Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1) By Claudette Melanson Review!

 

Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1) (2014) By Claudette Melanson is a really compelling character-driven book.

The story follows young vampire Maura as she goes on her journey to discovering this facet of herself. Along the way, the teenager has the usual teenage experiences such as bullying, trying to belong and finding love while trying to find herself. Maura is an incredibly likeable character who is easy to relate to from times gone by. She is very much not one-dimensional and we really get to know about her character and her life throughout the story including her highs and her lows. She is definitely not the ‘typical’ teenager and that has nothing to do with her being a vampire. She is very much a more nerdy, geeky and introspective teenager who loves books, learning and music and yet she has her more wilder, adventurous side too. Yeah, I could remember that I was a bit like that too, still am actually only older. She is very believable and easy to root for. She just seems like a real person, not a stereotype.

She finds herself worrying for her mother in the book. Her mother is struggling since her father left in very mysterious circumstances which adds a glorious mystery element to the story alongside the romance, drama, sci-fi, fantasy and the occasional bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. There is a kind of vibe where both Maura and her mother take on the ‘parent’ role at different moments in the book and it’s truly lovely because you know they will always be there for each other and are super close.

The book deals with many important issues such as bullying and finding yourself. Maura faces some struggles in terms of bullying from some nasty teenagers who get a kick out of being cruel. Add into all this she is finding out who she is, is worried about her health and is like most teenagers mostly making a mountain out of a molehill. Although to be fair, a lot of her issues are anything but typical so she’s entitled to worry a bit. Among all of this, she meets Ron and falls head over heels in love with him and vice versa. Their romance has a very insta-love feel which I didn’t mind at all but might not be for everyone. But they are very sweet together and the author conveys very well how much they care about each other. I also really like the friendships they share with their friends and it’s nice to see those relationships grow as well.

This is an amazing book, so well-written, really enthralling. My only flaw with it and it’s a small thing but I did find it strange when Ron ran back to the computer when his Mum, who has cancer, was after collapsing to inform Maura of what had happened. Sure he left it on and went to his Mum which saved the scene a bit and I got that the writer was trying to show how much he cared for Maura in the scene but I just can’t see that happening.

That aside, I loved the book. The author is so unbelievably talented and delves into so much in this book and gets it all across very well. I also loved a lot of the references because a lot of them were from my youth and early adulthood. It doesn’t specifically say what years the book took place in but I recognized most of the music references and scenes, etc … so I found that cool and didn’t feel thick!

Fantastic cover art too by Rachel Montreuil.

It’s a fantastic read and I recommend you should give it a chance.

To get your free copy of Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1) By Claudette Melanson go to:

https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Tide-Innocence-DeLuca-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00IHN4S00/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=claudette+melanson&qid=1585073227&s=digital-text&sr=1-1


For more about Claudette Melanson and her work go to:

http://www.claudettemelanson.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7881896.Claudette_Melanson

https://twitter.com/Bella623

And for more about Rachel Montreuil and their work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14319998.Rachel_Montreuil

Wolf Pack Dancers: Prose and Poems By Charles Frankhauser Review!

WOLF PACK DANCERS: Prose and Poems

 

 

Wolf Pack Dancers: Prose and Poems (2020) by Charles Frankhauser is a wonderful short read.

Set in New York, the book has an interesting plot line where three people who are homeless take care of a wolf pup and decide to dance with a wolf in order to save wild wolves from becoming extinct. The author has a very original style of writing and puts the story together in a way you don’t always see which works very well here.

The book raises much awareness of animal extinction and the welfare of wild animals especially wolves so that was great to see. It has a great message wrapped up in an entertaining read and journey with these characters.

It’s quite short so it can read in one or two sittings. Mine was personally two sittings and I found the book really enjoyable, fun and interesting. It’s something a bit different which I appreciated.

Great short read.

 

To purchase Wolf Pack Dancers: Prose and Poems By Charles Frankhauser go to:

 

And for more about Charles Frankhauser and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/ccgfabellsouthnet

https://twitter.com/CharlesFrankha1

Making Trouble (Battle Ground #0) By Rachel Churcher Review!

Making Trouble (Battle Ground #0)

 

Making Trouble (Battle Ground #0) (2019) by Rachel Churcher is a wonderful introduction to the author’s Battle Ground series.

The book follows protagonist Topher MacKenzie who is facing many huge issues at just fifteen years old. His Mum is now living in Australia and he is living with his father in the UK following his parents’ split and his girlfriend is been forced to leave the UK after a racist, xenophobic attack where there was prejudice about her being Muslim too. Caught in a world where people he loves tend to have to leave for one reason or another, Topher is feeling a lack of security and a mounting fear about the future. Add into this his wonderful moral compass for trying to make things right and fair and you have a character with a lot on his plate especially for someone so young. But he is strong but he also shows his vulnerability and these two things mixed together make him a very relateable character who is easy to like.

The cast of characters in this story are great. Alongside Topher, his parents and his girlfriend we have his auntie Charlie, her boyfriend and a host of characters who are involved with Charlie and her boyfriend in trying to make things equal and fair even if it is not always by the right means. The author really strikes the right tone however in showing how they are pushed into these methods by an increasing unjust system and prejudiced attitudes.

The twist at the end of this book is outstanding. I did not see it coming at all and the writer really managed to throw everyone off the scent there so a great bit of a mystery element there which I very much appreciated.

There is great emotion placed between a great plot here. You get super engrossed in a story which is talking about serious issues and very much invested in the characters.

A brilliant read and a great introduction to the series and the characters.

To get your free copy of Making Trouble (Battle Ground #0) by Rachel Churcher go to:

https://freebook.tallerbooks.com/

 

And for more about Rachel Churcher and her work go to:

http://tallerbooks.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/rachelchurcherwriting

https://twitter.com/Rachel_Churcher

The Coronavirus

Image result for the coronavirus

 

 

We are living through some really strange times right now. Every day it feels like the gloom is getting worse and worse as we worry what will come next with the Coronavirus. Currently here in the Republic of Ireland, we have taken many precautions as we all try to get through this. The schools and other educational institutions have closed, many work places have closed and pubs have closed. All social gatherings have been cancelled including all St. Patrick’s Day parades. Most of us are all mostly saying indoors apart from going out to get some groceries and back in again. The shops have many empty shelves which show the physical impact of this pandemic. I think our government have handled this very hard and frightening situation very well. Everyone is just doing the best they can in a very bad and unpredictable situation.

My mum, my sister and I live in a small house and we are distancing ourselves into what we call zones. My mum is older and she has many health issues and my sister has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure. While I could probably fight off the Coronavirus easier than either of them because I am in quite good health, I fear passing it on to them as their immune systems, especially my mum’s, might not be able to fight it off as easily. It is utterly scary and right now we are all just checking the symptoms trying to figure out how we are feeling and thankfully so far none of us have the symptoms. The thing I miss the most is hugging my mum and sister or giving them a kiss on the cheek but we’re doing all we can do to protect each other. 

Most people are taking this issue seriously and thank god for that because we are all in this together like our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in his speech. You will always get a few people who will go against the advice with no valid reason behind doing so but I am thankful that the vast majority who can do so is heeding the advice. Obviously there is many people who are in situations where they must go to work and have no other option. It looks like some funding will be put in place for people so that they can keep themselves and those they love and other people safe from the virus without taking chances they are forced to take so it is wonderful to hear that those measures are going to come in. Our healthcare workers have been amazing as have many healthcare workers all over the world. Each day many of these people are putting themselves at risk to help others which is so brave even if they don’t think so themselves and we all appreciate you all and everything you all do so much.

There is so many in scary situations in the world. You think of homeless people, stray animals, people in prison and people who are going through mental health issues. We have a choice to stay inside and create zones which many don’t have that choice and right now not having that choice is scary. It is scary enough with the choice. I just hope people are been looked out for in their situations. I am also very passionate about mental health and there is a lot of people going through issues with no one to talk to about their issues right now and I hope they can just keep themselves as well as they can. This situation is also not great for peoples’ mental health either. I just hope everyone is keeping well.

I wasn’t really sure how to go about writing this blog post because how do you write about something which is scaring the shit out of yourself and practically everyone else. I don’t want to unintentionally add to that fear and yet I want to somehow express my thoughts because writing always helps me do that. I wanted to offer some encouragement even though I don’t know what the hell to do myself apart from take all the necessary precautions like washing my hands, not touching my face (which is so difficult), isolate myself into my zone, keep myself informed and practice social distancing and that’s all we can do. So, in the end I just said to myself that I can only say what is happening in my life and what I’m feeling.

Though we are all scared, confused, unsure we must have hope through this time of fear and uncertainty. If we can, we need to get our heads away from what is happening and do something we enjoy, catch up on work we need to catch up on and relax as best we can. I can only send you all so many positive vibes at this time and hope that this situation rectifies itself and that this virus becomes part of history sooner rather than later even though that looks like it is going to be a while till that happens. Sending you all much love and thoughts, to you and yours and keep your loved ones and yourself safe. Look after yourselves and those you love everyone.

If there is any positive message to take from this whole pandemic it is that life is the most important thing and must be protected at all costs ahead of everything else like profit and the like.

Rest in peace to all those who have died from this virus. I send my condolences to all their loved ones. My thoughts are also with those suffering with the virus and their loved ones.

Colombiano By Rusty Young Review!

Colombiano

 

Colombiano (2017) by Rusty Young is an incredibly powerful read.

The book is a fictional story but is based on the author’s own life experiences of working in an undercover capacity in counter terrorism for the US government.

The book follows the story of Guerrilla groups and the army in Colombia. We meet 15 year old Pedro Gutiérrez who finds himself caught up in a situation where child soldiers are been pressured into joining these Guerrilla groups for numerous different reasons. Gutiérrez’s life is turned upside down when he witnesses his father being murdered in front of him by a Guerrilla group because of letting the army have water which leads to him and his mother being put out of their home and farm. They are not let bury his body or get a priest to pray for him. Left in a desperate situation and filled with grief, guilt and pain, Gutiérrez vows to get revenge for his father’s death. He and his best friend Palillo join a terrorist organization called the Autodefencas and here he learns what he needs to be the murderer he wishes to be in a bid to get revenge for his father’s death.

This is a long book and you certainly won’t read it in one sitting. It might take quite a few sittings. It’s heavy so it is probably best to read it in parts too because of that. But it is engrossing, enthralling and very interesting but really sad too. The chapters are not long though so it an easy book to dip in and out of and not forget where you stopped.

The writing is brilliant and you can tell it is an extremely well researched book. Young shows the fear people face in a society filled with violence, revenge and lack of freedom. Highly poignant and upsetting is the way we see a snapshot of what Pedro’s life could be if he wasn’t caught up in this situation of so many people filled with hate who are starved for power. Inbetween the heartbreak of this book especially in the earlier chapters we see happier moments with Pedro and his parents, Pedro and his girlfriend Camilla and Pedro and his best friend Palillo. But he is forced to see things so young that some people never see in their lives and it ultimately changes his future.

This book is deeply eye-opening and thought-provoking. It is so heartbreaking and terrifying but so powerful and a story that needed to be told so much kudos to the author for doing so.

Very much recommended. An incredible read.

I would highly recommend this book and I would like to thank Lily Green at Havelock & Baker Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.

 

To purchase Colombiano by Rusty Young go to:

 

And for more about Rusty Young and his work go to:

http://www.rusty-young.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24214.Rusty_Young

 

Our Shared Story By CJ McCormick Review!

Our Shared Story

Our Shared Story (2019) by CJ McCormick is the debut novel by the author.

The book is a beautifully written romance about best friends to lovers Cassie and Craig. While the idea is a plot which has been seen before, don’t be fooled by that. The author has written a story here which has a fresh, modern take on the idea and has characters you get invested in and want to see things work out for them. There is clearly much background that dictates the emotions and the reactions that these characters have in the book, much of which is probably not in the book which is a great sign of very fleshed out characters.

Both these characters have their ups and downs which is very realistic of life and helps readers relate more to them. I love the way we get to know both characters individually as the chapters are written from each of their perspectives and that gives you as a reader a better idea of the dynamics at play when they come together. You understand both of them and you want them to understand each other. Their battle to be together is a long journey which you find yourself swept up in like the best friend who wishes to advise and help but knows your advice and help is not going to help much at all!

Craig and Cassie have a gorgeous connection. The book is so interesting, mostly because of the two lead characters who drive it along. It is a very character-driven book which are my favourite type of books.

Amazing read.

To purchase Our Shared Story by CJ McCormick go to:

And for more about CJ McCormick and their work go to:

https://cjmccormick.com/

https://twitter.com/CJMcCormickA

Thoughts About RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12

Image result for rupaul's drag race season 12

 

If you are a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you will be very aware that quite a lot has come out recently regarding contestants participating in season 12 of the show which began airing just over two weeks ago. The season had previously been billed and expected to be the ‘nice queen’ season and the series of ‘RuPaul’s Best Friend Race’. Well that really went tits up, didn’t it?

Firstly, Sherry Pie has been disqualified from the season with rumours that she allegedly made the final, after statements made by several men saying she sexually harrassed them came to light. Using the fake name of Alison Mossey (apparently a top name in the acting business), Sherry tricked many men (nine at the last count) into believing they were going to land a huge part if they took steroids and were filmed engaging in sexual behavior such as masturbation. As her real name Joey she was encouraging them to trust in the fictious Allison Mossey with the aim being to saisify her own sexual pleasure via using their dreams to make a better life for themselves.

Secondly, an identified man has told how he was sexually assaulted by Brita Filter after a night out. The man was Brita’s drag daughter at the time and much like Sherry Pie’s victims was trying to make a better life for himself. Brita has not been disqualified because Sherry admitted to the claims and Brita has denied the man’s story.

In addition to all of this, contestants Dahlia Sin and Aiden Zhane have been embroiled in controversy following transphobic social media posts they made in the past. Though these situations are obviously very serious, they are obviously not in the same league of terribleness as the two previous situations discussed. However I think it is important to put the spotlight on how wrong and problematic their words were as well. Dahlia has never apologized for her opinions on this matter. However Aiden has apologized and has spoken about how she has changed and grown since that time and for that I commend her. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s something many people never do and I applaud her courage and fairness to do that. While I am the first person who will call out dodgy opinions, I am also the first person who doesn’t believe in holding grudges against people when they truly appear like that is no longer who they are or how they think. If someone is being a better version of themselves than their past self then kudos to them and I wish Aiden all the best and thank her for her kindness to do so and to publicly state that she was wrong and she sees things differently now. I know many people will appreciate that.

But now back to the two situations involving Sherry and Brita. I think the producers of Drag Race firstly were very responsible in their handling of the Sherry Pie situation. She was very promptly disqualified and will not appear at the finale. With the news breaking so late, I have a lot of sympathy for them in the regard of editing because it is difficult to edit a whole season I would imagine which is already in the can. I don’t think it’s going to happen but personally I wouldn’t mind them delaying the season for a bit and editing it. However I won’t hold it against them regardless of what they decide because it must be a nightmare situation for a producer and I would not like to be in their shoes right now. I think (and all of the elimination order is unconfirmed) that Brita did not make the final so there was probably no need to disqualify her. However, I believe she will be appearing at the finale and that’s problematic in and of itself. Even if you were to take the statement as false, it’s still plobematic with that being out there and the possibility that it could be true swimming about.

My stance is with the people who are the victims in these two situations. Before I get into my thoughts on this, I want to give you all a little background on myself and the way I think with these situations as we are dealing with extremely serious issues here. Anyone who knows me knows I do not instantly take that stance. I don’t take a stance instantly with the accused either for that matter. I’m not a person who thinks I’m a terrible person because I don’t instantly take a victim’s allegations at face value and I equally do not say everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of the Me Too movement either. And I acknowledge a million per cent that more often than not most victims from statistics are telling the truth. However I am a writer and I also like to be fair to both sides before I form my opinion (and then it’s very hard to change my mind but that’s another story). So the writer in me done my research on these two cases to the best of my ability because obviously I don’t know the people involved on either side of either of the situations. I have also being a victim of an incident where I was touched in a sexual way and I think it’s important that I speak about that in a future blog because this sort of predatory behavior is rampant in every area of life. But just to be clear here, I have took a stance with people who have been accused of things like this who I didn’t believe did it too so my experience does not cloud my judgment in these issues.

But in these two cases, I believe these men who have come forward. My heart breaks for them that they went through these situations and I admire their courage to speak out with all the fears that must have been attached to doing so. It’s a truly frightening, violating thing to go through in any of it’s many forms and I respect their courage in telling these stories that they probably wish they could just bury deep in the ground and pretend didn’t happen. The fact that they know they will probably have to repeat these stories over and over or be asked to in any case must be incredibly draining. It must feel like partially reliving a trauma that you just wish you could leave behind. Don’t get me wrong, the platform they have to highlight this behavior is great and hopefully it helps many people but you kind of want to talk about very bad memories like this in your life on your own terms and in a way that I would imagine gets a bit took away and that can be scary. You don’t know who to trust. Are they using it for sensation or are they truly interested in highlighting the issue? I hope they have some good people around them.

I have to applaud the support these men have got from so many people. Whether that’s queens who have been on the show previously, the wider queer community or the wider community of people in general. People have been outraged and while that’s to be expected, people have been very vocal in comdemning that this type of behavior is not acceptable. I will say that it could be a bit more vocal about Brita but I appreciate that for a lot of people they might be nervous to say something about that because Brita has denied the allegations and in short, it’s a more frightening situation for many people to comment on because of that regardless of their own personal feelings on it. But to that man, thank you for sharing your story and know that a lot of people including me believe you for what that’s worth.

To make another point, I know a lot of people are worried about how this is going to reflect our queer community to people outside it. And sure a lot of bigoted people will take this as fodder to store away in their press of why it’s wrong to be queer. But the person who touched me inappropriately was not a member of the queer community. My point is not that people outside the community are always but that the actions of particular people in or out of the community do not reflect the majority of people in or out of the community. Most of us humans would find this kind of behavior deplorable and thank god for that.

I would like to say one thing and I want to preface this by saying this excuses nothing in either Sherry or Brita’s situations but be careful because you are still dealing with people. Over this side of the water, we have recently seen presenter Caroline Flack take her own life due to negative press attention and online trolls. Though Caroline’s situation is immensely different from what we are discussing here, the same humanity rules apply. By all means, have your freedom of speech. I am completely in favour of that. But sending hate and death threats to a person is not what I mean when I say that. If you find yourself in a bar and you’re hanging out with either of them and you want to debate it, go right ahead. You’re one person against one person and sure be passionate but don’t be cruel. But the internet is one person against thousands, millions. Think before you type or in particular tag someone with something very vicious because the mind is very fragile and if you are any kind of person you do not want someone’s death on your hands or to tremendously add to making someone have bad mental health issues. Comdemn by all means but be mindful of how you do so. Don’t lose the run of yourself. There is a human at the other end of that communication with insecurities like us all and please don’t forget that. I reiterate that by saying this I don’t condone the behavior. In fact I’m disgusted by it. I’m only saying be careful because even though I deplore their behavior and I don’t like them, I don’t want anything to happen to happen to anyone.

I also want to say that there is queens in this season who are kind, good and this is their big opportunity to show the world their talent. I feel so terrible for them and hope that the events which have happened will not overshadow their moment to the extent that no one will notice the output of wonderfulness they put out there. Let’s put the spotlight on their achievements too and not let this overshadow how brilliant they are. I wish them all the best. It is hard watching certain people in the cast for sure but let that not take away from the amazing queens who are simply trying to get on, spread great messages and entertain us.

I stand with the people who are victims of these situations. I hope that they find some closure and peace even though I know you never find true closure and peace when you have been in a situation like this. As a victim of this sort of thing, I thank you all for speaking out but just as a person in general I thank you all for speaking out. You are all amazing for doing so and even more amazing for doing so because you all probably don’t think you are amazing for doing so. But there is a lot of us out here who are so glad you did because it highlights what a lot of us have went through and have to deal with, forget, achieve and pretend like the thought of that moment or for others moments in time doesn’t affect us when we think about it. For all those who speak out, thank you. For all those who don’t, don’t for one second think I don’t (for what it’s worth) think you are also amazing because you fight through it too and that is amazing whether you ever say it out or not. Situations are different and I’m very well aware of that. But thank you to these men because you are speaking out for a lot of us, making us feel less alone and for what it’s worth I totally believe you and I hope you all get the justice you deserve and you can somehow move on from all of this and be successful and utterly fabulous.

My Tips For Cheltenham 2020!

animal close up country countryside

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tuesday

1.30 Captain Guinness 14/1
2.10 Put The Kettle On 16/1
2.50 Vintage Clouds 33/1
3.30 Sharjah 14/1
4.10 Elfile 22/1
4.50 Precious Cargo 14/1
5.30 Ocean Cove 33/1

Wednesday

1.30 Easywork 16/1
2.10 Slate House 16/1
2.50 Franco De Port 16/1
3.30 Politologue 33/1
4.10 Might Bite 14/1
4.50 Group Stage 20/1
5.30 Darling Daughter 16/1 and Five Bar Brian 40/1

Thursday

1.30 Midnight Shadow 20/1
2.10 Alrightjack 66/1
2.50 Aso 25/1
3.30 Penhill 12/1 and Apple’s Jade 14/1
4.10 Pleasant Company 33/1
4.50 Rosie and Millie 25/1
5.30 Cabaret Queen 16/1

Friday

1.30 Burning Victory 16/1
2.10 Dostal Phil 20/1
2.50 Aione 20/1
3.30 Monalee 25/1
4.10 Shantou Flyer 7/1
4.50 Duke of Navan 20/1
5.30 My Sister Sarah 14/1

Yule Be Sorry By Brooke Saylor Review!

 

Yule Be Sorry (2019) by Brooke Saylor is a wonderful Christmas holiday novella.

Yes Christmas is gone for another year but that doesn’t mean a good Yuletime read should be put to one side! This great read has a great winter feel to it in any case and is a perfect read to sit down with a warm cup of tea and feel warm despite the cold weather of the plot.

In the book, we meet seventeen-year-old Ariella who is a closeted witch. She is currently trying to learn how to control her powers which seem to be causing a storm in the city she lives in. She is searching for answers about her ancestors and her magical powers. Her best friend is Remy who she attends high school with. She is secretly in love with him and he with her. But he also has secrets of his own.

I very much enjoyed the story. It was very well put together, flowed with ease. All the characters are great and add something to the plot but Remy is my favourite. Introverted, determined and all round amazing!

This story was a very good short which has a strong plot to it and the follow up if longer could prove to be a brilliant book.

Very interesting, great read.

 

To purchase Yule Be Sorry by Brooke Saylor go to:

 

And for more about Brooke Saylor and her work go to: