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Reader Spot – Meet #bookreviewer Shelley Wilson – Yep, Me! #YA #Horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Here on the Reader Spot, I share the bookish love of our avid book reviewers. From young adult to historical romance, chick-lit to a murder mystery, they know what they like, and they’re happy to share.  Whether you are a reader looking for a new book, or a writer wondering what your reader wants, I hope you find this series enjoyable.

As I round up willing victims book reviewers to take part in this feature, I thought I’d share my own book love so you can see the kind of questions I ask.

If you are a book blogger/reviewer and would like to take part in this feature, then please leave me a comment, or get in touch via my ‘say hello’ page. This Feature Needs You!

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What genre do you enjoy reading?

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that I adore YA fantasy fiction. My bookshelves are stuffed full of vampires, faeries, dragons, and witches – the more fantastical, the better! However, as I have been a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team for a while now, I’ve started to push the boundaries and read a few ‘big girl’ books. I’ve discovered a new-found love of historical fiction, science fiction, crime, and horror – something I used to enjoy reading when in my twenties. I also enjoy non-fiction titles in the personal development genre.

Do you have a favourite author in this genre?

I have several favourite YA authors, most of whom I’ve included in my Monday Muse feature; Sarah J Maas, Cassandra Clare, Maggie Stiefvater, Jana Oliver, oh dear, the list is endless! When I was younger, I was a huge James Herbert fan and was deeply saddened by his loss. Another favourite in the sci-fi and horror genre is Dylan J Morgan – his books are beyond awesome!

How do you prefer to read your books?

Most of my review books are on my kindle, but when a favourite author releases a new book I have to get it in paperback. I can’t seem to read YA on my Kindle – maybe that’s the teen in me! I also have to have a paperback if it’s non-fiction. I’d probably say it’s a 50/50 split. I’ve had a few PDF books to review and find it incredibly hard to read on my computer. I much prefer to curl up somewhere away from my desk.

Where do you purchase your books?

Amazon and Waterstones. It’s far too easy for me to click ‘buy now’ on Amazon, I should deactivate my card details – maybe one day! We have a lovely big Waterstones store in Solihull, and also on New Street in Birmingham, and it’s physically impossible for me to walk past without popping in.

Where do you find out about the books you read?

The majority of my book purchases come from reading reviews on book blogs. If I like the cover, blurb, and it’s got a decent review, then I’m sold. I also subscribe to the Goodreads YA email, so I find out when all my favourite authors are releasing their books.

I take advantage of the ‘you might also like’ feature on Amazon quite a bit too. They have recommended some fabulous titles by lesser-known authors who I might have missed otherwise.

Do you have a budget when buying books?  Do you stick to it if you do?

Ha ha, I don’t know why I ask this question – does anyone have a book budget? I know I should as I probably spend more money on books than groceries, but I can’t see me implementing one anytime soon🙂

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Do you write a review when you’ve finished reading?  If so, where do you post this?

Yes, every time. I will post a review on Amazon UK and US, Goodreads, and my blog. If I’ve reviewed a title as part of Rosie’s team, then it also gets shared on Rosie Amber’s blog, so it receives two pushes on social media. I share my reviews on Twitter and Facebook and hope to start promoting them again on Instagram and Pinterest (I’ve been a bit lax with that!)

What do you look for in a book? 

For me, it’s all about the characters. If I don’t feel a connection, then I’m not really bothered about the plot. I love feisty female characters who get into all kinds of trouble, and I’m quite partial to a sexy vampire, but that’s for another blog post!     

Where do you like to read?

I love reading in my she-shed in the garden when it’s a warm sunny day, but as autumn has arrived, I’ve started to curl up on my sofa overlooking the garden. I do go up to bed quite early and read for a few hours before switching the light off. I also have thirty minutes between dropping my son off at football and when his match starts so I’ll hoover up a few chapters in the car before standing in all weathers to cheer him on.

 

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My she-shed!

 

What social media platforms are you active on?

You’re reading my blog at the moment *waving* so feel free to hit the ‘follow’ button.

You can also find me lurking around Twitter, and Goodreads.

I have three Facebook pages – my private page, my motivational blog page, and my YA author page.

I’m still trying to get the hang of it, but I’m on Instagram if you want to connect, and I have a Pinterest account. I am on LinkedIn but rarely look at it – far too grown up for me!

I hope you enjoyed this feature. If you would like to take part, please get in touch.

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#MondayBlogs Embracing Opportunities #MondayMotivation

Embracing Opportunities.

It’s two years since I published my non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year and yet that title is still attracting changes and opportunities into my life.

From hitting the number one spot on Amazon’s best-seller list (twice!) to catching the eye of a big five, and helping me to meet so many amazing readers with inspirational stories to tell, my life really has changed.

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Writing a book like this allows you to share a personal part of yourself with the world. I never thought of writing a memoir before, but How I Changed My Life in a Year fit perfectly into this genre.

People relate to the ‘real you,’ in the same way, readers devour author interviews to find out about their favourite writer. It’s a joy to share something so private and have it well received.

This book has opened up so many opportunities for me. I’ve been invited to numerous events, workshops, and networking groups to talk about the challenges I took part in for the book. I’ve appeared in the Writers’ Forum Magazine, been interviewed by some of my favourite book bloggers, and now I get to stand up on stage at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham to kick off the inspirational workshops at this year’s Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival.

All the wonderful things that have happened can be traced back to my book. I met the very wonderful, Kim Nash, who blogs at Kim the Bookworm when she contacted me after reading my book. She introduced me to the hugely motivational author, Theresa Cheung who writes the best-selling afterlife titles such as The Ten Secrets of Heaven. It’s thanks to Kim and Theresa that I can join them at the NEC on the 4th November. Our topic is finding Heaven and my section covers Heaven on Earth and what that means to me.

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Finding my place as a writer in this world has brought me so much happiness, and this continues to be my focus. Taking myself seriously as a writer was a huge turning point in my life, and by embracing this passion and continuing to evolve my writing skills, I will be able to continue embracing every opportunity that comes my way.

If you would like to join author, Theresa Cheung, spiritual medium, Claire Broad, and myself, for our inspirational workshop, then click HERE for more information about the festival and to buy your ticket.

We are on stage Friday 4th November between 10.30am – 12.30pm.

Have you ever embraced an opportunity that changed you in some way?

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#FridayBookShare Knife by R J Anderson #YA #Fairies #Fantasy

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I created the Friday Book Share Game to help search for that ideal novel/author.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you enjoyed reading and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare – Simples!

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene.

Here’s mine: Continue reading “#FridayBookShare Knife by R J Anderson #YA #Fairies #Fantasy”

The Taming of the Queen

#BookReview The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory #Tudor #HistFic

 

The Taming of the Queen
Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

Author: Philippa Gregory

Category: Historical Fiction

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

As I was getting to the end of this book, I began to worry about writing the review, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because it was so good I didn’t think I could do it justice!

Historical fiction is a relatively new genre for me to read. However, I’m no stranger to Philippa Gregory as I loved her Order of Darkness series.

The Tudor history has always fascinated me, and I have some non-fiction books on this era but, until now, I hadn’t read any historical fiction from this time. I probably should have started with The Constant Princess which is the first in The Tudor Court series, but fortunately, each book can be read as a standalone title.

Kateryn Parr is probably the least well known of all Henry VIII’s wives, and yet she was the only one to survive him. Philippa Gregory paints a beautiful picture of this young, intelligent woman as she is joined in wedlock with a man old enough to be her father; a king who has killed or abandoned all of his previous wives.

As a young widow, without children of her own, Kateryn Parr took it upon herself to bring Henry VIII’s children together under one roof and unite them as a family. This action saw Princesses Mary and Elizabeth reinstated into the line of succession, giving us our future queens. Apart from her devotion to family, Kateryn was well known for her studies and religious writing. (The original copies of the three books she wrote during her four years as queen of England can be seen at Studeley Castle in Gloucestershire.) As Kateryn becomes more studious, she unwittingly puts herself in danger. Gregory expertly weaves this storyline by showing us the sheer love of Reform and the English language Kateryn held and the fine line she walked by repressing her intelligence and bending to the king’s wishes.

The Taming of the Queen portrays Henry as a psychotic monster, who ruled his court with terror and mind games. You can’t help but feel for Kateryn as she becomes part of this world and lives in constant fear for her life.

Compared to her predecessors, Kateryn Parr could be classed as boring, but Gregory brings her character to life beautifully. There was quite a lot of religious aspects to this book which may slow the storyline for some people. I am not a religious person but I enjoyed reading about the studies Kateryn Parr undertook, and there is an emotional thread about the friendship between Kateryn and Anne Askew. If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory or the Tudors, then you will enjoy this book.

Blurb:

Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

Because she cannot refuse…

Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives – King Henry VIII – commands her to marry him.

Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.

But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her.The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy – the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…

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#wwwBlogs Meet Author, @lindsayjpryor #newrelease #paranormal #romance

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It’s no secret that I am slightly obsessed with vampires! I’ve blogged about it often enough, and my obsession may have come up in one or two interviews. So, I’m beyond excited to have dark paranormal romance author, Lindsay Pryor, on my blog today – what she doesn’t know about hot, steamy vampires isn’t worth knowing!  ;-)

Over to Lindsay…

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in South Wales in the UK and lived there for twenty-two years, studying for both my degree and my post-graduate qualifications there too. I moved to the north of England for three years for my first teaching post, but I’ve now lived in the south west of England for the past seventeen years.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An author. I had my first batch of careers advice when I was 13. By that point, I’d been writing stories for at least four years – including a science-fiction book. It’s what I did every spare minute I had so I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I had no understanding of what being published meant, just that I wanted as much time as possible to write. They advised me to opt for a sustainable career so suggested teaching. I did that for eighteen years but I guess the full-time author in me had to out at some point!

List three words to describe yourself.

Creative. Empathetic. Tenacious.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Helena Bonham Carter. It would have to be someone quirky who plays intense and socially awkward well.

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

Dark chocolate. I want to say fruit, I really do… we believe you, Lindsay😉

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Tough one! I’ve always wanted to be able to fly and regularly used to take lessons in my living room growing up. It used to involve jumping across the room from one sofa to the other. The sad thing is, I used to award myself certificates for progress – and make my parents attend the ceremony.

I think I’ll opt for the power of healing though. I lost my Dad to cancer before he had the chance to see me published. The time I spent on the wards during his treatment was an immense eye-opener to what some people deal with every day. Imagine having the ability to remove that pain and be able to tell people that their loved ones are going to be okay? I also have a passion for wildlife and nature. My garden’s a woodland so there’s times when I wish I could offer more than just warmth and TLC when I lose one of the residents.

Oh dear, this was supposed to be the “fun” section. See, this is I write dark PNR… 🙂

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The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I’ve been writing for over thirty years and have been published for the last four. Writing was never actively a choice, more of a compulsion. I certainly never started out with the intention of getting published one day. I just kept coming up with characters and worlds in my head and the most natural thing to do was to write it down.

I penned my first sci-fi when I was nine and wrote stories throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties, as well as writing, performing and directing mini-plays in my local church hall. I opted to study Psychology and Communication at university because I thought it would better help me understand the characters I write about. I went on to qualify as an English teacher and spent eighteen years with a focus on improving children’s literacy. I also learned a lot about my own writing skills and techniques along the way.

I was discovered through an international romance writing competition after being a finalist for two years running. I was approached by Bookouture and asked to be their launch author back in 2012.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching films. I also love walking and nature so, when the weather’s reasonable, I regularly trek along coastlines, through woods or over the moors. I definitely like the quiet life!

Where did the inspiration for your Blackthorn Series come from?

The concept for the Blackthorn series started evolving twenty years ago this month when I relocated to a big city over 300 miles away from everything I knew. Not long after moving there, I got lost walking home one night. I ended up in a very isolated and run-down area. Iron bars were on windows. Metal shutters were on doors. The place was dead.

I was terrified, but the idea for Blackthorn was born – dark paranormal stories set in an urban, gritty backdrop of social unrest, where the ‘third species’ are segregated and discriminated against for having shadows instead of souls. Primarily based around a polluted, over-populated, rotten core of a locale, they’re given the dregs in terms of location, provision, opportunities and rights whilst being ruled by the iron fist of the more privileged humankind.

Blackthorn soon became the ideal environment to breed conflict between characters, particularly my heroes and heroines. Blackthorn inevitably developed into a backdrop for dark and intense romances that will each play an integral role in the future of all who live there.

What do you like most about writing dark paranormal romance?

I love writing fantasy because the level of creativity required is a challenge. There’s nothing quite like the total freedom of creating your own world and rules.

Because I’m fascinated by human nature, romance is the prime genre to explore all facets of a character. If you want to dig deep into a person, their take on and approach to their romantic relations will reveal more about them than anything else. I like to lay my characters as bare as possible, and romance allows the most holistic overview of a person.

Writing the darker side of romance comes because I love complex characters – whether reading about them, watching them, or creating them. Writing intense and unpredictable situations makes for a more interesting dynamic on the page for me. I also like the flexibility dark PNR allows. Neither the hero nor the heroine need to be guaranteed to do the right and moral thing, nor fit society’s view of what that is. There’s no clear-cut good and bad. Dark PNR allows for its characters to be shades of grey – and there’s a heck of a lot of scope in grey for a writer. When you have grey characters it can, ironically for PNR, be a truer reflection of life.

What is the hardest part of writing a series containing eight novels?

Not ever working with just one book at a time. Because of Blackthorn’s overarching plot, every time I write the next book I have to be thinking of all the previous books as well as where it’s all going to end so as to ensure the pace works not just in one book but across the entire series.

I also needed to lay the clues of what’s to come like a trail of breadcrumbs from book one. For example, one of my characters works out a salient piece of information in book 5 that’s first mentioned in passing in book 2. It meant nothing whilst reading the second book, but if it hadn’t been there it would have made the discovery too convenient for a significant turn in the plot later. That takes a lot of planning! It’s great fun because I have so many readers who now keep re-reading the series and spotting everything they missed the first time around. It hopefully makes reading Blackthorn a richer experience for them.

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The other challenge is being aware that some readers will enter the series later in the books. It’s not easy trying to cover what they need to know without rehashing what is obvious to fans of the series – I don’t want to confuse one but neither do I want to bore the other. We have it plastered everywhere that readers need to come in from the beginning though. We can do nothing more than that.

As challenging as it has been at times, I’ve loved it.

Can you give us a brief excerpt from your latest novel, Blood Bound?

I can share one of the ‘Bites’ as we call them, so as not to reveal any spoilers:

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What can we expect from you in the future? 

Hopefully more books! With only one more Blackthorn book to go, I’ve already been in conversations about where I’m going next and have started on new projects that I’m working on alongside the final book.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can visit my website. Everything you could need to know is there. My other main place is my Facebook page where I regularly chat to my readers. I receive a lot of emails too, so never hesitate to get in touch is you prefer a less public forum.

You can also follow Lindsay on Twitter.

You can read my review of Blood Shadows (book one) HERE.

Find all the Blackthorn books on Amazon UK | Amazon US

Thank you so much for joining me today, Lindsay.

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#TuesdayBookBlog Meet #SciFi Author, Arthur Doweyko (@aweyken)

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I am delighted to have sci-fi author, Arthur Doweyko on my blog today talking about his latest book, As Wings Unfurl, flying like Superman, and the joy of writing science fiction.

 Arthur Doweyko

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in Aldershot, England and spent early years in London. My family moved to New Jersey where I spent most of my youth.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A high school vocational test indicated I had an aptitude for both science and art. I followed my father’s advice to pursue a career in science, but kept art (painting and writing) close by.

List three words to describe yourself.

Creative, scientist, artist.

Who would play you in a film about your life?

I don’t think my life is interesting enough for a movie. Having said that, there are a number of misadventures that I did get into and for some reason Benedict Cumberbatch comes to mind.

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

I don’t eat while writing. I don’t listen to music either. I lock myself away in my man cave and crawl out when exhausted. (I do love raisinets while watching movies).

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Flying. I always wanted to fly like Superman, and not just for the thrill of it. I wanted to catch crooks and save damsels in distress.

 

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Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I wrote short stories in high school. I used to pass out type-written booklets during trig class. There has always been within me a strong urge to share a vision or a story. I get a real kick when a reader’s eyes light up.  I’ve been a scientist for most of my life and most of my writing was aimed at producing a non-fictional (I hoped) report or paper or chapter. Since retiring recently, I now spend most of my time unleashing the stories that have floated around in my head for years. I teach college chemistry as an adjunct faculty at a state college.

Where did the inspiration for As Wings Unfurl come from?

Inspiration is tough to define, and even tougher to pin point an origin for. My best guess is that the idea came from the melding of at least two experiences. In parochial school I had just learned about guardian angels, and one morning on the way to school I was sure one of those winged creatures saved my life. I even argued with a nun about it. The Vietnam War produced thousands of altered lives, men broken in body and spirit. When they returned home, they were generally despised. We’ve forgotten how bad that was. So there you have it. A dejected amputee veteran, addicted to morphine encounters an angel who needs his help to save humanity. Of course, she’s not really an angel. I figured it was time for a Vietnam vet to be a hero.

What do you like most about writing science fiction?

The sky’s the limit … actually there are no limits. It’s a genre that is quick to absorb all others. It serves as a creative platform, offering up make believe worlds, people and civilizations.

—a perfect backdrop for highlighting character arcs, and zooming though the most wondrous plot arcs.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Gratuitous sex and violence. We get enough of that on the nightly news.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead characters?

Although Angela is capable of looking like anything he/she wishes to model, in the story, this alien creature takes on the form of a 20-something beautiful brunette. So, I checked out a few listings of up and coming actresses in that age range and five names percolated up: Victoria Justice, Cara Develingne, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska, and Emily Ratajkowski. They all have the strong facial features I envisioned for Angela. My top choice would be Elizabeth Olsen because she pulled off dynamic and strong roles in recent SFF films. For Apple, I’d pick an actor who has had some experience playing offbeat roles. Perhaps someone like Robert Adamson, Robbie Amell, Brenton Thwaites, or Miles Teller. I’d prefer a rugged face and physique …maybe Robbie or Miles. (Fabulous choices!)

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part in writing is the research. It’s probably why folks are always telling you to write about what you know. In the case of As Wings Unfurl, I needed to do quite a bit of exploring. What were the trains/subways available to/from NJ and NY in 1979? What’s the most likely look for Big Foot or a Yeti? What was the most common version of a leg prosthetic? What does the inside of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral look like? Some of these bits came from first-hand experience, most others are references (thank God for Google).

Can you give us a brief excerpt from As Wings Unfurl?

Jason, a private eye, faces off with a mysterious woman visitor in his office

A sharp pain stabbed at his right hand. He jerked it up, leaving a trail of bright-red oval droplets along the doorjamb. His eyes widened. The tip of his right forefinger was gone. Squealing half in anger and half in terror, he pinched the bloody stub with his other hand.  “Bitch! What the hell?”

His eyes darted to his desk. The Smith and Wesson might as well have been a thousand miles away. He didn’t see a knife. His knees began shaking.

“Jason, calm down. Tell me where the negatives are, and this unpleasantness will end.” She held up his fingertip, wiggled it at him, and tossed it into her mouth.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I am currently putting the finishing touches on my latest project, Henry The Last.  An early version of the manuscript has been rated 5-stars by Readers Favorite and is a Finalist in the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award competition held annually in Orlando, FL. Henry is a Lakota Sioux native American. He is also an android entirely made of metal, plastic, tubes and wires, except for one little thing, his human brain. An asteroid strike and a viral outbreak that followed left few humans alive — those that were lucky to have their brains encased in impervious titanium skulls. At least that’s what the news said. Henry will discover the truth, but in no easy way. He, his ghost of a wife, a robot aide and an unusual visitor will take a roller-coaster ride through a post-apocalyptic world where nothing is as it seems

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

The best way to get in touch is to visit my web site: www.ArthurMDoweyko.com

You can also access a number of my short stories there.

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/@aweyken

Website: http://www.arthurmdoweyko.com/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2c4vWlv

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30236739-as-wings-unfurl

As Wings Unfurl

By Arthur M. Doweyko

Genre: Science Fiction

Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam with a missing leg, a Purple Heart, and an addiction to morphine. He stumbles through each day, looking forward to nothing and hoping it will arrive soon. When he attempts to thwart a crime, he is knocked unconscious and wakes up to discover that people are once again calling him a hero, though he feels undeserving of the praise.

Apple returns to work and meets Angela, a mysterious woman who claims to be his guardian. Immediately, he feels a connection to her, which morphs into an attraction. But he soon discovers that Angela is much more than she seems.

Apple and Angela are swept up in a conspiracy that stretches through time and space. Together, they must fight to save everything they hold dear from an alien race bent on destroying humanity.

Author Bio

After retiring in 2009, Arthur M. Doweyko took up writing fiction. His novel Algorithm garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award. He has also published a number of short stories, many of which have been selected as Finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Award contest, and two Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.

Arthur was awarded the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for his contribution to the discovery of Sprycel, a novel anti-cancer drug successfully brought to the marketplace in 2009. He has authored over one hundred publications (papers, abstracts, patents, book chapters) and has been an invited lecturer in a number of drug-discovery and computational venues.

Arthur lives in Florida with the love of his life, Lidia. When he’s not writing, he’s happily wandering the beaches.

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#BookReview When Darkness Falls by Ellen Chauvet #Paranormal #RBRT

When Darkness Falls by Ellen Chauvet

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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My Review:

As a fan of paranormal romance, and in particular, vampires, I was looking forward to reading When Darkness Falls.

The plot idea is great – the fight between good and evil is always a popular theme, as we can see by the thousands of books that dominate this genre. Finding an original take on vampire fiction and paranormal romance is a tough task. For me, this book didn’t quite deliver. Continue reading “#BookReview When Darkness Falls by Ellen Chauvet #Paranormal #RBRT”