Girl on the Train

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The story of Rachel, Anna, Megan collides in this gripping psychological thriller that is told from each of the woman’s perspective.

When I started listening to this story on Audible I wasn’t quite certain what to think of it or where it would lead or if I liked any one of these ladies.  I will say the story is not beautiful.  It has cuss words and it is dark.  But there is much to be learned from it.  It goes with much of what I have been saying about manipulators and those of you who are in a relationship with such a man/woman I would recommend reading this if for nothing else but perhaps to open your eyes and perhaps to make you understand that the consequences can be tragic.

This of course is fiction but I found Rachel’s journey in particular very gripping.  She is a drunk when we meet her, she is at rock bottom.  She sees herself as ugly and useless, she takes a train back and fourth pretending to go to a job she no longer has.  Here the story begins because here she sees something and here she begins to have a new purpose…here a new resolve comes back to her…a determination is born, and here I begin to love her, because I relate to her struggle, even to her addiction.  Perhaps not to alcohol, but to her depression, to her darkness, to her desperation to be useful.

We find out along the way about Anna, the mistress that became the wife of Tom who was once Rachel’s husband, how they got married.  We get to hear Anna’s voice too, we hate her, we then question if we hate her.

We hear Megan’s voice who is very troubling because she has also gone through so much and of course she is the one the story revolves around, she is the mystery that must be solved.  Who is Megan?  Do we love or hate Megan?

But the moment that I love the most in the book is when Rachel realizes the lie, that one lie that she has been told about herself from the very beginning (spoiler coming), the lie that she was the problem in her marriage, that SHE was the one at fault for EVERYTHING, the lie she readily bought, and when she sees that lie being told to another person…that is the moment I love Rachel very much, because she is strong, she is not weak even though her heart is torn.  THIS is the center of it all, this is what a master manipulator does, and this book does a masterful job of showing us this, how a victim is made and how a victimizer does it all…but through it all a lesson can be learned…how to NOT be a victim, how to understand when someone tries to turn their faults on you, to open your eyes and SEE.  My review for this book is a five star despite the language because of the fact that I think it can bring awareness to this very hard topic.

 

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The Heir by Kiera Cass Book Review

the heir

From the beginning of this series I was enchanted by the story Kiera Cass has woven.  Loved this one…to see the daughter of America and how she was raised as a royal heir.   Princess Eadlyn is a compelling enchanting character.  We see her change throughout the book from a slightly spoiled princess to one who is faced with the reality of her people and she is willing to do anything to make her father proud and relieve some of the stress of running the country.  She has a reluctant Selection of her own…completely determined not to marry but to go through the motions for the sake of distracting the public from their displeasure with the monarchy.  I would have given this book 5 stars, however I think there is only one thing lacking in this and that is more action…but most likely we will see that in the next book…which I look forward to reading!

GUEST BLOG-Annie Douglas Lima

Every once in a while I like to feature authors on my page.  Today I want to step aside and present to you author Annie Douglass Lima and her books.  Please make her feel welcome!

 

The Annals of Alasia by Annie Douglass Lima

 

The books in this unique trilogy can be read in any order, and each one can stand on its own.  Instead of taking place one after the other, their time frames overlap.  They each describe the same major political event: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life.  In the Enemy’s Service tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded.  Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion.  In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the time frames and settings overlap.

Prince of Alasia

 

Twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin, heir to the throne of Alasia, barely escapes with his life when invaders from neighboring Malorn attack. Accompanied by Erik, his young bodyguard and friend, Jaymin flees to a nearby town to live in hiding. There, coming face to face with the hardships suffered by the poor, he determines to improve his people’s lives someday when he takes the throne, assuming he can reclaim his kingdom.

In his struggle to retain his identity and yet blend in with children in the local school, Jaymin’s life depends on his ability to protect his secret from both enemy troops and unsuspecting townsfolk. Meanwhile, Erik must resort to his skills in unarmed combat to defend Jaymin against everyone from a gang of schoolyard bullies to the Malornians who regularly patrol the streets looking for trouble – and for the missing prince.

As the search intensifies and his enemy’s suspicions grow, Jaymin seeks desperately for a way to save his kingdom and himself. Then he stumbles upon a startling discovery that will challenge his assumptions and forever change his view of Malorn and the events that altered his life.

(FREE educational resources are available for this title.  Click here to access a series of PowerPoint presentations that introduce the key vocabulary words from each chapter.)

Click Here to Download Prince of Alasia for your Kindle.

 

Click Here to Download Prince of Alasia for your Nook or in Other Formats.  

 

Click Here to Buy Prince of Alasia in Paperback.

In the Enemy’s Service

 

Enslaved when invaders take over Alasia, ten-year-old Anya discovers ways to spy on the enemy and slip information to the resistance. But then Anya uncovers a disturbing reference to her own family and is confronted by a stranger who seems to know her secrets. Holding her life in his hands, he claims to have proof that her father was involved in the betrayal that led to the Invasion itself.

 

Click Here to Download In the Enemy’s Service for your Kindle.  

Click Here to Download In the Enemy’s Service for your Nook or in Other Formats.

Click Here to Buy In the Enemy’s Service in Paperback.

 

Prince of Malorn

 

One major obstacle stands between seventeen-year-old Prince Korram and the throne that is his birthright: Regent Rampus.  Temporary ruler of Malorn, Rampus has no intention of giving up his position when the crown prince comes of age – or of allowing the prince to live long enough to reach that age.  

 

Desperate to build an army of his own to stand against the regent, Korram treks into the Impassable Mountains to try to recruit the one segment of Malornian society not under Rampus’s control.  But can he lead a band of untrained hunters and gatherers to victory against the full might of the Malornian military?  Or will they all be crushed by the grasping hand of the regent before the prince can claim his rightful throne?

 

Click Here to Download Prince of Malorn for your Kindle.  

Click Here to Download Prince of Malorn for your Nook or in Other Formats.

Click Here to Buy Prince of Malorn in Paperback.

 

Praise for The Annals of Alasia from Amazon Reviewers:

 

“(Prince of Malorn) on its own is definitely an exciting read, but I also liked the character development and story connections between this book and those that were previously released. It makes me want to read Prince of Alasia and In the Enemy’s Service again! For me, the characters have come alive, and though they are fictional, I can’t help wishing that it was actually possible to meet them. I would definitely recommend that other readers buy this book and enter into the worlds of Malorn and Alasia.”
-AngelMig

 

“All three of the Annals of Alasia books are fantastic! (They have) action, suspense, adventure, tragedy, and humor.  Each story in this series is a stand-alone novel, but it is very fun to read all three and see different perspectives of the same story. The accuracy between the novels is amazing, and it’s also incredible that one can read the same story three times and never have a dull moment- even when you think you know how things will be wrapped up!  Lima is a master of her craft, and I will be looking for anything and everything this author puts out there in the future. I highly suggest you do the same!”
-V. Howard

 

“I’d call this literary fiction in the fantasy genre in a camp with Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series–particularly, Taran Wanderer (which was my favorite of the series). It’s deep, complex, and yet very easy to read… I loved the different points of view used in the story, and the way that it overlapped with Prince of Alasia (first book in series Annals of Alasia). Lima always chose the most intriguing angle to “view” each scene.”

-Mrs. G.

 

“This book has everything I love: lovely, concise prose, unique word pictures, and highly developed characters as well as epic adventure and absolutely superb world-building….  I did not learn this is the third book in the series until I was halfway done. The other two are interrelated, but they can be read independently with no problem. I loved the lands of Malorn and Alasia so much that I purchased books one and two and signed up for email notification for when book four comes out. Prince of Malorn earns my highest recommendation!”

-Michelle

 

“(Prince of Alasia) is a great book with a fantastic story line, and it will keep your attention. You can’t stop with this one, however, for the amazing way that the author intertwines the sequel (In the Enemy’s Service) with the story presented in this book is truly amazing!”

-Family Oriented

 

“The whole Annals of Alasia series is awesome. I think they would make an absolutely amazing movie. The details and the painstaking depth that Annie Douglass Lima puts into her works are admirable.”

-V. Howard

 

“(In the Enemy’s Service) is involved, suspenseful, and definitely kept my attention. If you enjoy a good fantasy novel, complete with swords and treachery, this one has enough action, humor, and drama to supply many hours of reading entertainment. I have not read the 1st book in this fantasy series, but did not feel that it hindered my ability to follow the story at all. It can certainly stand on its own.”

-Biker Babs

About the Author

 

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published six books (three YA action adventure/fantasy and three anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

 

Contact Info:

 

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

 

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

 

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

 

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

 

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

 

Learn to write stories worth reading

So…right up front I will tell you I have not written a New York Times Best Selling Book….yet.  I have however read MANY such books.  One day I hope to join the ranks of the great story tellers.  There are many friends on Facebook and in my day to day life that also share this passion for writing and have similar goals.  The question that is most pressing is as follows: how to we become THAT good.  How do we tell stories worth reading?

It is my strong opinion that one of the ways a writer can improve at the craft of writing is through a few simple steps…

1.) Read!  Read!!! For heaven’s sake…READ!!!

When I say this I don’t just mean read the books you are passionate about.  I also mean be very observant about what you are reading.  Take a notebook, write words that stand out, or write your observations about what the author does and DOESN’T do.

For example, one of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz.  In reading some of his books I have noticed something that was VERY explosive for me (might not be for you).  He hardly EVER uses the word and.  Me on the other hand….use it FAR TOO MUCH.  Also he has very little dialogue, yet his stories are very interesting and captivating.  In fact when there is dialogue I almost feel like saying to the characters: shut up, I want to see the rest of the story.

There are other observations that can only be found through reading stories and books by authors who have made it ‘big’, such as how they describe things without actually telling you what they are describing.  How they paint pictures that are so vivid with words that are perfectly placed…like the stroke of just the right color with a brush.

2.) Write.  Simply write.

Even if you have come to a stand still in your story…write SOMETHING.  Write in a journal.  Write a blog.  Write a letter.  In fact start a notebook designed just for descriptions.  Pick an object (in nature, in your home, at your place of work) and describe it in detail without ever saying what it is.  Describe it as you would to a blind person.  Describe a sound, describe a smell, describe a sensation. Remember you don’t actually have to show it to anyone.

3.) Write reviews for the books you read.

A good way to develop your writing is to write reviews (on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your blogg, etc).  Don’t just say the book was good, or it was bad.  Go deep into the why’s.  Use words that paint a picture.  (I am working on getting better in my reviews and you wouldn’t believe how much this helps me when I finally sit down to write my own stories).

4.) Re-read your stories OUT LOUD.

Act it out.  Have a pen or pencil handy.  When you read your work out loud, your brain seems to catch what actually sounds right and what sounds horrible.

5.) Pay attention to your dreams.

Many of my stories have been born from dreams.  I have a notebook by my bed for those moments when I wake up from a dream (or a nightmare) and I write them down.  You wouldn’t believe how many times my stories have come to a halt and I’ve gone back to ‘the notebook’ and found inspiration again.

6.) For each story you are working on have a journal assigned just for that story.

In this journal, jot down ideas as they come.  Write how you are feeling about your progress…or lack there of.  Write anything that has to do with the story.

7.)  Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t re-write too many times.

We all want the perfect story, but there comes a time when too much re-writing is just too much and it will make your story flat.  You may even become depressed about it…even bored.

Dreaming in the midst of reality

Here I go dreaming again.  It is who I am.  A dreamer…always.  Yet reality tries to intrude, reality tries to say:  “Your dream is impossible, get your head out of the clouds.”

I say:  “No.”

Yes, indeed, we have to deal with certain realities, but dreams are what keeps us going.  Dreams are our passions, our hopes, they are what we aspire to be.

For me to dream is easy.  I am an artist.  The funny thing about artists is we don’t only focus on one art.  (I haven’t yet met an artist who only likes one form of art)  We dream big, colossal dreams.  My biggest passion is writing, that is my world–the world in which I express my doubts, fears, hopes, dreams, joys….everything.  Yet I love and hope to dabble in other forms of art too.  Singing for example is another, to me a song is like a prayer (or perhaps the heart’s wish).  Sketching is the next, I love capturing emotions through a pencil and eraser.  There is one I haven’t yet tried…but will soon…and that is acting.

Why do I love all of these?  Why is art so important to me?  I believe very firmly that in art we put a little bit of ourselves in it…and we expose it to the world.  It is our battle cry.  It is the way we say:  This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is where I have been, and this is what I stand for.

Recently I have started watching the show 24 and I am hooked.  I said to my family (with a deep deep sigh):  I love that actor Kiefer Sutherland (who acts as Jack Bower).  To which they replied:  He’s only a character.  And my reply is, yes indeed, but you have to wonder how much of himself he put into that role…  I do this will all movies I watch, or books I read, or songs I listen to.  I ask myself:  How much of themselves did the artist put into this of themselves?

So, back to dreaming.   Yes I dream.  I will always dream, even if the dream at times may be a nightmare.  Perhaps one day these dreams will come true…perhaps yours will too…but if you never dream…YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.  So: DARE TO DREAM BIG!

Buy the books support the orphans of Romania

orphans

As some of you know I was born in Romania, I lived there until I was eight years old. As a young girl I experienced many things, one of which was the fall of communism. I have a deep love for my home country as I do for the country I now reside in.
Back in the year 2000 I went on a mission trip to Romania with a group called Speranta (Hope) and in so doing I had the privilage of meeting orphans that were in much need of love. In recent years I have come in contact with a person by the name of Cornel Ilioi who has a charity that ministers to those who have no parents, to the orphans of Romania. He has a ministry called Live and Light Ministries that reaches out to these children. Because of this I have decided to contribute as much as I can to this ministry. How? Simple. Each month as I get my deposit from Amazon for my books, ten percent will go to this ministry. How can you help? Spread the word, buy the books, leave amazon reviews for each one you read. I will include the link to my Amazon author page at the bottom of this post.
Also here is a link to the facebook page for Life and Light Ministries in case you would like to support this ministry directly:
https://www.facebook.com/#!/lifeandlightministry?fref=ts

Also here is the link to my author page on Amazon where you will be able to purchase all my books which are available in kindle (ebook) format and paperback:
http://www.amazon.com/Evangheline-Farcas/e/B005LL8JEM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

If you would like to join my facebook fan page click on the link bellow:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hadassahs-Watchman/133730916659199?ref=tn_tnmn

Book Review: Iscariot by Tosca Lee

Kindle book of Iscariot:
http://www.amazon.com/Iscariot-Novel-Judas-ebook/dp/B008J27ISS/ref=la_B001JPCC42_1_1_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1367429806&sr=1-1

Tosca Lee is an author that captured my attention a while back with her book Havah and Demon: A Memoir and recently has further captivated me with her book Iscariot. Her books are unique, they are different yet Biblicaly focused…so if you are one of those reviewers who will give a book a one star for it being religious I would let you know up front (if the book itself isn’t obvious enough): IT IS CHRISTIAN FICTION. Yet I will also say they are not preachy, they are cleverly written and each will make you think deeper and beyond what you think you knew about the characters.
Iscariot is like that. I read a review on amazon where one reviewer basically said they didn’t like it because the characters (disciples) didn’t seem to have enough faith, that they were portrayed as faithless. Well, my response to that is: ummm yes, indeed they were faithless in many ways. The three years they spent with Jesus they were constantly missing the point…it was only AFTER the resurection that they finally began to understand. I think Tosca did an extraordinary job showing how the disciples may have thought and talked and felt. You see, we living in this world where every family has a Bible KNOW the story and how it would turn out, THEY DIDN’T. They were living in the moment, in a time of great unrest and fear, they had every reason to doubt because in that time there were many would-be ‘Messiah’s’. The parts I found most amazing was Judas Iscariot himself. As I listened to this book (yes I listened to it on audible, on my phone, on my way to and from work), I found myself in Judas Iscariot. His doubts, his longings, his nature I saw in myself. It gave me the shivers at times how close to the character I felt. You see each one of us I believe could have been a Judas or a Peter. Both denied Him. The difference is only one: one repented, the other didn’t. All of us denny Him at one point or another, the difference is, will we turn back to him?
I learned a lot about myself from this book. Yes, it is fiction…but often we see truth better in fiction than in a sermon (after all Jesus taught with fiction…parables). Thus I highly recommend Tosca Lee’s book because I think that you will find yourself in this book, I think light will be shed into those dark places in your heart you never wanted to explore or recognize that existed…and when light comes there are only two choices: Accept the light and let it brighten every corner of the rooms in your heart, or deny the light and snuff it out and rejected. The choise is yours.