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Guest Stephen Lomer muses about his fave books @stephenlomer #KindleUnlimited

This guest post is by Stephen Lomer, author of Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All.

My favorite book. How does a person even decide that? It’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most.

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like that. But it’s tough. It is one tough call.

My knee-jerk reaction is to answer with Stephen King’s The Stand, which held the number-one spot in my heart for a very, very long time.

In addition to it being a really well-written, well thought-out novel, I was always amazed by the sheer length of the thing. The complete and uncut edition is 1,200 freaking pages. Writing a book that long is daunting enough, but to keep it fresh and compelling and interesting from cover to cover is a truly Herculean feat.

So yes, The Stand was my favorite book for a good long while. But then I discovered JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.


And everything changed.

Now, Harry Potter fans will no doubt ask why not The Goblet of Fire or The Deathly Hallows. Those are both excellent books, but here’s why I chose Sorcerer’s Stone.

First, it’s how I discovered it. By the time I got around to reading it, I believe Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was already on the shelves. Pottermania was already in full swing, but I had no interest. Zero. None. I thought it was nothing more than a very popular children’s book.

Then one day I was in Boston at the Prudential Center, intending to meet an old friend for lunch. She was delayed, so I wandered into Barnes & Noble and saw Sorcerer’s Stone sitting on the shelf. There was nothing else that really interested me, and it was cheap, so I thought: What the hell. I’ll buy it.

As I waited for my delayed friend, I started reading it, and immediately fell in love with the simple, straightforward prose. I had never been drawn into a story so quickly, so easily, so deeply before. I understood in a flash why this book was so popular. As it turned out, my friend was delayed indefinitely and couldn’t make lunch, but I couldn’t have been happier. I had much better things to do.

So yes, I have a very fond memory of the discovery process. But that doesn’t explain why Sorcerer’s Stone was never supplanted by other Potter books, which are arguably better written. It’s because Sorcerer’s Stone was the beginning of the journey. It was the very first peek into that glorious wizarding world, and like your first kiss or your first love, nothing will ever be quite that level of sweet.

I hope that someday I find another book that makes me feel the same way I did when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But if that never happens, I can always crouch down into that cupboard under the stairs at Number 4, Privet Drive and relive it all over again.

About Stephen Lomer Stephen Lomer

Stephen Lomer has been writing books, novellas, short stories, and scripts for nearly a decade, and one or two of them are actually pretty good. A grammar nerd, Star Trek fan, and other things that chicks dig, Stephen is the creator, owner, and a regular contributor to the website Television Woodshed. He’s a hardcore fan of the Houston Texans, despite living in the Hub of the Universe his whole life, and believes Mark Twain was correct about pretty much everything.

Stephen lives on Boston’s North Shore with his wife, Teresa. Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is his first published work.

Stargazer Lilies or Nothing at All is a collection of short stories that has a little something for everyone. See what life is like for the poor mother of an insufferable perfectionist in the title story. Find out what’s to be done to save the hipsters in “So Ten Minutes Ago.” Enjoy an updated take on the Goldilocks story in “Trouble Bruin.” Ponder how our choices define our lives in “The Haunting of Flattop Harris.” Stand in the shoes of a young nurse trying to save the tiniest of lives from a city’s destruction in “Wallflower and Casanova.” PLUS! “Royally Screwed,” the story that serves as a prequel to the upcoming novel Typo Squad. >>AVAILABLE through KINDLE UNLIMITED<<<

Website:               http://www.stephenlomer.com
Facebook:              http://www.facebook.com/AuthorStephenLomer
Twitter:                 http://www.twitter.com/stephenlomer

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Book Review: The lie by CL Taylor #guestpost #amreading #thriller

Today I have a guest post by Sophia Rose.

sophiarose

The Lie by CL Taylor

Rating: 4 

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30170265-the-lie

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Haunting and compelling, this psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, and Daughter.

Jane Hughes has a great boyfriend, a job in an animal shelter, and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been…but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier, Jane and her best friends set off on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but it rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of her friends. Ever since, Jane has tried to put the past behind her and lead a normal life. But someone out there knows the truth about what happened-and they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.

Review:

I’ve been in the mood for spine-tingling chills and a complex twisty plot.  The blurb captured my attention and into it I dove hoping to be thrilled by a satisfying and intense mystery.  Eventually, the book gave me that, but it started out slow before it really got rolling.  What I think helped me connect with this book was when I realized it was actually not just a thriller, but an interesting blend of women’s fiction and thriller.

As I said, it started off slow.  There was twice the intro and set up because of the way the plot was structured which explains the pace.  This is one that flips back and forth between a past and present story line, but with the same character perspective narrating both.  The present is with Jane Hughes the quiet, put together woman with a nice cottage, lovely boyfriend, and satisfying job at the animal shelter who is now receiving messages from someone she thought was dead.  The past is with Emma (she changed her name to Jane to start over) and her three friends who go on the adventure holiday of a lifetime that turns into a nightmare.

Once in a while, I come across a book that blends some elements that make for an interesting read and take some getting used to.  In this one, the author melds women’s fiction into a thriller story.  There is definitely a suspenseful and even atmospheric thriller layer to the plot.  Danger is very present and people are terrified for their lives.  I guessed after the person and motive behind it all, but the truth was only obvious near the end when the layers were peeled back bit by bit.

Planted in the center of all this is a story of four women who claim a friendship.  They are drawn as regular people with regular people foibles.  I didn’t care for any of them when the book started and I only started warming up to some of the characters much later.

As four college friends set out on their holiday, there are certain dynamics in place.  Not ideal all around, but a decent group.  As their situation becomes drastic and beyond their previous experience, it all shifts.  Under the pressure they experience, they are all tested and it was interesting to see how it all turned out.  It reminded me of real life friendships that may or may not last.

In summary, this story took me places that I just never imagined when I picked it up and I would definitely give this author’s books another go.  I would recommend this for those who don’t mind the blending of thriller with women’s fiction.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Details
Genre: Thriller
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Published:  6.7.16
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Sellers:  Amazon

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Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

Guest @hopeclark reviews her fave #restaurant in @edisto_beach @McConkeysJS #foodiefriday

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

hope clarkMcConkey’s Jungle Shack

~~Every Visit to Edisto~~

My current mystery series takes place on Edisto Beach, South Carolina, a secluded, noncommercial piece of sand that reduces down to around 600 people off season, exploding to several thousand when weather turns warm. Having just released the series’ third book, Echoes of Edisto, I currently work on book four, which means yet another trip to the beach. Research, you know.

And a girl has to eat after sweating over all those words. At the beach, that means a dose of seafood here and there. The residents refuse to allow franchises, so that means each eating venue reigns unique. My restaurant preference depends on what I want to eat that day, but when I’m not sure, my go-to place is McConkey’s Jungle Shack on Jungle Road.

McConkeyLogo

Trust me, the term shack is not used loosely. The handful of tables are set on a porch, cooled with fans and an over-worked air-conditioner in the summer (sorry, humidity stays), and warmed with porch heaters inside rolled down plastic sides in the winter. The months in between just means you eat outside under a roof. The kitchen is bigger than the dining area.

The wait staff all wear colorful t-shirts, often tie-dyed, with the Tarzan-looking character on a vine. I own six of those shirts, by the way, for the times I miss Edisto. The staff has worked there for ages, and the service has never failed me, usually with the food arriving way quicker than expected. The place may be small, but they can work a crowd like nobody’s business.

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The menu has its regular favorites like fish tacos, fish and chips, shrimp, and hand-formed burgers (I prefer pimento cheese and jalapenos on mine, as does Callie Morgan in my books), and if you eat there, you’ll see them all come out of the kitchen, usually by your table on their way to another. The place isn’t big as a minute. A huge selection of beers and ale, and yes, wine.

Burger

But the main draw, in my opinion, is the homemade touch. All the desserts are from scratch, from bread pudding (yum) to peanut butter pie. And some days you see something entirely new on the dry erase board beside the kitchen entrance, simply because the cook had a different sweet tooth. In the winter I experienced the best black-bean soup I’ve ever tasted, again not on the regular menu. In the summer maybe a different sort of wrap. You never know until you show up what the specials might be.

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I guess I deem McConkey’s symbolic of Edisto Beach, touting a name that has represented the area for almost 140 years. While the family’s history is quite colorful, and uniquely tragic, the restaurant is successful and sound, a beacon to all who arrive from the mainland. Take a seat at one of the hand painted, beach scene tables, enjoy the local paraphernalia hanging around the place, and don’t look for a dress code. Wear whatever you happen to have on because it’s more about relaxing and having a good meal. After all, you’re at the beach.

Oh, and by the way . . . the best sweet tea on the island.

BIO: Hope Clark’s newest mystery, Echoes of Edisto, is available August 5 wherever books are sold. Echoes is book three in this highly popular Edisto Island Mystery Series, and if you head south to the coast, chances are you’ll find a copy in most rentals on Edisto Beach, South Carolina as well as on the shelves of the Edisto Bookstore with all the other Hope Clark books. www.chopeclark.com

BLURB from Echos of Edisto:

Edisto Island is a paradise where people escape from the mainstream world. Yet for newly sworn-in Edisto Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan, the trouble has just begun . . .
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Guest Post by Author Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks #exilon5series #dystopian @k8tilton

Welcome author Eliza Green for being my guest today. Eliza is author of  Becoming Human: A Dystopian Post Apocalyptic Novel

ElizaGreenprofile

Movie review – Brooklyn

I went to see Brooklyn several weeks ago, before it was tipped for an Oscar. Yes, I was probably one of the few who didn’t go to see a movie based on upcoming awards shows! The story begins in dear old Ireland in a town called Enniscorthy. Our protagonist, Eilis, (pronounced Eye- Leesh) played by Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Surr-Shah) is doing what most girls in Ireland did in the fifties: work in a dead end job in the local shop until they get married and repopulate the earth with dozens of children because Ireland, unofficially ruled by the Catholic Church back then, didn’t believe in contraception until women rebelled in the 80’s/early 90’s and the government were forced to bring it in.

So poor old Eilis is stuck in a town where the men are either farmers or mummy’s boys. She is offered the opportunity to live in America through an Irish priest and a church-funded scholarship. (Don’t judge Ireland too harshly by “Spotlight”s standards. Not all Irish priests were/are bad.) The priest is played by English actor, Jim Broadbent. He’s actually quite good so we’ll forgive the director for using non-Irish actors!

Eilis leaves behind a cranky mother and a supportive sister to live in a boarding house in Brooklyn with several other girls hell bent on mischief and a no nonsense house mother played by the excellent Julie Walters (not Irish, but that’s okay. Her accent and attitude is spot on :))

So poor Eilis is living the plain life in Brooklyn while her house sisters are living it up. Things change when she meets tough Italian plumber, Tony (aren’t all Italian Americans called Tony? :D) played by Emory Cohen. There’s a little bit of playfulness between the pair, which is refreshing as Ireland in the 1940’s didn’t have much of that. Things go well until Eilis receives a call that demands she return to Ireland.

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This does not bode well for her relationship with Tony. She goes home with the promise to return to America and Tony, and settles back into her old life there. Her cloying mother and the claustrophobic town gets under her skin and the locals take a dislike to her colourful clothes (clothes in Ireland back then were brown, grey or black). She meets another man called Jim (why, oh why didn’t she meet him the first time? Things are getting complicated!).

Jim is played by the charismatic Domhnall Gleeson (pronounced Dough –nal). So Eilis has a tough decision to make. Should she stay or should she go?

Nick Hornby, a UK screenwriter (About A Boy and High Fidelity, two super movies), did a good job adapting this movie from Colm Toibín’s (last name pronounced Toe-Bean) book of the same name. It’s hard to capture the essence of the Irish. Many people try to do it, but most fail. There’s a unique quirkiness about our humour that can only be explained by someone who understands it. Nick does a good job!

My verdict? Slow moving movie, but it showcases some great moments of humour, sadness and unfortunate Irish bigotry in the form of the local shop keeper in Enniscorthy.

About Eliza Green

Eliza Green tried her hand at fashion designing, massage, painting, and even ghost hunting, before finding her love of writing. She often wonders if her desire to change the ending of a particular glittery vampire story steered her in that direction (it did). After earning her degree in marketing, Eliza went on to work in  everything but marketing, but swears she uses it in everyday life, or so she tells her bank manager.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she lives there with her sci-fi loving, evil genius boyfriend. When not working on her next amazing science fiction adventure, you can find her reading, indulging in new food at an amazing restaurant or simply singing along to something with a half decent beat.

Becoming Human

Tasked with determining the threat level on Exilon 5, Bill Taggart hunts the alien he believes murdered his wife. But what he learns about the race living there forces him to rethink everything he believes.BecomingHuman

Book Details:
Rating: 4.2 stars with 129 reviews
Pages: 359 pages
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Age: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/ Dystopian​
Formats for review: ebook (.mobi, .epub, .pdf), print

Becoming Human: Buy links

http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Human-Exilon-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00AOBIRIW

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/becoming-human-eliza-green/1114844018?ean=2940044371064

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/becoming-human/id621107993?mt=11

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/becoming-human

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/294429

Author Links

Website: http://www.elizagreenbooks.com

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/elizagreenbooks

Twitter: @elizagreenbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6859728.Eliza_Green

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/elizagreenbooks/

Books: http://elizagreenbooks.com/books/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Eliza-Green/e/B00AOJRHH6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3?qid=1453404220&sr=8-3

Grab a free book!: http://smarturl.it/fmeuqq

 

 

Guarding Angel Blog Tour – Guest Post S. L. Saboviec #scifi #guardingangel

Hello, everyone! This is S. L. Saboviec, and I’m pleased to be a guest today on The Opinionated Woman. I’m author of the Adult Paranormal novel Guarding Angel.

Guarding Angel - July 2015 Blog Tour Banner

This blog is right up my alley—I certainly have a truckload of opinion, and today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. (The movie is another subject, which I won’t be covering today. Suffice it to say they went a different direction with it than the book.)

Starship Troopers by Robert HeinleinThis book was considered one of Heinlein’s most controversial works, but what stands out most is how well-crafted the main character, Johnnie, is. You know that ever-elusive thing called “voice?” This book has it. So much of it. Johnnie is raw and real and has a simple but interesting way of relaying the events of war. I felt like I was inside his head, experiencing everything along with him: the suddenness of death, the build-up of strength of body and mind, the horrors of facing a totally alien species.

But it’s not just voice. The book has tension, world-building, and plot developments that turn on a dime. I was in tears at the end of the first chapter, and I was hooked well before that as Johnnie tells about a high-stakes battle where he’s on the ground of an alien planet, shaking, shivering, yet ultimately defeating his enemies.

Still, there’s the controversial part.

For the first three-quarters of the book, the plot moves along at a good clip; however, by the end, Heinlein gets preachy. Earlier, he gives glimpses into his political and philosophical views on war. (In simplistic terms: war is necessary, sacrifice is vital, and military is the epitome of nobility.) He makes a good case, especially earlier when he’s gently introducing his concepts, but by the end, he stuffed a bunch of propaganda in that made me long for the first chapter. I agree with about seventy-five percent of what he’s saying, but it was overwhelming.

Perhaps that’s the controversial part. It’s not about what he’s saying but how he’s presenting it. The morality gets heavy-handed, and even someone like me who’s mostly on board with his arguments got antsy with his story-telling.

My opinion is that books should be about the story first and foremost. He started off strong, with a compelling character and fascinating situation. Rather than letting the story tell itself, he intruded with his own opinions.

But then again, he’s Robert Heinlein. He can—and did—get away with it.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Johnnie about his drill sergeant:

Starship Troopers - Favorite Quote

About Me:

SL Saboviec - Head Shot  I’m a self-published author whose dark, thought-provoking science fiction & fantasy contains flawed, relatable characters and themes that challenge the status quo.

Guarding Angel - Cover

Guarding Angel is on sale for $0.99 right now. You can find it at several major eBook retailers and on Amazon in paperback. The sequel, Reaping Angel, will be released in early 2016.

You can also follow me on social media, check out the other stops on this blog tour, or if you like my work, sign up for my newsletter:

Thank you, Amaryllis, for having me here today!