Book Review: Against all Odds by Jacqui Murray

Book Review Against All Odds

Jacqui Murray’s wonderful book, Against All Odds, was published in August 2020, and her successful blog tour was picked up by many bloggers eager to share the latest book in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Book Review Against All Odds

I missed joining the tour due to a planned blogging break. Then the rest of 2020 happened. I am beyond excited today to finally share my review and a much-belated promotion of Jacqui’s eagerly-anticipated book.

Jacqui and I go way back as bloggers and fellow educators. I discovered her blog and wonderful books through another blogger. Like Jacqui’s self-published books, I seek to read books written by fellow bloggers. My Kindle is loaded with books published by these hard-working authors.

Please join me today as I share her latest book, Against All Odds. Promotional text provided by Jacqui.

Against All Odds

Tagline

Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

Summary

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Author Bio:

Author Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also an adjunct professor of technology in education, a blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

Social Media contacts:

My 5-Star Amazon and Goodreads Review

5 stars

Jacqui Murray knocks it out of the park again with the third book in the Crossroads Trilogy. Set 850,000 years ago, thoughtful and compassionate leader Xhosa fearlessly guides her people to their final home in what we know as modern Spain. Meticulously researched, the setting invites the reader to feel the heat, the flies and lurking predators as Xhosa’s people navigate their home and surroundings. Definitely a page-turner, Murray deftly weaves the flaws and ordinary humanity into the characters which flesh out the probable personalities of Homo Erectus. Despite Xhosa’s chronic headaches, Seeker’s spiritual capacity and oddness, Wind’s stoicism, and Pan-Do’s experience and capacity to accept his emotions, the People exist and thrive in a cohesive group with an insatiable will to survive. Loyal wolves round out the group and provide a unique perspective to the series relating to the domestication of some mammals. If you are into pre-historic fiction, I highly recommend Murray’s Crossroads Trilogy.

Against All Odds Cover

Excerpt: Chapter 1 The foothills of the Pyrenees

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed.

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing.

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new home base would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open…..

Thank you for taking the time to read my review and book promotion of Jacquie Murray’s Against All Odds. If you have not done so, please consider adding this to your next read!

Image Credits: Jacqui Murray; Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Fitness Friday: #Walk Your Way to Better, Guest Post by Author Joyce Shulman

Walk Your Way to Better

Today, I am delighted to participate in the blog tour to share Joyce Schulman’s book Walk Your Way to Better.

Have you ever wondered why you think more clearly when you engage in leisure-time physical activity, like walking? I know that when I walk my dogs every day, whether, for 20 minutes or 60, I seem to focus better on thoughts that perplex me. Often, I have thought of a solution to a problem simply by clearing my mind. I do admit to talking to myself a bit while walking, but any passerby might suspect I’m talking to the dogs.

Image by Unsplash

If you walk regularly, no doubt you have solved some of the world’s problems by now.

Walk Your Way to Better

Book Summary

This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different. Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make. You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus — you’ll feel better and become fitter.

Publisher: Kibo Press

Walk Your Way to Better is available to purchase now on Amazon.com

Today Joyce shares an excerpt from her chapter, Walk #31 The Power of Yet

The “growth mindset” has swept the world of everything from parenting and education to professional development and preschool over the past several years.

The concept was first articulated — and the phrase first coined — by researcher Carol Dweck thirty years ago. Dweck had studied the behavior of thousands of children and discovered that those children who believed that they can get smarter were the ones who did the work to achieve more — which reinforced their belief that they could learn and achieve, which reinforced their willingness to do the work in a positive, self-perpetuating cycle. Conversely, those children who believed that their capabilities and talents were fixed and therefore limited were more likely to get frustrated and give up.

Putting it another way, having a growth mindset means believing that you have the power to learn, grow and improve at just about everything and research shows that simply holding that belief empowers you to learn, grow and improve.

Okay, sure, some people have more innate talent at some things than other things. If you are 4’ 11,” a career as a professional women’s basketball player is unlikely to be in your future and if, like me, you can’t carry a tune, opera is probably not where you will make your mark in the world.

But pretty much all skills can be developed, all things can be learned and — with enough desire, dedication, and grit — most things can be mastered.

This is awesome because evolution has wired a desire to lean into our DNA. That is clear from the little spark of joy we get when we master a new skill, learn a new trick, or accomplish a goal. And yet as adults, we often stop our journey. Perhaps it is because we were told as children that we were no good at something. Perhaps it is because we believe that, as adults, we are supposed to have the answers. Perhaps it is because we don’t dedicate time to learning and developing new skills.

Yet it is so essential to continue to grow and learn that research shows that people who continue to learn throughout their lives live longer. Yup, learning new skills throughout your life will literally prolong your life.

There is a simple way for you to begin to develop a growth mindset. Simply add the word “yet” to the end of any sentence or thought you have that begins with “I’m not good at ….” or “I can’t do…”

“I’m not good at cooking … yet.”

“I’m not good at writing … yet.”

“I’m not good at jumping rope … yet.”

Yet.
Who knew it could be so powerful?

My Review: 99 Inspiring Walks

Our bodies long for daily physical activity. Excuses aside, simply getting up and taking a walk is good for our bodies and minds. Author Joyce Schulman demonstrates the power of daily walks designed to inspire your life. Sharing her own experiences with weight, inactivity, and stress, Schulman began walking. As she walked, she realized she “processed big things, created my best ideas, managed my weight and well-being by putting one foot in front of the other.” Her book includes 99 walks with “thought-starters” that are meant to spark your own ideas to reflect on while walking. Her 99 walks are short, easy reads infused with her personal knowledge and research that will get you motivated to move.

Amazon Review

About the Author, Joyce Shulman

Joyce Shulman, founder, and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video, and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Author Joyce Shulman
Author Joyce Shulman

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers, and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome.” Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John’s University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceshulman

https://twitter.com/joycershulman

https://www.instagram.com/joyce.r.shulman/

https://www.joyceshulman.com/

With gyms closed and many outdoor spaces limited or closed, there is no time like now to “walk your way to better!”

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