Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. – Stephen King

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A wonderful children’s story takes life in author Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day. Here’s a quick synopsis:

A windy, winding, wonderful adventure. Grab your wellington boots and join the fun of The Blustery Day in this charming picture book for children.

This delightful children’s book was just charming. The artwork was beautiful, and the deeper message about people or things that come into our lives suddenly, helping us through one crisis or another and leaving before we even realized just how much that person or thing helped us is something we can all relate to. It teaches us to be appreciative of those who help us through tough times, and not to take anything for granted. Children will be delighted with the truly wonderful artwork in this story, and parents will love going on this magical journey with their child.

Overall this was an incredible children’s book. Full of passion, heart and emotion, this story not only has all the earmarks for a good children’s book, but goes on step further with vivid imagery throughout and a rare lesson not many people are able to master in their lives. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Caroline L. Thorton’s The Blustery Day today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BV4615B/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07BV4615B&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An exciting prequel explores the dark origins of a monstrous villain and the impact he had on the emerging story in author Jennifer Renson’s The Cottontail. Here’s the synopsis:

Victorio is one of few children blessed to live in the palace under the rule of the King and Queen of the small but prosperous Kingdom of Lucca. The palace is a prison in the young boy’s eyes, as he desires to see the world and be of greater service. What Victorio doesn’t realize is he’s become the interest of the mysterious Feletti, who’s looking to expand his collection of dolls. The clock is ticking, and Victorio must escape the clutches of the mysterious doll maker as his influence spreads and another unforeseen danger approaches

This incredible prequel to Carousel, (read my review of that here), was an immensely impactful short story. The tale of Feletti and his dark deeds enraptured me as a reader. Getting to see life before Feletti and his rise of power in the kingdom of Lucca was fascinating to read. Getting to see life inside the former royal palace through the eyes of Victorio was a masterful choice, allowing players to see the privilege the royalty felt and how they viewed the commoners, and how this ultimately led them to their fates. Your heart went out to the children of the palace, who fought against this mindset but found themselves bound by law and tradition.

The setting was beautiful, bringing Lucca to life in such a short amount of time and making the reader feel as if they could walk through these larger than life palaces. The eerie nature of Feletti seeped through every page of his story, painting a vivid image in the reader’s mind as if it were playing on a television screen.

Overall I loved this story. Although a quick read, the story itself was both fun and an exciting new entry into this wonderful world of Lucca the author has created. It leaves me wanting more to say the least. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of author Jennifer Renson’s The Cottontail today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Cottontail-Jennifer-Renson/dp/154710399X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1524113813&sr=8-5&keywords=Jennifer+Renson

 

Author Photo.JPG

Social media links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JennyRenson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksandpoetrybyJenniferRenson/

Tumblr: http://jenniferdarjeeling.tumblr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHS5sW_xOgZSXhpUwhK36Bw

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/45251647-jennifer-renson

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Jennifer+Renson

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jennifer+Renson?_requestid=976857

A horrific future filled with mechanical bugs and cyborg heroes terrorizing the world lead one man to take the fight into the past in DC Comic’s very own The New 52: Futures End, Vol. 1! Created by  Brian AzzarelloJeff LemireDan JurgensKeith GiffenPatrick Zircher (Illustrator), Aaron Lopresti (Illustrator), Jesús Merino (Illustrator), the first volume shows the groundwork for this apocalyptic future where the evil program Brother Eye has decimated the DC Universe as we know it, and the fight for the future rests on the shoulders of everyone’s favorite future Batman, Terry McGinnis. Here’s the synopsis:

Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. As heroes are turned into mindless villains, the planet as we know it is no more. The only salvation lies in the past, where this future apocalypse must be averted. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse? 

Written by a cast of the industry’s best talents, including Jeff Lemire, Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens, this new epic series will expose the secrets of the New 52 universe!

Collects issues #0-17.

The artwork and story of this DC Comics event is both breathtaking and haunting all at once. The first pages hit the reader hard with a monstrous future. Seeing the likes of Wonder Woman, Constantine and other beloved heroes transformed into mechanical cyborgs programmed to kill or assimilate the heroes of the world, seeing these iconic heroes bodies torn asunder by these machines is heartbreaking to watch, and really sets the stage for this life or death fight that Batman Beyond has to make.

The trip back to the past shows a world torn apart by politics, war and conflicting ideologies. A more relevant reflection of our current society, this story shows what happens when people fear refugees that hail from the same region as known enemies, and the hardship these refugees face because of narrow minded politics. We also see the beginnings of a major conspiracy, with a new Superman who wears a mask and becomes more and more violent, a Firestorm divided amongst themselves and Frankenstein traveling into space to find the cause of a superhero team’s demise. It’s everything you want in a huge DC Comics event, exploring both the cosmic and mystical realms of the DC universe.

Overall this was a fantastic start to an intense comic book event. By the first volumes end, the true enemy will be revealed, and the fight for the future will truly begin. Can Terry stop Brother Eye from gaining power before it’s too late? Will the heroes of the DC universe be able to stop the coming threat? Find out by picking up your copies of The New 52: Future’s End today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/New-52-Futures-End-Vol-ebook/dp/B00MV1O02U/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523852018&sr=1-10&keywords=The+New+52

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An aspiring journalist finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a disturbing individual in author Michael Prelee’s Murder in the Heart of It All. Here’s the synopsis:

Someone is angry in Hogan, Ohio.

Residents of the small town are plagued by vicious, anonymous letters. The personalized notes land in mailboxes with devastating effect, revealing secrets and deeds better kept unknown. Whoever the sender is, they know the town and the people who live there.

Reporter Tim Abernathy is assigned to the story and tasked with finding out who is sending the letters and why. The letter writer doesn’t want to be found, however, and will kill to keep his secret.

A cat-and-mouse game ensues between reporter and letter writer as the violence escalates, shocking the residents of Hogan. Can Tim discover who is terrorizing the town before becoming the next victim?

I absolutely loved this book. To me it felt like a commentary on the anonymous nature of those who the world has deemed “online trolls”. In a sense, it showcased the overwhelming harshness these individuals faced that made them this way, while also showcasing the painful ramifications these hurtful comments or in this case, “letters”, have on those receiving it.

The story itself was well developed, and the characters themselves were incredibly engaging. It was refreshing to see a change in the typical “journalist” character. Normally in stories involving journalists they are eager to get the story by any means necessary, often hurting the people involved in that story. However Tim was a thoughtful, kind hearted individual who worked not for his own gain, but for the good of his community. The story also showed how easy it is for people to go to such violent extremes, and how fear of discovery can turn a harmless troll into a violent madman.

In the end this was a thought provoking and engaging read. This thriller allowed us to analyze the anonymous nature of the internet through the lens of a small town setting. Substituting emails or comments for letters, this story showed the power words have in our society, and how we can step above and beyond the pain we endure to become better people. Everyone experiences pain of one kind or another. It’s how you handle that pain and move forward that defines you. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Michael Prelee’s Murder in the Heart of It All today!

Rating: 10/10

 www.michaelprelee.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1682010635/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1682010635&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I’m pretty sure I’ve been writing since birth. Ha! As a child, I used to cut photos out of magazines, glue them to blank paper and write stories about the pictures. But I don’t think I ever thought writing could be a career. Actually, I went in radio after college and spent a decade on the air and in production behind the scenes. When my first daughter was born, I quit my full time job to stay home with her. After a year, I wanted to find something I could do from home around her schedule and I’d always loved to write so that seemed like a good fit. I started writing novels and got into freelance writing and things have steamrolled from there. 
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Reality shows are hilarious to me and I often wonder what they would be like with someone more like me on it. Someone who wouldn’t excel on TV! I like the put characters into situations that make the uncomfortable and watch things unfold. More often than not, they grow as a person and learn their true strength. I wanted to watch confidence grow, but I also wanted laughs so nothing goes right during any competition! 
The Leftover cover (1)
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That it’s okay to be who you are…whoever that is. Be strong and confident in your body and in your personality because you are who you are for a reason!
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I think sleep deprivation, honestly! After you have kids, things just seem funnier. I got advice from an agent to try the romance genre and I couldn’t go straight romance, it had to be humorous! 
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I think I’d want to talk with Grace, one of the side characters in the book. She’s a little spit fire and has a fascinating military background. I think I’d just want to know more about her, what makes her tick, and what inspires her to be such a strong person.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook because it’s the only one I do much with. 🙂 I do have a twitter account and I use it on occasion, but I can’t begin to understand that realm of social media.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write because you love it and everything else will fall into place. If you love to write,  you can’t lose because you get something out of it yourself, whether someone else reads it or not!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
Next year, my youngest daughter will start kindergarten. So I hope to write more fiction at that time. Right now it’s hard with her around part of the week and my full time freelance writing business. But I have so many ideas floating around my head, it’s not even funny! Well, hopefully it will be, if I keep up with romantic comedy… 🙂

theleftoverquote1 (1)
@authorbrookew

For this installment of comic book reviews, we are diving head first into the DC Comics event Forever Evil by writer Geoff Johns. A story of a world without it’s heroic protectors, and the people who rise above themselves to battle a world conquering evil. In a world filled with villains, will a hero arise? Here’s the synopsis:

The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! In a flash of light, the world’s most powerful heroes vanish as the Crime Syndicate arrives from Earth-3! As this evil version of the Justice League takes over the DC Universe, no one stands in the way of them and complete domination … no one except for Lex Luthor. By New York Times #1 best-selling creators Geoff Johns and David Finch, FOREVER EVIL is the first universe-wide crossover of The New 52.

Collects FOREVER EVIL #1-7.

This was a truly unique story. Exploring the DC Comics universe without a Justice League to protect it was a marvelous story for the writer to explore here. Are there villains strong enough or willing enough to step up to the plate and become heroes when the OG heroes are gone or worse, dead? The big highlight of this story to me are the characters Lex Luthor and Captain Cold. Luthor is a fantastic character because he showcases selfish motivations throughout his criminal career, and the beginning of this tale is no different. However we also see another side to the villain when a new life is bound to his, and the fate of the world hangs in his hands. Captain Cold meanwhile is the perfect anti-hero, as he is a Flash villain with a code of honor, not willing to sacrifice the fate of innocent people for his own needs. Going up against the ruthless version of the Justice League, these two and other villains rise to face the Syndicate, which showcases the mirror image of our favorite heroes.

The artwork for this collection was amazing, showing the gritty and brutal nature of the Syndicate and the real life or death stakes that these characters face against this all powerful enemy. The shocking deaths of certain characters and the heroes that work from the shadows to fight the enemy make this an incredible read, but the beautiful use of color in this story highlights the shocking turn of events this DC Comics event represents.

Overall this was an amazing story. Filled with humor, action and unbelievable character development, the story of Forever Evil is one that deserves to be read over and over again. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Forever Evil by Geoff Johns today!

Rating: 10/10

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

What should be a day of celebration turns into a deadly game of espionage and mayhem in author Micah Minnefer’s novel, Happy Holiday Homicides. Here’s the synopsis:

Murder is on the list of gifts this holiday season. At least it is when you’re apart of the deadliest gang in town. When young Anuaka’s family discovers her involvement with the local criminals, they give her an ultimatum. Get out of the gang or get out of their lives. However, removing herself from the gang is inconceivable. The only way out is death.

Anuaka must choose between her loving family and a new family promising something she truly desires. A life out of poverty. On the surface the decision is unimaginable. Underneath lies something more sinister. Anuaka is powerful, stunning, and downright conniving.

Happy Holiday Homicides takes you to the land of Serenium. An island of gods, pharaohs, and ancient power. An incredible short, that releases and action-packed opening to Anuaka’s twisted world.

This short story was an explosive introduction into a fantasy driven world of mythological beings. Anuaka’s story is one that reflects the struggles of our own world’s lower class people, who struggle day in and day out and sometimes feel forced to become something they never wanted to become. The story also has quite a few shocks in store for the reader, as the true story of who Anuaka is and what she truly desires slowly gets revealed through the amazing character development of this story.

Overall I loved the tale. The origins of a high stakes, action fueled world like Serenium is a breathtaking story that fantasy readers will devour immediately. The imagery used create this magical and surreal environment you can easily picture playing out across a television screen. As the introduction to a larger story, readers will immediately be drawn into the story of Anuaka and want more. If you haven’t yet pick up your copies of Happy Holiday Homicides by Micah Minnefer today!

Rating: 10/10

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman looking for a fresh start instead finds herself tumbling into someone else’s past in author H.A. Dawson’s thriller Walking the Pendulum. Here’s the synopsis:

A stolen existence triggers the ultimate identity crisis
Megan’s made a hasty escape. Now she’s perplexed by the confusion sparked by events on the train journey and her effect on the locals, whose disconcerting behavior makes her skittish. She’s determined and headstrong yet vulnerable, unaware of the imminent danger posed by the scheme hatched by her mystery assailant.

 

How long could you wait to take revenge?
Megan’s never experienced visions or fainted before. The vivid images have
a momentary impact, though they’re a harbinger of future events where Megan is
not the only victim to fall prey to a scheming murderer.

 

The journey of life is as much a cliché as is the idea of seeing
yourself through others eyes. In this compelling thriller, Megan’s assumptions are foolish as her real journey starts when she reaches her
destination. There are many scrutinizing her activities; a few are threatened by her presence,
questioning her reasons for moving to this small town. The situation is intriguing especially as her striking features resemble Saskia a lively woman who vanished 3 decades ago.

 

This story embraces a British style of mystery that merges into the
suspense, culminating in a thriller with an enthralling finale that
leaves us to question our personal strengths and endeavors

 

This author takes pride in presenting the reader with a strong theme
immersed in dramatic content.

 

Do you try to avoid all conflict?
How calm are you when handling uptight friends and family members?
If their behavior becomes irrational does this influence you in any way?
Do you turn tail and run or stand your ground by confronting the issues?

This was an evenly paced yet chilling thriller. The British style mystery thriller explores the way other’s perceive us and our actions, and how sometimes the only people who get to see the truth of the matter at hand is ultimately you. The mystery surrounding Megan and her connection to Saskia is intriguing to explore, and the way it reflects on Megan’s own past and troubles that she is desperate to escape make the reader invested as they go through the book.

The character growth in this story is definitely the biggest draw in for this story. Whether we witness the emotional roller coaster Megan is forced to ride or the chilling air surrounding the townspeople of this small British town, the characters help breath fresh life into the classic murder mystery genre. Think of this book as an incredible literary version of the Insidious film franchise mixed with a good BBC thriller like Broadchurch.

Overall I loved this story. It was unique in it’s approach and had a wonderful cast of characters that kept the book flowing smoothly. It’s a book filled with twists and turns galore, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Walking the Pendulum by H.A. Dawson today!

Rating: 8/10

“Walking The Pendulum” is the first book in a collection of exciting
Traditional British psychological suspense mystery crime, laced with
romance, packaged with the intensity of a thriller. There are seven to be
published up to November 2017.
Further British Mystery – Suspense – Thrillers to come from H A Dawson

Walking The Pendulum
Beds of Rusty Nails
Edging On Despair
Naive Retribution

Novellas

Twist Of A Steel Bracelet
Snapping That Lock

Mystery Novels

Drifting On Distant Murmurs

If you enjoy gripping stories, spotting subtle clues and can cope with the dark chilling complexity of the human psyche! You will be excited to read this emotional thriller. Realistic male and female perspectives are blended into plausible situations, abduction and kidnapping, psychological suspense and crime,

 

You will definitely enjoy the diverse content of H A Dawson’s “Women’s Contemporary Thrillers”.

 

She has praise for the following best selling authors. A J Waines,
Rachel Abbott, Mark Edwards, Louise Voss, C L Taylor, Sophie Hannah,
Elizabeth Haynes, Angela Marsons, Sharon Bolton and Linwood Barclay.
They have had a positive influence in her style development.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us about what inspired your novel?
Having spent about 20 years outside of my passport country, I identify as a third culture kid. My parents are Korean and our entire family relocated to Manila, Philippines when I was about one. I spent much of my childhood on the outskirts of Manila where poverty and affluence could be seen side by side. Thinking back, I had an amazing childhood, and certainly a lively one–something I subconsciously missed when I got to Seoul, the big concrete jungle that felt oddly foreign, despite Korea being my “home” country. This novel stems from this sudden change in my life. I have had the chance to live with my grandmother, as well as become part of Korean society and over the past 7 years or so, I have been able to process my childhood and my life as an adult. A major theme in my book is about feeling trapped in our adult lives, as compared to how we imagine our childhood or even the previous generation we often view as having lived in the “good old days.” I channeled these feelings and perhaps even some of my discontent and also my gratitude into this novel that I hoped will be an accurate emotional depiction of modern-day Korea as contrasted with the Korea my grandmother experienced during the Korean War (1950-1953). 
2) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
As much as this book is about South and North Korea, I wrote the novel mainly to highlight the universal human experience of coming-of-age–of war and of love in this fast-changing world we live in. I hope that readers will be able to see past the foreign landscape into the hearts of people who were living each day as it came at a very difficult time in history and understand that despite the passing of time, we live much in the same way and ultimately have very similar desires in life. 
3) What drew you into this particular genre?
Historical Fiction hasn’t always been my favorite genre. I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life reading so-called “classical works’ for university that I must admit, I haven’t had a whole lot of time reading various genres in popular fiction. I have always enjoyed books and films that bring the past and present together and that employ elements of magical realism such as Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. 
4) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Dae-Gun is a lively and often humorous character with seemingly simple motives. But there were moments while writing this story that showed great depth to his character. As an orphan boy who often finds kinship with people who are not related (and with people who may not find his company appealing), he seems to be a person too keen on making friends and on finding the next meal. However, the sacrifices he is willing to make and the genuine way he treats the people around him is certainly something I aspire to. There is a moment near the end of the story where Dae-Gun is given the chance to run away from the battle-torn Korea (and from the country that has left him an orphan) to follow his friend, Richard, to America. Yet, he doesn’t think twice about staying in Korea. I would love to sit down and ask him what made him decide to stay. I wonder if he ever regretted his decision. I have a feeling it has something to do with a girl; he is, after all, a simple boy. Yet, something tells me he would have given me a surprising answer. 
5) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
There are many formulas out there and advice about how to write the best story and these are all helpful. But my advice is to live your life and do what inspires you. Channel this inspiration into concrete moments (or scenes) that feel real to you. If the moment doesn’t feel real, how can we expect the story in its entirety to feel real to our readers? Keep at it!
6) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I am very excited about what the future holds and this book has been a huge blessing in my life. While I have no immediate plans to publish another novel, this particular novel has opened up opportunities to study postcolonialism in an academic context. I will soon be heading to the States to continue my graduate studies.