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review 2019-01-23 19:50
Lion / Saroo Brierley
Lion (Movie Tie-In) - Saroo Brierley

At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.
Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

 

The first book of 2019 with my real-life book club. I missed the meeting during which it was discussed, but I see at least two of my book club ladies have rated it on either side of my own rating. It wasn’t a bad story, but it certainly wasn’t the most riveting memoir that I’ve ever read either.

First off, the story is an amazing one. A four to five year old Indian child, separated from his family, too young to know his own surname or the proper name of his town. Eventually, we even learn that he mispronounced his given name! Judging from this account, it sounds like he didn’t have much vocabulary and he may have had speech difficulties, as he couldn’t seem to make himself understood to the adults in the new world he found himself in. He did come from a very impoverished family, so schooling was unavailable to him, but he was young for school attendance anyway. His family members were so occupied with survival that there was no time to spend educating the younger children.

I’m pretty sure that, at the same age, I wouldn’t have been able to identify the landmarks around my home with the degree of certainty and accuracy that Mr. Brierley did. That’s what makes the story so interesting, is his ability to recognize his home town from Google Earth.

I can see where the movie version of this tale would probably be superior to the book. The author is obviously not a practiced writer, so the writing is very average. There is a great deal of unnecessary detail and quite a bit of repetition.

People who are adoptees would probably have greater interest in this story than I did. I personally would recommend trying the movie before picking up the book.

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review 2019-01-23 18:22
One Sentence Review – Wings of Mayhem by Sue Coletta @SueColetta1
Wings of Mayhem (The Mayhem Series Book 1) - Sue Coletta

I have read several books by Sue Coletta and she gave me Wings of Mayhem just because. I love serial killers…well, books about serial killers….and Sue kept me enthralled in the first book of The Mayhem Series.

 

Let’s take a look, shall we?

 

Starting out with a fabulous cover by Elle Rossi of EJD Designs, is always a good sign.

 

Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

 

Wings of Mayhem (The Mayhem Series Book 1)

Amazon / Goodreads

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

A cat burglar, a cop, and a serial killer meet up in this brutal tale of love, loss and revenge that held me spellbound until the end.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars
 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

Shawnee Daniels — cybercrimes specialist by day, cat burglar by night — ignites the hellfire fury of a serial killer when she unknowingly steals his trophy box.

A SERIAL KILLER STALKS THE STREETS…

Cat burglar Shawnee Daniels always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When she hacks a confiscated hard drive at the Revere P.D., she focuses on a white-collar criminal accused of embezzlement. To teach him a lesson and recoup the funds she breaks into his massive contemporary in Bear Clave Estates. Jack has even more secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.

A CAT BURGLAR PICKS THE WRONG HOUSE TO ROB…

Shawnee thinks she made it out clean until a deadly package arrives at her door soon after. He’s found her. As a glowing eagle taunts her Skype screen, Jack tells her she stole his precious trophy box — and he wants it back!

THEIR LIVES COLLIDE…

When her “helpful” best friend convinces her to date charismatic Detective Levaughn Samuels, her two worlds threaten to implode. Ordinarily Shawnee keeps a firm line between her professions, but dating Levaughn might help her get this psycho off her tail.

AND NOW, NO ONE IS SAFE…

In this lightning-fast-paced psychological thriller of secrets and lies, Shawnee juggles being stalked by a serial killer, dating the lead detective on the case, and tap dancing around her librarian best friend.

If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t expose her secrets and lies, more will die. And if she does, she could lose her freedom and everyone she holds dear.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Jackson, Rachel Abbott, Karin Slaughter thrillers, crime fiction with an edge, or psychological thrillers, mystery, and suspense, then Wings of Mayhem is for you.

Praise for Sue Coletta’s novels…

“The heart-stopping descriptions are so jarringly real that there are several scenes I will never forget.” ~ Eliza Cross, Award Winning Author

“Sue Coletta isn’t going to spare you the gory details or an honest look behind the crime scene tape. She’s a well versed author in all things crime who indelicately dumps you into the middle of a life which has been disrupted, disturbed, and marred by the evil acts of a solitary man.” ~ Beaux Cooper, Author and Amazon Reviewer

“Sue Coletta’s writing style is bold. It’s riveting.”

 

MY REVIEWS FOR SUE COLETTA

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • Leave your link in the comments and I will drop by to see what’s shakin’.
  • Thanks for visiting!
Source: www.fundinmental.com/one-sentence-review-wings-of-mayhem-by-sue-coletta-suecoletta1
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text 2019-01-23 17:25
Reading Update: 30%
Into The Hall Of Vice (Bastards of London, Book 2) - Anabelle Bryant

She went up on her tiptoe to peer over his shoulder, though any goal of accomplishing the height was futile. With the motion, her bosom brushed against his forearms, which were folded over his chest in an effort to keep his heart locked in place. There was no hope in accomplishing the feat now. Epic failure, in that.

‘Oh.’She staggered back as if she’d been burned. Perhaps she had. His blood ran hotter than Hades. ‘Excuse me.’

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review 2019-01-23 13:07
Be prepared for flights of fancy, magical experiences and wonderful locations.
Secret Sky (The Gift Legacy Book 1) - Stuart McLean

I was sent an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

I had been aware of The Gift Legacy series and its author for a while, and felt curious about it, but as happens sometimes when I discover a series with several books published already, I never seemed to find the time to catch up on it, and the collection kept growing. When I heard that the series was being relaunched with new covers and titles, I grabbed the opportunity to finally start reading it. And I’m pleased I did.

It is a bit difficult to talk about this novel without revealing too much of what happens, but from the description, you can probably guess some important aspects of it. Emelynn, or Em, as she is known, is the protagonist and first-person narrator of the book. We meet her at an inflection point in her life. She’s finished her studies and has decided that it is time to tackle her “gift”. Her dreams and memories give us a good understanding of the background to her situation and how she came to be in possession of her gift, at least to the extent she understands it. After all, she was a young girl and she was never given much information about what had happened to her. We also learn about her personal life, the death of her father, the move to Toronto, her mother’s taking refuge in her work, and Em’s difficulties fitting in, partly (mostly) caused by her gift. Although she found ways to deal with the disruption to her life caused by the gift, from a practical perspective, she had never been able to have a “normal” life, and that had made her decide to go back to the cottage where her family lived when she was a child, as it was more remote, it had always felt like a refuge and a safe-place to her, and it would give her the breathing space to experiment.

Her plan works although not in the way she intended, and she gets into contact with people who can guide her and teach her to tame her gift, although this is not at first evident to her. Having grown up hiding things and never trusting anyone, she finds it difficult to trust these strangers whose agendas she does not fully understand, and who seem to keep some things under wraps. Despite her initial reluctance, Em discovers a new world, a new group of people she finally belongs to, and a level of skill and power she had never suspected. But things don’t run smoothly: there are threats, mysterious forces at work, and missions that have to be accomplished. And of course, romance and love don’t always mix well with such complications.

I know first-person-narrations are a bit like marmite for readers: some love them and others don’t. In this particular case, Em’s narration is perfect for the story. Although she has a gift (or power, although at times it feel like a curse to her), she does not understand it, and readers have the privilege of experiencing with her the thrill of discovery, the fear of the unknown, her suspicions of the motives of the new people that come into her life, and we also learn about her and what makes her tick. In contrast to many books with a paranormal aspect where characters discover a power or an ability they knew nothing about, Em doesn’t just wake up one day and is somebody completely different, proficient at her ability, and a total kick-ass hero. She has doubts, she hesitates, she does not always want to push the boundaries, she gets tired and sleeps in, she feels pain, she gets hungry, she lacks in self-confidence and doubts herself, she makes mistakes and misjudges people, she feels bad for not phoning her mother… In sum, she is a pretty normal human being, sometimes low and sometimes happy, with a good sense of humour and of observation, and it is easy to empathise with her, even if we might not have much in common with her.

She is also a young woman with zero love experience, and she seems to fall in love easily, perhaps because she had been trying so hard and for so long to block those kinds of feelings. There are sex scenes in the book, and although they are not the most explicit I’ve ever read, they are explicit and this is not a sweet and clean romance. I am not fond of sex scenes, although at least her first time is not totally unrealistic, as it often happens in romances, but yes, I won’t talk too much about that.

The book also has elements of mystery and thriller, and they are worked well into the story. We have several intriguing events going on at the same time: first, there is the attempt at trying to find information about the person who passed the gift to Em (this is far from resolved is this book, but we learn some things); there is the search for a woman who has gone missing that takes up centre stage, especially towards the end of the book, and brings in action scenes and an interesting twist (that I had suspected all along, but it’s a twist nonetheless); and there is also a mystery involving Em and her house, which is seemingly resolved in the novel but has left me wondering. As pertains to this genre of books, there are red herrings, plenty of clues thrown in, information and misinformation, although the book has so many other things going on that I am not sure it will work for people who are looking for a straightforward mystery or thriller. The pace of the book ebbs and flows, with some pretty contemplative moments and some pretty fast ones (when the action kicks in), and there are lengthy and beautiful descriptions of locations, and especially of experiences, that I particularly enjoyed, turning this book into something more than a page-turning by-the-numbers thriller.

There is a paranormal element in the book, but this is not high-fantasy where you need to read pages and pages to gain an understanding of a new world order. This is the world we all know (especially Canadians), and although the lyrical way in which some of the descriptions are written and some of the remote locations give it a timeless quality, the story takes place in contemporary times. We are familiar with the world and the social order portrayed in the book, and we get to know about groups of individuals who are seemingly “normal” but share something “extra”, the “gift” of the title, and it seems this legacy can have as many variants as individuals possess it. Although there are fantasy and paranormal aspects to the novel, I felt they were particularly well integrated into the plot and did not require an extreme grade of suspension of disbelief, and I don’t think you need to be an enthusiast of fantasy or paranormal books to enjoy this series.

This is a book I’d recommend to people who enjoy credible characters, a touch of the paranormal, mysteries that go beyond who-done-it, and who don’t mind a story that builds up slowly and takes readers on flights of fancy through magical experiences and wonderful locations. Oh, and who don’t mind a touch of sex. I’ve become very fond of Em and many of the other characters in the book (Avery is a favourite as well), and I hope to learn how her gift develops further in the future.

 

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text 2019-01-23 11:00
Facts About Me: 2019 Goals

I've said it for the last 2 years, but in 2019 I WILL do it! I'm determined to make sure it happens. I WILL get caught up on my Netgalley list, reading *at least* 150 books. I mean it, this time.

I also plan to publish less in 2019, only because it's necessary. I'll be releasing The Bright Side Brigade, A Royal Legacy: Part 1, and A Touch of Danger, for sure. Those books have already been accepted by publishers, and have set dates. I'm hoping to *possibly* slip in A Royal Legacy: Part 2, as well, before the end of 2019, but that will be up to whether I can get it finished in time, or not. If not, I'm hoping to at least finish my rewrites of Faithfully, a story I've been promising to update and publish for 2 years now, since it won a Watty award. I'd love to have that published in 2019, even if it means leaving A Royal Legacy: Part 2 for 2020.

 

~

 

Life Goals

 

I didn't include these, last year, only because I don't share much of my personal life. It's a bad habit I have that, as a writer, keeps me a little bit separate. But, this year, I want to make a few changes, starting with:

 

* Be kinder to myself - by this, I mean that I need to stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself, and stop fretting about the little things that I have no control over. I'm starting this before 2019, by choosing to cut back on how many books I'm publishing. Though I want to put more focus and effort into promoting them, that can be done easily throughout the course of a week/month. It's actually filling my schedule that is the problem. I can't say no to people, and I need to start doing that, by putting myself first.

 

* Give myself a break. This is something I'm not great at doing, but I've been forced into it a few times in 2018, and it did me a world of good. Though I was forced to take time off a lot, sometimes up to a month, due to bad health, I really think I can do better in 2019. Maybe if I took more time off by choice, I wouldn't be ill so often. So, my goal is to reward myself with 1 week off a month. Whether I binge read books that are *not* for review, binge watch the TV, or just spend time with the family for that week, as long as I'm not actually working, I'm sure I'll benefit from it.

 

* Reward myself. Every time I finish a story, I want to give myself the *reward* of some time off. This is a sort of sub-goal to the one above. Only, this time it will be a bit more equal to how much time I *need* to take off. So, if I spend a week or a month writing non-stop, then I'll give myself a week off from all work. If I've been writing for a few days, or I finish a short story, I'll give myself a whole day off to watch a movie or binge watch a TV show. I need to find more balance, if I'm going to stick to the long term goal.

 

* Try something new. Whether it's a new book genre, a new TV show, or a new hobby, I need to try to do more outside of my work. I literally write books for a living, and read books to review. I've left myself little time to do anything else, with my crazy schedule.

 

* Lose weight. This is something I've been trying to do for YEARS. It's not easy, considering that I'm classed as physically disabled, I have a medications that can make me put on weight, health conditions that can make me put on weight, and I'm disabled enough that I can't make my own meals. That makes it very hard to have a health lifestyle, but I try. This year, I want to break the brutal cycle of getting so sick that I lose weight, only to add on more once I'm better. In 2019, I promise to weight myself no more or less than once a month, to monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary. I'd like to lose a total of 10kg in the entire year of 2019, if possible.

 

~

 

Writing Goals

 

* I want to finish 5 books from my WIP list, whether that's stories that have been started or that haven't, it doesn't matter. I just want to have 5 books completed by the end of the year.

 

* I also want to get about 10 books edited for publication. Mostly, this will be the Surviving Vihaan series, as book 1 has been accepted by NineStar Press, and will be released in Summer 2019. I want to make sure the others are up to scratch before I submit them, later.

 

* It sounds a bit silly to say it, but - I want to finish the Surviving Vihaan series. Yes, Book 1 has been accepted by NSP, but I only have the final book in the series to write and I want it finished before book 1 is even released, if possible.

 

* If I can finish Book 6 of Surviving Vihaan: Through His Veins, then I'd love to get a head-start on the follow-up series, Rediscovering Vihaan. This series will take my previously published series; The Belesone Pack, and The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles; and reimagine them as part of the Surviving Vihaan world. This will take major rewrites and may end up resulting in entirely new novels. I may even scrap the old novels, who knows?

* I'd like to re-write at least 1 book from my "re-write" list. There are less than 10 on the list, but I want to have at least one completed by the end of 2019. For this, I'm not counting Faithfully, as I started rewriting that in 2018. This means it will either be: Surrender, Evanders Trilogy, Courage in the Kiss, or the Holiday Collection.

 

~

 

Reading Goals

 

* I want to read at least 10 Agatha Christie paperbacks. I have them all, so it's about time I actually sat down and read them in order. I'm thinking that I'll read 5 Miss Marple and 5 Hercule Poirot, to keep it even.

 

* I also want to read at least 150 Netgalley books, though I'd love to double that number. I have so many books approved on there, some of which I wasn't aware were series books, that I plan to read the entire series in order, even if I was only approved for book 3 or 9. I'm a series reader and I can't abide reading them out of order, even if it does mean doubling my TBR list.

* I plan to cut back on my Divine review list, only so that I can get more Netgalley books off my list. I'm getting better at saving my money for books I really want to read, so the ones that I don't have time to read (if it's going to compromise my "time off" goals) will be added to a buy list, instead. Because of that, I'll keep this list to 50.

 

* I'm never really bothered about how many books I get off my TBR list - despite how large it is - because I need to focus on my review/Netgalley books. However, inevitably, some of the series I'll be reading/reviewing will have books I don't *need* to review, so they'll be placed on my TBR list. Plus, it would be awesome to get some of my Kobo/Amazon purchases finally read. So, I'll keep this number to 50, though I smashed through that number last year.

 

~

 

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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