Monday, January 22, 2018


Reblogged from Sally Cronin at
Welcome to the first of the author updates this week. I have made a slight adjustment to the timescales for reviews as with so many authors now in the bookstore, it is likely that several weeks might lapse between featuring everyone. So I will be looking at reviews on Amazon UK and US and also Goodreads within the last six months that I have not shared before.
The first featured author is Karen Ingalls who has been inspiring us with posts from her archives over the last few weeks. She has received another wonderful review for her memoir Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
About the book
When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage IIC ovarian cancer, she realized how little she knew about what is called “the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, she redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.
In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that “the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radian. It is a story of survival and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.
One of the recent excellent reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
Verwayne Greenhoe 5.0 out of 5 stars Moving January 16, 2018
I found myself incredibly moved as I read this story. It speaks to the power of courage and faith in God. The author relates her joys and her nightmares and the eventual hitting the peak of recovery. The story at the end of Chapter 21 where the husband that continued to care for his wife even after he knew she no longer recognized him left me with moist eyes. Some take their marriage vows seriously.
In the summer of 2013, I was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer, but because I was in the right place at the right time, I was placed in an experimental treatment program. I went through virtually every mountain and valley of emotions of which the author writes. I also had used the power of positive thinking and the belief that I was not in the struggle alone.
If you find yourself or a loved one with a diagnosed with cancer, this may be a story for you. You may find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggle and how another handled their battle.
Also by Karen Ingalls
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The next author with a review is M.J. Mallon for her book The Curse of Time: Book One – Bloodstone is a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.
About The Curse of Time
On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.
Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.
Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.
With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?
A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.
One of the excellent reviews for the book on Goodreads
Oct 12, 2017 Adele Marie Marie rated it Five Stars
From the beginning, I was drawn into the main character, Amelina’s world. It is quickly established that Amelina’s world is not like other girls her age. I can’t say more than that as I don’t want to give spoilers away.
Amelina is written so well. There is a part of her that all of us will recognise and emphasise with. At that awkward age where nothing fits and at the same time you feel as if you can conquer the world.
Darkness creeps in slowly in the form of Ryder who at first seems the answer to all Amelina desires, or is he? The circle of friends she has are all different personalities but they fit together like a circle. The description of each girl is short but gives us an immediate picture of their personality.
Then there are Amelina’s parents, her growing power and the strange invitation.
I give Curse of Time Book One five stars.
I enjoyed reading this novel and the only consolation I had when finishing it was there will be a book two. Marjorie has written a magical tale and drawn for us a world where nothing is what it appears to be on the surface. I loved this novel and Marjorie’s telling of it. Amelina has a strong voice and I could see everything crystal clear through her eyes.
A book to go back and read time and time again.
Read the other reviews and buy the book
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The next author that I would like to showcase is Lyn Horner with Darlin’ Irish – Texas Devlins Book Two.
About the book
Psychics in the Old West? Yes indeed! Say howdy to Lyn Horner’s Texas Devlins, a trio of extraordinary siblings. Darlin’ Irish, the first book in the author’s unique, award-winning trilogy, is a tale of epic adventure and steamy romance set ablaze by flashes of psychic power.
Jessie Devlin possesses second sight, a gift inherited from the “Old Ones,” her Irish Druid ancestors. A survivor of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, she endures nightmares of the fire in which a gentle, loving stranger saves her life. She believes they are fated to love and a prophetic vision sends her west in search of him. But a second vision warns of a fiery-eyed madman who may also wait somewhere beyond the horizon. Will her quest lead her to happiness . . . or into a deadly trap?
Captain David Taylor is a Texan banished from home after fighting for the “wrong side” in the War Between the States. Now serving on the frontier, David meets Jessie on the way back to his post after a trip east. She stares at him as if seeing a ghost, for he looks like the hero in her dreams, but while he’s entranced by her beauty, he has no taste for her firecracker temper. She brings to mind someone from his past who he’d rather forget.
As the two journey west by rail their clashing personalities war with a fiery attraction to one another. Violence dogs their path and explodes in Mormon Utah. Whether love will win the day or be lost forever is a question that hangs in the balance until a shattering final battle between good and evil on the broad Texas plains.
One of the great reviews for the book
Darlin’ Irish is a historical Western romantic adventure featuring an Irish lass Jessie with a gift of precognition that arrived as “visions”, and her adventures across the West with her Tye, and a handsome army Captain David. The book is quite entertaining, with a lot of adventure for them to fall for each other, and an evil guy who was really out to get them… The book really has a bit of everything and packed a lot of plot in 300+ pages (and it felt like a bit more than that!)
To recap, Jessie Devlin, with the gift of second sight, had survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but later she had a vision of her being saved by a gentle loving stranger… out West. When her brother Tye was determined to head West to try for a stake in the silver mines, Jessie decided to go with him, against their father’s wishes. But another vision gave her doubt… a fiery-eyed madman with black hand reached out for her… But she chose to go, trusting her visions. On the train, they met Captain David Taylor. Originally from Texas, he was banished from his home for joining up with the “wrong side” (i.e. Union). Jessie was sure that David was the kind man from her dreams, but David’s personality was nothing like she expected, as David has no taste for her firecracker temper, that reminded him of someone he’d rather forget. However, their journey was interrupted by violence and came to a head in Utah. But the battle was not over, not until a final battle on the plains of Texas.
Both characters are flawed to a degree and their interactions are a delight to read. The “heavy” was not TOO evil, but evil “enough” to make a good opponent for Captain Taylor. Too bad the heavy was introduced really late, like almost mid-book. And yes, you’ll come to understand what do the visions mean. The supernatural bits are just light enough to not be creepy nor powerful, i.e. just adds some spice. Tye will find his own love in the next volume. The book is has a few scenes of violence. Several people will die, and many people got hurt. So this is not *that* kind of romance. But it is a fun read.
A selection of other books by Lyn Horner
Read the many reviews and buy the books
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Delighted to feature Helen Jones with her latest release, on December 21st, in her popular YA series, Under Stone (The Ambeth Chronicles Book 4).
About the book
Help will come to you, Alma, you will not be alone.’
Accepting her new powers hasn’t been easy for Alma. Nor has finding out the truth about her father. And she’s still not sure about the prophecy, or about going back to Ambeth.
But the Dark are gathering, Denoris on her trail. Deryck hasn’t forgotten about her either…
Events past and present converge on a small Welsh town as Alma, and the Dark, choose their path. Who will reach the Cup first?
Other books by Helen Jones
  One of the excellent reviews for Hills and Valley’s Book 3 of the Series
This book finds Alma – having turned her back on Ambeth.
With Hills and Valleys, Helen Jones continues the wonderful Ambeth Chronicles. It is an enjoyable and compelling read, focussing on the events after the Harvest Fair – in Ambeth as well as in Alma’s world. Thorion, Deryck, Ellery, Alma – their lives have changed. Alma and her family visit her grandmother; her parents consider it having a healing effect. Helen Jones paints a clear picture of Alma’s and the other characters’ mind sets while the story evolves. I was drawn very close to Alma and her story – an invisible friend and ally. The characters are complex, believable with their flaws and virtues. The story is nicely woven and has a wonderful flow; it was easy to get hooked. I love how some secrets are solved and new mysteries come up, it is fine balance. I am looking forward to reading the next book.
This is a book for you if you like young adult fantasy, urban fantasy, believable and often very likeable characters.
The third book in The Ambeth Chronicles series; the last chapters let me expect a promising fourth book. A book I definitely need to read. Recommended!
Read the reviews and buy the books
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Connect to Helen Jones via her blog
Time to catch up with Andrew Joyce and his most recent release Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups
About Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups.
Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.
Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.
Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”
Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.
His book Yellow Hair was awarded Book of the Year by Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 by Colleen’s Book Reviews.
One of the recent reviews for the book
So… you pull up next to a car at a long traffic light and eye the other driver. Do you immediately picture an entire novel in which that driver has just committed a heinous crime and is impatiently waiting for the light to change in order to make his/her getaway? Before the light turns green, have you filled in the details of the crime, pictured what would happen if the (obvious) criminal notices you watching them, and wondered if it would be possible to duck before bullets (or IDK…laser beams if your imaginings tend toward graphic novel territory) fly? I always thought that meant you are blessed with a writer’s imagination. Unless your name is Andrew Joyce, of course.
You see, this kind of thing has actually happened to Andrew. Lots. Whether real or imagined, he shares the details of his remarkable adventures and even more remarkable imagination in this epic collection of close to ninety short stories. What I realized in reading the collection, is that they are actually the record of a writer teaching himself his craft. We see his experiments over the years, share the ones that get on base, the ones that strike out, and the ones that hit it out of the park.
Oddly, to me the ones that resonate with the most truth are the hilariously snarky observations contributed by everyone’s favorite pooch-scribe, Danny the Dog. Although I’m still working my way through this treasury of bedtime stories, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. For one thing, it’s the perfect book to get you through the holidays. Stuck in a long line? You could run for your life from a psychopath in The Swamp. Suffering through the tortures of mall music? Check in with Danny the Dog for how to score extra turkey slices in Danny Extorts Andrew. Need a reminder of the things that really matter? Shed a tear for Michael.
Inevitably, I liked some stories better than others. But overall, I’m fascinated by the process as Andrew Joyce invites us to join him in honing the writing skills that have already produced his bestsellers. We meet a young Andrew in the stories about Billy Doyle (his real name). We meet the writer trying out other genres for size in stories like Dead and Wise Guy. And we meet Andrew himself through the unsentimental loving eyes of Danny the Dog. Which is the real Andrew? Obviously, whichever one is writing at that moment.
If Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is an epic series of writing experiments, its readers are the lucky witnesses to the experiments’ success.
Read the reviews and buy the book
Also by Andrew Joyce
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  1. Hi Karen! Thanks for sharing Sally's post! Congratulations for the great review of Outshine!

    1. Thank you, Vashti. I was deeply moved by the review.

  2. Congrats on that wonderful review and for sharing the post, Karen. How wonderful to be featured with so many talented authors!

  3. Fabulous review for Outshine, Karen. Kudos! xo