The Solitary Path Of Courage – M. B. Tosi

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You can be taught how to be ladylike, but courage is always within…

This book is actually the fifth in ‘The Indian Path Series’ so I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn’t know what is going on straight away, however from doing some research each book has its own standalone story that you can enjoy without having read the whole series beforehand. This genre of book is not usually one that I would choose but I’m glad it was brought to my attention as it involves bravery, adventure, hope and discovery. All of these come together to create an in-depth story that give us an insight into how the Old West 1800’s would have been like, hard at the best of times but even harder for a young orphaned woman.

The female protagonist is not the stereotypical ‘tough’ heroine, Sam O’Brien is a strong willed and courageous young lady that has been leading a double life. Being raised by only her father for most of her life she learnt that ‘hiding’ as a male made it safer, especially if she wished to stay close to her father on the railroads construction sites. Not learning how to be ladylike she adapted to the male environment (perhaps not necessarily for the best) which allowed her to have a straightforward talking personality and hard skinned attitude. Once her father passed away she soon learned that in her new family this kind of attitude would not be accepted.

As for the story itself, it really keeps you entertained and educated as we follow Sam on her journey (from orphan to outcast then professional) as we already know Sam is able to disguise herself as a male, after she leaves for Lewiston she becomes a newspaper reporter (being a talented writer already this suits her perfectly). Able to write about the current issues with the Indian’s she makes a name for herself. This story really flows beautifully allowing the reader to become fully engaged with Sam’s journey but also with the characters she meets along the way. It is a fast paced book that is full of adventure that will keep you turning the pages with excitement and intrigue.

As for the educational side of this book, don’t think I mean you will be reading a textbook on Indian history, this is much more exciting than that! It really gives you an insight into how life would have been in that era, especially for young women like Sam but also the Indian tribes. How things such as the gold-rush can cause issues (always the case when money is involved) and how we need to think about other people rather than just ourselves. There will always be conflict in this world but if we choose to be courageous, kind and fair then hopefully we can live in peace with one another.

This story really comes to life, making you feel what Sam is feeling. The grief for her father, the anger for her stepbrother, the fear of the unknown and the happiness of discovery. It really is a whirlwind of emotions that you feel when you read this book, painting the story in your mind (from imagining hiding from the Indians in the haystack, to working as a man on the railway site to journey’s into the unknown towns). A good book gives you all of these things, this one most definitely allows your imagination to run wild!

I must say that I will be reading the rest of the series (even if I’ve done it a bit backwards) as I really think that the writing style and story line that M. B. Tosi has created really speaks out to me and I wish to see what else she has in store.

Until next time…

Bio: M. B. Tosi
M.B. TOSI is a bestselling author of The Indian Path Series, which includes five books, The Sacred Path of Tears, The Secret Path of Destiny, The Crimson Path of Honor, The Thundering Path of Spirit, and The Solitary Path of Courage. She also has been an editor of non-fiction books and a weekly newspaper. She teaches piano and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education. Born in Pierre, South Dakota, she has lived in Alexandria, Virginia; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio. She has three children, five grandchildren, and a spunky Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ava.

Joyful Trouble – Patricia Furstenberg

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What a joy this book is…

This book is actually the first ‘children’ book I’ve reviewed and I got worried that being in my early 20’s I wouldn’t be able to connect with it. How wrong I was! This book brings so much joy (pun intended) that I would highly recommend to anyone no matter your age. As I’m a dog lover this book was already something I was looking forward too, as I prepared myself to falling in love with Joyful Trouble I was taken on a beautiful journey that Patricia Furstenberg created.

As mentioned before I am a dog lover, which made this story really hit home as we are shown that even the biggest of breeds (Great Dane) can be gentle giants, even if they are a little mischievous. This story follows the journey of Joyful Trouble, a Great Dane that serves in the Navy due to his love of the seamen. Showing true friendship between man and ‘beast’ we see how humans rely on dogs for more than just companionship but for specific services too.

The story itself flows beautifully, narrated by the granddad of two small children (Ana and Tommy) who tells the tale as part of bedtime stories. As we flick between the granddad reminiscing of his time in the Navy (alongside Joyful Trouble) and current time with his family after he has retired you get to see fully how Joyful Trouble effected so many people throughout the years. The writing style is aimed at young children yet still emphasised the important areas needed to make sense of the story, reflecting that of a bedtime story really gives this book a clean and easy reading opportunity with room to get completely engrossed and captivated (bringing me back to my childhood when I got read bedtime stories!).

The key to a good book is not getting bored, connecting with characters or the story and feeling a sense of happiness when finished. Joyful Trouble produced all of these, I knew that the story wasn’t too long but happily finished it in two sittings (only pausing due to work or sleep) but I did try to prolong the reading experience as long as possible. As for the connection, it made me nostalgic – bringing me back to my childhood where I fell in love with reading due to the stories my parents would read to me. The happiness is due to the book being so well written and even with it being based on a true event added that twist of original creativity that allows you to laugh, cry and love alongside the characters.

Personally this story would be wonderful to read to your own children but also if you’re looking for a book that you want to make you smile then Joyful Trouble is the one for you. No matter your age, anyone can benefit from reading this gem of a book! Honestly I would be happy to read more of Patricia Furstenberg’s work and hopefully find some more beautiful stories.

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘Joyful Trouble’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Patricia Furstenberg
Patricia Furstenberg came to writing through reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. She loves to write children’s stories and poems about amazing animals. She believes each creature has a story and a voice, if only we stop to listen. She writes the ‘Sunday Dog Tales’ column for mypuppyclub.net, an Australian website shortlisted for Australia’s Top Influencers Award. Patricia is passionate about children’s right to read and she often writes on this topic for The Huffington Post South Africa.

The Calling – Louise White

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Portal travel can lead you down a dangerous road…

I always love finding a good fantasy book that is different and really stands out, it is quite hard as there are so many books out there that follow similar story lines which can get quite repetitive and predicable. The Calling is not one of those books, it’s such a refreshing narrative and story that really draws you in and gives you hours of escaping your own reality and following the life of Carolyn our strong willed female protagonist. I had no issues getting into this book and got taken on a journey that crosses realms, encounters demons and involves a romantic twist, a little bit of everything you’d need to enjoy a fantasy novel!

The story follows our female heroine Carolyn, who has lost her mother and brother to another realm and spends years in the unknown about her new found ‘magical’ powers. Being drawn to the gateways to complete tasks of killing demons she becomes ‘The Destroyer’ without having much insight into why she does this ‘job’. The book itself is quite confusing to begin with, especially as it flicks between the present/past and Carolyn’s internal thoughts but once you’ve sussed out what section your reading it does flow quite nicely. The story is full of amazing detail that really brings the story to life and creates the perfect balance of realism and fantasy!

The characters are something that really stood out for me, we see a lot of Carolyn and her strong feminine attitude which gets broken down somewhat by the demon Note who unexpectedly takes our protagonists heart (romantically of course) but the character development is brilliant! You really feel connected to each character you meet and understand their purpose in this book to the full, blending the bonds of friendship and love with some key characters along the way (Ethan) you really get a wide variety of people and each one stood out on their own, connecting with you on a personal level.

Mystery and confusion are two things that spring to mind when I thought about describing this book, the mystery side of it is due to never truly knowing what will happen next (always on your toes) but also being slightly sceptical of some characters and their motives, wondering if a character is actually right for our main lead and judging people before we truly understand them. All of these aspects make you so hooked to this book it’s unreal, I never wanted to put it down as I was always hoping to get more information on the next page! Confusion is another description due to this being the first novel in the series I’m hoping some of my questions will be answered, especially how the book ended I am desperate to find out more!

Overall I would say if you are a fan of fantasy I would highly recommend this book as Louise G. White has created a world (or two) that you can get lost in! This book has a bit of everything for everyone and is so well written I cannot wait to read the next novel in the Gateway series! The story line is flawless and really grabs your attention straight away, you won’t be putting this book down at any point until you’ve finished it!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘The Calling’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Louise G. White
The scenic west coast of Scotland is where she lives with her family. She didn’t set out to write Fantasy, but when she sat with her laptop to begin The Calling, It became apparent that she still believed in Bogey Men, the Monster in the cupboard and of course, the Faeries at the bottom of our garden. Suddenly she found that she was writing a story of heroes who could be found both on our doorsteps and in the realms that lie beyond.

The White Raven – Carrie D. Miller

Do you believe in magic?

Before I even begin with my review of The White Raven I must admit to being very excited to read it (little kid at Christmas kind of excited) as this book follows a similar genre to one of my all-time favourite books! As soon as I started to read The White Raven, I couldn’t put it down. It captivated me right from the beginning (as if by magic) and all the way through I couldn’t stop smiling as I went on this amazing journey Carrie D. Miller provided!

Now, on with the review…

Firstly, we follow the life of Aven Dovenelle (a real witch) who is cursed to live life after life with all her memories of her previous lives (including her horrific deaths). Straight away Aven’s character is so intriguing, wanting to know more about her curse and her new life in Salem I didn’t have a problem in following her story word for word. In her thirteenth life she seems to have found some peace with her endless curse, having her own shop to sell magical items and true friends by her side, I loved reading about Aven’s journey and truly felt as if I knew her, understood her pain, her frustration, her love and friendships.

The prospect of this book turning into a romance genre wasn’t entirely a bad thing (who doesn’t love a good romance) but as it already has fantasy, magic, friendship and tragedy muddled within, it gave this book a perfect mixture to satisfy all readers. The relationships that Aven encounters (Calvin being one) really proves that love can be hard to come by when you are different, but Aven inspired me by proving everyone wrong that a strong independent woman (witch) can have happiness and I was swept up with the romance that blossomed between her and Cal (even if there were a few rocky patches!).

One part I thoroughly enjoyed throughout (it is very hard to pick just one!) was the chapters where the White Raven (Ren) had an inner monologue, it was a very unique writing style and quite frankly a brilliant way to tie up the relationship between Aven and the White Raven, showing a softer side to her as well as giving us some insight into how she felt about Aven and the struggle they both must go through! How there relationship whilst somewhat a mystery proved to be something much more powerful and inspiring. It broke up the usual narrative perfectly and really gave me a different side to the story that I was very grateful for!

Learning about the curse was a huge shock! Although a few twists were put in place which completely threw me. I honestly didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t imagine it being announced any better, no spoilers will be mentioned but I was completely in awe of how the whole book finished…

I think that the book was written beautifully and honestly I don’t think my words can do it justice, I do feel as if The White Raven is a perfect read if you wish to escape reality and enter a world of magic, curses and friendships. My only downside would be that it wasn’t longer (but fingers are crossed for a sequel). I will most definitely be looking out for any other books Carrie D. Miller brings out because her writing is truly wonderful!

Until next time…

If you wish to read The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller yourself you can pre-order it on Amazon here. The official release date is April 1st.

Bio: Carrie D. Miller
Carrie D. Miller was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on October 31, 1970. She credits her vivid imagination, as well as her sugar addiction, to being a Halloween baby. In a former life, she was an executive in the software industry for many years. Her career in the technology world included software product management, website design, training, and technical writing just to name a few. Although Carrie’s written a great deal over the decades which has been read by thousands of people, software documentation allows for about as much creativity as pouring cement. At the age of 45, she decided to chuck it all to become an author which had been a life-long dream.

There Is Always More To Say – Lynda Spiro

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Love and friendship never really end…

For a lazy Sunday afternoon I couldn’t have asked for a better book to get lost in! This book really does make you think and even got me to reminisce on my own past friendships. Before reading this book I had done some research into it and discovered that it wouldn’t be written in a way that I have come across before, however this just made me even more intrigued to see a different style of writing and what it could have in store for me.

Firstly I must point out the use of inspirational quotes that are used at the beginning and end of each ‘chapter’ – they really enhance the reading experience but also compliment that which has been discussed in the chapter. After reading this book you really do feel a sense of enlightenment and the quotes just make it that little bit extra to stand out from the crowd of ‘normal’ book writing styles. Safe to say I may have to use some of them in any future writing I do!

The literary style almost feels as if it is a memoir of the narrator (or even a diary) as the book follows a stream of thoughts, feelings and past experiences that seem deeply personal to the narrator. However this is done in such a way that you feel you’ve gone on this journey with them and laughed, loved and cried through every step. This book could be challenged as a typical love story but digging deeper it is so much more, you really feel connected to the characters and can relate to experiences they’ve had regarding ‘first love’ and ‘true friendships’.

As for the characters there is an air of mystery as you never get to know their names, always keeping you guessing and allowing your own imagination to take off, which personally is a very clever writing strategy. I kept wanting to know more, as my questions never got fully answered, but throughout this journey of a book it really brought a smile to my face as it was just on a level that everyone could enjoy.

Being quite a short story you would have no problem curling up for an afternoon and really getting lost in it (I most certainly couldn’t put it down!). I can’t wait to see what Lynda Spiro does next as her writing style has most definitely captivated me!

Until next time…

If you want to read ‘There Is Always More To Say’ yourself you can purchase it on Amazon by following the link here.

Bio: Lynda Spiro
Lynda Young Spiro is a mixed media artist whose love of textiles, found objects and recyclable materials are incorporated into her colourful work. Lynda was born in 1959 in Hampstead, London, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Lynda’s previous book Latch-Hooking Rugs is published by A & C Black. There is Always More to Say is her award-wining first novel, which has since been recognised by Chill With A Book, Shelf Unbound, and Hollywood Book Festival.