Tag Archives: Amazon

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir #bookreview @KIngallsAuthor

• Title: Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir
• Author: Karen Ingalls
• Print Length: 108
• Publisher: Beaver’s Pond Press
• Publication Date: May 21, 2014
• Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
• Language: English
• Formats: Kindle, Paperback
Goodreads
• Genres: Memoir, Biography

I found this story incredibly informative and inspiring. There is little greater fear than hearing you have cancer—no matter whether you have a long family history of those that battled the disease or if it’s completely taking you by surprise. Most, if not all, of us, knows someone that has or had cancer. We usually watch from the outside looking in at how the person fighting for their life chooses to deal. Karen Ingalls gives us her firsthand, raw experience with one of the leading causes of death: ovarian cancer.

It’s a short book and I finished it in one sitting, finding myself wishing there was more. I couldn’t set it down and I’m amazed at how uplifting people can be when dealing with cancer. For me, this book isn’t just about fighting cancer or even teaching others about the seriousness of the issue. It’s about how she not only relied on her family and friends for comfort, but she relied on Jesus Christ’s unconditional love and grace. As I read through Karen’s story, I could see how her faith in the Holy Spirit grew stronger. Sure, she had her ups and downs, but she’s human. Still, she leaned on her faith, rather than crying out “Why me, Lord?”

At the end of the book, she listed signs to look for in ovarian cancer (formerly known as “the silent killer.”) and question suggestions for the patient and their families. I highly recommend reading Outlook: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. It’s a quick, easy read, tightly and well written. Although I found myself fighting back tears, there were places where I giggled at the humor.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Karen Ingalls is the author of two novels and an award winning non-fiction book. She enjoys writing from her home office overlooking a lake in Florida.

Ms. Ingalls’s non-fiction book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, won first place at the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards in the the category of women’s health. It was a top three finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award of 2012 in the two categories of health and self-help.

The purpose of the book is to provide information about this too often deadly disease, and offer hope and inspiration to women and their families. All proceeds go to ovarian cancer research.Davida:Model & Mistress is about the love affair between her great-grandfather Augustus Saint-Gaudens and her great-grandmother Davida Johnson Clark. Very little is known about Davida except her role as a model for many of the sculptor’s famous works. Ms. Ingalls was able to use her imagination in creating the life of Davida. It won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for 2016.

Novy’s Son, The Selfish Genius, is about Murray Clark, who sought love and acceptance from his father, who had been raised as the bastard child of the famous sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. After reading Iron John by Robert Bly, Ms.Ingalls recognized what was missing in her father’s life.

She is a Californian by birth, a Minnesotan in her heart, and a contented Florida retiree. She loves gardening, golfing, and reading, but her real passion is writing.

#Bookreview of F.O.X. by @ProfKellyOliver

Fox Book Cover Imagefive gold stars imageF.O.X.: A Jessica James Mystery

by Kelly Oliver

Available on Amazon by clicking HERE.

 

One of the things I like about a Kelly Oliver story is that it makes sense. That may sound strange but I read a lot of books and real life situations happen and the reactions to them are borderline stupid and unrealistic.

Oliver has a real character in Jessica James. Jessica wakes up half naked behind a dumpster. What does she do? For one thing, she doesn’t go home and try to solve the mystery all by herself like some vigilante. I won’t tell you what she does do but all through the story realistic things happen but in great ways that make sense and add tension to the story.

In F.O.X. we have the return of Jessica’s best friends Lolita and Jack who both play big roles in the book, especially Jack. I like Jack here more than I did in WOLF, he’s a much more developed character. And who doesn’t love the badass Lolita? I mean she still has the attitude and swagger. Can you say women have swagger? I don’t really know. Hmmm.

All the characters are well developed and I see that with each book Oliver is really upping her game. She adds a little more layers each time with a couple of surprises thrown in. Taking on the IVF subject was a good topic to tackle and I think Oliver did it with sensitivity and respect of women involved. I can’t really go into much more detail without giving a lot away.

Originally I was going to give this a 4 out of 5 but as I started doing the review I realized how much I enjoyed it so I changed my mind. So a 5 it is.

The Buried Few #bookreview

  • Title: The Buried Few
  • Author: M.J. Lau
  • Print Length: 454
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

The Buried Few is the debut novel by M.J. Lau, and I found it quite enjoyable. The pace was steady, storyline intriguing and the overall prose well-written. It’s set in a near-future society where the idea of privacy is extinct. Technology is now more advanced. The government knows where you are, what route you take to get home, and they oversee every child born for the rest of their lives. When Daniel Allingham finds a live baby buried, he takes the infant to the hospital (although it’s not a maternity hospital) with hopes of doing a good thing and washing his hands clean. Nonetheless, he soon finds himself struggling against the right thing and becoming entwined with a persistent government agent.

It took about three chapters for me to really get into the book. It starts off with the prologue some times in the distant past, then in chapter one, jumps to the present time. As we’re being introduced to the main characters, it hops from the present to the near past. The only way we know whether we’re in the present or the past is by the situation or the characters in the scenes. This made it a tad confusing to me; however, once I got a handle on the author’s writing style (and it didn’t take long at all), it was easy reading.

The only thing that would take me away from reading was the amount of adverbs in the story. There just seemed to be so many, it annoyed me. It doesn’t bother a lot of readers; however, it had become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. About half of the adverbs in the prose could have been used in a way to show, rather than tell, all the more.

The characters were enjoyable and easy to love, particularly the main one, Daniel. I found that they all had “chemistry” through their interactions and dialogue. There were plenty going on to build up the drama and keep the story moving forward. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. While The Buried Few is a standalone story, it’s left open for a sequel. I’ve seen reviews on Amazon mention they could see it made into a movie: I have to say, I agree. As a bonus, I have to add, I love the cover.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Biography

M. J. Lau

M. J. Lau is an English teacher by day, writer by night… or rather, a teacher day and night, and a writer any spare moment in between. He is the author of The Buried Few, a near-future fiction novel that is equally influenced by dystopian classics, fatherhood, and Wired Magazine.

He is currently working on a fantasy novel, tentatively anticipated to release in the spring of 2018.

#BookReview of The Red Line by @WaltGreggAuthor

The Red Line

By Walt Gregg

Available on Amazon by clicking HERE.

A story with its beginnings pulled from the headlines of today and realistic events that could happen, The Red Line gives a scary look at a what if of the near future.

First of all, I liked the book overall. The pacing was good, and everything was well developed. However, for my own personal taste there was almost too much detail. I know the author intends to give a comprehensive covering of all the aspects of the what if scenario but I personally didn’t need to know the shot by shot coverage.

That being said, it was done well and you could feel the tension in each scene. There is definite realism in the story. I like that we don’t get all sunshine and roses throughout the book. We do get realities of war even when it hurts, and that hurt is to the plus of the author’s talent. You feel the losses that take place. I would recommend this book to anyone that really gets into war stories and likes to feel the action.

I recommend this book to anyone who really gets into a good war story with real events occurring.

Dining and Driving With Cats–Alice Unplugged #bookreview

  • Title: Dining and Driving With Cats—Alice Unplugged
  • Author: Pat Patterson
  • Print Length: 226
  • Publisher: Ion Publishers LLC
  • Publication Date: June 30, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Comedy, Biography, Non-Fiction, Memoir

From the Author
Dining and Driving With Cats is a heartwarming and hilarious true adventure of a couple who shares a love that most of us only imagine. Pat Patterson is a born storyteller and makes readers feel as if they are part of the road trip. This book will keep you up late into the night reading and laughing.  Here is the remarkable story of how a girl who loved cats captured the heart of a young man who came in from the rain.  This is their story of a shared love for travel and history, for food and for their sweet and wily cats Munchie and Tuffy. No cats were harmed during the writing of this book, although the humans have been left with minor physical scars from this very real trip with two very real cats. With the help of his Editor Bryna Kranzler, the award winning author of  “The Accidental Anarchist”, a non-stop two hundred and sixty page adventure wrapped in a tender love story emerges from the author’s diary.

Alice is a real life brainy, successful business woman.  Today she lives in San Miguel de Allende a small cathedral town high in the Central Mexican foothills. For over thirty years she lived in Washington D.C.. When she was fresh out of grad school and managing her firm’s D.C. office she captured the  heart of a young man who came in from the rain. He fell hard. He pursued her.  She said no –she told him she had cats. What she didn’t tell him was that she also had a secret. Over thirty years have passed since Alice revealed her secret. The young man is no longer young but he still pursues her. She calls him hubby.

Now sharing a dream home in San Miguel with their two cats Alice suggests they embark on a road trip from Mexico to Blowing Rock, N.C. in the Blue Ridge mountains. Alice insists the two cats Munchie and Tuffy must ride along. Hubby resists. Alice seduces him with a promise. She promises to buy him the perfect vehicle for the trip. He dreams of a Suburban SUV like the ones on CSI Miami and Criminal Minds or maybe a Ford Platinum F-150 4 Door Supercab like the one Mark Wahlberg and Hugh Jackman drive. Alice surprises with a Japanese sub-compact. She buys him a Honda Fit.

The reader joins the foursome as an intimate passenger on the first leg of the journey from the Mexican border to Atlanta, Georgia. If you come along you will dine on scrumptious creations from America’s most acclaimed chefs from Austin and New Orleans to the Procope and Odeon Relais at Buci Market in Paris. You will laugh at cats stuck in boxes, cry over destruction beyond imagination, fight with a Pirate, terrify a US Vice-President, learn cat smuggling, thrill with a love that wouldn’t die, and learn how the Other Woman persuaded Alice to accept my ring. So what’s keeping you? Hop in ‘cause these cats don’t bite. Besides, “The Get In Here and Eat” pop-up food truck is waiting just up the Austin highway.

My Review
Dining and Driving with Cats—Alice Unplugged was every bit as interesting and amusing as I’d imagined. If what you’re looking for in a book is a story that paints a picture, then look no further—Dining and Driving with Cats will take you along a ride of a lifetime.

It’s a true voyage of a couple who decides to take a vacation from Mexico and travel across the United States with nothing but a Honda Fit, suitcases, pet carriers, litter boxes, cat food, and of course, their two beloved cats. We get to take a peek into the lives of how the couple met and how they truly are devoted to one another.

It was a well-written story where you feel as though you were along for the ride. I love stories like that. It’s not always easy for me to imagine the scenes in books. So, when I do begin reading something that I can see in my mind’s eye, it’s hard for me to put the book down. I found myself laughing and at times in shock. In one instance, one of the cats does something completely hilarious, I had to fight back a fit of laughter while waiting for my oil change. And I thought my cat was a troublemaker!

From the history lessons to the eateries to the comic mischief of the two felines, Tuffy and Munchie, Dining and Driving with Cats—Alice Unplugged is a story to be treasured and enjoyed. Cats are certainly an interesting species and Pat and his wife Alice are certainly two likable humans.

*You can preorder this via Amazon now! The title will be available June 30*

*For more reviews, visit: Angela Kay’s Book Reviews.*

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#BookReview of Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy by Agnès Martin-Lugand

Don't Worry Life is Easy cover imagefive gold stars imageDon’t Worry, Life is Easy

by: Agnès Martin-Lugand

Available at Amazon by clicking HERE.

Five out of Five Stars

Love, happiness, sadness, and more fill Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy. This book is a sequel and at first you get the impression you might needed to have read the first book to understand some of the relationships but you really don’t. You quickly figure things out.

Diane, the widow who lost both her husband and child, has returned to Paris and has bought her literary café, Happy People Read And Drink Coffee, from her parents. Her energetic and comic relief friend and employee Felix is still present and bolsters up Diane during her moments of sadness and despondency.

Diane doesn’t really know what to do with her emotional life. She thinks the bookstore is enough for her but something is missing. A new relationship presents itself while old friends resurface in her life to face unsettled questions.

The characters are well developed and not one dimensional at all. The relationships are well done, make sense, and honestly are done so well you might cry by the end of the book. (I admit to nothing.) If you’ve ever faced a loss in your life and then been given the chance to fill that gap with something new, you will get this book. It’s a fairly good paced book and you could read it in a day if you dedicated yourself to it, or in two very easily. I like the fact that situations aren’t overdone or go on too long and are not repetitive. Some books replay the same scenes over and over but this one gives you something different throughout the book. The only repetitive thing in the book is some of the characters going outside to smoke a cigarette and even then something happens.

Review by Ronovan.

“Blood Runs Cold” ~ From the Author of “The Murder of Manny Grimes”

I’ve recently submitted my second novel to my publisher at ThomasMax Publishing. With it being my second book, I’m both excited and extremely nervous! My debut, The Murder of Manny Grimes, was released last year, mid-September. I’ve spent seven years sweating over my manuscript, wondering if I’d ever get it published. Finally, it happened, and my “baby” is now available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble for paperback/e-book. It has had some amazing reviews so far. I hope they keep on comin’!

Sometimes, you live with a group of characters for so long, they become a part of you.

A few readers asked me about a sequel, and I thought, “Why not?” Initially, I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel. However, I was curious as to how my protagonist, Lieutenant Jim DeLong would handle his job and home life. If you’ve read Manny Grimes, you already know that circumstances threatened DeLong’s very existence. Did he overcome his temptations? Well, if you haven’t read the book, I’m not telling! Shhhhh!

And now, Blood Runs Cold is born.

This next case DeLong will be involved with will be the most difficult of his career. It’s full of mystery, intrigue, new characters, as well as old. We’ll learn even more about DeLong–more than he wants us to know. But sometimes, secrets have a way of coming out! No one knows this like our beloved protagonist.

My publisher is working on preparing the book for publication. I don’t know the exact date it’ll be released. My hope is by the end of May or early June. You’ll be kept updated for sure! If you would like to pre-order a signed copy of Blood Runs Cold (or even The Murder of Manny Grimes), I will be selling them for $14–shipping included. If you’d like to order both, I’m offering them for $20! Again, shipping is included.

A New Case. An Old Memory.

A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark secrets he’s longed to forget. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability on whether he’s able to remain objective.

Check out my video for The Murder of Manny Grimes.
Check out my video for Blood Runs Cold.

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Follow me on Twitter: @angelakaysbooks

Biography

Angela Kay

Equipped with a professional writing degree from Augusta State University, Angela Kay is a southern lady who spends her days and nights dreaming up new ways to solve dark murders of normal people.

Angela Kay was one of 23 across the United States to win a 2009 playwright contest for her one-act entitled “Digging Deeper.” Because of this, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta at the Horizon Theater Company.

She lives in Augusta, Georgia with her crazy calico, Maggie.

The Wager: A Romantic Comedy as Christian Allegory #bookreview

  • Title:  The Wager: A Romantic Comedy By Christian AllegorThe Wager: A Romantic Comedy as Christian Allegory by [Brister, Mike]y
  • Author: Mike Brister
  • Print Length: 284
  • Publisher: Michael E. Brister
  • Publication Date: August 9, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Christian Fiction, Romance, Comedy

The Wager is written as a cross between a romance novel and a play. We meet two very distinct characters and we quickly fall in love with them. Sarah Dumont is a famous actress, rich, grew up in a prominent family as the oldest child. Because of her status, she is driven, focused, and pretty much snotty. Matt Shepard is not rich, who was the youngest child growing up on a farm. Matt is working hard at putting pieces of his life back together, friendly and sly.

The two meet based on a wager: Sarah is challenged that she wouldn’t be able to earn Matt’s attention. Sarah’s first intention was to have him make furniture for her in LA. Then when the wager is made, I felt like something was missing within the story line. Sarah wants furniture, then the woman tells her Matt wouldn’t meet with her no matter. From there, it seems Sarah’s immediately offended being told she wouldn’t be able to get Matt out on a date. I felt I needed something more to explain.

When they finally do meet, from there on, the two personalities clash and are full of hilarious banter. You can’t help but love them. I also love the use of Doodle, Matt’s dog, in the story. It only made me love Matt all the more. I found him to be very charismatic and charming.

The writing style flowed nicely. The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was that the narrative repeated pieces of the dialogue and vice versa. Having to read too much repetition made me skim more than I’d like. However, it was easy to get the feel of the southern accent. Whether you’re Midwestern, southern, northern or from Mars, readers will find themselves slipping into a southern accent.

Sometimes it was difficult for me to gather the feelings of the characters but I think it’s really up to the reader. After reading parts of the scene, I would go back and reread in order for me to get the sense of how they felt during the incident. I feel this is primarily due to the fact that it’s more of a play (or movie/TV script).

Regardless of the few “negatives,” I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It had humor, it had tears, it had love, and of course, a hidden moral to the story.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For more reviews, visit: Angela Kay’s Book Reviews

Biography

Mike Brister

Mike Brister was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1952. His father worked for the Illinois Central Railroad and in 1955 was transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana. This began a lifelong relationship with one of the most unique cities in the world. Eventually, the family would return to Jackson.

Mike received degrees in mathematics and spent his working career as a consulting actuary. Now retired, he has written his first novel. He has made numerous trips to Haiti and plans more. The hope is that the novel is a fun read and allows for the purchase of goats for families in Haiti.

Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era #bookreview

  • Title: Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era
  • Author: Charles E. Murphy
  • Print Length: 119
  • Publication Date: January 15, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction

Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era is a mock history text during the period of Roswell crash landing until the “current” space war. The text focuses on politics and personality conflicts, both fiction and non-fiction.

First, let me start off by saying, with the exception of Star Trek, I’m not big on anything alien—that’s not to say I never read or watch alien-type things because after all, I have written reviews on such topics. That said, I found this mock history text quite amusing. It held a slow but steady pace as a real textbook would go. It’s not long at all (just over a hundred pages), so I finished in less than two hours.

The prose held my interest, however, it read more as a cross between a long narrative and a student history paper. As a textbook would have, it held footnotes, which made me want to go back and read what it referred to in the prose.

At the end of the book, Murphy explains which parts of his prose were fiction and which were nonfiction. This was a good way for us to know how he weaved the truths and fiction into an intriguing read.

There were misspells (not a lot, so I’m not dwelling on the issue. Even the greatest of authors have misprints). The quotation marks weren’t very consistent. Sometimes it had a single quotation mark (which would make sense seeing as it is a British text) and others were doubled.

If you’re wanting to read a fast-paced story about aliens, then this won’t be for you. However, if you like aliens, science fiction, and historical texts, then I recommend this. It’s a fun, light read as to what might happen should we ever have to deal with aliens!

Since Amazon and Goodreads only offer whole stars, I’m bumping this story to 4 stars, though my actual rating is 3.5.

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars

#BookReview of Jubilee Year-A Novel by @GONeillBooks

Title: Jubliee Year: A NovelJubilee Year cover

Author: Gerarad O’Neill

Length: 428

Price: $3.78 Kindle,

$16.65 Paperback

 

I received a copy of this book for an honest review.

Jubilee Year-A Novel is the story of what would happen if our sun had a long-lost twin that had been traveling the universe and was now on its way back home. And governments knew it but didn’t tell the populace. Elite saw it coming and were prepared for its happening but the general population was left on its own. In Jubilee Year Gerrard O’Neill gives us a taste of what happens when a few people discover the truth and try to survive the coming catastrophe.

18 years old Storm just wants to figure out what to do with his life while dating 22 years old Penny. Penny’s father is director of one of the most famous observatories in the world and thus in a position to see what’s happening in the solar system we live in. That knowledge throws Storm into an adventure he never expects as he gets caught up in protests, paramilitary groups, and a super-secret agent of the Australian government.

The relationships in the book are not bad. Although the Storm and Penny dynamic leaves something to be desired at times. The other connections in the book are pretty good with the exception of how a character named Darren turns out. I was a bit surprised about him and that seemed a little forced to me. I could see sort of why it was thrown in but maybe it could have been handled better, maybe not so rushed.

I don’t know science of the nature discussed in the book, but I don’t think you need to. It is all explained well and made you believe what is being stated. That’s what counts.

The main issues I had with the book were the head hopping within scenes where I couldn’t tell who was talking or thinking. And there are some proofreading issues that are evident. These two factors made reading not as enjoyable as it could have been.

Overall it was a good story idea, a quick read that kept you turning the pages to see what would happen next.

Rating and Recommendation:

I gave Jubilee Year-A Novel 3 out of 5 stars instead of a 4 because of the head hopping. It really took away from the flow of reading. The story itself is good and even being over 400 pages I read it in one day. So I do recommend the book for those who like the apocalyptic type of genre.

Review by Ronovan.

September Sky #BookReview

  • Title: September SkySeptember Sky (American Journey Book 1) by [Heldt, John A.]
  • Author: John Heldt
  • File Size: 1032KB
  • Print Length: 363
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

September Sky begins the American Journey series with Chuck Townsend, an unemployed San Francisco reporter, and his college-dropout son, Justin. During a cruise, they attend a lecture where Professor Geoffery Bell discusses the possibility of time travel. Soon after, he offers the Townsends the chance of a lifetime. Though skeptical, they embark on an incredible journey to 1900.

September Sky has pretty much everything you could want in a book: history, love, adventure and mystery. Although Chuck Townsend and his son were instructed to go to Chicago, they ride the train to Galveston, Texas, in hopes to right a wrong. In doing so, they each fall in love with a duo of librarians, make new friends and ultimately enemies.

Character development was energetic and well-developed. My favorites were Justin and Emily. They seemed most real and I enjoyed getting to know them. Chuck and Justin, who were just beginning to find common ground for their own struggling relationship gradually grew throughout the book.

The era and its customs were also well researched. I felt I was there–however, I do feel the dialogue for the 1900 characters seemed a little too modern. Of course, that wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

The story itself was slow moving but steady. It was predictable from having read books three through five before picking up September Sky, although I did come across a few fun twists. While this isn’t my favorite book of this series, September Sky is well worth the time to read. I had to force myself to put it down.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, visit: Angela Kay’s Book Reviews*

Biography

John A. HeldtJohn A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting to buy a Trollope book I wouldn’t have been at all “grabbed” by the image on the cover. We automatically see things that “normal” readers don’t. We’re also all very busy, and generally prefer to choose what we read for pleasure, so we’re more likely to put the effort in to read a draft novel to look for problems if we know that the same service is on offer for one of our own babies in exchange. Offer something valuable in exchange for this valuable job.

Cover Design

I you’re going to have to do your own cover design
then do a bit of in-depth googling and watch how to videos about the way to go before you even try. Do not use Paint or the basic software on your computer. Download free programmes designed for the purpose and find out how they work. It’s a schlep for the not artistically inclined, but at the end of the day it’s better to have a slightly forgettable cover than one which is eye-wateringly terrible. One of the biggest ways to ruin a fabulous image is to use horrible fonts. When in doubt go as plain as possible with fonts. There are thousands of beautiful free images to be had online. Before you choose an image make sure to have a look at how many times it’s been downloaded, and that way you can be a little reassured that it won’t be something that you see on loads of other book covers. This isn’t a huge deal though. Even with traditionally published books, very popular images often seen on more than one bestseller. Again though, while not a dealbreaker for a bestselling author, this could be a problem for Indies.

Formatting

Once again, this is something that’s going to require work and hours of research on your part, but it’s work that is going to be worth it at the end of the day. Have a look at our previous in-depth articles and view a couple of videos on Youtube by reputable Indies who have gone before. Unprofessional formatting will be noticed by readers and can lead to bad reading experiences and will possibly be followed by bad reviews. Take note that formatting is totally different for different types of book. The Smashwords meatgrinder has a slightly terrifying reputation, but to be honest there are only a couple things to note with it once you have your eBook
formatted for Kindle. First is to get rid of all extraneous line spaces. Never, ever, have more than two consecutive line spaces for Smashwords. Make sure to have “Smashwords Edition” in your front matter, and load your book up as a clean Word document. Unfortunately there are lots of disappointing books about how to format, but there are a couple of good ones too. A pet hate of mine are those who say “Hire a good formatter” when you get to the formatting sections. Seriously, why on earth publish a how to book without getting to the how to nitty gritty? Make sure that you have a look at the reviews before buying any how to book. They are the best indicator.
Basic formatting isn’t impossible to do, but it’s not a magical thing that will just happen without a bit of research and putting in of the time. Good rules to remember are to not format while you write. Forget about fancy fonts, bullets, page numbers and text boxes. These are anathema to Kindle books. Type your book straight out and then once you’ve formatted your paragraph indents and spacing, save different copies for each format—eBook and paperback.

Make sure that you have a NCX table of contents
for your eBook. Regardless of the chats on forums, this is a requirement by Amazon, and even if you’ve gotten away without them in your books so far, at some point their absence will be noticed and acted on.

Formatting for paper is often the most stressful thing for Indie authors. Using paid for software definitely makes the process a lot easier, but not everyone can afford it. When publishing your first book it can all seem overwhelming, but if you take the process one step at a time you’ll generally find it doable. Here are a couple of tips for newbie paperback publishers:

Book Size

Don’t automatically go for the default 6” x 9”. Consider how many pages your book has and then think about how thin or thick the end result will be. If you’re publishing a novella or something with few pages it might be a good idea to go with 5” x 8” to avoid having a really skinny result, or go bigger if it’s a massive tome.

Paper Colour

Generally cream looks better for fiction. White is best for non-fiction in most cases.

Full Colour or Black and White Text

Full colour is going to mean expensive to buy, so unless you’re publishing a book where images are the most important thing then black and white should be good enough. Remember that even one single full colour picture means that the entire book will be printed on a colour press. You could publish two versions—one colour and one black and white. You would use different ISBN numbers for each, and if you do choose to do this make sure to let potential buyers know that there are two options in the blurb section of each.

ISBN Numbers

Using your own ISBN numbers is obviously the best way to go if you can afford them, but there is no shame in using the free ones offered by CreateSpace. The only real drawback with the freebies is that you have to list CreateSpace as the publisher.

Templates

I’m not fond of templates in general, but they really can save a lot of hair pulling if you can’t face the thought of formatting yourself. They are free from CreateSpace and the most difficult task involved is a bit of copy and paste.

Margins

Once you’ve set your book size you will see your page count. Your margins can’t be set to less than 0.25 and 0.5 is recommended by CreateSpace for all four sides. Gutter margin settings depend on page count:
24 to 100 pages needs a gutter setting of 0.375
152 to 300 is 0.5
301 to 500 is 0.625
501 to 700 is 0.75
701 to 825 is 0.875
To set page size and margins go to Page Layout in Word and click on the arrow next to Page Setup. Change book size in the Paper settings and margins in the Margins settings.

Page Breaks

With a paper book it’s important to separate sections using section breaks rather than page breaks to ensure proper page numbering. Click on Page Layout > Breaks > Next Page to insert these and make sure to remove the regular page breaks where you do put these in.

Numbering

Click into your headers and footers BEFORE inserting numbers and remove any active Link to Previous instructions in any of them where there are to be no page numbers.

Then go to the page that will have the first page number in your book and click Insert > Page Number and select your preference for positioning.

One very big tip here is that Word can play with you here and reinsert the Link to Previous instructions sometimes, so if numbers keep appearing where you don’t want them, keep calm and simply go back into relevant headers and footers and remove them again. Also double check that you have section breaks in place. Where you don’t want anything in headers and footers in certain places throughout your book, remember to click on Different First Page also in the header toolbar on the relevant pages.

With a bit of work and research you can publish fabulous and professional looking books. Happy formatting!

Hannah’s Moon #Bookreview

  • Title: Hannah’s Moon51bro8xaiol
  • Author: John A. Heldt
  • File Size: 869KB
  • Print Length: 481
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06X3RKB37
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

I honestly don’t think it gets much better than this. Hannah’s Moon is the fifth book of John Heldt’s American Journey series. I’ve read two other books in the series (Indiana Belle and Class of ’69) and thoroughly enjoyed each. However, if I were to give the prize ribbon to a story-line, Hannah’s Moon would win by a mile.

It tells the story of a young couple in 2017 who wants nothing more than to have a baby. They’ve spent years trying and failing and finally began considering adoption. They soon learn of a way where they can legally adopt a healthy child in a shorter amount of time, but the catch is they have to do it in 1945. After meeting the child of their dreams, their bliss is deferred when they must overcome life-changing obstacles.

I caught a few typos along the way and also found myself overanalyzing the plot (though I did love the idea of it) by wondering about adopting a child born more than seventy years ago and the consequences of such an action. But I found myself drawn into the story within a few pages, having to force myself to set it down and get some sleep.

This has everything: love, friendship, pain, happiness…toward the ending, several moments pulled at my heartstrings and tears began to form from the corners of my eyes. After wanting to hurry and find out what happens next, I finished Hannah’s Moon and was sad to see that I had no more left to read.

I could tell Mr. Heldt did his research. I felt as though I was a fly on the characters’ walls, watching as they fought to come out on top.

If you’re in the mood for light romance and/or time travel where anything can happen–or you’re simply after a good book, then I highly recommend Hannah’s Moon.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

DRM or Not for Amazon

When you load your book up to Amazon you will get to choose whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management.


It is important to note here that this particular choice cannot be undone. Short of unpublishing and republishing this cannot be changed. Once you have some nice reviews and lots of sales on any particular book unpublishing it is not a great idea, so give some thought to this before setting it in stone. So, what is DRM?

Amazon says that Digital Rights Management “is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files”. While this sounds great in terms of combating piracy, in reality it’s about as effective in this regard as a straw hut would be at keeping you dry in a hurricane. My African Me & Satellite TV was published with DRM enabled and it is my most pirated book. Stripping DRM is the work of minutes with appropriate easy to obtain software and a penchant for theft. In all honesty DRM is more of a headache and deterrent to potential readers. While a DRM enabled book can be read on any Kindle device or on the Kindle App when loaded on to any reading device, it can’t be opened without it (crooked software notwithstanding). If you also publish with a distributor such as Smashwords DRM becomes irrelevant anyway as far as protection against piracy is concerned because they supply every form of digital copy of your book to anyone who purchases a copy of it.

With certain eBooks authors encourage the printing of them, such as for workbooks or colouring books, and supply links away from the book to download PDF copies for this purpose. On your copyright page you will state what is not allowed to happen with copies of your eBook purchased, but regardless of that it is very easy to convert any non-DRM book to PDF form and print it out for whatever your reader chooses to do with it. Most readers are unaware of this, so if you want to encourage this for any particular reason (for workbooks and so on) it’s a good idea to have instructions in your book. The main reason for not enabling DRM though is to ensure that any potential readers who have reading habits that do not include any form of Kindle are not put off from buying it. Odd as it sounds, there are quite a few people who do not have Kindle devices or apps, and don’t like reading on their computers, who still enjoy Amazon’s competitive pricing and book promotions.

When purchasing eBooks it’s fairly easy to see whether or not DRM is enabled. Have a look at the Product Details on the book’s landing page. If you see Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited there the book is DRM free, and if you don’t it isn’t.

Or Not:


If you want to check whether or not your already purchased books are DRM free, either for reading on a non-Kindle device or for printing purposes, you can use your Calibre eBook Viewer. If you don’t already have Calibre download it for free. It’s a must have tool for Indie publishers anyway as we’ve mentioned before.

Open Calibre and click on View.


Click on Open Book and then go to My Kindle Content in your Documents folder.


The books there are listed in alphabetical order by Amazon ASIN number. Search for and select the book’s ASIN (also to be found under Product Details on the landing page). The book will open if DRM free and you can either read it or convert it to PDF for printing.
If DRM is enabled it will be locked and you will only be able to open it on a Kindle device or with the app.

Or Not:


It’s a good idea to remember that most readers simply want to read the books that they buy. Some of them have fixed likes or dislikes that don’t always make sense to everyone. Some people refuse to read anything other than paper books, and we all have our favourite reading devices. I like to read most non-fiction on the Kindle app on my computer, especially any book with pictures, diagrams or recipes. Fiction I prefer to read on my actual Kindle, and generally in bed with a nice cup of chocolate or glass of wine. I have used this method to print worksheets out from workbooks where there was no link to exterior PDF copies. There is no point to workbooks published as eBooks without this option as far as I’m concerned, even though I have bought some without thinking where this is not an option as DRM is enabled. Needless to say those workbooks have gone mostly unread and unused, and their authors most definitely on my list of never to buy from again.

DRM is very, very weak protection against piracy, and I think not really a good option for any Indie publisher.

Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1) #BookReview

  • Title: Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1)51ybqthmpxl
  • Author: Lokesh Sharma
  • File Size: 618KB
  • Print Length: 130
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N4ULEWY
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:

A few hundred people wake up in an auditorium with no memory of their past, scared and confused, struggling to remember who they are and how they got here. A voice draws their attention to the person standing on the podium, impeccably dressed, an air of calm confidence about him that suggests he has the answers to all their questions. As he starts explaining the situation, they slowly begin to realize they are in a futuristic realm called Enigma, where dead humans are reborn and brought to trials for the crimes they committed in their human-lives…

Review:

I have to say good going on this one. I honestly don’t know where to begin. This will be a short review because I can’t really say much about the story…I’d hate to give it away. The characters are basically living in purgatory—a city called Enigma. When the humans die, they’re reborn, so to speak, to be tried for the crimes they committed in their human life.

Halfway was absolutely nothing like I expected. But, then again, I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected. It did take a little bit for me to get into at first, but I soon found myself drawn deep into the story. The characters were three-dimensional, the plot first-rate. I found the idea of the storyline quite intriguing and original.

I recommend this book.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars

Biography

Lokesh Sharma

Lokesh Sharma grew up reading books and watching movies—a little too much for his parents’ taste. He spent his childhood in a small town about 150 Kms from New Delhi. Having finished his studies, he moved to The Heart of India in 2010, where he worked for a reputed American-based Bank for about three years, until he came up with the idea for his debut novel and decided to put it into words. Aside from lots of reading and a little bit of writing, he likes travelling, shopping, and listening to music.

#BookReview of Forbidden by F. Stone.

Forbidden Book Cover Image4_stars_goldBook Description

Captain Sharif’s police compound has been breached. Fifteen Americans murdered. CIA agent Frank Hutchinson has proof the cop is lying and has him in his crosshairs, eager to exact revenge. Captain Sharif must please his corrupt superiors; and yet see justice served, and abide by the Koran. He’s in hell, with no way to escape – either be buried alive or suffer Allah’s wrath. In the balance hangs the life of Eliza MacKay, witness to the massacre. He’s drawn to her courage and discovers her ‘take no shit’ personality warrants respect. Even so, her struggle with PTSD may get both of them killed. Desperate, Sharif initiates an act more forbidden and fatal.

Forbidden Banner Image

Book Review

One thing about Forbidden by F. Stone you need to know is that it’s set in the year 2047 and the Muslim countries in the Middle East with a few exceptions have formed into one large nation. I think of it like the old Soviet Union. Iraq is the center of power and that’s where this story takes place.

You quickly forget about the future setting because everything in the story is still very much present day except for the political setting, which doesn’t play a huge part in the story.

I really liked the book. There were definite elements that needed to be handled well, especially with CAPTAIN SHARIF’S faith. The author has obviously done her homework and that shows up primarily around how Sharif handles his interactions with ELIZA MACKAY.

But enough about that. This book is action from the beginning to end. A great who is doing what to whom. I’m pretty good at figuring things out but was surprised in the end about who was not involved in the murdering of the 15 Americans.

The writing is fast paced and I read it in a day because of not wanting to put it down. Throw in the romance elements and you have a well balanced story that gives you a chance to breathe between the action moments. The romance part isn’t overplayed and doesn’t detract from the story at all.

MacKay’s traumatic history and PTSD are used to great effect in the relationship between her and Sharif. Some of it is a little unexpected but overall I think it was exactly the way it should have been.

I recommend the book for thrill seekers and action junkies.

Book Review by Ronovan.

Get FORBIDDEN on AMAZON by clicking HERE.

Spotlight on Indie Author @AngelaKaysBooks. The Murder of Manny Grimes.

Today’s Spotlight Author is our very own Angela Kay! A new Indie Author as well as one of our busiest book reviewers here at LWI.
angela-kay
1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel the Murder of Manny Grimes?
I started writing it during my final semester of college. I was taking a writing course where we were to write the first thirty pages of a novel. I didn’t really have an inspiration strike…I just started writing and the plot seemed to unfold. My professor and students alike 8-the-murder-of-manny-grimes-coverloved the beginning of the story. Because of my passion of writing, I continued the first draft with the hopes of getting it published one day.

2. For aspiring writers out there, tell us how long it took you from idea to publishing your novel? Tell us about the process of how it all came about.

It took me seven years to perfect it. I finished the first draft in a year. I was excited because it was the first full length novel I finished. For the most part, I’d only written short stories. After that, I began to edit my book, and it was a major headache. I must have changed the direction of the story three or four times. I took a lot of breaks from it…more than I should have. Finally, by the many rocks God tossed my way, I finished my final draft. And just as I finished, I came across an awesome editor who didn’t mind fixing a few kinks. I played around with the idea of submitting my completed novel to a bunch of agents, but the truth is, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. I didn’t have patience for a bunch of no’s. Even when I was ready to send it off, I was hard on myself about whether it’s good or not. After considering my options, I went the route of starting as an Indie author. My publisher is a long time friend of a friend, so I trusted him. After I got my beloved books in my hands, I knew I did the right thing.

3. What kind of research did you do for the novel?

The setting used to take place in New York, but someone a long time ago told me it sounds as though it’s in Augusta, Ga (where I currently reside). That got me a bit worried because the setting relies a lot on the aftermath of a bad snowstorm. I mean, it is the south, where we hardly see one flake. I went online to see whether it was possible (although I knew it’d be okay since it’s fiction and anything was possible). I was glad to find that in 1973 we were hit with sixteen inches of snow. Although it was a long time, it satisfied me. The other researching I did was try and get the investigation as close to real as possible. I spoke to several police officers, primarily lieutenants, since  my main character is a lieutenant. They were kind enough to answer any and all questions.

4. When I read a book I sometimes like to have a visual of characters. What actors would play your main characters in a movie?

Lt. Jim DeLong: Michael Fassbender. He’s a little older than DeLong, but I think he’d be good for it.
Russ Calhoun: Possibly Dean Winters
5. What are you working on now?
I’m currently editing the sequel to “Manny Grimes,” and plan to release it in a few months. I also have an FBI thriller ready to be edited and another book I’ve almost completed. I’m only doing suspense now, however, I’m starting to dabble with a bit of romance–I already have an idea for a saga.

6. I know you edit the work of other authors, how can people contact you for your services?

7. What do you think is the one thing that drives your main character to do what he does?
Lieutenant Jim DeLong is passion-driven. I think when he gets something in his mind, he can’t seem to let it go. It’s also somewhat of a release while he’s dealing with personal issues outside of work.

8. If you could’ve written any other book than your own, what would it be and why?
Probably “Pride and Prejudice.” I love that book so much. It’s in a complete different era and I get swept away in the character’s lives.

mark-and-krystinaIs there a way people can get an autographed copy of your book?

Sure! They can email me for more information at angelakaysbooks@gmail.com. I sell signed copies of my book for $14 even. That includes shipping and handling. You can check out my book by clicking on these links: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Like me on Facebook: Angela Kay’s Books

To learn how to receive a FREE PDF copy of The Murder of Manny Grimes, click HERE!

#Spotlight on Mikhaeyla Kopievsky of Resistance (Divided Elements #1)

MIKHAEYLA KOPIEVSKY is an independent speculative fictionML Profile Photo author who loves writing about complex and flawed characters in stories that explore philosophy, sociology and politics. She holds degrees in International Relations, Journalism, and Environmental Science.  A former counter-terrorism advisor, she has travelled to and worked in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Mikhaeyla lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia, with her husband and son. Divided Elements | Resistance is her debut offering.

  1. What’s Resistance about?

Resistance (Divided Elements #1) is the story of Anaiya 234 – a Peacekeeper of the Fire Element who patrols Otpor’s streets enforcing the Orthodoxy. In Otpor, a future post-apocalyptic Paris, Reistance book covverlife is a utopia – debauchery, security and stability are all provided by the Cooperative and maintained by strict adherence to the ruling ideology. Wrong action is termed Unorthodoxy and punished in a way similar to how crimes are dealt with in these days – retraint and detention. But, wrong thought – Heterodoxy – that is the real crime.

Only once has the crime of Heterodoxy taken place, and the original Resistor – Kane 148 – was Executed for it. But, now Heterodox murals are appearing on crumbling Otpor infrastructure, hinting at a new rebellion. Radical measures will be taken to find and take down this new Resistance, changing life in Otpor and Anaiya, forever.2.

2, Why did you write your book?

I started (and finished) writing this book for two reasons: 1) I needed to finally take my passion for writing seriously and commit to crafting and finishing a novel whose standard of quality I could be proud of, and 2) I needed to tell this story that calls into question humanity’s endless ambition to categorise society into us vs them, self vs other, familiar vs threatening. It is a theme that I am deeply passionate about – ignorance, xenophobia, intolerance and apathy are at the core of most of humanity’s problems. I believe if we focused on what we have in common, or on what our unique and individual skills, beliefs and perspectives can contribute, we would be that much closer to a more utopian ideal of humanity.

3. Who is the main character in Resistance?

Anaiya 234 is a complex and flawed character. Many readers find her unlikeable at the beginning of the story – which is not surprising since she is so fiercely and steadfastly dedicated to fulfilling her Peacekeeper role. As a Fire Elemental, she is conditioned to have only a limited spectrum of emotions, to be practical and stoic – a finely tuned instrument in keeping Otpor citizen’s compliant and the streets safe.

But, Anaiya has a shadowy legacy that follows her around. And when the discovery of new Heterodox murals gives her the opportunity to erase this legacy, she finds herself unable to say no. As the key player in the strategy to dismantle the Resistance, Anaiya is thrown into a new world where everything she has learned and taken for granted is suddenly called into question. Some of my favourite reviews of Resistance, talk about how much they love seeing the shift in Anaiya’s personality and the internal conflict she struggles with throughout the book.

4. Why do you think people should buy Resistance?

This book is for readers who love the dystopian and post-apocalyptic scifi genres, but who want a darker and grittier story than what YA books are offering. One reader called Resistance “Divergent’s bigger, badder, tougher, realer older sister”. While it will satisfy your need for the standard dystopian tropes, this book turns them on their head and puts them in a new context – in this story, the protagonist is not a hero, but a real and flawed character. And they’re not on a self-righteous path to bring down the Government, they’re actively fighting the Resistance while struggling with their convictions in doing so.

If you like stories with interesting characters and dynamic world-building that will challenge as well as entertain you, then I think this one is for you!

Resistance review blurb image

5. What’s your favorite writing snack?

I rarely snack when I write! I usually find that I get so immersed in the story, I either forget to eat or rush to pull together something very basic so I can get back into it! That being said, I do love to celebrate writing milestones with a nice dinner – my favourite is a local French restaurant (fitting, no?) where I could spend many a long, lazy Sunday brunch eating the charcuterie platter and indulging in a nice bottle of French wine!

6. What’s your favorite writing beverage?

As most authors would attest, writing is a caffeinated sport I am one of those strange people that doesn’t drink tea or coffee, so I get my fix with Coke Zero – sometimes spiked with bourbon if I’m channelling my inner Hemingway… But I am also very partial to mojitos in summer and a nice Hendricks G&T while the sun is going down. When I lived in Sydney. I loved visiting the small bars and speakeasies. Unsurprising, then, that I created a Cocktail Companion Guide to Resistance that readers can download for free here: www.instafreebie.com/free/1q8wq8

7. If you were on desert island with just one book to read, what would it be and why?

That is a very cruel scenario! Without my library of ficton and non-fiction, I guess it would have to be “How to successfully escape a desert island and make it back to civilisation”

8. Who is your go to celebrity crush?

Now this is a MUCH easier question to answer Supernatural’s Dean Winchester has been the inspiration for many of my characters. Even Seth, a character in Resistance (Divided Elements #1) took some initial inspiration from the hunter with a saviour complex. Supernatural is also my go-to binge watching fix when I’m stressing out about writing deadlines or immovable plot problems. Now, if you were throwing the box set of Supernatural episodes or even Dean Winchester himself into the desert island scenario, I might not be so worried about reading that book…

You can keep in touch with Mikhaeyla @:

www.kyrija.com/mikhaeyla-kopievsky

https://www.facebook.com/MikhaeylaKopievsky/

https://twitter.com/MikhaeylaK

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32719178-resistance

Get Resistance the ebook @:

Amazon: (global link) http://mybook.to/DE1Resistance
Kobo: 
https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/resistance-45
Nook: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/resistance-mikhaeyla-kopievsky/1124987737
iBooks: 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1168636508

Get Resistance the paperback @:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Resistance-Divided-Elements-Book-1/dp/0995421854
Book Depository: 
https://www.bookdepository.com/Resistance-Mikhaeyl-Kopievsky/9780995421851
Booktopia: 
http://www.booktopia.com.au/resistance-mikhaeyla-kopievsky/prod9780995421851.html

One last thing I forgot to mention –

The official online launch for Resistance takes place on Saturday 4 February. There will be excerpt readings, an author Q&A, and special guests to talk about the development of the book’s cover art and discuss the themes of the book. Mikhaeyla would love to invite ll of you to attend – you can RSVP here (it’s an open invitation, so feel free to share with friends and family!)

#Book #Review Illusions of Magic by J. B. Rivard.

illusions-of-magic-cover4_stars_gold

 

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago

by J. B. Rivard

Fiction: Historical/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. 233 Pages Print. Gray Dog Press (April 17, 2016)

Author Biography

J.B. RIVARD: As a young child, J.B. Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school’s award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicagojb-rivard Academy of Fine Arts and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He’s an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City. The author draws on wide experience—he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the engineering staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored many technical reports. His broad background supports an array of significant publications, from short stories to song lyrics, from essays to novels.  Learn More @ http://www.illusionsofmagic.com/. (The author has a special limited time offer on his home page you need to check out.)

Book Review

Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago by J.B. Rivard is a historical novel with the assassination attempt on then President-elect Franklin Roosevelt’s life as one aspect. NICK ZETNER is a magician who finds himself working among the criminal elements of 1933 Chicago to make money as the Depression and the film industry make the need for a magician act less desirable. Little does he realize that a romance from 20 years ago will play an important role in the dangerous mess he finds himself in or that the errant bullet that missed Roosevelt and hit the mayor of Chicago instead would bring him even more danger.

Illusions of Magic is a fast paced read. If you start it in the morning on a weekend, you’ll likely finish it in one day. The style is 1930s gangster movie with a touch of romance, and some historical reveals and glimpses into how politics and crime worked, sometimes hand in hand, in 1930s Chicago. You’ll even imagine yourself seeing images flash across a movie screen in black and white as you read the book. It helps that the author also includes an occasional illustration to let you know what certain characters look like or the atmosphere of a scene is. I really enjoyed the clothing styles and the cars.

Instead of a one dimensional crime drama we have the inclusion of a romance with mystery attached to it from the main character, Nick Zetner’s, past. All things are connected in the book, which you don’t realize at first and might only notice after the fact. But everything from the discovery of an old bicycle bell to the assassination of the mayor of Chicago has significance. At first the book seems like a lot lighter fare but turns into something with more layers to it than expected.

I was expecting a little more to do with magic, because of the title, but you won’t find it in this book. Perhaps a sequel could have Zetner again delving into the underworld of Chicago and using magic to trick his way out of bad situations. But you don’t miss the magic here once into the story. I only mention it now so you don’t go into the book expecting to find tricks galore.

I recommend this book for history lovers or old movie buffs who want that nostalgic feeling in an enjoyable and fast paced format.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

Get Illusions of Magic @:

amazon logo   

Visit Author and Artist J. B. Rivard @: http://illusionsofmagic.com/

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#Book #Review of Counterpart by @HSchussman.

Counterpart by H. Schussman4_stars_goldI’ve reviewed H. Schussman’s work here before. It  was El Tiburon and I gave it 4 stars. You can even read the interview I did with her by clicking here.That was her second book. Now I’ve read her first novel which you can get on Smashwords in any format you like.

Her first book is Counterpart. In this outing we get to meet Schussman’s characters CIA Agent/Travel Agent SEAN MCGEE and Doctor JANET “SPORT” WARRICK. The book starts off with Sport picking up a friend at work in a jewelry store when a robbery takes place. She foils one of the bad guys who doesn’t see her at first. Then the owner shoves a box into her hands and tells her to get it to Sean McGee. A chase ensues by the main bad guy but Sport gets away. I’m not spoiling it for you. If she were caught there wouldn’t be much of a story, now would there?

The story itself is very good. Great pace, if I had started this book during the morning after breakfast I would likely have finished it before bed. There are details about Sacramento that hint at first hand experience. Also other travel experiences that are obviously pulled from the author’s own extensive travel life. Trust me, she knows about the Americas, north, south, and central.

Once Sean and Sport meet up it is one thrill ride after another with CIA agents, FBI agents, Secret Service, and more. Even the California Highway Patrol gets involved. And don’t get me started on the Club Med moments.

My favorite character is Sport. She comes by the name for good reasons, which are revealed in the book, so I won’t tell you here. She isn’t a short girl to mess around with, even though Sean really wants to. Both find there is an unexpected attraction that neither really knows what to do with, what with a CIA agents life style and a young doctor’s not being all that great for starting a relationship. The question is, do both survive the whole thing to make it to a relationship at all?

Fast paced, guns, chases, assassinations, bad guys, Russian doubles, political look-a-likes. This one has it all. Oh, and there is even some kissing involved. I had to mention it for the tough guys reading this. We can’t even get a good shoot ’em up book without kissing thrown in. (Just kidding. I wrote a romance.)

This one is good for all types of readers. Enjoy it. It’s only $1.99 at Smashwords right now. I will say that there are some editing moments that were missed, but they don’t take away from the reading experience. (I edit books so I pick them up.) Get the book, then check out El Tiburon on Amazon.

Click the images to go and check out the books. And follow her on twitter @HSchussman for her latest happenings.

Counterpart by H. SchussmanEl Tiburon by H. Schussman

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