Category Archives: Inspire

“Leonard”

2550DED9-DCFA-4117-929E-D5B76C8365FD

 

“Leonard:  My Fifty-Year Friendship with A Remarkable Man”

By William Shatner with David Fisher.

I recommend this book as a journey of life encompassing a shared career and friendship between actors that I enjoyed growing up.

Listening to Mr. Shatner’s excellent narration to share his love of Leonard Nimoy was a privilege and a priceless gift of insight into what makes a career and friendship.

I am a Star Trek fan growing up and in my 55 years of enjoying Mr. Shatner and Mr. Nimoy in all their many roles I found this book a gift that helped me to see the beauty of pursing a career and how it impacts living life to the fullest.

I’m thankful that I took the time to listen to this well written book.

87C06A3C-EB80-493C-B45D-9AF13121569E

Advertisements

Endorse “Neighing with Fire” by Kathryn O’Sullivan 3rd book in the Colleen McCabe Series Release Date May 5, 2015

neighing-with-fire-2-e1417204692201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for the opportunity to review this book before the official release.  Kathryn O’Sullivan brings us mysteries with a new flair but true to the tradition of Agatha Christie – great plots with engaging dialog.

Firefighting Chief Collen McCabe shows how well a woman performs in positions of authority and leadership. Chief McCabe not only fights fire but crime as well and still finds time to nurture a budding romance.

The story begins with the author, Kathryn O’Sullivan, breathing life into a piece of plastic sheeting from a construction site. The plastic carries the reader into the story in a kind of ballet as the sheeting takes us to a long buried crime scene. The body found is just the start of the mystery that Colleen and her friend, Sheriff  Bill Dorman, work to solve as the story unfolds.

There’s  drama in the North Carolina’s Outer Banks community between those that support the Wild horse habitat and the piping plover shore birds as well as those that would see all habitat taken up with new construction.  Colleen has a fight with Denny Custis, a ruthless land developer about these subject not long before he turns up dead at one of Chief McCabe’s fire scenes.

There’s too many that have issues with Denny and the battle over land for wild habitat versus resorts to make solving the case easy but Colleen has a hunch that the long buried body and Denny’s death are connected now all she has to find out is how.

This excerpt from”Neighing with Fire” demonstrates the compassion Chief McCabe feels for her firefighters:

“….She [McCabe] was anxious to find out how her men were doing – particularly Chip and Kenny, who had been inside the burning structure. …”

Chief McCabe shows how capable a woman is when making life and death decisions without hesitation. I hope strong women both young and old read the Colleen McCabe Series as an inspiration to aspire to the jobs that are in their heart to pursue.

Another great part of the story is the beautifully written scene depicting the picturesque setting of the Outer Banks Village of Corolla, where wild horses still roam free and fire fighters enforce no feeding laws as well as putting out engine fires for cars unfamiliar with driving on Carova Beach.

The message I take from the Colleen McCabe Series is follow your dreams, listen to the message of inner truth and strive to be the best you can be.

I’m looking forward to reading more books from the Colleen McCabe Series. I enjoy mysteries that have a message similar to the one underlying Elizabeth Peters work, highlighting Amelia Peabody’s* books, women don’t need a man to succeed they just need to believe in themselves. These books are also very well written with emphasis on the mystery.

I’m hopeful the writing of Kathryn O’Sullivan continues with many more rewarding reading experiences.

Where to find out more about the books and the author on GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6539561.Kathryn_O_Sullivan

Author’s web page here:
www.kathrynosullivan.com

KathrynOSullivanFBPic

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Amelia Peabody

http://www.ameliapeabody.com/

Other books in the Colleen McCabe Series are:

“Murder on the Hoof” #2

http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250049469

“Foal Play” #1

http://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250026590

 

I Recommend Mary Balogh’s “A Secret Affair”

IMG_3068IMG_3069

Mary Balogh’s “A Secret Affair” gets 5 Stars from me.

More than a great romance story between a strong woman and man. This story covered some of the ills of the period and how two caring people were able to make a difference for those unable to improve their lot in life on their own.  Anne Flosnik does an excellent job bringing the characters to life with her narration on the audiobook.  Well done production.  Thank you Hennepin County library for providing the best selection of audio and ebook for any library of similar size.

Sincerely, 

Melissa Blanchard

IMG_2783

Minneapolis MN

“The Witness” by Nora Roberts

 

The Witness by Nora Roberts

Why read “The Witness” by Nora Roberts?

Consider a young girl, Elizabeth, finds out her Mother didn’t give birth to her for love but to make the best out of a sperm donor’s DNA.  Elizabeth finds herself at 16 a college student that has never been on a date nor has she ever been shopping with friends.  She has an opportunity to have a day shopping with a girl from her old high school and forging fake ID’s for them to go out to a popular club.

Elizabeth soon finds herself running for her life.  What comes next will change her life in ways she would have never dreamed possible.

Will this naive girl survive into womanhood?  If so, what sort of life will she have?

All this and more will be answered by Nora Roberts as the story unfolds.  You’ll discover what happened to Elizabeth, her Mother and the Federal Agents assigned to protect Elizabeth or is it to prosecute?

“The Witness,” kept me guessing.  It is a snapshot of a girl left on her own with no guidance and the trouble that finds her.  A Mother’s love is important and this story shows why on so many levels.

The adult Elizabeth finds she still has things to learn about finding and keeping love between a man and a woman too.  She has to find the courage and wisdom within herself to pursue the man of her dreams while staying safe from the men from her nightmares.

Nora brings all the characters in this book to life from the shy and bookish Elizabeth to the sterile, demanding and unfeeling Mother you’ll find those you love and those you will love to hate in this adventure of the heart.

There are very few writers that could bring a character like Elizabeth to life, but Nora Roberts does it beautifully.  From the style of Elizabeth’s hair to the experience of wearing her first pair of heals, you will not be disappointed.  This is a definite re-read for me.  So much detail needs to be savored.

I hope you pick up “The Witness” by Nora Roberts and see for yourself what makes this coming of age story a suspenseful drama full of mystery and hope.  You can get the book in the following formats at the links below:

http://www.audiobookstanddl.com/9B656443-488B-4EA1-813A-6E319CB89573/10/119/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=9C9FA007-8C8F-4C14-A40E-19C9E8FDCAE4

http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1WITNESS

If you buy with the second link you can ask to have it signed by the author and its on clearance for $10.00.

I also enjoyed the audiobook performance by Julia Whelan.  She brings out all the emotions of the characters in her voice tone and reading style. Lovely job, Julia, thank you.

“The Ornament” by Zeke Changuris

cz_ornament-150

 

What sets “The Ornament” by Zeke Changuris apart making it a must read novel for all ages?  This is the journey of a young photojournalist striving to be the best when the woman of his dreams starts working at the same TV news station.  The courtship of Amy and Sam is full of all the detail of what goes into being a good news anchor and photojournalist along with all the personal struggles these two face living life.

Zeke shows us how a single frame of video captures the emotions of a moment out of time.  He brings to sharp focus all that goes into being human from dating, marriage and finding the courage to say what’s in you heart to a woman you’ve loved all your life.

“The Ornament” allows us to see inside the TV news profession in a whole new way.  Zeke details the ups and downs in a news anchor’s and photojournalist’s personal as well as professional life.  The journey takes us to Hagerstown, Maryland  to Operation Freedom in Iraq and back to Washington, DC.

Zeke Changuris writes from the heart about a profession he loves and how hard it is to find and keep true love.  Zeke’s characters are easy to imagine as well as the places they inhabit.  Vivid descriptions as only a photographer can capture are brought to life in Zeke’s dialog and narrative.  Beautifully and poignantly written.

Reading to me is finding something new about the human condition that is both inspiring and helps me see myself a little more clearly.  “The Ornament” does this and more.  It pulls the emotions out of me.  I feel for Sam and I have a better understanding of what a man experiences as he travels through life.

Thank you, Zeke Changuris for sharing these beautiful characters with me and all readers that enjoy a story that celebrates living life to the fullest.  Keep on writing from the heart, Zeke, you have a gift to not only bring characters to life off the page but to also share the complex emotions that make up each and everyone of us.

I bought my copy at the following link:  http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=ZC_ORNAMENT

From Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe at a Nora Roberts sponsored book signing event.  I hope you all take a few minutes to check out this book and order from TTPBooks.com a safe and secure way to get books quickly and in great condition all over the world.

“The Ornament” is a must read book for our time for all ages.  My book reviews are my own.  I only strive to help readers find books that I’ve enjoyed and found some new insights into the human condition.  Comments are welcomed.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” by Sheryl Seal

BeyondBridalveilFall_

I found this book on Twitter when Sheryl Seal (@sherylseal) tweeted the cover art.  It is amazingly beautiful.  When I found out it is the cover art of a book I knew I had to read it.

What’s so special about “Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)”?  It takes us on journey into the spiritual part of our being.  Into that part of us that makes us part of the universe.  Sheryl also introduces us to the consequences of unharnessed emotion and the price we all pay when we fail to control our thoughts and feelings.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” shows us why it is so important that we get to know our inner selves.  Sheryl delves into what makes us human and unique.  She demonstrates how important it is to be straight with ourselves and others.

Any young adult to senior citizen (rated G for wholesome family reading) will find “Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” engaging and inspiring.  Sheryl writes from the heart and pens imagery like the cover art that moves us to try and capture all the beauty that is around us.

“Beyond Bridalveil Fall (Dwellers of Ahwahnee)” is fantasy that has roots in reality.  All that experience life will find moments from Oria journey to womanhood that connect with their soul.  Keep on writing Sheryl Seal you have a gift that speaks to the heart.

I purchased my copy for iPad Kindle on Amazon at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Bridalveil-Fall-Dwellers-Ahwahnee-ebook/dp/B00CKR63F2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1403374171&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+bridalveil+fall

Paper back copies are also available.

Adding these 2 to my must read list:

Oria Falls 3rd

 

 

“Mistress Angel,” by Lindsay Townsend

Mistress Angel

What about “Mistress Angel” is uniquely special?

The medieval period city life becomes reality as the story unfolds.  Isabella has been used first by her family then by her dead husband’s family – she is a commodity to them.

The writing brought me into the city with it’s dirty streets and how little value was placed on the life of a woman.  Her young son is taken from her, she’s pressed into servitude and she must choose between getting her son back and pleasing the local marriage prospects.

“Mistress Angel” is a journey through medieval London from the landscape to the characters Lindsay delivers.  Raw emotions and agonizing struggles are included in the telling.

I also enjoy finding new phrases and words from the period in Lindsay’s writing.  She defines them and uses them as keys to her plot.  I liken it to a treasure hunt, always something new in the next chapter.

Will Isabella get her son back?  Will she find true love?  All will be answered before the last word is read.

I hope you give “Mistress Angel” a look.  Great writing, well developed plot and interesting characters, what more could you want in a story?

I got my copy from Amazon Kindle for iPad at this link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F43NNKW/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

 

How Books and Bookstores Have Changed My Life

https://melissablanchard62.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/recommend-it-starts-with-food-discover-the-whole30-and-change-your-life-in-unexpected-ways-by-melissa-hartwig-and-dallas-hartwig/
This book changed my life – I had tried so many diets even working with a Health Fitness place but this guide will bring home how the body works and what you need to do to get your weight under control and so much more. Take the time to read it (and its a quick read if all you want to do is get started on the lifestyle that will set you free).
I’m also thankful for Preferred One insurance and Fairview Health Service and Can Do New Thinking, Better Choices program – its helped me find the keys to long term solutions from food, to finances, to interpersonal relationships and finding peace within yourself.
I’m thankful that I found this book at Turn The Page Bookstore Cafe at the July 13th 2013 book signing with Nora Roberts I’ve lost 60 pounds since then and continue to lose until my muscle, bone and fat ratio is within norms. This is an achievable goal, this is my life and my journey and I control what food I eat, how much I move, and listening to what my body is telling me. See information about my journey to date and my continuing journal at my blogs:

https://melissablanchard62.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/weekly-photo-challenge-work-of-art/
http://lifeafter50m.blogspot.com/Your spirit and soul are ready to be heard – tune in and listen. Keep on believing in the possibilities of what YOU CAN DO:)

On this blog click on the Weight link on the left to read about the beginning of my journey.  I’m keeping my ongoing journey in Journal form on http://lifeafter50m.blogspot.com/

I have to share and celebrate how books change my life and bookstores with heart carry just the books you need.  So glad I traveled to Boonsboro last July, hope all that are able attend this year as well.  Find out more about the 2014 book signing and brunch with Nora on her blog at this link:  http://fallintothestory.com/eventssignings/

Comments are welcome.

Sincerely,

Melissa Blanchard

“Shadow Spell” by Nora Roberts

Shadow Spell Front CoverShadow Spell Inside Front CoverShadow Spell Signature PageShadow Spell Back Cover2Shadow Spell Back FlapShadow Spell Back Jacket

Why do I recommend, “Shadow Spell” by Nora Roberts?

First, “Shadow Spell” is a mystery that spans the centuries.  Nora does an excellent job connecting the Autumn of 1268 with the Autumn of 2013.  Eamon and Connor are kindred spirits finding common ground in the spiritual world.

Second, I find “Shadow Spell an intriguing study of old and new Ireland from the landscape to the customs.  Especially how each family unit made their income then and now.  Nora’s description of the tourism of modern Ireland makes me want to visit there and see for myself.

Finally, “Shadow Spell” speaks to the heart.  The importance of family in the good and bad times.  Learning how to work through disagreements within the family both those of the blood and those created through love and understanding.  Nora let me see how love grows through sharing and caring.

I hope you find the story of “Shadow Spell” as inspiring and enlightening as I have.  I’m looking forward to reading “Blood Magick” by Nora Roberts, hopefully to be released in October of 2014.  I’m hoping Cabhan gets what he deserves in this final installment.  I feel it will take spiritual strength and heart that extends back to the year 1268.

I purchased the novel “Shadow Spell” by Nora Roberts online via Turn The Page Bookstore Cafe at this link http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=COD2

Requesting signed books is still possible. Please follow the instructions on the website carefully to be sure to get the book signed as you request, see this link for further information https://melissablanchard62.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/facebook-posting-from-turn-the-page-bookstore/

The site is safe and secure – I’ve been using it since August 2013 with great success. I visited Boonsboro, MD last July and am also able to say the staff and store are both friendly and helpful in customer service and layout.

Audio is also available via ttpbooks.com but I didn’t realize until after I purchased the audiobook on iTunes via Brilliance Audio see this link:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/shadow-spell-book-two-cousins/id824435002

The narrator, Allan Smyth, has a lovely accent which adds to the feel of traveling to Ireland.  Nora’s excellent descriptive writing does the rest.  I enjoyed listening as I did my daily walks and working on preparing my meals.  Allan’s ability to bring emotions to life with his tone of voice brought depth to the battle scenes.

Thank you Nora Roberts, for giving us this story of family that spans the centuries in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy with Book 1, “The Dark Witch” reviewed at this link:  https://melissablanchard62.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/dark-witch-book-one-of-the-cousins-odwyer-trilogy-by-nora-roberts/ and Book 2, “The Shadow Spell” and Fall release of “Blood Magick”.

You deliver with every book and I appreciate all you share from the romance, to the family love that is of blood and spirit.  I appreciate the signature as well.  I did “Imagine” and found acceptance and love.  Peace.

 

 

 

“The Collector,” by Nora Roberts

Front Cover The CollectorInside Covers Art The CollectorSignature page The CollectorBack Flap Credits The CollectorBack Cover The CollectorBookSpine

 

“The Collector,” by Nora Roberts surprises, entertains and inspires. Lila is charming with how she makes the most out of all situations. She’s always willing to help out which, in one case, may get her into some trouble.

I don’t want to give away any of the treasures you must uncover for yourself, so not much about the details of the story here. This is a murder mystery romance. It’s also an adventure, comedy and drama.

Laughter, crying and anger are the emotions I experience as I read “The Collector”. Nora is very good at pulling the emotions out of me. She also writes page turners I’m unable to put down – home run with this book. Descriptions of the settings are out of site from downtown New York – street level and a bird’s eye view from the 14th floor window – to Italy. Beautiful scenes of the people, city and rural landscape. Nora took me there for an afternoon better than any movie.

The hard cover book is pictured above with cover and without. Note the back flap is hard to read so I’ll give the credits here:

Jacket design by Richard Hasselberger
Jacket photograph of city
Copyright Sandra Kreuzinger/Getty Images
Photograph of the author Copyright Bruce Wilder [Personal note from me – thank you Bruce Wilder for an excellent picture of Nora – love the scene you chose to frame your subject.]
penguin.com
G.P.PUTNAM’S SONS
a member of
Penguin Group (USA)

“The Collector” book is well crafted and very beautiful with burgundy shades and gold lettering on cover and spine. A great edition to any library shelf. Mine also has a signature from the author virtually via the link: http://ttpbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Store_Code=TTPB&Screen=PROD&Product_Code=COLLECTOR_HC

Getting a personalized copy of your own is still an option, just follow the link above and be sure to read my post at this link: https://melissablanchard62.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/facebook-posting-from-turn-the-page-bookstore/
Where you’ll learn all the best practices to get your signed copy anywhere in the world that mail is able to reach.

I also purchased the audiobook from iTunes at this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/the-collector-unabridged/id852344791

Julia Whelan is an excellent narrator. Her accents and vocal artistry identified each character for me. Every inflection of Julia’s voice convey the emotions of the characters. I enjoy listening to Julia and will again I hope. Nora’s excellent dialog and seamless narratives did the rest.

I hope you all find “The Collector,” as entertaining and adventurous as I do. Now I’m off to read, “Shadow Spell” by Nora Roberts. I’m loving the Cousins O’Dwyer’s trilogy so far. Thank you Nora Roberts for delivering with “The Collector”.