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Inside the Sun Book Review

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The 8th Island Trilogy includes Above the StarBelow the Moon, and Inside the Sun. Over the three books, we follow the adventures of a quirky family, the Wellsleys. The main characters are frumpy senior citizen Archie, his daughter-in-law, Tessa, and his ill fourteen-year-old granddaughter Ella.

About Inside the Sun

All worlds are dying, and it’s up to one broken and dysfunctional family from Earth―the Wellsleys―to save the day.

Cancer-ridden Ella celebrates her fifteenth birthday beneath an enchanted mountain, but it is what lies even farther below―the mysterious Star in the sea―that demands she grow up quickly. While Ella grapples with the sacrifice she must make and the lies she is forced to tell, her mother, Tessa, is hell-bent on protecting her.

Through bizarre encounters, love-sick Tessa realizes that she is not the lonely orphan she believes. Her husband, Arden, and father-in-law, Archie, are not the only ones with magical bloodlines. This revelation changes everything. As Archie chooses to embody his unexpected ancestry, he learns that leading the charge in the ultimate battle against evil won’t be as easy as he thought. He’ll need his family―and the strange allies he has gained―by his side to give Ella enough time to set things right.

Can they defeat the unstoppable Millia sands―and another unexpected foe―before everything they hold dear is destroyed? Or will their adventure tear them apart for good? The finale to The 8th Island Trilogy will hold you spellbound until the final page, and long after.

My Thoughts

Inside the Sun is a stunning, incredible finish to this trilogy that I could not put down. This is the final battle between good and evil – can they defeat what feels like an overpowering evil, will they find Ella’s cure and who else will fall in this epic struggle?

I love Ella’s character – she is strong, smart, sassy and vulnerable. While her cancer diagnosis has shaped her life and the way others view her, she refuses to let it stop her. I love this strength and goodness in her. It allows her to see the goodness in others and show compassion and strength, even when she has so little left to physically give.

What was really amazing in this novel was how all of our characters evolved. Archie embraces his true ancestry and leads his new people but is conflicted – can he handle the responsibility and stress of leading his people during such an epic battle? Is he strong enough mentally and emotionally for this responsibility? Tessa, Ella’s Mother, who was always special (regardless if she knew it or not) finds out her own special past that blew my mind! My heart was so happy for her as she has struggled for so much of her life feeling unloved as she was orphaned at such a young age.

This is a well written, action packed series that young adults and adults will love. The plot is unique and I loved the character development, they are all so special and unique. I loved the messaging in this series – it is full of hope, forgiveness, love and family. Our characters are just like you and me – you can relate to their emotions and their sufferings. This is a definite must read novel in this series!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Book Depository and Google Play.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning author, artist, photographer, art curator, filmmaker, and public speaker. She has received over 40 noteworthy distinctions for her visual and literary work. Her award-winning fantasy series The 8th Island Trilogy includes, Above the Star, Below the Moon, and Inside the Sun. The series has been described as “A WRINKLE IN TIME meets THE PRINCESS BRIDE” by The Perpetual You magazine, and “Fast and bizarre… never a dull moment” by Forward Reviews. The 8th Island Trilogy “weaves STAR WARS-like characters with a WONDER-like message to form an enrapturing read for blooklovers of all ages” – US Review of Books. Chute’s bestselling memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss, was a top Kirkus title of 2017 and received a plethora of other literary distinctions. The memoir was accompanied by the feature documentary of the same name, which has screened internationally for the last three years. Chute received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design from the University of Alberta, Canada, and studied at Media Design school in Auckland, New Zealand. She graduated valedictorian with her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, USA. Chute is a highly regarded public speaker. She has presented on art, writing, bereavement, and the healing capacities of creativity around the world. Contact the Author/Artist for bookings info@alexismariechute.com When not in her art/photo studio or at her computer, Chute loves to spend quality time with her family, read fiction and non-fiction, watch reality TV, paddleboard, and canoe. She is not a winter person but lives in frosty Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and their three living children.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Below the Moon Book Review

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The 8th Island Trilogy includes Above the StarBelow the Moon, and Inside the Sun. Over the three books, we follow the adventures of a quirky family, the Wellsleys. The main characters are frumpy senior citizen Archie, his daughter-in-law, Tessa, and his ill fourteen-year-old granddaughter Ella.

Below the Moon

Ella Wellsley is not your typical teenager. Cancer left her mute, but not powerless. Trapped in a parallel dimension, Ella rallies her strength to join her family―her mother, Tessa, her grandpa Archie, and her magical boyfriend―in locating the cure to her illness. This cure is entangled in the fate of all worlds, and threatened by the presence of an evil Star anchored in the sea. The Star has thrown life everywhere into chaos―and it is Ella who holds the key to unlocking its mystery.

Caught in a web of betrayal, mistaken identities, secrets, and love triangles, Ella, Tessa, and Archie must overcome their troubled pasts to ensure a future for all worlds. On this journey―armed with unearthly abilities and unexpected allies―each member of the Wellsley family will learn the power of love in the face of their greatest fears.

My Thoughts

Below the Moon takes off from the first book in this series and is one incredible, fast paced ride that you will not want to put down.

While I really enjoyed the first book in this series, I fell in love with this one. Our story really soars and I loved how Ella takes a lead role in this novel. Despite not being able to speak and her cancer diagnosis looming over her head, she shows her strength, compassion and her youthful nature. You can’t help but fall in love with her! And to see her relationship with Luggie develop is special.

The plot takes off in this novel as the team works to destroy the star that has caused havoc in the once peaceful Jarr-Wya and find Ella’s cure. But just like in the first novel, this is no easy task. The group is faced with both new and old enemies, and have to use everything they can to stay alive. They face terrifying scenarios but do so with bravery, quick thinking and team work.

There is so much to love in this book – from the vivid scenes, to the strong characters and the unique plot. I could not put this novel down, I had to know how their story would evolve, what would happen to Ella, how would her parents relationship evolve (can this relationship be healed?), how does her Grandfather fit into the bigger picture, can they help heal this beautiful planet?

I loved the second novel in this series and cannot wait to start on the third novel. A definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Target, Book Depository and Google Play.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning author, artist, photographer, art curator, filmmaker, and public speaker. She has received over 40 noteworthy distinctions for her visual and literary work. Her award-winning fantasy series The 8th Island Trilogy includes, Above the Star, Below the Moon, and Inside the Sun. The series has been described as “A WRINKLE IN TIME meets THE PRINCESS BRIDE” by The Perpetual You magazine, and “Fast and bizarre… never a dull moment” by Forward Reviews. The 8th Island Trilogy “weaves STAR WARS-like characters with a WONDER-like message to form an enrapturing read for blooklovers of all ages” – US Review of Books. Chute’s bestselling memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss, was a top Kirkus title of 2017 and received a plethora of other literary distinctions. The memoir was accompanied by the feature documentary of the same name, which has screened internationally for the last three years. Chute received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design from the University of Alberta, Canada, and studied at Media Design school in Auckland, New Zealand. She graduated valedictorian with her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, USA. Chute is a highly regarded public speaker. She has presented on art, writing, bereavement, and the healing capacities of creativity around the world. Contact the Author/Artist for bookings info@alexismariechute.com When not in her art/photo studio or at her computer, Chute loves to spend quality time with her family, read fiction and non-fiction, watch reality TV, paddleboard, and canoe. She is not a winter person but lives in frosty Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and their three living children.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Five Before Rome: 5 Preludes to the Roma Series

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Learn all about the five men who the Roma Series centres around in Five Before Rome.

About Five Before Rome

These five novellas precede Roma, Underground, the first novel in the Roma Series. Meet the five men, who form the team around Bianca, and learn about their personal history, their respective parts of Italy, and why they each have a stake in the fight against organized crime.

My Thoughts

I loved the Roma series and the way that Gabriel writes his stories. The stories keep you on your toes, always guessing what would happen next and the characters are well developed and realistic. I couldn’t wait to pop open this book to see how these five men began their careers fighting organized crime. I love to learn about that turning point in a persons life that sets them down their current path and this novel does not disappoint.

Gabriel packs a lot of background and history into each of the five novellas, which is no easy feat. Sometimes I worry when I read a novella that it would feel rushed and have gaps but these ones were perfect. The novellas introduce us to slightly younger versions of our favourite characters and their exposure to organized crime. We follow along in these novellas as they solve the crimes in each of their regions. We learn more about their personal history and how they came to their current region, their family life and more.

Five Before Rome is an excellent read that is not overwhelming but weaves a great story around organized crime, murder, lies and more. The novellas are well written and engaging, and are a great prelude to the Roma series.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston’s South End where he enjoys the local restaurants. When he isn’t appeasing Munchkin, his cat, with tuna, he documents the #dogsofsouthendboston on Instagram. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. He was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Historical Mystery for Company Files: 2. The Naming Game in 2020. Gabriel has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. Dirty Old Town, the first in the Shane Cleary series, was published in 2020 by Level Best Books. Gabriel attends crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. He is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Connect with him on his website, Twitter and Facebook.

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Bound Book Review

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What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? 

About Bound

What happens when a forty-something, community college sociology professor learns that her mother―a charming, passive-aggressive, and needy woman who hasn’t had a lover in decades―has started seeing men who want to be bound, whipped, and sexually dominated? What happens when that same mother, shortly after diving into her newly discovered sexuality, develops a cancer that forces her to accept radical changes to her body, and then another that forces her, and everyone around her, to confront her mortality? In Bound, Elizabeth Anne Wood addresses these questions as she chronicles the last eight months of her mother’s life―a period she comes to see, over the course of months, as a maternity leave in reverse: she is carrying her mother as she dies. Throughout their journey, Wood uses her notebook as a shield to keep unruly emotions at bay, often taking comfort in her role as advocate and forgetting to “be the daughter,” as one doctor reminds her to do. Meanwhile, her mother’s penchant for denial and her childlike tendency toward magical thinking lead to moments of humor even as Wood battles the red tape of hospital bureaucracies, the frustration of planning in the midst of an unpredictable illness, and the unintentional inhumanity of a health care system that too often fails to see the person behind the medical chart.

My Thoughts

Bound is an amazing read from start to finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the summary of the book but it blew me away.

This book focuses on the relationship between Mom and daughter as they struggle through an extremely difficult time – her Mother’s cancer and being a caregiver. Like many illnesses, they could never have known the road that they would go down based on the initial diagnosis and the stress, pain, uncertainty that cancer brings with it. The relationship between Mother and child (like so many of us) was complicated. So many times, Dr. Wood was more of a parental figure throughout her childhood, teen years and as an adult. Despite this and having to deal with the ups and downs of cancer, their relationship was special. Dr. Wood accepted and loved her Mother, she championed her Mother’s choices and never made her feel negative about the lifestyle she chose later in life. What I found interesting was how Dr. Wood connected the power that her Mother felt in her BDSM lifestyle and how this could possibly be connected to the insecurity and lack of power that her Mother must have felt as a child and in her marriage.

Dr. Wood shares an open and honest story of their battle with cancer, palliative care, navigating the health care system, struggling with her choices to ensure her Mother’s best interests were a top priority. While I initially thought the book would focus on the BDSM lifestyle, it was so much more. Instead, it tied in the confidence and power she found in her lifestyle, to her struggles with the health care field, her marriage and through palliative care. She openly shares the struggles they had with the health care system and how so often because of health care being viewed as a business with so many rules, the human aspect is removed and the negative impacts that this has on the patient.

I loved the way this book was written, you cannot put it down. It is an emotional journey – I laughed, I cried and my heart was sore at so many time throughout the story. This has been one of the best books that I have read this year.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kew and Willow.

In honor of her mother’s birthday, Dr. Wood has arranged to the price of the e-book to $0.99 for the length of this tour (June 24, 2020 to July 10, 2020).

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Elizabeth Anne Wood is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. She is also Senior Strategist for Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the nation’s only human rights organization working full time to protect sexual freedom as a fundamental human right. She earned her PhD at Brandeis University in 1999 and has written critically about sexuality and society ever since. Born on an Army base in Kentucky, Wood grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now divides her time between Queens, New York and Jamaica Plain, Boston. She is a devoted fan of Amtrak and an avowed cat person.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

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Tech industry jobs are growing fast, offering great pay, career growth and learning opportunities. 

About Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators

Tech industry jobs are growing fast, offering great pay, career growth and learning opportunities. Women of color, sadly, have not been able to fully participate in this boom. There are many misconceptions about the tech industry. Misconceptions can often discourage women of color from pursuing or remaining in technical careers. For example, misconceptions like “tech careers are all about coding ”or “there’s no diversity in tech.”

In reality, tech career opportunities can be diverse, fun, and incredibly dynamic. While there are barriers to overcome, Women of Color in Tech is an indispensable resource for building a rewarding future in tech. Packed with inspiring stories and practical advice, this book shows you how to uncover the resources you need to succeed.

This practical guide will help you develop the blend of knowledge and skills needed for getting into tech—and staying there. Author Susanne Tedrick understands that, for a variety of reasons, young women of color are underrepresented in tech and may not have access to strong support networks or resources to be successful. Using her own experiences transitioning into tech, Susanne offers you real-world guidance on finding knowledgeable mentors, learning the latest industry trends, cultivating strong relationships and more.

If you’re thinking about going into tech, or you want to take your current career to the next level, Women of Color in Tech will help you build a blueprint for a successful career.

• Understand the reality of tech today, not misconceptions.
• Learn about the different tech jobs and opportunities that exist, not just coding.
• Gain an understanding of emerging technology areas that will affect jobs, like artificial intelligence, Blockchain and cloud computing.
• Discover traditional and non-traditional education option to get the skills you need.
• Find mentors, build your professional network and get the guidance you need.
• Stay motivated and deal with difficult situations.
• Recognize the importance of giving back to increase diversity and inclusion.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Webelongintech, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target.

About the Author

Susanne Tedrick is a technical specialist for a Fortune 50 technology company. Fiercely committed to increasing participation of women and people of color in STEM educational and professional opportunities, she is a career mentor for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Initiative and a volunteer workshop technical assistant for Black Girls Code, a nonprofit that empowers girls of color to develop in-demand IT skills and prepare for careers in tech. Susanne was awarded the 2018 CompTIA AITP Rising Star of the Year Award, and nominated for the 2019 CompTIA Advancing Women in Technology Mentorship Guide Award, for her dedication to advancing her career and that of others. Views expressed are those of author Susanne Tedrick and are not endorsed by any of her current or former employers.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

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Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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