BOOK REVIEW 2015-037 – A BIT OF HEAVEN ON EARTH

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I won a e-book copy of “A Bit of Heaven on Earth” from the first week of the 4th anniversary giveaway for “The Romance Reviews” website and the following is my honest for this book.

It takes a lot of effort for an author to write any sort of novel set in a specific historical period of time. While grammatical errors can be overlooked, those errors involving historical information aren’t so easily forgiven. Which is why of historical research which needs to be done, and verified, before an author can type that proverbial final period of their manuscript can be typed. Perhaps this is why many authors, including myself, avoid writing in this genre.

Ms. Linwood, on the other hand, has succeeded in this aspect of her book, as well as the time specific language she’s used in the dialogue. 

As for the overall story itself I found Elizabeth to be out of character for a woman of her times. Elizabeth is clearly doesn’t want to be demure like other women, she wants to have self-determination in her life.

Elizabeth is a strong heroine-headstrong, thirsting for knowledge, willing to take on challenges that would be handled by men and determined to live her own life. After successfully avoiding being betrothed, she gets married off by her father into a life without sex to over-aged Alfred. However, Alfred allows her to be educated, which is definitely not the norm for this time period.

When Gavin enters her life as a knight in her husband’s guard he lights a passion in Elizabeth’s heart where none had existed before. She longs to be with him, but after her husband’s death, fate steps in as she gets promised to another man.

Given Gavin’s financial state, how can she have any sort of forever relationship with him as she has nothing herself since women during this time period couldn’t own any property, etc.  Yet, their relationship somehow endures within the confines which exist for them.

This is the first time I’ve read a book in this sub-genre of romance and found it to be quite inviting; it’s a genre from which dreams and fantasies can be made. And as a result I’m happy to give Ms. Linwood’s endeavor here 5 STARS.

US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QHMH0IU

UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QHMH0IU

BOOK REVIEW 2015-036 – SHOCK EXCHANGE

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I won a signed copy of “Shock Exchange” by Ralph W. Baker, Jr through a giveaway on LibraryThing.com and the following is my honest opinion for this book.

Having been educated within the New York City school system, and living in the NY City metropolitan area all my life, I’ve seen education go from being equal throughout the system, in my opinion, to where inner city youth have become more and more forgotten about.

Reading the synopsis for this book, it had piqued my curiosity, and I want to learn more about program created by the author; which is why I’d entered the giveaway being offered by author.

As I read the book, I found it to be less and less to be about the program the author had created in an inner city area of Brooklyn, NY; and more and more like a wonderful, revealing memoir about an Afro-American who had been born in the rural town of Farmville, Virginia. The author writes about all the events in life which lead him to become a successful, internationally-known Wall Street individual. Given the history of this financial world, this achievement should be deemed remarkable.

Instead of writing about the “Shock Exchange,” its creation, history and successes, the author has instead told us about his childhood, education, and historical financial events which had transpired around him through the years, as well as those he’d been part of.

Apparently this author wants to shun the spotlight on himself, which is why I feel a much better title for this book would have been, “From Farmville to Wall Street – An Afro-American Male Experience.”

In the end I’m giving Mr. Baker and this book 5 STARS.

US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0099UYBL6

UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0099UYBL6

BOOK REVIEW 2015-035 – UTOPIA, IOWA

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I received of copy of “Utopia, Iowa” through an internet giveaway and the following is my honest opinion of this book.

I found reading this endeavor by Brian Yansky a sheer delight to read. I love the quirky town of Utopia, Iowa; which is a real name for a settlement in Iowa. The author gives his readers of quote from Wikipedia concerning this town under the subject of utopia. If you read this you’ll find out the significance for this town having name, and for the author ultimately choosing this town for his book.

Mr. Yansky’s book has also remind me of a television/cable program I used to watch in the early 1990’s, “Eerie, Indiana.” According to IMDB.com the plot summary for this program is:

“Marshall Teller’s family moves to the small country town of Eerie, Indiana (Pop. 16,661). There, Marshall discovers that Eerie, as he puts it, “is the center of weirdness for the universe”. Elvis lives there, so do a pair of twins who stay young by sleeping in Tupperware, and many other strange things. Each episode, Marshall and his friend Simon collect evidence about the creepy things that happen there.”

Just as in this program’s episodes the author has given us, in his book, a wonderful blend of realism, the paranormal, with a hint of mystery; which is, in my opinion, sure to keep a reader’s interest.

This is why I’m giving this book 5 STARS.

US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QQTPCFM

UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QQTPCFM

BOOK REVIEW 2015-034 – WULF

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I received the KINDLE version of this book through a holiday giveaway on FaceBook, and the following is my honest opinion for this book.  I read this book between March 9 and March 10 and I’m only now getting around to posting my review for it.

Being a Book Reviewer affords one the opportunity of reading books of every genre imaginable. While I’ve already reviewed books which contain futuristic, science fiction and romantic elements, as well as a M/M short story, this is the first time I’ve read this last element in a real novel.

I like the way Ms. Allen has melded all of the various genres this book contains into a single novel. There are surprises which are continually popping up especially when you consider the relationship between Wulf and Luc, a pair of guys who previously have been adversaries. I found this book to be a page turner because of this.

Just as it takes a certain male author to be able to write a decent romance novel, regardless of the sub-genre from a woman’s POV, it takes a certain woman to be able to write a M/M romance novel well; and apparently from my limited exposure to this genre, Ms. Allen succeeded.  

If you’d like to read a different romance genre, which you’ve never read before, I’d consider reading this book.

Given the above, I’m happy to give Kayelle Allen 4 STARS for her endeavor here.

US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HRKLUP0

UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HRKLUP0

STATUS REPORT # 44

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With the time-consuming craziness which has occupied my life for the past several weeks finally to subsiding, I now have my OH hospitalized with a non-life threatening condition I’m now beginning to feel mentally and emotionally frazzled.

With this aside, I’d started to make progress with the books I’m reviewing. Right now I’ve got 6 reviews I still need to post here. I’ve got 6 books in my possession which I’m currently in the process of reading/reviewing.

However, the dam has burst with my having won an almost incredible amount of books in the past 10 days. I won 3 books [2 real and 1 e-book] from one giveaway; and from one massive giveaway consisting of 13 giveaways I won 6 with a total of 10 days [and swags] and 2 from yet an anniversary giveaway in two weeks.

With the 15 books I’ve won in the above, with many of them being signed and about 2 e-books, I’ll be holding back on the number of giveaways I’ll be entering for a while, until I got only a small handful of books left to do.

Meanwhile, my Amazon Reviewer Ranking as I write this post is at 10,420, my best ranking yet. This ranking changes every two days, and my dream of being one of the top ten reviewers is in reach as I just need a small handful of readers saying YES to my reviews.

I’ve also decided to reduce my involvement in the groups I belong to on LinkedIn as I don’t really participate in most of them and only concentrate on the ones I own and the ones associated with the genres I’m writing in.

My writing endeavors are still on hold until I see people buying one of my two books.

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-Leigh-Morgan/e/B00BWXT4VU

QUICK UPDATE

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The chaos in my life is beginning to subside.

I’ve finally been able to clear up threes area of my internet life.

I’ve only read/reviewed one book since my last post and have only posted it on Amazon so far. While I taking about Amazon I’m amazed at my current Amazon Reviewer Ranking. Here’s the link to my Amazon profile 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A19QLCLVPLZH0B

Check out the reviews I’ve written while you’re there, perhaps there might be one you might want to buy for yourself or as a gift.

BOOK REVIEW 2015-033 – BAWB’S RAVEN FEATHERS

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I feel extremely lucky to have received a signed hardcover boxset of Robert [BawB] Chomany’s “Raven Feathers” in connection with an internet giveaway. The following is my honest opinion for this series of books.

This is the first time I’ve done a review for an entire series of books at the same time.

Growing up during the 1960’s and 1970’s one of the big things people were getting involved with TM or Transcendental Meditation which basically had encouraged a restful state of mind beyond thinking which is what this series of books reminds me of.

This feeling is echoed on the author’s blog site http://www.bawbasravenfeathers.com where he writes about himself:

“One thing led to another and I eventually ambled off into the mountains, where I was introduced to myself on a spiritual level, and my spirit guide the Raven helped me find balance, we spent many a day chatting about life, living and being, he shared with me his feathers of life, I share them now with you.”

While it’s nice to have the author share we know what brought him to write this series of books, to better understand them better we need to look at the significance of the author’s decision to use the raven as part of the title for these books.

Robert Chomany aka “BawBa” writes he was born and lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This area of Canada is the home for the Inuit Eskimo peoples for which the raven plays a very important part of their culture. For them the raven is their culture hero. He is a benevolent and revered transformer figure who, just like the intent of these books, helps the people and shapes their world for them.

Mr. Chomany wrote the following description on the jacket flap of each hardcover book I received:

“Bawba’s Raven Feathers” is pure and simple. It kick starts moments pf self-reflection and inner peace by drawing on nostalgia and pushing the reader to live in the present and dream of tomorrow. Alternating brief chapters of prose with perfectly rhymic rhymes, and to write down your thoughts and inspiring ideas, this book holds appeal for the masses.”

[I used plain sheets of papers to accomplish this.]

Each volume of this series of books focuses in on different aspects of our daily lives.

VOLUME 1 = The Moment, Solitude, Simplicity, Serenity, Beauty, Time.

VOLUME 2 = Challenges, Perception, Choice, Smile, Opportunity, Being You.

VOLUME 3 = Strength, Belief, Energy, Positivity, Balance, Renewal.

VOLUME 4 = Confidence, Doubt, Success, Patience, Rest, Gratitude.

VOLUME 5 = Let Go, Journey, Be Present, Learn, Dream, Change.

Regardless of which volume you choose I believe you’ll find it a rewarding, self-reflecting experience, much in the same manner I have; which is why I’m giving all of these five books 5 STARS.

US KINDLE LINKS

VOLUME 1 = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RM5ORIM

VOLUME 2 = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RM5OVHO

VOLUME 3 = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RM5ORO6

VOLUME 4 = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RNBUBK8

VOLUME 5 = http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RM5OS0O

HARDCOVER BOXSET

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1926518055

For the UK and other countries please change these links for the one appropriate for you.

BOOK REVIEW 2015-032 – THE MUSING OF A CAROLINA YANKEE

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I received a print copy of this book from a giveaway on LibraryThing.com and the following is my honest review for it.

It appears I’m once again posting the first review for a book I’ve read here on Amazon which makes it clear I couldn’t be influenced by any other review.

As I read “The Musing of a Carolina Yankee” I had difficulty deciding whether the author is a guy from the northern east corner of the United States who believes is a “Good Old Southern Boy,” or a “Good Old Southern Boy” who has gotten lost up in the north and can’t for the life of him find his way back home to Carolina.

Regardless of which story I read I found a typical stereotyped good old southern boy element which added a certain charm to each one. Had the author not included this I feel the stories would be rather bland. The use of southern pronunciations throughout the book also added to each story’s rustic quality.

The shortness of each story makes it quite conducive to read the book when you have nothing else to do.

Without anyone hold a shotgun at my back I’m happy to give this 4 no make it 5 STARS. 

US =  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933455969

UK =  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1933455969

BOOK REVIEW 2015-031 – WHY I’M A SABBATH-KEEPING CHRISTIAN

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Before I begin I must state I obtained a copy of this book through a giveaway on LibraryThing.com and the following is my honest opinion for this book.

Unlike most individuals who might read this book I’m not a Christian, I’m Jewish [the “original” religion]. I’ve always been amazed how basically all Christians celebrate the seventh day as Sunday. And how the Roman Catholics perpetually violate the 2nd Commandment by having Christ on the Cross in front of the church and all the statues of various saints throughout the rest of it, statues to which the parishioners pray to.

This book, written by Dan Jarrod, gives a relatively comprehensive reason for the seventh day, the Sabbath, on Saturday; which it accomplishes by citing quotations from both the Old and New Testaments, without approaching it in an overly preaching manner.

All one needs to do to have a totally non-sectarian reason for Saturday is to simply look at any calendar. All weeks start with Sunday and ends with Saturday.

In short, this book should be read by all, regardless of which Abrahamic faith [Judaism, Christianity, or Islam] one might belong to; which is why I’m giving this book 5 STARS.  

US =  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0990984605

UK = http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0990984605

BOOK REVIEW 2015-030 – THE FOOD MONOLOGUES

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This is the second time I’ve been fortunate to have won a copy of this author’s plays. The first had been a collection of two one act plays in a book entitled “Spitting Daisies & Communicating through the Sunset.” The following review is my honest opinion of the book.

It appears I’m the first one to be reviewing this book and as such it’s a somewhat intimidating experience since there is no one who has come before me to influence what I’m writing for my own review.

Just as there is a different between reading prose [regular writing] and poetry, the same difference applies to reading plays. I find reading plays really forces me to use my imagination to envision what is happening on the pages I’m reading. Needless to say the stage directions given for an actual production of Ms. Kerri Kochansk’s play does help in this endeavor.

If anyone has ever read or seen the play “The Vagina Monologues” you will have a basic simplistic idea of what “The Food Monologues” is like. Both of these plays deal with issues which women deal with almost every day of their lives; while one deals openly with a sexual organ and their feelings about all the things related to it; the other deals with their love/hate relationship to food in addition to ideas regarding their own body image.

As “The Food Monologues” progresses we are witness to a series of vignettes by various women each talking about their experiences regarding eating/dieting, weight loss/gain, eating disorders, the stigma of social perception/expectations regarding women and their shapes, and of course the implication of all this on the important factor known as beauty.

I extremely doubt any woman would not be able see themselves to some extend in at least 9 to 10 of the 37 characters in this play. For having the fortitude to tell it the way it is, I can’t deny Ms. Kochanski the 5 STARS I’m giving her book.

US = http://www.amazon.com/dp/0990984605

UK = http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0990984605

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