Tag Archives: death

Court of Snakes: This Desert Cage by Tycho Dwelis (Book Review)

Content Rating:  PG + M: Some allusion to domestic abuse, fantasy violence, adults drinking alcohol
 
 
In the city of Segeno, it’s eat or be eaten. Someone has to rule the masses. A boy has lost his birthright. His parents killed. Dead and gone. A girl has lost her father. She means nothing to him now.

The city of Segeno stands tall after a great war, the only city left of its kind. Terran has lost both of his parents and is now on the run from a tyrant eager to kill him and cut off the royal bloodline. Parisa struggles with her own identity as even her father rejects her for the color of her skin as he claws for the throne. Along their journeys, they meet unexpected allies and encounter unprecedented magick, but, most importantly, they learn what it is to stand up for themselves and take back their city from corruption.

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

 
Court of Snakes: This Desert Cage by Tycho Dwelis began with a mammoth squashing a pickpocketer and The King batting more than one guard. I knew from the start that this book would be excellent, and as I finished the last line, I was correct. 


Teens and young adults will love how swiftly Terran, The King, and other characters navigated the districts. The movements reminded me of parkour. 


The King also taught Terran the real power of tarot cards. They don’t just see a person’s future; they allow chosen ones to harness the deck’s power. You don’t choose which card works in a particular situation. Instead, the cards seem to know what the bearer needs. The cards are judge, jury, and (at times) executioner. 


Many powers were displayed, but I liked when The King’s six swords came out. The written battle scenes were amazing, and I can only imagine how epic they would be if the movie industry could bring them to life. I would watch that movie in a heartbeat! 


With the build-up to the show-down, I expected it to be grander – longer. It was over too soon. That said, many unexpected moments happened when the war began- some shocking and rather sad. 


This story did conclude on a happy note, which is always lovely. 


While the cover is nice, I don’t think it lives up to the story’s contents. I think the colorful promo banner (shared on my site, Amazon, and Ireads Book Tour) would’ve been a better fit. It’s vibrant, eye-catching, and draws the eye. Well done to whoever created it. 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author Tycho Dwelis

I’m Tycho (I also use the pen name Cassidy), and I love storytelling! I’m incredibly passionate about writing, art, and anything that allows me to create my own worlds. My goal is to write dreamy fiction for all ages that is unique, inspiring, and imaginative. I like to write about themes that include coming of age, magic realism, identity, relationships, and bullying. My books are intended for readers ages eight to twenty-five, and are meant to connect the world of the fantastical to everyday life.

I currently live in Colorado and have an MA in Publishing.

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A Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe Daniell (Book Review and Author Interview)

A MIDLIFE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION by Donna Roe Daniell

 
Can You Step into Your Power and Birth a New You at Midlife?

YES! Midlife, and the major events that encompass the ages of 35-65, can be devastating or powerful for women. But we can choose to be awakened at this powerful time of life. This memoir is the story of Donna Daniell’s healing journey through the five stages of the midlife voyage-Lost at Sea; Finding a Mooring; Deep Diving; Rebirthing; and the New You-to find self-love, resilience, and feminine wisdom. It is also a roadmap for other women on the midlife journey, charting a course that transmutes challenges into inner rebirth and stepping into the power of the Wisewoman.

​FIND YOUR OWN INNER STRENGTH – TAKE THE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION!

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
A Midlife Voyage to Transformation touches upon many aspects of Donna Roe Daniell’s life: postpartum depression, divorces, ADHD, career, and family heartache.
 
First, as a mother with two ADD children, I can attest to their brightness. Some teachers see these children as destructive, but their brains are working at max speed and need continuous stimuli. Like Julian, my son picked up music. My daughter loves art. 
 
Donna was overwhelmed often, and who could blame her—she had a lot on her plate. Peter, her first husband, checked out on her (physically and emotionally). He wasn’t an active parent or spouse. How and when he told Donna the marriage was over was cold. 


When Donna married Brett, I thought she’d finally found her one true love. I was shocked at the completion of their marriage. He appeared to be the dad Julian needed and the spouse Donna deserved. 


Donna, through all her emotional turmoil, discovered how to love herself. She found strength in mind and body. Heck, she climbed Kilimanjaro, and that is no easy feat. 


I hope that Donna and Julian’s relationship continues to be close. I wish her luck in her yoga teachings and the next chapter of her life. She seems ready, willing, and able to tackle any obstacle (mentally and physically). 


In summation, A Midlife Voyage to Transformation will inspire women to find their true happiness, regardless of relationship status. It might motivate some people to test their strength and try a task they’ve only dreamed of.


 Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And remember, you control your fate.

 

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

 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon
add to goodreads

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Donna Roe Daniell

Donna Roe Daniell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has had a private practice in the Boulder/Longmont area since 2005 called Balance Your Life Coaching & Psychotherapy. She has offered family therapy and individual trauma treatment using mind/body trauma tools such as mindfulness, yoga and IFS through her psychotherapy practice. Since 2015, she has focused her coaching practice for women in midlife on unique programs to specifically empower women going through major midlife challenges to grieve and rebirth themselves through the 5 stages of her Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Today, through her website, Donna offers on-line courses, Talks and live workshops, mp3 guided practices to support this book, and adventure and mindfulness retreats in nature for women wanting support to wake up, become unstuck, and find a transformative healing path through life’s challenges.

 

 

What was the most difficult part about writing your memoir?

Figuring out how and where to end it.   I wasn’t sure how to show my “transformation” other than in showing how I lead women’s retreats for women in transitions.  But, in the process of showing and creating that, I was continuing to develop new tools for continuing my developmental process as a “Sixties Woman” which I also felt was another chapter and an important part of my rebirth into my fuller wisdom and power.  I left this out, ultimately and just showed the power of “nature practices” in the Afterward. 

 

How did you choose which stories in your life to write about?

I let my heart guide what I wrote about.  First, I wrote those first stories about my ancestors (my Great Aunt Bob and my Aunt Pat) who had influenced me to be more adventurous and find who I was as a young girl, teen and young adult.  Then I wrote about my special sister Marjorie’s death and how that impacted me. That led me to my wonderful leap-experience of moving to Colorado at 24 and meeting my Aunt Bob’s best friend Eleanor Bliss who still lived in Steamboat Springs where I moved.  Eleanor invited me totally into her life and I’ll never forget the impact that had on me.  Then, I wrote about my first marriage, the joy of raising Julian, and the divorce.  Then I had the perspective of what was missing in my childhood and how I found it in my move to Colorado.  The rest of the stories and learning flowed from this. 

 

Why did you decide to write a memoir instead of a guidebook for midlife? You say this is a guidebook and a memoir.  Why? 

I wanted to use more coaching terminology and make it more of a self-help book for women in midlife.  My editor suggested that might be my second book, but it would be too distracting to the stories as I had lain them out so far. I took her advice, but I still feel there’s so much more I want to say about midlife and what I have learned from riding the waves and learning from each painful loss.  Now, looking back, I think I portrayed more in “showing” rather than “telling.”  What do you think?

 

How did your Therapist Part come out in the writing of your memoir?  Other parts of you?

She guided me when I was writing the IFS chapter(Chap. 6) and shared her experience of learning the model and how it liberated my work as a psychotherapist.  But I wrote most of this book from my Self-Leader who compassionately was holding and tenderly inviting all my other parts to come out and share their truths.  This is the outcome of deep IFS work: To learn how to lovingly embrace, invite, negotiate with, and compassionately witness your parts daily from a deeply loving parental place (SELF LEADERSHIP) so they are free to be alive fully in your life.

 

 

How did you deal with the deeply emotional conflicts & feelings of your relationships over and over again in order to write about these events for others?  Was it healing or re-traumatizing?

It was sometimes healing and sometimes re-traumatizing.  It depended on what Part was coming forward when I was writing and how I worked with her.  In trauma therapy we learn that talking and relating the same painful story over and over again actually re-traumatizes you and drops the trauma deeper into your nervous system.  It’s better to tell your story from the actual parts who experienced the traumatic experience and now hold the pain. For example, when I was writing about my divorces, I tried to let my “angry wife”  and “mother” parts speak a bit, and then show how I worked with, comforted them or dialogued with them, from my Self-Leader.  In the first 6 chapters, I really dropped into speaking from many of my parts knowing I was choosing to give them room and attention that they needed to tell their stories.

 

 

I hear writers often say that the book wrote itself in some way, that the writing process took on a life of its own.   Did that happen for you in writing this memoir?

Yes, as I spoke about this earlier, the second half of the book wrote itself because I realized it was leading me to something I needed to learn about  my relationship with my mom.  I had to relive and re-feel my mom’s death and her experience with bringing in compassion to herself, through Melissa, her powerfully loving caregiver, so that I could find some sense of letting go or forgiveness to flow.  This process helped my own self-compassion to grow enough so I could face and allow the paradoxical grief and joy that I was feeling about so many things: choosing to end my second marriage, my son’s distance from me, and being released by my mother finally.  Each time I got stuck, I just went back to my heart and what it was showing me about how to keep loving, allowing grief to flow, and staying open to it all. 

 

What is your next project?

I think I want to tell the stories of women on the self-compassionate healing path through grief. Their stories of how grief works in and through them and how they come out on the other side.

I want to talk about how we Crones or Wise Women of this moment are called to do this grief work and how to find our wholeness through deep eco-dharma practice:  Inner and outer work.

 

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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.

 
 
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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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Finding Ruby Draker by Marianne Scott (Book Review)

Kathleen Jones has lived a protected and typical suburban life, nothing unexpected in her carefully controlled and planned existence. She’s about to complete her college degree and is ready to start a successful career but after completing her last exam she comes home to find her world has been turned upside down. Her home has been torched and her parents and little brother killed.

If that’s not bad enough, she is kidnapped and drugged unconscious by strangers posing as a police officers. When she awakes she discovers that everything has changed – her face, her name, and everything she believed to be true.

But things get worse. Hardly recovered from surgery, she is whisked away under the cover of darkness as more men storm the clinic with guns. It seems that the men who abducted her are not her greatest threat. Now on a private charter on its way to Nice, France, her abductors are calling her Ruby – Ruby Draker!

Finding Ruby Draker is a novel about knowing yourself, accepting change, embracing danger, and taking risks. You never know what life is going to throw at you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Kathleen Jones lived a typical twenty-two-year-old’s life. Her major stressor was passing her college exams, which she did. She was on her way home from her final college exam before graduation when her life exploded. A house fire took everything from her – parents and sibling. Things went from bad to worse when she was kidnapped and woke up with a new face. 

You’d think the kidnappers would be the villains in this tale. They were not. People she was conspiring to run away from were, in time, the same people she found herself running towards. 


Finding Ruby Draker by Marianne Scott had had numerous people dying—on both sides of the battle. I was saddened to see some of the heroes fall. I wish I could name names, but I don’t want to ruin it for other readers. 


Finding Ruby Draker took a weird love triangle towards the end, which I still can’t wrap my head around. I don’t want to say who was involved, but I didn’t see the point in the weird shift in the two characters’ dynamic. It read strange, and even the other characters in the story were shaking their heads at the behavior of that certain female. Yes, I am being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers. 


I know no book is perfect, and editing mistakes will slip by, but I wanted to mention two that stood out regarding names. Cold Force was spelled one time with uppercase “C” and lowercase “f” but with uppercase every other time. Also, “Ruby” was referred to as “Rudy” on page 82 (print copy). I’m not sure if this will be corrected by the time my review goes up, but I wanted to note it in case it isn’t.


Those two mistakes DO NOT minimize the level of skill it took to construct the plot, characters, and surprise revelations. It kept me on the edge of my seat. 
 

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

Friesen Press Bookstore
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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: 
website twitter twitter facebook ~ instagram 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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Romancing the Darkness by Tyler R. Snyder (Book Review / Author Interview)

ROMANCING THE DARKNESS by Tyler R. Snyder

 
Monsters of Mythical Proportion
Worlds of Magic and Power
Forbidden Love
And DEATH. DEATH is the consequence…

When Tristan defies Ambion’s only law—royal and common blood cannot mix, he discovers the consequences are real. The young guardian finds himself in a world where love and hate, war and peace, duty and betrayal blur into darkness. As his world devolves into a battle for survival, he learns only an Angel can save Ambion from the destruction wielded by the Dividers. Is Tristan the Angel destined to save the world or will he succumb to the wiles of a dark goddess?

​“Boy! Hey boy, let me show you the end.” Tristan looked in horror as tens of thousands of men and women were hooded figures. Explosions erupted everywhere, and the black sky spewed red lightning all around the warriors. A ground shaking roar forced Tristan to cover his ears. When he looked up, a massive golden dragon breathed fire upon the world: fire engulfed the horizon. “The end will begin with ash.”   

 
 
Buy the Book:
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Romancing the Darkness is the first book in a series by Tyler R. Snyder. It’s rated PG-13 + M. There is no sex, but it is implied. I think teen movies and television shows are 1000 times more graphic than this story!


Now, let’s discuss the monsters! I loved the variety of mythical beasts. I was familiar with certain popularized ones, such as the Kraken, wraiths, and dragons. However, Tyler introduced me to some new creatures: terpsichore (serpent-like horse) and a barking rabbit. Yeah, a barking rabbit! Cool, right?!


I think teens will love the fantasy elements in the story. They will probably love all the action sequences as well. Trust me –there are a lot of them. Battles scenes participants included humans, elves, angels, gods, goddesses, and the animals listed above, plus many more I didn’t mention. Fighters used magical powers, medieval weapons (swords and bows, weapons from today’s world (guns), and even futuristic ones (airships). Even though there are numerous fight scenes, they are not overly graphic. I would say they are on par with what teens are watching now. 


What Romancing the Darkness is missing, though, is a glossary/character page. It’s a lot to remember between the characters, beasts, locations, etc. In all honesty, I took notes. What else I would like to see is a card game. I think they would be wildly popular. 


As I stated in my opening sentence, Romancing the Darkness is the first book in a series which means this story ends on a cliffhanger. 


Looking forward to book 2! 

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

Author Tyler R. Snyder
Tyler Snyder was born in 1984 in Medford, Oregon.

As a child, he was captivated by movies, video games, and Dungeons and Dragons, along with the worlds these activities created. The original spark that ignited Tyler’s imagination was when he wanted to see a movie similar to The Legend of Zelda, but the closest film at the time was The Dark Crystal. That itch, to this day, has still not been scratched. This led him to books and stories like the pastimes he adored and gave him exposure to a much grander well of ideas and possibilities. Meeting like-minded friends who shared the same hobbies, Tyler developed a passion for creating new worlds. In Romancing the Darkness, Tyler explores his world, Ambion, and the countless decisions confronting his characters.

Mr. Snyder currently lives in Wyoming with his wife, Sandra.

 

 

 

  1. If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?

Tristan. Easy. In creating Tristan, I tried to put as much of myself into him as I could without deluding the character too much. With Tristan entering this vast world of magic and mythical monsters he is pretty much going into it blind and not as prepared as he would like to be. I feel a lot like that with life, becoming an author and juggling my passion with my day to day life.

 

  1. Do you have another profession other than writing?

I work for Frito Lay. I stock potato chips at three in the morning. It’s not a bad gig. I work anywhere from fifty to sixty hours a week. I actually really enjoy my job. The people I work with are great. And all the new people I meet help fuel some of the character interactions I have in my story. Witnessing social events and interactions between people help me develop my world and the characters that reside within it.

 

 

  1. Do you write every day?

I try my darndest to. With my busy schedule I try to sit down and write for at least an hour every day. Whether it is actual writing or going back through and editing what I have already written. As long as some form of progress is made I’m happy. But man it can get exhausting trying to squeeze it into the schedule. I feel if I stop I will lose that rhythm of doing it each day. In some ways it’s a lot like going to the gym.

 

 

  1. With long work weeks how do you balance your time?

I mean you get used to it after a while. As long as I stick to the schedule it doesn’t seem so bad. I have been bad and haven’t gone to the gym in month so I got to find a way to squeeze at least an hour each day to do that as well. But it’s nothing more than just putting in the work and keeping on your schedule. I make sure I don’t write past a certain time. I have to make sure I have some form of downtime for myself. Whether I’m playing a game after, catching up on Netflix shows or reading a book. Otherwise I may go nuts if work sixteen hours a day with no breaks.

 

 

  1. What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?

There is one book that has stuck with me for years. I’ve read other books since then but none of them ever really jumped off the page the way this one did. The book was Mr. Begone by Clive Barker. Outside my wheelhouse. But I really enjoyed this book. Mostly because I have never read anything like it. But the fact that this little “possessed” book spent every chapter trying to convince be to burn it so the little demon could be set free. I thought it was so clever.

 

connect with the author: 
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Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 

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