Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Review: Your Time is Now by Brenda Mohammed



In this Memoir, Your Time is Now - A Time to be born and a Time to Die, the author uses quotations and references that connect to events in her life and the lives of others.
It is written, based on powerful words spoken by King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes about times and seasons. "There is a time to be born and a time to die, and a time for every purpose under the Heaven."
The book is intended to help people understand their own lives and to realize that we are all here on earth for a purpose.
Poems and a section on A Brother's Wisdom are included.


Whilst Your Time is Now is a memoir with biblical undertones, I would like to split this review in two parts.

The story is about seizing the day, much like how Robin William's teacher wanted his class to do in Dead Poet's Society. I think we are all guilty to some extent about not seizing the day, seizing the moment. Then we reflect on such things and wonder why we weren't just a little bit braver. What would have been the worst thing that could have happened as a result of our actions? Whilst one book cannot hope to provide a satisfactory answer to such a question, it satisfies many of the author's search for meaning in her life. I am splitting my review not out of disrespect to the author's beliefs, it's just that my views are a little different and so I should be clear about that from the outset.

This is not the first memoir I have read by the author but it's probably the most interesting one - even though the others were extremely readable books in their own right. However, whilst there is some overlap, it still feels like a new read.

I especially enjoyed the part where Canadian missionaries approached the author's parents, seeking to adopt her. Canada is cold, more cold than the author's native Trinidad and Tobago, and it's clear she was happy not to be taken away. Her family is a large one and it is uplifting to read how much she loves her family.

Later elements talk about reaping what we sow. This is very true. As I have aged I think I have mellowed a lot - it's more likely I will say something nice and supportive rather than be snidey or cruel. There may be times to do that, but overall the message is 'look, life is short - be nice to each other'.

I don't know what would have been made of me if I had been there to experience the sermon on the mount. We all have complexities to ourselves, but without them, we would not be who we are. One hopes that if I do face that final judgement, I won't be considered a bad person, even though I am not fully into the beliefs referenced in this book. 

"The story is about seizing the day."

It's refreshing that one of the author's Directors commented on her being 'a Real Christian'. In England we are supposed to live in a Christian country, yet the display of crosses around our necks is considered controversial and possibly offensive. This is nonsensical to me. So long as no-one wishes to hurt me, I have no issue with them.

Perhaps my favourite line in the entire book is 'A highly evolved person is free from worry and depression and radiates calmness'. So true - and if only we could all live like that, impressing positive thoughts on those we interact with and yes, profess to love (even via blood or relationship status) the world would be a better place.

So forget the nonsense of a busy, noisy world. Most of the stuff we worry about is a waste of our time. We are better than that and should act accordingly.

Read this book and feel uplifted.

Book Review: Seven Days to Me (A One Week Romance, #1) by Tracey Pedersen



Two People. Two Stories. So Many Secrets...

Golding Mining is going from strength to strength under the dedicated management of Stephanie Golding. Too bad she dreams of returning to a life that has long since slipped through her fingers.

Brad Peters is living a life he's not quite sure he wants. He's doing it to make his dad proud. When he's roped in to seduce Stephanie he can suddenly see exactly what he wants...and it's right in front of him...

Can two people struggling to be true to themselves find a common ground just by spending a week together? Just how many secrets are too many for a relationship to survive?


I wish more contemporary romances were like this, then I might enjoy the genre a lot more than I do. I realise I am not the main target audience for this kind of story, so I will just give my honest opinion.

When Stephanie and Brad are pitched together, a man and a woman in a work environment suddenly find that sparks fly. Literally. It's not all plain sailing of course, and I loved the elements of drama and mystery that the author worked into the story. It is elevated by its well paced story, excellent narrative, and punchy dialogue. 

"This is a superior novel in a crowded genre."

Perhaps I wanted more from the dialogue. It was functional and worked well between the characters. I accept it was a seven day whirlwind, and so, in this context, deeper narrative is okay to omit as the feelings between the two speak volumes, which is how it should be between lovers.

'The planet had tilted on its axis.' Isn't this a beautiful and rather apt way to describe how we feel in matters of love - especially when this person can drive you crazy in more ways than one?

Add secondary characters such as Myrtle and Meredith who add so much to the story, you have the perfect pot boiler of a romance. Meredith may be an ice queen, but the author clearly had a lot of fun in her creation, and there is one such woman in every work environment. that makes the book engaging to read but also a realistic romance. I liked this a lot.

This is a superior novel in a crowded genre. Seek it out today.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Book Review: The Dramatic Dead by Bryan Nowak



The heart of the city is being gutted by a ritualistic serial killer and the police have hit a wall. Dirk, a private detective, is thrust into the maniac’s world by a mother’s desperate plea. A tragic mistake leads the killer toward his next victim: a girl with ties to the investigation. Now Dirk and his quirky team of problem solvers must race against the clock to find the killer before the next victim is claimed. 

A private investigator, his friend, a cop, and a specter named Victor are all that stand in the way of a madman and his next victim. 


The Dramatic Dead is as entertaining as author Bryan Nowak's debut novel (No Name) however I was initially disappointed that the book wasn't as scary as I hoped. At least, this was my initial view as I read the early chapters. The character of Victor and how he is drawn was the most controversial aspect for me. I wasn't sure I liked the take on it, but like most things you have to read the whole story in order to place the individual elements in an appropriate and fair context. If I didn't do that, I would not be being fair as a reviewer, and it is reviews that people will be reading, so I have to respect that.

"The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels."

The whole private investigator trope isn't new of course, but the author writes central character Dirk with a swagger and verve that keeps you reading. Indeed, from the male perspective I understood his feelings for a certain character (I won't include her name because of spoilers) but guys, we have all done this...practised saying 'I love you....' and find it easy to say when she wasn't there, but we'd freeze when she was! as the author quotes "She's the most spectacular creature on the planet, and I'd die for her."

Yes we would. We know we would.

Another thing is that the humour of the story shouldn't really work, but it does. Lines such as 'the living are so annoying!' Well who can argue with that?

Overall The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels - as a thriller, as a detective piece, a horror comedy fused with occasional dark horror that somehow, through the quality of the writing, manages to work. Another element takes us on the road to the afterlife. Now because we know practically nothing about that, we have to take the author's position on it. This is just his view, however, and again, it works because the story is so well constructed. It's a long read, but it never really feels like that. Bryan Nowak is a new author and one that I believe will make his mark very quickly. Snap both books up now!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book Review: Where She Belongs by Liz Doran



Roisin has had enough. After the recession hit Spain, her husband, Javier, has fallen into an abyss of depression and is threatening to drag her down with him. In order to save them both, she leaves Spain and does something she has always dreamt of doing. To live by the sea. She wants to gain control of her life, make a new start and finally follow her dreams. 

With a mixture of sadness and anticipation, she moves back to Ireland, rents a house by the sea, and has a fortuitous meeting with Maggie who runs a craft boutique. 
At first everything runs smoothly. Maggie offers her a job and people are more than kind. Too good to be true? The last thing on her mind is another man. But then she meets Tom, the irresistible Irish man. When Javier follows her and tries to woo her back, confusion sets in. After perfect beginnings, where she meets some of the helpful and colourful characters who live there, things begin to get complicated. The first cracks appear on the façade. Why is her old neighbour, Mrs. Walsh, being threatened? What is she afraid of? And why are people suspicious of Maggie, her new friend and boutique owner? 


Where She Belongs is a slow burner of a debut novel from author Liz Doran. Many of the best authors in the world hail from Ireland, where this book is set. It follows the ups and downs of Roisin, who (in a paradoxically shift of pace in the early chapters) has her life literally turned upside down an decides she has had enough of Spanish beau Javier.

Reading this from the male point of view may actually garner interest in this book. You see, I felt Javier had been hard done by. He’s not the model husband, and he does something that is practically unforgivable, but as this happens early on in the story, we haven’t learned enough to form a strong opinion as to whether he is the bad guy or not.

Clearly Roisin acts at first with her heart and then her head. The time lapse is not that long, and soon enough Roisin has decided to get out from the relative comfort of her life and start over again.

I applaud the author for taking this decision. It’s a woman’s story written for women, but that shouldn’t prevent male readers from reading Where She Belongs. It would have been an interesting angle to see Roisin stay post-the-event but that would have taken the story on a whole different direction.

The pace is steady. There’s a lot of information in the story that from the male perspective is less interesting but I can understand why it is in there, as the book would fall under women’s fiction.

"The author does not give us a cop out ending."

Roisin’s journey through Ireland is strongly depicted and if you have never been to the country, the author makes you fall in love with the place. Everyone knows that one person’s paradise is another’s idea of hell, and despite the brave new world Roisin chooses to go after, not everything falls into place. That would be too easy, and the author does not give us a cop out ending.

That said, whilst Roisin began to find herself and a new meaning to her life, it was only a matter of time before Javier popped up again. He’s not a one-dimensional psycho dumped husband like Patrick Bergin in Sleeping With the Enemy, and again, I was grateful for how the character was drawn.

Where She Belongs is an interesting debut novel that demands the readers’ attention. In some ways it is a very easy read, at other times, it is heart wrenching and touching.

A strong debut from Liz Doran.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Book Review: Dreams (New Beginnings, #3) by Michelle Lynn



Moving on is the hardest thing she’ll ever have to do. 

Taylor Scott sees the world differently than she did a year ago. She’s no longer the love-sick teenager, quick to smile and full of joy. Now she’s the broken college student just trying to get through the day without letting her feelings overwhelm her. It isn’t until she meets Josh that pieces of herself she’d lost start falling back into place and she can finally see that it’s okay to be happy again. 

Josh Walker is a professional athlete whose always avoided distractions. His career is just getting started and he works harder than anyone else. Hockey is his life. It’s the only thing that makes sense to him. When a new coach joins the team, it’s his daughter that threatens to complicate everything. He wants to help her. Needs to help her. But when he needs her to do the same, he finds out what she’s really made of. 

No one ever told him that the hardest part of his hockey career wouldn’t have to do with hockey at all.


"What greater punishment is life when you've lost everything that made it worth living?"

- Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

What an extraordinary series this has turned out to be. Having read, nay, consumed author Michelle Lynn's superlative dystopian series Dawn of Rebellion, I was expecting a light, breezy enjoyable romance from her New Beginnings series.

Readers will get that, but what readers won't be prepared for is the standard of writing, which was always good but has evolved onto a whole other level here.

Characters from the earlier books take a more prominent role here, but each story in this series has been remarkably different and well, this one is the best of the three.

Perhaps it is because of the ice hockey references. As an ex-player myself, it gave me a different angle with which to approach the story.

While I have enjoyed the myriad of characters introduced in this series, I wanted the female characters to grow a little, perhaps show that they didn't even need a man in their life to become whole again after previous hurtful experiences. Anyone, man or woman, can relate to that.

It is in this aspect that the author scores highest for me. This is a real rollercoaster of a book. It plays with your emotions a lot. Some of the characters, like Taylor and Josh, were wonderfully drawn but infuriatingly flawed in parts (not in their creation, but in their behaviours) yet it makes it all the more believable as a romance.

"What an extraordinary series this has turned out to be."

The ice hockey references are well written in the story. The team players act in a beliveable manner (as does Coach Scott) and it made me think did I act like that in respect of other women when I was consumed by the sport.

I also liked the character play between Josh and Zak, the latter playing the role of saying the things that needed to be said. Again, great characterisation from the author.

Without giving too much away, but feeling I do have to mention this, one of the characters is suffering from a condition called ventricular tachycardia. I did not experience this as a hockey player, but through some poor choices, at the age of 35, I was hit hard with this condition. I am older now and it is more manageable, but wow....this book really spoke to me.

Anyway, whilst Dreams is possibly a book you could read as a standalone, it is a far better experience to familiarise yourself with the characters first as they appear in the earlier books.

A heart string puller of the highest order, this is simply yet another wonderful book from the pen of Michelle Lynn.

Book Review: Crafting With Lacey by Lacey Lane



Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to crafting success. Learn how to make candle holders, jewellery, childrens' play things, storage solutions, decorations for your house and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.


I honestly haven't made or crafted anything since leaving school. DIY at home doesn't count because those are jobs that need to be done, rather than those that are fun to do. I won a school competition for creating a Freddy Krueger glove with real knives no less. But author Lacey Lane brings her fun side out and this book is stuffed full of craft ideas that will keep you literally busy for years.

"Get off the internet, shut your phone down, and create something awesome."

People who love to make things will be instantly drawn to the amazing cover, but jump in and see a book that is full of detail and tells you explicitly how to make all kinds of things. I will attempt some, but I admit I am poor at these kinds of things!

Overall, a value for money book that brings the fun back. So get off the internet, shut your phone down, and create something awesome There is something for everyone here.

Book Review: My Life As A Banker by Brenda Mohammed



Fascinating, Intriguing, Inspiring, Positive, Heartwarming, and Motivational Memoir.
My Life as a Banker - A Life worth Living" is a banker's memoir, in which the author describes changes in the banking system, and changes in the bank's attitude to its employees throughout her working years, in a Trinidad bank with ties in the United Kingdom. 
It is the story of a pioneering female in a man's world. 
The book also reveals personal details about the author's life.
It is a Memoir worth reading.


For those of us who are not in the banking industry, and for me, especially living in a country where the capital is the financial hub of the country (perhaps the world) you might think a story called My Life As A Banker would be too dry to enjoy. 

Author Brenda Mohammed has written quite a few books across different genres. This book is a relatively quick read but readers can be taken along her life's journey as they turn the pages.

I found myself more interested in the 'Life Worth Living' elements of the book. I congratulate her hard work which allowed her to work in the banking industry and get promoted. But I was more interested in the personal side of things, for example how she met her husband (that's an excellent segment of the book) and also attaining her strict father's support for the marriage.

"An interesting and very readable memoir from one of the more creative authors out there."

The author's approach to writing this memoir is direct and therefore one imagines this is how she would speak in real life. But the tale is told with such verve and energy, it is an enjoyable book that people will find much to like.

The real life stories contained within are things we can all relate to. Things such as ending up in a great city like Toronto, but being sick at the time and told 'you shouldn't go out then'. But this is not the author's approach to life. If you have read her Travel Memoir With Pictures, you will understand what an accomplished traveller this lady is.

There's some surprisingly gory scenes in the book, tempered by some poignant sadness around certain family members, as well as the central theme of how the author made her living in the banking sector.

It's an interesting and very readable memoir from one of the more creative authors out there.