Guest Post: The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino

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Goodreads Synopsis

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

 

Book Links

The Flawed Ones Website

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Book Review: “Anyone Can Get an A+: How to Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades” by Geetanjali Mukherjee

Goodreads Synopsis

Do you wish you could get better grades? Do you struggle with certain subjects and believe that maybe you’re not cut out for them? Do you want to spend less time studying and still get good grades?

Studying for tests and exams can be stressful, not just for students, but also for teachers and parents. Grades in school exams and standardized tests can seem to determine your entire future, and yet many students are not able to get the grades they think they need to succeed.

Anyone Can Get An A+ is a conversational, down-to-earth guide for high school and college students on how to maximize their learning and get the grades they want. This book draws on research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and gives students practical advice that they can implement right away, to overcome procrastination, make the most of their study time and improve their grades significantly.

The book includes sections on how the right nutrition and diet can aid learning, how to organize your time and study schedule, how to keep track of all your deadlines and school-related paperwork, and how to overcome procrastination to complete your schoolwork on time. The author also discusses how students can incorporate the latest research on education and learning into their everyday study habits.

Anyone Can Get An A+ contains 39 tips on various aspects of studying and preparing for exams. In this book, you will learn:
-How best to prepare for exams
-What is the top mistake most students make when doing exam preparation and how to avoid it
-How to overcome procrastination and use your study time wisely
-How to break down larger assignments into smaller chunks
-How to write a paper
-How to use small segments of time effectively
-How to get help to understand difficult material

This book includes techniques that work for both high school and college students. Although some of the examples used may resonate more easily with college students, it is never too early to start good study habits, and many of the tips translate equally to high school and college. The author herself learnt many of these techniques while preparing for board exams in high school.

Anyone Can Get An A+ includes the following chapters:
Chapter 1: Adopting The Right Attitude
Chapter 2: Nourishing Your Mind and Body
Chapter 3: Organizing Your Study Life
Chapter 4: Getting The Most From Your Study Time
Chapter 5: Beating Procrastination
Chapter 6: Studying Effectively
Chapter 7: Tackling Difficult Subjects
Chapter 8: Revising For Exams

Bookworm1102’s Review

This book aims to help you to improve your grades by combating procrastination and with other study tips. As someone who describes herself as a serial procrastinator in all aspects, I could not wait to pick up this book and read some of the tips.

The book is mostly aimed at students and people who are studying, and offers numerous tips and advice to reducing stress relating to school, using the author’s own personal experiences.

I wish I had this book when I was studying. There are so many useful tips that I wish I had known when revising, as I usually just read through my notes and it stressed me out. There are some tips that I have applied to my life now, such as using a note app, and I took the author’s advice and started using Evernote, which is good!

I took a special interest in the procrastination section, and I have used some of the advice, such as procrastinating by doing something useful, and it has really helped me to do some things sooner, instead of doing what I would usually do and leave it all to the last minute.

Thank you to the author for the complimentary ebook copy.

I rate this book 4/5 stars!

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Guest Post: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

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About The Book

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest. 

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep. 

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.” 

 

Excerpt

What you are about to read is one of the stories from my book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, a collection of short stories that are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. My hitching adventures are true. The Danny narratives are also true, but written from a perspective different from mine. The fiction stories are a jumble of genres. 

There are a whole lotta stories in the book—700 pages worth. Enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future. 

Here’s one of my fiction stories: 

Everything’s Jake

 It was early in the morning when the man rode into town from the east, the sun at his back, his long shadow before him. The street was deserted except for an old mongrel dog sniffing its way home after a long night’s prowl. 

He proceeded on the main thoroughfare—the town’s only thoroughfare—until he came abreast of the Blue Moon Café with its “WE NEVER CLOSE” sign hanging from the ramada. Spurring his horse over to the hitching post outside the café, he dismounted and entered the establishment. 

At that time in the morning, the chairs were on the tables, and the only occupants were a boy sweeping the floor and a disheveled, overweight man behind the bar wiping a glass with a dirty rag. The barkeep watched the stranger approach. 

“How ’bout some whiskey?” said the stranger. 

When the barman was slow in responding, the man grabbed his collar, pulled him down until he was bent over the bar and their eyes were staring into each other’s. 

“I said whiskey,” growled the stranger. 

“Yes sir, right away,” was the barkeep’s quick response. 

When released, with a shaking hand he placed the glass he had been wiping on the bar, grabbed a bottle from beneath the counter, and poured a liberal amount of an amber liquid into it. 

As he started to re-cork the bottle, he was told to leave it. 

“Yes sir.” 

Turning his back to the bar and placing his elbows thereon, he called to the youth doing the sweeping. 

“Hey you, boy, come over here.” 

Placing his broom against the nearest table, the boy did as he was bid. 

“You got a name, son?” 

“Yes sir. It’s Billy.” 

“Well, Billy, do you know a man by the name of Jake Tapper?” 

“Yes sir.” 

“Do you know where he lives?” 

“Yes sir.” 

Reaching into his vest pocket, the man withdrew a silver dollar and flicked it in the boy’s direction. “You go tell Jake that Mac’s in town.” 

  • • • • •

Jake lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling. It was much too early to be awake, but since she left, he’d found it hard to sleep. It had been a heady eight months. He had never loved a woman as he had loved Jeanie. Sure, it was taking a chance messing with Mac Conway’s woman, but it had been worth it. Now that she had run off with that piano player from the Blue Moon, he thought he’d just stop running from Mac. Might as well get it over with, thought Jake. 

Then there was a knock at his door. “Yes, who is it?” 

“It’s me, Mister Tapper. Billy Doyle.” 

“Whatcha want, Billy?” 

“A man down to the Blue Moon told me to tell you that Mac is in town. I think he wants to talk to you.” 

“Alright, Billy. You tell him I’ll be right there.” 

Jake packed his few belongings and left the room. Instead of going to the Blue Moon, he went to the livery stable and saddled his horse. Then he mounted and headed out of town as fast as the beast could carry him. 

It is one thing to think brave thoughts in the seclusion of your room, but it’s another thing to face Mac Conway in a saloon. Hell, it ain’t healthy to face off with Mac anywhere. Now that Jeanie’s gone, there’s no reason to git myself killed. 

The next day Mac caught up with Jake, and then went looking for Jeanie. 

 

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

About The Author

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Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews. 

 Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story. 

 

Guest Post: The Aona Series by Simon Williams

Book One – Oblivion’s Forge

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Amazon UK Synopsis

Close to death, a loner who lives a life of slavery to geomantic forces tries to forget the horror he glimpsed and the god-like beings that threaten the very existence of the world.

A young woman cursed by a witch seeks shelter in a castle as winter closes in- only to find herself propelled into a nightmare.

A healer who has reached the limit of her abilities and endurance when she struggles with a mysterious, incurable disease, seeks help from her mentor but is swept up in events beyond her control.

In each of these people and many others, ancient forces stir in response to the existential threat facing the world of Aona. A suffocating darkness to stand against the destroying light; a raging torrent of power bestowed through a thousand years of blood.

Oblivion’s Forge is the first book in the Aona series, which tells of a monumental struggle between two great powers, an unparalleled existential war.

“What if all of this- our powers, our world- is that last light hanging in the void?”

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Book Two – Secret Roads

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Amazon UK Synopsis

A Gate has opened: the marandaal have reached out into Aona, and the great powers of the world awaken.

Caught between the destroying light of the marandaal and the malign influence of the choragh, ancient masters of Aona, are the men and women who will shape the destiny of this world: wielders of the Old Powers, and their protectors.

Secret Roads continues the chronicle of malevolent forces and violent upheaval that began with Oblivion’s Forge.

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Book Three – The Endless Shore

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Amazon UK Synopsis

The marandaal spread throughout Aphenhast, and in the bitterly divided land of Harn a small group of men and women seek to bring the unity without which the entire world will perish. Nia, former spy and assassin for the Watchers, flees north, carrying with her a terrible secret about the Watchers themselves. In Mirkwall, Ilumor presides over the kin and prepares to fight the marandaal. But some other power has been stirred within the Mirk; something not even his masters the choragh know about. And in Luudhoq, Yui and her companions must avoid capture by the immortal Seven at all costs..

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Book Four – The Spiral Heart

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Amazon UK Synopsis

As the marandaal draw ever closer to Harn, Inerdyr is intent on crushing the renegade Watchers and mercenaries who have banded together in the name of a unified resistance to the starspawn.

In Luudhoq, the Seven fight and plot as cracks appear in their ancient empire.

Ilumor prepares to lead the defence of Mirkwall against the marandaal, but an unexpected fate awaits him.

And those few who walk the Green Road find that something terrible lurks within the very heart of the world…

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Book Five – Salvation’s Door

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Amazon UK Synopsis

The known Existence is likely dead and dark, every world turned cold and lifeless by the remorseless marandaal. Only Aona remains; a precious world that represents the only light and hope left.

Yet Aona is dying, and the disease spreads not only from out of the Gates, fathomless portals linking the physical world to the void, but also from Aona’s true heart, the mysterious Green Road.

Now the final battle will be fought, a monumental struggle for life itself.

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Author Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads Author Page

Amazon UK Author Page

Amazon US Author Page

Book Review: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Goodreads Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Bookworm1102’s Review

I bought this book having heard so many good things about it. I was not disappointed.

This book deals with difficult subjects, subjects that often are not talked about because they are tough, such as racism. The book is based around Starr, a 16 year old girl who is with her friend Khalil when he gets shot by a police officer (who happens to be white). She is the only person, besides the officer, who knows what really happened that night, and the story is about her struggle to come to terms with what happened, and with her trying to fight for what she believes in. What she does and does not say could put her and her family in terrible danger.

I found most of the characters to be really likeable, with the exception of a few. Starr is the perfect protagonist. She was relatable, with the ideal mixture of serious and funny. Her family seemed to be a close knit family, they always looked out and protected each other, even when it put them in danger themselves.

I liked the relationship between Starr and Chris. They had their issues and arguments, but when Chris spent the whole night in Garden Heights, fighting along Starr and her brothers, it showed how much he really cared for her and that he did not care what others thought about them as a couple.

I would definitely highly recommend this book, as it deals with topics that, sadly, are very relevant in today’s society. There is also currently a film being made, and I am looking forward to watching that.

I rate this book 5/5 stars!

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Book Review: “Please, Let Me Go” by Caitlin Spencer

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Goodreads Synopsis

Please, Let Me Go tells the shocking true story of Caitlin Spencer, a survivor of sex trafficking in England.

From the age of 14, Caitlin was completely controlled, repeatedly raped, provided with alcohol, given drugs, sold and passed on to new gangs over and over again. The majority of her abusers were Pakistani men, who were blatant in their attacks upon her, often collecting her from school or home, to be taken to flats they owned, family homes, or hotels booked for the day, to be horrifically and systematically abused.

At a time when the abuse ring realities of young white women in Rotherham and other major English cities are coming to light, Caitlin’s story will appal readers – not just because of the degree of horrific attacks which were perpetrated upon her, but also because of the ways in which the authorities refused to act.

Caitlin speaks openly about what she has suffered, and also shows just how unwilling many people are to face up to what is happening in our midst, for fear of being called racist. By bravely speaking out, she will, hopefully prove just how deep these problems are and just how the abusers get away with it in plain sight of the authorities.

Bookworm1102’s Review

I always find it difficult to ‘review’ these type of books, due to the genre and nature of the stories. When I read these stories, it is always in the very front of my mind that this is not a work of fiction. This truly happened to somebody, and they were brave enough to speak out about what they went through, whether it is for a cathartic reason, to educate the reader or a mixture of both, or something else.

I am also reluctant to say I enjoyed a book of this nature, for the very reason that it is a true story, it did happen to somebody, and usually, the things the author went through, were pretty horrific. That being said, this book really opened my eyes as to what Caitlin went through, and what is still going on in this country, and many other countries across the world.

Caitlin was very brave to speak up against her rapists, and I am glad she has managed to escape, and that she lives with her two children. I understand, having read the book, not just the physical pain but also the emotional and mental pain that her attackers put her through, and to come through the other side of that, I really do believe that Caitlin is a very strong person.

I rate this book 5/5 stars!

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Book Review: “Charisma” by Jeanne Ryan

Goodreads Synopsis

A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller

Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it’s too late.

Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.

Bookworm1102’s Review

Charisma is a book I picked up because I read (and enjoyed) Nerve. Reading the blurb, I could identify with Aislyn, who suffers from awful shyness, as I am exactly the same with new people, groups of people or when I am the centre of attention. What I did not expect, however, was to also identify with Aislyn’s brother Sammy, who had Cystic Fibrosis, the same illness I have.

I thought Jeanne Ryan handled both characters well. I do believe that she concentrated more on the negative of shyness, and it came across a bit as if people who are shy are only ‘mediocre’, although I am sure it did not mean to come across this way. However, I feel that she handled CF very well, speaking from someone who completely understands the illness. To some people, she may have mentioned Sammy coughing too much, but that is very true to how CF works, it makes you cough a lot. I found it refreshing to see CF mentioned in a book.

As for the story and the book, I enjoyed both. It did start off quite slowly, but I believe that was to give the full impression of just how difficult Aislyn’s life was because of her shyness. Things did speed up after 80 pages, so I would definitely recommend sticking it out if you are considering putting it down beforehand. I wasn’t sure what to make of Jack. He just seemed like a boring guy. Evie, however, I thought was the best friend that everyone either has or deserves. She tried her best to help Aislyn with her shyness, and she was so supportive when everything kicked off.

I probably would have rated this 3 stars for the story and book, but I have rated it 4/5 stars due to the mention of Cystic Fibrosis.

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

Guest Post: The Leftover by Brooke Williams

The Leftover cover

Goodreads Synopsis

A reserved wallflower discovers that reality TV is the perfect backdrop to develop her confidence in this lighthearted rom-com.

Megan Malone is the ultimate homebody. When her sister talks her into going on The Leftover, a local version of the TV show Survivor, she isn’t sure she’ll make it past the first vote. Meanwhile, Cane Trevino is nursing a broken heart by joining the show as a medic.

With time away from his regular job and a dozen contestants to distract him, he hopes he can finally get over the woman he thought was “the one.”

 

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

 

About The Author

Brooke Williams is a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer/author. Brooke is a former radio announcer and producer who also did a brief stint as a TV traffic reporter. Now, she writes novels as well as articles, blogs, and copy for clients on a freelance basis during the one-hour a day her daughters allow her the time.

She has been married to her husband, Sean, since 2002 and they have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.

Author Links

Official Website

Twitter

Facebook

 

Book Review: “The Black Lens” by Christopher Stollar

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Goodreads Synopsis

Zoey James has pimp trouble. And even though he doesn’t know it, her pimp has Zoey trouble. Big Zoey trouble. In a dark world of meth addiction, trailer parks and abuse, Zoey has seen it all. But when she and her disabled sister are forced into a small-town sex ring, the teenage girls find out just how brutal the world can be. And when someone kills her mother as retaliation for a failed escape attempt, Zoey decides to fight back. Teaming up with a photojournalist, Zoey exposes wealthy and powerful men who play in the dirty, back-alley world of modern slavery. The price for her cooperation is freedom. The cost of failure is her life.

Bookworm1102’s Review

Zoey and her sister Camille live with their mother Ella and father Ricky on a trailer park in La Pine. Camille has autism and likes Disney Princesses. Their mother works but their father makes meth. Aidan is a photographer at the local paper. He quickly realises that something is not right in the town. Zoey and Camille are blackmailed into working as prostitutes, and if they do not do as they are told, their pimp threatens to kill their mother and all those that they love.

This book deals with some very dark and mature subject matters. From the very beginning, which opens with Zoey and her sister heading out to a party, we are introduced to a possible rift between Ricky and the rest of the family, although we are not sure what exactly caused this at the start.

The author has done over three years of research and interviews before writing this novel, and it shows in the writing and the story. Despite the fact that the characters are fictional and the story is fictional, similar things are happening all around the world, even in places you thought it could never happen.

I really got hooked on this novel. The story dragged me into it from the very start, and I grew to quickly like Zoey and Camille, and I could feel their fear and felt myself really sympathising with them when they got blackmailed into sleeping with numerous men. I liked the idea of having alternate chapters for Zoey and Aidan’s stories. Aidan was one of my favourite characters, he willingly put his life at risk to help free Zoey, Camille and the others girl who were forced into the ordeal.

I rate this book 4/5 stars!

Thank you to Christopher Stollar and Booklover Catlady Publicity for the complimentary ebook copy.

Book Links

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The author is donating 10% of his earnings to charities that fight the sex trafficking trade.

 

Book Review: “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

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Goodreads Synopsis

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Bookworm1102’s Review

Madeline Whittier is a seventeen year old girl who has a rare disease, which means she is unable to leave the safety of her house, as anything could potentially kill her. She is content with her life, being home-schooled via the internet and reading books. One day, a family move in next door, and Maddy meets Olly. After talking to him for a while, she realises that she is falling in love with him, and has to decide whether meeting him and being with him is worth the risk of becoming seriously ill.

This book has quickly become one of my favourite reads of 2017. The chapters, if they can be called that, are short and sweet, which is something that I personally really like in a book. The story was built up from the beginning so you got to know the characters quickly, and straight away, I felt really sorry for Maddy (although that is something she does not like!).

The romance between Maddy and Olly was adorable, and I enjoyed reading their IM conversations. It really allowed me to understand the full interactions between them, and to see exactly when they started to fall for each other.

I was completely shocked by a revelation toward the end of the book, but I felt so much empathy toward Maddy’s mother, and I was glad to read that she eventually seeked out some professional help. As it is a light-hearted book, there was always going to be a happy ending of sorts, and I am happy with how the book ended.

I rate this book 5/5 stars!

If you like the sound of this book, you can find it on Goodreads here, Amazon UK here and Amazon US here.

You can find my film review for the film version of Everything, Everything here.