Book Review: ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ by S L Tsao

‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ is an enjoyable book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading lighthearted romance and humour.

SL Tsao The Early Delivery
People often speak of guardian angels and of visitations or visions, but the idea of angel postmen delivering messages to humans at appointed times is clever and thought-provoking, and one I had not encountered before. I found this concept, and the personalities of the different characters very engaging.

This is a heartwarming story with the tales of the antics of Clair, a lazy angel, embedded and woven within it. It is written with humour and a light-hearted tone, but also with some vivid imagery and quite evocative writing that added depth and impact to the writing, particularly in the cliffside conversations between the young woman and the elderly man who functions as the storyteller.

It seems to me that although English may not be the author’s first language, Tsao has certainly written with both fluency and flair. While there are times when the words do seem to flow less easily and the grammar is a little stilted, this does not necessarily detract from the story, nor did it significantly diminish my enjoyment of it. Every writer has their own style, and in our globalised world, readers can generally adjust accordingly with ease.

Overall, ‘The Early Delivery: Angel Postmen’ is an enjoyable book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading lighthearted clean romance and humour. I’ve given it one of my lovely Silver Acorn awards.

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Book Review: Calmer Girls

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama. 

Jennifer Kelland Perry Calmer Girls
‘Calmer Girls’ doesn’t fall into my usual preferred genre, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book. I was engaged from the start when it opened with a scenario that was instantly familiar to me: teen sisters fighting and competing with one another. As the younger sister in my own family, I could relate to Samantha’s frustrations and sensitivities, even though my sister and I competed and fought over different things than Samantha and Veronica do. The complications and conflicts between Samantha and Veronica are portrayed very realistically, and the reader is drawn into developing a strong sense of empathy for their general situation, as well as for the circumstances of particular characters.

I love that this book is set in Newfoundland and that part of the story relates to the experiences of the families of the fishermen who live there. The author has embedded plenty of details that really do evoke the unique character of St Johns and life in the Canadian Maritimes, so the setting felt very familiar and homey to me because I have visited the Maritimes and have friends there.

I really liked  the frequent references to the classic books such as ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ that Samantha likes to read because they gave me a stronger connection to this story. They weren’t overbearing or super nerdy, yet they communicated clearly that Samantha sees life and thinks at a deeper level than her sister. That positioned me to like her even more than the fact that she is the central character.

I found the characters to be believable and quite well-developed, and the story compelling.

‘Calmer Girls’ will hold immense appeal for anyone who enjoys YA romance and drama.

Silver Acorns
I’ve given ‘Calmer Girls’ a silver acorn.
You can get your copy at Amazon. There’s a sequel, too!

Author Interview: Blaque Diamond

Today Book Squirrel is chatting with Blaque Diamond, author of poetry and contemporary women’s fiction.

Interview Cobalt

Hi everyone! Today I’m chatting with Blaque Diamond, author of poetry and contemporary women’s fiction.

Welcome, Blaque!

Thank you, Book Squirrel! It’s nice to be here!

What inspired you to write?

The question isn’t really what inspired me to write, but who inspired me to write? My fifth-grade teacher is the person who put the idea of writing in my head. She saw my talent for writing before I even noticed that it was there. She encouraged me to explore my craft. It started as her dream for me, but soon it turned into my dream for myself.

his-or-her-betrayal-cover.jpeg

What is your favorite thing you have written?

My favorite book that I have written is my novel entitled” His or Her Betrayal?” This is my favorite book because it deals with a real-life society issue. Even though we have come a long way of acceptance and tolerance of the LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go. Although my story is fiction, I’m sure someone somewhere in this big old world can relate. Even if they can’t, it is still an interesting read. You never know the struggles that someone has to go through. My readers get to hear Michelle Anderson’s story from her own mouth.

What are you working on writing now?
Love, lies and heartbreak vol 1
Right now, I am working on the second volume of my short story anthology “Love, Lies and Heartbreak.” This anthology consists of five stories dealing with relationships that don’t end in a happily ever after. There are five different scenarios, but all of them deal with infidelity in some kind of way. Lies are told, and hearts are broken because love isn’t what they thought it would be. In the second instalment, the hurt and pain continues. None of these couples are strong enough to handle the acts of betrayal that they are dealt.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

The best vacation that I have had is when I went on a seven day western Caribbean cruise with my friends. It was the best time of our lives. It got so good that I didn’t want to come back home. I even asked if I could get a job working on the boat, but I knew it was impossible for me to give up everything to go and work on a cruise boat. It was very tempting though. We had the time of our lives visiting the different countries and observing the different cultures. I can definitely say that I have cruise fever, and I am going to make cruising a part of my vacation plans on a regular basis.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The movie that I can watch over and over again is “The Sound of Music.” It is my all-time favorite movie. I love musicals and I love all the singing and dancing that goes on in the movie. My favorite part of the movie is the children though. I think they are so adorable. I loved that in the end the children got a mother and the husband got a wife.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a business owner. I wanted to own my own multi-cultural hair salon and spa. I wanted it to be a one stop shop for everything. I also wanted it to cater to women, men and children. Even though I am no longer a kid that is still what I want to be when I grow up. I do intend on making that a reality.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

My favorite season is summer. Even though most people are bothered by the heat, I am not. It doesn’t bother me at all. I am very cold natured, so I hate to be cold. Summer for me symbolizes happiness and fun. There are so many exciting things to do in the summer. Family vacations to the beach, picnic lunches and days spent sitting in the pool is my ideal summer. While I’m relaxing under a shady tree, I can work on my next publication or catch up on my favorite author’s new releases.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

My three greatest literary inspirations are Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. They are my favorite African-American poets of all time.

What would you like people to know about being an indie author?

I want people to know that being an indie author is hard, but it is worth all the hard work and effort you put in it. The rewarding feeling of my reader’s reactions to my stories is what gives me the drive to keep going. I love what I do, but when my readers also love it too, it makes it all worth it. The fact that I have invested in myself by becoming an indie author brings me pride. I can say that I did something for myself. Even if I don’t become a best-seller, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I had the courage to press the publish button.

What is something that you wish would be easier?

words of my heart cover

I wish that things were easier done than said. It is easy to say that you are going to do something, but it is another thing to actually do it. Whatever it is you want to do in life, do it. Don’t just say you’re going to do it. You can say you’re going to do something all day long, but if you never take the initiative to put forth effort to make it possible, then it isn’t worth saying anything about.

 

Where can we find your books?

My books can all be purchased from Amazon.

Fantastic! And where can we follow you on social media?

Social media links:
http://www.amazon.com/author/blaquediamond
http://www.goodreads.com/blaquediamondbooks
http://facebook.com/writerblaquediamond
http://www.instagram.com/writerblaquediamond
https://www.twitter.com/heartofmywords

Thanks for being here with us today, Blaque.

Thank you for having me, Book Squirrel! It’s been fun!

Book Review: ‘Bound’ by R.M Gauthier

The mystery surrounding Landon Miller builds to a heart-pounding crescendo in this fantastic sequel to ‘Control’.

R.M. Gauthier Bound
The mystery surrounding Landon Miller builds to a heart-pounding crescendo in this fantastic sequel to ‘Control’.
 The action is fast-paced and unpredictable, providing a really effective contrast between those moments of waiting and wondering that heighten the tension and intrigue even further.

Gauthier’s characters are for the well-written and believable, and the reader continues to build empathy with Lexi throughout the story. I felt involved in the story and shared in Lexi’s frustration and anger with various situations and other characters at various points of the plot. Gauthier very cleverly positions the reader to understand the central character so that her responses feel both reasonable and justified, even though the reader might not personally respond in the same ways. In all honesty, I know Lexi is much more brave than I am, even if her stubbornness is something I can totally relate to.

This was a great read that focused on the mystery and the chase, rather than the “underground lifestyle” portrayed in ‘Control’, which was really only alluded to in ‘Bound’.

Golden Acorns

‘Bound’ gets a lovely shiny Golden Acorn!

I’m really keen for the release of the third book in the series.

Book Review: ‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle

An interesting and enjoyable story.

One of the marks of a wonderful writer is that they are able to capture the reader’s imagination from the outset. When Michael wakes up to a clock that reads 15:74, the reader is drawn into the mind of Michael and into the world where he works so hard to make sense of things. So many questions are raised in both Michael’s mind and that of the reader, both directly and by inference, that one is keen to discover the answers.

Valerie Albermarle Michael

Albermarle’s writing is delightfully visual. “Out in the street a robust wind played with sparkling beads of the night’s rain.” It is images like this that make reading a book like ‘Michael’ so engrossing: the imagination is regularly fed a delicious morsel that keeps one hungering for more.

Michael is a complex and well developed character. By revealing different layers of his life and personality at different times, the author invites the reader into something of a relationship with the character, developing empathy with him as the story progresses. Quirky and thoughtful, Michael is a man to whom the reader warms very quickly.

The author often leads the reader to contemplate the significance of time, not just in terms of a rogue clock, but also in how we think about time and often disregard it. This adds a layer of reflection to one’s reading of the story, causing one to think about their own relationship with time and deadlines and further engaging them in the premise of the book.
“Round clock faces without beginning or end gave the illusion of infinite repetitions, infinite new chances, while digital clocks showed only how early or late you were for an event in your infinite life. But old instruments like sand or water clocks weren’t shy about telling people that the time runs out, and life together with it.”

At times the story picks up a new strand, which leaves the reader wondering but intrigued until, before long, things fall into place and the fabric of the story begins to be woven together from all those different threads.

The best way to experience this story is to not be set in one’s expectations of what it will be or what it will deliver. Allow the author to stimulate and lead your thinking. The structure of the story, and the story itself, are reminders that life is not predictable or set in stone. Approaching stories, or life itself, with an open mind provides endless possibilities, while closing doors leaves one alone with disappointed expectations.Silver Acorns

I very much enjoyed the journey that this story took me on. I’ve awarded it a Silver Acorn.

‘Michael’ by Valerie Albermarle is available on Amazon.

New Release: The Silver Feather

The Silver Feather is a hauntingly macabre tale for October reading or for any time of year. 
It will please lovers of horror and ghost stories, and provide a delicious treat for folks who love to find a good spook in a book. 

The Silver Feather is a hauntingly macabre tale for October reading or for any time of year.  It will please lovers of horror and ghost stories, and provide a delicious treat for folks who love to find a good spook in a book.
The Silver Feather Titled 6x9 Low Res
Reviews are already coming in on Amazon and Goodreads.
Here’s what they have to say so far:ScreenHunter_427 Oct. 04 16.59ScreenHunter_428 Oct. 04 16.59

Fun Fact: When the story was finished, it came up at 6664 words. The author added two more words so that this spooky little read had exactly 6666 words.

Just right for a month which offers both Friday 13th and Halloween, don’t you think?

The Silver Feather is available in your favourite digital store via www.books2read.com/aufeather

Paperback available soon.

Author Interview: Samantha Bryant

Hello and welcome to another Author Interview by Book Squirrel. Today we’re chatting with Samantha Bryant, author of the Menopausal Superheroes series. 

Interview Red

Hello and welcome to another Author Interview by Book Squirrel. Today we’re chatting with Samantha Bryant, author of the Menopausal Superheroes series. 

meandbook

Hi, Samantha. It’s lovely to have you here.

Hi, Book Squirrel. I’ve never chatted with a squirrel before, so I’m excited.

I’m a very exciting squirrel. 

I bet you are.

So tell us, what inspired you to write?

I’ve written nearly as long as I can remember. It probably started with a love of reading, but it was my first grade teacher who put me on the path to becoming an author. As a handwriting exercise, Mrs. Alsdorf had us first graders copy out classic poems in our nicest hand, illustrating them in the margins, and collecting them in a special folder made out of wallpaper scraps.

That was my first encounter with many classic poets: Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, etc. I fell in love with the sounds of the words and when I told Mrs. Alsdorf how much I enjoyed the poems, she knelt down next to my desk (not a far reach for her: she was very short) and said quietly and seriously, “You know, you could write poems of your own, if you wanted to.”

And I did. I don’t really write poetry anymore, except occasionally for myself, but I still love to read it, and I credit that early love of poetry with helping me craft beautiful prose and teaching me that I could write my own pieces.

That’s beautiful. Great teachers are so underrated!

Thanks! I agree!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

That’s usually the thing I have just finished writing. There’s a glow over something when it’s fresh, and you can’t yet see any flaws it might have. Though it is also a lovely lovely feeling when you re-read something you wrote some time ago and think, “Hey, that’s pretty good!” I’m proud of all my work, even the work I now see flaws in. Choosing a favorite is rather like choosing a favorite child, so I refuse to choose!

all covers

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Oh my. That’s a hard choice. According to my Goodreads list, I’ve read 44 books this year. I have a yearly goal of 52 (one per week) and I usually exceed that.

I’ve read a fair number of classics because I co-host a classics book club at my library. Of those, Moby Dick is the best one I’ve read this year. I think I’m finally old enough to truly get the book. I saw the dark humor and wit this time, and the poetry.

My neighborhood book club reads mostly literary or historical fiction. Of these, my favorite this year has been Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell, which explores Doc Holliday and the Earp boys from the inside. I’m not generally much of a western fan, but Russell won me over with her beautiful language and strong emotional connection to what these men might have felt.

I’ve made a point of reading books by people I know this year, other writers I know online or from the southern convention scene. Many of them are indie writers, which can often mean a read that steps outside the box and takes a daring or creative turn in the narrative. My two favorites (I know, I’m totally cheating on how many books I say are my favorite) are Reenu You by Michele Berger and Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley. Interestingly, both of those books have quite a lot to say about racial politics, so while a scifi story about a hair relaxer gone rogue and a murder mystery set in an alternate history South Africa may not seem to have much in common, they are exploring some of the same issues.

I do love reading more than quite possibly anything else . . .except maybe writing, so I could go on for quite a while about what I’ve loved reading.

What are you working on writing now?

I was invited to be a part of a book bundle by a writer friend. It’s a collection of young adult, post-apocalyptic, romance. I couldn’t resist that challenge: three things I’ve never written, so I’ve been working on a story, though it’s come out more dystopian than post-apocalyptic. It’s working title is Thursday’s Children, and it follows a sixteen year-old track star named Kye’luh Wade, her cousins, and some other young people she collects along the way as they run away from government persecution to save themselves and rescue their parents. I don’t know if I’ll finish it in time to be a part of the bundle, but I’m grateful to my friend for prompting me to try something new. I’m really enjoying writing it.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I am especially annoyed by narcissism. It comes across in many ways: condescension, man-splaining, pontificating, failure to listen, aggressive driving, line-jumping, etc. But they all strike me as part of the same basic problem.

Patricia O’Neill, aka The Lizard Woman of Springfield, from my Menopausal Superhero series has proven a fun character to grind these particular axes with. She is a no-nonsense woman, with a secret soft spot for underdogs and a bit of a hero complex. Transforming into a giant bulletproof dinosaur did not soften her caustic demeanor. Of course, like many of us, the behaviors that annoy her in others are also found within her, so Patricia is continually coming face to face with the problems her own narcissism causes even while she takes down the bad guys, either with her claws or her wit.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I have a few perennial favorites. I watch The Quiet Man once a year and am suckered by the chemistry between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara every time. I love the entire story line of the man wounded by tragedy returning home to make a fresh start and in the process making his peace with his past.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I’m a fan of fall. Since I’m a schoolteacher, fall is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts for me in at least that aspect of my life. It’s also when the weather cools down enough for me to wear my cozy sweatjacket, but hasn’t yet become so cold that I have to zip it up or find a coat. I’m a tree-person, in that I feel most at peace among trees, and fall is definitely a showcase season for trees, with all their colorful finery on show. Then there’s all the fall pleasures, like hot cocoa, pumpkin flavored everything at the bakery, Halloween, hay-rides and corn mazes, and jumping into piles of raked leaves. Fall is definitely the best. I missed it horribly when I lived in Alaska where the seasons were pretty much “green”, “white”, and “brown.”

Are there many nuts in Alaska? 

You’d be surprised!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Emily Dickinson speaks my soul more often than anyone else I’ve ever read. I’ve been reading her all my life and even though there’s a finite amount to read, I still find something new in her words every time.

Neil Gaiman combines darkness and whimsy to write seemingly dark stories with a hopeful core. He also loves fairy tales, ghosts, and magic as much as I do.

Stan Lee created so many of my favorite heroes. He could also balance preachy-ness with exploration of moral issues and placed his characters in difficult situations to let them shine. He shared my soft spot for the underdog, too.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

As a child, I had a mild obsession with Helen Keller. I researched her life for a speech contest, and read everything our library had about her. Her story is a fantastic inspiration, a reminder that every person has value and needs only the right opportunity to learn to shine so the rest of us can see it. As a teacher, I see how easily her life might have come out differently if not for the support and love she received and I try to offer that love and support to those around me. Her writings are deep and thoughtful and full of kindness and generosity of spirit. The world is lucky to have them.

Josephine Baker according to Wikipedia was “an entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent.” Shouldn’t we all live to have a biography like that? She was important on so many fronts, fighting for freedom and equality both as a performer and as a human being. She used her art to make a difference and took risks throughout her varied career. She’s a reminder that “safe” isn’t always best.

My great-grandmother Lena Wilhelmina Wurth Taylor. Grandma Lena had it rough in a lot of ways. She was a child of recent German immigrants in rural Kentucky during a time when that could get a person beaten, imprisoned, or killed. She lived nearly all her life just on the respectable side of poverty and pulled herself and her family along through sheer iron will and indefatigable hard work. She married late and lost her husband early, spending more of her life widowed than she had as a bride. But she was determined to maintain her independence and did so until the last day of her life. Strong minded and stubborn, sure of herself, and fierce in her loyalties, she was not an “easy” woman by any means. She could be intimidating, but she would fight tooth and nail for those she loved. I aspire to be as self-sufficient in my own way as she was.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Time-management. I want more out of my day than is possible to squeeze most days. I want to write all the words, enjoy all the light, appreciate all the people, enjoy all the love, and still get enough sleep, exercise, and eat delicious things. Most of the time, I feel in a constant push-pull of life’s currents trying to keep my footing on slippery stones. I’d love to feel that I *really* have my balance.

Money. I am fortunate in my life in many ways and our family does not struggle for food or pleasant shelter or even for some frivolous pleasures, but like many middle class folk, I still often feel hampered by financial considerations, unable to pursue opportunities I want or take on work I would find fulfilling because I can’t “afford” to. I would love to have more freedom of cash flow. Unfortunately, I’ve chosen two less-than-lucrative fields in teaching and writing, so I will have to find my riches emotionally rather than in my bank account.

Thanks for being here with us today, Samantha. 

You’re most welcome! It’s been fun!

Before you leave, can you tell us where we can follow you on social media? 

Sure thing!  You can find me at:

newsletter:http://eepurl.com/bwgsxD

Amazon author: viewAuthor.at/SamanthaBryant

Blog: http://samanthabryant.com

Facebook Author: https://www.facebook.com/samanthadunawaybryant

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mirymom1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mirymom

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaDunawayBryant/posts

Tumblr: http://mirymom.tumblr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9j-KqaCAp8UYrVAWejQZ-g

 

Author Interview: Micayla Lally

 

Interview Purple

Welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview!
Today I’m speaking with Micayla Lally, author of ‘A Work of Art’. 

Welcome, Micayla! 

Hi, Book Squirrel! Lovely to meet you!

What inspired you to write?

I have always been a writer – grabbing spare dot-matrix computer paper from the box to write stories during recess in elementary school. But I finally got serious for NaNoWriMo 2015 and have completed 5 novels since then, including publishing my debut in May this year.

Cover A Work Of Art

 

So ‘A Work of Art’ is the first one published? 

Yes.

 

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I tend to like each recent story better than the last, perhaps because I have learned more since writing the last one. Right now I’m editing something to send to an agent and I really love the ending, so it would have to be that one. It’s called ‘Flirting With Disaster’.

 

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

There are too many to name! But my recent favourite is The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and then a list of Stephen King books that would go on forever,

 

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

*consults Goodreads*  I’ve read a bunch of fantastic books this year, but recent highlights are Girl In Between by Anna Daniels and The Radleys by Matt Haig.

 

What are you working on writing now?

My work in progress doesn’t have a title save for the character’s names – Sebastian and Isolde. It’s a story about finding love in the midst of emotional chaos. He’s a player who has to grow up and she’s returned to work after pregnancy loss and depression.

 

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Our vacations tend to be a bit fraught since we have 3 energetic boys and stuff just happens, you know? Our most recent vacation was to Scotland where our luggage was lost by the airline for 5 days, but luckily I had our clothes in the carry-on because we were renewing our vows at Gretna Green!

 

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I’m starting to feel old and crotchety so I do have some pet hates, but it seems to be small personal things that other people do. I am writing them into a character that I have a feeling will teach the other main character a lesson about love and patience, but it’s still an idea at this stage.

 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, but probably anything with Keanu Reeves.

 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A housewife, a teacher, a secretary, a writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do all of those things.

 

What’s your favourite season? Why?

To be honest, I love them all and love that I can experience them all in Oregon, USA, the seasons are so full here, though this summer and been super hot and it seemed to drag on forever. Autumn might by my least fave because of all the pumpkin spice stuff everywhere, but on the other hand – sweaters!

 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Making time for everything and eating as much as I want.

 

Are you willing to give us a teaser about your book?

When Julene returns from a whirlwind trip overseas discovering art and professional passions, she quickly learns the love she shared with her ex Samson never quite waned — but can she trust him again?

 

Oooh! Intrigue! 

You bet!

 

Don’t trust him, Julene! Don’t do it! 

I’m not sure that helped, Squirrel…

 

She can’t say I didn’t try. 

That’s true.

 

Where can we get a copy of ‘A Work Of Art’?

Readers can order my book in most local bookstores, but it’s also available online at:

Book Depository 

Amazon 

Barnes & Noble 

 

Where can readers stalk… I mean, follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Readers can also check out my website at www.micaylalally.net

 

Thanks for joining me today, Micayla! 

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!