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Gift of the Shaper by D.L. Jennings - Book Review

Book Description:
Armies will clash, and even gods will die… For thousands of years, the Breaker of the Dawn has been locked away in the ethereal plane of the Otherworld. Now, a young blacksmith’s apprentice finds himself trapped in a war between the noble Athrani, a subset of humanity gifted with the ability to transmute matter, and the malevolent and powerful Khyth, who seek to free the ancient god from his prison. When his father, Olson, is kidnapped, Thornton Woods and his childhood friend, Miera, must leave their small village of Highglade to find him. On their way, they are joined by Ynara and Kethras, cat-like humanoids called Kienari, who use their skills as hunter/trackers to follow Olson’s trail. When it comes to light that one among them possesses the key to the Breaker’s release, Thornton and his friends must defy the might of the Khyth as armies on both sides collide in pursuit of the ultimate prize. Gift of the Shaper chronicles the epic struggle between the existing forces of good and evil, with both sides vying for control of the key that unlocks the Otherworld. The very powers of creation and destruction hang in the balance, and only a heroic effort by Thornton and Miera, backed by the power of the Athrani, can possibly stop the Khyth from unleashing ruin — and the Breaker — upon their world.

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Author Bio:
D.L. Jennings was born in Dayton, Ohio to two Air Force veterans, and is a thirteen-year active duty veteran Air Force himself, serving under the Air Force Special Operations Command. He earned an associate's degree in Korean Studies in 2005 and earned his bachelor's in Global Security from Bellevue University in 2008. He finished writing his debut novel, Gift of the Shaper, while serving overseas on his ninth combat tour. When he is not reading or writing epic fantasy, he enjoys traveling, listening to '90s punk, and watching Ohio State football.

Book Review by Carmen:
This book ended up surprising me slightly. In the beginning of the book, there was a lot of 'setting the scene' going on, with a little bit happening, but nothing hugely mind-blowing - all this that takes place leads up to what happens later in the book. Two things I did find interesting was the world and the Athrani, who were also fascinating at times. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

Only the Willing by A D Critchley - Book Review

Book Description:
Corruption and vice in King’s Cross
In 1970’s Australia, American soldiers on R&R descend on Kings Cross in Sydney, their goal to have a good time and forget, for a while, the horrors of war.
Mike is a deserter from the Australian navy living in the Cross and working for Jack who owns a nightclub. In response to the influx of cash from the American soldiers Jack expands his business to include a restaurant and prostitution business. 
As Jack’s business booms Mike becomes drawn into the corruption and deals that are part of life in the Cross. Prostitutes, drug dealers, corrupt cops, and goodhearted people – the Cross has it all.
Life is good for Mike, but nothing stays the same and happiness is never a guarantee.

Where to Purchase:

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Author Bio:
Hi All,
My fortunate life.
I live "Down Under" A land of sweeping plains Gum trees and Koala bears. Isolated from everywhere. I've written many newspaper articles and technical papers over the years. 
In 2009 I wrote a book on Organic Agriculture published in Jordan for their Countries farmers. 
I now work for Australian business advisors. I've completed six business volunteer assignments overseas in South East Asia. Teaching Marketing, social marketing to Advising on 'organic agriculture." The people you meet are diverse in nature and a pleasure to work with. Third world countries rich in spirit and endowed with good humour. I've 25 years running my own business, before becoming a business advisor.
Awarded a outstanding lecturing award from the prison service 2013 while working for College at a large prison.
I joined the Navy as a boy and went to Vietnam, then I moved into the Submarine Service and served on 5 'O" class Submarines, fantastic times wonderful shipmates and a pleasure to serve. I'm an Advocate for ex military since 2001-2015.
Serving with many Submariners from around the world USA and UK for instance. Life has had it's up and downs and like most have had my share.
My first novel is a fact/fiction based on WW2 soldier and how it affects him during and post war and his family. My second novel I've nearly finished it and I'm considering crown funding.
It will be available around April 2016.

Book Review by Carmen:
The writing in this novel had it's ups and downs, there were times when I felt things were a little bit rushed, as well as the dialogue not always being great. Overall, the story-line was alright with this book, so I ended up giving it a three star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books. 

Falling Silver by A.M. Ross - Book Review

Book Description:
The return of Waterwolf Simon desRosiers is enough to unbalance Karina Redfeather's reclusive lifestyle, but he's inadvertently brought with him a destructive chain of events that will unfold over the next two moon cycles. The four werewolf bloodlines—one so elusive that the other three hardly believe in it—are converging on this remote Northern Minnesota town. A showdown is coming among the Hunters and the four bloodlines, sparked by the most terrifying of them all: the Firewolves. Simon has Karina’s heart, but vigilante Adam Hunter has her attention. Which is the real animal?

Where to Purchase:

Amazon:
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Author Bio:
Anne Maclachlan is an award-winning writer of fact and fiction. Originally from Scotland, she has made her home in the USA, and currently resides in Santa Fe, NM,where she is senior editor at Santa Fean magazine.
She is a competitive flash-fiction writer as well as a creator of academic readers for K-12 and adults. Her magazine features appear internationally, and she has a particular passion for maritime issues and history.
Anne's interactive ESL reading and writing textbook, "Life Goes Wrong for Harvey," is used in classrooms around the world as well as for individual study.

Book Review by Carmen:
I enjoyed the relationship that Karina Redfeather and Simon DesRosiers has; though I would have liked it if there had been a little bit more about the characters with their background, but the story does start off with a very intriguing concept. I ended up giving this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

Down the Willow Tree by Elizabeth Robin - Book Review

Book Description:
Lizette's 18th birthday ends with the surprise of an arranged marriage she doesn't want. Her Father has promised her to a man she doesn't know and isn't sure she will ever love. In the late 1800's, Liz knows that not following through will put her family in jeopardy. She finds herself hopelessly tied to an aloof and cold stranger, William Hamilton. 
She arrives at her new home and is introduced to William's two closest friends and business associates Rendt and Jack. She finds herself trying desperately to resist the charm of Jack and only her guilty conscience stands in the way of the blooming feelings they have for each other.
When the very wealthy William Hamilton's obsession with an heir turns dangerous, Liz's on'y comfort in her strange new world is a relationship with Jack that could quickly become unforgivable. She soon finds out that William will stop at nothing to protect what is his and get what he wants.

Where to Purchase:

Amazon:
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Author Bio:
(Please note that I couldn't find an author picture.)
All about me!  I am a lover of books, reading them or writing them I can’t seem to get enough.  After my first day of kindergarten I came home crying because they hadn’t taught me to read that day.
That hasn’t changed since I became an adult, well maybe the crying part now that I can read.
I am married to a great guy and we have two sons. We live in the Midwest where we enjoy all four seasons to their fullest.  We are cottage and boat sport fans in the summer and die hard college football fans in the winter.
I write because I love to create stories and I hope that you will get to escape with me into these tales even if for just a little while.

Book Review by Carmen:
On thing I liked about this book was that it had a nice cover; and overall, the story was quite decent, even though there were occasional punctuation errors/problems. I ended up giving this book a three star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review.

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

The British Frontlines by Thomas J. Eyre - Book Review

Book Description: 
Patrick Regan is a man on a mission. Expertly trained by the Royal Marines and with crack sniper skills, he's always taken the fight to the enemy, but now he realises that whilst he's been away Great Britain has been attacked. 
His parents are dead, his sister is missing and he's getting zero help from the authorities, Regan is forced to face the faceless: the insidious thugs of the invading Russian Mafia. With their sights set on the complete domination of Britain's organised crime, their toxic regime of bribery, intimidation and violence has even infiltrated to the very top of Britain's military intelligence. 
Once again Regan prepares to take the fight to the enemy, but this time, he's hunting them on home soil.
The British FrontLine is a violent roller coaster thriller and Patrick Regan will sink to any low to get the job done. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, he is more alpha male than Lee Child's, Jack Reacher, or Mark Dawson's, John Milton. 
Winner of the prestigious BooksGoSocial quality approval gold seal award.

Where to Purchase:

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Author Bio: 
Thomas J Eyre was born in Oxford and moved to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire when his family relocated in 1969. He left school at the age of 15 and worked as a cook, waiter, plate collector and washer-up in his parents transport cafe before joining the Royal Navy in 1973. As an Aircraft Handler/Crash-Rescue Fireman he served on Great Britain's last true fixed wing aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal before she was scrapped in 1978. Yes he hears the cries of derision from serving and former members of the Fleet Air Arm who served in big ships since the "Big A" was scrapped, but even the Royal Navy called them through-deck cruisers and they didn't have catapults to launch them, nor aircraft landing at 250 knots. 
Since leaving the Royal Navy he has worked as a long distance class 1HGV driver, drayman, fettler and mechanical engineer. He worked on contract in Libya and in 1995 became a Bachelor of Science after graduating with a 2:1 honours degree from Bournemouth University. A motorcycle accident in 2000 left him with serious injuries, finished his engineering career and almost his life. He now lives in Poole in Dorset and after many years writing stories for his own amusement has been prompted by friends and family to publish some of them.
The Second of his books, The British FrontLine, follows Royal Marine Sergeant Patrick Regan who is repatriated from the fighting in Afghanistan to bury his mother and step father, after they are killed in an explosion that destroyed their yacht. On returning back to Great Britain, Regan finds out his half-sister, Susie, is missing and he sets about finding her. The body count begins to rise when he discovers that Susie has been abducted by Russian Mafia gangsters. 
Thomas is currently writing the Third in this series, which will be published around the middle to end of 2018.

Book Review by Carmen:
Even though this book didn't catch my attention in the beginning, it wasn't long before this book became quite interesting. One thing I wasn't too fond of is that there wasn't a lot of detail about the character Patrick Regan, there isn't a lot about him as a person. I ended up giving this book a three star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

My Health Journey Continues........

https://burst.shopify.com/food

Over the last four years I have been on a health and fitness journey. I did great when I got serious about dropping weight and getting fit. Over the years I have also been working on my mental health, realizing a lot of things over the years really harmed my mental health which then wrecked havoc with my physical health. I started working out hardcore back in August of 2014. I started to decrease my calories in and started eating a cleaner diet. In March of 2015 I hit it hard and actually got super strict with my food intake and did some carb cycling. For the first time in my life I didn't really have love handles it was awesome. It also gave me more mental strength to leave my toxic relationship and realize I didn't need to stay in that situation any longer and my kids and I deserved so much better.  I went super determined to get my life together and get out. During 2016 was a really tough time, left my ex while trying to stay friends with him and keep things good for the kids, got my house together to put it on the real estate market and spent sometime finding myself and enjoying life. All this go go go wrecked more havoc on my physical and mental state and found myself becoming super tired and lacking the energy to continue. PTSD and anxiety was really holding on and I kept trying to fight back only to get more tired. I then decided that I needed to go to a naturopath and see what really was going on with my body. 

The "fit" Genuine Jenn in 2016! Starting my running back then and working out daily with HIIT workouts

The fall of 2016 and into 2017 I suffered with Adrenal Fatigue. I was put on a ton of supplements, given a diet plan to follow and told to rest whenever I needed to and that was A LOT.  Slowly I gained weight because I couldn't workout, I would have to force myself to get out and walk only to come back home to sleep. I started eating comfort food because I was stressed over being so tired and angry that I was tired and gaining weight. When I started to feel better I was now back eating junk, still eating clean more than 70% of the time but I was drinking wine and beer and eating complex carbs. My Dr and Naturopath both suggested I start eating a hunter-gatherer type diet. I tried to eat clean and did well for awhile then would eat out and fall off. 

Fast forward to now, June 2018 I am back mentally on getting healthy and fit. I am working on eating to fuel my body with clean food and healing my hormones and the pain that I have been experiencing. I have tendinitis in my right rotator cuff and have been experiencing extreme hip pain. I have a Dr. appointment later this month to see what is happening with my hip. 

After the Adrenal Fatigue, eating out and being happy. I can actually run longer than I could two years ago so to me I am more "fit" even with the added weight.

I have been running since last fall and working towards running a half marathon in a year. I have been getting real sleep! I actually sleep through the night most nights now. This was a huge thing in the past. I wouldn't sleep a full night and wouldn't feel rested in the am. I am slowly working in other workouts but they have been mainly cardio due to my shoulder. I will start adding in two weight training workouts a week very soon. One of my daily goals is to get 10,000 steps a day, a combo of walking and jogging. I don't run everyday but I am working back up to 3 to 4 times a week. 

My husband and I are on this journey together and I couldn't be happier with the support he has given me over the last two years. He has been there for me through it all, my good days and the really hard bad days. I will check in here with my workouts and eating to share how we are doing. 

Until then, be happy! 

May Reading Challenge Update


I hope you have had a chance to read some amazing books. I would love to hear what you are reading! Please leave a comment below or pop onto Instagram/Twitter to share with me.

I feel terrible, I had this post all set to go and was hoping I would get my reviews up. I did not and two months flew by yet again. I have been busy with life and fitness (I found out that I have tendinitis in my right rotator cuff and have been doing physio for it) and still reading. I will work on getting caught up for the month of June on my review posts.

MARCH post - This month I had big plans but I didn't get them all finished. I will keep reading into April with those books and have a few more to add. The list never ends and I am super happy about that as I just love reading and finding new authors. In April I will be finding a balance between reading and exercising again. I have a few test that were done on my shoulder this week and I am hoping to get back into Spartan race training. Until then I am on my half marathon training. I may need to pick up more audiobooks for this.

Here are the books I did finishing reading in March & April and will post reviews soon. 

Bringing Me Back by Beth Vrabel
This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter
Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler
The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewel

June reading list: 

Full Disclosure by Beverly McLachlin
Dear Isaac Newton, You're ruining my life by Rachel Hruza
Perfected books 1-3 by Kate Jarvik Birch
Cheat Day Rules by Josephine Fitzpatrick
Chewish: 36 Recipes of Love with Stories by Sandra Goldberg Wendel
Kiss & Tell by Luke Murphy

I have a few other books I am reading on the side for fitness and health. Two audiobooks also.

Keep checking back as I add my reviews in this post. Happy Reading!

The Fallen by Ravek Hunter - Book Review

Book Description:
Drystan, Temple Knight of Lyonesse, is sent to retrieve the betrothed of his uncle, the Duke of Tintagel. This simple journey will set into motion a parade of events that will upend the lives of three unsuspecting innocents and everyone they care about.
Betrayal, intrigue, jealousy, murder . . . And love will drive the human condition to its most extreme. Who will survive the emotional struggle and find true love in the end? Or will love be lost forever? 
There are strange and dark forces working against the struggle in a very unsuspecting way. A healer with a remote background and a dark secret, a soldier with a penchant for debauchery and the moral high ground, and two mysterious brothers from the mystical island of Hy Brasil all have a stake in the outcome. And the stakes are higher than any of them could imagine.

Where to Purchase:

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Author Bio:
Born in 1969 in Homestead, Florida, Ravek Hunter grew up in the US and Belgium. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Florida International University and went on to become a sporting goods executive. He currently serves as a consultant in the same industry and occasionally assists his wife of fifteen years at her floral design company. The proud father of two boys, Ravek counts reading, exercising, and family travel among his leisure hobbies.
Over the past 35 years, Ravek’s passion has been researching ancient civilizations with a focus on the origin stories behind their mythology. His writing style attempts to immerse the reader into the story by bringing to life historically accurate and rich details of the culture that frames the narrative of the time period in which his novels are based.
Inspired by classic fantasy authors like Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and R. A. Salvatore, Ravek writes to entertain and provoke his readers, who, he hopes, share his fondness for mythology.

Book Review by Carmen:
I really enjoyed the romance between two certain characters, though I would have liked a little bit more background and description of some of the characters. I ended up giving this book a three star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

The Crimson Heirlooms by Hunter Dennis - Book Review

Book Description:
The Crimson Heirlooms. One tangible – a priceless necklace called the Cross of Nantes. The other ephemeral – a secret hidden within the lyrics of a song. Each holds the power to change the course of history. But together, the price of ownership is death or salvation.
1832, Paris. Jake Loring is an American student living in the city during the turbulent march to revolution. Torn between the safety of going home to America and the passionate adventure of joining the Resistance, Jake foolhardily follows Paris into violent madness and soon finds himself being blackmailed by the Sphinx-like Monsieur Tyran to search for the Crimson Heirlooms… or die trying.
1776, France. The Heirlooms are born out of the drama unfolding in and around the dying manor of the Traversier Family and the Guerriers of Saint-Domingue. Furious betrayal, religious passion, illicit love and faltering honor between the men and women of both clans forge the Heirlooms and determine the fate of each family.
Past and present intersect as Jake outruns the dangerous forces trying to stop him while sifting through the rubble of this half-century-old drama in order to find the clues that will lead him to the current location of the Heirlooms and to freedom.
But at what cost to France? And his soul?

Where to Purchase:

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Author Bio:
Hunter Dennis was a scriptwriter in Hollywood starting with his first sale to the studios in 1998. He has been credited on several films, one of which was distributed internationally and made over 160 million dollars. Since the completion of his first novel, "The Crimson Heirlooms", he has wholly converted to writing prose.
Hunter comes from a distinguished military family, has lived in three countries and across America. He was accepted into the University of Southern California Film School in the Production major as an undergraduate. Before optioning his first screenplay, he worked on a road slurry crew, cleaned a restaurant, and learned how to box.
​He currently lives in Thousand Oaks, California, and looks forward to starting a family somewhere far more green, wet and cold.

Book Review by Carmen:
Though the story-line of this novel was intriguing, there were the tiny odd occasion where there the descriptive detail was a little bit much. There were quite a few characters I enjoyed reading about. I gave this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

Sam's Theory by Sarah Mendival - Book Review

Book Description:
After a final act of horrendous abuse threatens her life, fifteen-year-old Sam runs away from home and into the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Physically and emotionally exhausted, she happens upon a mysterious tree house in the woods which shelters an old woman named Theory. Through elements of magic and sage advice, Theory takes Sam on an unforgettable healing journey. Sam begins to discover that she, too, has powers. But her process is interrupted by the nervous reality that her abusers will soon go after her younger sister, Nova, unless she can get to her first.
With the help of Sam’s friend, Dodger, and two other spirited kids from foster care, the group sets up a hidden camp in the wilderness and forms “The Orphan’s Collective.” While struggling to create their own concept of “family,” Dodger and Sam also work to navigate their budding feelings for one another. As the group formulates a plan to reach the masses of kids left behind by adults who never wanted them, they naturally begin to rewrite the fate that has seemingly already been decided for them.

Sam’s Theory is a story of immeasurable grit and re-empowerment after trauma. With embedded real-world advice, it is the recognition of our tremendous capacity as human beings to withstand darkness and summon resiliency, simply by learning how to use our voices and reconnect with those around us.

Where to Purchase:

Amazon:
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Author Bio: 
As a Masters-level pediatric milieu therapist on the inpatient psychiatric unit, Sarah has worked with hundreds of children and teens burdened by trauma. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of Light Spinner Quarterly, a publication that advocated for children exposed to medical trauma and her story 150 Real-Life Stories of Resilience, Joy, and Hope was published in Reader’s Digest. These roles offered the opportunity to advocate for children by speaking nationally at conferences, colleges, and in the media.

Book Review by Carmen:
I quite enjoyed Sam's point of view, though there were times where the story was a little bit too dragged out. I found Theory's explanations quite enlightening, and really enjoyed the description of the house Theory stayed in. I gave this book a four star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

*Please be sure to support the author by buying their books and connecting with them on social media.

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