Beyond the Tolbooth: A short story of Human Resilience by Stephen Parkes Review

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

Author Stephen Parkes once again takes readers on a journey through one of the strangest 18th century cases you’ll ever read about in the short story, “Beyond the Tolbooth”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A short story of human resilience. 18th-century Margaret Dickson hangs for her crimes and lives to tell about it.

The Review

What fascinated me about this story was the way the author delved into the tricky notion that not all history is set in stone. Exploring Margaret’s story, readers will instantly see the way rumors and half-truths led to the tragic circumstances of Margaret being sent to prison and later executed for them, only to survive the ordeal. It’s really a telling story, as back then a woman could be imprisoned and even executed for something as simple as concealing a pregnancy. The truth behind her story is not fully realized, and the author pinpoints these inaccuracies and allows readers to come to their own determination about who Margaret was and whether or not she truly was guilty.

The Verdict

A unique story of fighting for the truth, pinpointing historical fact from assumption, and the shocking reality that nothing is foolproof in the criminal justice system, and Margaret is one of the few people to have ever survived the most popular form of execution, a public hanging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Beyond the Tolbooth by Stephen Parkes today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.

https://amzn.to/2TXQFtx

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The Donut Hypothesis: A Cop. A Criminal. And Their Donuts by Stephen Parkes Review

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

In a unique origin story, author Stephen Parkes takes readers on an informative and humorous journey to discover the history behind the preconception regarding police officers and a certain breakfast pastry in “The Donut Hypothesis”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A short story about a cop, a criminal and their donuts.

The Review

In just a couple of pages, (5 to be exact), the author explores the secret history of the donut, from it’s original name that never stuck, to the way it was incorporated into the image of police officers. What’s most fascinating about this story is that the author takes such a simple and strange story concept, and in just a few pages makes it entertaining and fascinating all at once. Readers won’t be able to help being intrigued and by the books end, will find themselves chuckling as they read the author’s final words.

The Verdict

While a short read, the story itself was unique and very entertaining. A fun story that delves into one of the criminal justice systems most underrated secret histories, readers will instantly fall in love with this story. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of Stephen Parkes short story “The Donut Hypothesis” today!

Rating: 8/10

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.

https://amzn.to/2SLg392

The Devil’s Agent: A Most Unusual Story of Crime and Punishment by Stephen Parkes Review

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

Author Stephen Parkes takes readers into one of the 18th century’s strangest executions to ever occur in the justice system in the short biography, “The Devil’s Agent”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A short story of 18th-century crime and capital punishment. William Duell lives and dies and lives again.

The Review

In just a few pages, (23 pages total), the author brings readers one of the most vile criminals and one of the most fascinating trial and punishment phases within the 18th century. The author goes into detail regarding the crime and the long process inside prison, most notably death row, as well as the process a criminal goes through traveling from prison to the gallows for public executions. 

What makes this story so unique however is the way the story ends, which will have the reader in shock as they discover one of the strangest cases of capitol punishment gone wrong. It’s a vivid and informative short read, and packs quite a punch.

The Verdict

Overall this is a fantastic short story that fans of the true crime and biography genre will thoroughly enjoy. A story of the horrors inflicted by the worst of society, and the inescapable truth that sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, no matter how final they may seem. If you enjoy true crime stories then pick up your copy of The Devil’s Agent by Stephen Parkes today. 

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.

https://amzn.to/2V8Shkg

Kill Code: A Dystopian Science Fiction Novel by Clive Fleury Review

A man desperate to survive a declining world finds himself discovering the dark secrets of the world’s most powerful security force in author Clive Fleury’s “Kill Code”.

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

A man desperate to survive a declining world finds himself discovering the dark secrets of the world’s most powerful security force in author Clive Fleury’s “Kill Code”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

WHEN THE OCEANS RISE…THE TRUTH DROWNS

The year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the oceans rise higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.

Hogan Duran was a good man once: a good cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society, serving cruel masters and scavenging trash dumps just to survive.

But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets the chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.

But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC is hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new society keep their power…and just how far they’ll go to protect their secrets.

In a world gone wrong, can one good man actually make a difference? Or will he die trying?

The Review

In just a 136 pages, author Clive Fleury packs quite a punch that delves head first into the dystopian sci-fi genre. Exploring a world in the midst of financial and climate ruin, the author expertly crafts a tale of redemption, misconceptions and a fight for the truth that leads the protagonist in several directions. The futuristic world that is built in this short novel instantly grabs the readers attention, drawing them into this vicious cycle where the elite rule all, and the majority of people live in complete poverty. 

Mixing the grim reality that most dystopian novels feed off of with the advanced technology and great character development, this novel accomplishes a great deal of entertainment and fun in a short time. Readers will be left breathless as the tables turn time and time again, leaving the question: who can Hogan trust?

The Verdict

This is a must read sci-fi and dystopian novel. Filled to the brim with action, suspense and a mystery that slowly unravels into a collective mind of chaos and intrigue only a true fan of the genre could appreciate. If you enjoy entertaining sci-fi and dystopian novels, then author Clive Fleury’s “Kill Code” is for you. Pick up your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About Me:

I am an award-winning writer of books and screenplays, and a TV and film director and producer.  I have worked for major broadcasters and studios on a wide variety of successful projects in the US, UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. 

www.clivefleurywriter.com

Louisiana Latte by Rebecca Henry Review

Two sisters on a business trip find themselves reminiscing about their lives and discovering who the other truly is in author Rebecca Henry’s self-described chick-lit comedy, “Louisiana Latte”.

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

Two sisters on a business trip find themselves reminiscing about their lives and discovering who the other truly is in author Rebecca Henry’s self-described chick-lit comedy, “Louisiana Latte”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

Deb hadn’t flown in over 20 years. In 1989, at the age of 22, Deb was enrolled at Griffiss Airforce Base to become a commercial pilot. Somewhere between dating her yuppie fiancé and planning their wedding in Chicago, Deb developed claustrophobia—a fear of enclosed spaces. I blame the yuppie. Deb couldn’t get on a plane for love that day, but she could do it 20 years later for money. Money was worth dying for.

The Review

If you are looking for a humorous, quick-witted whirlwind story, then this is the book for you. The story follows Deb and her sister Becky, who travel to a business conference in Louisiana. Twenty years earlier, Deb found her career as a pilot over as claustrophobia took over. Now in the present, Deb is a self-described diva with an all consuming need for the finer things in life, even forgoing paying bills in order to have the latest handbag or jewelry. Meanwhile her sister Becky juggles being in awe of her confident and good spirited sister and the responsibility of running a business together and being a full time mother and wife as well. 

The story does a marvelous job of infusing humor into Deb’s incredible outgoing personality while showing the intimate moments from both fo the sister’s lives that define not only their relationship, but each other as well. Along the way Becky finds herself discovering exactly why her sister is the diva that she is, and finds a woman with more heart than anyone could have imagined.

The Verdict

This short read is a must buy book. A funny and feel good chick-lit comedy like no other, the story flows smoothly and creates a unique bond between Becky and Deb that is rarely felt in novels, and yet will feel real and familiar to many families out there. If you enjoy a hilarious and quick witted comedy, then be sure to grab your copy of “Louisiana Latte” by Rebecca Henry on February 28th, 2019. 

Rating: 8/10

https://rebeccahenryauthor.blogspot.com/

About the Author

I am a newly published author with one novel released and another book coming out for publication, in February 2019. I am also a world traveller, living abroad. I have many interests and hobbies in life, besides my greatest passion of all, my family. I am also a vegan, gardener, crafter, and I practice yoga regularly.

Author Interview with Jonas Salzgeber

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

I started reading voraciously as a young adult. I really enjoyed reading about things and improving myself as a person. I wanted to get better. My brother Nils was very similar in that aspect and at some point we decided to start a blog. So I began writing articles. People enjoyed it and we continued.

What inspired you to write your book?

I was hooked with Stoic philosophy. It was intriguing how your mindset can help you in daily life. I was struggling with destructive feelings and Stoicism helped me immensely. I devoured countless books on the subject and felt there’s something missing. A book that simply explains this wonderful philosophy. I knew the topic, had an idea for a book, and started doing more research explicitly for the book.

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

There are simple strategies that can help you deal more effectively with life’s challenges. Whatever life throws at you, you have the power within to make the best with it. You just need to bring in the necessary awareness to observe your thoughts, the willingness to reflect upon your actions, and the decisiveness to choose to change what’s not helpful.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I read mainly nonfiction. I want to learn and get better every day. So, that’s what I write about. Sure, I like to sprinkle some storytelling for the taste.

You spent some time in your book exploring some of the early philosophers who brought Stoicism to life. Of those philosophers, which would you want to speak with if given the opportunity and what would you ask them if given the chance?

Marcus Aurelius. I’d ask him about being a Stoic in heart and at the same time being Roman Emperor leading wars where thousands of innocent people die.

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

Probably Facebook. But we’re not big into social media. What helped us most getting readers was organic search traffic that grew over time. And word of mouth.

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

The inner resistance that’s holding you back is something all creators experience. Everybody needs to go through this fight between your ears. There’s no way around. “What is to give light, must endure burning.” This quote by Viktor Frankl has helped me in countless moments of darkness. It’s supposed to be hard.

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

Haha. I don’t know what the future holds in store for me. Sure, we have projects lined up. The next book? I don’t know yet. Maybe something with my brother about powerful mindsets to adopt for a calmer and more resilient life. But that’s really just a fleeting idea.

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Short author blurb:

Jonas Salzgeber is the author of The Little Book of Stoicism and blogs for a small army of remarkable people at njlifehacks.com. He’s an expert in Stoic philosophy and passionate about self-made dark chocolate and buttered coffee with collagen.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NJlifehacks

Website: https://njlifehacks.com/the-little-book-of-stoicism/


Thad Saves the Galaxy: An Epic Space Adventure by C.T. Fleck Review

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

A carefree young man seeking adventure and purpose in life finds his world turned upside down when an alien woman named Zinka draws him into a galactic battle like no other in author C.T. Fleck’s novel Thad Saves the Galaxy: An Epic Space Adventure. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

When adventure calls, sometimes it’s best to send it to voicemail 

If Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a bit of Dude, Where’s My Car? sprinkled in sounds like a good time, you’ll love Thad Saves the Galaxy!

When an alien named Zinka drops into Thaddeus Kinglsey’s life, he finally gets the adventure he’s been waiting for. Zinka is an exiled Aldinian who is being pursued across the galaxy by the evil tyrant Derask. She crashed on Earth and needs help repairing her ship. Thad jumps at the chance to do something extraordinary and begins an adventure he will never forget. Unfortunately, Derask learns of Thad’s involvement and destroys the Earth to punish him.

With the Earth a smoldering cloud of dust, Thad and Zinka begin a quest across the galaxy to put an end to Derask’s tyranny. This dynamic twosome recruits a colorful cast of characters to their cause: Tik, a mighty Tauran with a penchant for mind altering substances, Pangaea, a sarcastic humanoid who is more then she seems, Danny, the only other Earthling left who happens to be a dreadlocked pot dealer, Leonidas, a lovesick Voltan hero, and Preet, the shapeshifting Queen of the Mercenaries. But they need more than a gang of friends to defeat Derask. They need ships, and lots of them.

Can this oddball team find a way to take down the galaxy’s most powerful dictator? Does ‘winging it’ ever really work? Can you find love on a planet full of mercenaries? These questions and more are answered in this whimsical romp across the Milky Way.

Thad Saves the Galaxy is a humorous galactic adventure with a vibrant cast of human and alien characters, space battles, and outrageous fun.

Download Thad Saves the Galaxy and join the valiant crew of the Gravity Bong today!

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The Review

This hilarious dark comedy and sci-fi parody is brilliantly executed. The author does a fantastic job of world building and creating a mythology that readers can instantly get sucked into. Awakening the hero within this week smoking, carefree and comical young man, Thad becomes the hero nobody asked for, or quite frankly wanted. Yet his odd way of looking at life and humor amazingly compliment the more tragic and emotional story elements introduced throughout the novel.

The twists and turns this story take will certainly keep readers on the edge of their seat as they explore the Milky Way Galaxy in a whole new light. A more adult take on the classic sci-fi and space epic adventure genre, readers will laugh and cry as they follow Thad as he tackles themes of racism, homophobia, gender equality and the inherent battle of good vs evil, all the while he smokes weed and finds new and hilarious ways of getting into trouble. 

The Verdict

This is a must read sci-fi adventure and dark comedy like no other. A humor filled adventure that blends elements of Seth MacFarlane’s recent space epic show The Orville with George Lucas’s world building in the Star Wars universe and the humor of a Seth Rogen film. You are not going to want a single second of this hilarious book, so be sure to pick up your copy of Thad Saves the Universe by C.T. Fleck today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

C.T. Fleck is the pen name of Corey Hofecker. After dropping out of college, for the second time, he discovered the joys that are inherent in both reading and writing, and that his previous distaste of said subjects was just a lack of freedom to read and write what he truly wanted. Being a firm believer that there is beauty in the absurd, he quickly became obsessed with the sci-fi genre. In it he saw the vast possibilities and the probability of how weird our universe can get. Corey lives in rural West Virginia where he occupies his time with reading, writing, video games, and tabletop RPGs. He is an unashamed feminist of sorts and an avid supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.