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Review: Incense & Peppermints By

24 April 2017





Incense and Peppermints
Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.
When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.
Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.
With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

Review

This is a wonderful coming of age novel set in the 60's

I found it so engaging from the start that it only took me a couple of days to read and to me that is definitely a sign of a good book!

The main character Mary is a likeable character and you follow the ups and downs and serious peer pressure that comes at that time of life! It is a great paced story that has everything you need for a good coming of age story and without spoilers it has a sad reality that Mary must deal with that really tugs on the heart strings

In all I really enjoyed the pace and realism of the story that gave me an insight into life in the 60's

Nat 


Author Bio:
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.


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Disclosure: The Pursuit of Bookiness received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  all opinions are our own

Q&A: With Karmak Bagisbayev Author of The Last Faith

23 April 2017



1. How did you find the reception on a book about faith? Did you receive a lot of challenge?
The book is not about faith. It presents a simplistic scientific model of the behaviour of all living matter, including humankind, which is based on just two fundamental principles. It is intentionally written in a format of a fictional conversation with God (in Einsteinian sense) in order to make it accessible and fun to read for a wide audience of readers. 


The feedback on the book is mixed - deeply “religious” people (radical believers and radical non-believers) passionately criticise it, while people with "scientific" and critical mindset are largely agreeing with the proposed model.


2. Why did you want to explore the moral principles of human nature? Has it always been an interest?

I noticed that human morality is changing with time and with changes in circumstances. I also noticed that some individuals are able to influence the morality of the large groups of people in both positive and negative directions (Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler, etc.). Following that observation I started questioning the existence of absolute moral values and tried to understand how do moral values come to existence and what drives their change. The detailed answer is provided in my book.
 
 
4. Do you think your study or physics and maths influenced your view of the world?

Definitely. Mathematics and physics allowed me to develop a scientific and highly critical approach to understanding the world around us. Such an approach is based on logic, evidence, inference and constant questioning of everything, including the opinions of the authorities.

5. If you could give one reason to encourage people who are dubious of reading an atheists view of faith what would it be?

Correction – “an atheist’s view of the world, not faith”. I list a whole a range of unrelated questions in the synopsis and prologue of the book and give an answer to every single one of them with a supporting evidence. Any person interested in the answers to the list of questions that I provide should be encouraged to read my book and see if he/she finds my answers convincing.


6. What do you want to achieve with this book?

My main purpose is to show that the nature of humankind can be easily explained and understood with a combination of just two fundamental principles driving our everyday lives and evolution in time. I hope that such simplicity would allow people to liberate themselves from unnecessary illusions, prejudices, constraints and to realise a precious value and unlimited potential of each single individual human life.

Synopsis




What is the unique and most important feature that distinguishes man from all other living beings?

Why is it that, contrary to the instinct of self-preservation, a parent will throw themselves headlong into fire or water to save their child?

Why do people get married and why do they get divorced? Why do people have extra-marital affairs and why do two people in a couple become jealous of one another? What is Love?

When and why did the type of sex emerge among human beings that is free of any reproductive function?

Why are the social and behavioural distinctions between men and women being rapidly erased?

Why, despite everything, is the world becoming more tolerant than it was in previous centuries?

People are born with different intellectual, spiritual and physical capabilities. So why do we assert that all people are equal?

Can the world without violence exist? If not, under what circumstances and to what kind of violence does man have a right? Wherein lies the origin of this right?

Where is the root of our morality? Why do our moral values change over time? Do absolute moral values exist?

Why has Man, on the whole, never observed (or perhaps is incapable of observing) a set of various religious commandments? Should we observe them? Are they the decree of God?

By which “commandments” do we really live our lives and is it possible to formulate them in such a way that we could realistically observe them?

What is Good? And what is Evil? Is there a simple criterion by which one may distinguish Good from Evil?

In which direction is humanity evolving and is it governed by some universal law?

Is there any meaning to life?

Is it possible to give a clear and straightforward answer to all these questions?

It is, in fact, possible!

“The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer” provides a clear and scientifically elegant answer to all the questions listed above. The answer which will cause the reader to reconsider many established moral principles and notions about the world around us. The answer which will help the reader to understand the nature of human actions, dilemmas, dramas and passions, in their true light. The answer which will elucidate the current stage in the development of human civilisation and offer unexpected predictions for its future.

“The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer” is aimed at a wide audience and does not require any specialised knowledge. The author’s thoughts and reflections are presented here in the form of a fictional conversation with God which unfolds over the course of just two hundred pages. The author (PhD in Physics and Mathematics) gives concise and clearly expressed explanations and evidence for his ideas. He cites abundant examples from the world around us which are drawn from his extensive travels through Russia, America, Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

All this makes for an accessible and enjoyable read.


Excerpt: The Last Faith by Karmak Bagisbayev

21 April 2017


Synopsis

The Last Faith

“The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer” provides a clear and convincing answer to all the questions listed above. The answer which will cause the reader to reconsider many established moral principles and notions about the world around us. The answer which will help the reader to understand the nature of human actions, dilemmas, dramas and passions, in their true light. The answer which will elucidate the current stage in the development of human civilisation and offer unexpected predictions for its future.

“The Last Faith: a book by an atheist believer” is aimed at a wide audience and does not require any specialised knowledge. The author’s thoughts and reflections are presented here in the form of a fictional conversation with God which unfolds over the course of just two hundred pages. The author (PhD in Physics and Mathematics) gives concise and clearly expressed explanations and evidence for his ideas. He cites abundant examples from the world around us which are drawn from his extensive travels through Russia, America, Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

All this makes for an accessible and enjoyable read.

About The Author
Karmak Bagisbayev was born on the shores of Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, graduated from Novosibirsk State University and currently holds PhD in physics and mathematics. He has worked and travelled throughout Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. This is his first book. 



Extract

I saw that morality varies from person to person, from group to group, from nation to nation.
And the most interesting thing is that when I began to study history, I realized that morality changes with time. Morality will even shift to its exact opposite when the conditions that once produced it yield to change.
When a new set of circumstances appears it is the people with a highly developed sense of individual freedom of choice that first try to change the status quo. More conservative individuals with a less developed sense of freedom resist change for as long as possible but give up in the end. Man always has freedom of choice, unlike other creatures, who only change their way of life when they are forced to by the natural environment.
Now I understand that the morality which is said to be inherent in God, or, as the atheists prefer to express it, in Nature, naively thinking that replacing the word 'God' with 'Nature' will make them sound more scientifically convincing, does not exist at all!"



Blitz: Wedding Dreams

20 April 2017


Wedding Dreams: 20 Delicious Nuptial Romances
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance
**You are invited to the weddings of your dreams**
Twenty award-winning, USA Today and International best-selling authors have come together to bring you over 3,000 pages of love, lust, and lusciously sexy men.
From sweet second chance romances to bad boys, BBWs, and brides looking for revenge, this is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys Romance or Women’s Fiction. These pages are packed with cozy romances, thrilling international and holiday adventures, and sweet heart-melting stories. Our authors bring you everything from hot cowboys to rockstar romances, elegant weddings to nuptial disasters, and blushing brides to bold women, all in a delightful celebration of love.
You’re in for a wild, passionate ride on a breathtaking voyage to make your heart soar. This box set will leave you craving all things marital and wishing the honeymoon would never end.
Let’s meet a couple of authors from this boxed set!


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Review: Legacy of the Mind buy H.R Moore

19 April 2017





Lux and Legacy of the Mind
H.R. Moore
(The Legacy Trilogy #1)
Publication date: January 2nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Anita has never been ordinary, she’s stuck out like a sore thumb her entire life; not only can she see the energy of others, a rare skill, but she’s won every Body challenge she’s ever entered. So when the powerful, good looking Descendants, Marcus and Alexander, mysteriously arrive in Empire, her difference attracts and keeps their attention.
Once in Empire, the sudden death of ruling Body Descendant, Christiana, sets in motion a number of events; a quest for the treacherous Austin to find the girl Christiana had been looking for; a challenge where Anita stands out more vibrantly than ever before; a perilous dip in the world’s energy; and a dangerous belief among the people that they will never truly be free. Powerful factions soon form within the ruling elite and when a trusted friend and mentor reaches out to ask for Anita’s help, she has to make a choice; help her friend and betray the one she loves, or do nothing and watch the people starve.

Review

I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book and I wasn't disappointed when I started to read

I instantly warmed to misfit Anita and her friends and instantly hated Austin! I loved how she fought against the norm and had a who cares kind of attitude but deep down she had the same insecurities about what people thought and about drawing attention to herself. It made her immediately easier to relate to! 

The only thing I thought that would put me off was the romance factor but actually it was more true to life than you sometimes find in any romance book.

The world building in the book is good and the author is talented at drawing out the readers imagination and I'm pretty sure everyone will have the same image of the impressive temples in there minds eye! 

I'm really interested to carry on with this series! I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Nat

Author Bio:
Harriet was born in Germany in 1987, the family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She lived there until she was 5, her grandfather teaching her the basics of cheating at cards and swindling chocolate, her mother starting to instil a (some would argue) unhealthy relationship with cake, and the neighbours demonstrating that some people don’t understand cherry blossom is there to be picked, mixed with mint and water and sold as perfume.
Then there was Scotland; stealthy guinea pig breeding, riding horses, advanced cards, more cake, then to Devon and school in Exeter. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she’d never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.
At the age of about 12, Harriet started rowing for Exeter Rowing Club. This quickly took over her life and before too long she was clad in lycra, training 6 days a week and competing at events around the country.
After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the ‘people’ elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think), where she currently works as a Project Manager.
Harriet has recently moved to Hertfordshire with her husband Chris and baby Atia. When she isn’t doing DIY, writing, editing, eating, taking photos, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.

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Disclosure: The Pursuit of Bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

Blitz & Giveaway: Forgotten by Kristin Smith

18 April 2017





Forgotten
Kristin Smith
(The Deception Game #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
The epic tale of Sienna Preston continues in this second installment of the exhilarating Deception Game series.
Seventeen-year-old Sienna is no stranger to heartache and loss. But this time, it’s different; someone―or something―has tampered with a loved one’s memories, and she’s determined to get answers.
The trail leads her to the glittering skyscrapers and modern luxuries of Rubex, the Capital of Pacifica, where she infiltrates the government’s Agency for Intelligence and Genetics. But answers are not always easy to come by, especially when her own memories may have been altered. Luckily, Zane Ryder is there to help her put the pieces back together, his devotion and concern muddying the waters between friendship and something more.
When Sienna gets too close to uncovering dark Agency secrets, she’s framed for the murder of a prominent government official, sending her on the run. Sienna’s heart may be torn about who she loves, but none of that really matters anymore―because the only thing that awaits her now is a death sentence.
Grab book 1 for only 99¢!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo
EXCERPT:
“How do you know so much about motorcycles? Did your dad ride?”
She laughs outright at my question. “My dad on a motorcycle? No way. Dad was a mixture of leather, coffee, and books. Not oil, sweat, and grease.”
After lying down on her back, she scoots up next to the bike, checking the rims and spokes to make sure there’s no damage. “It kind of became a hobby of mine after my dad died. Do you know the junkyard off Chantilly? Never mind, of course you don’t. Anyway, I found Harley there when I was looking for some old furniture to decorate our trailer with.” She looks up at me. “We didn’t always live in a trailer, you know.”
I try to hide my surprise. I assumed the opposite. “What happened?”
“After Dad died, Mom became sick. We couldn’t afford to live in our house in the suburbs anymore, so we sold it and everything in it, and found the trailer on the outskirts of town. That’s when I dropped out of school and started taking on odd jobs.”
She says it all with such a matter-of-fact tone, but I sense the truth. It was hard for her. It was more than any teenage girl should have to deal with. But she’s too strong to admit it.
“I don’t know how you did it,” I say.
She sits up, wiping her hands on her shorts. Unconsciously, I find my eyes shifting to her bare legs.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she says. She rises to her feet, straddles the bike, and bounces up and down a little. I can only assume she’s checking the chassis to make sure everything is working properly.
“Anyway,” she says. “When I found Harley, I took her home, researched antique motorcycles, and fixed her up. There’s a shop near the Hollow that sells parts, so that’s where I headed after I got my first paycheck.” She pats her bike fondly. “Never regretted it.”
I watch as she turns the key and the engine roars to life, bringing a brilliant smile to her face. I want to tell her all the ways I think she’s amazing, how she’s unlike any girl I’ve ever met, how I find her beautiful, resourceful, intelligent, and intriguing, but she doesn’t want to hear those things. Not from me anyway.

Author Bio:
Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.

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Blitz: Serenade by Heather McKenzie





Serenade
Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.
Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.
Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…
An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.
EXCERPT:
This was it, now or never.
I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.
I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…
I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…
Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.
“Stop fighting,” he said.
His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.
“Stop… please,” he begged.
His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.
“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.
We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.
“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.
He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”
He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.
“I promise,” I said.

Author Bio:
Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.

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Blitz: Rise of the Sea Witch by Stacey Rourke

17 April 2017





Rise of the Sea Witch
Stacey Rourke
Publication date: June 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.
Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.

Author Bio:
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers' Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015
Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.

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