The World Is Never Enough by Sarah Donohue @sarah_donohue : @fayerogersuk @Authoright : #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on “The World Is Never Enough” by Sarah Donohue as part of the blog tour for Authoright. This book is available in paperback or eBook format from Amazon UK My thanks to Authoright, Sarah and Deringer Publishing for my copy of this fabulous book and my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

This is the action packed story of a female racing driver and stuntwoman who lives life on the edge and enjoys every extreme moment of it… A thrill-seeker by day and glamorous showgirl by night, Sarah Donohue believes in living out her dreams and living life to the full bringing colour and laughter to the lives of everyone around her.

Even after a high-speed powerboat crash putting her on a life-support machine, Sarah didn’t let dying for four minutes or a face held together by titanium plates dampen her spirits. The crash was documented as one of the worst crashes seen in powerboat racings history yet Sarah returned back to racing with BBC’s ‘999’ and ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ hiring her as the stuntwoman to re-enact her own near fatal experience. Soon after she became the European powerboat champion. Her journey of triumph over adversity is both inspiring and extreme.

This story of life will take the reader through a roller coaster of emotions as Sarah experiences the highest of highs on podium tops to the lowest of lows as she suffers jealous cyber abusers. The funny stories recalled as a forces pinup and staunch supporter of the military through to the not so funny story of Sarah enduring Donald Trump, the now president of the United States of America and his legal team for almost four years.

This feisty girl from Yorkshire loves life and puts as much into it as she can whilst taking anything it throws back at her remaining positive and up beat. This shows that even the impossible can be made possible with the right attitude no matter who you are or where you come from. A motivational, funny and inspirational book showing one woman’s journey on taking on any challenge head to head and her world-renowned success in the male dominated sport of offshore powerboat racing. Even death becomes her.

My Thoughts:

Sarah story is a pretty amazing one and I was soon to discover that she is also a very down to earth person from what I read in her book. She tells you her life from her roots in Yorkshire and her very supportive family to a career that has taken her around the world.

I am quite amazed after reading this book, and in a good way I might add, as I followed her journey. Hard work, determination and a stubborn bloody mindedness to succeed in a sport that is very male dominated field. She is not the little lady by any means and you soon realise she is one of the boys and not just a token female representative to make good viewing on television. Her resume is quite impressive and has covered various aspects of TV, film, Powerboat racing and modelling. She has pushed her body to the limit and at one point almost paid the ultimate price.

She is very open about her story and discusses it warts and all. The highs, the lows, the winning and the bullying. She comes across as a very likeable and her story is very easy to read and very hard to put down, I didn’t put it down until I had finished reading it in one sitting. It is written in a very casual style that made me feel that she was having a conversation with me, and an extremely interesting one at that.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like not only sport but also life stories, and would, in my opinion, appeal to a great many readers. It is engaging with shocking and painful moments as well as quite humorous and funny ones. this is a book I would definitely recommend to fellow readers.

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#BlogTour : Indigo Lost by S R Summers @IndigoLost : @Authoright #Extract

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I am sharing an extract today for “Indigo Lost” by S R Summers for the blog tour by Authoright. Indigo Lost is available in hardback, paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

After the brutal murder of her family, and the uncovering of her mysterious abilities, a young girl escapes and hides in the city of Las Vegas — but who is going to protect her?
Violence has always has always been familiar to seven-year-old Mysty, known for her piercing indigo eyes. Ever since she can remember her father has been an aggressive and brutish man, but then one day things go too far and Mysty witnesses the violent murder of her beloved mother. Taken in by the police for safety and questioning, she realises that she has nobody to turn to and can only rely on herself to survive. So, when she has the chance, she decides to make her escape; the only problem is she’s three floors up and it’s one hell of a drop. But seeing no other option, she takes a leap of faith out of the window and never looks back.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the king of the city, cut-throat mob boss Donny Capello, is contemplating his next takeover when an out-of-control truck nearly crashes into him. Dazed, he notices a skinny young girl with bright blue eyes injured and crouching in a doorway, who he swears somehow saved his life, like a guardian angel. But before he can speak to her she disappears. Determined to find out who the girl is, and why she would trouble herself to save someone as irredeemable as him, Donny Capello will do anything to find her. But she’s not yet ready to reveal herself, and this time there’s no window for her to escape from, and Vegas is Capello’s city, so it’s only a matter of time before he finds her.
In the first book of her epic Infinity Squared series, author S.R. Summers has drawn on her varied life experiences and the challenges she’s personally faced —from work-place bullying to xenophobia— to craft not only a dramatic and, at times uncomfortable, narrative, but also one which provokes questions within the reader about their place in the world. Through the relationships between her central female protagonist, Mysty, and those she encounters, Summers hopes to highlight the importance of personal growth, the internal conflicts an individual experiences when faced with diicult life questions, and the strength and empowerment of reaching out in life and making real connections and friendships rather than the at-a-distance relationships of today’s technology-mad world.
Blending elements of crime, fantasy, romance and coming-of-age with social fiction, Indigo Lost is the perfect next read for those looking for an exciting and thought-provoking new series to get stuck into this spring.

Extract:

Extract – Indigo Lost – p165

This extract comes from a scene between Donny Capello, mafia boss of Vegas, and our young central female character, a runaway child from a broken home who escaped a brutal end to a tragic domestic abuse case that claimed the lives of her sister, mother and grandmother. This is an important moment when she chooses a new name for herself, as her powerful new friend offers her a chance to get her life back on track. An opportunity she is only partially cognisant of, in her childlike innocence.

He got up and came back with a pad of paper and a pen, and slid it across the table to her right side, knowing she was right-handed, and looked at her. 

Will you write down what you will not tell me?”

Her face paled again and her heart pounded. Why did he have to ruin everything by asking her to do that? She didn’t want to do that. She squeezed her eyes shut. But the urge to wipe her soul clean of the pain, of the hurt and the blood, was growing within her. But why here is this room, with this . . . stranger?

You don’t want to know what I know. I don’t want you to know.” It was a whisper. “Sometimes I wish I was dead too so I wouldn’t be able to remember.” She shook her head. “I can’t write it.”

The man who killed your family, I can make sure he’s never able to come after you.”

Her eyes snapped open, and despite the emotion they were bright and alert now. “He’s in prison. I think he is, anyway.”

Even easier.”

She shook her head. “No. I’m not a killer. Though he deserves to die a million times for what he did.”

You’re sure?”

Yes . . .”

It was a shaky whisper. It was clear the idea was tempting, but agreeing to more death was obviously unthinkable for her. And he didn’t want her to become blood-thirsty, he just wanted her to feel safe.

Will you tell me your name?”

No.”

She picked up the pen and wrote the initials of her mother’s name very faintly, then crossed them out, not wanting to give away any clues.

You can’t go through your whole life being a mystery with no name.”

Absent-mindedly she wrote the word ‘mystery’, doing an impressive slanted ‘M’ and two looping ‘Y’s. She tilted her head and crossed out some of the letters, and then rewrote the word she ended up with. She put the pen down and turned the pad around and pushed it to him.

Then I’ll be a mystery inside a name.”

This was no average kid. He was going to have to get used to that.

Mysty? Two ‘Y’s? Unusual. It suits you. You’re sure?”

She nodded decisively.

Fine. OK, Mysty, now explain to me another mystery: how do you survive those jumps off buildings?”

He crossed his arms and leaned back, looking at her with eyes that told her he wanted an answer and it had better be honest. Squirming a little under the scrutiny, she fiddled with her napkin while she tried to come up with a good enough answer.

About the Author:

  About the author: Living in Leamington Spa, West Midlands, S.R. Summers owns and runs the popular ZouBisou cafe. Previously, she has enjoyed a career working within broadcast media whilst living in Belgium and within the field of e-commerce. She also holds a degree in History from the University of Cambridge. When not managing her cafe, you’ll find her busy writing and working on the final book in her Infinity Squared eight-part series. The first in the series, Indigo Lost by S.R, Summers (published by ShieldCrest Publishing XX April 2018 RRP £20 hardback, £12 paperback and £5.99 e-book) is available to purchase from online retailers, including Amazon, and to order from all good bookstores. For more information you can follow the author @indigolost.

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#BlogTour : Small Change by Keddie Hughes @keddiehughes : @Authoright : #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Small Change” by Keddie Hughes as part of the blog tour with Authoright. Small change can be purchase in paperback or eBook format from Amazon UK. My thanks to both the author and Kate Appleton for my copy and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

Murder, marital troubles and the murky world of football corruption collide into one woman’s life in this dramatic new novel, set against political upheaval and Sectarianism in Glasgow in 2011.
Forty-two year old Izzy Campbell wants more to life than husband who is over fond of a drink as well as a fanatical Rangers supporter. For as long as she can remember she’s always put her family’s needs first, but with her son turning eighteen she decides it’s time things change. Izzy signs up to volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and enrols to study for a part time degree in Social Sciences, where she meets fellow student and SMP candidate, Bridget, who encourages her to start a career for the first time, something her husband Jim does not support. Meanwhile, Jim’s security company is preparing to make a bid for a contract with his beloved Rangers, in spite of the Club’s reportedly murky finances. So when Izzy encounters charismatic journalist, Sean Docherty who reveals to her that he is investigating alleged financial corruption at Rangers, she finds her loyalties torn. However, hoping to protect her husband, and with her interest piqued in more ways than one, she finds herself oering to help Sean with his research unaware of his family connections to the murder of a young Celtic fan. A murder her husband witnessed.

Growing up in Glasgow, in a staunchly Protestant home, with a Rangers fan for a father, Keddie Hughes is no stranger to the blight of Sectarianism which she refers to as ‘Scotland’s secret shame’. However, she’s quick to highlight that her story isn’t only about the problems surrounding football. As a self-proclaimed woman entering the ‘third age’ she wanted to create an authentic and relatable character in the form of Izzy. Through her main protagonist, Keddie acknowledges the struggles that women can often go through —from self-doubt to loneliness and feelings of invisibility— when faced with the prospect of their children growing up and moving away. Combining her own experiences as a psychologist and executive coach, Keddie hopes that her character’s journey will provide inspiration and understanding to others and show them that even small changes can add up to make a big dierence in life.
An engaging and relatable story of one woman’s personal evolution and transformation against a backdrop of social and political upheaval in Glasgow, Small Change by Keddie Hughes is the perfect next read for fans of commercial fiction with an edge.

My Thoughts:

Normally I would start “My Thoughts” with my version of a synopsis, but I think you will agree the one above is very thorough. So I will get straight on with what I thought.

This is an enjoyable and very interesting read. I was a little concerned that having a football theme I might not take to it, I am not really a fan of football , but even though it does feature it is not overly done and so I could really enjoy the story. I got to meet Izzie and was taken on a journey into Glasgow and the life in which Izzie has. It explored the contrast between a comfortable homelife to those with nothing or on the brink of loosing what they had. Izzie works with CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) and meets a wide range of people with a myriad of different problems. Problems are something that Rangers FC are well aware of, and it plays its part in upsetting the world of Izzie and her husband.

The character of Izzie is a really likeable, warm, cosy woman who wants to help others and is also a loyal wife and mum. The story is told from her perspective and I was given a chance to feel like I was getting to know her. Every couple of chapters or so you get a dialogue in script form from her husband Jim and this added an extra sense of what was going on. The plot is how Izzie takes various changes around her and adapts to them. You begin to sense the change in her and its a wonderful journey that I really got caught up in.

The rivalry between football clubs and fans is something I was awware of but I didn’t realise how deep rooted it actually was, so this was a bit of an eye opener for me.

This is a really good story. It is one of those that ambles along at it’s own pace, for me it was the perfect pace. A book that kept my attention and held it throughout, I should mention that I read this in one sitting and finished just after 1am! A wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

About the author: Born in Glasgow, Keddie Hughes has worked for over thirty years in executive coaching and leadership development for large multi-national companies. In 2012 she completed the Faber Academy writing course and later enjoyed writing for eighteen months under the mentorship of author Jill Dawson. Today Keddie lives in Buckinghamshire where she dedicates as much time as she can to writing. Her first novel, An Obstinate Vanity was published in 2016 (CreateSpace). Small Change by Keddie Hughes (published by Spiffing Covers ) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

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#BlogTour : Joshua N’Gon Last Prince of Alkebulahn by Anthony Hewitt @Antonmarks : @rararesources : #BookReview

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Today I have a YA book to share with you “Joshua N’Gon : Last Prince of Alkbulahn” by Anthony Hewitt as part of the blog tour.  My thanks to Anthony for my copy of the book and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. You can get a copy from Amazon UK and it is available in paperback or eBook format.

Synopsis:

When a secret world of ancient alien kingdoms and evil corporation’s clashes with adolescents, school, and homework. You won’t be able to put down this wild adventure of discovery, friendship, and coming of age!

What would you do if you discovered you were descended from ancient alien African royalty and you could hold the key to save your friends, family, and the world from evil destructive forces?
Joshua N’Gon seemed like an ordinary boy. Raised in a loving foster home in north London and a gifted student at the St Augustine private school. But as he grew older, a thirst for meaning and true purpose began to grow greater and greater…

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

On Joshua’s tenth birthday he received mysterious packages from his birth parents. Parents who had left him as a baby under mysterious circumstances. Opening the packages, he would find gifts that would forever change him both mentally and physically. Magical technology unlike anything he had ever seen and the best part, only he could use it. But his secrets would not stay that way for long. Evil forces were gathering and they would stop at nothing to acquire the powerful science behind his amazing inventions

With the help of his two best friends, Brick and Mina, Joshua sets out to develop his abilities, find his real parents and stop the Technology Billionaire Kanu Umbekwi from subjugating the planet.

Buckle up and get ready to go on an exciting thrill ride, full of suspense, mystery, and alien technology with Joshua N’Gon:The Last Prince of Alkebulahn.

My Thoughts:

Joshua N’Gom is an average student, is loyal to his small group of friends and generally a good kid. One thing is a little different about him though, he has an ability to build advanced technological objects. When I say advanced, I really mean advanced!

This is aimed at a 12-16 age group and is extremely fast paced and non stop action. Quick chapters with occasional timeline changes keep the action moving as well as giving some much-needed back-stories to a couple of the characters.

There are quite a few characters to get your head around so it does take a while to remember them but, as the story continues they do become recognisable. The plot is one that gradually unveils itself as the story unfolds, it would have been helpful if I had read the synopsis before reading the book. Yeah I’m one of those who read the synopsis when I am first approached for a tour and then that’s it.

This is a sci-fi fiction read and it’s audience is definitely a young teen that will be more used to gamer language and references. As i am definitely not in this age range I did find some of the terminology confusing. Although I didn’t understand it all I do recognise the part it plays in this story and it adds an authenticity to it.

This is the first in a series of books and it is an enjoyable read, it does have that first in a series feel to it as the scene is set for what is to come. I do think this will be a series that the target audience will really enjoy and would find it exciting. So for the age range and the subject I would say this is a book I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Anton Marks is a self-published author based in London.  His self-styled Urban Fantastic genre is speculative fiction using crime, action adventure, horror, sword and soul and sci-fi to highlight the black experience through the lens of the extraordinary. At present, he has eight books in the Amazon Kindle store, Dancehall, Bushman, Bad II the Bone, In the Days of Dread, 69, Messiah, Chauffeur and a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel called Joshua N’Gon: The Last Prince of Alkebulahn written as Anthony Hewitt. The second in his Bad II the Bone Series Good II be Bad is due in 2018.

Join him on his journey at http://www.urban-fantastic.com.

Social Media Links –  Pintrest –  Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads

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#GuestPost | Outremer by D.N Carter @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright #SpringReads #BlogTour

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I had the pleasure of reading “Outremer” by D.N Carter last year and was absolutely stunned by the amount of historical references in this tome of a book, the first in a planned four part series.  When the opportunity to take part in Authoright’s Spring Reads Event arrived I knew exactly what I wanted; more information about the research that went into the book, and also about the £10,000 prize for anyone than can crack the code in the book. In this post you will discover, amongst other things, how a lifetime of research lead the author underestimated the word count, from 140,000 to 1,247,000…… yes you really did read that right!  It is a real eye opener.

You can  Purchase fromAmazon UK.

Firstly the Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

 

Get comfortable for this amazing post about the research and the prize:

    It has taken me since I was a young child to accumulate the research behind Outremer…and I am still learning more even now in my fifties. My main reason for writing Outremer was, and remains, to share and impart what appears to be highly advanced knowledge from our distant past that is provable and irrefutable, yet suppressed or deliberately ignored by so-called main stream academia. It all started after reading Chretien de Troyes Grail romances, plus my love of castles and ancient ruins…my original inspiration. I hope to provoke readers to think and start upon a path of their own research and not just accept my words, but to challenge all that I write, to seek for themselves answers and either refute or verify what I claim.

I can state with all clarity the first time I sat down and wrote the title and saved it as a word document was back in 2005. Almost a year later I penned the basic story time line together…175 pages! I knew it was going to be a massive undertaking but vowed I would finish. The research took the most time to ensure accuracy. From the smallest detail of clothing to major historical facts, to religious doctrine and philosophies, and only then, when I felt confident enough, did I commit to writing full time. In early 2014 I finally began to flesh out the original story time line. It soon became apparent my idea of penning a 140,000 word book was woeful wishful thinking and grossly underestimated the extent and volume of material I was trying to convey. 1,247,000 words later I typed ‘The End’ in December 2015. Now the hard work would begin I was then informed with editing and proofing etc and splitting the manuscript into four major volumes.

I wanted to share the knowledge of the ancients and their codes, as I believe I have understood them, in an engaging and enjoyable format, especially as they still have profound consequences for all of us. I have included a new one using those codes that readers may wish to work upon. If they crack it, it will lead to a location and an item. There are also exoteric and esoteric messages that run throughout the manuscript. To some they will be obvious whilst missed by others unfamiliar with the symbolism at first; however they will discover and understand as the information slowly reveals itself. It is possible to crack the code from book 1 alone. I have learnt that all three of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all carry within their respective Holy Books, a genuine and provable mathematical code…and they are the same code. As the famous scientist Stephen Hawkins once said, “If God is real, he is maths”. It shows that there is a higher knowledge behind their origins. Whoever breaks my code will win £10,000. The code can also be reversed to reveal the location of a genuine and far greater treasure and that is why I put up the prize to get people to look a little closer than perhaps they would have.

I have adhered as near as possible to historical truth whilst conveying a new perspective on our history in a verifiable format that not only educates the reader, but hopefully inspires too. ‘Your beliefs do not make you a free thinker…the ability to change your beliefs based upon new information does’ I was told when living in Cyprus, and so I strive to seek out new information; consequently I discovered many new things…far too many to include here but all comprehensively covered within Outremer. Some of the simpler facts that surprised me however were learning that King Richard the Lion heart could not speak English…his first language being French, and the name Jesus was not even generally known by that name in the Middle Ages, but as Iesus.

Outremer is based upon real people who lived during the tumultuous period of the 12th century, and few people nowadays appreciate the massive implications of events then that still impact upon us today. This was the perfect period platform to express the many levels of love, from the total and unselfish love for another, to unrequited love, jealousy, betrayals and forgiveness. But this period was also when items were recovered by the original founding Knights Templar that would ultimately lead to the rediscovery of practices and technologies that had an immediate impact, especially upon the design and construction of great cathedrals, but also leaps in other areas not so obvious that led to the explosion of what became known as the Renaissance starting in Florence.

This was when the first Grail romances about chivalry were being penned. Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing around 1130 with ‘History of the Kings of Britain’, introduced the first literary creation of the character, King Arthur and the idea of courtly love, but it was Chretien de Troyes who built and expanded on this creating Camelot, Lancelot and the Holy Grail. All my research pointed to this as being the period when a great revelation of esoteric and exoteric codes started…and the perfect backdrop to set a love story that is enmeshed with those very same codes of antiquity. I have always had an affinity to this period, especially the secret and mysterious Knights Templar, their clothing and equipment plus a deep fascination with ruins, mainly castles. It began when I was nine years of age. I went to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire on a school trip. I loved the architecture and the feeling of spiritual peace that I sensed there. That trip revealed I had a natural talent for drawing architectural scenes. I visited many castles and ruins and my fascination simply grew from there. As a youth I was lucky enough to travel to several major castles in Cyprus, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The beauty, scale and history of them utterly captivated me…but gave me a sense of sadness too for all the carnage of war that was visited upon them and their occupants. Consequently I asked myself, why, why would people fight wars of such unbelievable brutality? That question was rammed home after learning how the Christian Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD and massacred all of its 70,000 inhabitants regardless of religion. I seriously questioned the real motives for the first Crusade with a deep sense there was far more than we are taught.

I still love ruins…an almost naive romantic notion of great Knights on quests that stirs within me whenever I see a castle, or even just a small part of an ancient wall, but the reality of castles is one of war and likewise those warrior monks, the Knights Templar. They projected a mystique I wanted to know all about, especially if they were somehow true guardians of what is known as the Holy Grail. How could monks be warriors too…it was a contradiction? I learned that Knights Templar swore to protect an original spirituality belief system, which is the basis for all religions, dedicated to supporting established Churches of all denominations and religious Orders and of other traditions…including Islam. It is knowledge and an understanding all people should have the opportunity to be shown.

The main thing I have personally learned, is that we, mankind as a whole, are all connected, we are inherently good, not bad and we are all spiritual beings and religion is simply a vehicle that has been used to convey a higher message across time as well as moral codes and words of hope and comfort…plus a message we are now only truly beginning to recognise for what it is. And that love, as airy fairy, corny or as some argue naive as that may sound, is the key…and true education I believe is when you are shown something, but not told how to see it. So we have a choice for we effect the very environment we live in and the world as a whole.

Being of a spiritual nature, I have read and studied as much as I could on every religious order and doctrine I could find. One aspect I always suspected was not somehow real was the so-called apocalypse. I could never understand how and why a God, who supposedly created us, would destroy us. I learnt that Apocalypse means to ‘unveil’ or to ‘reveal’ meaning ‘un-covering’, translated literally from Greek meaning ‘disclosure of knowledge’, a lifting of the veil or revelation …not destroy, nor the end of the world etc. So what else within scripture was not explained properly I wondered? Also what was contained within the fourteen books removed from the Bible and why were they removed. To learn why meant delving back to the late 1100’s, a period that shaped the geopolitical maps of both Europe and the Middle East, which in turn shaped the relations between Christian and Muslim countries to this day, with repercussions that still echo to the present. That is why, in my opinion, it is so essential to fully grasp and understand the true realities of that era that led to Christian and Muslim ideologies being so diametrically opposed …but how some today, knowing how to manipulate those facts to suit their own particular agendas, can effectively control the future by controlling our understanding of the past; hence the sub title ‘Who controls the past, controls the future’.

Follow on:  Outremer Website  ~    Outremer on Facebook

Yvonne: Oh my goodness, if this does not show the dedication I really don’t know what does. I am no where close to discovering the secret of the code.  But I do know is that this book is an epic read, full of so many facts and historical content.  The following books in this series are already on my “must buy when then are published list”.

About the Author:

About the author: After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.

Check out the other books and bloggers on the Spring Reads 2018 Blog Tour

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#BlogTour : Finding What Was Never Lost by Martin J Worthy @Authoright @gilbster1000 #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on What Was Never Lost (and then just giving it away) by Martin J Worthy. Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for my spot on the tour and a copy of the book.  PURCHASE LINK Available in paperback or eBook.

Synopsis:

An epic of the modern era, the author takes us on a voyage from postwar London, through his coming of age in the days of LSD and flower power, culminating some decades later in that most treasured condition – a sublime, calm and joyous state of inner and outer equilibrium. Triggered by an excruciating medical trauma in Mexico, he takes us upon a thirty-year journey none could have predicted. Farming in the Punjab, married life in Denmark and twenty years in Southern India practicing Raja Yoga and much more besides. His learning is transferable, practicable and universal.

Vivid, deeply personal and refreshingly honest, ‘’Finding what was never Lost…and then just giving it away’’ offers a fascinating combination of memoir, spirituality and self-help, as well as a snapshot of the hedonistic lifestyle of the 70’s and 80’s, with some travel and, unsurprisingly, a whole lot of laughter too.

This is not a vanity venture, it is the sharing of a lifetime of experiences and insights that have every chance of making a difference to the way the reader looks upon life, and the possibilities that lie ahead. His main precept is that the quality of one’s life is of paramount importance. And, that current cultural aspirations of wealth, importance sensual pleasures and distraction are of a lesser worth when set against the peace and joy that is attainable through this inner journey. The inner journey, aided by meditation perhaps, can offer conditions felt to be far higher. Does he want you to copy him? No. He simply hopes that his story may act as a catalyst or inspiration for the reader to aspire for such growth, and to set out on the journey, on their inner journey too.

My Thoughts:

An intriguing title, Finding What Was Never Lost is the authors journey through his life so far.  From his childhood, through his teens and into the world beyond as an adult.

Martin quite candidly shares experiences, thoughts and also feelings from various points in his life.  He has walked, hitched, flown, sailed and travelled to and through quite a few countries.  He has taken a variety of jobs, some were the transient jobs of harvesters that follow the seasons, crofting with friends or holding a “normal” job to provide money for further travels.  His goal through his journey was to find a spiritual guide or guru, someone who could teach and help him find his own place within himself and the world.

This is quite a different read for me, I do read a few memoirs and tend to like the ones that are about an individual rather than a celebrity.  Martin’s book fits into this style, it is a personal account.  It is recounted in a very calm way, his spiritual nature is something that is felt as I read this book.  If a book could have a quiet and calm voice, then this is one that has that.  It was an interesting read in the respect that it is very different to how I live my life.  In my opinion it is good to take a step in someone else’s shoes for a moment and see how they view the world.

The layout of the book is set in out in very quick chapters, this makes it perfect for dipping in and out of.  There are quite a lot of footnotes, many for things that I feel didn’t need an explanation, and a very handy glossary and index at the back of the book.  I am going to make the presumption that some of Martin’s readers will know English as a second language and this is maybe the reason for the amount of footnotes.

This is a book that would appeal to those who like a more spiritual, self discovery style of memoir.  One mans journey and experience of life told in a calm and quiet way.

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx

#GuestPost : Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird & Richard Newman : @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright @gilbster1000

Veronicas Bird Cover

I am delighted to be sharing a guest post for “Veronica’s Bird”.  Published by Clink Street Publishing and available in paperback and eBook formats.  Available to purchase now at Amazon UK 

When this book was offered to me by Rachel at Authoright I knew immediately that it was one I wanted to read, but also knew that I was already booked up.   There were many questions I would like to pose to the author regarding her time working in a male prison.  So my focus was regarding the changes in prison over the years.  I have a wonderful post that is honest and insightful to share with you.  It has made me more determined than ever to read this book soon.

Guest Post:

Question: How has the prison service changed in the time Veronica was there?

Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman 

It is a commonplace today to criticise the lives of prisoners: ‘too soft’, ‘too cushy’, they say. Choice of menu, carpets in cells, television and radio, ensuite facilities, own door key. What, is going on? So, are these not the good things we all aspired to in a caring society?

Let us make a comparison between a modern prison today with Dartmoor Prison when Veronica entered the Service. Prisoners in those days wore canvas uniforms printed with arrows (even their boots had studs in the shape of an arrow) no television of course, or radio, often deliberately awful food, flogging, no human rights and too far for families to travel and visit, being on the edge of the world, or at least, hidden away in the heavy moor mist. Hard labour was just that: breaking up stone (granite) in a quarry in a chain gang. The men had no rights at all and if a prisoner happened to be mentally ill they were placed under even greater hardship.

No-one, surely wants to see a return to those days, but many of the public still seek an eye for an eye, that the prisoner must feel the lash of the cat ‘o nine -tails albeit if only in a virtual world of his own making. And so, we moved away from chain gangs and, gradually, conditions improved, propped up massively by the European Court of Justice. A balance seemed to have been found. Prison was hard, boring and a huge waste of time – and treasure – but the punishment was fitting the crime in people’s minds. Canvas uniforms with arrows disappeared, there was better food, better on-site hospital care, prison visiting groups could report inconsistencies. We all felt Britain was moving towards being a member of this much espoused, caring society.

Then the pendulum began to swing. Drugs began to rear their ugly head and the snag of importing it into prisons became easier. Now, under organised crime and despite visitors having a rub down and being obliged to open their mouths at the prison gate, the drug flow continues. Drugs can be mixed with children’s paints in a picture brought in ‘for daddy’. It is hidden in kids’ nappies or it can be thrown over prison walls. With thirty-five percent of prisoners already addicted a further two thousand non-drug-takers each year will be addicted before they end their sentence.

And now, with potent drugs such as spice, while we have a prison population living within their ‘rights,’ we are also converting our youth into addicts who will steal and maim in their effort to get their ‘fix’ once they are released. Something is radically wrong here.

Today, staff are better equipped, better trained and unionised. They have to work to strict rules which protect them as well as their charges. They are though, under pressure as budgets are cut, leading to a frightening increase in assaults often triggered by the drug-taking by prisoners who know their rights and use them as a shield. Working in the Prison Service has never been easy but without radical and courageous change, something which successive governments are fain to consider, things will only get worse.

Veronica’s book continues the debate on the vexed subject of how to deal with the varying categories of prisoner. With the death penalty gone and prisoners handed the keys to their cells, we all need to think carefully what is really implied as an eye for an eye.

Veronica’s Bird   –   Copyright © Richard Newman 2018.  Authors Veronica Bird and Richard Newman. Published by Clink Street Publications 23rd January 2017

Veronicas Bird Cover

 

Synopsis:

Veronica’s Bird: Thirty-five years inside as a female prison officer 

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is led with humour and compassion for those inside.

About the Authors:

After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system. A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since

then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.

Monika Cover 2Follow other bloggers as they share their thoughts on Veronica’s Bird.

I will be reading this book in the near future and will then will add my thoughts also.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Better still go and buy a copy of this book xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Molly Fish by Jack McMasters : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 : #BookReview #BlogTour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Molly Fish” by Jack McMasters.  This book is available in paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

 

When retired architect Arthur Howard receives an unexpected invitation from the elegant businesswoman he has just met, her promise of two weeks of incredible sex is enough to persuade him to forget his stale marriage and follow her to India. Leaving thoughts of his younger wife Ester far behind, Rani leads Arthur into paradise; her home lies in a beautiful valley filled with quiet villages, tranquil lakes, tea plantations and crocus fields, a place where his every need is catered for and his attention sought wherever he goes.
But danger lies hidden here. Arthur discovers that Rani and the other villagers he meets in this rural Indian idyl are the ancestors of an ancient civilization, thought to be merely mythical. From his contact with them, he succumbs to a mysterious illness that keeps him bedridden for a long period in a darkened room. Confused and stricken, Arthur’s days and nights are haunted by wild dreams; when he is unable to sleep, he reminisces about early love affairs and fears for his failing relationship with Ester until he is unable to distinguish dreams from reality.

My Thoughts:

Now first off, I am not a big reader of “Romance”, so why on earth would I decide to choose a book that has “A Love Story” as part of its title ? Well it was actually the second paragraph of the synopsis that got me, mythical, ancient civilisation and India part. I am so glad this was included in the synopsis or I, if I am completely honest, would probably have given it a miss.  Yes there is a love aspect in this story, but it was nothing like I expected, it is a love story with a catch.

Arthur is a retired architect who flirts with Rani, a beautiful, successful business woman and gets a result.  He agrees to accompany her to her village, very lucky chap you may think, and initially he seems to have fallen on his feet.  But as you start to get into the story there are little things at the periphery of it that start to niggle, of something that is a little unusual, and I am not going to divulge what those things are.

Jack has built up some beautiful descriptions of the valley, the people and the environment with a twist of mystery, wonder and awe.  As Arthur is taken around the valley, the back story of his and also Rani’s life, as well as the history of their location is given.

So for me, a love story that I liked, well it was more the other aspects that I liked, though the romance side of it was actually okay.  I liked being surprised by this book, an found it to be an addictive page turner that for me would be ideal read for those who like literary fiction, contemporary fiction and romance with an underlying darker element.

About the Author:

After growing up on a farm in northeast Missouri, McMasters joined the United States Air Force after attending the University of Missouri where he was sent to High Wycombe, England. He currently resides in Norfolk with his wife. While researching Molly Fish, McMasters travelled to India where he competed in the Karma Enduro, a 2,000 kilometer trek through the Western Ghats. He has previously published two short story collections, Iron(ing) Man and The Cucumber Murders and been featured by Škoda Magazine and the Eastern Daily Press.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (29 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525691
  • Amazon UK or   Barnes and Noble

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Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

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Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a little share.  Better still, go and buy the book.

#BlogTour : The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard MacDonald : @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 @Authoright #BookReview

Today I am pleased to be sharing my thoughts on the blog tour for “The Prisoner’s Wife” by Gerard MacDonald.  Available in hardback or as an eBook. 

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312591802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312591809
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle: the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on Americas own needs.

My Thoughts:

Shawn Maguire is an ex American spy who has problems with whiskey, women and a whole lot of other things.  As he is unemployed he takes on a job that will call on his previous experience to find a missing man, Darius Osmani.  During this he will meet Danielle, to see what she knows of her husbands disappearance.  The journey will take them to Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan, with a lot of twists and danger.

Now I have to admit that I really struggled to get going with this book.  The information was intense, a mass of names, places, agencies, and back stories.  But I persevered, there was hints of things I liked, conspiracy, underhanded and illegal government agency involvement and with that obvious corruption.  As the story progressed  I found I was becoming quite addicted with it, the pace quickened, or maybe it was reading that quickened as my understanding improved, and with this the story began to unfold. When I had finished I had thoughts of an almost Jack Reacher style character with strains of John Le Carre, and it makes an interesting mix.

There are many characters with Shawn being the main protagonist, who initially I wasn’t that taken with, but did have a change of heart by the time I got to the end of the book.  They do become recognisable the more you read.  Back stories are discussed as the current story unfolds, it does add another angle and gives some good depth to the main characters.

This is a book I think that readers that like political thriller, action, government conspiracy and manipulation would enjoy.

About the Author:

Author Gerard Macdonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books.   Author Website

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a share.  Better still, go and buy the book.

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : The Learn by @TonyHalker : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 : #BookReview #BlogTour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “The Learn” by Tony Halker.  This book is available in paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis: 

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.


A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging.
Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.


At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by.
A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

My thoughts:

Set in North Wales during the Celtic Bronze Age we are introduced to Owayne, son of a beach scavenger.  We follow him as he follows his destined path to become a Druid.  This is a period in history where things are in a state of change, all knowledge, law and stories are done via word of mouth.  The appearance of a wooden wheel causes tensions, should wood be manipulated into a shape, would it go against the rules and laws that exist to protect nature and the environment?  These are things that Owayne will have to try to learn, the balance of the old with the emergence of the new.

This is a slow burner of a book, but it is wonderful.  The pacing is perfect for this story, the setting, the era, the lifestyle.  It does however speed up a little towards the end.  What it lacks in pace it  more than makes up for in its wonderful descriptive passages, I have seen mention on a review from another person, that it had an “almost peotic feel”, and I have to say I am in complete agreeance with that thought. The scenery, festivals, clothing, food, rituals and social aspects have all been detailed well and build a good image.  It was an image of hardship, bleakness and little comforts, but at the same time a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere, this is where for me the author shines with his descriptive details.  I do not know much about the history of this time, but I  feel that this book has a good amount of research to it from the descriptions given, nothing felt out-of-place for me.

This book is an interesting blend of ancient history, folklore, legend, myth and fiction as we follow a young man on his way to learning about nature, the environment, traditions as well as his responsibilities.

A book I would recommend for readers of historical fiction.  A good all round read, with some memorable characters, well written, with elements of nature and folklore.

About the Author:

THHeadsent1

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a

geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

 

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TonyHalker

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (29 Sept. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911110578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911110576
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK
  • Purchase from – Foyles

Check out the other brilliant books, dates, bloggers for

Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

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Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give a little share.  Better still go and buy the book.