Tag Archives: Fiction

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.

Poet of the Wrong Generation #BookReview

  • Title: Poet of the Wrong Generation
  • Author: Lonnie Ostrow
  • Print Length: 455
  • Publication Date: November 10, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

My Review:

I was surprised to find that I loved everything about this book–from the cover to the prose. The storyline was engrossing, the characters extremely well-developed, the dialogue superb…well, Poet of the Wrong Generation is a book you have to read when you have no pressing matters to attend to because it’s that hard to put down.

We open with a prologue to the present. Johnny Elias is staring into a photograph taking himself back into a time when life was good and carefree. He was in love, had friends, he had happiness. And now, because of the things happened since then, he’s feeling regret. Don’t we all when we start feeling that nostalgia?

After we’re through we the prologue, the next time we see Johnny is back in time in 1991. He joins Megan Price, the girl he loves, and their friends at a concert in Central Park. However, soon after, everything changes. Feeling heartbroken and betrayed, he begins doing what a lot of real people do in these kinds of situations: a writes down his feelings. But these aren’t just words. They’re magical poetry from the heart. Johnny ends up turning his writing to music and falls into success and fame.

This was a truly amazing novel. I can see it becoming a summer series or even a mini-series on the Hallmark channel. But at the same time, perhaps they better not touch this story. After all, bringing stories to live, especially on network television, it just may ruin this beautiful creation of Lonnie Ostrow’s.

If you want a book complete with twists and turns, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book with star-crossed lovers, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book that tugs at your heartstrings in every way, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. It’s well worth the time it takes to read. I highly recommend this pleasure of a book.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Lonnie Ostrow
Biography

Lonnie Ostrow has been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With Poet Of The Wrong Generation, he combines all his unique experiences to bring you a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption — a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. It’s been hailed as “the ultimate rock & roll love story.” Since 2001, Mr. Ostrow has been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. He also serves as an editorial and marketing consultant for a collection of first-time authors through The Editorial Department in Tucson, AZ. Previously he served as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors including Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

From 1995 – 2001, Mr. Ostrow was widely credited with inventing the “living celebrity postal phenomenon.” In all, he worked with more than 40 legendary personalities from the Bee Gees to Bob Dylan, Sylvester Stallone to Jackie Chan, creating media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.

Ostrow’s first publication, Titanic, A Postal Collection, was published in 1998.

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Altar of Resistance by Samuel Marquis.

Altar of Resistance Book Coverfive gold stars image

 

Altar of Resistance

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Historical Thriller/Suspense/Espionage. 368 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (January 24, 2017)

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP-Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as an iconoclastic spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He also has a deep and abiding interest in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, and the current War on Terror.

Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer said, “Blind Thrust kept me up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row. I could not put it down. An intriguing mystery that intertwined geology, fracking, and places in Colorado that I know well. Great fun.” Kirkus Reviews proclaimed The Coalition an “entertaining thriller” and declared that “Marquis has written a tight plot with genuine suspense.” James Patterson compared The Coalition to The Day After Tomorrow, the classic thriller by Allan Folsom; and Donald Maas, author of Writing 21st Century Fiction and two novels, compared The Coalition to the classic political assassination thriller The Day of the Jackal.

Book Review

Espionage, intrigue, romance, battle, and more. Altar of Resistance has a difficult time finding one genre to fall into.

To start off with I see myself reading this one again. And I don’t read books more than once very often these days. This is the second of Sam Marquis’ WWII Trilogy, all standalone books, and it’s going to be hard to beat. That third one is going to have to be something else to surpass this one.

Altar of Resistance by Sam Marquis is about the Occupation and Liberation of Rome in 1943-44 Italy. The story is told through the viewpoints of four main characters: Pope Pius XII (sometimes called Hitler’s Pope), SS Colonel Wilhelm Hollman (a character based on fact), US Army Special Services member John Bridger, and Roman Resistance fighter Teresa Di Domenico. The last two are fictional characters, but in the book share a secret with the SS Colonel.

Having been a World History teacher and taken a semester of Nazi/Fascism class I know a little bit about WWII and what happened in Italy. Marquis uses factual events to give his story life or maybe he adds fiction to the facts to make it easier to handle. You read and decide which. Either way you look at it, he brings the subject to life.

We don’t get just a superficial story from Marquis to create a thrilling read. He gives us layers to add dimensions to each character, even the minor ones. He even has you like the Nazi torturer/interrogator at one point. I think Marquis’s fiction elements actually make sense in context of history. We see the Pope silent against atrocities not only throughout Europe but in his own city. Marquis gives us reasons why. SS Colonel Hollmann is based on fact as far as his existence but how he is used and his complexity is believable. He is perhaps my favorite character in the book. John Bridger is a tough Army commando who kills without hesitation but tries to keep his humanity. And Teresa is her father’s daughter, but which father does this good Catholic girl take after?

We see the war and the battle for Rome from every possible level and realize not one could achieve success without the other. We see how a girl leads to the success of the Allies in Italy, not a farfetched idea. We see how love exists and even sprouts during great turmoil, and how it doesn’t die regardless of tragedy.

There are no bogged down moments during this read. I didn’t find myself having a difficult time making my way through a passage to get to the next. The only parts that even remotely slowed me down were later chapters involving the Pope, but that is in part due to the success of the author in the character’s portrayal. Got to love a Pope but man can he be frustrating at times.

The only bad thing about the book is not knowing the future of all the characters. Sam Marquis does give us details of the factual characters and what happens to them, but the fictitious ones perhaps are left unknown because we may seem them some other time?

I’ve read all but one of Sam Marquis’ books. This is his best one yet. If you’ve never read historical fiction, this is a way to start. So far this is my book of the year and I’ve read four so far. It’s going to be difficult to top this one. It had all the elements to keep me engaged.

 

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#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

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#Book Review On Top Of The World by David Lamb.

On Top Of The World Book Cover Image4_stars_goldOn Top Of The World: (Until The Bell Chimes)

by David Lamb

Fiction: Humor/Satire. 250 Pages Print. Woolly Mammoth Books (October 20, 2016)

Author Biography

David Lamb is a native New Yorker, born and raised, bitten with the writing bug since he was in elementary school and had handwriting nobody could decipher. Like Charles Dickens, David grew up a poor boy in the big city who found that the pen really is mightier than the sword. While working as a lawyer by day, at night he transformed into a writer and eventually wrote and produced the award-winning hit off-Broadway romantic comedy Platanos Y Collard Greens. Being a writer and having the chance to make people laugh out loud while challenging them to think about the world around them, and inspire each of us to believe in the power of love and our own ability to overcome life’s challenges is a great gift that David truly enjoys and thanks you for allowing him to share with you in On Top Of The World (Until The Bell Chimes).

Book Description

This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you’ve come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music’s biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites. Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners.  They never imagined being music’s most powerful couple, but that’s exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit.  Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she’s created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje’s ego explodes and he starts acting a fool.  Now, it’s been three years since they ve spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they’ll be given a second chance. Will Scrooje listen to the ghostly-advice of Marley, his best friend since the fourth grade, who at the time of his untimely drowning at his Brazilian poolside birthday bash was as big a star as Scrooje?

Book Review

I was looking for a Christmas book to read and this one fell into my lap. While reading On Top Of The World I thought of real life people that seemed to fit the characters. I see Sean “P Diddy” Combs as Scrooje and Marley is Biggie Smalls. At least that’s my take on it. However, you can look at several members of hip hop royalty these days and the shoe would fit. This isn’t the usual spin you have for A Christmas Carol. You don’t have the same types of things happening when spirits visit Scrooje that you see in a lot of retellings. There isn’t a modernization of the spirit trips. I liked that about the story and was pleased with the surprises. I also liked the real life situations of the visits the spirits take Scrooje on. You get to see where Scrooje comes from and what shapes the person he is before he becomes the king of the world.

I like the character of Belle as an upper class more privileged student who takes the very much poor class Scrooje in hand and brings out the best in him and then becomes a high powered attorney. She looks out for Scrooje and Marley even while both are ruining their real lives while living the Hip Hop high life.

I think anyone can read this and enjoy it. You don’t have to enjoy any type of music to like the story as music doesn’t play a part like you might think. If you want a good what if look at what real life people could turn into this is a good book to pick up. I read the book in one sitting without a problem. It goes very fast.

This is categorized under Humor and Satire but I don’t see an over abundance of humor in the story, but you have to give books a category on Amazon so I suppose this was the best way to go.

As some of you know, I’m a writer myself and have little time to give to reading these days. Having such a quick and enjoyable read was a nice surprise.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Eleven Miles,” BY AUTHOR @LANCEGMITCHELL

eleven-miles

  • Title:  Eleven Miles
  • Author: Lance Greenfield Mitchell
  • Print Length: 254 Pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publisher: lulu.com
  • Publication Date: September 25, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QH0EDGE
  • ISBN-10: 1326108034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1326108038
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Literature and Fiction, Contemporary


“How far would you have walked to gain your high school education?

From an early age, the greatest passion in Boitumelo Tumelo’s life is learning. Boi, as she is known to her friends and family, just loves going to school. Her primary school is in the local village, but when she graduates to secondary school, two obstacles stand in the path to her further education. Firstly, there are fees to be paid. Secondly, it is eleven miles to the nearest secondary school. She would have to get up very early, and walk that long distance to school every day, and walk home after school. There are many potential dangers along the remote African track between her village and her school.

This is the inspiring story of how Boi overcomes the obstacles and dangers to gain the education that she so desires. Not only does she achieve her ambitions, but she manages to make life better for the children of her village who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Eleven Miles is a fictional story based upon a true-life situation in Botswana. Until the target of Princess Boikanyo’s School Bus Project is achieved, 50% of all profits from the sales of this book will go into the project funds.”


Open the pages of this book and slip inside the existence of Boitumelo Tumelo, a young girl from Botswana, who leads the reader on an incredible journey from her childhood into adulthood in a world fraught with difficulty and strife. Boi’s life humbled me with her compelling story and the bravery and determination she exhibited to achieve her dreams.

Boi is a gifted child who lives in abject poverty. She faces cruelty and stares down social injustices. Food is scarce, and many mornings she begins the laborious eleven-mile walk to school on a breakfast fueled by a crust of bread. Life is not comfortable in her village, and it is a struggle just to survive.

Her parents, grandparents, and her older brothers contribute their hard-earned cash to send her and her brother to school. Not only is this considered an honor, but it is also a calling. Boi realizes early, that if she is to succeed in life, she must get an education.

Like the proverbial sponge, Boi soaks up one academic challenge after another, and her hard work and determination finally pay off. But it is her commitment to change that grabs the reader. Boi realizes that if she runs the miles to school and back, she will have more time to dedicate to her studies. Her ingenuity is stunning.

Boi turns the daily obstacle of the eleven-mile walk to school into an active endeavor. After running twenty-two miles a day, Boi discovers her real gift, that of becoming a long distance runner.

I had this book in my “To be read,” pile for quite some time and couldn’t wait to read it. The story did not disappoint. I loved Boi’s story from start to finish, and I enjoyed the cultural elements the story provided. Lance Greenfield Mitchell takes you on a journey to a place far away from our western philosophy. I wish Boi’s story became mandatory reading for young people everywhere so they could appreciate their advantages. I know it made me appreciate the many opportunities I have enjoyed.


Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Author, Lance Greenfield Mitchell

My name is Lance Greenfield Mitchell.

Before you ask, my natural father’s name is Greenfield. My Step-dad’s name was Mitchell. So, I changed my name by deed poll when I left school, from Lance Greenfield to Lance Mitchell, to avoid confusion. My Step-dad, whom I loved, died. I eventually got back in touch with my real Dad, who, unbeknownst to me, had been banned by the courts from contacting me. I didn’t know that till I tracked him down. To avoid confusion, I added the Greenfield back in as a middle name.

Confused? So am I!!!

I live in Andover, Hampshire, Southern England, but I sometimes wonder where I am or where I come from! I have visited about eighty countries in my life. I just love traveling and immersing myself in different languages, cuisines, and cultures.

Because of family complexity, I attended ten schools, the last of which was HMS Conway, a Naval school in North Wales.

I was in the military for 22 years, Royal Navy AND Army (Royal Engineers) before going into technology as a second career in civvie street. I am now a VP of an international software company, and I fly around the planet a lot. What time is it?!

I started writing reviews as part of the BBC RAW (Read and Write) campaign a few years ago. There was huge enthusiasm for my reviews, so I resolved to publish a review for every book that I read. I publish my reviews on amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, goodreads.com and waterstones.com.

In my spare time, I started writing a couple of novels about eight years ago. They are still not finished!

Two years ago, I was part of a group read for a book from the erotica genre, which I wouldn’t normally have read. Not only did I enjoy it, but I thought that I could maybe do better.

I like erotica for the double-A. That is AROUSAL and AMUSEMENT. There are very good authors in this genre. One of my favourites is Chloe Thurlow. She’s great!

I got so into it that I wrote a couple of short stories and shared them with a select few friends who loved them. They encouraged me to write an anthology, which I have now completed.

Two publishers rejected my stories, so I have now self-published on Amazon. I don’t know if my work is any good. I like to think so, but that is for others to judge.

The title is “When Pleasure Blooms.”

If you do take the time to read it, please leave a review. Receiving criticism, good or bad, is the only way that I can hope to improve.

My all-time favorite book of any genre has to be “Skallagrigg” by William Horwood.

I have three grown up children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Hence my comment about being too busy in the opening paragraph.

My eldest son is a tattoo artist, and he recently persuaded me to have some artwork on my skin. It only took him ten years to get me into his studio! I now have two tattoos and will have two more very soon. Take a look at the photos on my GR profile if you want to see them.

Eleven Miles is a fictional story based upon a true-life situation in Botswana. Until the target of Princess Boikanyo’s School Bus Project is achieved, 50% of all profits from the sales of this book will go into the project funds. In the meantime, please feel free to make additional contributions to this worthy cause by clicking on the project link.

You can find Lance Greenfield Mitchell on Twitter @lancegmitchell and Facebook Lance Greenfield Mitchell. You can also find Lance on his blog at lancegreenfield.wordpress.com

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of colleenchesebro.com

Colleen 5.3.16

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#Book #Review by @HughRoberts05 of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Rose Collins

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins

Title: The Night Before Christmas

Author: Rose Collins

Format: Kindle Edition

Genre: Children’s Book

Language: English

Published: 7th December 2015 by NurseryBox Books

Print Length: 28 pages

File Size: 15661 KB

ASIN: B0193Y9PHW

Price: £1.49

Sold By: Amason UK Amazon USA

A free copy of the book was provided to me in exchange for a review.

Clement Clarke Moore’s much-loved poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist – as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

I’ve always loved Clement Clarke Moore’s poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.’ For me, Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year. So when I was asked to review this book I didn’t hesitate in saying ‘yes’.

Christmas Eve is a magical night and this book is just as magical. The pictures, story, and vivid colour not only help in making the book a spellbinding read, but they captured my heart. I could not fail in taking in every last detail of the illustrations and being whisked away on Santa’s sleigh for the time it took me to read the book.

I thought I was going to get the story of ‘The Three Bears’ but was very pleased to say there were no hints of cold porridge or lumpy beds. I smiled throughout the whole book and could feel it pulling me back to the days of my childhood. Not only will every child enjoy reading this book, but so will any adult who reads it to children.

As I have already mentioned, the illustrations are both beautiful and colourful. Children, young and old, will take a great time in absorbing the whole story not just from the words, but also from looking at the pictures and taking in everything that has been captured in them. They are mesmorizing.

Although the book is aimed at younger children, I’d encourage parents to get older children to read the story to their younger brothers and sisters. Didn’t we all love the magic of Christmas, especially when very young? The book will certainly help anybody reading it to spread that magical feeling to their audience.

The only slight problem I had with the book is that there is a small section of the story which refers to Santa smoking his pipe. The illustration on the particular page also shows this. Given the anti-social attitude towards smoking these days, some may find that they don’t want to promote Santa’s bad habit, as a smoker, to children. I was a little surprised to see it in the book. Had the book been published 30 or so years ago, then I don’t think it would have been considered that much of a problem but, in the current climate, it may raise a few eyebrows.

Realistic Characterisation: 5/5

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

Readability: 5/5

Recommended: 4/5

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Review by:

Hugh Roberts

Hugh Roberts

Twitter: @HughRoberts05 (https://twitter.com/HughRoberts05)

Blog: hughsviewsandnews.com (http://hughsviewsandnews.com/about/)

Facebook: Hugh W. Roberts (https://www.facebook.com/HughsViewsAndNews05)

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#Interview with author @ProfKellyOliver.

Kelly Oliver ImageToday’s interview is with the author of a book I reviewed not long ago called WOLF. I won’t say too much about it as she discusses it a bit in the interview, and you can read the review by clicking here. Now on to the interview.

You are very eclectic in your writings over the years. What lead you to writing fiction?

Since I discovered writing, I’ve relied on it to give my life meaning. I live to write.

As a philosopher, in my nonfiction, I write about ethics and ways to make the world a better place.

But, with fiction, I realized I could create a world. I could create a world and then live in it for a few months or years. I could create a world where women and girls come out on top.

How did Jessica James, a cowgirl, come to life? I understand the philosopher part, but I’m trying to get the cowgirl part.

Usually, it’s the other way around.  Folks get the cowgirl part, but scratch their heads at the philosophy part.

Some of Jessica’s story is based on my own experience, a working-class girl who grew up in Montana, Idaho and Washington, going to the big city for the first time to study philosophy, a mongrel amongst pedigreed Ivy Leaguers.

But, there’s a kind of funny story about how I came up with “cowgirl philosophy.” A few years ago, there was a move in the philosophy department to create a “Vanderbilt brand” so everyone would associate the Vanderbilt philosophy department with a special type graduate. I imagined taking a hot iron and branding our students as we handed them their diplomas. I got a bunch of the women philosophers together and joked that our brand should be cowgirl philosophy. One of my students made a logo for us with a really cute blonde long-haired Scottish cow that said “cowgirl philosophy.”  I still have that cowgirl philosophy sticker on my office door.

You have two stories running simultaneously in WOLF, how WOLF cover imagedifficult was it to keep things straight as you went along? By the way, you did a great job. I never got confused, even once.

Jessica James and Dmitry Durchenko are very different. In some ways, the brooding Russian janitor is more of a philosopher than the party-girl philosophy graduate student. So, it was easy to keep their stories straight. The harder part was bringing them together organically. I wanted the stories to become more intertwined as the novel progresses, so they’re intimately connected by the end of the book.

When I was sending out various drafts of the novel to get feedback from other writers, some loved Jessica and others loved Dmitry. At one point, when the Dmitry lovers were ahead in the polls, I had started and ended the novel with his perspective. But, in the end, I realized that the ongoing story is really Jessica’s, so I started and ended the novel with her. It just never felt quite right to start with Dmitry, even though he is an important, and hopefully compelling, character. And, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him!

How much of Jessica’s adventures pulled from actual events you’re aware of?

As I said, some of Jessica’s adventures are based on my own experience in graduate school.  But I plead the fifth on what parts.  I like how you asked about events that I’m “aware of”…maybe not being aware could get me off the hook for some of the more incriminating parts of the story. Jessica’s not the only one who drank too much whisky in graduate school.

You have Russian characters in your book, some are very important to the entire storyline. How did you go about getting the language just right? It was a very smooth transition from English to Russian. I thought it seemed very natural and not intruding at all when I was reading.

Thanks. I did a lot research on Russian sayings, culture, food, and drink, and, of course, the Russian mafia. And, I had a native Russian speaker check my use of Russian words and phrases. It was important to make it authentic.

Just before I started writing WOLF there was a huge FBI sting involving Russian mafia in New York that took in over 30 people on charges of illegal gambling, money laundering, and extortion. Some of my characters are inspired by people pinched in that operation, including a beautiful woman running a high stakes poker game for Hollywood movie stars, and the playboy son of a billionaire art dealer. I also learned that the Russian mafia is alive and well, not only in Russia, but in the U.S.. You don’t want to mess with those guys, so I don’t dare say more about my real-life mafia role models.

You discuss the date rape culture that is so prevalent on college campuses. I’m not sure how much goes on at Vanderbilt but I know cases happen where I’m from. So many even go unreported. What made you think of including that in your book? Did you do any particular research into it with victims? I mean you don’t go too much into details but there are some instances where research seems evident.

As I was writing WOLF, a high profile Vanderbilt rape case was making national headlines. It involved a woman who may have been drugged by something slipped into her blue cocktail, taken back to a dorm room, and then gang raped by a group of football players, instigated by her boyfriend. Because she was unconscious, she didn’t know she’d been raped until the police showed her video recordings the perpetrators had taken “for fun” and sent off to their friends. This case was so stunning, so mind-boggling, and so egregious, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to find out something like that about yourself from a video.

That lead me to write my latest nonfiction book, HUNTING GIRLS: SEXUAL VIOLENCE FROM THE HUNGER GAMES TO CAMPUS RAPE. I was writing that book at the same time as WOLF. It was important to include the issue of party rape in the novel since it has become an epidemic on campus.

You did a great job of hiding in plain sight who the killer of the titular character was. Which is always the way with a great mystery. There were so many possibilities that when it was finally revealed, there was a bit of surprise, unless you were really following all closely. Writing a mystery, do you worry about revealing too much? How do you balance the hidden and the revealed?

Thanks. Yeah, it was a bit like Jessica who had the evidence proving the identity of the killer all along in the bottom of her backpack. The killer is there all the way through, and signs point to him, too. But, he’s not your usual sort of killer.

I was actually surprised to find out from some of my friends and COYOTE book imagereaders who they suspected. I was floored that lots of them suspected Jessica’s love interest, since I never intended him to be a suspect.  So, that was cool.

In my second Jessica James Mystery, COYOTE (out in August), the mystery is not so much who are the killers, but what happened in a highway accident eleven years ago that binds all of the main characters together in mysterious ways.

How important are beta readers or test readers for a book like yours? Do you have a target reader who reads your book and you ask, “How soon do you figure things out?”

I have an amazing developmental editor, Lisa Walsh, who reads everything and gives me very detailed feedback. I also have a trusted group of friends whose opinions I trust, and if they tell me something’s gotta go, it’s gone.

A lot of my friends are actually professional literary critics, so they are a tough crowd!

What’s been the reaction of your peers who’ve read the book? Are any of them worried they are the model for WOLF?

Hmmmm….given the continued headlines about sexual harassment by male professors, I don’t think there is too much danger of finding that needle in this haystack.

So far, all of my academic friends who’ve read WOLF tell me they love it!  Of course, they get the inside jokes.

How does Tennessee differ from having been a native of Washington State? I’ve been in the South my entire life so all I know is the laid back life.

As I mentioned, I grew up in the Northwest. I go back as often as I can. I miss the mountains. So, I usually spend part of the summer in Idaho near my folks, who live in Sandpoint. And, every winter, I make an x-country ski trip with my brother and sister-in-law to Glacier Park, Montana. Actually, my second novel, COYOTE, is set in Glacier Park. I love it there, especially in the winter when the park is deserted.

To me, the West is dusty brown, with wispy clouds racing across a Robin’s egg blue sky. It’s that sunburnt blister on my nose when I was a teenager dancing til dark at the street dance on the fourth of July. It’s huckleberry milkshakes and stopping in your tracks for a giant moose.

The South is sticky green, with thunderheads sending me into my moldy basement looking for flashlight batteries. It’s soggy turnip greens, deep fried pies, and painting chigger bites with nail polish. It’s the thickening of my waistline, my corneas, and my resume. And, now it’s home.

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#Bookblurbs Any tips? What are your favourites? #amwriting

Hi all:

As you know I write (and translate) and I’m currently going through the corrections of my next novel (Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies, is proving challenging, or rather the circumstances around it are. I might tell you the story some day). Although there’s still a while to go (I always publish both versions, Spanish and English, of my books at the same time, and that means multiplying by two everything, including the time it takes to get everything ready), I started thinking about blurbs. Despite having written quite a few, I always hesitate when I’m about to write another one, and check advice on it.

Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés. Any day now... well, not quite
Escaping Psychiatry 2. The Case of the Swapped Bodies by Olga Núñez Miret. Cover by Ernesto Valdés. Any day now… well, not quite

I decided to share some of the articles I found about the subject (the advice isn’t that different, but I thought you might find that the style of the writer of some of the articles connects better with you than others).

17 tips on how to write blurbs that sell:

http://authorsociety.com/17-tips-how-write-blurb-sells

The dos and don’ts of writing a blurb for your novel :

http://www.blurb.co.uk/blog/writing-blurbs-for-novels/

4 easy steps to an irresistible book blurb:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/4-easy-steps-to-an-irresistable-book-blurb/

How to write a book blurb:

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/04/how-to-write-a-book-blurb/

Writing a short book blurb:

http://www.writing4success.com/Writing-a-Short-Book-Blurb.html

The 5 core elements of a book blurb (and why you should know them):

https://www.standoutbooks.com/five-elements-of-a-book-blurb/

And after all that advice, I wanted to ask you if you had any tips or any strategies (different to those ones or adapted from them) that you found particularly useful. And also, what are your favourite book blurbs? They can be your own or other writers’. Personally, although I agree certain elements are expected, I think what will entice readers depends on each individual. As one of the articles observes, some very successful books have not-so-good blurbs. But I’m curious and I guess the best way to learn is to analyse well-written blurbs. So, please, do share! And if we get a good response, I’m happy to collect the best and share them in a future post.

Books and more books

(Ah, and a word about blurbs. It seems that in some cases, although not so much now, in the US a blurb might mean only a list of recommendations or positive reviews of a book added to the back-cover. That indeed can be included in what we are talking about, but we refer more to the short description at the back of a book in paper that tells the reader a bit about it and tries to hook him into buying and reading it).

Thanks so much to all the writers of the articles, thanks to all of you for reading, and please, do like, share, click on the articles and COMMENT!

Olga Núñez Miret

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#BookReview of The Rapture: Misunderstood by @JERoyle

the-rapture-misunderstoodThe Rapture: Misunderstood

by Jason E. Royle

Fiction/Non-Fiction: Spirituality/Christian/Eschatology/Religious Studies & Reference. 86 Pages Print. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 30, 2016)

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Author Biography

Jason E. Royle holds a Doctorate in Ministry from Sewanee: University of the South School of Theology and is the author of Judas: Hero Misunderstood as well as Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood. Writing, for Jason, is a way to express the ongoingJudas Hero Misunderstood story of theology. With every book or article, he hopes readers get a sense of the complexity of God and the necessity of faith. Captivated by the spiritual component of life, Jason loves to read everything from the Greek classics to the Sunday comics. While serving as pastor of a congregation near Memphis, TN, Jason wrote a weekly column in a local newspaper called Sermon in a Nutshell and has had devotions published in The Secret Place, among others. Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Schaefferstown, PA, where he serves as the pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

Book Review

The Rapture: Misunderstood is the third in Royle’s Misunderstood series, where he takes a well known aspect of Christianity and breaks it down into fact from fiction. This time around Royle divides the book into two parts; one a short story to help ease the reader into the subject and the second touches on some basic scripture and doctrine from four different views of the Rapture itself amongst the Christian community.

The opening story is about 53 pages long and tells the story of a pastor who wants to bring about the Rapture sooner than later. We follow him and his five followers on their journey to achieve their goal and learn along the way. At each step of the journey we learn a truth and then see the pastor make a decision. Ultimately the reward is in his grasp. What does he do next? What he does may surprise some, may not others, but ultimately we learn a lesson straight from the Bible itself.

After the story you get the views of four views on the end times based on the interpretation of scripture. Royle states from the beginning this is not an in depth look at end times prophecy, it would take more than the 23 pages given to it here. His goal to give you a good starting place and an understanding of where the four thoughts are coming from. He’s also quick to note many of us are not entirely one or the other view but instead a mix and match set. Royle’s style and approach has always been open and welcoming to his readers. He’s a good first step in any journey to discovery you may wish to take. He also provides a list of books at the end of the book to further your reading and understanding.

by: Ronovan Hester

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@FTThum #bookreview ‘I Let You Go’ by Clare Mackintosh

I needed a book to read, and this Sunday Times bestseller was compared to ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Girl on the Train’ so how could I not?

I let you go

Title:          I Let You Go
Author:          Clare Mackintosh
Publishers:     Sphere, Hachette (2014)
Format:          Paperback
Website:         www.claremackintosh.com
Pages:             371
Genre:            Psychological Thriller, Fiction

What’s it about?

Jenna Gray’s world disintegrated when she lost her son, in a hit-and-run.

It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a bid to escape the memories and pain, Jenna ran away to the Welsh coast, initially keeping her identity a secret but gradually, as she re-discovered her old passion and talent and more, her life began to turn around.

But it was not to be, as her past returned to haunt her.

In the meantime, Detective Inspector Ray Steven was assigned to solve this hit-and-run case, only to find the mother of the victim missing, and encountering the world of web-shaming directed at Jenna as he experienced the tension between his career aspiration which demanded that he closed the investigation down and his moral conscience to solve this case. And all this on top of marital problems.

So how did the two worlds converge? This psychological thriller kept me guessing and truth be told, flipping back pages to ‘work it out’.

Would I recommend it?

Yes. An entertaining gripping read by the beach. Kept me up till I got to the twist end.

P/S Clare Mackintosh’s next book ‘I See You’ is due on 28 July 2016. Check it out here.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think:                   3/5
Overall enjoyment:               4/5
Readability:                           4/5
Recommended:                     4/5
Overall Rating:                  4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 9.08
  Paperback USD 6.05
Booktopia Paperback AUD 13.95
Bookdepository Paperback £7.99

 

~ FlorenceT

florence-2

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2016 LitWorldInterviews

Thursday’s Thoughts

Prompt for Challenge

Please remember, this is for fun and to help get that writing mojo of yours flowing. Thursday is only a part of the title, not a deadline.

Here are the following rules:

  • Word count? Who needs word counts? Maybe you’re using the prompts because you just love writing OR maybe you need help to get through those pesky roadblocks. Either way, just let your fingers write the story and when you’re done, you’re done! (Of course, if you like flash fiction, let’s put a limit of no more than, say…500.)
  • Using the prompt of the photo below, WRITE. What is the bird doing? What is he looking at? What strikes your attention about this photo? (REQUIRED)BirdImage Courtesy: Angela Kay

Crave For Me by @RebeccahChase. #BookReview

Crave for me by Rebecca Chase Image with link3 Gold Stars image

 

Crave For Me

by Rebecca Chase

Fiction: Erotica/Romance.  Says 139 Pages but my Kindle has it at 274 pages. Amazon Digital Services LLC (February 21, 2016) $2.99 or Free to Read on KindleUnlimited.

Author Biography

Rebecca Chase is an English rose with a taste for sex and romance.

Starting life as a superhero she found she liked stockings more than tights so writing erotic romance was the obvious next step. When she’s not busy going on amusing and passionate dates with sexy suitors, or whacking shuttle cocks in thrilling badminton games, she dances the night away in random clubs. Frequently she can be found enjoying the spectacle of rugby men battling with balls. Rebecca loves finding interesting story ideas in everyday life and can frequently be caught daydreaming in coffee shops, while trying to hide her writing from sneaky-eyed baristas.

Book Review

I received this book for an honest review.

Although books of the more erotic nature are not my usual cup of tea, I agree to read some books at times because I feel every author needs reviewed, even if not by me. I had the time for this one, with it being three short stories, so I agreed.

The three stories in the book, Crave For Me: three short tales of erotic romance, are Fight For Me, Work For Me, and Play For Me.

The first, Fight For Me finds two childhood friends reunited over a brother’s wedding. But more is going on inside each than the other knows. Juliet Scott has been in love with Joe Adams since she knew boys weren’t all that bad after all. He’s been gone in the Army but her desire hasn’t lessened for the bad boy she knew. What happens when the old friend who thinks of her as a baby sister comes home on leave?

This is the right one to start the book with. It is the best of the three, in my opinion. It has more depth and seems to me a lot was put into this one. There are supporting characters that are well done and there is a good plot. I would like to say this could have been a longer novella length book, but does well on its own in its current length. I don’t think the intimate scenes were overdone or to stereotypical. Except for some word play around the scenes were well done. The characters nicely developed. A good story overall.

Work For Me is about Alana, an office employee and the fix-it man, Nick. She’s older and in need, and he’s ready to fix her kitchen and maybe more. That’s what she fantasizes about. Not as good as the first story, shorter and more typical of the genre I think.

This one starts off with some phrasing that’s quite different from the first story and thus took me a while to grow accustomed to. I gave it a chance and enjoyed the parts after that, they were quite realistic, until the last half, which turns into a fantasy piece. You’ll see when you read it.

Play For Me: Teacher, Kate Benson ends up with a surprise when her elderly private piano teacher is replaced with her former high school piano teacher, Nat Chapman. The one she had to stop piano because of the feelings she had for him.

Another realism turns fantasy piece, but that’s what the genre is about. Creative in the construction of the intimate scene.

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Taken by Her Unforgiving Billionaire Boss by @NadiaLee. #BookReview

Taken by Her Unforgiving Billionaire Boss Image4 Gold Stars Image

 

Taken by Her Unforgiving Billionaire Boss

by Nadia Lee

Fiction: Contemporary Romance/Sagas. 256 Pages Print. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 12, 2016)

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nadia Lee writes sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

Bilingual and formerly a management consultant Nadia Lee currently shares a condo overlooking a small river and sakura trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.

Stay in touch with her via her website nadialee.net or her blog nadialee.net/blog.

Book Description

Alex Damon is the self-made billionaire who has been possessed in recovering his father’s reputation and attaining not only the wealth his father lost but surpassing it beyond imagining, all while exacting revenge on the woman he lays the blame for his father’s ruin and death.

Natalie Hall is an intelligent executive, the loyal adopted daughter of a powerful political father, and hated by her father’s wife and sister. She’s the object of more plots and secrets than she could know possible and caught in the middle of a fight she has nothing to do with. Where will his loyalties end up?

Why I Picked Up the Book

I first picked up this book for three reasons: 1) It was written by a New York Times bestselling author, 2) It was free (and still is as of this review), and 3) I wanted to see how romance and seduction was written by a woman. You see, I write romance and wanted to see if I were getting it right on a certain level. I wanted to see how the seduction parts were written.

What I ended up finding was a good story that could have been taken to a whole new level if the author had that intention. I mean new level as in this could easily have been a political thriller. However, a full blown political thriller was not her intent. I honestly could see this being a movie.

Book Review

Natalie Hall is a strong character who is not only intelligent but independent as well. Her life does not depend on her family ties. Her career has been built on her own merits. Alex Damon is more complex than one first thinks. He has some typical aspects I’ve seen in other books of this genre, but I think Ms. Lee has taken steps to give him a touch more depth than I expected. I was very pleased. I could see the truth in a lot of his motivations, thoughts, and actions from a male perspective. Nicely done.

The supporting characters are well done, for the most part. Alex’s best friend is just what a powerful corporate raider needs. Natalie’s family is dysfunctional at best, except for her father who loves her, but holds a secret that may just tear the entire family apart. Her godmother is very proud of Natalie but holds secrets of her own that end up causing problems in Natalie’s life.

Alex never suspects that his plans to ruin a family name and business would end up with his own agony and need for something he never knew he wanted. Something he never knew he needed before.

I would recommend this book for a quick escape and lovers of the alpha male with an independent woman thrown in the mix.

DID IT DELIVER

Did the book give me what I wanted when I chose it? I have to say the romance and the “scenes” as I call them are well done, descriptive without being over the top. Except for some word choices for things, I would say she nailed it. (Pun unintentional, sort of.) And I don’t mean the use of profanity, which there was very little of, almost to the point I can’t even say specifically where some may have occurred.

RATING: 4 out of 5

When determining a rating I look at the book itself and not my expectations. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. The writing was strong, as was the plot and main characters. A couple of the supporting cast were a little weak, but I saw why things were done from a writer’s view point. The ending was good and no real loose ends were left to wonder about. But I could see where another book could come about with these two as main characters. (The rating was very close to a 4.5, which surprised me since this is not my usual sub-genre to delve into.)

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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New Book Fanfare – Repent at Leisure by Stevie Turner

Thanks to Sally Cronin for the promotion today.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

New book fanfare

Today’s featured book is Repent at Leisure by Stevie Turner.. What happens when you wake up with a strange girl in your bed?

517wJOhKu5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

About the book

Paul McAdam wakes up with a strange girl in his bed, with no idea who she is or where she came from.

Cat Taylor worms her way into Paul’s life, eventually moving into his flat. The arrangement suits Paul quite well until he meets Anita Fairfax, the love of his life and the girl he wishes to marry. Cat has to go, but Paul finds that she is not interested in moving out.

When Cat is found dead in Paul’s flat, he’s the #1 suspect, even though there’s not a shred of evidence. Anita and Paul are happily married, but she soon begins to wonder whether her new husband could have been Cat’s killer all along…

A selection of other books by Stevie Turner

View original post 364 more words

Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis.

Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis imagefive gold stars image

 

Bodyguard of Deception

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Historical Thriller/Suspense/Espionage. 336 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (March 20, 2016)

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP-Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as an iconoclastic spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He also has a deep and abiding interest in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, and the current War on Terror.

Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer said, “Blind Thrust kept me up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row. I could not put it down. An intriguing mystery that intertwined geology, fracking, and places in Colorado that I know well. Great fun.” Kirkus Reviews proclaimed The Coalition an “entertaining thriller” and declared that “Marquis has written a tight plot with genuine suspense.” James Patterson compared The Coalition to The Day After Tomorrow, the classic thriller by Allan Folsom; and Donald Maas, author of Writing 21st Century Fiction and two novels, compared The Coalition to the classic political assassination thriller The Day of the Jackal.

Book Review

Bodyguard of Deception is a suspenseful historical thriller by Samuel Marquis, author of two #1 selling books: The Slush Pile Brigade, which any author should read, and Blind Thrust, both of which I may just be buying shortly, when I have the cash, in order to see how to do it the right way. In Bodyguard of Deception we have the closing months of WWII in Europe and two brothers who are fighting for the same goal, but in different ways. German spy Erik von Walburg has a mission given by ‘The Desert Fox’ himself Erwin Rommel. If successful, the war will end in a way unexpected but beneficial to those involved. Erik ends up with allies in his assignment. One is his brother, U-boat Captain Wolfgang von Walburn, the prototypical Nazi ideal, the “scourge of the North Seas” and the other ally, a woman thousands of miles away without knowledge of any of the goings on of the two at odds brothers.

Samuel Marquis’ historical thriller, Bodyguard of Deception, the fourth thriller from the #1 Bestselling author, is a well-researched, intricately plotted tale of suspense, intrigue and surprises you never see coming, all beginning in May of 1944, days before D-Day. Reading about the German spy Erik von Walburg I could not help but hope for his success. With each chapter the characters become more complex with events making their former routine lives anything but ordinary, and their decisions less reflex than before. Ideals and mantras no longer rule the day. As a former history teacher and now historian/author, I was thrilled at the nods to historical figures throughout the novel. Fans of master spy teller of tales, John le Carré, and John Gardner’s Herbie Krueger series and the Secret Generations series will enjoy this first episode in what is touted as book one in a WWII Trilogy, with the next installment with a release date of January 2017.

I don’t take much time off from my own writing of novels these days, but this was well worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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Stevie Turner interviews author Amy Reade

Hello today to Amy Reade, who writes women’s contemporary and gothic fiction. Her books have been compared to authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Amy’s novels feature vivid descriptions of exotic and fascinating locations, such as the Thousand Islands region of New York State, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Amy Reade   House of the Hanging Jade cover.jpg  Secrets Of Hallstead House (eBook)The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor_ebook cover

1. You grew up in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York, but moved to southern New Jersey.  Which one feels more like home?

I would say they both feel like home. When people ask me where I’m from, I tell them I grew up in northern New York and I now live in New Jersey. We try to take our kids to visit family in New York as often as possible, and when we’re up there we all like to spend time on the St. Lawrence River. I like my kids to have some of the same experiences I had growing up in that area of the country. But that being said, they are growing up in southern New Jersey, which will always be home to them.

2.  You are a qualified lawyer.  Do you think you will ever go back to the law when your children are grown?

I can’t see myself going back to the practice of law no matter how old my kids are. I love writing too much, and I don’t think I could ever feel that way about the legal field.

3.  How long did it take you to acquire your law degree?  Were you fixed on becoming a lawyer throughout your teenage years?

I was not fixed on becoming a lawyer when I was a teenager. I really wanted to be a veterinarian. After my first few years in college, though, it became clear that I just didn’t have a passion for science and that veterinary school wasn’t for me. So after I graduated I spent the next three years in law school.

4.  When did you first realise that you wanted to write?

When I practiced law I wrote all the time, every day. The ability to write is an essential skill for a lawyer, but much of that writing is dull and uninspiring, at least in my opinion. It was several years after I stopped practicing when I first realized I wanted to write fiction. I attended a three-night writing workshop at a local library and I was hooked from the first class.

5.  You’ve set your new series of books (as yet untitled) in Edinburgh.  What is it that attracts you to Scotland?  Have you ever visited there?

There are so many things I love about Scotland- its history and lore, its legends, its customs, its rugged and majestic beauty, the people, the food, you name it. And I have visited- in fact, just last week I returned from a trip to the Highlands, where I was immersed in some of the most beautiful vistas I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.

6.  Your three standalone books are of the women’s fiction genre with added suspense, just like mine.  Do you ever read or write out of this genre, e.g fantasy?

I read outside my genre quite often (especially biographies, cookbooks, and historical), but I must say I almost never write outside the genre. I have written a few essays and I have a book of historical fiction tucked away on my computer, but I’m not ready to work on that just yet.

7.  What is your all-time favourite book?

A tough question! I would have to say it’s Pride and Prejudice, although my favorite changes from time to time. I also love anything by Ernest Hemingway, M.C. Beaton, and James Herriot.

8.  Have you ever entered your stories into any writing competitions?

I have not. Most competitions I hear about are for short stories, and I am dreadful at writing short stories. Too long-winded, I guess! I recently wrote something to enter in a magazine contest, but I didn’t find out about the contest until the weekend before the submission was due and I just ran out of time to revise my essay.

9.  What do you find is the best way of promoting your books?

One of the best ways for me to promote books is to make personal appearances at book signings, etc. Unfortunately, that’s also the most time-consuming and expensive way to promote books. But I love to meet readers and to talk with them, so I like to schedule appearances whenever I can. The other best way, of course, is by word-of-mouth. It’s how many of my readers have been introduced to my books and the reason they’ve reached out to me on social media. I’m very grateful for anyone who passes along the word about my books.
10.  How do you find inspiration for your stories?

Inspiration comes from different places. The inspiration for my new release, House of the Hanging Jade, for example, came from a home I toured in Hawaii a few years ago. The inspiration for my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, came from the beauty of the place where I grew up.

11. One of your books is entitled ‘The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor’.  Have you ever seen a ghost, and so wrote the book from personal experience?

I have never seen a ghost, so I didn’t write that aspect of the book from personal experience. In The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, only one person, maybe two, can actually see the ghost, so there is some question as to whether she really exists. I wanted to leave that question hanging so readers could answer it for themselves.
12.  How do you find time to write with three children, a dog and two cats to look after?

My kids and my husband are all great about leaving me alone when I’m writing. And I try to write as much as I can when the kids are at school, so if they need me for something when they’re home, I can put the work aside and help them with whatever they need. My dog is not demanding at all, so as long as I give her some attention every now and then, she’s perfectly content. And as for the cats, they pretty much ignore me unless they’re hungry.
13.  Are any of your children interested in creative writing?

They have quite a bit of writing to do for school, so most of their writing is for assignments at this point. I think the last thing they want to do at the end of a long day is sit down to do more writing.
 14.  You prefer not to be too far from a river, stream, or the sea. Why is this?

I’m a product of where I grew up, near the St. Lawrence River, the Black River, and Lake Ontario in New York State. And now I live just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean. The only time I haven’t lived close to water was in law school, and I felt its absence keenly. Water is peaceful, calming, and mesmerizing, no matter what its mood, and I love the sound it makes.

15.  You love to cook.  What is the most unusual dish you have made?

I don’t know how unusual it is, but I do make a bouillabaisse with different kinds of fish and seafood. I serve it with a homemade rouille and it’s wonderful. I learned to make it in a cookery class in Ireland.

16.  I find that most wines spoil the taste of good food due to their overpowering flavour.  Do you agree?

When I’m at home I generally do not drink wine with dinner. I prefer water or milk. I like wine with cheese before dinner, and I think it does pair well with cheese. One of my favorite combinations is port and Stilton, but that’s an evening indulgence, not a before-dinner treat.

17.  Were you terrified or serene and laid back during your television interview?  Were you aware of the questions you were going to be asked?

I felt laid-back, but when I watched the interview I some signs of nervousness I didn’t feel. I knew basically the direction the questions would take, but I didn’t know the questions specifically.

18.  Did you find an increase in book sales after the interview?

To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t understand most of the metrics and analytics, as hard as I’ve tried to learn them.

19.  The playlists for your books given on your website are eclectic.  What is your favourite type of music?

It depends on what I’m doing. If I’m writing, I prefer unfamiliar classical music or instrumental music from the place where my story is set. If I’m cleaning or using the spin bike, it has to be fast-paced. If I’m driving, I actually prefer listening to the BBC.

20.  Can you play a musical instrument?

I played both the oboe and the clarinet for years, but it’s been a long time since I played either one. I also play in a handbell choir, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself proficient. And I can play exactly one Christmas carol on the piano.

Thanks Amy for agreeing to be interviewed.  If any other authors or publishers reading this would like to be interviewed, then please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Here’s a list of places to find Amy:

Website: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com

 

NEW BOOK! The Land of Look Behind by @AaronBlaylock

The Land of Look Behind

by

Aaron Blaylock

“I just finished the book during my lunch break and the words that come to mind are incredible and awesome!!! I have been an avid reader of Mystery Novels for more than 40 years. I have read dozens of books from many of the great author’s including Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ellery Queen etc. And I can honestly say that this book is in the same league as anything I have read from any of the greats.”-5 Star Review

“The interesting character development at the beginning made you feel like you knew them personally.” 4 Star Review

The Land of Look Behind by Aaron Blaylock

Book Description

“When Gideon, a former missionary, discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an ancient journal he returns to Jamaica with dreams of finding a centuries old treasure.  He quickly learns there are those who would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.”

Author Aaron BlaylockAaron Blaylock, author of The Land of Look Behind, was born and raised in Arizona. As a child he grew up in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains in the far east valley. Later he attended Mesa Verde High School in Citrus Heights, CA, where he lettered in football. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and has remained active in the scouting organization for over twenty years.

Currently he and his wife Lola live in Mesa, AZ, and are raising their four children. When not working, writing, or serving at church Aaron volunteers as a soccer and baseball coach for his children and enjoys chasing a small white ball around a golf course.

His storytelling draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith, and his own life experiences.

Order The Land of Look Behind on

Amazon or at Barnes & Noble

 

 

3 FOR #FREE #FRIDAYREADS!

Design on a Crime
Ginna Aiken
“Sometimes decorating can be deadly serious

Haley Farrell is taking a chance on herself. After earning her interior Desing on a Crimedesign certificate, she quits her retail job and opens a decorating business. But starting her own company may be tougher than she first thought. Just as Haley’s first assignment gets underway, she suddenly finds herself as the prime suspect in a murder investigation. What’s worse, the victim is Haley’s best friend and mentor, Marge Norwalk.

Reeling from Marge’s death, Haley soon realizes that the only way to prove her innocence is to find the real murderer. Before long, Haley is collecting clues and suspects like other designers collect paint chips and fabric samples. But will contractor Dutch Merrill and detective Lila Tsu be swayed by her investigative talents? Or will she be the one punished for this perfectly designed crime?”`-Amazon

Forbidden Mind
Karpov Kinrade
“From USA Today bestselling author Karpov Kinrade comes an award-winning series full of romance and page-turning suspense.
She reads minds. He controls minds. Together, they might get out alive.
Forbidden MindI’ve seen into the minds of killers and have crawled into the darkest mental corners of humanity, but even I wasn’t prepared for this.
I thought that when I turned 18 I would be released from my secret school of paranormal spies and free to follow my dreams and make my own life. That’s what we all thought. Until I met Drake.
Everything changed when I linked minds with the blond-haired boy strapped to that gurney. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined the dangerous truth behind my life.
And now time is running out. We must work together to save ourselves and everyone we love. Before it’s too late.
“…a thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and eagerly awaiting the next installment.” ~ Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews
Winner of 2011 Forward National Literature Award”-Amazon

Samson’s Deal
Shelley Singer
“Library Journal said: “Great bar scenes, a wonderfully wry narrative, and the obvious affection between Jake and Rosie will have readers clamoring for more.”
Samson's DealMURDER, POLITICS, AND STRANGE BEDFELLOWS…
Samson’s Deal is the FIRST cozy mystery in the Jake Samson and Rosie Vicente detective series by award-winning author Shelley Singer.

“Singer has a good ear for dialogue among the witless … It’s fun to watch [Jake and Rosie] work together, and the bad guys eventually get their satisfying comeuppance, after an interesting plot twist that keeps things hopping till the very end.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian

Ex-Chicago-cop Jake Samson is tired of the rat race. He’s living in laid back Oakland, California with a couple of cats and just enough savings to eat canned oysters and accept collect calls from his bemused parents, when an old friend–a progressive political science professor–calls with an enticing offer. Seems the professor’s wife was found dead in the backyard of their Berkeley home, and he wants to pay Jake ten thousand dollars (plus expenses) to figure out whodunit.

The police pick up the usual leads; jealousy, dirty politics, and an estate worth killing for. Naturally, since the professor is the dead woman’s spouse, he’s the primary suspect. Samson doesn’t like the guy much, but the case heats up—quite literally—when the professor’s office is set afire by a radical right wing activist group, of which, it turns out, the wife was a member.

With his good friend Rosie, and her justice-dispensing two-by-four, Samson follows a twisted trail that leads through the Bay Area’s bizarre cultural labyrinth, from pop meditation ashrams to neo-Nazi rallies, to the startling but all too human truth.

“A fast-paced and often frightening look at the insidious attraction of the extreme right. Even though most of those drawn to the group may be on the lower end of any IQ chart, their sense of dedication to the mistaken idea that they possess a genetic and racial superiority is enough to make them very dangerous. This Shelley Singer novel is recommended.” -Bookbrowser

“…one of the nicer guys in the private eye business, who operates in a relaxed, casual style without need for macho posturing.” -Washington Post

WHO WILL LIKE IT: Fans of Parnell Hall’s Stanley Hastings series, Tony Dunbar’s Tubby Dubonnet series, Bill Pronzini’s “Nameless” Detective series, Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone series, Susan Dunlap’s Jill Smith series, Julie Smith’s Rebecca Schwartz series … and vintage TV series like COLUMBO, THE ROCKFORD FILES, HARRY O, MAGNUM, and HAWAII FIVE-O.

Shelley Singer is the author of ten mysteries, two science fiction novels, one mainstream fiction, and many short stories.”-Amazon

 

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “THE BIRR ELIXIR,” BY AUTHOR @Sparks777

The Birr Elixir

  • Title:  The Birr Elixir, Book 1 of the Legend of the Gamesmen
  • Author: Jo Sparks
  • File Size: 1178 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Oscar Press
  • Publication Date: May 31, 2013
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D4R7PZ4
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction,

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

In the land of Missea – under Skullan rule

King Bactor’s son Tryst, must undertake his first epourney in order to become a man to fulfill his destiny of becoming the future King of the Skullan people and all Trumen. Since a prince’s epourney is undertaken with a best friend, Tryst leaves with three of his best friends, Baldar, Mauric, and Jason. When it is determined that Mauric is ill and cannot travel, Kellan one of the prince’s lesser companions goes in his stead. Now, the adventure begins!

In the City of San Cris, one of the Sandy Towns…

A young apprentice potion maker, named Marra, works in the potion shop of her dead mistress, under the care of Snark, her mistress’ evil brother. Marra’s training was to include, “… learning the power of herbs, the alchemy of powders and potions to heal and enhance…” (pg. 9). After the death of Mistress Britta, Marra’s training stalls under the cruel care of Snark.

Until one day, when the mysterious Drail, a legendary gamesman, comes to the shop begging Marra to make a special potion for him and his crew of men set to play against the Skullan gamers. Marra agrees to make the potion, called “The Birr Elixir,” and Drail and his team win, believing the potion is responsible for their success.

Drail returns to the shop where he witnesses Snark beating Marra, who did not believe she had brewed the elixir that helped the Truman beat the Skullan’s at the game. After taking care of Snark and knocking him out cold, Drail invites Marra to accompany him and his team so that she can make more of the Birr Elixir for them.

A new life

Marra agrees to leave the only home she has ever known to follow Drail and his men as their Brista. As she is gathering her things to leave, she spots an unconscious man on the floor of the shop. Not wanting to leave the man to Snark’s mercy, Drail decides to take the man with them.

Marra realizes that the man is under a deep spell. Along the road, she works hard gathering herbs and preparing potions to heal the young man. Finally after many days, the man awakens and says his name is Tryst…

Recommendation:

As Jo Sparks debut novel, this book has the potential to be a great story and series. I loved the richness of the characters and enjoyed the interactions between them. Many of the apt descriptions of the desert towns reminded me of the book, “Dune,” by Frank Herbert.

However, I was left with so many unanswered questions as to where the story was going that I had to go back and reread various passages to make sure that I followed the story. I felt like there was an attraction growing between Tryst and Marra, although Drail seemed to care deeply for the girl also. There are few clues in this book to shed any light on their relationship.

I would say the main attraction of the story is the “games” themselves. The “game” appears to be played in an arena with two opposing teams. In the words of the author,

“It is a wild game with few rules. Players wore leather vests to protect themselves, but in truth, the decorated material was more to mark the teams for the spectators than any real padding.” (P. 17)

At the inner circle in the arena, a line is drawn in the sand by a judge. It is forbidden for the teams to cross the line until the judge allows it. There is much jockeying for the balls by both team members. There are four leather balls that need to be dropped into a cone shaped area in order to score points, which are determined by the judge. Each ball contains special markings which determine the number of points each ball is worth. As contact sports go, I envisioned the game to be a combination of football and hockey with players participating in a game to the death in order to win, if necessary.

If you love the excitement of a fast paced game and the mystery and intrigue of a fantasy world, you will enjoy this book as much as I did. I do hope in the next sequel, the author will shed more light on where the story is leading. Right now, the possibilities are endless.

Jo-Sparkes

Author, Jo Sparks

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
About Jo Sparks:

A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “…writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”  Not only are those words a compliment to Jo’s skills as a writer, but a true reflection of her commitment to her work as a screenwriter.

Jo Sparkes graduated Magna Cum Laude from Washington College, a small liberal arts college famous for its creative writing program.  Some years later, she renounced life in the corporate world to pursue her passion for writing.  Jo went on to study for two years with Robert Powell; a student of renowned writers and teachers Lew Hunter, and Richard Walter, head and heart of UCLA’s Screenwriting Program.  The culmination of those years of hard work was the short-film “The Image”, which Jo wrote and produced single-handedly.

Since then, Jo hasn’t looked back – having written seven feature film scripts.  Jo’s body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, commercial work for corporate clients, as well as a being a feature writer on ReZoom.com.  As a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network; where she has been called their most popular writer, she was known for her humorous articles, player interviews, and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.

She has served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College and even made a video of her most beloved lecture. More recently she has teamed with a Producer and a Director on a low budget thriller. Her book for writers and artists, “Feedback  How to Give It  How to Get It” was born to help her students — and indeed, all artists.

Her original script, Frank Retrieval, won the 2012 Kay Snow award for best screenplay. Her fantasy series, The Legend of the Gamesmen, has garnered two B.R.A.G. Medallions and a 2015 silver IPPY award for Ebook Juvenile/YA Fiction.

When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, with her Husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.

To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.

Make certain to connect with (author) through her Twitter @Sparks777

And her blog at, Jo Sparks – Quill & Hound.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015