Your mind just can’t believe it

WAKE-UP CALL

The Wake-Up Series

by

Amy Avanzino

A disturbing but also fun book which really tells life as it is as a mother of under 5s.
Yes, your house will smell of poop as the nappy bucket needs to be emptied or the kids have accidents, and yes, they will follow you everywhere even into the loo and yes, little boys will try and pee into the bowl whilst you are still using it.
A story that is clearly drawn from real life experiences whether of the author herself, or her friends and family with small children.
But what must it be like to experience that chaos and smells all at once without it gradually creeping up on you? That slim, svelte, toned body you worked so hard for before you had kids, is no longer there – overnight, literally, it appears to have vanished when amnesia kicks in and the years of child birth and early rearing are lost to you. You are now the mother who turns up for the school run in PJs before her shower.

When Sunday mornings are no longer for lie-ins and reading the paper over coffee, leisurely then making your way to brunch with friends. Now mornings tend to arrive at the crack of dawn – 9.15am with our grand-kids is when the small voice says in our ears ‘Read me a story, Nana’.

So a thoroughly enjoyable light story but a fourth child? I know the author has 4 but I bring you the warning of my GP when I was expecting my 2nd – she had 3 boys and wanted a girl – so she got twin boys!

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Innocence or Guilt: You choose

My Sister’s Grave

And

Her Final Breath

Bks 1 and 2

By

Robert Dugoni

A NetGalley Review

Is she being stalked by the killer? Or just a common or garden nutter?

Just what is this about knots? Not the Japanese type of fetish knots but hangman’s nooses and knots.

Ah, a female cop with intelligence and attitude – not so sure I like her ability with guns though – she even likes to shoot and misses it when she can’t get to the range. However, I can blame her parents for their upbringing of her and her sister, as it was a father’s hobby passed onto the kids as he took them with him whenever he went to competitions. And encouraged them. And even got them to dress up as gun-slingers of the Wild West. And her shooting name was a pun on her actual surname – ‘Crossdraw’.

I did check out Washington State, where Tracy grew up, to see what the NRA was doing, and found to my personal disgust, that Washington State University had teamed up with the 4H organisation to bring a gun club to young people. Not really the behaviour, to me, of an ethical university.

It was interesting to find out from the novels that Levi Strauss supported the anti-gun lobbyist but not Wranglers or Lee.

I explored no further.

This review is going to talk about both novels as they lead one into the other. Book one starts the story line of the sister Sarah, and book 2 completes it, with an unexpected twist at the end. Which made a really good ending and one I had not expected.

Starting with book 1 I would like to make some comments about the Innocence Project.

It has always seemed to me that the Innocence Project is direly needed in the US for 2 reasons: 1. The Death Penalty; and 2. The inability of some police officers to look past the colour of a person’s skin to determine innocence or guilt.

So in book 1 we find that someone is ‘fitted up’. Is this surprising in ‘Backwoods’ USA? They needed a ‘solve’ for the community to put the incident to rest. So am I surprised? No.

I checked into the Innocence Project and here are some statistics:

As of 2014/5:

  • 333 post-conviction DNA exonerations
  • Majority of exonerations are people from low socio-economic status
  • 14 years was the average length of incarceration before exoneration;
  • 140 real offenders were found as a result of investigations (40% of cases);
  • 18 people were on death row;
  • 99% were males;
  • 70% were of ethnic minority groups;
  • 22% of cases were closed because the evidence was missing;
  • 1989-2004 overall 1579 people exonerated;
  • 1973-2004 4% of those executed were probably innocent;
  • 75% of wrongful convictions were through eye witness accounts;
  • 50% included unreliable/improper forensics or forensic testimony;
  • 25% of those innocent were coerced or threatened into giving false statements;
  • 28% pled guilty to additional/or other crimes they did not commit to avoid a long sentence;

Other reasons for exoneration include:

  • Government misconduct;
  • Inadequate legal counsel;
  • Improper use of informants.

There is still a death penalty in 31 states and in 2014 there were 35 executions with 3002 on death row.

The states which execute most people are: Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and Arizona, with Texas holding the current record.

So all of the above is the background to the story played in book 1. And a  very strong story-line it is considering that here we are talking about a sister trying to exonerate her own sister’s presumed killer.

Book 2 takes this is as its starting point and the case that Tracy abandoned to go home to deal with the above. It proves to be a vital element in bringing to justice a serial killer but it has already been closed with a presumed killer incarcerated. Again we see Tracy considering exonerating a killer as she ties together the current spate of killings with this closed case.

Tracy Crosswhite is the type of cop I like. She is determined, intelligent and no nonsense.

Robert Dugoni portrays her well and the stories are full of detail and well paced with nice twists and turns to keep you interested.

I look forward to this series being continued.

4 stars for both books.

 

 

 

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Flame and Fire and Winter Days

We are now into Autumn and our Liquidambar is aflame.  The acers are colouring up and in the street the great London Planes are dropping their leaves. So full is their leaf cover that they come every week to sweep up the fallen leaves that carpet the pavement.

We stash the aloes and cacti and agave  in the garage to over-winter them dry but light and frost proofed and put our less hardy plants under cover of netting or hessian to protect them as according to Lord Byron the English winter has already commenced – he claimed it started in August and it is already November!

Our garden has many grasses and other plants which we leave standing with their (dead) blossoms and frothy heads all winter for:grasses 30 oct 11

An important part in the winter landscape is played by the dead grasses and other herbaceous plants… Wreathed in snow or encased in ice they present a singularly graceful and fantastic appearance [Mrs William Starr Dana]

P1010095 P1010082 P1010094

Beverley Nichols wrote: Most people, early in November, take last looks at their gardens and then are prepared to ignore them until the spring. I am quite sure that a garden doesn’t like to be ignored like this… Especially since a garden knows how gay and delightful it can be, even in the very frozen heart of the winter, if you only give it a chance.

Our garden has much to offer in the winter. The clematis flower bravely against the cold and the early bulbs poke their heads up in January. P1000739 P1000705 P1000706 P1000709The frost and the snow offer wonderful vistas for photography as my husband’s photos regularly show. The crisp outlines of branches and grass heads against the grey skies or very blue/white skies of frosty days are stunning in their architectural forms.

So don’t forget your garden in the winter. Don’t cover it with dustsheets and wait for the spring in front of the cosy fire, in your favourite armchair, with the seed catalogues. Go out there and enjoy the different atmosphere – with gloves, boots, and scarf and hat it’s true but still with eyes that see the wonder.

 

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Blood Mastery and G.O.D.s

Blood Master (Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series)

By Kirsten Campbell

Genre: Urban Paranormal FantasyBlood Master Adult Book Cover

Blood Master Link on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nzFYet

 

2052: Two-thirds of the human population have been killed by the Great War, the Clover Virus and the Death Plague. Only one man survived the Death Plague, an albino man named Griffin Storm. He’s the only albino in existence. No one knows what happened to the other albinos, but most believe the rumors that they were eliminated by the Guild Faction’s deadly experiments.

Griffin is hiding out in Underground Atlanta. He has special abilities. He can manipulate crystal and glass. He uses these abilities for good, raiding warehouses and old buildings for food and medical supplies to give to the abandoned children that live in the Underground. While on a raid he meets Tassta Vinetti. She’s a resident of the legendary Brotherhood Fortress. Griffin is taken to the Brotherhood and chaos ensues as Tassta, her twin brother Penn and her Uncle Lerin Sanctobous keep their new visitor and his untold powers secret. They can not disclose that the only albino in existence is now at their fortress or they could all be in great danger.

Fact is the Guild is hunting Griffin. He is the only survivor of their deadly experiments and his survival will have dynamic consequences. The Guild believes Griffin will transform into a G.O.D., a Genetically-enhanced Omni Dimensional being. If he transforms, he will have inter-dimensional doors within his body, doors that lead to heaven and hell. Griffin will become a Blood Master and he’ll be able to control the demons from the Dimension of Blood.

Will Griffin save the children of the Underground from their tragic life? Will he transform into a G.O.D. and become the Blood Master? Only time will tell…

 

 

 

 

 

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Kirsten Campbell speaks: Blood Mastery tells

BLOOD MASTER BANNER

Kirsten Campbell speaks:Author Kirsten Campbell 2015 pic

Questions for Kirsten Campbell/ Author of Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

I write Urban Paranormal because I love the genre. Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series is the first book in a series of four. I love the fantastic element of Urban Paranormal fiction and the fact that to me, its reality based. There has to be some type of fact in fiction or it just doesn’t hold up well and the story can seem fake deeming things within the story realm false. My approach to the subject is unique because I look at our modern technology and I try to go a step forward into a dystopian future with hopes that things fare positively for my characters.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

Yes, actually I do think long and hard about a topic before I decide to write. It can be days or even weeks before I actually put things on paper. I have several notebooks and I even type out scenarios with hope that I can flesh out scenes for a book before the actual writing of the book.

How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I write my book and then I research, and then fix whatever needs to be fixed. I write chapters as scenes and then I go in and research later. There are four books in the G.O.D.s Series. Each book is different. I had to research all types of things for Blood Master. I researched all types of theories about telepathy, empathy, gods, vampires, meditation, teleportation, inter-dimensional doors, quarks, string theory, and even researched how the body reactions to pain and to being burned, glass blowing, and the creation of diamonds. I even researched earthquakes, tremors and studied building plans for different buildings to figure out how I wanted the fortress and the Guild Faction Main Office to look and figure out the different type of furniture and walls and interiors. There was so much research for the first book but it carries over into the second, third and fourth, so there is no way to be sure how much research I did.

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I used the internet, an line encyclopaedia, the library and my phone, for Blood Master.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

Not applicable

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I self-published Blood Master, but it’s based on a short story that was published in Bewildering Stories in 2010. The story was called Dark Matters and it was about an alien, Dinn Russ Jarrin, (a G.O.D., a Genetically-enhanced Omni Dimensional being, my protagonist, Griffin Storm of Blood Master is a G.O.D.) Dinn Russ Jarrin goes up against a six-year-old little boy. It’s a battle of wits and there is a surprise ending.

  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

No. I have had pieces published and I was a co-author of an anthology that went to International best seller this September. (Chocolate & Diamonds for the Woman’s Soul).

 Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

If that’s the route you want to take. I believe everyone has a journey and it’s up to the individual to choose what’s best for them. 

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I haven’t had anything funny happen yet, but when I do I will surely let you know!

Thanks Kirsten, we look forward to hearing about it! and tomorrow I shall post more about the book.. so keep reading!

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