Cover Reveal: The Marijuana Project

The_Marijuana_Project_Brian_Laslow_t580Up next is The Marijuana Project by Brian Laslow. This intriguing read full of moral dilemmas can be found on Book Club Reading List.

The story follows Sam Burnett, a conservative and highly principled family man who constantly travels the country as a highly sought after security expert. While looking to spend more time at home with his children, he is approached by a consortium looking to open a medical marijuana production facility nearby. Sam accepts their offer, and over the next two years, while designing, implementing and operating their entire security program, he finds himself facing one moral conflict after another.

Does Sam favor using medical marijuana to relieve a variety of physical symptoms, easing anxiety and providing pleasure? Or does he see it as an invitation to more serious drug use, mental instability and irresponsible, even dangerous behavior?

You could call it a security expert’s journey through the ethical weeds.

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Cover Reveal: A Chick in the Cockpit

A Chick in the CockpitFound this story by Erika Armstrong on Book Club Reading List. It sounds like a truly unique read and I can’t wait to get started!!

Lock a woman in a box with men for twelve hours a day, hundreds of hours a year, for fifteen years and she’ll show you a view you’ve never seen before. A CHICK IN THE COCKPIT will change your perspective on what pilots do and the lives they lead.

From the front desk of a small FBO in Minnesota to the captain’s seat of a Boeing 727-200, becoming a pilot is a soul changing adventure. “Pilot” is not only a verb, it’s also a noun, so after a person becomes a pilot, they are changed forever. The question asked in this story is what happens when that’s all taken away.

With just one phone call, Erika’s life is forever changed when she is setup and arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. In an era when women have shattered all the glass ceilings, this story demonstrates why women are still the ones who have to clean up all that broken glass.

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Book Review: The Lost Heir

The Lost HeirI have finally finished reading The Lost Heir by Andi O’Connor! I had planned on finishing and posting this review on Wednesday, but life got in the way. Apologies for the delay! In any case, it was a fun fantasy read that can be found on Book Club Reading List.

Synopsis

“Their situation was hopeless. Darrak closed his eyes. A single tear glided down his muddy cheek as he grieved for the only friends he’d ever known.” (Chapter 32)

Darrak Hunter, a dedicated college student, starts having dreams of a different world: a beautiful place with purple clouds. One day he wakes up to find Earth’s own sun has turned violet and purple clouds fill the sky. A sorcerer appears in his dorm room and tells him he is the lost heir to the kingdom of Mystandia. After traveling to this new world, Darrak must learn how to use his new-found magic and embrace his destiny. He embarks on a quest to try and save the world from a cunning Organization that seeks to take over both Mystandia and Earth. With the help of some new and powerful friends, can Darrak overcome plots of betrayal and save two worlds?

Strengths

This is an action-packed story! Not much opportunity to get bored because there is always something happening. O’Connor paints a vivid and complex tapestry of story lines and characters that gives the reader a realistic sense of what living in Mystandia might feel like. One of the biggest strengths to the story is the depth of the characters. Not only do we get to know Darrak and his struggles, but a myriad of allies and enemies are showcased, adding tremendous depth to the story. I loved getting to know Mionee, arguably the main antagonist. She has a rich and compelling backstory, making me very sympathetic to her situation. I also love that there are a ton of strong female characters to look up to.

I loved all the magic, aspects of which were explained in fascinating detail. The themes of betrayal and family were helpful in moving the story along and keeping everything connected, and there were even bits of a love story strung throughout to keep me happy. 🙂

Weaknesses

There were two primary weaknesses that I found in The Lost Heir: too many loose ends and unrealistic character behavior. First of all, I know that this is only the first installment of the Dragonath Chronicles series, so some loose ends are expected. However, there were so many points that I wish were addressed before the end. Even a Part 1 book should have a sense of conclusion, even if it’s on a small scale. Rather than going into too much detail (or giving away spoilers!), here’s a quick list of questions I had at the end:

  • What happened to Cyrus? (He’s a bad guy.)
  • Who is behind The Organization?
  • Who, specifically, is hunting Darrak and his friends?
  • What happened regarding the binding ceremony between Mionee and Garenth?
  • How did the people on Earth respond to the purple clouds and how did they affect the ecosystem? There were allusions to what Darrak thought might be happening, but no direct information.

Disclaimer: I recognize many of these questions will probably be answered in the next book, and I’m probably just being super impatient, but there ya go.

Next, some of the dialogue and actions between certain characters were…somewhat inappropriate. For example, a servant talking back to a king would probably result in their death, or at least immediate termination of employment, right? There is a scene where a handmaid is arguing extremely disrespectfully with the king, a not-very-nice guy. In another scene, Mionee’s plan requires that a certain servant be moved to work for her, but doesn’t know if the king will approve her transfer. Shouldn’t the king himself have better things to do than approve transfers between the servants?? These things don’t seem believable.

Conclusion

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable fantasy read. Lots of action, cool magic, and an interesting story line featuring some exceptional characters with rich histories. I can sometimes be an impatient reader, and I have a feeling that once I read the next installment all of my questions will be answered. However, I still feel that there could have been a more developed ending so the reader isn’t left in a lurch. If you’re looking for a fantasy read, go find a copy of The Lost Heir and immerse yourself in a world of magic and cool characters, then let me know what you think!!

4 out of 5 stars

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Cover Reveal: The Lost Heir

The Lost HeirI know it’s been a few weeks since my last post, but I’m back and ready to go! Look for this exciting fantasy novel by Andi O’Connor on Book Club Reading List.

A loner and self proclaimed hermit, Darrak leads a dull life until his dreams are plagued by visions of a distant planet. After waking up to a purple sun and violet clouds, Darrak is whisked away from Earth by a mysterious and rather quirky sorcerer.

Thrown into the clutches of a world where magic is reality and not all is as it seems, Darrak discovers his ancestry is far different from what he’d been led to believe. Accompanied by a talented but rather aloof swordswoman, along with a sorcerer and his apprentice, Darrak must overcome cunning plots of betrayal to stand against a destructive black magic long ago forgotten.

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Cover Reveal: The Angel of Innisfree

angel of innisfree

Up next is The Angel of Innisfree by Patrick F. Rooney. I have to say, I am thoroughly intrigued by this story! Check it out on Book Club Reading List.

The Angel Of Innisfree is an epic historical drama that weaves a story of love overcoming every obstacle during a tumultuous period in history, when revolutions in Europe and the Civil War in the United States disrupted the basic foundations of society, while inventions such as the telegraph changed the way the world worked. It begins in 1848, when Queen Victoria is ruling Britain, and the Irish Potato Famine has claimed more than half a million lives, while English landlords continue to evict their tenants with a ruthless lack of compassion. Brian O’Rourke, the youngest son in an impoverished family operating the local clandestine Ribbonmen militia, meets Elizabeth Reilly, a talented pianist from London, when she’s visiting her father in Ireland. With Brian on the run from the British, the couple promise themselves to each other at the age of sixteen.

Elizabeth returns to London to study piano with Chopin while Brian immigrates to New York on a famine ship. Brian meets Samuel Morse, learns to use the telegraph, and then uses his expertise to help slaves escape on the Underground Railroad. He travels to San Francisco and then east across the country building the first Transcontinental Telegraph, while Elizabeth launches a career as a concert pianist in Europe.

The couple finally meet during the Civil War after Elizabeth moves to Virginia with her new husband. They rekindle their romance amidst dire circumstances, determined to find a way to stay together regardless of the forces conspiring to keep them apart.

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Cover reveal: Guarding Shakespeare

guarding-shakespeare-coverUp next is Guarding Shakespeare, a noir fiction novel by retired police officer Quintin Peterson. I found this one on Book Club Reading List and can’t wait to get started!

Tonight Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock is going to steal a priceless artifact from the Folger Shakespeare Library and then retire a wealthy man. All he has to do is breach its underground bank vault, access the secret compartment of a 16th Century jewelry box, retrieve the artifact, put it in his shirt pocket, and then walk out the front door…

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Cover Reveal: Miss?

miss-coverWhat I’m reading next is Miss?, by Laurel McHargue, which I found on Book Club Reading List.

Ex-Army officer Maggie McCauley thinks she’s found the perfect civilian job teaching English to 7th grade students in a troubled school district. She discovers her new students are nothing like the soldiers she once led, and that some key players in her chain of command are not as helpful as they should be. Maggie learns that the majority of her new teens are well below grade level in their academic knowledge and largely ignorant about the realities of human sexuality. She also learns that her hands are tied in terms of effective disciplinary options.

While doing her best to keep her students engaged and making progress, Maggie wrestles with her feelings for Grant, the school’s hunky P.E. teacher, and also with the unwanted attentions of an inappropriate school security guard. Fortunately, her old WWII neighbor Harry offers wisdom and comic relief throughout Maggie’s first year.

“Miss?” puts the reader squarely in a seat in Maggie’s classroom to experience the daily challenges facing teachers old and new in this age of assessment overload, and provides insight into why many students struggle every day in a failing public education system.

The novel was updated in 2015 with an editorial essay by the author.

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