Sunday Book Review – Ending Forever by Nicholas Conley

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book through Netgalley once I read my friend Olga Miret’s review about it, Ending Forever by Nicholas Conley. It’s not too far out of my genre range, considering it’s a fictional story that deals with the afterlife – although in sort of a science fiction sort of way. I typically have been reading nonfiction books on the subject. And since this story has so many elements to it and deals with my top favorite subjects – compassion, humanity, love and grief, and so much more, I had to give it a read, and I loved it. The author himself in his acknowledgments states his book is, “strange, surreal fiction that doesn’t really fit into any specific genre box”.

Blurb:

Axel Rivers can’t get his head above water. Throughout his life, he’s worn many hats — orphan, musician, veteran, husband, father—but a year ago, a horrific event he now calls The Bad Day tore down everything he’d built. Grief-stricken, unemployed, and drowning in debt, Axel needs cash, however he can find it.

Enter Kindred Eternal Solutions. Founded by the world’s six wealthiest trillionaires and billionaires, Kindred promises to create eternal life through mastering the science of human resurrection. With the technology still being developed, Kindred seeks paid volunteers to undergo tests that will kill and resurrect their body—again and again—in exchange for a check.

Axel signs up willingly, but when he undergoes the procedure—and comes back, over and over—what will he find on the other side of death?

My 5 Star Review:

Love the dedication in front of the book: “Dedicated to everyone I have ever lost. Every sunset precedes a sunrise, and what the dead leave behind shapes the future. May the memory of you-each of you- be a blessing.”

Axel Rivers has had a lot of bad things happening in his life, mostly, what he refers to as ‘That bad day’. Down on his luck and funds, and carrying deep sorrow in his heart, he decides to sign up for the Kindred Eternal Solutions experimental program, run by the wealthiest of the elite. Those who’ve suffered hardship and in need of money are the targeted to sign up and receive a big check for taking part in this trial program, along with some of the curious who want to learn what does happen on the other side. Besides the big paycheck for signing up for this series of deaths and resurrections, Axel hopes to be able to see that infamous light so talked about on the other side as well as the privilege to meet up with his dearly missed lost loved ones.

These volunteers are put to a death sleep in a chamber and monitored through their temporary death state by doctors and scientists, and are promised to be brought back to life within hours, and must complete the death/resurrection process daily, six times in a row. The program is researching how to keep people alive through eternity, mainly for the purpose of the rich elite who run the program, trying to discover a way to cheat death for themselves.

At first Axel is very apprehensive but the thought of his overwhelming debt is what keeps him in the program. After his first session he feels disillusioned – he saw no light, no lost loved ones, and felt doom from meeting ‘the stranger’. He felt more depressed after the session, feeling as though he had a visitation from a dead family member later that day after first session. He thought it felt so real, not as though it were a spirit. His second session, he felt a breakthrough, met some of his lost loved ones, and saw the ‘Deathweavers’, – the ones in the next realm who make decision about when those on earth’s time is up.

Axel meets Brooklyn, a fellow partipant, single mother who has suffered many hardships in her own life, and they become friends and go out for drinks after day two of the experiment. On day three, Axel is late for that third session and is booted from the program. He decides to wait for Brooklyn to finish, when he discovers, she never showed up to that session. Axel learns from her sister that a tragedy has taken place and Brooklyn’s daughter Gwen is in intensive care dying from it. Axel’s new awakenings through the first two sessions drive him to approach the scientist at her home where he begs her to put him under one more time because he is sure he can bargain with the ‘Deathweavers’ and plead for Gwen’s life, and for her own scientific knowledge purposes, Dr. Carpenter agrees.

In Axel’s last time returning to death and resurrection, he learns a lot about himself and conquers boundaries that he learned he’d created around himself. He manages to get the attention of the Deathweavers and like everything else in life, they would only agree to let Gwen live if Axel gave up something precious of himself.

This book is about the fragility of life, overcoming one’s own tribulations and grief and gaining the selflessness to help another human being. Despite the paranormal-ish basis of the story, the strength of love and compassion shine through people when they are forced to surrender their own hurt and wounds to help the worse off.

The last few chapters were so captivating and beautiful, it was difficult to read without tears.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Bearing the Unbearable by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a poignant book, written from her own experience with grief and loss, as well as shared interviews with some of her bereavement clients, by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore.

As many of you know, I’ve read a number of books on grief – from the clinical to the afterlife, and one thing I can say about this book is that it stands out from others because it talks about all aspects and changes of life we go through when grief strikes – not just the expected things. Dr. Cacciatore has ‘worn the shoes’. One other thing I’d like to note about this book is that I would highly recommend everyone to read this book. Why? Because everyone in the world will have to experience it in their lifetimes, and for those who haven’t yet, this book gives amazing insights. It’s also a good book for those who know or love a griever and don’t know how to act around them or what to say. It distinctly states what us grievers need in our new life path from those in our lives.

Blurb:

If you love, you will grieve—and nothing is more mysteriously central to becoming fully human. 

Dr. Cacciatore is featured in the 2021 documentary series The Me You Can’t See, from Oprah, Prince Harry, and Apple TV.

Bearing the Unbearable is a Foreword INDIES Award-Winner — Gold Medal for Self-Help.
__
When a loved one dies, the pain of loss can feel unbearable—especially in the case of a traumatizing death that leaves us shouting, “NO!” with every fiber of our body. The process of grieving can feel wild and nonlinear—and often lasts for much longer than other people, the nonbereaved, tell us it should.

Organized into fifty-two short chapters, Bearing the Unbearable is a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore—bereavement educator, researcher, Zen priest, and leading counselor in the field—accompanies us along the heartbreaking path of love, loss, and grief. Through moving stories of her encounters with grief over decades of supporting individuals, families, and communities—as well as her own experience with loss—Cacciatore opens a space to process, integrate, and deeply honor our grief.

Not just for the bereaved, Bearing the Unbearable will be required reading for grief counselors, therapists and social workers, clergy of all varieties, educators, academics, and medical professionals. Organized into fifty-two accessible and stand-alone chapters, this book is also perfect for being read aloud in support groups.

My 5 Star Review:

Before I go into my review of this book, I will simply state, as a griever myself, that this book is one of the best books I’ve read on grief because it isn’t a clinical diagnosis book, it isn’t a guide on how to get through grief, but a tender telling of all the emotions a griever will experience throughout the rest of their lives, the triggers, and most of all, also beneficial to anyone who has ever known a griever and is lost for words or knowing how to act around someone who is grieving.

The book begins with a prologue of the author giving us a snapshot of her own grief story. She shares some of the questions all grievers ask and wonders how the world can continue on when her world was left empty – a common thread between all grievers. The author tells us she hopes for other grievers to feel they are in a safe place for us to be with our broken hearts. She warns that this book isn’t instruction on how to get over grief, but how to learn to live with the undeniable ebbs and flows and triggers of grief that will remain a part of our lives, for the rest of our lives. She talks about grievers needing others to reach out to us, and just how to do it by telling of her own experiences, and that of others she has consoled.

Dr. Cacciatore speaks of how death will affect every single person one day in their own individual way. The more we love, the more we will grieve. She also delves into how grief is manifested and what the shock of a traumatic death can leave on us – sometimes and often, leading to depression and/or PTSD, the repercussions of the shocking experience of losing a loved one, and how that often leads to running to substances to numb our pain. The good doctor touches on all the various types of trauma and grief from losing a loved one, a child, a parent, a spouse, etc., covering the gamut of what each of these relationships lost leave the living loved one to endure and the various habits and personality characteristics that are altered in the wake of, including the physical ailments many of us experience in light of grief, of which, many can become life threatening – especially when self-care desire disappears.

Most importantly to me, the author speaks of those in our circles who tend to abandon us in our hours of need because they don’t know what we need, and fears of talking about our lost loved ones causing more pain, explaining quite the opposite, how us grievers aren’t looking for solutions, only an ear to hear us speak of our great loss with a compassionate heart. “…But please just sit beside me. Say nothing. Do not offer a cure, or a pill, or a word, or a potion. Witness my suffering and don’t turn away from me. Please be gentle with me. Please self, be gentle with me too. I will not ever ‘get over it’ so please don’t urge me down that path.”

“Traumatic death provokes traumatic grief.” Truest words. The author gets into the body’s reactions to grief, comparing a diagnosis or a death edict having that ‘fight or flight’ feeling within us setting off in perceived physchological threat within. Only, the fight or flight feeling never really leaves. She goes into the despair the griever learns to live within. “This is grief’s most piercing message: there is no way around-the only way is through”. As she states, those who don’t deal with their grief and won’t allow themselves to feel, are only suppressing their grief, tells us it will eventually manifest in unexpected ways. The doctor warns that suppressing grief is responsible for so many addictions, abuse and social disconnection.

We learn about how some people’s cry for help – or, the lack of those cries, can often lead to that griever taking their own life. She warns that grief always has a place at the table. Talking about grief is necessary and should never be stifled. The distractions we use for ourselves as grievers is also discussed as our everlasting unquenchable yearning for our lost loved ones never goes away.

Another poignant discussion in this book delves into the loss of a child and how that sometimes leads parents to unintentionally neglect their living children while focusing on the loss of another. We also learn how crying is a natural valve to relieve stress and explains the biochemical essense of grief tears and their differentiation to other tears.

In this book there is a dedicated chapter to grievers on how to tell our friends and family what we need from them in our hours of grief. Letting them know our triggers, asking for our acceptance when we aren’t up to a family gathering, a cry for help, and more. She offers up solutions like, writing a note to family letting them know our needs and reassuring them to not hold back conversations of our lost loved one because that is one of the most needed conversation many grievers crave, is talking about our lost loved one.

Time is linear with grief, sometimes minutes feel like years, years feel like minutes. The author tells us how easily a grief moment will steal our breath. “It is both feared enemy and beloved companion who never leaves.” Reminding, we won’t stop grieving until we stop loving. “Those we love deeply who have died are part of our identity; they are a part of our biography. We feel that love in the marrow of our bones.”

The author offers writing to a lost loved one as a great therapy. Read it and weep as she explains these tears of release are good for the soul. She also talks about making a memory box we can revisit to soothe our souls in memory.

All different types of grief are covered in this book, from the ones we carry for our lost one to the kind where we blame ourselves for. You will find stories here that demonstrate things that can happen for those who withhold their grief.

I loved her analogy of grief ‘ it’s a big bowl of grief broth’, describing how just one more ingredient can overpower us with overwhelming grief.

Poignant Quotes:

“No intervention and no interventionist can ‘cure’ our grief. And we are not broken-we are brokenhearted.”

“Grief is not a medical disorder to be cured.

Grief is not spiritual crisis to be resolved.

Grief is not a social woe to be addressed.

Grief is, simply, a matter of the heart-to be felt.”

“When we cannot hold in our arms our loved ones who’ve died, we hold them in our hearts. This is being with grief.”

“When you’re feeling tired of our sadness, just remember that we are supremely more tired of their dead-ness.”

“Losing our beloved brings a pain unlike any other-and this pain is- legitimately ours. Being with grief is terrifyingly painful, yet when we live our grief honestly, it has the mysterious power to deepen the meaning of our lives. This is the gift-curse of grief.”

Whoever survives the test must tell his story. ~ Elie Wiesel

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – The Peaceful Village by Paulette Mahurin, #WWII #historicalfiction

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing a book by one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Paulette Mahurin. This is her newest release I was thrilled to be able to obtain a copy from Netgalley – The Peaceful Village. Based on a heartwrenchingly true story about one of the biggest WWII massacres on French Soil that occurred because of a lie.

Blurb:

During the German occupation of France, nestled in the lush, verdant countryside in the Haute-Vienne department of central France was the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It was a community where villagers woke to the medley of nature’s songs: roosters crowing, birds chirping, cats purring, and cows shuffling out to pasture. The people who lived there loved the tranquil nature of their beautiful home, a tranquility that existed year-round. Even with the German occupation and Oradour-sur-Glane being incorporated as part of Vichy France, Oradour – the village with cafés, shops, and a commuter tram to Limoges – remained relatively untouched by the stress of the occupation.
While Oradour enjoyed the lack of German presence, twenty-two kilometers to the northwest in Limoges, the Germans were reacting with increasing cruelty to organized attacks on their soldiers by the armed resistance organization Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). Headed by Georges Guingouin, the Limoges FTP was considered the most effective of the French Resistance groups. Guingouin’s missions fueled the German military to kill and incarcerate in concentration camps anyone perceived as supporters or sympathizers of the Resistance.

Up until the middle of 1944, the German anti-partisan actions in France never rose to the level of brutality or number of civilian casualties that had occurred in eastern Europe. A little before the Allies landed in Normandy, that changed, when German officers stationed on the Eastern Front were transferred to France. It was then that FTP’s increasing efforts to disrupt German communications and supply lines was met with disproportionate counter attacks, involving civilians. Guingouin’s response was to target German officers. When Guingouin set his sights on two particular German officers, all hell broke loose.

Based on actual events as told by survivors, The Peaceful Village is the story of the unfolding of the events that led up to one of the biggest World War II massacres on French soil. But it is not simply a story of Nazi brutality and the futility of war, it is a story of love. The love of family. The love of neighbor. The love of country. Compassion and courage burn from the pages as the villagers’ stories come alive. Written by the international bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, Paulette Mahurin, this book is an homage to the villagers who lived and loved in Oradour-sur-Glane.

My 5 Star Review:

Marguerite lives on her carrot farm with her husband and other family in the beautiful, peaceful village of Oradour, France. During WWII, this quiet and peaceful village had not yet been threatened or occupied as much as other parts of France and Europe by the nazis, despite the Vichy accepting German rule, until a German capture that had gone wrong had brought forth the brutal nazi regime (no, I will NEVER capitalize the word ‘nazi’) to this peaceful ‘untouched’ by war, town, just before the allies landed in Normandy.

As Marguerite was approaching menopause, the gruel of farming without enough hands was getting to her physically and mentally. She went to church one Sunday and discovered the clergy could use some well needed office help and approached her understanding husband asking for time away from working the farm and by taking up the offer to work for the church office. When she discovered a horrifying piece of paper in a book, as she was tidying the rectory, she approached Father Chapelle, asking if anyone else shared the office, ultimately, showing him what she’d found in a book as she was organizing a bookshelf. Their eye contact established a mutual understanding that they were both on the side against the nazis, when the Father let her know that he was part of the resistance helping place Jewish families where he could. Marguerite’s sympathetic and good nature led her to helping out the church by delivering secret messages, food and clothing where she could.

All was calm, but Marguerite had a foreboding feeling in her stomach, and it wasn’t long before the SS butchers rounded up the whole village in retaliation for the resistance killing one of their higher up murderous high rank nazi leaders. It was first the resistance who made a fatal mistake by letting another of their captured nazis escape, who made it back to headquarters and lied about what happened to him in this innocent village.

Mahurin tells a gripping story in such detail, it’s as though we are there witnessing the action. She paints a picture of this blissful town full of compassionate, loving, neighborly people going on with their business as though the rest of France had nothing to do with them in their sacred untouched perimeters, and just as the serenity turns to hell on earth, she equally writes of the pain, brutality, butchering of innocent mankind because of one SS trying to cover his ass by lying about his attack saying it had taken place in Oradour – when it did not! This lie became the war that wiped out an entire peaceful village in one day.

Based on true events as told by survivors, one of biggest WWII massacres that ever took place on French soil. The expensive price of human life paid for letting one of those heinous, murderous nazis escape capture. The author never disappoints in her gripping true tales of some of the true horrors that innocent people endured under the brutal tyranny of Hitler and his nazi evil regime.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Where There’s Doubt – A #Psychological #Mystery/Romance by Terry Tyler

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Terry Tyler’s addictive psychological thriller – Where There’s Doubt. This book has been getting a lot of attention around our reading circles, and once I began reading it, I found out why. The protagonist Kate invites into her cozy world of happy seaside living in a small town in Norfolk, England, until her world turns crazy after meeting a new boyfriend on the internet – who turns out to be a sociopathic narcissist whose roots of deceit run deep.

Blurb:

‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’

Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.

She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.

Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.

Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.

My 5 Star Review:

Tyler takes us on a psychological ride into the dark side of internet dating. Sweet Kate thinks she’s met her perfect match through meeting Nico while playing chess on ‘Lifeshare’ a social media site. Kate owns a successful cafe by surfside in a Shipden, Norfolk, village  and had recently broke up with a cheating boyfriend, Jackson. Nico was a collector of woman, who used the guise of being a vanity publisher for Indie books because it gave him a boatload of excuses to be unavailable to the many women he seemed to be in relationships with. Think ‘Tinder Swindler’ when envisioning Nico. The story pulls us in because yet again, another internet scammer on the prowl for women seems to be a topic of interest these days.

The author brings in richly crafted characters to drive the story, and gives us a peek into Nico’s psyche to let us in on what makes this conman tick. We get to know the ‘other’ women he’s ensnared with his wiley charms, knowing how to play each one – Polly the low self-esteemed girl who dreams of a fairytale life, Heather, the young grieving widow, Minerva, the lonely, older more secure widow, and the pretty, carefree and fun Kate. And of course we can’t leave out ‘Em’ Nico’s ‘apparent’ ‘real’ girlfriend who assists him to ensnare these other women by doing all the social media profiling for him to make sure his tracks are covered, leading us to think he is doing all this cyber stalking and dating to extort money for ‘them’ both. He cleverly uses Em as his default decoy when with these women, telling them she’s his sister.

Polly is busily planning her wedding with Nico, unaware that his intentions are to get her to spend some of her lottery winnings on a house he wants to buy – for himself. Heather is a young widow living in isolation in the home she shared with the love of her life who has passed on. Wealthy Minerva is smart and realizes handsome Nico is fun to be with, though realizing two decades younger than her, that one day this relationship will probably end, but surely, investing in his publishing business could be a lucrative business adventure. Kate is his favorite he spends most time with, and he’s snagged her heart and trust and goes to deceitful ends to take her to the house he’s pining after, lying to Kate by telling her the house was left to him and his sister in his aunt’s will, adding, the problem is that the house was left to two other cousins and he’d love to buy them out, giving Kate the idea she should buy in so they can live there together. What could go wrong? Plenty!

As the plots thicken and Nico gets sloppy covering his tracks, things begin to happen. Heather begins to feel Nico is pushing a little to hard for her to sell her house to buy into ‘the Grove’ house he supposedly wants to buy his ‘cousins’ out of, and she decides to do some internet surfing and discovers that Nico is a conman. And this is where part two of the book opens up a whole new insidious plot with characters we never would have suspected are part of Nico’s evil ploy.

As the story unfolds, little pieces of his lies are slipping through the cracks and Nico finds himself having to come up with quick coverups. And when the shyte hits the fan, a whole lot of evil is unveiled to us. Don’t even think I’ve given away any spoilers here because the fun begins in this book once Nico is exposed.

Lots of twists and a great conman caper, which sadly, is not so uncommon in today’s world. And a book that was literally hard to put down!

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Mayday by Mike Steeden

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a book called Mayday by Mike Steeden. I haven’t read many books in this genre before, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read such a mix of genres, and the author was kind enough to invite me to read a paperback version of his book, sent all the way from England. Steeden has created a work of fiction with a sprinkle of sci-fi/fantasy, romance/thriller – certainly an interesting mix of genre for such a greatly imagined story. This is the story of Mayday, a beautiful, intelligent, all-knowing, healer with a zest and curiosity for all life has to offer, all the while having to dodge danger.

Blurb:

The girl known as ‘Mayday’ was born a fully-fledged human being, her creator, a professor of remarkable ingenuity for he had ensured that she had amazing capabilities, jealous scientists could never fathom…capabilities that easily trumped any claimed miracles from days of yore. Moreover, as she evolved she realized she had the wherewithal to cure the sick, feed the starving and humble the wicked, at the blink of an eye. However, her accomplishments were also her curse for in religious circles the powers that be could not accept that she was a bona fide mortal, after all she was not born of womankind, nor sanctioned by their alpha-God who would never countenance a female messiah. They considered her an irritating robotic, and rather than allow her to rock their boat and save humanity, they sought her legal execution.

This is Mayday’s extraordinary story, told by the man who loved her so.

My 5 Star Review:

What a ride this read will take one on. To be honest, I’ve never read this type of mixed genres of a book before, and the author’s blurb is an excellent condensed summation of so much more.

Mayday was created, human-like, savvy, intelligent, sexy, assertive, and gifted with superhuman abilities. She was created as perfection by a scientist, causing piqued curiosities about Mayday who becomes sought out by those of whose beliefs about everything she was created from, opposing her existence- mainly, the Catholic Cardinal society.

It begins with Mayday left hidden in a dingy cellar in Paris after being rescued from the ‘zoo’, and discovered by Andrei Voland, a wealthy Frenchman who would become her lover and protector. In this time of the early 1930s, where anything of the unusual was still considered sorcery to the non believers, Mayday had become the most wanted woman by authorities and the church. Voland takes her in to his place, and has Edith, a theatrical cosmetician, friend, dye Mayday’s hair and give her a new wardrobe so she wouldn’t be recognized. Mayday’s beauty is astounding.

After Mayday is disguised, and revamped, Voland learns about her sexual curiosity and voracious appetite as a romantic night ensues – the first of many more escapades to come. After Voland goes to retrieve her meager belongings from the basement where she was held captive, so as not to leave any evidence of her existence behind, he notices a suspicious woman down the street at Edith’s door, about to throw a hand grenade. He stops her in time as he discovers the explosion already up in smoke where Mayday was previously kept. He lifts the now shocked Edith into his arms and takes her back to his place. In fears he may have been followed, Voland makes immediate plans to take both women to another of his homes, in Lille, just outside of Paris, to hideout and and to avoid any potential danger.

Once safely at Voland’s village, the women and Voland enjoy each other’s company – verbally, and sexually, as Mayday has no inhibitions and continues to discover herself. Once the professor who created Mayday visits them, along with some other friends who are soon to become part of the harem gang of friends, Mayday, who prefers to be naked, as she was created, tells her story to her audience about what happened to her after she was created. She was captured and held in a private zoo where she was studied (inside and out) to see if she was human. She was left in a cage like an animal until inspections were satisfied, with the zookeeper’s intentions of having her executed for being blasphemous, defying God, because of her origin and power. Without spoilers, she is rescued, and the game heats up as Voland, Mayday and company enjoy their own company and stay vigilant that nobody is on their tail seeking out Mayday.

Mayday is brilliant, absorbs information like a sponge with a curiosity for learning, reading, observing, and has superpower abilities – like being able to heal the sick, feed the hungry (while in disguise), therefore, always having to dodge the evils who search for her. On her missions, she is always cloaked and uses her power to make those she’s helped, forget her from memory – but there are always ‘those’ who may have caught a glimpse of her. Her good deeds seem to always put her and the harem of characters, along with Voland, in peril.

There are private orgies with Valond, Mayday, Edith, and a few select others who are invited into their circles. Valond decides to open a travel agency where Mayday can use it for a front to escape to other places and realms and pop back in after saving others.

Mayday finds people to save in some of the churches she visits along a roadtrip with Valond, driving to Italy and visitng the Vatican as well as some famous churches and museums- dangerous places for her to go as the Papal system would have her executed for being who she is if she were to be discovered. She pushes her luck by telling Valond she wants to experience the confessional at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican and transforms herself into ‘Black Frankie’, disappears and turns herself back into the posh Mayday. And once again the evil ones are in search for her.

In the last third of the book after Mayday and Andrei Voland return to Lille, they stop in at their Looking Glass Travel Agency to visit their gang of friends and find evil has prevailed. Their friend, Thunderman is murdered, Edith and Eloise are tied up and naked, and Princess, is missing. Eloise tells of what went on as the so called Latter Day Inquisitors on behalf of the Cardinals of the Holy Inquisition, loosely affiliated with the ‘Scientific Law Society’, had found their way to the agency in search of Mayday and captured Princess, mistaking her for Mayday.

After the initial shock wears off, Voland formulates a plan with his gang to rescue the Princess, who he knows well, was taken back to that same zoo where Mayday was once rescued from. Mayday uses her special powers to bring Edith out of shock and grief after what she witnessed with Thunderman’s murder and her own captivity while Voland sends off his brother Henri along with Eloise to rescue the Princess. They devise a short-term plan to have Mayday go around various places using her powers to cure people while Princess is held captive to show her captors Princess is innocent because the magic continues elsewhere – a risky plan for sure!

Alas, WWII is approaching. By 1940 the Germans invade France. The gang had already thwarted a bunch of Germans busting in their home trying to take it over, but Mayday used her mind control to chase them out. They knew they had to come up with a plan, so they decided to join the resistance. The girls would go dancing in those nudie bars (where they felt comfortable), and attract the attention of German soldiers, extracting information from them unknowingly, as Mayday wooed them with her body and used her hynotic eye contact to extract what she needed from them while leaving them to forget she existed. It was just after the dancing bar event after all members of the harem were home safely with Mayday that she decided there’s just just too much evil on this place called earth, and perhaps it was time she considered leaving for another realm. But does she?

Like I mentioned earlier, this book is a whirlwind of genres from romance and adventure, with a touch of science fiction, time-travel, fantasy, and also a thriller. That’s best I can describe it. The author has certainly demonstrated his vast imagination for such a story with its sometimes lude shenanigans and language, but nevertheless, keeping us keen on what on earth could happen next. I warn here of some explicit language and sexual content.

This is a well researched and written book that delves into the mood of the era with richly crafted characters and changing subplots. If some of the aforementioned content isn’t a problem for you, I invite you into the alluring storyworld of Andrei Voland and Mayday whom the author, Steeden, has eccentrically and masterfully created.

©DGKaye2022

Spring, Beauty and Books Series Has Ended | Valentina Expressions – Video

Earlier this week I posted my guest feature over at Valentina Cirasola’s blog about Spring Beauty and Books. Once the series was completed, Valentina kindly, made this beautiful short video, incorporating all the books from the authors she hosted. It’s a lovely video, and it was so nice to have my book be part of the video along with books by many of my writing friends. I’m reblogging Valentina’s ‘thank you post’ here, along with the video.

 

Note: Click on the Youtube link as the video will not show here.

Spring Beauty and Book Series has ended:

This Spring flew by, between winds of war, fake news, new diseases, corrupted politicians, investigations, and protests around the world to gain the lost freedom, we have arrived almost at Summer. What will it bring us? My hope is always that humanity will mend itself and be infused with so much love, compassion and empathy, as without these elements, life cannot be called life.

With the arrival of Spring, my goal was to instill beauty. Beauty multiplies as it is an entity that everyone wants and everyone recognizes for their wellbeing. I also wanted to spread kind thoughts. Who better than authors can do that? Authors are good with words, they know how to craft them to let the readers live a fantasy, see places and experience new emotions.


Please continue reading at Valentina’s blog and see a complete list of authors who were included in this series.

Source: Spring, Beauty and Books Series Has Ended | Valentina Expressions

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Linda’s Midlife Crisis by Toni Pike

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing Toni Pike’s latest release – Linda’s Midlife Crisis. I enjoy Toni’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. This womens fiction/chicklit-ish story is about a neglected housewife with an unfulfilling job who learns to take back her power. Yay for Linda!

Blurb:

How does a fifty-year-old woman start a new life?

Meet Linda Lockwood: fifty, fat, frumpy and bullied by her horrible husband Ron and the vile students and principal at the school where she teaches English. But her life is about to undergo a total transformation.

Linda suffers a breakdown after a traumatic classroom incident, and that brings out the worst in Ron and devious principal, Wayne Forsythe. Then she is rocked to discover her husband has a shocking secret.

With her own determination and the help of friends and family, she starts to turn her life around. She begins to succeed, but there are still some more surprises in store Linda.

A feel-good and inspirational romance for older women who love second chances and chick lit.


***** “Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop!” – Goodreadsreviewer, USA

***** “Highly recommended for a beach read, or as a feel-good book.” – Reader’s Favorite reviewer, UK

My 5 Star Review:

Linda had finally had enough of her husband Ron’s neglect, insults and emotional abuse. She was 50 years old, about 25 pounds overweight, and had lost her sense of self-esteem. She was also childless because nasty Ron never wanted any kids.

Linda was an English school teacher, and even her students were mischievous brats who liked to play mean pranks on her. The last prank had kept her at home for a month in a depression-like state. Her husband couldn’t give a damn and continued to belittle her, demanding she cook for him in her near catatonic state. But Linda finally learned to pay him back with silence and neglect of her household duties, a type of revenge that finally had him asking for a divorce and leaving – to her delight.

Linda was clever and held the reins on her demands since Ron was the one leaving, also threatening him with getting a shark lawyer if he didn’t comply, worked well. She then went to her cunning school principal, Wayne Forsythe, to inform she was retiring, demanding a package, she eventually got, thanks to her persuasion of assuring him if he didn’t comply she would use the information she had on him about his devious doings. Linda was getting out of her slump and taking her power back.

After selling her house in Sydney, Australia, she moved up to Canberra where her sister lived, bought a beautiful condo, got a part-time job in a clothing store to keep her busy, made some new friends at work, went for long walks, changed her diet, lost her unhappiness weight, and began enjoying her life. But before she left for Canberra, when packing up her house, she packed up Ron’s stuff and left it on the front lawn for him, warning him to pick it up by day’s end. She got a shocking and infuriating surprise when Ron came to pick up his things – sorry, no spoilers.

Linda learns to love her new life in Canberra and takes up her passion for writing, begins to submit articles about her journey back to healthy lifestyle, and was hired to produce weekly articles.

Life was good, and one day she discovers Ron looking for her, begging for her back. Ahhh yes, sweet revenge! Linda learns to step back into the dating pool with her work friends and is pleasantly surprised to meet someone while out with the girls. Dr. Tran was enamoured by Linda and her new life was nearing perfect – if only Ron would stop showing up!

This was a fun and very engaging read. I could have read it in two days because I didn’t want to put it down, but life calls.

©DGKaye2022

Q & A with D.G. Kaye featuring Award Winning Author, Jan Sikes

Welcome to my May edition of Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring friend and fellow author, Jan Sikes. Jan is a multi-talented, multi-genre author and dabbles in tarot, runes and gemstones articles on her blog too, besides the blog tours she hosts and the books she reviews. So today we’re going to get to know a little bit more about Jan and her latest release – Jagged Feathers, Book 2 from her White Runes series.

About Jan:

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.
She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to
tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining
true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that
encompasses four books.
And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction
and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut
paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in
2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers
released on January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series, and Saddled Hearts will release
later in 2022.
She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She
resides in North Texas.

Blurb:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann. On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed. A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks. Will these two not only survive but find unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

Jan shares some wonderful quotes from her book:

REVIEW QUOTES:


“Wow! One of the top books I’ve read in a while. I’d give it more sparklers if I
could. The author had me from page one and didn’t let me go until the end. She
starts off hard and fast, then things kind of work out and the book goes into a
“safe” lull, which is where most romantic suspense stories would end. But no. She
doesn’t let you rest as the danger ramps up again before our hero and heroine
are really safe and have a satisfying ending that leaves you happy for them.” V.
Burkholder


“What an amazing and phenomenal book. Jagged Feathers has become my
favorite suspense book I’ve read in 2022.
Jan Sikes has a talent that mirrors the authors, that’s on top of the Best Sellers
List.” T. Lucas


“Wow! Few books grab and hold me as quickly as Jagged Feathers. I can’t say
enough good things about this story that’s brimming with heart. It has everything-
-an ex-soldier dealing with trying to heal from wounds and trauma left by the war,
a woman confused and scared by her psychic gift and running for her life, and a
dog that’s suffered horribly but hasn’t lost his ability to love.” L. Broday


“This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal
elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his
own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.” S. Cronin

So, let’s get to know a little more about Jan!

Welcome

Thank you, Debby, for inviting me to visit with you today. It is truly an honor!

D.G. – Thrilled to be featuring you here today Jan. Thanks for coming!

How has writing changed your life?


That is a great question. After my husband passed away, I was still working full-time. But honestly, I was lost. I didn’t want to stay in the home we’d built together. Too many memories and too much property to take care of. So, I transferred my job to another town where one of my daughters lived. I withdrew from the world and hid behind my children and grandchildren. That was my safe place. Then, when I realized I was the one that would have to write the story of our life together, it forced me to step out and reinvent myself. It took several years before I could comfortably call myself an author. It wasn’t until after my second book won an award that it felt right. Writing not only changed my life completely but gave me a therapeutic way to rejoin the land of the living. It has given me a whole new career and I have met some of the most wonderful people— authors and readers!

D.G. – Do I ever hear you Jan. I know well what you mean about ‘hiding away’ after such a great loss. And no doubts writing was your therapy. 🙂

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?


Oh, for sure! Of course, the first four books I wrote were biographical so that was me all the way. But when I started writing fiction, I drew from a lot of my personal experiences, philosophies, and beliefs and instilled them in some of my characters. I think the biggest example was Jag Peters’ mother, Charlotte, in Ghostly Interference. There is a lot of me in Charlotte. She is a smart but gentle lady who is a vegetarian and teaches yoga. She also instills in her son a lot of the same beliefs I have about Karma and the afterlife. The love of Charlotte’s life is a musician. So, I put a lot of me into her. Someday I want to tell her backstory.

D.G. – Only makes sense that we as writers will instill some of ourselves or other people we know when it comes to creating characters. 🙂

If you weren’t a writer what else do you think you would do?

That is a question I ask myself often. I work really hard at not only continuing to learn and grow in the craft of writing but in marketing as well. There are times when I stop and ask myself if this is what I really want to be doing. All the hard work results in little to no monetary rewards.
But, so far, the answer is the same every time. As long as story ideas and inspirations keep coming, I am duty-bound to keep writing them. And, if I wasn’t writing, I don’t know how I would be filling my time.
For now, this is what I want to do. It’s a chapter in life I am enjoying letting unfold.

D.G. – Once again, I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

I know you have a very active blog. What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?


Blogging has created a whole new online family for me. I am connected to people all around the world. That is how I met you, Debby. So, I’ve gained a network of supportive and uplifting people as well as made what I consider to be friends. Even though we may never meet in person, through reading others’ blogs, I feel as if I know them. Besides this incredible network, blogging gives me a great platform to talk about my stories, accomplishments, failures, and everything in between. But my greatest joy is featuring others on my blog. I do lots of book reviews and have guest posts often.
Another way my blogging platform has enriched my life is through sharing metaphysical things such as Tarot cards and Rune readings, uplifting meditations, and my passion, Gemstones and their healing properties. It’s a way of sharing something that is a huge part of my daily life. It helps keep me grounded and focused while hopefully helping others at the same time. We are all on this journey together. So anything we can do to uplift each other is wonderful!
While blogging takes time away from writing, it is worthwhile all the way around. I can’t imagine stepping away from blogging, although it’s healthy to take a short break now and then.

D.G. – We share the same philosophy on blogging, once again. And of course we share a mutual interesting in the spiritual and metaphysical. 🙂

Share with us a book that moved you so much it stays with you.


This is probably the hardest question of all to answer. I’ve been an avid reader since I could decipher words. As a child, I devoured fairy tales and believed life would have a fairy tale ending for me. As a young adult, I read books by Harold Robbins that taught me so much about relationships between men and women.
“The Grapes of Wrath” is a book I have read multiple times. I think it has stayed with me because of stories my parents shared about the Great Depression. But a powerful book that changed the way I view worldwide governments is “The Captains and The Kings.” Taylor Caldwell depicted corruption among the leaders in such a way that I’ve never forgotten it. It’s a book I highly recommend to everyone.
A book I’ve read within the past couple of years that has stayed with me is “Where The Crawdads Sing.” And now I see that it has been made into a movie and will be showing in July. You can bet I’ll be at the theater to see it. And I want to add one more to my list of lingering stories. “If The Darkness Takes Us,” is such a chilling and realistic tale of what happens when the grid collapses and people are left to figure out how to survive on their own without any resources. Unfortunately, I feel that it may be more realistic than imagined. But there are lots of good survival tips shared in the book.
I’ll stop there with an apology. You only asked for one book. 🙂

D.G. – Had to laugh as the only books I could find around my house (in my mother’s room) were Harold Robbins’ books, lol. That was an education. And I loved Where the Crawdad’s Sing! I will now be checking out those other books you mentioned too. Thank you!

Follow Jan on her Social Links:


WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG: http://www.jansikesblog.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jansikes/
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

I hope you all enjoyed learning about Jan and her beautiful books.

©DGKaye2022