Book Spotlight: In The Shadow Of The Hanging Tree

Today I have something a little different for you! This blog tour is for two amazing novels by author, Michael McLellan. I will be sharing my review of “insert book title here”, in addition to excerpts from both books and a giveaway to enter!

32886177In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

Publication Date: April 26th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Emmet Dawson pulled the crumpled sheets of Henry and Eliza’s free papers from his coat and held them close to his face, squinting. “…Samuel Cromwell.” He held the papers out. “Can you read these?”

Henry averted his eyes. “No, sir,” he lied.

“No, of course you can’t. It’s not only near to impossible to teach a nigger to read but it’s also against the law—God’s and man’s.” He lowered the papers to his side. “These jayhawkers are burning and pillaging their way across our great state. They’re murdering innocent Missouri families in their sleep, then setting niggers loose on the land like a pestilence. That boy’s an orphan. His father, his mother, and his little baby sister were inside the house when it was set fire. They were unable to escape. We found their niggers a few miles away, riding their horses and leading their pigs just like they had the right to. We are at war, Henry. We are at war to save our families and our way of life.”

Emmet turned and looked at Bob. “Hang him with the others.”

Eliza let out an anguished wail and dropped to her knees where she began screaming hysterically. Henry tried to kneel down with her but Bob yanked the rope tight and wrapped it on his saddle horn. This left Henry standing at an awkward lean as he tried not to drag Eliza.

“What about the woman?” Bob asked.

Emmet Dawson looked down at Eliza appraisingly. “Shut her up and tie her to my wagon…and here,” he handed Bob the free papers. “Pin these to his shirt. There aren’t any free niggers in Missouri.” He gave Henry a final stony look then walked into the camp.

Available on Amazon

35618158American Flowers

Publication Date: July 7th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

*Triggers: Addiction, Abuse, Sexual Assault

Nineteen-year-old Chris Shafer and seventeen-year-old Allie Laughton came from similar backgrounds of neglect and indifference. Chris spent his childhood desperately trying to gain his alcoholic parents’ love. Allie was dragged through an ugly divorce before narrowly escaping being molested by her mother’s new boyfriend.

A chance meeting draws the two together and Allie is quickly caught up in Chris’ new-found lifestyle. Plagued by poor choices, Chris sets into motion a chain of events that drags them deeper into the murky world of meth. Ultimately pursued by both the police and Chris’ volatile tempered drug dealer, Chris and Allie are forced to confront their only real enemy: themselves.

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Excerpt

“You’re poison to that girl. You do see that?”

“We love each other and don’t want to be apart.”

“What do you know about love?” Jan suddenly spat, leaning forward in the easy chair and staring angrily at Chris.

“You listen to me. The only truly unbreakable love is that of a parent for their child. All the other kinds of love, like the kind you and that beautiful young girl in there think you have is fragile and weak, and saddest of all, fleeting. That kind of love can be broken in an instant”—she snapped her arthritis twisted fingers for emphasis, making more of a dry papery sound than a snap. “It can be broken by the smallest of indiscretions, or nothing more than a few poorly chosen words. Mostly it’s just worn away over time like the banks of that creek out there. And it’ll happen so slowly that you never even feel more than a faint tickle at the back of your mind. Oh, it can burn as hot as blue blazes for a moment, but eventually it burns out and leaves something entirely different behind…like the bed of ashes in the bottom of a woodstove after the fire’s gone out. Some folks still insist on calling it love, but it isn’t, not really. It’s obligation, it’s responsibility, it’s apathy. Often it just becomes who you are…what you’re accustomed to. Sometimes it even becomes hate.

Available on Amazon!

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Click HERE for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

About the Author

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | Goodreads| Twitter

Michael McLellan2

Blog Tour Schedule

September 16th

Reads & Reels (Review of American Flowers)

http://readsandreels.com

Audio Killed the Bookmark (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

http://audiokilledthebookmark.wordpress.com

Jessica Belmont (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

September 17th

I’m Into Books (Review of American Flowers)

https://imintobooks.com

My Bookish Bliss (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

http://www.mybookishbliss.com

September 18th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree/ American Flowers)

https://breakevenbooks.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree/ American Flowers)

http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review – American Flowers)

https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

The Faerie Review (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

http://www.thefaeriereview.com

September 19th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree/ American Flowers)

https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Al-Alhambra Book Reviews (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

https://alalhambrabookreviews.home.blog

Loopyloulaura (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

September 20th

Reviews and Promotions by Nyx (Spotlight – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree/ American Flowers)

https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

Entertainingly Nerdy (Review of American Flowers)

https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Didi Oviatt (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Gwendalyn’s Books (Review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree)

https://gwendalynbooks.blog/

Inked and Blonde (Review – In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree/ American Flowers)

https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/


Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


I recently became a part of the Harper Collins Book Blogger group and they sent me my first batch of ARC’s! Watch the video to see what I got!

ACTUAL NATURAL HEALTH & WELLNESS PRODUCTS, INC.

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Book Review: Befriended

Ou external reviewer Sara had another great read this year! She has been busy making her little yarn creatures (Adorkable Little Crafties) but has been reading in her off time. This one was called Befriended by Ruth O’Neill.

39782736._SX318_

Synopsis: Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right?

After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart.

Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.

This novel is about Gemma, a woman who has recently lost her husband. After his funeral, she meets a mysterious woman, who we learn has malicious plans for her. As the story unravels, more and more twists and turns are revealed that keep you guessing. This is a modern mystery that will keep you guessing.

After Gemma and Indiana become friends, we are given the briefest of glimpses into the plans Indiana has for Gemma. Throughout the book, progressions and flashbacks are both revealed in small snippets of information, never giving away too much at once. The twists just keep coming, every time you think you have the ending figured out. I always love a mystery where I can’t figure out the ending until the author wants me to!

There are a lot of aspects to this book, and it is hard to describe without revealing spoilers. The book so quickly turns to the unexpected, there isn’t much to say that won’t reveal it.

I enjoyed the character developments and the twists in the plot. I think the author had a very interesting idea, and clearly planned through how she was going to reveal the whole story, one small part at a time.

This book was an easy read, that kept me staying up too late more than once. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a relaxed mystery, without any darkness or too much fluff.

My only complaints are that it could likely have used another pass through editing, as there were a few typos here and there, though I am notorious for noticing these in any book. There were also a few moments where the dialogue or plot just felt a little to simple or cliche, and I think the author could have expanded more.

Overall, this book was a great read!

Book Rating: 4.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer:  This book was sent to us in an ebook format by the author to read and give our honest review.


I recently became a part of the Harper Collins Book Blogger group and they sent me my first batch of ARC’s! Watch the video to see what I got!

ACTUAL NATURAL HEALTH & WELLNESS PRODUCTS, INC.

Book Highlight: Good Writing Is Like Good Sex

Welcome to the blog tour for Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing. This cheeky and handy writing guide is by C.S. Johnson, and if you read through to the end, you can try to win a copy of your very own!

Good Writing

Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing

Publication Date: March 31st, 2019

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Writing Guide

What makes a book sexy?

I’m not talking about erotica, per say, but what is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through?

While there are individual exceptions, the most objective difference between a good story and a downright terrible one is simple—it all comes down to the writing.

It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and bad writing is just bad.

Good writing is more than just good writing.
Good writing is sexy.

If you’re a fiction writer looking to improve your writing skills, this is the perfect, provocative read to encourage you to get down to business and write your story.

Inside Good Writing is Like Good Sex, you will find:

• A titillating perspective on the writing process
• The secret to why your story is special, and how you can make it sexier
• Tips on romancing your readers
• How to write irresistible characters
• Basic writing and story concepts with advanced insights

… and all in a non-gratuitous fashion with a lot of innuendos.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon!

Click the link below for your chance to win a print copy of the book (U.S. Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Author-CS-Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


I finally got around to doing the Mid Year Book Freakout tag and talk about the best and worst books I have read in the first half of 2019.

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Book Highlight: Should I Go To College?

43817231Should I go to College? What About Student Loan Debt?

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: March 14th, 2019

If you’re a high school student, chances are you’ve been thinking about where you will go to college. Or if you will go to college at all. I’ve been there. And as a former teacher, I’ve seen thousands of students there, too. So I wrote this book to help you.

This book offers sound advice about deciding whether or not you want to go to college, and, if you decide to go, how you can save time and money along the way.

“This is the book about college I wish I had read when I was younger.” – My 30-year-old self

SHOULD I GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOAN DEBT?
•Describes what college is
•Promotes thoughtful self-reflection
•Outlines your options post-high school
•Offers tragically hilarious truths about teaching
•Reaffirms the code of personal responsibility
•Likens student loans to dragons that need to be slain

ALL PROCEEDS OF THIS BOOK GO TOWARD HELPING STUDENTS PAY OFF THEIR
STUDENT LOAN DEBT.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

I AM JUST GOING TO SAY IT, LIKE ALL THE other people I admire, even though I know some people are not going to like it: Not everyone is cut out for college.

Repeat: Not everyone is cut out for college.

REPEAT: NOT EVERYONE IS CUT OUT FOR COLLEGE.

And that’s okay. It’s really okay. You can be a happy, successful person and not go to college. You can make a lot of money and never need to go to college. You still have worth as a person, you can still get job training, and you can still learn a craft or skill or art or anything. There isn’t some sacred part of life you’re missing out on by not attending college.

Even so, there seems to be no end of people who will convince you that college is necessary. Parents, guardians, teachers, other students, salespeople, politicians,—all of these people sit on an imaginary jury of sorts, and they are all giving you the same verdict: “GO TO COLLEGE!”

SIDE NOTE: Please don’t consider that subliminal messaging.

But — but! — all of these people are not you. You are in the best position to decide if college is something you want to pursue.

Your peers include many people who simply go to college because it’s the “thing to do.” Taxes are the “thing to do.” College is optional, and it is your choice.

Your parents love you (I assume) and your teachers want to guide you (I assume), so it can be hard to find yourself at odds with others over the issue of your future. Others, like the politicians and the marketing companies, see you as a profit.

There are several reasons that there’s so much debt in America; it’s not just because a lot of people wanted to go to school and then the economy dropped. Many of the college recruiters who call you and the pretty brochures they send you are there to make you want to go to college. It works because there are a lot of legitimate reasons to go. But going to college might still not be the best option for you, and you have to be willing to stand up to any number of people who disagree with you, including salespeople. Many people who have student loan debt are people who wanted to change career fields, wanted higher pay, or wanted to look for better jobs and opportunities. These are the people who look at those brochures and take these calls with an end in mind. When you are not sure of what you want to be when you grow up, it can be easy to be swayed by the honeyed words of a salesperson who is paid on commission.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Author Pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

Giveaway!

Click the link below to win a copy of this book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CS Johnson | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

ShouldICollege

Charity Blog Tour Schedule

July 15th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Spotlight) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

July 16th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com/

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

July 17th

Kim Knight (Interview) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com

July 18th

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

I’m All About the Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

July 19th

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Adventure Thru Wonderland (Review) http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours


Check out my latest Wrap Up video where I talk about the books I read in the month of June and announce the giveaway winner!

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Book Review: Who’s Got Your Back?

Welcome back bookworms! I am planning to read a lot of books in July and this is the first of many. This on is called Who’s Got Your Back? Making and Keeping Great Relationships Among Men by David Smith.

A book about men's relationships

Synopsis: Who’s got your back? Most men will simply answer, “no one.” Not many men have close friends in the sense that women do. We’re more likely to form alliances than we are friendships. It doesn’t have to be this way. Who’s Got Your Back? will motivate men to build satisfying relationships which will be there during the ups and downs of life.

David Smith’s new book, Who’s Got Your Back? clearly presents the clarion call for men to be the kind of men modeled for us by Jesus. David shows us how we can be strong, task oriented, and achieving, but also warm-hearted and unmistakably relationship driven in the rough and tumble of everyday life.

This good book brings into sharp focus a genuine and functional and real-life definition of manliness. David Smith has skillfully woven stories with practical application strategies into a narrative as to how we build and support trusting relationships.

This book was in the middle for me. I enjoyed the concept it was trying to get across to its readers but at the same time didn’t really feel like it was applicable to me. It is more centered on men that don’t have fulfilling relationships with other men (in the non sexual way). It is a book on working towards making stronger connections with other men in your life because you need that foundation of people and support to build your character but also to bring joy and understanding of yourself more as a person to your life.

I feel that I have a strong relationship with many close friends that are guys and we make it priority to be ever present in each other’s lives. This book is more focused on the older generation (that being the baby boomers) that have a quieter lifestyle once they are married where the husband has one person to depend and rely on (his wife) and little to no other people. I don’t believe this should be the way either and this book is here to help these men branch out and find other fellowship among men that they could potentially be open and build a friendship with.

I feel that there is value in what this book has to offer and since it is very religious based, I think it would be a great resource for a men’s group based out of church. They could follow along together and work through the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

It is a good book but I just feel that it didn’t apply to me where I am at in life right now. That being said, I will be passing the book on to my dad as I believe he would enjoy this book and could bring it to his Christian men’s group he attends.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can find this book on Amazon and Book Depository or Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by a publishing company in physical format to read and give an honest review.


Check out my latest Wrap Up video where I talk about the books I read in the month of June and announce the giveaway winner!

Get $.99 Shipping on ANY $30 order! Use code AFLFS99

Book Highlight: Banged Up Heart

Banged Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss

Banged Up Heart Cover

Genre
Memoir / Non Fiction

Synopsis: Banged-Up Heart is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heartcomes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Banged-Up-Heart-Dancing-Love-Loss/dp/193828870X /?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

Goodreads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32145012-banged-up-heart?

Audible Link:
https://www.audible.com/pd/Banged-Up-Heart-Audiobook/B07P1ZMBS4?qid=1556277182&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=MN84GWS17HRECS89TKR8

About The Author

Shirley Melis Head Shot

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.


Blog Tour Schedule

July 8 (today) @ The Muffin
Interview and giveaway.
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

July 9 @ Book Santa Fe Crystal Otto
Crystal J. Casavant-Otto shares her review after listening to the touching and inspiring memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

July 10 @ Lisa Buske
Lisa Buske reviews the Audible version of Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss by Shirley Melis.
https://www.lisambuske.com/

July 11 @ Bring on Lemons with Tara Forst
Wisconsin mother and business woman Tara Forst shares her thoughts after listening to the inspirational audible version of Banged-Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 12th @ BreakEven Books
Today’s Author Spotlight at BreakEven Books is on Shirley Melis and her memoir Banged-Up Heart – now available on Audible!
https://breakevenbooks.com/

July 13 @ Bring on Lemons with Angela Williams
Angela Williams reviews Shirley Melis’s Banged Up Heart.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 14 @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Educator and Entrepreneur Cathy Hansen reads and reviews Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. You’ll want to stop by Bring On Lemons today for your chance to learn more about this touching and encouraging memoir (now available on Audible).
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 15 @ Lisa Haselton
Shirley Melis is being interviewed today by Lisa Haselton. Stop at Lisa’s blog to learn more about Banged Up Heart, a non-fiction, memoir (now available on Audible), about finding the courage and strength to love again.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/

July 16 @ Bring on Lemons with Madeline Sharples
Fellow memoir writer Madeline Sharples interviews Shirley Melis about her book Banged Up Heart. (now available on Audible) Don’t miss this heart felt interview about courage and love.
http://madelinesharples.com/

July 17 @ Jerry Waxler
Coach and Author Jerry Waxler shares his thoughts after reading Shirley Melis’s memoir Banged Up Heart.
www.memorywritersnetwork.com/blog

July 18 @ Deb Blanchard
Teacher Deb Blanchard gives insight into “Banged Up Heart” the touching memoir by Shirley Melis (now available on Audible).
https://www.facebook.com/Reviews-by-Deb-1737715249887520/

July 19 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Don’t miss today’s interview between memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro and Shirley Melis. Find out more about Melis and her memoir Banged Up Heart (now available on Audible).
http://applemanshapiro.com/

July 20 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis’s memoir Banged Up Heart (now available on Audible).
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 22 @ Memoir Writers Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler shares her thoughts with readers of Memoir Writer’s Journey – find out what Pooler has to say about reading Shirley Melis’s memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://krpooler.com/

July 23 @ Bring on Lemons with Pang Papathopolus
Wisconsin professional caregiver and health care worker Pang gives her review of the Audible version of Banged-Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 24 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis’s book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/

July 25@ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles shares her review of Banged-Up Heart on Audible – hear what she has to say about this memoir in it’s audio form!
https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

July 26 @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Michelle DelPonte shares her review of the Audible version of Shirley Melis’s Banged Up Heart today at Bring on Lemons. Don’t miss this exciting blog stop and book giveaway.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/


If you get a chance, check out my July TBR video where I talk about the books I will be reading in July and the giveaway that I am hosting on my Youtube channel!

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Book Review: Five Feet Apart

Oh My God! Guys, I read this book and it was absolutely fantastic. It gave me The Fault In Our Stars vibes and it was so cute. It’s called Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott.

A hand holding the book Five Feet Apart

Synopsis: Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

So first off I want to say that the cover of this book is absolutely stunning! I adore how they made the lungs into flowers. The colors compliment it really well and it is a very eye-catching design.

It is a dual perspective narrative which I have been very into lately. I noticed that a lot of YA books have been doing this and I like it because you get to see more than one side to the story. It also helped that both characters were likable in this one.

I mean, in the beginning, Will was a little frustrating but I can see why he felt the way he did. His character development was incredible and he definitely grew on me.

There is just something about a sick teenager’s love story that just pulls me right in and makes me feel so many emotions. I actually teared up while reading this book (not once but twice) and it is very rare that I cry about anything.

This book made me learn a lot about CF (Cystic Fibrosis) because I wanted to better understand what the characters were going through. I can’t imagine having to live with that disease and applaud these main characters for being as driven as they are (even though they are purely fictional).

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone and everyone! It was so good and it is a quick read to at only around 260 ish pages! It is a great YA Contemporary read that you should add to your bookshelf.

Book Rating: 5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book with my own money while on vacation and read and reviewed it because I wanted to. 


Check out my Booktube Real Talk tag video where I answer questions regarding books and the bookish community!

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Book Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

Bring out your contemporary’s! This month I am reading a lot of different books and decided to start it off with The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon.

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Synopsis

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The main reason I picked up this book was because the movie came out recently and I wanted to read it before I watched the movie to see if the movie could do the book justice. I am really glad I picked this book up!

It was told from multiple perspectives and the entirety of the book was spanned over just one day. It explores the life of Natasha whose family is getting deported and her struggle trying to do everything in her power to stay in America. It also follows Daniel as he is on his way to his interview to get into a prestigious school to become a doctor. Their paths cross by complete luck (or was it fate) and you see them get to know each other.

I love when books play off of the “everything happens for a reason” bit and it shows how everything is connected and how it all played out because of certain events. This and books involving time always get me.

I don’t necessarily believe in the whole Insta love thing but I could see how it was kind of essential for this book.

The ending was absolutely amazing! I can’t say anything because I refuse to spoil this book but if you do pick it up, go all the way to the end because it is worth it.

There were a lot of side characters in the book and my favorite character actually was one of these side characters. Daniel and Natasha would annoy me at times but in their own little ways.

Honestly, this was a fun, easy contemporary read and is great to pick up for the summer and read at the beach or on the patio.

Book Rating: 4/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository or find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: I bought this book in physical format with my own money and read it because I wanted to.


Check out my May Wrap Up video where I talk about all the books I read in May and what I ended up thinking about them.

Beliosa

Book Review: From Foster Care to Millionaire

What’s up bookworms? Have you been reading lots? I know that I sure have. This recent read of mine was called From Foster Care to Millionaire: A Young Entrepreneur’s Story of Tragedy and Triumph by Cody Maclain.

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Synopsis: Cody’s story offers all the components you’d expect from the success story of a young entrepreneur with Aspergers-motivation, drive, perseverance, focus, and passion. You might call it a rags-to-riches tale, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But that here-to-there narrative is only the top layer. Cody’s story unfolds to reveal a narrative that is more complicated and yet simpler, more central, to the human experience. What remains is the story of a boy, burdened like all of us with deep wounds and great gifts, searching for a purpose. What remains is a story that will inspire readers to find their true calling and work like hell to achieve their dreams.

Would you call this a memoir if the person is still alive? An autobiography? Well, this was a book about Cody Mclain’s life and it was an interesting journey.

I liked being able to see how he viewed the world and was very analytical at times and realistic at others. I have to give him props for starting a business when he was 14. That takes a lot of guts and time/commitment and he was successful in his efforts.

I believe that the title is a little misleading because he only really stays in foster care for a short time but it did show his development as he was hit with hardship after hardship throughout his life. There were so many people that he encountered and they all had integral parts in the building of his character.

He also had a dog named Max which was cool because that is what my dog’s name is! And his Max sounds just like my Max when he was younger.

The book was good. There were definitely parts where I felt like they could have been a little shorter but it all adds up and tells the story of his life and how he achieved success. He has all the skills of an entrepreneur and taught himself everything he knows.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read about what it takes to not give up and follow your dreams (aka do what you want to do in life).

Book Rating: 3.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and Book Depository and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review. 


I made my latest TBR video where I talk about all the books I will be reading in June and the buddy reads I will be taking part in. The new TBR jar also commences its journey with me.

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Guest Post: Why I Enjoy Riding

Front CoverThe Onyx Crown #1

Publication Date: January 27th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy/ Adventure

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

Now Available on Amazon and for Nook!

Add to Goodreads!

Why I Enjoy Riding

The popular thing to do these days is to call it a “mid-life crisis.” For me, it was more a matter of self-reflection.  Everyone eventually gets to the point where they take a critical look at their life; to see what they’ve done, what they’re currently doing, and what they can possibly do in the future.

I won’t delve into my own results ad-nauseum, but I’ll just say that this is how most bucket-lists are likely conceived.   I personally believe that having accomplishments to look forward to are much better for the soul than having a long list of things already accomplished.  You see it all the time—a person in impeccable health retires early, and like clockwork, his health deteriorates.   Some might attribute this to their being less active physically, but I suspect otherwise.  My current love of motorcycles is the result of my own mid-life bucket list, along with getting a pilot’s license and taking a month long trip to Africa, and it was by far the easiest of the three to accomplish (the other two are still in progress).  After a four-day class, including about twelve hours of actual instruction on a bike, I was ready to see if riding was all of the fun and fulfillment that it seemed to be.

First however, I had to buy my first bike. This was almost a nerve-wracking as my first ride; I was absolutely clueless but forced myself to try to look as if I knew what I was doing.   It’s a self-preservation tactic.   No one wants to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous dealers, similar to when people shop for cars.  Finally, I found a nice “beginner-friendly” Honda CTX700 (I’m sure I was robbed) and was ready to take it for a spin. This was when I learned that riding on a closed course with instructors and traffic-cones is a totally different experience than riding on a major US interstate highway.   It’s not even in the same league.   For one, there were no impatient motorists (cagers, we call them) on the practice range, either sitting on your rear tire with their bumper or swerving into your lane without so much as a glance.  There was no crosswind blowing twenty MPH as you traverse a long bridge.   And none of the famous potholes which force you to keep one eye on the pavement and while the other stays on the traffic in front of you.   All of these things kept my knuckles white for most of the first month as I struggled to get comfortable with this new sensation of being on the open road.

With all of these concerns, was the decision to ride worth it?  For me, the answer is and will always be a resounding YES. I’ve heard from people time after time who don’t understand the fascination or enjoyment some of us get from riding and to be honest, it’s tough to explain with mere words.   The best I can do is to ask them to imagine something they’ve done in their life that makes them alert and exhilarated all at the same time.   Some may answer an insane roller coaster at their favorite theme park; others may get that same feeling from taking a trip to a new and unfamiliar city.   This is the ‘kick’ some of us get from riding—it’s like ziplining into a haunted house.  It’s freedom in its purest form.   I bought my second (grown up) bike last year, and as the summer approaches, I can’t wait to see what adventures the open road has in store for me.

Giveaway!!!

For your chance to win a digital copy of this exciting new fantasy, click the link below!

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About the Author

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard. Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker. When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!

Alan Hurst | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



Blog Tour Schedule

April 29th

Reads & Reels (Guest Post) http://www.readsandreels.com

Audio Killed the Bookmark (Excerpt) http://audiokilledthebookmark.wordpress.com

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Excerpt) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

Cup of Books Blog (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/

Ity Reads Books (Excerpt) http://www.ityreadsbooks.home.blog

April 30th

Triquetra Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Sophril Reads (Excerpt) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Just 4 My Books (Excerpt) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

May 1st

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Breakeven Books (Guest Post) https://breakevenbooks.com

Cup of Toast (Interview) https://cupoftoast.co.uk

May 2nd

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

B is for Book Review (Guest Post) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

She Marie Blogs (Excerpt) https://shemarieblogs.com/

May 3rd

J Bronder Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Excerpt) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

The Speedy Reader (Review) https://speedyreadercom.wordpress.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Excerpt) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

The Faerie Reviews (Excerpt) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

In Partnership With:

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The Literary Lobbyist


I recently uploaded my Booktube Newbie tag video so check it out below if you are interested. I would love it if you subscribed but that is completely up to you!

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