Blog Tour Book Review: Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley

Lowcountry Stranger coverAbout Lowcountry Stranger

• Publisher: Leisure Time Publishing; 1 edition (July 1, 2016)

There’s a stranger in town. And it’s no coincidence when she shows up uninvited at a Sweeney family wedding. All eyes are drawn to this urchin who seems to have washed in with the tide. Before the night is over, the doe-eyed waif charms young and old with her street smarts and spunky personality. For better or worse, Annie Dawn is here to stay.

The memorable Sweeney sisters from Her Sister’s Shoes have returned with more suspense and family drama to hold you spellbound until the dramatic conclusion. As she approaches the next stage of her life as an empty nester, Jackie is torn between expanding her fledgling design business and spending these last precious months with her boys before they fly the coop. Her own worst enemy, Sam is terrified of making a commitment to Eli Marshall, handsome police officer, true love of her life. Her resolve is tested when a ghost from her past shows up after nearly two decades. Faith nurtures her seven-year- old daughter who is recovering from the trauma of her abusive father. Is the threat in the past, or is there more danger on the horizon? The sisters seek guidance from their mother, Lovie, a true Southern matriarch who shows them how to respond to adversity with grace and dignity.

Things are heating up in the Lowcountry. The Sweeney sisters remind us, once again, that being a part of a family is about more than sharing the same DNA.

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Happy Saturday! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Lowcountry Stranger by Ashely Farley. Thank you to the Author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher Leisure Time Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review of it.

Lowcountry Stranger is a contemporary fiction novel about the Sweeney sisters. They are part of a Southern family that comes with it’s fair share of drama, drama, drama.

I was super excited to read this book. In the past two  years, I have learned this about myself: I love Southern literature. I find it to be vibrant and fun. Such was my reading of Lowcountry Stranger. I loved the writing and I really loved these characters and their specific individual situations, but aside from that I also loved how all of their own problems, etc. affected the whole family. I really loved that familial aspect of this book and the fierce family bond and loyalty they have with each other even when put through the wringer.

I found this book to be super entertaining, I actually finished it in one night and just thought it was a really fun, involving read. Perfect for people that love family sagas but aren’t looking for a SUPER long book. This one is a pretty good length. One thing I was really surprised at is that I was able to jump right into the story and connect with most of the characters, even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series. Albeit, I am rather sad that I haven’t and will be going back to read the first one. I have to have more of this family.

Since I enjoyed this book so much I am giving it a four star review and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading books about family drama, southern literature, suspense and contemporary fiction!

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The author is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, visit the rafflecopter link below!

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Ashley FarleyAbout Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

Ashley loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to visit her on Facebook or Twitter.

Visit her website at http://www.ashleyfarley.net.

Book Review: X-23, Volume 1: The Killing Dream by Marjorie M. Liu and Alina Urusov

9593394Title: X-23, Volume 1: The Killing Dream
Genre:  Graphic Novel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Page count: 152
Format: Kindle Edition
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
Rating – 5/5

X-23 has spent her short life being used by those in power, from the military to the X-Men. But when she is forced to confront a being who can control her life with nothing but a thought, will X-23 finally learn how to fight — not for others, but herself? Guest-starring NYX! COLLECTING:X-23 #1-6

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Lately I’ve been trying to read through some of the graphic novels I have laying around the house and in my ereader. I’m addicting to buying books (and maybe just buying things in general) so I have a mountain of books and graphic novels both in physical, as well as electronic format just waiting for me to read them. This was one of those graphic novels that I’ve had on my TBR list for awhile but just hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. It also helps that I’m participating in the Graphic Novel challenge as well so that gave me an extra push to finally dig into this one!

I had previously heard that X-23 is Wolverine’s daughter and that made me excited to read her background. X-23 is actually a female clone of Wolverine. She was created and raised in a lab by doctors and was trained as an assassin. Her assassin training began when she was VERY young and it was pretty brutal. There is a specific scent that triggers her berzerker rage where she basically goes crazy and kills pretty much everything in her path. Her story is tragic because she ends up killing the person who cared about her the most and that she sees as her mother figure when she was at the lab. This specific collection of comics takes place after X-23 has served time on X-Force and she is struggling to fit in amongst her peers due to her past experiences as an assassin and on Xforce. She also isolates herself due to her feeling used as a weapon…she’s resentful towards her mother and Xforce because of this and she ends up going off by herself, followed by Gambit. X-23 seems to find solace in her father-daughter relationship with Wolverine until she starts having dreams about him in hell which I think corresponds to a wolverine series so I’m going to look into those.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel…I liked the story arcs and I loved the illustrations. It was definitely violent and bloody, which served to illustrate how lethal X-23 can be and the weapon that she was trained to be. I am super interested in reading more about her and her struggle with whether she has a soul and if she does, if it is good. I am interested in seeing the relationship between her and wolverine develop and what the “wolverine goes to hell” connection does to this relationship. I’m also interested in seeing the dynamics of her relationship with the x-men and Gambit play out. This was a really good introduction to X-23 for me and I will definitely be picking up the subsequent volumes! Can’t wait to read more!

Blog Tour Book Review – The Grown Ups: A Novel by Robin Antalek

The Grown UpsTitle: The Grown Ups: A Novel by Robin Antalek
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: William Marrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Page count: 357
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Rating – 4/5

From the author of The Summer We Fell Apart, an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends that explores what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and how difficult it is to do both together

The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella – and force her to confront her past and her friends.

After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.

Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them. (Goodreads)

imagesGood morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the tour for The Grown Ups: A Novel by Robin Antalek. Thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity read and review this book! I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

The Grown Ups: A Novel is an interesting story that is told from multiple perspectives and follows the lives of a group of friends throughout the years, from their childhood and well into their adult lives. I am a huge fan of books told from multiple perspectives so it was a treat to read this book, this made the story feel well rounded to me. I loved this book and thought it was interesting to be able to see the experiences of one group of people at different points in their lives. The narrative takes us from the naiveté and carelessness of childhood to the seriousness and pains of growing into adults and reconciling with the hurts of the past.

I really liked the romances (some big and some small but all significant) that take place throughout the story. It made me reflect on my life and the characters in my group of friends and how we fit together, each of us having gone through our unique set of experiences and problems. It also made me reflect on how who we become is often a reflection of our parents as well. I love books like this that are written in such a way that they make us reflect on our lives. A beautiful story with a universal and wonderful cast of characters!

Add this book to your TBR list on Goodreads and purchase at  Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble .

imagesRobin AntalekAbout the Author

Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart (HarperCollins 2010) which was chosen as a Target Breakout Book. The Summer We Fell Apart was also published in Turkey by Artemis Yayinlari. Her non-fiction work has been published at The Weeklings, The Nervous Breakdown and collected in The Beautiful Anthology, Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema, and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review and Literary Mama among others.  Robin has received three honorable mentions in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters and New Fiction Writer’s contests as well as an honorable mention for the Tobias Wolf Fiction Award.

You can find and follow her on her website and her Facebook page.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth by Greg Matloff, C. Bangs & Les Johnson

Harvesting Space for a Greener EarthTitle: Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth written by Greg Matloff, C. Bangs & Les Johnson
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Springer
Page count: 268
Format: Paperback
Rating – 5/5

What was our planet like in years past? How has our civilization affected Earth and its ecology? Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, the Second Edition of Paradise Regained: The Regreening of the Earth, begins by discussing these questions, and then generates a scenario for the restoration of Earth. It introduces new and innovative ideas on how we could use Solar System and its resources for terrestrial benefit.

The environmental challenges that face us today cannot be resolved by conservation and current technologies alone. Harvesting Space highlights the risk of humankind’s future extinction from environmental degradation. Population growth, global climate change, and maintaining sustainability of habitats for wildlife are all considered, among other issues.

Rather than losing heart, we need to realize that the solutions to these problems lie in being good stewards of the planet and in the development of space. Not only will the solutions offered here avert a crisis, they will also provide the basis for continued technological and societal progress. Tapping the resources of near-Earth asteroids will lead to methods of diverting those asteroids that threaten Earth. Space-based terrestrial power generation systems will work synergistically with Earth-based conservation.

This book needs to be read urgently and widely, if we are to save ourselves from environmental disaster, reduce the risk of catastrophic cosmic impacts, and build a prosperous and sustainable future for all the creatures of Earth.

 

Hello everyone! Thank you for visiting my stop on the blog tour for Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, a text I was really excited about reading. I’d like to thank the authors as well as TLC Book Tours for providing a review copy as well as granting me the opportunity to read what I think is such an important book.

Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth is made up of three sections, each containing a plethora of valuable information, some of which may be review if you were like me and took an astronomy class for fun in college but all of which is interesting and essential. The first section focuses on discussing our solar system and the formation of our earth; the second section discusses the history, failures, and successes of humans; and the last section discusses and proposes what we can do to ensure the health of longevity of our home, earth.

I found many of the proposals for conservation and the use of space technology to divert catastrophes and exploit space resources to be really interesting and I can see how they could be beneficial to us and the earth. One thing that I thought was really interesting was the proposal of using space for the byproducts of human civilization for example, waste. The theory is that since space does not have an atmosphere like earth and such that we wouldn’t be polluting it or “harming” space in any way.  Not only that but we would also be avoiding the pollution of our atmosphere which we see from the review of human impact on the earth in section 2. One thing I really take to heart from this book is the fact that many of us need to wake up. Something that was mentioned a bit in the book was the fact that the earth is our one home and that it’s a fragile, lonely creature (insomuch as there is no duplicate of earth that we can turn to in the event that this one can no longer house us). Living our everyday lives going to work and coming home playing games or reading books or whatever we do, it’s easy to forget what the earth is going through and consider our own contributions to the problems we are facing. This book is a wake up call and a proponent for change and innovation that we all must take to heart! I see this book making a great impact and I think it should be considered for inclusion in higher education courses or even high school courses. The information is written in a way that easily understandable, interesting and with beautiful, evocative illustrations. One thing I was really impressed with was that although the text gave factual, authoritative information it was also able to convey the care and passion that the authors have for the subject which was surprising and beautiful to me in a text like this.

This was such a great book for me to read at this point in my life and I’m convinced that everyone should read this book if only to become more familiar with the problems facing the earth and how serious these problems actually are. Reading a nonfiction book like this with the appearance of a textbook is really out of my normal comfort zone and I’m so glad that I read it. The authors of this book have done a wonderful job of discussing not only these problems, but in giving us an overview of earth before humans and earth after the human touch. The differences are so startling and so heartbreaking. I think reading this book really puts the earth’s plight into perspective and the fact that the need for change, really is a desperate need.

I recommend giving this book a read, I think everyone can learn something from it whether it be something from the history of our solar system, the history of human impact on the earth or the problems facing us and possible solutions for our future.

About the Authors

Greg MatoffGreg Matloff
Dr. Greg Matloff,  is a leading expert in possibilities for interstellar propulsion , especially  near-Sun solar-sail trajectories that might ultimately enable interstellar travel. and is an emeritus and adjunct associate astronomy professor with the physics department of New York City College of Technology, CUNY, a consultant with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, a Hayden Associate of the American Museum of Natural History and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He co-authored with Les Johnson of NASA and C Bangs Paradise Regained (2009), Living Off the Land in Space (2007) and has authored Deep-Space Probes (edition 1: 2000 and edition 2: 2005).  As well as authoring More Telescope Power (2002), Telescope Power (1993), The Urban Astronomer (1991), he co-authored with Eugene Mallove The Starflight Handbook. (1989). His papers on interstellar travel, the search for extraterrestrial artifacts, and methods of protecting Earth from asteroid impacts have been published in JBIS, Acta Astronautica, Spaceflight, Space Technology,  Journal of Astronautical Sciences, and Mercury. His popular articles have appeared in many publications, including Analog. In 1998, he won a $5000 prize in the international essay contest on ETI sponsored by the National Institute for Discovery Science. . He served on a November 2007 panel organized by Seed magazine to brief Congressional staff on the possibilities of a sustainable, meaningful space program. In 2011, he co-authored with C Bangs an artist’s book entitled Biosphere Extension: Solar System Resources for the Earth.

C BangsC. Bangs
C Bangs’ art investigates frontier science combined with symbolist figuration from an ecological feminist point of view. Her work is included in public and private collections as well as in books and journals. Public Collections include the Library of Congress, NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center, The British Interplanetary Society, New York City College of Technology, Pratt Institute, Cornell University and Pace University.  I Am the Cosmos exhibition at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton included her work, Raw Materials from Space and the Orbital Steam Locomotive.  Her art has been included in eight books and two peer- reviewed journal articles, several magazine articles and art catalogs.  Merging art and science, she worked for three summers as a NASA Faculty Fellow, and under a NASA grant she investigated holographic interstellar probe message plaques.   Her recent artist’s book collaboration with Greg Matloff, Biosphere Extension: Solar System Resources for the Earth, was recently collected by the Brooklyn Museum for their artist-book collection.  

“The artist C Bangs and astronomer Greg Matloff are long time partners and collaborators whose mutual interests and complementary talents serve them well.  For many years, Bangs has been the artist who provides the graphic interpretation of their scientific books, they have achieved another level; their work has never been so well integrated, as they have found a method where text and image become one, rather than one illustrating the other.  The more esoteric points of Matloff’s research find an accessibility, while Bangs more than ever seamlessly offers us, through imagery, a lyrical telling of their story for the quest to access solar system resources for the Earth.” – Maddy Rosenberg, Central Booking Gallery, NYC

Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, published by Springer, is due out this year.

Visit Bangs at her website, www.cbangs.com.

Les JohnsonLes Johnson
Les Johnson is a physicist, and the author of several popular science books about space exploration, Living Off the Land in Space, Solar Sailing: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel, Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail, and Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, as well as three science fiction books, Back to the Moon, Going Interstellar, and Rescue Mode.

He is also the Senior Technical Advisor for NASA’s Advanced Concepts Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  Les is the NASA Co-Investigator (Co-I) for the European Union’s Deploytech Solar Sail demonstration mission planned for launch in 2015. He was the NASA Co-I for the JAXA T-Rex Space Tether Experiment and PI of NASA’s ProSEDS Experiment. During his career at NASA, he served as the Manager for the Space Science Programs and Projects Office, the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program, and the Interstellar Propulsion Research Project. He thrice received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal and has 3 patents.

Les is a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, the World Future Society, and MENSA. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the British Interplanetary Society and is Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. Les was the featured “interstellar explorer” in the January 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine and a technical consultant for the movie Europa Report.

Les earned his Master’s degree in physics from Vanderbilt University in 1986 and his Bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University in 1984.

Visit Les at his website, www.lesjohnsonauthor.com.

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