Monthly Archives: December 2017

Forbidden by F. Stone REVIEW

A shocking massacre. One witness. A complicated conspiracy.

This next incredible book I had the pleasure of reading is a high octane action-adventure story set in a future where the middle east has united under one nation, and one woman learns that the lines between friend and foe blur easily. This novel is called Forbidden by F. Stone and here is the synopsis:

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, a devout Muslim and police captain becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. Captain Sharif is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

This was a fantastic thriller! The story was incredibly unique, as we got an in-depth glance at the influence and power that the Muslim faith has on people. Not only that, we got to see how the religion is incorporated and infused into society as a whole, and the complications that arise in both social and political situations as a result of that faith. We also got an incredible cast of characters, venturing into the complicated lives of a police captain at war with a complicated conspiracy and with himself and his beliefs, as well as the tormented past of Canadian paramedic trapped in a country fraught with danger. The unlikely duo must look for clues to help save themselves and the captain’s family, who are put in the cross hairs of the conspirators in mysterious ways.

The story was well written, with little grammatical mistakes and an even paced narrative that made the story gripping and engaging. The cover promised intrigue and mystery, and the unique setting gives a glimpse into the world of the middle east respectively and showcases how every religion and nation is filled with complications and hardships.

Overall this was a fantastic read that fans of the thriller genre will not want to miss. Author F. Stone is a fantastic writer with a firm grasp on the genre, and the story ends in a way where you as the reader feels an overwhelming need to read yet another installment. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of F. Stone’s Forbidden today!

Rating: 10/10

Frede and Santa by Leen Lefebre Review

A child’s journey to help his family takes him on a perilous adventure through elf infested woods ruled by the mysterious Elf King, and only Santa can help save the day. This is the story of Frede and Santa by Leen Lefebre, and here is they synopsis:

In a faraway village there lives a farmer with his wife. The summer harvest has failed and winter already arrives. So, how should they feed their three sons? The idea arises to fetch wood in the northern forest. They could dry it, sell it from door to door and earn some money to buy food.

Frede knows that his parents are doing their best, but is it enough to withstand the most barren period of the year? Together with his brothers, Rhune and Folke, he wants to visit Santa and ask him for help. But, first they must travel through that extensive forest where the evil Elf King lurks.

This was a fun read. It reminded me of an old and classic fairy tale, fraught with monstrous creatures and a child’s will to save those closest to him. Frede wants nothing more than to help his family, and the story allows children to see what happens when you put others before yourself, and go above and beyond to protect the ones we love. The story of the evil Elf King and his people reminded me of a Grimm Fairy tale, while the story of Santa and his village was a heartwarming story that when blended with Frede and his adventure makes for a modern day holiday classic that parents and children alike will love to read.

Overall this was a fantastic read. It was short yet sweet and to the point. A wonderful children’s book filled with adventure and a heartwarming tale of one child’s hope of helping his family, this is something parents and children alike won’t want to miss. If you haven’t yet, pick up your copies of Frede and Santa by Leen Lefebre today!

Rating: 10/10

Interview with Author Kfir Luzzatto

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

I guess that writing has always been in the offing for me. My great-grandmother was a well-known author in her times and my father was a prolific writer. I started to try my hand at short stories in my early teens, but then very judiciously stuffed all my (horrible) work in a drawer, never again to see the light of day (except every now and then, when I want a good laugh). Then, one day in 2001, I woke up knowing that I had to write the story that had been taking shape inside my head and wasn’t letting go of me. That’s how my first full-length novel, Crossing the Meadow, came about. At that point, I knew that not writing, was no longer an option for me.

Crossing the Meadow

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 

My latest action thriller, Exodus ’95, blends my love for thrillers, and for the places where I grew up (Italy) and where I live now (Israel). It was relatively easy to write because I know the places where the action takes place in the book and have met people who remind me of some of the characters. The idea of turning the biblical narrative of the parting of the Red Sea into something relevant to our days was also an idea with which I had been toying for some time.

Exodus_95

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

 

The book is pure entertainment, with no deep message—except that it wants the reader to see how different people may be from what you know them, and how they may grow when facing an abnormal situation. Our neighbor may be much less boring than we think, and at times, deadly so.

 

4) What drew you into this genre?

 

The real answer is that the characters did. I started out writing light, non-gory horror, but then I lost control. What happens is that you start thinking of a setup, then you meet your principal characters and get acquainted with them, and all of a sudden they grow a mind of their own and your plot goes in an altogether different direction than you originally planned. I think that with thrillers it comes very naturally to “listen” to your characters and to grow together with them into a story that you really enjoy writing. Other genres require more adherence to a detailed plot, which is fine in many cases, but not as fun as re-plotting on the go.

 

5) If you could sit down with any of your characters and ask them a question, what would you ask them and why?

 

I sit down with them, all the time! But I don’t ask them many questions; rather, I let them move around and do things while I play the observer. So, if I could sit down with the protagonists of Exodus ’95 and ask indiscreet questions, I would certainly try to find out how their relations changed from a pure business association into much more, and what was the turning point for each of them. I sometimes wonder whether they managed to fool me and started having feelings for each other while I wasn’t looking.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

Facebook, no question about it. I’m sure that other sites may be helpful too, but I have experimented with others, like Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and I simply don’t have the time (or the patience) to follow best practices. Facebook comes more naturally to me, as I feel that you can really get to know people and interact with them in a personal, non-phony way.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

 

Developing a writing career is a slow, painful, disheartening and unbelievably exciting endeavor. If you decide to become a writer, prepare yourself to a long and hard course. You need time aplenty to develop your craft, to understand what really works for you, and to find your readership. If you are ready to go for the long haul and understand what you’re getting yourself in for, go for it, because there is no greater satisfaction that I can think of. But if you expect your first (or fifth, or tenth) book to become an immediate bestseller and mint money for you, find another hobby, because you are in for a heartbreaking experience.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

 

I am halfway writing a dystopian novel and I’m having a ball with it. With my grandchildren’s help, I’ll release it by next June. If they stop helping, probably by next March.

 

Loving Ordinary Life by Anastasia Petrenko Review

Are you tired of the typical “self-help” books? Then this might be for you. Rather than focus on experimental treatments from around the world or a surreal look at the ins and outs of the self-help world, author Anastasia Petrenko introduces readers to Loving Ordinary Life: a self help book for people who are tired of self-help books. The short and easy read is a simple guide on how to be your best self without changing yourself and learning to accept who you are in the most loving way possible. Here is the synopsis:

Loving Ordinary Life is written for us: living, emotional people.

We all want to live a happy life, but we can easily fall into a state of despondency. We prefer to smile, but more often we frown.

We like being inspired, but most likely, we can’t recall the last time when we were.

There are many books and courses about self-motivation and inspiration. You might have heard hundreds of platitudes and affirmations. Each of them sounds valid but their utility is limited when you actually find yourself stuck in a pit of pain and despair.

Loving Ordinary Life is meant to make a functional difference. It’s not a treatment for depression. It is about living a life where depression has no place.

Loving Ordinary Life is your guide. It is designed so that you can open any page and find the inspiration to act and improve your life when you’re feeling down.

Each chapter in Loving Ordinary Life is a tool for moving from a negative idle state to a positive proactive state. It displays to you the art of being present, free, and genuine every day.

If you want to be more fulfilled and enjoy life more, if you’re open to quality changes, Loving Ordinary Life will become your loyal companion.

Everything is within your power. You are the master of your life. How you experience it depends only on you. Take the lead.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius

This was a great and quick read. From start to finish you felt a sense of calm take over as you allowed yourself to absorb this book fully. It allows readers to examine their own lives and find happiness not from any external source, but rather from within themselves. Putting a stamp on the reliance of the self over the reliance of society, this book does a great job of creating an air of ease and an atmosphere of relative calm.

Overall this was a wonderful book. Filled with passion, compassion and genuine care, this non self help book does a marvelous job of showing the power we all have within ourselves, and how to embrace it wholeheartedly. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Loving Ordinary Life by Anastasia Petrenko today!

Rating: 10/10

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl Review

Travel can be fun. It can be a step onto the road of self discovery. It can also be a scary road filled with self doubt and financial woes. Trying to go into the world of travel and live your life on the road can be a daunting task, and yet in Gregory V. Diehl’s novel Travel as Transformation, you get to see first hand the trials, tribulations and wonders that travel can offer you, and how you can get started today. Here is the synopsis:

A daring, intelligent, and unapologetic call to find yourself in wanderlust.
When you travel to a foreign place, do you experience this new life as your old self? Or do you become a new self?

From living in a van on the streets of San Diego, to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa, bestselling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path. Leaving his home in California as a teenager, he went on to live and work in 45 countries across the globe by age 28. In Travel as Transformation, he uses his diverse cultural experiences as a world traveler to ask the reader to question how their identity has been shaped by the lifestyle they live.

As you delve into Travel as Transformation, you will learn how travel can profoundly influence your perception of yourself. Diehl teaches aspiring travelers to let go of their internal inhibitions and former sense of self. He shares his own moving experiences of transformation across Costa Rica, China, Morocco, Armenia, Iraq, Monaco, Ecuador, and more to encourage travelers to embrace change. He takes the reader on a nomadic journey that examines all of humanity through unbiased eyes.

To travel with a truly open mind is to forget who you were when you started. It is to be constantly born anew, and identify with ways you did not know others could exist. What affirms you most? What would it take to destroy you? Travel as Transformation will give you the wisdom, the inspiration, and the resources to conquer the limitations of your home culture. It’s time to take advantage of everything the world has to offer and become everything you can be.

This was an incredibly powerful book. Filled to the brim with insight and wonder, this book did an excellent job of highlighting the highs and lows of travel. As someone who is interested in travel, it was interesting to see the way the author approached the subject, diving into the differences in cultures, political and societal divides between nations and the impact travel has on you as a person. It allowed me to see what I want for myself in the future and embrace the idea of change.

A book with heart, emotion and a sense of excitement, Travel as Transformation was a fantastic read that will speak to the inner traveler in all of us. A fast yet evenly paced read, author Gregory V. Diehl does an amazing job of showing the paths we take both externally and internally as we step out of our comfort zone and embrace new and unknown adventures. If you are a budding travel enthusiast, be sure to pick up your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

Interview with Daniel Eagleton

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m a writer living in London, which, I suspect, is a bit like living in a Garret in Paris in the 1920s: no money or prospects, but I am at least sustained (on a good day) by my art. I always wanted to write, but spent a long time either gathering invaluable life experience or being worryingly aimless. Still not quite sure which…

 

 2. What inspired you to write your book?

       I had the idea, which I thought was worth pursuing. After that, it’s really a question of trying not to ruin the concept along the way…

3. What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The book is really about how dysfunctional and destructive institutions (and the people that work for them) can be. And, I suppose, the effect that has on the rest of us…

 

4. What drew you to the espionage thriller/action adventure genre?

In a nutshell: the often gaping absence of morality, decency or common sense.   

5. If you could sit down with any of your characters and ask them a question, what would you ask them and why?

That’s a tough one. Maybe I’d ask Thomas why he’s so intent on self-destruction. I’m just not sure he’d be able to give me a coherent answer.

6. What social media site has been most helpful in developing your readership?

Social media? I run from it every chance I get, although I realize that might be somewhat counterintuitive. I was on Facebook for a brief moment, but I kept checking it every twenty minutes without knowing why, so I had to disable my account. I’m feeling much better, though, thanks for asking…

7. What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

You’re a solider.

8. What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

The future holds certain death for us all, but in the meantime I’m writing a historical crime drama set in 18th century London. I’m really enjoying it, but you have to be sure to get your facts right. On the other hand, if a character is in trouble they can’t whip out a smartphone and ask for help, so, dramatically speaking, that’s a plus…