformed into the desert of long ago and far away.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Isaac and Ishmael Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 8
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, June 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, June 10
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, June 11
Review at A Book Drunkard
Friday, June 12
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Monday, June 15
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, June 16
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, June 17
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, June 18
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Friday, June 19
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Sunday, June 21
Review & Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, June 22
Excerpt at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, June 23
Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Thursday, June 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Friday, June 26
Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

G588 Calming the Chaos; a soulful guide to managing your energy rather than your time

Title of the book: Calming the Chaos; A Soulful Guide to Managing Your Energy Rather than your time

Author: Jackie Woodside

Publisher: Next Century Publishing

Publishing Date:2015

ISBN: 978-1-62903-822-3


Far too many people in contemporary culture feel they don't have enough time to "get it all done." The stress of this chronic overwhelm creates a disorganized mind that leads to a chaotic life. Based on her highly acclaimed "Energy Management" workshops, and drawn from over 25 years of counseling and coaching experience, professional trainer and speaker Jackie Woodside shares her breakthrough methods that lead to becoming the least stressed, most productive person you know!
In Calming the Chaos, you will learn the step-by-step skills and thought processes that lead to increased productivity and peace of mind. Jackie's approach stems from the new frontier of human performance called energetic consciousness. Part philosophy, part psychology, fully practical application, you will learn:

- Why there is no such thing as time management and what to do instead.
- How to manage your energy instead of your time and stress.
- The three-step formula for managing every component of your life for the rest of your life!
- Why "to-do lists" are a set up for failure and what really works.
- "The Three Strikes Rule" that will end procrastination for good!
- How to always know that you have the time for what you want and need to do!

Many books promise to change your life. Applying these principles will make this a reality!

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Meet the author:

Jackie Woodside, CPC, LICSW is a psychotherapist, coach, speaker and author, specializing in the power of managing personal energy, rather than time or stress. An Amazon bestselling author of 'What If It’s Time for a Change?' and highly sought-after speaker on leadership and empowerment topics, Jackie conducts training programs for public, private and government sectors nationwide.

Connect with Jackie:  Website  ~  Twitter   ~  Facebook

Personal Opinion:

The book definitely has promise and is an interesting combination of spirituality with learning to feel peaceful in today's hectic environment. I didn't expect it to discuss spiritual issues such as negative thoughts versus positive thoughts, how to stay calm and how to be more productive. The book asks the reader to change their thoughts and ideas from one way to a different way; one example is using the word productive instead of busy, and of how a cluttered area can block the productiveness. I have to say that some of the ideas that the author presented were a little over my head and seemed contradictory such as the idea of schedule and to-do list because at one point I felt that she was saying to create a sort of schedule, but then the schedule is limiting or something of the sort.

This is for iRead Book Tours

Tour Schedule:

June 1 - Sarah Rehmatullah - review
June 1 - Mama Knows Books - review
June 2 - View from the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
June 3 - Laura's Interests - review / giveaway
June 4 - T's Stuff - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 5 - Green and Glassie - review / author interview / giveaway
June 8 - Genuine Jenn - review / giveaway
June 8 - Overstuffed - review 
June 9 - Divas with a Purpose - review / author interview
June 9 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / giveaway
June 10 - I'd Rather Be at the Beach - review / giveaway
June 11 - Life with Katie - review / giveaway
June 11 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
June 12 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review / giveaway
June 15 - Book Stop Corner - review / author interview / giveaway
June 16 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
June 16 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
June 17 - Back Porchervations - review / author interview
June 18 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / guest post
June 19 - Create With Joy - review / giveaway 
June 22 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
June 23 - Readers Muse - review / guest post
June 24 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
June 25 - - review / giveaway
June 26 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway
TBD -       My Bookshelf - review 
TBD -       Breath of Life - review / guest post / giveaway
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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