Book Review: We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story by Cyndy Drew Etler #BookReview #AuthorInterview #NGEW2018

We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story

by Cyndy Drew Etler

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From Goodreads:

For the readers of GO ASK ALICE, TWEAK, and DEAR NOBODY, Etler details her turbulent readjustment to life at home and high school after spending sixteen months in Straight, Inc. Advertised as a rehab program for troubled teens, in reality, Straight subjected Cyndy and her fellow Straightlings to cultlike brainwashing and bizarre “treatment” methods. Continue reading “Book Review: We Can’t Be Friends: A True Story by Cyndy Drew Etler #BookReview #AuthorInterview #NGEW2018”

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction

HiIn the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

by Michael A. McLellan

From Goodreads:

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction”

N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration – Book Review and Author Interview + Giveaway!

I had the pleasure of reading N.N. Light’s new book N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration recently. You can read my thoughts on the book and see an interview with the authors below.

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N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration

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Blurb: “Spread the Light and inspire others to do the same.” — N. N. Light

In 2013, we wrote a mission statement and started the Princess of the Light (POTL) blog. We wanted to test a theory. Could one person (or in our case, one couple) use uplifting words to create change?

The answer is a resounding yes! People from all over the world responded to our short inspirational thoughts of the day, and our following grew. What started out as a few people promoting kindness and goodwill turned into a movement. In every city, there are Light-Bearers making a difference and we want you to join us.

Everyone needs inspiration. It doesn’t matter what spiritual belief you hold dear, you have the Light inside you. Kindness, compassion, empathy, encouragement are all attributes of the Light. In this book, you’ll find a ninety second inspirational thought for each day of the year. You’ll be inspiring people to spread the Light daily with our collection of inspirational thoughts. From giving of yourself to simply smiling, these are easy concepts for anyone to apply!

My Thoughts:

I already follow the authors’ blog Princess of the Light and enjoy the inspirational messages they have to share, so picking up this book to read was a no-brainer. I actually read this book along with another book I’m still reading titled, Think Forward to Thrive and it was a perfect combination. Both books are enlightening and have helped me realize that I have more work to do in my life. It’s far too easy to let the negative thoughts creep in and what I learned is that you are the one who’s in control of how things effect you. You don’t have to waste time with negative thoughts unless you choose to. You don’t have to accept what others say to you as truth. Choose to be happy and seek the truth. You can do anything you put your mind to! Also, why wait for Thanksgiving to have gratitude? Have it every single day! These are the positive messages I want to concentrate on in 2018.

This book essentially reminds me of an inspirational calendar I once had, but it’s so much more. Each daily quote is written along with an experience or story from the authors’ life journeys and I was astonished with how many of the stories applied to myself as if this was my own personal guide. Some of my favorite parts in the book referenced the author’s grandfather which prompted me to think of my own grandfather and the lessons he taught me in life. The inspirational quotes can be a tool to help all people live their best lives in 2018 and beyond. I plan to reread this throughout the year for daily inspiration myself.

Something I plan to do every morning when I wake up this year is to think of something I’m grateful for, whether it be the healthy food I have to eat or the hot shower I take for granite. There are so many things to be thankful for in life and I want to remind myself and my family of these everyday.

Overall, I loved it and I’d recommend it to anyone. Of course, we can all use a little inspiration!

5*****


Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Paperback: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1973171589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1973171584

Author Interview with N.N. Light

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Q: Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself?

A: We’re a husband-wife writing team and we’re huge sports fans. We’ve been big NFL fans since 1985 and we cheer for rival teams. Mr. N roots for the Chicago Bears and Mrs. N is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. Our teams face each other twice a year and we can get quite competitive. We’ve been known to place a few fun side bets on the game. No money exchanges hands but there’s stakes on the line. *wink*

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Q: Did you enjoy reading as a child? What are some of your childhood favorites?

A: Yes, we were voracious readers as children. While Mr. N was all about adventure, horror and war battles, Mrs. N devoured any fantasy book she could get her hands on. Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we read a lot in school and lived at the library. Books were an escape and still are.

Here are some of Mrs. N’s favorites:

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

 

Q: Do you enjoy reading now? Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Yes, books are a huge part of our lives and the focus of our business. We’re literary matchmaker; we couple up readers with outstanding books. We read a variety of genres and have a hard time picking our favorite authors.

 

Q: What have you written so far?

A: N.N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration is our fifth published work. We’ve written contemporary romance, young adult paranormal, paranormal romance and love poetry. We don’t write in just one genre but write stories that are meant to inspire and uplift.

 

Q: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?

A: Mr. N is a retired chef and is a numismatist for one of the largest coin dealers in Canada. His primary duties include appraising and grading historical coins from around the world.

Mrs. N, after being in the book business for more than twenty years, switched careers and is a social media marketer by trade.

Together, we own and operate a very successful family-run PR firm specializing in books and authors.

 

Q: What do you love most about writing?download.jpg

A: We love the freedom in expressing our thoughts and our characters’ personal stories in book form for anyone to read.

 

Q: How do you publish and market your books?

A: We self-publish and are proud to do so. It allows us to have complete artistic control, which is stressful sometimes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We hire professionals for editing, formatting and book cover design but we get the final say on what the end product becomes.

As for marketing, we do the same things we do for our clients. We create buzz and get our name out there. We have a solid reach and our followers love what we write.

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Q: Do you have any advice for others on publishing and marketing?

A: It’s tough being an author and publishing books. It takes a lot of hard work and patience. Yes, patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight, contrary to popular belief. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

Publishing Tip – Make sure the book you publish is as perfect as you can make it. It’s your one chance to grab a reader and if it’s riddled with mistakes and/or has a cheap-looking cover, they’ll never come back. Stake your reputation on everything you publish, and you’ll be fine.

Marketing Tip – Be consistent. Whether it’s on social media or your blog, keep at it. Studies show that a customer needs to see an advertisement eight times before it registers in their brain they need to have it. Why do you think there’s so many fast food commercials on television? They’ve embraced this idea and you should too. Remember, be creative in your advertisements and you’ll get noticed.

 

Q: How much research did you do for this book and how long did it take you to write it?

A: This book was four years in the making. Back in 2013, Mrs. N started writing inspirational thoughts. We never imagined how it would take off and last year, we decided to publish a year’s worth of motivation. So, we combed through all the thoughts and chose only the best ones for this book. The compiling itself took six months, the editing another three months and here it is.

 

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Q: If you could give your readers one piece of inspirational advice about life, what would it be?

A: Spread the Light. Each of us, no matter what we believe, have the Light inside us. We’re all bearers of the Light and have the potential to make a difference. Through kindness, love, understanding and exuding positivity, we can inspire others to do the same.

 

Q: How do you feel about e-books?

A: I used to hate them. I love the feel and even the smell of books, but I need e-books to run our business, so I’ve accepted them.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

…Writing is something that you can never do as well as it can be done. It is a perpetual challenge and it is more difficult than anything else that I have ever done—so I do it. And it makes me happy when I do it well.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway on Writing

Continue reading “N. N. Light’s Book of Daily Inspiration – Book Review and Author Interview + Giveaway!”

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! We are reading all of our favorite Christmas books and introducing some new ones as well. We had the pleasure of reading Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy over the last few days and I have our official review for you and an interview with the author as well!

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Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy

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Blurb:

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of three in the ‘Reindeer flying Academy’ series. I read this with my children in one sitting and we all enjoyed it very much.

Ronaldo is a reindeer who dreams of being just like his hero Vixen–part of the North Pole Reindeer Team. Only the best reindeer will be chosen by Santa for the team. When it comes time for the Endurance Challenge during Saturday’s Flying School, Ronaldo dreams to win. He remembers his grandad’s advice,

“Don’t just think it! Imagine! See it, feel it, believe it!”

Will Ronaldo win the challenge and receive the Golden Wings?

Ronaldo has strong family support and a best friend named Rudi who became one of four favorite characters. Everyone could use a friend like Rudi! Ronaldo is nearly reluctant to heed his families advice at times, but may learn that they’re smarter than he thinks!

I thought this book was very inspiring and appreciated all the important lessons that influence young readers about standing up for yourself, trusting your loved ones, following your dreams, and believing in yourself. The story is well written, cute, and comical. The illustrations are perfect and offer breaks in the reading. When paired with the short chapters, this makes it an easy read for early chapter book readers.

Overall, I personally found this to be an encouraging book for all ages that my children adored. We’re looking forward to reading the other two books including the full-color illustrated edition. 4****

4-stars

 


 

  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Maxine Sylvester; 1 edition (December 16, 2015)
  • Publication Date: December 16, 2015
  • Ages: 5-10
  • Grades: 2-5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free!


 

Author Interview with Maxine Sylvester

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Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I wrote my first book in the Ronaldo series, The Reindeer Flying Academy, three years ago. I followed up with The Phantom Carrot Snatcher one year later, and self-published Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza a few months ago. Some reviewers for the first book commented that they would have preferred colour illustrations. I liked the suggestion so recently published a second edition of The Reindeer Flying Academy in glorious colour. I think children will love the colour illustrations. The book is a perfect Christmas read.

(Click the covers to find these on Amazon)

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Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: I’m still a child myself! I get as excited as a five-year-old every time a new Disney film comes out. My illustrations are inspired by animation. My niece says I am in touch with my inner child. I think it’s an advantage as I naturally write for children.

Q: What are some of your favorite childhood books? (or one favorite)

A: My first reading books were Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and Paddington by Michael Bond. As I grew up I read anything by Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I also loved The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt.

Q: What influenced you to write Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: I have to admit, I stole an idea from A.A. Milne! He wrote about the toys in Christopher Robin’s playroom. I wanted a reason to illustrate so decided to write a short story. I looked around my bedroom, and my favourite toy was a plush reindeer. I took it from there. Some incidents in the book were inspired by my childhood. Ronaldo has a different name to all the other reindeer and gets teased because of it. I was teased about my name. He also has to wear a hideous hat. I had one of those as well. Furry and with pom poms!

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: I have written three Ronaldo adventures, but there are four books. Two editions of The Reindeer Flying Academy are available, one has colour illustrations, the other has black and white.

I think my favourite book is the last one, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza. The characters are well-developed now, and I had a lot of fun with them. The book still makes me laugh even though I know what’s going to happen. I also have a soft spot for the ending of The Reindeer Flying Academy.

Q: What do you think makes a great children’s book?

A: I think values should be in there, but it’s important not to preach. Children are smart; you never want to talk down to them. I try to get a message across in a fun way. Ronaldo is a good role model for children. He’s kind, conscientious and brave, but never boring. He also has to overcome adversity and I think it’s good for children to see how he handles things. Needless to say, the stories need to be entertaining with lots of laughs and fun illustrations. The Ronaldo books have heart and I hope that children feel they are picking up a friend in a Ronaldo book. You never know what is going on in a child’s life, and books can provide comfort and inspiration.

Q: Do you create all of your own illustrations?

A: Yes, they take longer than the actual writing of the story. I trained in “cartoon art’ and was mentored by British cartoonist/, caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I did further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist/illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: As a self-published author on Amazon, it was quite easy; especially as my partner Mark does most of the technical stuff! I am hopeless. He say’s Facebook and Twitter are great tools for reaching people. We have had varying success with promotions. A lot of it is trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?

A: I read every night before going to sleep. I read all sorts! I’ve read all of Sidney Sheldon’s books and most of Lee Childs, Jack Reacher series. If ever I feel anxious or wracked with self-doubt, I read Dr. Wayne Dyer. His gentle words always encourage me. I think he’s a must for anyone in this industry!

I loved the Harry Potter books; they were like picking up old friends. I have so much respect for J.K. Rowling. The whole world waited with baited breath for her books and she never disappointed.

I am a total Disney geek and have just finished a book on Walt Disney. What a visionary! Walt Disney has always been my biggest inspiration. I think my stories come from a lifetime of watching Disney movies.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: I have just started writing the fourth book in the Ronaldo series – The Vixen Pederson Workshop. It will be ready by Christmas 2018.

Q: Can we expect more books in this children’s series?

A: Absolutely. I find as one book evolves, ideas for another book come to the surface. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is limitless!”

I’d like to thank Maxine Sylvester for participating in this interview.

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Continue reading “Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!”