Monthly Archives: June 2022

Hey Charlie, You’re Next!  by Michael B. Judkins (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

 
Charlie finds himself in the midst of bullying on Basketball day at school and is unsure of how to speak up for himself. With a little bit of advice from his teacher and some hope, there is nothing that can tear him down.
Hey Charlie, You’re Next offers readers a compelling story about overcoming negativity and gaining self confidence. It is the first book in the Hey Charlie series by Michael Judkins. Stay tune for the next books!
 
BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon Purchase Link
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Meet the Author:
Michael B. Judkins, is a local creative residing in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. He holds an Associate in Science in Journalism, Bachelor of Science in Human Services, and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling with over 20 years in the field of Human Services.

Michael self-published his first poetry collection titled, “Introduction to Sentimental Me”. After the release of this collection, Michael was signed to Aois 21 Media publishing house which published his second poetry collection released title, “Interlude to Sentimental Me.” In addition, to the “I Stand- Podcast” and “Interlude to Sentimental Book Tour (Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C, Bethlehem Pa, and Allentown, PA) which also included a virtual book tour (blog sites).

During this time, Michael started his independent film career in 2016, as a script supervisor on a short film produced in the Lehigh Valley area of PA. This project opened the door for Michael in the local film industry in the Lehigh Valley. After this, Michael worked on several film projects throughout the next few years as production manager, production assistant, Key Grip, and Producer. Michael also has written, produced, and directed his first stage play titled, “Interlude to Sentimental Me Stage Play.”

 

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I’ve been a mental health therapist for the past 20 years. I worked in various settings ranging from outpatient, residential, community, Inpatient, and Correctional.

 

How long have you been writing?

My writing journey started in High School.  I’d write short stories and poems and would not share the writing. I wrote a poem on the back of a global studies test and my teacher read the poem and graded me an A.

 

Where do you write?

I like to write mostly on my desktop. I craft out ideas, storylines, and characters throughout my walking day, and when it’s time to write I have my outline.

 

What is your next project?

 I have a short film in post-production titled Lonely Girl. I’m working on the second series to Hey Charlie and editing a potential short film to produce.

 

What is your writing schedule?

I don’t have a writing schedule. I like to draft notes daily and build characters and storylines when something is moving me.  So, I guess every day lol.

 

connect with the author: 
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The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story (Book Review)

 
Warning: The book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is the occasional swear word, but they are not frequent.
 
 
 
HE CAME BACK, DETERMINED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.

Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .

He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

​From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

 
 
Buy the Book:
CAMCAT BOOKS
AMAZON ~ B&N ~ Nook
IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository
 
 
 
 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Warning: The book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is also a scene dealing with “cutting,” and it’s established this is not the first time the person has engaged in self-harm.


The Beaches Ones made my head hurt. Was Daniel really dead? Was he alive? Why could some people see him while others couldn’t? How was Daniel solid to Jolene and Brent but not to other people? Why does Daniel shower, eat, and bleed if he is dead? Talk about a mind-bender! I had no earthly idea what the heck was going on. 


Things began to make sense when we met the guru, Richard Wells. Thankfully, now the answers start flowing. 


There were some inconsistencies in the story. Jolene says a couple of times that she started seeing dead people when she was five. She also remembers when she was four and saw her deceased neighbor looking for their alive cat. While the story itself was indeed a mystery, leaving me puzzled for most of it, I had to dock half a point for giving two different ages. Sorry.  


As the warning states, some scenes deal with suicide. One, in particular, is very intense. It made my anxiety soar. 


After all the mystery, heartache, pain, and suffering, the final moments were unexpected but beautiful. HEA. 


After The Beaches Ones, Colleen M. Story stresses that if you have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. They also list two “help” sites. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

 

CAMCAT BOOKS
AMAZON ~ B&N ~ Nook
IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Colleen M. Story

 

Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker who loves animals, music, and the great Pacific Northwest.

Her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others. Her next novel, The Beached Ones is forthcoming from CamCat Books on June 14, 2022.

Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. “Your Writing Matters” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives.

Her previous release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller.

With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She continues to work as a full-time freelance writer, helping clients create informative and inspiring communications in a variety of media formats.

Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader, writing coach, and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Go to Colleen’s website for free chapters of her books.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter goodreads ~ bookbub

 
 
 

 

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Shadows in the Aftermath by Marianne Scott (Book Spotlight)

SHADOWS IN THE AFTERMATH by Marianne Scott

 
Ruby Draker has found new strength and is ready to move on after Felix Szabo devastated the Draker estate in Nice, France. Three Drakers are dead leaving Ruby in grief and with thoughts of revenge. The Drakers are a family built of survivors; each rescued from Felix Szabo, a psychopath, who sought to murder his former agents at the CIA whom he believed betrayed him. The Drakers’ sole mission is to stop Szabo from adding more victims to his list, and although he also perished during the invasion, his legacy continues to haunt them. When the Drakers learn that Robert Draker, presumed dead since the shoot-out at Robert’s farmhouse, may be alive and at a rehab clinic in Portland, Maine, the Drakers know it could be a setup, but they have no choice but to try to nd him and bring Robert home.

​Shocked that Robert may be alive, the family head from France to America to find him. It’s only when they arrive in the west that they realize finding Robert won’t be as easy as they thought. Szabo has found a way to terrorize the Draker family, even after death. His outstanding debt with a Corsican crime family means the Drakers must now find and deliver a shipment of plutonium, which will likely be used by terrorists to create a nuclear bomb, to get Robert back. As Ruby struggles with the decision to save her brother or North America, she must also evade the CIA, who are trying to stop the Drakers from delivering the plutonium. 

 

BUY THE BOOK:
Friesen Press Bookstore
Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

 
 
 
Meet the Author:

Author Marianne Scott

Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently finishing an edit on her fourth novel, a murder mystery. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, CA. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of the blog, Quick Brown Fox, and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog is the president of The Cambridge Writers’ Collective and is a member of the Guelph Genre Writers. In September of 2018, she completed a fourth-year course in Writing Fiction at the University of Guelph under the expert teaching of Lawrence Hill. Her novels, Finding Ruby Draker and Shadows in the Aftermath are self-published. She is actively seeking representation to break into the traditional publishing world with her third and fourth novels.  
 
 
connect with the author: 
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Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall (Book Review)

 

Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.

 

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add to Goodreads

 

 


I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Finally, someone has written a book shining a light on how twisted some fairy tales really are. Okay, there might be others on the market, but this is my first read of one, and I was impressed with the author’s insight. Anne E. Beall did her research when giving you the facts. She has multiple tables where she breaks down various categories such as who is Marrying Up more often, who is Suffering more, who is Vanquishing Evil the most, and the list and tables go on. 

I’ve had many talks with my daughter about how disturbing fairy tales are. We discussed if we’d ever kiss a random talking frog or dine with a beast (no matter if he kidnapped our dad or not). We also talked about there’s death in every Disney movie, probably in most fairy tales. Some deaths are more graphic than others. Case in point, if you have seen Tarzan then you might recall the shadowy image of Clayton’s hung body in the jungle’s vines. Anyone who complains about the content on non-animated shows should stop and think about what kids see from our famous animated studios. 

The author is correct when she spotlighted the frightening tale of Hansel and Gretel. This isn’t a fairy tale, more like a scary story you’d tell around a campfire. 

When you think of it, most fairy tales involve teens or younger children. These teen girls are (often) held against their will and saved by their princes. I should note these girls are married before they would legally be allowed to drink or vote in the real world. Oh, and let’s not forget they send the wrong image of how a girl should look, dress, and act to attract a rich man. Sheesh! 

Fairy tales are unrealistic. That’s why people of all ages love them. But, if you take off the rose-colored glasses, like Anne E. Beall, you can see these tales for what they are— unrealistic, superficial, unsettling tales that hook you with their catchy tunes. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link

add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Anne E. Beall

​A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.


connect with the author:  website ~ facebook goodreads

 

 
 
 
 
 

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The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos (Book Review)

The magical sisters are enrolled in an etiquette class when their manners are not fit for the king and queen of the enchanted land of Harmony. Can Elizabeth the Emu help the royal sisters?

In the beautiful and peaceful land of Harmony, three magical sisters and royal daughters of the land, uproot the kingdom’s tranquility with some not-so-polite actions —nose-picking, belching, and other noisy…expulsions. Their parents, the King and Queen, enroll the sisters in the elegant Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class where they learn manners and other ways to self-improve like being on time, politeness, and proper personal hygiene.

Elizabeth the Emu explains to Angel Scarlet, Princess Daphne, and Fairy Cora that having proper etiquette is more than good manners, it’s about being kind and courteous. And for the sisters? Well, let’s just say that they will be needing more than one lesson from Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class.

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 


Amazon has The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos for children 3 – 11 years. Children on the younger side will enjoy humorous moments such as burping and farting princesses. Oh, and let’s not forget Scarlett, digging for gold. Kids will crack up because those three things are always funny to a kid – big or small. 

Etiquette classes are not so common here in the states, but I imagine they are over in the UK, where royalty is a prominent fixture. When you read The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony, it’s wise to ask your child(ren) or student(s) if they understand what etiquette means. Depending on the age of your reader/listener, several other words might need explaining: epitome, tranquility, drear, doting, and insight. 

I do believe some table manners are essential in any home. For instance, chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with food in your mouth. I also think it’s unsafe to stab a piece of food with a knife and eat off of it. That’s an easy way to cut yourself! Hand washing should be encouraged, not just at meal times and not just for two seconds! My family already knew the happy birthday trick (singing it twice) regarding hand washing, but others may not, so this was a nice addition to the story. 

The final moments in the story made me smile. The poor Emu had a tough day at work, and it was sweet to see her hubby was waiting for her and drew her a bath. What a sweetheart! 

Special shout-out to Emily Hercock for your lovely illustrations. We loved them all, but Patrick the Peacock was our favorite drawing. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

AUTHOR KAREN BOBOS

 
Bobos began writing poetry and stories at the early age of ten. She is a life-long Chicagoan who now raises her family in the downtown area. During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago also became a city of unrest. Trying to keep her three young daughters in a world of magic during such scary times, the Bobos Babes Adventures were born. Her goal was to create a world of Harmony for her family and hopefully for others to escape, even if only for a moment. The first book of the series, The Case of the Giggles, was published in December 2020. The Missing Egg launched in March 2021. The The Lion’s Secret was published in June 2021, a tribute to her mother and late father’s incredible love story.  The Lovey that Came to Life and The Bobcat Birthday party will be releasing in the upcoming months.​
 
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