Celebrate Halloween early with a free copy of my book, Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling!
Click HERE to get it for Kindle NOW!
Also get the rest of the Pirate Tales series FREE by clicking HERE!
*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review*
In the Author’s Words:
“It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year. By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure. Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.” When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next. On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite. It is into this world that Huck and Molly race. They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.”
I first met, Molly Lee McMasters in Andrew Joyce’s book entitled Molly Lee, the second volume in his Tom Sawyer-Huckleberry Finn adventure series. I fell in love with her character and style. Click HERE to read my review.
I was excited when Resolution came out and as usual, the author did not disappoint! Molly and Huck are so believable, I expected them to walk off the pages and shake my hand.
Resolution is the third book in the series and in my humble opinion, my favorite. Do you remember reading Call of the Wild, by Jack London when you were a kid? I must have read that book at least ten times. I enjoy a book where an animal becomes an entire piece of the narrative.
Let’s put it this way… A new star was born from the pages of this novel and his name is “Bright,” a Husky, and the lead sled dog. The personality of the dog shines throughout the novel. Huck and Bright share a special bond. This story would not have been the same without Bright leading the path back to civilization.
However, you can’t help but love the characters of Molly and Huck. They are the true heroes we think of staring in American westerns. Both characters are propelled through life by the morality and code of the old West. When they give their word, they mean it and they don’t abandon their friends, no matter who they may be.
One of my favorite things about Andrew Joyce’s writing is his use of rich descriptions. Through his accounts, I was transported back in time to 1896 Alaska. The gold rush had barely begun and trappers abandoned their traps for the lure of easy money. The visuals of the wilderness, the weather, and the people Huck and Molly met along the way were stunning.
Here is an example of a description which took my breath away:
“…It had stopped snowing by the time twilight crept over the mountain. In gloaming’s grayness, one of the prominences of snow moved slightly. Without warning, as a volcano, it erupted and the man sat upright, throwing off his blanket of snowfall…”
When I read a novel, I want to close my eyes and imagine myself in that setting. Andrew Joyce’s skills in storytelling lead the reader on an amazing adventure where all of your senses come into play. In fact, I have one of those reading hangovers. You know, when the writing touches you and you miss the characters and the story…
Thank goodness, Golden Hair, another Andrew Joyce historical western is soon to be published. To peak your curiosity, I want to share the author’s note about the new book:
“Every death, murder, battle and outrage that I write about in this book actually took place—from the first to the last. The historical figures that play a role in my story were real people and I used their real names. I conjured up my protagonist only to weave together the various events conveyed in this fact-based tale of fiction.
This is American history.
Stay tuned! ❤
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Author, Andrew Joyce
About Andrew Joyce:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.
Andrew’s sidekick, Danny the Dog
Don’t forget to follow Andrew’s sidekick, Danny the Dog on Facebook, too. (He wants his share of the attention because he helps do the writing… :D)
Summary: Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.
Review: This is the third book in John Heldt’s American Journey series. I haven’t read the other two but was pleased to find that I didn’t need too. Indiana Belle is a standalone, which takes you back in time to the 1920s. I read each word, amazed at how vivid, imaginative and truthful the scenes were. Heldt obviously did his research in this time period–or did he actually discover a way to go back in time himself?
Cameron Coelho was a very interesting, refreshing character. I liked how he was determined to get answers one way or another, despite being your typical boy next door. The other characters held their own just as well.
The story starts out slow, but it’s to be expected, and after Cameron meets the professor who will ultimately send him back into the 1920s, it picks up and holds your attention. Once I got into reading, I found it extremely difficult to put down.
Heldt’s writing style is clear-cut and tight. He’s definitely a naturally born storyteller.
Indiana Belle is a story of romance, mystery, and history. This masterpiece of a time traveling story comes highly recommended. I look forward to reading more of Heldt’s novels.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a great writer named Samuel Marquis, a #1 Bestselling Denver Post author, multi-award winning author, and hydrogeologist. Yes, you read that last one correctly. I think the strength of detail that last one brings to Sam’s personality is what makes his Historical Fiction so great to read. Okay, it’s ONE of the reasons. The other part is the fact he is just that good a writer. Ask James Patterson if you don’t want to believe me. Yes, THAT James Patterson.
After reading and reviewing his book Bodyguard of Deception, I just had to ask some questions. I restrained my total historian geek self and didn’t send a book of probing his way. The following are what made it through and back.
One of the things I always find interesting is where the inspiration for a book comes from. What sparked Bodyguard of Deception?
As a history aficionado who has always loved stories of the American West and World War Two, I have long wanted to write a novel that incorporated both of my research passions. That became possible when, several years ago, I read Ben Mcintyre’s Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (2012) and Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal (2007) along with Arnold Krammer’s eye-opening Nazi Prisoners of War in America (1996). Between these three well-crafted books, I learned about Double Cross and its cast of memorable British-controlled spies, while simultaneously discovering that, between 1943 and 1945, nearly a half million German prisoners were held in 511 POW camps across the United States, many of them in the American West.
“Bodyguard of Deception grabbed my attention right from the beginning and never let go. The character development is excellent. Samuel Marquis has a knack for using historic details and events to create captivating and fun to read tales.”
—Roy R. Romer, 39th Governor of Colorado
It wasn’t long after digesting these three great historical reads that I envisioned a WWII spy novel that would be uniquely set in both the European theatre and my home state of Colorado. What came to me in my overactive filmographer’s head was a kind of Das Boot (The Boat) meets Eye of the Needle meets The Great Escape with a hint of Arthur Penn’s classic The Chase as well as The Fugitive thrown in for good measure. But I wanted another important twist that deviated from most WWII books and movies: I wanted my lead German to be a sympathetic character even though he was fighting for Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
I love to research. The amount of research you had to do for this book is staggering. You had to read at least 20x the amount of information just to write the least important real life character. I know you have a very intensive degree, one not related to World History at all, so what you’ve done amazes me, a historian. Do you have an affinity for research, and why history?
I’ve always loved history, especially the underdogs and iconoclasts of American history, and I voraciously read books about military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, espionage, and the War on Terror WWII. But what started it all is I grew up watching classic World War Two movies and Westerns with my dad like The Great Escape, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Where Eagles Dare, and Patton. These movies had a profound impact on me and the stories I have come to tell. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that my books have been compared to The Great Escape, Public Enemies, The Day of the Jackal, and old-time Westerns. One reviewer said of my WWII thriller, Bodyguard of Deception: “Marquis throws in everything but the kitchen sink.” I consider that not a criticism, but a badge of honor and tribute to me and my late father and the movies we watched together growing up. Bodyguard of Deception is currently a Top 10 Best World War II Spy Book and Top 10 Fiction Book Set During WWII on Goodreads along with such WWII thrillers as Follett’s Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Daniel Silva’s The Unlikely Spy, and Ben Mcintyre’s Agent Zigzag and Double Cross.
“A promising thriller writer with a fine hero, great research, and a high level of authenticity.”
—Donald Maass, Author of Writing 21st Century Fiction
You’ve delved into an area of WWII history many Americans don’t even know existed. Some know about the Japanese-American internment camps, but some have no idea the US had German POWs here. Where did you get your research for that?
I read Arnold Krammer’s eye-opening Nazi Prisoners of War in America (1996), and from there, I read around thirty books and articles dealing with German POWS in America. As stated in my response to Question #1 above, it is interesting that, between 1943 and 1945, nearly a half million German prisoners were held in 511 POW camps across the United States, many of them in the American West. POW internment camps like Camp Trinidad in Southern Colorado and Camp Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, were the scenes of exciting mass German escapes and FBI manhunts, forced POW labor to alleviate the drain of able-bodied workers fighting overseas, and internal battles and political murders between Nazi and anti-Nazi German prisoners.
Which character are you most like or identify the most with in Bodyguard of Deception?
Believe it or not, I like Katherine Templeton (the Countess von Walburg) the best. I like strong female characters. But because I am male, I am most like her son Erik, the German spy and escaped POW, and Colonel Morrison, the commandant of the fictional Camp Pershing. In my books, I make sure to care about, and even love, all of my characters, even the villains. You have to love your villains and show their good side, to make your readers uncomfortable and create dramatic tension.
You do a great job with descriptive writing. I can feel the cold of the nights and the heat of the days, as well as see the fanatical moments of some of the characters. I can see the craziness in the eyes of one certain character toward the end. What type of background do you have in writing? What kind of training to give you that touch?
I have written extensively since I was in high school, took several English classes in college at Denison University, and published over twenty articles on oil exploration, hydrogeology, and environmental contamination (I have an M.S. in geology) before I wrote my first novel. But it took me several years and three novels before I could pen professional-caliber thrillers. I have been at this for a few years and have had two New York literary agents. Now my first two thrillers, The Slush Pile Brigade and Blind Thrust, were #1 Denver Post bestsellers, and my first three books received multiple national book awards (USA Best Book Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year). In addition, my first four books garnered positive reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus Reviews, and Foreword Reviews (5 Stars). But it took a hell of a lot of hard work and persistence to become a “bestselling, award-winning author.”
A woman plays a big part in the book. Sometimes we men don’t pull off writing women well. We forget to put in the nuances that make her a woman and not just a female name attached to our male dialogue and narrative. Did you take a lot of care to get that just right? Did you have help with beta-readers, editors, or anyone to tell you that you nailed it?
My wife is a professional book editor, and she is hard on me and makes sure I get my female characters right. The key is to have empathy for your characters and to constantly put yourself in their shoes. If you do that, I think the dialogue and character relationships will come out all right.
What is your novel writing process? By this, I mean from idea to book shelf, do you research, write, put it away, then rinse and repeat. Every author has a different way.
You just described it very well. My problem is that I have too many, not too few, book ideas and not enough time to turn them all into novels.
I love the book cover for Bodyguard of Deception. It is not overdone but gets everything needed across. Once into the story you get the meaning of it even more. How involved were you in its design? Who came up with it? Who did it?
My book cover designer is award-winning book designer George Foster (www.fostercovers.com), and I love what he does for my covers. He is a true professional and one of the best in the business. I give him a book synopsis, we talk about ideas for a half hour, and then I turn him loose and he does the rest.
With your job by day, writing by night, what hobbies does such a busy man indulge in? What shows do you binge watch? What’s the last good book you read?
I am an avid lacrosse player, downhill skier, and movie watcher. I played in the 2014 Lacrosse World Games and play lacrosse every weekend with most of the players half my age. I have a gift for “finishing”, which is another way of saying I can put the ball in the net. So I am a 54-year-old “Laxbro.”
Who would you like to see play your main characters in a movie or even a TV series?
Erik von Walburg – German Spy and Escaped German POW: Armie Hammer
Katherine von Walburg – German-born American ranch owner and owner of Broadmoor Hotel, mother of Erik: Cate Blanchett or Kristin Scott Thomas
Colonel Jack Morrison – American Colonel, Commandant of Camp Pershing: Jeff Bridges
Tam MacGregor – Scottish Colonel, Chief of the B1A counterintelligence section of British Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5): Michael Fassbender
What was it like writing Hoover, considering all of the history we know about him?
During the war, Hoover actually played a large role in hunting down German spies and POWs. As director of the FBI and as a human being, Hoover was absolutely over-the-top, so I had to write him like that. At his heart, he was an overzealous law-and-order type guy, glory-seeker, and turf-protector, who was driven by an almost religious-like fervor to promote the FBI in any way possible, at the expense of other law enforcement agencies. But he was also crucial to the modernization and technical optimization of law enforcement that we see today on all the CSI shows.
Have you had any feedback from people that experienced the POWs in America?
Yes, Roy Romer, the former Governor of Colorado and DNC Co-Chairman, remembered the old German POWS in eastern Colorado from when he was a boy and said he enjoyed that aspect of the book. He was nice enough to give me the review for my front cover, too. It reads:
“Bodyguard of Deception grabbed my attention right from the beginning and never let go. The character development is excellent. Samuel Marquis has a knack for using historic details and events to create captivating and fun to read tales.”
—Roy R. Romer, 39th Governor of Colorado
What is the project you are working on now?
I am beginning to do my final month-long edits on the second book in my Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, The Cluster, a childhood cancer cluster mystery set in Colorado. The novel is based on my hydrogeological experience with the Rosamond cancer cluster in California. Think Erin Brokovich, Michael Clayton, and A Civil Action. In other words, my day job as an expert witness in groundwater cases, but with more diabolically-clever corporate bad guys and dangerous gunplay.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always wanted to write and simply have to do it. I like to create memorable characters and tell wildly implausible stories that actually seem quite real.
“The Coalition has a lot of good action and suspense, an unusual female assassin, and the potential to be another The Day After Tomorrow [the runaway best-seller by Allan Folsom].”
—James Patterson, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author
You are on a deserted island and you can take only one book to read, what book would that be and why?
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Because it’s my favorite book of all time, the best story ever told about the American West, and it’s nice and long.
Now you know a little more about Samuel Marquis. Go get his books. Now. Seriously. I can’t wait for Roman Moon, the next installment of the WWII Trilogy, to come out in January 2017.-Ronovan Hester, Interviewer
The wait is over. My debut novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling, written with Award Winning Author PS Bartlett is available for Pre-Order Now! The Prequel to all of the The Razors Adventures Pirate Tales, of which there are currently 4 titles with another in the works if not already on the way.
The autumn of 1705 brings Royal Navy Captain Gabriel Wallace to face off against an enemy within the ranks of the Admiralty itself that threatens his career, his reputation, his family, and something even more far-reaching in its plot.
Court-martialed and with Admiral Chambers, the mastermind fearfully known as the Chambers of Hell, out for his destruction, Wallace finds he has allies willing to face the might of the mightiest power on earth, with some allies in the most unlikely of places. The crew of his former command, the Majesty’s Venture, mutinies from the Royal Navy. With capture by his enemies close behind, Wallace agrees to become captain once again.
With a ship at his command, Captain Gabriel Wallace sets out to fulfill his mission, the completeness of which only he knows.
Now a pirate by situation, Wallace sets out for the Colonies and the Caribbean. Will his crew remain loyal as they leave a life the rule of the Royal Navy behind? Will his lifelong friend Miles Jacobs follow Wallace’s lead without knowing the whole story? Finally, will the young Lieutenant Maddox Carbonale remain a follower or try to become captain himself?
With these questions in his thoughts, Gabriel Wallace wages war on Chambers and goes after the largest haul in the history of the Spanish Main. Whom does Wallace meet along the way? To whom are his loyalties to: vengeance or something more powerful?
If you love tales of adventure, of the sea, of the struggles of men, and nods to history, this is your book. Read Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling and you’ll have a new appreciation for all of The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.
It’s been a long year of nervous excitement on my part, waiting for this week.
My big goal in writing this book was to become a published author. Sounds like a duh type of thing, right? Well, it’s not for the reason you think.
I worked hard, even agonized over my creations, because I wanted my son to be proud of his daddy.
Two and a half years ago I suffered a fall in my home. As a result I ended up with a Grade 3 Concussion, and the discovery of multiple herniated discs in my spine beginning with my neck. There are a lot of other problems, but that’s enough of that story.
My son has been tough through it all. Considering he’s 11 now, it’s been difficult for him. Now he has something he can tell his friends that his daddy has done.
Now for the book, right now PS Bartlett and I have a good price set for the Pre-Order phase. She is even lowering the prices on her other books in the series for a short time. Of course those prices won’t always be that way.
Help us get to the top with my debut. That would put a surprise of an ending to this little story of mine. Not really an ending. I’m still writing. It will be one great thing though.
And wish my son good luck with his baseball tryouts in Little League coming up Saturday. Maybe he’ll have someone who can catch better than I can. This past Saturday I suffered my first black eye ever. I might resort to an eyepatch if any photos are needed for guest spots during book promotion.
To connect with me:
Amazon Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Amazon UK Author Page: Ronovan Hester
Personal Blog: RonovanWrites.WordPress.com
Author Site: RonovanHester.com
Book Review Site: LitWorldInterviews.com
Goodreads: Ronovan Hester
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LinkedIn: Ronovan Hester
He’s been referred to as the new Dan on the block of historical fiction conspiracy theories. I don’t agree. Dan McNeil handles his subject with a better hand than Brown ever has. Yeah, sure, you want to knock him across the room at times but who doesn’t want to read something that gets them on an emotional level at times? If you want a fluff read, skip this review. McNeil isn’t about fluff.
Dan McNeil? You know, I normally have a few ideas to start off with for a review. The problem today is—McNeil throws numerous things into The Judas Apocalypse that are intriguing and varied. And they appeal to me on a DNA level. That meaning he has inclusions which spark my interests.
McNeil gives us a story that spans two thousand years, not year by year or hanging out in that distant past for so long you want to skip pages, and that story threatens to devastate a world, a way of life, and rewrite history. And he does so by piecing together historical facts with bits of legends and myths that are most familiar and some not so to the average layman. He brings some new twists to the saying “everything old is new again”.
I’ll tell you this, I know the legends, the history, and the names of the real people mentioned in The Judas Apocalypse. And McNeil gets them right AND he brings some to life in a most interesting way. Why do I know these things? I was a world history expert and teacher with special courses in Nazi and European History under my belt. I taught delinquents to the point they blew the national average in World History testing away.
History is still a major love of my life. This is why one day, not so long ago, I chose to pick up this book and begin reading for pleasure, yes, a Book Reviewer was going to read for pleasure with no intent on reviewing. But my motto is “Read a Book, Write a Review”.
Then I got either interested or ticked off because McNeil was writing about the same characters I used in a YA book I had written a few years ago. (It’s still in one of the draft stages on my computer.)
Dr. Gerhard Denninger, a Jewish Archaeologist in Nazi Germany is spending his years in of all places the Ahnenerbe, the Heritage Bureau of the Third Reich, headed by Heinrich Himmler himself. This is the department that searches for religious relics in the hopes their power will bring victory to the Third Reich.
He comes in contact with a fellow member of the Bureau, one Otto Rahn and off we go on the adventure of a life time. Denninger’s love of the legend of the Cathars and their missing treasure has consumed his life and now he finds himself doing whatever it takes to find it. This includes lying, cheating, and risking death at the hands of the Nazi regime as he makes his way closer and closer to his dream come true. At times his encounters are humorous, deadly, and explosive.
But what happens when he stumbles across four US Army soldiers, who make modern day Reality Shows look like the cast of My Three Sons, wandering France in search of their unit? It gets even stranger and more nerve racking.
McNeil unites four soldiers that represent a broad range of US culture and forces them to be a close knit unit to survive.
Honestly, the answers may not be as clear as you think, not even to Dr. Denninger who gets a ringside seat to the soap opera that occurs as they all continue on the hunt for the Cathar Treasure.
This is one well researched piece of fiction and you don’t feel like you’re reading a research article like you do in some novels who get lost and forget they are writing a story to entertain. There are times when you completely lose yourself in Dan McNeil’s world. You see and hear things. You feel remorse at times, even surprisingly for characters you can’t stand. McNeil makes you have emotions and thoughts, or perhaps maybe I should say he has you examine things about yourself at times that may make you wonder.
Dan McNeil makes mention at the beginning about the religious content of The Judas Apocalypse. For those on either side of the hill about their faith, this book need not worry you. Read as it was intended, a good, fun time to let your imagination flow from a man who obviously has some obsession with history and loves to piece together the pieces from different puzzles to make a new picture. I personally was able to read it with no problems and knew enough and felt enough about what I believe to enjoy the story.
Personally, I believe a book that gives one pause at times is a good book. I like to have a think as a result of something I have read rather than have my time and thoughts filled with something I won’t get anything out of. Dan McNeil’s The Judas Apocalypse is a book that will make you think. And at times some of you will shout at him. Don’t worry, he won’t hear you, and if he did, he would laugh and applaud, for that’s what he was hoping for, I’m sure.
Dan Brown? Indiana Jones? Neither. This is a unique story with characters not fitting nicely into anyone else’s pigeon hole. Similarities of feel? Maybe, just so you have that frame of reference where this might genre might fall, and find yourself comfortable in, but the story is its own story.
I recommend this book for lovers of history, WWII fiction, and some of those archaeological adventure stories.
GET THE JUDAS APOCALYPSE
Visit http://www.danmcneil.ca/ for other outlets.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan McNeil is a born, raised and currently residing Canadian and proud to say so. After a song-writing partnership brought some fame and continued own into a music career, Dan spent many years behind the scenes of television as a camera operator learning the art of storytelling, whether it be good or bad. He became senior editor of the station and often composed the music for many of the local productions. Then it happened.
His first book, “The Judas Apocalypse” was published in 2008. He fully enjoyed the experience and decided to write another. His latest offering is “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a light hearted romp about a heist during the Beatle’s first visit to the United States in 1964, to be released in the summer of 2012. He currently is fending off his friends and fans constant clamoring for more. As if there isn’t more in the works.
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Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December of 2015. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.
© Copyright-All rights reserved by LitWorldInterviews.com 2015
Title: A Love Story for a Nation
Author: Mark W. Sasse
ISBN 10: 1514131978
ISBN 13: 978-1514131978
Pages: 232 pages
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
** This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. **
Slip into the pages of history as you step into another place and time where order exists by the totalitarian rule of a dictator. It is a struggle to live with such a meager existence until Gerald Sanpatri, an ex-writer meets Rosia, the love of his life. It is Rosia’s devotion and love that enables him to begin writing again. Gerald pours all of his pain and heartache into his tales, writing stories of a brave child who was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in to save the people of his land from the terrible despot that ruled over them.
After the last regime change, Gerald Sanpatri stopped writing because the dictator forbade it. Instead, he performed the duties required of him while sinking into oblivion, burying his past behind him. Little by little, as his past begins to resurface, Gerald is thrust to the forefront of a stealthy movement to overthrow the dictator of which he is not even aware.
Author: Mark W. Sasse
In my mind’s eye, I kept searching for a country to place these horrific events into. Several came to mind and I questioned why the author did not specify a country in the writing of this novel. Finally, I realized that the place was not the main concern. It was the message that events like these occur all over our world today that finally resonated deep within me. It wasn’t the place, it wasn’t the dictator. It was Gerald’s peaceful response that motivated a country to change.
Lovers of historical literature and fiction will lose themselves in the events that Mark Sasse has woven around these characters. I finished reading this novel on the Fourth of July while, outside my window, fireworks were exploding celebrating the freedoms of all Americans. It was a poignant moment.
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5
Buy it at Amazon
Format & Pricing
Paperback: $11.99 US
Kindle: $3.99 US
For the last few weeks I’ve brought you some writers whose main work is in Spanish but who have had some of their novels translated to English. I thought it would be interesting to get a different perspective on the business of writing, and it would be an opportunity to meet across the borders of language.
Today I bring you a writer whom I’ve also met in a variety of social media platforms and when I got to check his writing, I was impressed by his background and the variety and number of publications, some more directly related to his studies and profession but others not so much.
And without further ado:
Mario Escobar Golderos (Madrid, Spain) has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans. Books:
The Circle an Amazon Bestseller Europe in the category of suspense.
When and how did you start writing?
The truth is that I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a child I started writing plays for my school and writing fairy tales to submit to competitions. When I was a teenager I carried on writing. For me, becoming a writer was a dream, but I never thought I would manage.
Describe your experience as an independent writer.
The truth is that I consider myself a mixed writer (or hybrid as others call them), as I still publish some of my books with publishing companies such as HarperCollins, Stella Maris or Edelvives. Publishing independently has allowed me to have more control over the process and more economic stability.
What’s the moment that has had more significance for you (up to date) of your career as a writer:
When two of my readers told me they had become writers after reading my books. Such is the magic of writing and books.
What made you think about getting your books translated?
I’ve always liked to play hard and bet big. I prefer to take risks and make mistakes than never try. I found a great translator, my book in English is better than the Spanish version, and I thought I should give it a try.
So far things have been going well, although it is a bit soon to know what the overall result will be.
What was the process like, when trying to find a translator?
The most difficult think is looking for and finding a good translator. We shouldn’t forget that it is a big investment. To look for a good translator is not cheap. I’ve found one of the best ones. And then you must have a lot of faith in your book.
In my case, the same person had translated one of my books ‘Francisco’ (Francis, his book about the new Pope) for the publishing company Harper Collins, and I was so happy with the results that I offered her to translate what would become The Circle.
Could you tell us what your books mean to you?
My books are a gift I love to give to my readers. I enjoy them whilst I’m writing them, but what I wish for the most is that the readers will enjoy them too. Especially those who are away from their family, country or community; I hope my books will keep them company in the hard journey of life.
Any advice for your fellow writers (especially new writers)?
That you have to do a good job, believe in yourself and not pull any punches. The most important thing is to never give up, to be constant and persevere and to keep improving little by little.
Here are a few links so you can find out even more about Mario.
And now, his book:
From Amazon’s Top 100 Books sold in the USA, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Spain.
Soon to be adapted for the big screen.
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
“After the hit saga Misión Verne and The Cloud, Mario Escobar sweeps us up in a riveting adventure set against the backdrop of the financial crisis, the dark nooks and crannies of power, and the city of London.”
Comments from readers on Amazon:
“This is an entertaining read, a really interesting story full of intrigue. When I got to the ‘To Be Continued’ spot, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the second part… Good thing it’s ready now so I can keep reading.”
“This one grabs you from the very beginning. It’s enjoyable and light but captivating. It’s an easy read, and you learn history as you go. I highly recommend it. It really draws you in.”
“It’s got a dynamic, well-constructed plot. I totally recommend it. It’s so current day. It’s a quick read, and you don’t feel the time going by. It draws you in right away.”
“One breathless night to save his family and discover the mystery locked inside his patient”
The plot of the novel The Circle:
Famous psychiatrist Solomon Lewin has left his humanitarian work in India to serve as the chief psychiatrist at the Center for Psychological Illnesses located in London’s Square Mile financial district. Though well paid, the job is monotonous, and Solomon is also going through a rough patch in his marriage with Margaret. He begins scrutinizing the more mysterious cases of the center’s long-term residents hoping to find something worth his time. When he comes across the chart of Maryam Batool, a young broker from London who has lived in the center for seven years, his life will change forever.
Maryam Batool is an orphan from Pakistan who became one of the most promising female employees of the financial institution General Society, but in the summer of 2007, at the start of the financial crisis, the young broker loses her mind and tries to kill herself. Since then she has been stuck, able only to draw circles yet unable to understand their meaning.
A snowstorm looms over the city at the start of the Christmas holidays. Before Christmas Eve dinner, Solomon receives an urgent call from the center to come at once: Maryam has attacked a nurse and seems to be awakening from her long stupor.
Solomon heads downtown in the snow, clueless that this will be the most difficult night of his life. The psychiatrist does not trust his patient, the police are after them, and his family seems to be in danger. The only way to protect himself and those he loves is to discover what “The Circle” is and why everyone seems to want his patient dead. It’s a surprise ending and a mystery you won’t believe.
What is hiding in the City of London? Who is behind the biggest business center in the world? What is the truth behind “The Circle”? Can Solomon save his family?
Here Mario replies to a few questions about the book:
What did writing The Circle mean for you?
It was a delightful surprise. It was my first suspense novel. I’d already written several intrigue novels, and I thought suspense would be even more exciting. In suspense, the readers suffer almost as much as the characters themselves. The Circle has all the marks of a detective story. The reader doesn’t know the truth until right at the end.
Why did you set the book in London’s Square Mile?
Tax havens are one protagonist in our current worldwide financial crisis. London is the world’s largest financial center, and it holds a lot of secrets, just like the protagonist of my novel.
What should the reader expect from this new book?
An avalanche of suspense. A major dose of intrigue and action but also the inner workings of a family struggling to fit in with their surroundings. A marriage that’s not working. Disdain for boring daily life that, after all, turns out to be the most important thing we’ve got. The personal demons of a world that has no idea where it’s headed. Solomon faces countless moral dilemmas, like judging people too quickly, recognizing he can’t defeat evil by himself, and understanding that Evil with a capital “E” has a name and a face.
Why does it take place in the middle of a snowstorm right on Christmas Eve?
The storm is another protagonist in the plot. In some ways it’s a symbol of the internal turmoil of the characters. This is not a novel of good guys vs. bad guys. It reflects the complexity of being human, our contradictions and how we face them. The Circle has reached tens of thousands of readers from Germany to Australia, Latin America to Spain, because, at our core, we’ve all got the same fears and hopes. We’re all part of this big family called Earth.
Here a video for ‘The Circle’
Here one of the reviews:
….Little did Solomon know what he was getting into!
It was the summer of 2007 in London. Maryam Batool, a Muslim orphan, was a very successful stockbroker. All she cared about was money. Upon turning on the TV she heard that three American banks had declared bankruptcy.
Fast forward a few years to the London Center for Psychological Illnesses, located in the Square Mile where we meet Solomon Lewin, the new chief psychiatrist of the center. Having spent ten years in Calcutta, him and his family just moved back five weeks ago. He is not expecting much excitement in the job, having the opinion that the wealthy prove boring. Most of his clients are white males aged 35-45, leading arrogant and almost insufferable empty lives.
In his attempt to free up some beds just five days before Christmas, his eyes catch a report on a patient who has been there the longest. Who is this patient? Maryam Batool! She was committed in August 2007 after several suicide attempts. She no longer communicates except to say one single phrase, “The Circle”. John the previous, now retired, chief psych tells Solomon to leave Maryam alone as there is no solution but Solomon is intrigued.
Frustrated with his home life and rambunctious kids even though he still loves his wife, Margaret, he decides to work from home on Christmas Eve. Totally surprised when he gets a call in the early evening from the center saying that Maryam has attempted suicide again! Apparently there was a visitor claiming to be her sister? This is the second visitor in a week! Returning to the center Solomon starts getting suspicious when the receptionist is not at her desk nor does there appear to be anyone else around. Why won’t the light switch on? What is going on? This is followed by a phone call from his house from someone claiming to be from Scotland Yard’s Fraud Squad?
Hopefully this is enough to whet your appetite. The above is truly only the beginning in this fast paced thriller. It gets a LOT more interesting and dangerous as Solomon tries to figure out the truth of who is telling the truth and who is lying. What does Maryam know/have that she cannot remember? Does she have both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Amnesia?
VERY clever story. All I can say about the ending is “Oh my goodness!” I will say if you like books with happy endings then don’t read this one! It is a well-written story and just the right length for the time involved. It keeps you gripped and not wanting to put the book down.
Language – mild
Sexual content – none
Violence – plenty!
I was given a complimentary Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. That’s what’s above! Thanks, Liz
And Mario informed me that there is a special offer on The Circle available now
In case any of you speak Spanish, I leave you a link to a fascinating podcast where Blanca Miosi, another one of my guests, interviewed Mario Escobar. I leave you both the link and the interview direct. It’s a very interesting series where every week there’s a new author, so if you’re confident with your Spanish, it’s a great way to meet new people.
Thanks so much to Mario Escobar for this great interview, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!
Olga Núñez Miret
You are never going to believe this! I managed to get an interview with author, Andrew Joyce about his two novels and the characters he chose called, “Redemption” and “Molly Lee.”
Andrew Joyce lives on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny. “MOLLY LEE” is a follow-up novel to the best-selling “REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.”
Here is the description of “Redemption,” from Amazon:
“Three men come together in the town of Redemption Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.”
Here is the description of “Molly Lee,” from Amazon:
“Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.”
Click here to read my book review of “Molly Lee.”
Colleen: Andrew, what are the advantages and disadvantages of writing sequels to classics? How did you decide what the adult Tom and Huck would be like?
Andrew: In this case there was no disadvantage. I picked two beloved characters—the advantage was the same—everyone loves Tom and Huck.
This will probably not be believed, but I felt Sam Clemens standing behind me as I wrote this yarn. He wanted to write a sequel to Huck and Tom and I think he started to do so. However, he never finished it. Perhaps he used me as his instrument to get it off his chest, so to speak. In answer to your question, I don’t know how I decided to make Huck and Tom gunslingers in the Old West. The book wrote itself. But if you repeat that, I’ll deny it. After all, I’m the genius here!
Colleen: What is the single biggest challenge of creating the settings in your novels?
Andrew: I always write my settings from places I’ve been and experienced firsthand. So, that does not present a challenge for me. I don’t know about other writers, but I start a novel knowing the first sentence and the last paragraph. Then all I have to do is come up with 100,000 words to fill the space in between. That is the easiest part. I let my characters take me where they want to go. I may have something in mind for them, but when we get there, they may take me in a whole different direction in which I am more than happy to follow.
Colleen: O.K. Andrew, who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane?
Andrew: I don’t fly anymore. But if I did, I’d prefer an empty seat. If I couldn’t get that, then I reckon Jesus would do. I’m sure he would have some good stories.
Colleen: Who would play you in the movie?
Andrew: Depending on the day, either Matthew McConaughey or Jabba the Hut.
Colleen: What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Colleen: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard?
Andrew: It’s not the best advice I’ve ever heard . . . it’s the best I’ve ever given. READ, READ, READ, and then READ some more. Read every book you can get your hands on. Read Steinbeck . . . “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Tortilla Flat.”
“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”— John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
That is some damn good writing. And when you read stuff like that you can’t help but become a better writer.
Colleen: What are you working on right now?
Andrew: Making a big, tall drink that is 90% vodka.
Thank you for this fabulous interview, Andrew. It was great learning about your novels and getting to know you better. I really enjoyed knowing your inspiration came from Mark Twain himself.
If you love historical fiction based in the American old west, you will love Andrew’s books!
Find Andrew on his blog: andrewjoyce.wordpress.com
In addition, you can find Andrew on:
Title: Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
Author: Sarah Mallery
Genre: Literature in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Short Stories
Take a step back into history, and follow the threads of eleven stories that feature mystery, romance, and suspense, woven into a tapestry quilt of events that will lead you through many genres; all with the theme of “sewing” interwoven into the collection.
From the nimble fingers of a slave stitching codes into her quilts to help runaway slaves obtain freedom, to a mystifying fire during the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, to a Haight-Asbury romantic interlude between a professor and a bewitching macramé designer; each story adds another quilt block to this duvet of skillfully intertwined tales.
One of my favorite stories in this collection is the yarn about a pioneer wife and mother who gets her first sewing machine. Anyone who is an avid sewing buff, or quilter will laugh at the competition between her family and her craft. Stitch by stitch, she is able to head off one of the worst Pioneer/Native American clashes that could have killed many on both sides.
I was so wrapped up in reading this particular story, I found myself laughing out loud, to the chagrin of my poor sleeping husband next to me, which made the story even funnier! I love when an author imprints their words on my heart.
Author: Sarah Mallery
These tales were skillfully fashioned within each historical period concerned, and I found them to be unique and unusual. I was astounded at the originality of linking the tales with the idea of sewing becoming the underlying theme in each plot. Each story then becomes a cog, in the crazy quilt of design, with Sarah Mallery stitching a place in our hearts with her words.
Anyone who enjoys variety in their reading tastes will relish these stories. Just because there is a sewing premise in each story does not mean that men will not enjoy this assortment of short stories. There is enough history, murder, and excitement to keep you guessing all through the book.
I loved this assortment of short stories, and they left me wrapped in warmth, just like a quilt constructed from the hands of the author herself.
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5
Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing
Paperback: $8.60 US
Kindle: $2.99 US
“We all have to some degree “Judas” within us. [Jason Royle] provides a perspective I have never considered. I highly recommend this book.”~Amazon Review
RW: Jason, first of all, what is the title of your book and in one sentence tell me why I should read this book.
RW: This isn’t the first book with a different take on the man Judas from the Bible. I can see what makes it a bit unique from other works but in your own words what makes your book different?
JASON: It’s entertaining! For those who haven’t read the book, my answer probably sounds like a copout. But go trudge through some of the others and you will see. What you will get is in depth Greek analysis and excruciating exegesis. In comparison, mine is an entertainment for the main course and a little food for thought for dessert. Or, as one my friends put it: a parody with possibility.
RW: I think entertaining is a good word to use. It’s not a preachy seminary required reading type of thing. And you get it and it stays with you because of it. Now, why Judas, why did you decide to share this particular story with the world?
JASON: Because I root for the underdog. Before ordained ministry I was a Social Worker. I guess it’s in my blood. I have always had a tendency to root for the little guy; to help those unable to help themselves. What bigger underdog is there than Judas?
RW: He definitely would be considered an underdog for sure. How did you go about developing the way you tell the story? I mean, you don’t do it in a first century sort of way.
JASON: Ron, believe it or not, my inspiration actually came from a home bible study encounter in Indian Trail, NC about fifteen years ago. John (a good friend of mine) and I were talking about the lesson which included the text in John’s gospel where it says, “Satan entered into him,” (referring to Judas). That’s when John said to me, “It doesn’t seem fair, does it?” I have been pondering that comment ever since. The story developed by asking the right question: How do I turn the dining room table without scratching the wood floor? Do I just pick it up, turn it around and slam it down, or move it subtly, gently, so not to wake up the kids but still get the job done.
“I would like to commend [Jason Royle] on a book well written and extremely interesting.
It was short and to the point (60 pages). I read it in less than an hour….definitely my type of book. I look forward to reading it again…probably 30-45 minutes of pure enjoyment this time. There is much food for thought in this short story. I am not a biblical scholar, so I can’t say for sure if any other writer has portrayed Judas as a hero. For me it was very original.
I have a suggestion for [Jason Royle]. Don’t stop with Judas. Write about some other biblical characters. I’m sure many of them were misunderstood just like Judas.”~Amazon Review
RW: Tell us why you particularly are the one to tell this story.
JASON: If you’re asking about credentials, my Bachelor’s is in Social Work and my Master’s and Doctorate are in Theology.
RW: I like to see people’s answer to that without my being specific about it. It gives me an idea of them and how they think. Jason, who is Jason Royle?
JASON: Jason is a student of life, just like everyone else.
RW: What is Jason Royle?
JASON: Jason is someone who tries. In fact, that’s what I want on my tombstone someday, “He tried.” It leaves a lot of room for interpretation, I know, but stagnation is worse.
RW: I get it. Try is all we’re asked to do. Excellent idea. What’s been the reaction to your take on the story of Judas?
JASON: I have heard from young readers and older readers; liberal minded and conservative prone; college students and Sunday school teachers. All have had a similar reaction: surprised. Surprised because it wasn’t what they expected, in a good way. Reading it was enjoyable. They learned something while being entertained at the same time.
“The book makes a credible appeal to reconsider how we view Judas today, whether Satan made him betray Jesus, or if he was just the unfortunate disciple destined to commit an act that would cause his name to be reviled through the ages. The author promised that the book would not be a complex theological analysis of Judas and his actions, and I found that to be true. It was easy, interesting reading.”~Amazon Review
RW: Why do you think the story of Judas is one that, well, that I see as one not really talked about so much other than his one act that night? Virtually every part of the New Testament is looked at from so many angles and discussed but when it comes to Judas, not so much.
JASON: Good point there, Ron, virtually every character of the Bible has been put on the operating table to be examined and reexamined—except Judas. As for why he is not talked about, the reasons are many. From a pure literary standpoint, the Bible is written in the form of a comedy. Not the ha-ha-he-he funny category, but a U shaped story, a comic plot that descends into potential tragedy and then rises to a happy ending. Judas is commonly viewed as an obstacle in Jesus’ story. But was he really an obstacle? Instead of thinking of him as an obstacle, in my book I take the approach that the story had to have a happy ending, therefore Judas is an assistant to rather than a deterrent of, the ending God desires.
From a psychological standpoint, we are faced with altering our theological decisions; the one’s we’ve made up in our minds; the one’s the majority agree with; the one’s our friends and parents told us were true. To reconfigure our longstanding theological constructs we have to do something we don’t like to do: move out of our theological comfort zone.
RW: That sounds similar to some thoughts I have about traditions as opposed to actual Biblical truths. Very good points. Tell us about where you grew up and how if in any way that helped shape the way you look at the world and perhaps the Bible.
JASON: Well, Ron, my father was a preacher. I’m a PK, as the saying goes (preacher’s kid), born and raised in southern Illinois. My parents helped shape my theology and my outlook on life, as do all parents. When I went away to college in KY at the age of twenty, that’s when my theology was reshaped; it became mine for the first time.
RW: Your book isn’t a humdrum read. It combines very elements to tell a somewhat unique story. I say that to not give away anything. Man it’s difficult not giving away things about this book. Looking at your writing, who has influenced you as a writer, in your style, your approach?
JASON: That’s not an easy one, Ron, there are so many. I guess one of my earliest influences would be C. S. Lewis. Not his heady stuff, but his creative stuff like, The Screwtape Letters, The Pilgrim’s Regress and Till We Have Faces.
RW: Your book Judas: Hero Misunderstood was awarded Indie Book of the day recently. How did that come about and what did it feel like to receive that honor? For a book with such a religious theme, although not what I would call preachy, that is an accomplishment I would think.
JASON: There was no fee involved; I just submitted my book for consideration. When I got the email saying it had been selected it made my day. But what has got me even more excited is that I just found out I am a finalist in a pretty prestigious contest: The Eric Hoffer Award. My book is a finalist for The da Vinci Eye, and still in the running for a category prize.
RW: Very awesome awards there. With that kind of reaction and the reaction from the readers when can we expect the next book from you and what will it be about?
JASON: I have two in the pipeline now in The Misunderstood Series. The next one will be out this spring, Jesus vs. Santa: Christmas Misunderstood, and then in the summer, hopefully, The Rapture Misunderstood. For Jesus vs. Santa I hired and illustrator for a section of cartoon drawings that will be a feature of the book depicting funny comparisons between the two. For example, Jesus stands at the door and knocks vs. Santa just comes on in uninvited is comically illustrated. I like to think of the theme of the book as, “The Far Side” meets “Deepak Chopra.”
RW: We’ve discussed the books and now to the important things, did your wife help pick out the cool frames for your glasses in your Author Bio photo? I mean are you the fashionista in the family?
JASON: I’ll be turning forty-five next week. Thanks to my wife’s fashionable insights, she is helping me at least look younger.
RW: I knew it! It had to be her! To hip and daring to have been from a guy. Well not necessarily but I just had this feeling. If you’re like me you would be, can I see through them? Cool, I’ll buy them. Describe your writing space for us?
JASON: I live in a 1870s church parsonage in a small town in Lebanon County PA, approximately 20 miles east of Hershey, PA and 20 miles north of Lancaster, PA. Our front porch has two front doors, one for the pastor’s office and one for the house. I use a standing desk and sit behind an antique wooden desk, not in a chair, but on a large Gold’s Gym rubber body ball (to help strengthen my back). On the wall beside my inlaid bookshelf hangs my most treasured diploma: my Kindergarten diploma in a plain black frame.
RW: Wow. I don’t normally use that word in an interview because it’s just not professional but that just sounds like an awesome atmosphere to write in. What is your favorite word? How did it become your favorite word?
JASON: Curiosity. It’s what led me to where I am today. I’ve always been the one to ask, “Why?” when no one else would. I used to drive my professor’s crazy. There’s no harm in asking, my mom would always say. So, I asked… and asked.
RW: Great answer. It’s something I actually live by as well. What do you do to relax and get away from stress, from the stress of a writing session that is just frustrating you?
JASON: I have an old school duct taped punching bag in a spare room upstairs I like to make use of. On a nice day, a round of golf, but that can sometimes just add to the frustration too.
RW: Oh, man, you are so write about golf. I need to tell you about my father, my following his instructions to the letter, his follow-through and my forehead someday. What is your favorite autobiography and why?
JASON: St. Augustine’s Confessions. In the Confessions there is the young Augustine who struggles with his spiritual plight, and then there is the older Augustine who looks back over his shoulder to discover there was a path all along, he just didn’t see it before. Something I can certainly relate to. If I had to guess, probably something everyone can relate to.
RW: Nice. I like Just As I Am by Billy Graham for the exact same reasons. What is your favorite beverage and why?
JASON: Coffee. I wouldn’t have made it through college without it, nor had the stamina to stay up into the wee hours in the morning writing this book after our kids go to sleep.
JASON: Sitting on the front porch with my wife or one of my kids in the evening watching the Amish go by in their buggies.
RW: I am so jealous of that. History rolling by in the present. Amazing. Yes, the old History teacher in me is geeking a touch here. Jason, what defines you as you?
JASON: Everything and nothing.
And Judas: Hero Misunderstood is at Amazon, here.
When Jason contacted me about his book and I saw the story idea I cringed. You see it’s a story I’ve told to youth groups, my son, and others through the years. And I was afraid it would be a poorly done ‘preachy’ piece. But, I went ahead and got the book, I had $.99 left in gift money on my Amazon account, I’m broke now, just so everyone knows. But I bought the book and decided to give it a shot. I read it in one sitting and was happy I did because It does take a different path than what I have seen before. And it makes sense to the point it will stay with you. I look forward to his other Misunderstood books when they come out and I have more money if anyone ever gifts money to me again. Still not certain how or why that happened, but I didn’t complain.
“Firstly, the more you read this book the better this book gets. The first chapter seemed a tad slow, the second chapter got better, by the third chapter I was hooked.”~Amazon Review
Bio Back of Book Version:
Jason is the pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. A Social Worker before his call to full-time ministry, Jason received his Doctorate in Ministry from Sewanee: University of the South School of Theology and his Master’s from Johnson University. He and his wife, Heather, have two children (Katelyn and Nate) and one loyal but lazy dog (Rudy).
© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015
Title: The Reach of the Banyan Tree
Author: Mark W. Sasse
Publisher: Mark W Sasse (June 29, 2014)
Genre: Historical romance, Contemporary romance, Fiction, Historical fiction
*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, which follows.
I was instantly transported back into time to August 1945, French Indochina, where Charles Regal Carson, an American soldier with the OSS Deer Team, was tasked to assist Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen to fight against the Imperialist Japanese in World War II. What ensues is a hauntingly lovely contemporary romance filled with suspense and intrigue that brought me to tears, as I lived through the lives of Charles (Cha Le), Mai, Long, Thuy, and Charles III.
From there, Charles’ (Cha Le’s) story unfolds through the chaotic life of his grandson, Charles Regal Carson III, (Chip) who in the year 2000 left the family oil business to pursue his own ventures in Vietnam. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Vietnam, Chip falls in love with a young woman named Thuy. Their love leads them on a journey of discovery though cultural differences, language barriers, and age old traditions that lead them to face some ultimate truths in their own lives.
This romance spans fifty years through three generations of American men whose lives are interwoven through the women they love, their courage to face reality, and the lifetime friendships they forged. I loved the richness of the characters and the rites of passage into adult-hood that each endured.
The banyan tree plays an integral part in this story. To me the banyan tree represented the hearts of the people of Vietnam. The tree celebrates life by leading you through the lives of Chip, his father, and his grandfather representing the reach of family ties through the generations. I also gained a new insight into the ancient culture of Vietnam where family loyalty at all costs is still represented in modern society.
Sasse’s descriptions of the Vietnamese countryside placed me within the story. I could see the emerald green rice paddies, and I could feel the heat and humidity that is Vietnam. At times, I felt like I could even taste the food and wine, so detailed were the descriptions.
The cultural and societal differences between Vietnam and America were an uncomfortable truth I had to reconcile with myself. Women in many Asian cultures are not valued as much as males are. I was struck by how the death of the only male child in the family was viewed as a total sense of failure for the family. The loss was such a deep scar that it consumed them and left them unable to move forward. I was awed that these feelings and beliefs were so deeply ingrained within the culture of Vietnam and still exist today.
What struck me the most was that even though these cultural differences plagued the characters, their love and honor to each other overcame all obstacles placed before them. I was taught that love and family truly live on through the reach of our ancestors.
Sasse is an expert story teller. He weaves colorful characters that possess great compassion and an emotional complexity that I seldom see in romance novels. I was deeply drawn to these characters.
This book has something to offer everyone. A splash of true historical facts, passionate love, action, and intrigue will take you on a journey you will not easily forget. This story will remain in a soft place within your heart.
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5
Buy it at: Amazon
FORMAT & PRICING:
Paperback: $11.25 USD
Kindle: $2.99 USD
© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2014
(Image credit: Amazon)
Title: The Scent of Lilacs (The Heart of Hollyhill #1)
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Published: May 1st 2005 by Revell (first published January 1st 2005)
Genre: Christian/Historical Fiction, Women’s fiction
What the book is about: At 13 years old, Jocie Brooke learns the true meaning of faith and the love of family when her sister Tabitha, suddenly returns after fleeing their home in Hollyhill, Kentucky with their mother many years ago. It is 1964, and Jocie’s divorced father, preacher David Brooke, and his Great Aunt Love, strive to care for Jocie with kindness and affection. Aunt Love struggles to keep her senility in check, as the family struggles with a past that threatens to engulf them. All is not what it seems in this quiet small town, as deep secrets surface to lead the family on a quest that leads them to many unforeseen truths.
Book Highlights: As the secrets of the past come to light, it was a joy for me to watch the inner workings of a faith based family deal with the realities of their past choices, good and bad. All the characters were realistic and believable in the way they dealt with their emotions while their lives unraveled around them. It was easy to empathize with the trials the family endured through the years. I found myself drawn to the characters and the story. I did not want the book to end. I was ecstatic to learn that this book is part of a series by Ann Gabhart.
Challenges of the book: I had no challenges with the characters within the story. The Christian elements in the book were tasteful and authentic. Ann Gabhart channels her own knowledge of small town life centered on a strong Christian church element making the characters realistic and credible. These characters could be your neighbors.
What do you get from it: Love, family, and faith combined can conquer the troubles of the world.
What I would change if anything: Ann Gabhart is a true story teller. Her work stands alone and needs no changes.
Who would I recommend this book to? I would recommend this book to all women, young and old. There is knowledge about life, love, and forgiveness which should be passed on to all generations so that others gain an insight on how to deal with the tribulations that life sometimes holds for all of us.
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5
Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback: $12.98 New
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