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Monday, February 8, 2016

Voice of the Spirit by Charlotte Raine (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)



This is the first book in the Trinity of Death trilogy. Check out all the rest here!

Voice of the Spirit: A Trinity of Death Series by Charlotte Raine
Category: Adult fiction, 150 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Arrabella Publishing
Release date: January 30, 2016
Content Rating: PG 13 + M

Book Description:

Tobias and Lauren have been together for four months since the end of Do You Want to Play. They’ve found rhythm in their relationship, but that rhythm comes to an abrupt stop when a body is found nailed to a cross inside Pious Church.

As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.​

Buy the book: Amazon

To follow the spotlight tour, please visit Charlotte Raine's page on iRead Book Tours.


Meet the author:



​Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? for Feb 8



Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

So two weeks ago I announced that we got a puppy, and boy...has it been quite the journey so far. I now have another kid in the house! People take one look at my face and say, "Hang in there! It will get easier..." So it's starting to get easier and Rocky is getting used to our schedule and family life. :-) Mamma mia...

One new book in my mailbox this week! This one sounds so good. Just what I need...

A Year in the Company of Freaks by Teresa Neumann

It's 1972 and a seismic clash-of-cultures is rattling northern California. In the redneck town of Trinity Springs, rumors of hippies migrating up from San Francisco have residents bracing for an invasion. When Italian-American hometown boy and Berkeley graduate Sid Jackson is busted for growing pot on his deceased parents' farm, locals suspect the assault has begun. Will a crazy deferral program devised by the sheriff keep Sid out of prison? Or will a house full of eccentric strangers, a passionate love interest, and demons from his past be his undoing? A "disarmingly appealing" tale of discrimination, transformation and restoration, Freaks is bursting with intrigue, drama, comic relief and romance. Reviewers agree this five-star, coming-of-age classic "very much reflects the attitude and mood of the times."







It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Posts From Last Two Weeks:

To Be a Child by Debra Schoenberger (beautiful photography book!)






Friday, February 5, 2016

The Greatest Prospector in the World: A Historically Accurate Parable on Creating Success in Sales, Business & Life by Ken Dunn (Review & Giveaway)


This is a must-read for entrepreneurs who want success in their respective business.

The Greatest Prospector in the World: A Historically Accurate Parable on Creating Success in Sales, Business & Life by Ken Dunn
ISBN: 9781629030753
Published: April 26, 2016
Published by: Next Century Publishing
Hardcover, 198 pages
Content Rating: G



Book Description: 


Laura Dunagan was born in the gold prospecting days of rustic Alaska in the early 1900's. When Laura was 14 years old her father was trapped under a mudslide while prospecting in a nearby river and died. Laura was forced to move to Chicago in the care of her rich Uncle Joe. Laura hated Uncle Joe because he forced her to leave the river, but also because he had left the family prospecting business to move to Chicago years before she was born. Laura discovers that Uncle Joe made his fortune selling insurance and was the owner of the largest insurance company in Illinois. While wandering through the mansion one day, she found Uncle Joe's personal den. In it she discovered an entire new life that would lead her to heights that she would never have realized panning for gold in Alaska. Uncle Joe used the 6 gold prospecting rules for safety to prospect new clients for his insurance company and in doing so, discovered the secrets to wealth in selling.



Book Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

This is a self-help, educational and historical fiction work that I enjoyed reading. 

Laura grows from a disgruntled pre-teen to a successful businesswoman under the tutelage of her rich Uncle Joe. It's easy to like Laura and the reader is anxious to find out what kind of adult she will become. Underpinning it all are the six family secrets her grandfather and uncle used to become successful in business. It's stuff that most of us know but don't usually put into practice. Even if one isn't starting a business, the six principles apply in life also. For example, Uncle Joe tells her "You need to ask yourself: what is your desire, what outcome do you want, and why do you want it? It's not enough to set just any goal; a goal should be a tangible idea that stretches you. A goal must have a date or deadline, because a goal without a date is just a fantasy." In other words, keep prospecting!

I particularly liked the book because it follows the life of a female as she successfully makes her way in the business world, becoming the greatest prospector in the world in Uncle Joe's words.

This is a must-read for entrepreneurs who want success in their respective business.

Disclosure by Sandra: Thanks to the publisher for sending me the book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit Ken Dunn's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the book: 

  Amazon 


About the Author:



Ken Dunn is one of the leadership training world’s up and coming great speakers and trainers. An incredible hunger to learn and teach others has led Ken successfully through five different professional careers in the past 25 years. 

Ken began a policing career at the age of 18. He was involved in the policing world’s most exhilarating and challenging disciplines, including undercover drug and surveillance work, S.W.A.T. teamwork, aggravated child abuse, frauds, aggravated assaults, illegal weapons smuggling and homicides. 

Today, Ken regularly speaks to groups in the direct sales, mortgage, insurance and banking industries. He uses humor and his own experiences to inspire audiences around the world. Ken lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Julie, and children Matthew and Laura.


Connect with the author: 

  Website 
  Twitter 

Enter the Giveaway:

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Giving away Stop the Diet and a $10 Amazon Gift Card or "Grabb" your free copy today!

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet.
We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry.
But do these diets really work?
And how healthy are they?
Stop the Diet


Click here to "Grabb" your free copy of Stop the Diet on BookGrabbr.

​Book Description:  

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.

With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble
Picture
Meet the author:

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

To Be A Child by Debra Schoenberger (Review & Giveaway)


A documentary of children at play from 10 different countries. Beautiful, joyous, and thought-provoking. A book that will make you smile.

To Be a Child by Debra Schoenberger
Genre: Documentary / Photography
Publisher: Blurb Publishing
Release date: November 30, 2015
eBook, 240 pages
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Give a child a cardboard box and his imagination will turn it into anything but!

Today, it is less common to see children playing in the streets, especially in urban areas. The plethora of ready-made toys should make any child happy. What usually happens is that the box the toy came in becomes the toy!

This book documents children at play (and at times at work) from 10 different countries. A child's ingenuity never ceases to amaze me and I hope you will share these images with your children as well. 

My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

A picture paints a thousand words. How true! Photographer Debra Schoenberger has travelled to 10 different countries to capture children at play. I love the subject matter of this documentary. Just look at that book cover.  Two little girls with dirt-smudged faces and radiant joy emitting from their smiles as they share a fun moment when playing together. How precious. These types of photos really pulls at my heartstrings as a mom.

Schoenberger took four years to complete this project of mostly street photography that captures children playing with other children and using their imagination. She divides her book by themes and features several Asian countries, such as India, Mongolia and Nepal. The photos are in black and white and in color. She captures children alone, with other children interacting or exploring. The children vary in age from very young to teen years. Sometimes they are among a throng of adults and the camera focuses on them and what has got their attention.

She captures moments in time, snippets of special events or outings with parents or just a simple, but wondrous moment of discovery. Some photos tell a story and others are more of a snapshot. I would have loved to have had a little backstory to some of the pictures. Not all, but some I truly wondered about. If it was chosen out of the thousands of photos Schoenberger took, then it had meaning for her as a photographer.

If you like photography books and especially those with children or family themes, this one is sure to please. One can pour over the pictures and wonder at the moment it was taken and at the lives of these children from many parts of the world where technology does not dictate play time.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit  Debra Schoenberger's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the book: 



Meet the author / photographer: 


Debra Schoenberger aka #girl with camera

"My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual. Plus I usually have a lot of scars on my knees.
​(le sigh...)

I live with my creative director, Miss Pickles (my budgie) in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Connect with the author: Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook  ~   Goodreads
Connect with the photographer's website: Website


Enter the Giveaway!

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Right or Almost Right by John Haremza (Book spotlight & Giveaway)



Right Or Almost Right: The Fine Line Between Phenomenal Success and Average Results in Network Marketing by John Haremza
ISBN: 978-1681020525
Next Century Publishing
Release date:  May 2015
Paperback, 174 pages
Content Rating: G

Book Description:  

Right or Almost Right is based on John Haremza’s 25 years of success in network marketing. It’s John’s answer to the questions so many ask such as, “Where’s the money? Why am I not seeing the success I expected?” As John says, “I meet so many intelligent, hard-working, dedicated network marketers who are struggling. They are not seeing the results they expected, and they always ask, “Why?”

John believes that the small subtleties of how the network marketing business is done make the big difference between making a little money versus making a lot of money, between success and struggling. He addresses many of the basics of doing “the business,” from prospecting to leading your organization, and points out what is “right” as compared to what is “almost right.”

John has lived every example contained in his book. “Network marketing changed my life beyond my wildest imagination,” says John. His story is amazing, from living in a trailer park to a well-known network marketing leader. And his story can help you to make your dreams come true too!

Buy the book: 

  Amazon 

To read reviews and follow the tour, please visit John Haremza's page on iRead Book Tours

About the Author:



After he graduated high school, John got a job as a machine operator at the potato chip plant. When he was promoted to maintenance manager he thought that this $22,000 a year job was the best job he could ever hope for. Then he was introduced to Network Marketing and his life changed forever.

John’s story is one of those American rags to riches, from adversity and obscurity to a life of dreams. Now after spending 23 years in network marketing John has earned over $12 million. He has been responsible for product sales of over $500 million. His teams have earned over $200 million in commissions and he is featured in numerous publications and has produced 100’s of sales tools to support his teams.

​Currently, a regular speaker, consultant and author, John hopes to bring his message of Right or Almost Right to the masses.

Connect with the author: 

  Website 

Enter the Giveaway:


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celebrity and Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction by Michael S. Levy, PhD



A fascinating look at the psychology behind the phenomenon of the 21st century's obsession with celebrities and entertainment.

Celebrity & Entertainment Obsession: Understanding Our Addiction by Michael S. Levy, PhD
Publisher: Rowman & LIttlefield
Release date: August 2015
Hardcover, 222 pages
Content Rating: PG 13 + M

Book Description:

“Our celebrity captivation seems out of proportion,” says Michael S. Levy, PhD, addiction expert and author of CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION: Understanding Our Addiction

Dr. Levy wrote CELEBRITY & ENTERTAINMENT OBSESSION to shed light on why we as a society are obsessed with people who work in the entertainment field—movies and television in particular—but singers, musicians sports figures and people on reality TV as well. Dr. Levy, whose previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking…and You May Not Need to Quit, resonated with many people, finds it remarkable that people who work in the entertainment field get more recognition and adoration than a competent brain surgeon who saves people’s lives, or a pathologist who has made inroads in cancer treatment.

This wasn’t always the case. Sixty years ago, a Gallup Poll study showed that people who were most admired included Einstein, Winston Churchill, Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. Not one entertainer, sports star or media personality made the list. Fast-forward to 2000 – 2009 and we have stars like Bono, Tiger Woods, and Denzel Washington making the list.

Dr. Levy can discuss society’s obsession with beauty, how our vulnerability to addiction, our need for idols and our voyeuristic predispositions all contribute to our celebrity obsession as well as:

• How the mass media controls our thinking, the nature of our social intercourse and interactions with each other and our preoccupation with celebrities

• How the media exploits our voyeurism and how our voyeurism serves as a form of distraction and amusement

• Why being entertained has become our primary preoccupation

• Why celebrities’ real-life, off-screen stories get more publicity than anything they have done in their careers

Dr. Levy laments that television news programs focus as much, if not more, on the lives of high-profile celebrities than about other more important issues of the day. He believes that our obsession with entertainers is something to be concerned about since we will have missed opportunities to learn from others who could provide us with valuable ideas and standards for our young people. While the entertainment machine has given us a quick fix to feel good, Dr. Levy asks: “is our obsession with celebrities the best use our time? What will be important to reflect on at the end of our lives: Will it be what we knew about some celebrity or might it be something else?”

Book Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Having taken both psychology courses in the past and having worked in Social Services, I'm always interested in learning more about human behaviour. Psychologist Michael S. Levy has explored a relatively new field, that of our society's addiction to celebrities and entertainment. We all do it, and perhaps don't realize that we do. And in today's world with super easy access to the Internet 24/7, we and our children are even more vulnerable to this addiction.

Dr. Levy writes in the first person, sometimes mentioning his own personal experiences which makes this intelligent and well-written book a pleasure to read. It's not dry even though he does mention statistics and quotes from many studies and includes 40 page of notes and references in the back section of the book. The thorough index makes it easy to find information.

I was fascinated but not surprised by the information presented because I have researched how to help my kids not become so addicted to the entertainment scene. But what I did learn was why and how we are inclined to do certain things and how both our inherent nature and the social scene contribute to this. For example, we have a natural tendency towards voyeurism so even if we don't want to view something we are still drawn to it. Also we live an increasingly isolated existence and this coupled with boredom and loneliness will draw us toward this obsession with celebrities and their lives.

Essentially, as Dr. Levy states, "...we have come to rely on entertainment to feel good." Is it no wonder we are a depressed society? Entertainment has "capitalized on our humanness", Dr. Levy continues. As a mother, this book reinforced my vigilance towards what my children watch but has also made me more conscientious as to what I can do to keep my children actively engaged in society.

This book is an excellent resource and should be part of any curriculum in the studies of Psychology. I also think it's good reading for parents and social workers. Dr. Levy includes an epilogue summarizing his findings and this quote touched me:

In a world where celebrity equals talent, and where make-believe is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth and stability in your life. - Bernie Brillstein

Indeed, how true.
 
Disclosure: Thanks to the publicist for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit Micheal S. Levy's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the book: 



About the Author:



Michael S. Levy, PhD is a clinical psychologist who is the director of substance use services at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts. He also maintains a private practice in psychotherapy in Andover, Massachusetts and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has often been interviewed on radio and television. Levy has published numerous articles and book chapters, gives many lectures and workshops, and is the author of one previous book, Take Control of Your Drinking...And You May Not Need to Quit.


Connect with the author: 






Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Adventurers Abroad: The New American Expat Generation by Robert Nelson (Review and Giveaway!)



I was surprised to learn that in 2013, 232 million people were living outside their home country. See why North Americans are included in that number.

Adventures Abroad: The New American Expat Generation by Robert Nelson
ISBN: 9781514178386
Published: July 2015
Published by: CreateSpace
Trade Paperback, 170 pages
Content Rating: G

 Book Description:

Adventurers Abroad explains in detail who the new American expat generation is, why they are moving abroad, where they are moving abroad and the personal characteristics  required for expat success. But the heart of the book is 14 personal stories told through the eyes of American expats living in all corners of the world. Through their experiences, readers will learn how to move, live and work in a variety of countries, with practical advice and information that is useful for any aspiring expat.


Book Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

What is an expatriate or expat? Webster's dictionary describes an expat as "to withdraw residence in or allegiance to one's native country" - a somewhat negative term that may question a person's loyalty to their country. Today, due to global mobility and economic globalization, the most common understanding of expatriate is a person who chooses to live abroad, for whatever reason, without renouncing their citizenship. This book focuses on some Americans living abroad.

Contrary to the notion that expats are mostly retirees, research shows that the largest group of aspiring expats is between the ages of 25-34 years who are looking for adventure, a need for new experiences in life and the desire to start their own business abroad. The second largest group is the 35-44 age group. The author documents the lives of 14 Americans who share their stories about life as an expat, as well as the characteristics a person needs to successfully integrate into life in another country. My absolute favourite story is about the American woman now living in Marseilles, France.

Some expats attributed their successful integration into their new surroundings by avoiding other  American expats or as one young woman put it "I realized that I was part of a worldwide community of people without a single homeland." She discovered that those are the expats she is drawn to.  In her words "getting involved with local people and activities is what really makes life living abroad – perhaps anywhere – truly enriching."

Almost all of the 14 expats featured in the book agree on this. Their adventures living abroad changed their world view. They developed a completely different perspective on life that is not centered solely on America.  One 31-year-old living in Argentina commented "one of the real blessings of being an expat is that it gives you a different perspective on your home country, something I hear constantly from many other expats."

The best advice they give is to thoroughly research life in the prospective country, the language, the history, money, climate, the foods, and the cultural differences a couple of years before moving abroad.

And finally, what characteristics are needed to be a successful expat? Open-mindedness, flexibility, cultural sensitivity, and curiosity, among other positive qualities.

This is a fascinating, yet realistic book that documents the ups, downs, challenges, likes and dislikes of those who have ventured abroad. It is a must-read for those wanting to successfully join the ranks of expats.

Disclosure by Sandra: Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit Robert Nelson's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the book: 
  Amazon


About the Author:
  

A long-time expat, Robert Nelson wrote his first book, "Boomers in Paradise:Living in Puerto Vallarta," while residing in that Mexican international resort city for seven years. He has also lived in Germany, Turkey and Greece and has traveled to over a dozen countries on three continents. He also is a co-founder of www.MyInternationalAdventure.com, an on-line publisher of international relocation planning information and resources.

Connect with the author: 

  Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook


Enter the Giveaway:

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? for Jan 25



Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

My big news this week is that we just got a 3-month old puppy: Boxer and Husky mix! My son has been asking for 2 years now and we finally relented. I would have liked a smaller dog but alas Rocky seems to be the perfect dog for our family. We love this new addition to our family. He is a fun-loving smart dog that is easy to train... although we are a little sleep-deprived.



Some great books in my mailbox this past week:

This one is touring with iRead Book Tours in March.

Newspaper Boys Always Deliver by Joseph Gulesserian

A Personal Journey into Pop and Technological change in the last Fifty Years.

In Newspaper Boys Always Deliver, Gulesserian takes us on a captivating adventure by combining personal essays and historical insights for an enlightening look at how we got here, and the earlier inventions that paved the way for current cutting-edge technologies. While exploring pop-culture trends, unexpected impacts, and memorable moments in time, this collection of thought-provoking and humorous reflections paints a fascinating picture of the changes half a century can bring—and its implications for what could be just around the corner.

In just fifty years, Western culture has gone from culture to techno-culture—from the swinging sixties to rap, encyclopedia to Wikipedia, slide rule to artificial intelligence.

Newspaper Boys Always Deliver, shares a personal journey of how we got here, in a Book that delivers an eclectic plethora of knowledge, controversy and humorous entertainment in a newspaper format.

Bought for 0.99 on Kindle:
Of course, the book cover just pulled me in.

The Dusk Gate Chronicles Omnibus Edition Books 1-4 by Breeana Puttroff

What would you sacrifice to find true love and save a kingdom? 

For the first time ever, the beloved Dusk Gate Chronicles are together in one special boxed-set edition! 

Quinn Robbins is about to go on an adventure that will change her life, and alter the future of two worlds. 

This specially priced boxed set includes the first four books, which together tell the complete story of Quinn's discovery of Eirentheos, and finding her place in her own destiny.







It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Posts From Last Week:


At the Sharp End of Lightning by N.R. Bates (fantasy and realism)

Kings or Pawns: The King (Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood (sci-fi fantasy)


Up Next:

Not sure, I'm still finishing up some non-fiction books and Lauren Carr's mystery novel that I am thoroughly enjoying.

Stop by and enter my giveaways!


Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood (Review and Giveaway)


J.J. Sherwood’s debut novel KINGS OR PAWNS: THE KINGS, BOOK 1 is the first in a high fantasy epic series sure to please fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Kings or Pawns: The Kings (Book 1) by J.J. Sherwood
Silver Helm Publishing
ISBN: 978-0986287701
Trade paperback, 373 pages
Content Rating: PG - 13 for language & violence. No explicit sex scenes


Book Description:

The year is 8994 P.E., and the city of Elvorium is corrupted—rotted to the core by the machinations of depraved politicians. With his father dead and the country facing a rebellion, Price Hairem becomes the king of the elven world of Sevrigel in one of its most turbulent points in history.

Young and daring, Hairem is determined to eradicate the corruption festering in Elvorium’s self-serving and all-powerful council, which thwarts his best intentions at every turn. But Hairem’s problems are far more sinister¬—and deadly—than merely political. The loyal members of the council are being savagely murdered by an assassin loosed within the city—an assassin whose brutality knows no bounds. Outside of the city, the Lord Saebellus wages a vicious rebellion against the capital. He has been thwarted thus far by the brilliant General Jikun, and Hairem is certain that the general can crush Saebellus.

But instead of continuing the campaign against the warlord, the council orders Jikun’s army to be split, sending him on a mission that furthers only their own wealth and power. Jikun knows that the council’s demands will leave Elvorium vulnerable to an attack from the formidable warlord. Although Saebellus has been recently defeated, he is far from vanquished. As corruption and death threaten to tear the city apart from within, the rebel Saebellus seizes the opportunity to lay siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital and unleash his most powerful weapon yet: a demonic beast that neither weapon nor magic can kill. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem is grasping for his own power to fight against the forces that threaten Sevrigel.

Will Hairem overcome the council’s scheming and duplicity? Can General Jikun defeat the warlord Saebellus? Will this be the war that finally brings Sevrigel to its knees? KINGS OR PAWNS offers action, intrigue, mystery, and suspense—a thrilling story that will leave readers hungry for the sequel, Heroes or Thieves, to be published in February 2016.

My Review:
Reviewed by Fil Piccolo

Kings or Pawns by J.J. Sherwood is the first book in the Step of Power series. King Hairem inherits his father’s kingdom rife with corrupt council members and a warlord who wants to take the throne from him. With a dwindling number of loyalist fighting for Hairem, he tries both to regain control of his kingdom and remove the threats to it. The question of whether he can outwit both corrupt members and a warlord taking advantage of any mistake he makes renders this sci-fi/fantasy political novel worth reading.

Sherwood is quite apt at bringing characters to life. A reader's connection to the characters is easily made and as the story progresses these characters grow in depth. At times, I felt as if I'd encountered some in my life. 

Making a fantasy world is no easy undertaking for any writer, yet Sherwood manages to do so with easy. The world-building is well done. Whether it’s the rich and colorful fantastical lands to the descriptive details of the manor, she delights her reader on every page.

The plot elements in Kings or Pawns works on many fronts. From the romance of a young prince to the political intrigue of the decaying elven city Elvorium. she has done this well. I would say her forte is political intrigue.

There were a few things that frustrated me though. One of them was the irrational reasoning of the characters at times. For example. in one scene Sellemar of noble blood finds himself alone in a mansion whose previous owner had been assassinated. Other nobles had also been assassinated in the city. Yet here we find Sellemar alone at night with no guards, no house servants so that the front gate and door are easily opened by the assassin. In the pursuing engagement, Sellemar gets the better of his would-be assassin. With a sword to the assassin's chest, Sellemar begins to question him… without disarming the assassin whose sword was in hand! Sellemar sees the assasin’s true intention and instead of slaying him right there and then, he kicks the assassin who manages to get up and fight again.

However despite these foibles, Kings or Pawns remains a great debut for J.J. Sherwood. Her talent for world building and political intrigue will establish her as an upcoming author to watch out for in the sci-fi / fantasy genre.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publicist for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit J.J. Sherwood's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the book: 

  Amazon 


About the Author:


J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. KINGS OR PAWNS is J.J.’s widely anticipated debut novel, and is the first book of The Kings quartet. The series is set in the high fantasy world of Aersadore, home to hundreds of characters who all clamor for J.J.’s attention. To learn more about the trials and tribulations of General Jikun and King Hairem, visit StepsofPower.com. J.J. Sherwood will be at the tenth Fandom Fest Comic Con in Louisville, Kentucky this coming August 7th-9th.

Connect with the author: 

  Website 
  Twitter 

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