Monthly Archives: June 2021

The Summer of No Attachments (The Summer Friends #2) by Lori Foster Review

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

Two women looking for an uncomplicated break from relationships find themselves faced with the possibility of real love when they come across two brothers and an angry child during the summer in author Lori Foster’s “The Summer of No Attachments”, the second book in THE SUMMER FRIENDS series. 

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The Synopsis

From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Lori Foster comes the heartwarming story of two best friends who cross paths with a pair of new-in-town brothers with one angry little boy in tow. A standalone story of second chances at life and love, with found family and rescued animals, perfect for fans of Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan, and Lori Wilde.

Summer flings with no strings mean nobody gets hurt.

At least, that was the plan…

After putting the brakes on her dead-end relationship, local veterinarian Ivey Anders is ready to soak up this summer on her own terms. The way she sees it, no dating means no disappointment. Why complicate life with anything long-term? But when she meets Corbin Meyer—and his troubled young son, Justin—Ivey’s no-strings strategy threatens to unravel before she can put it into practice.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Ivey’s best friend, Hope Mage, a veterinary-clinic assistant who’s affected by an incident that’s colored every relationship she’s had. Though Hope’s happy for Ivey, she can’t quite open her own heart to the possibility of love. Not just yet… Maybe not ever. Soon, however, she’s faced with a dilemma—Corbin’s older brother, Lang. He’s charming, he’s kind…and he may just be the reason Hope needs to finally tear down her walls.

And as the sweet summer months unspool, the two friends discover love won’t give up on them so easily.

The Review

A heartwarming and emotional story that balances the friendship and bond of women’s fiction with the heart of romance narratives, author Lori Foster has crafted a beautiful story set within an established series that still manages to act as a standalone story that readers both old and new will enjoy. The pacing does a great job of getting into the character’s personalities and interactions while slowly building the rising relationships between the women and the men they meet over the summer. 

The character arcs were fantastic to see unfold here. The strength and humor that Ivey brings as a protagonist are great to witness, while the overall development of Hope as a character after her heartbreaking past was inspiring and hopeful, two qualities that make for a great romance story. 

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The Verdict

A perfect summer read that blends love and hope into an engaging narrative, author Lori Foster’s “The Summer of No Attachments” is the perfect summer novel for fans of women’s fiction and romance novels. The powerful story of not only budding romance but of true friendship in the face of adversity in both women’s lives made this such a captivating story, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author. She lives in Central Ohio where coffee helps her keep up with her cats and grandkids between writing books. For more about Lori, visit her website at http://www.lorifoster.com, like her on Facebook or find her on Twitter, @lorilfoster.

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Here is an Excerpt From “The Summer of Not Attachments”

Chapter One

Ivey Anders shoved back a wayward curl and gently secured the dog against her body so it couldn’t move while her tech, Hope Mage, carefully clipped away the twisted wire. The poor thing, a stray by the looks of it, had gotten itself tangled pretty tightly and one hind leg was in bad shape. Ivey wanted to get it to the clinic where she could properly assess the damage.

Mud caked the fur, making it difficult to find any other injuries just yet, but there was one astounding fact Ivey couldn’t ignore.

Behind her, the homeowner groused that the dog had likely been stealing eggs from his chicken coop.

Voice calm, temper mostly in check, Ivey said, “You didn’t hesitate to call me, did you, Marty?” It was well-known that Marty was not a fan of dogs, or cats for that matter, and mostly considered them a nuisance. However, they’d come to an agreement some time ago. Marty, who owned a fair amount of wooded acreage, was supposed to call her if a stray showed up, and she, as the local vet, would take care of the “problem” for him.

Laura, his wife, was quick to say, “I called.” Defiant to Marty, she added, “Soon as I heard the poor thing, in fact.”

Which didn’t mean much. The animal might have been there for hours. Possibly more than a day, though Ivey couldn’t bear the thought of that.

“She’s pregnant, you know.” Refusing to take her eyes off the dog and unwilling to raise her voice since it might frighten the animal more, Ivey said, “If she took an egg, it would have been from starvation—and you already know I would have compensated you for it.”

Affronted, Marty grumbled, “I wasn’t worried about one egg, just don’t want to lose my chickens.” He cleared his throat. “If it helps any, I was out here this morning and she wasn’t caught then. Afternoon I watered my garden, and that’s why there’s so much mud. So I doubt she was hung up there more than a few hours.”

The fist around Ivey’s heart loosened just a little. “That helps tremendously, Marty. Thank you.”

More times than she could count, Ivey had taken on problems with stray animals who needed special love and care. It didn’t matter that she’d been working as a veterinarian for years now, seeing all manner of hurt, neglected or just plain ill animals. She still loved them all, and when one hurt, she hurt with it.

“No thanks necessary,” Marty complained, his tone gruff with insult. “Not like I’d let an animal suffer.”

Ivey had a feeling their definitions of suffer varied a bit, but she realized this mattered to him, and she was too grateful to quibble so she just nodded.

Almost got it,” Hope murmured, and with one last clip, the wire loosened. “There.” Fingers gentle, she disentangled the dog’s leg, exposing a painful wound.

Ivey murmured to the small animal all the while, cooing softly, petting and holding her secure. The second she was able to sit back on the muddy ground, she pulled the dog into her lap. With her face close to the top of the dog’s head, she whispered, “There now, that’s better, isn’t it? We’ll get you all fixed up, I promise.”

“Here.” Slipping off her zip-up hoodie, Hope offered it to Ivey to wrap around the dog. “Do you want me to get the carrier?”

Busy swaddling the dog, careful not to jar her, Ivey shook her head. “She doesn’t weigh more than ten or eleven pounds. I’ll carry her to the truck and we’ll see how it goes.” Feeling mud seep into the seat of her pants, she realized she couldn’t get up without letting go of the dog. Lifting a brow at Hope, she said, “A little help?”

“Oh sure.” Hope caught her under one elbow, and Laura hurried forward to take the other, giving her the leverage she needed.

Marty stepped back to avoid getting muddy.

Carefully, the two women got Ivey on her feet. The thick mud was heavy on the seat of her pants, dragging on her stretch jeans that had loosened throughout the day. At least her rubber boots wouldn’t be ruined. Since they treated all sorts of animals, including those on farms, she and Hope each kept a pair at the clinic.

“Let’s go.” Plodding forward, Ivey led the way to the truck. Halfway there, the dog started panting. Concerned, she hastened her step, not at all worried about getting mud on the truck seats. “No need for the crate. Just get us back to the clinic.”

Picking up on her angst, Hope ran around to the driver’s side and got the truck on the road in record time. “Everything okay?”

“Not really, no. Something’s wrong.”

“What should I do?”

Poor Hope. A sick cat had kept them an hour past closing, and then Marty had called… “I’m sorry.” Ivey barely took her gaze off the stressed dog. “Do you think you could assist me at the clinic?”

“Of course I will! You don’t even have to ask.” Frowning, Hope muttered, “Did you think I’d drop you off with a dog in distress? Tell you good luck?” She snorted. “Have I ever done that?”

She and Hope were close enough that Ivey knew she’d inadvertently insulted her. “No, you haven’t. But it’s Friday night after a very long day.”

“It’s Friday night for you, too, you know.”

“What a sad situation for us both.” Despite her worries, Ivey chuckled. “Most women would have plans, and yet we never do.”

“You have Geoff.”

Ivey made a face. “Lot of good that does me.” Likely Geoff was settled on the couch already, watching sports or playing a video game. The excitement had left their relationship a long time ago, so she doubted he’d even notice her absence.

For her part, Hope never dated. That bothered Ivey a lot, but she loved Hope enough that she would never pry.

Smiling at her friend, Ivey said, “I’m glad I won’t have to do this alone.”

“Not ever,” Hope vowed. “Even if by some miracle I ever do have something worthwhile lined up for the weekend, I’d still be here for you, okay?”

Her friendship with Hope meant so much more than any other relationship Ivey had, including her lackluster romance with Geoff. “Smartest thing I ever did was hire you.”

“I’m so glad you did,” Hope whispered. “Otherwise we might not have become friends, then where would I be?”

“Let’s just agree that we’re better off together.” Though Ivey was ten years older than Hope, they’d still hit it off from the start, meshing together as if they’d been lifelong friends. Where Ivey was take-charge and sometimes a little too outspoken, Hope was an intent listener with an enormous heart.

Ivey often wanted to challenge the world, and Hope, sadly, wanted to hide from it.

Or more accurate, she wanted to hide from any interested men.

Hope had an affinity with animals, plus a gentle but sure touch. She was never squeamish, but she exuded sympathy. Ivey valued her. The clients loved her. And the animals trusted her.

Unfortunately, they were still five minutes away from the clinic when the dog went into labor. “This is definitely happening,” Ivey said, doing what she could to make the animal comfortable.

Leaning closer to the steering wheel, Hope drove a little faster. “Be there soon.”

They’d barely gotten in the door when her water broke. Hope ran ahead to prepare an area, moving with practiced ease as she opened an already cleaned kennel and set up a whelping box, then filled it with bedding material. The box had three tall sides to contain the coming puppies, and one low side for the mother to step out for food and water.

Knowing Hope had it in hand, Ivey began cleaning the dog as quickly and efficiently as possible. She managed a cursory job, removing the worst of the mud, when Hope rejoined her. “We’re all set.”

“With luck we’ll have enough time to clean and wrap her leg before she gives birth.” Usually that happened within two hours after the animal’s water breaking, so they didn’t have a minute to spare.

A day that had already been long just turned entirely endless.

Excerpted from The Summer of No Attachments by Lori Foster, Copyright © 2021 by Lori Foster. Published by HQN Books. 

Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan Review

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

A woman finds herself drawn back to the California Estate of her Uncle after inheriting the property, but as she fulfills his final request to have an artist record his album at the property, memories of her time spent at the property in the summer of 1979, and the shocking mystery of her cousin Willa’s disappearance, come back to haunt her in this thrilling historical fiction from author Amy Mason Doan, “Lady Sunshine”.

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The Synopsis

For Jackie Pierce, everything changed the summer of 1979, when she spent three months of infinite freedom at her bohemian uncle’s sprawling estate on the California coast. As musicians, artists, and free spirits gathered at The Sandcastle for the season in pursuit of inspiration and communal living, Jackie and her cousin Willa fell into a fast friendship, testing their limits along the rocky beach and in the wild woods… until the summer abruptly ended in tragedy, and Willa silently slipped away into the night.

Twenty years later, Jackie unexpectedly inherits The Sandcastle and returns to the iconic estate for a short visit to ready it for sale. But she reluctantly extends her stay when she learns that, before her death, her estranged aunt had promised an up-and-coming producer he could record a tribute album to her late uncle at the property’s studio. As her musical guests bring the place to life again with their sun-drenched beach days and late-night bonfires, Jackie begins to notice startling parallels to that summer long ago. And when a piece of the past resurfaces and sparks new questions about Willa’s disappearance, Jackie must discover if the dark secret she’s kept ever since is even the truth at all.

The Review

A truly heartfelt and enthralling historical fiction and mystery read, author Amy Mason Doan is a master of weaving various genres together in a most natural way. The culture and setting of both the 70’s and 90’s California scene was felt wholeheartedly in this book, becoming a character all its own within the narrative. The pacing as the stories of both the past and the (nearer past) helped elevate not only the mystery and narrative of this book but the character’s interaction with one another. 

The characters and their relationships were the true heart of this novel. The way certain characters embodied the music scene of late 70’s era California was incredible to see unfold, and really informed the development of Jackie as a protagonist to the character’s present day. The addition of the mystery aspect of this family’s legacy and history really showcased the balance the author found within the historical fiction genre, making this a truly remarkable read.

The Verdict

A masterful, engaging, and thought-provoking mystery and historical-fiction novel, author Amy Mason Doan’s “Lady Sunshine” is a must-read story. A great blend of family dynamics, cultural evolution and family secrets and how they influence the development of our futures make this a stand-out narrative, and the perfect historical fiction read for the 2021 summer. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Headshots by Sash Photography http://sashphotography.com

AMY MASON DOAN is the author of The Summer List and Summer Hours. She earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in journalism from Stanford University, and has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes, among other publications. She grew up in Danville, California, and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter.

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Here is an Excerpt From “LADY SUNSHINE”

1

A Girl, Her Cousin, and a Waterfall

1999

I rattle the padlock on the gate, strum my fingers along the cold chain-link fence.

I own this place.

Maybe if I repeat it often enough I’ll believe it.

All along the base of the fence are tributes: shells, notes, sketches, bunches of flowers. Some still fresh, some so old the petals are crisp as parchment. I follow the fence uphill, along the coast side, and stop at a wooden, waist-high sign marking the path up to the waterfall. It wasn’t here the summer I visited.

The sign is covered in words and drawings, so tattooed-over by fan messages that you can barely read the official one. I run my fingertips over the engravings: initials, peace symbols, Thank you’s, I Love You’s. Fragments of favorite lyrics. After coming so far to visit the legendary estate, people need to do something, leave their mark, if only with a rock on fog-softened wood.

Song titles from my uncle’s final album, Three, are carved everywhere. “Heart, Home, Hope.”

“Leaf, Shell, Raindrop.”

“Angel, Lion, Willow.” Someone has etched that last one in symbols instead of words. The angel refers to Angela, my aunt. The lion is my uncle Graham.

And the willow tree. Willa, my cousin.

I have a pointy metal travel nail file in my suitcase; I could add my message to the rest, my own tribute to this place, to the Kingstons. To try to explain what happened the summer I spent here. I could tell it like one of the campfire tales I used to spin for Willa.

This is the story of a girl, her cousin, and a waterfall…

But there’s no time for that, not with only seven days to clear the house for sale. Back at the gate, where Toby’s asleep in his cat carrier in the shade, I dig in my overnight bag for the keys. They came in a FedEx with a fat stack of documents I must’ve read on the plane from Boston a dozen times—thousands of words, all dressed up in legal jargon. When it’s so simple, really. Everything inside that fence is mine now, whether I want it or not.

I unlock the gate, lift the metal shackle, and walk uphill to the highest point, where the gravel widens into a parking lot, then fades away into grass. The field opens out below me just like I remember. We called it “the bowl,” because of the way the edges curve up all around it. A golden bowl scooped into the hills, rimmed on three sides by dark green woods. The house, a quarter mile ahead of me at the top of the far slope, is a pale smudge in the fir trees.

I stop to take it in, this piece of land I now own. The Sandcastle, everyone called it.

Without the neighbors’ goats and Graham’s guests to keep the grass down, the field has grown wild, many of the yellow weeds high as my belly button.

Willa stood here with me once and showed me how from this angle the estate resembled a sun. The kind a child would draw, with a happy face inside. Once I saw it, it was impossible to un-see:

The round, straw-colored field, trails squiggling off to the woods in every direction, like rays. The left eye—the campfire circle. The right eye—the blue aboveground pool. The nose was the vertical line of picnic benches in the middle of the circle that served as our communal outdoor dining table. The smile was the curving line of parked cars and motorcycles and campers.

All that’s gone now, save for the pool, which is squinting, collapsed, moldy green instead of its old bright blue.

I should go back for my bag and Toby but I can’t resist—I move on, down to the center of the field. Far to my right in the woods, the brown roofline of the biggest A-frame cabin, Kingfisher, pokes through the firs. But no other cabins are visible, the foliage is so thick now. Good. Each alteration from the place of my memories gives me confidence. I can handle this for a week. One peaceful, private week to box things up and send them away.

“Sure you don’t want me to come help?” Paul had asked when he dropped me at the airport this morning. “We could squeeze in a romantic weekend somewhere. I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco.”

“You have summer school classes, remember? Anyway, it’ll be totally boring, believe me.”

I’d told him—earnest, sweet Paul, who all the sixth-graders at the elementary school where we work hope they get as their teacher and who wants to marry me—that the trip was no big deal. That I’d be away for a week because my aunt in California passed away. That I barely knew her and just had to help pack up her old place to get it ready for sale.

He believed me.

I didn’t tell him that the “old place” is a stunning, sprawling property perched over the Pacific, studded with cabins and outbuildings and a legendary basement recording studio. That the land bubbles with natural hot springs and creeks and waterfalls.

Or that I’ve inherited it. All of it. The fields, the woods, the house, the studio. And my uncle’s music catalog.

I didn’t tell him that I visited here once as a teenager, or that for a little while, a long time ago, I was sure I’d stay forever.

Excerpted from Lady Sunshine @ 2021 by Amy Mason Doan, used with permission by Graydon House.

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee Review

A young Loki living in the days before the Age of Heroes of the Marvel Universe finds himself desperate to be seen as heroic, but finds living in his beloved brother Thor’s shadow and assumptions about his future villainy overwhelming. Sent to Earth by Odin to investigate a series of murders related to Asgard magic, Loki discovers a journey throughout 19th century London that takes him to the source of his power in author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies”. 

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The Synopsis

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential and duality of heroism of popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard’s resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.

But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard’s most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.

When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he’s meant to be.

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The Review

A fascinating read, the story truly dives into the complex mind and behavior of one of Marvel Comics’ most incredible villains. The exploration of Loki as a character was great to see unfold. From his deep relationship of humor and overshadowing between him and his brother Thor to the understanding and connection he feels with characters like Amora on Asgard and Theo on Earth, Loki explores not only his bonds with others and the trust he places in them but the fine line between heroism and villainy that has steered him back and forth so often in the comics and MCU. The only thing I’d loved to have seen is a more accurate portrayal of his sexuality as according to comic creators in the past and now more recently the MCU, as he has been confirmed to be bisexual rather than pansexual, and it is so crucial to have accurate representation throughout the narrative.

The historical and mythological aspect of the narrative was a big win for me. As a fan of Norse mythology and the history of 19th century London, it was great to see such an in-depth look into these settings and the cultural differences between the two worlds as well, from the early exploration of the organization that would become SHIELD to the acceptance of sexuality and gender identity in Asgard as opposed to the lack of acceptance on Earth during this time. These important social themes and identity storylines really helped elevate the magic and mystery aspects of the novel.

The Verdict

An engaging, action-packed, and brilliant narrative, author Mackenzi Lee’s “Loki: Where Mischief Lies” is a fantastic study of the classic Avengers villain and how we as a society can become responsible for the way people become villains through our own actions. Although some more character growth and development for Loki would have been great to see as far as his identity, the overall narrative and story do a great job of showcasing representation overall and creating an exciting new chapter in Marvel history. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name.

When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie.

http://www.mackenzilee.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/loki-where-mischief-lies-by-mackenzi-lee

The Seeds of Love (Sunflower Kisses Book 1) by Tyler B. Wittkofsky Review

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

A young man fresh out of college and ready for a new job finds his world turned upside down when he meets a college soccer player. As she challenges him and changes his path in life, together they push ahead on a new journey in author Tyler B. Wittkofsky’s “The Seeds of Love”, the first in the SUNFLOWER KISSES series.

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The Synopsis

Fresh out of college, Clay Dabrowski is finally in a good spot in his life. Backed by his support systems, he has his sights on a new job and loving friends and family by his side. The future looks bright. Then he meets fiery-red haired Bailey Childe, a college soccer player from a loving family. Dealing with a rocky relationship, she changes Clay’s world, and quickly shakes up all of his plans. Together they forge a path neither believed was possible. But it leaves Clay wondering, is everything as perfect as it seems?

The Review

A moving and heartfelt story of two young people falling in love, author Tyler Wittkofsky does an outstanding job of creating an emotional and gripping narrative that draws the reader in immediately. The pacing of the novel does a great job of showcasing both the nervousness and magic of falling in love and the whirlwind excitement that comes with that, and the tension and work that comes after love as family, friends, and outside forces either try to voice their opinions or even stand in the way of a growing relationship.

The character arcs for both Clay and Bailey are both relatable and entertaining to read and watch unfold. The family dynamics and friendships for both highlight the struggle of balancing love and romance along with the viewpoints of others in our lives who we also love, and how they sometimes can clash. Aside from the deep-seated romance of the novel, however, I found the focus on mental health a great character development for Clay. As a mental health advocate, it was refreshing to see anxiety, depression and other mental health struggles represented honestly in a fictional way and not over-exaggerated like it sadly is so often, and yet showcases how love and romance can still thrive for those going through something so difficult. 

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The Verdict

A memorable, honest, and engaging narrative within the new adult, college-age romance novel genre, author Tyler Wittkofsky’s “The Seeds of Love” is a brilliant first chapter in the author’s new romance series. The emotional highs and lows of building a relationship and the way the characters come together are enthralling, to say the least, and make this story shine so brightly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible story today, as I know I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapter of this series.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Tyler Wittkofsky was born and raised in Leland, North Carolina, mere minutes from Historic Wilmington and Southport. He graduated from South Brunswick High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Growing up, his grandmother was a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, and later his elementary school principal. She encouraged his creative writing style and helped him to grow into the writer he is today.

He spends much of his time volunteering for nonprofits and giving his time back to the youth in his community. He was named one of Brunswick County’s Future 10 in 2017, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year in 2018, and one of the StarNews 40 Under 40 in 2019 for his passion for helping others discover the jewel that is Northern Brunswick County.

He currently resides in Leland, North Carolina with his fiancé Grace and dogs Dutch and Belle.

https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky

Anzar the Progenitor by Bruce Olav Solheim Review

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

Author Bruce Olav Solheim takes readers on a unique journey into his experiences with an alien mystic he has been in contact with for years, and in the process explores the concept of UFO’s and the Paranormal being connected through high strangeness in the book “Anzar the Progenitor”. 

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The Synopsis

Anzar is an ancient alien mystic whom I have known most of my life and have been in weekly direct contact with since 2018. Anzar the Progenitor documents my spirit communication with this ancient alien, including his prophecies, sage advice, and commentary on the world. The book has extensive endnotes and includes my research on the nature of this communication through mediumship and my theory of how the alien world, the spirit world, and the quantum world are the same—a quantum nexus. We can no longer wait for government disclosure about UFOs and aliens. The time has come for personal revelation through a leap of consciousness in a new Era of Reconversion. We are all related and we are the aliens.

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The Review

What an illuminating and thought-provoking read. This book is right up my alley, delving into the high strangeness and paranormal goodness that I have come to know and love in my life. The author does an excellent job of blending the history and culture surrounding ufology, cryptozoology, and paranormal research with his own personal experiences and research, finding a harmonious back and forth that makes the book feel both personal and professionally researched.

The author’s ability to achieve such a rich and layered story that is both fantastic and out of this world and very much grounded in reality is amazing to see unfold. The way the author explores quantum physics and its impact on the paranormal, UFOs, and spiritualism is inspired and speaks to me on a personal level. 

Many of you know from my review of the incredible Kristin Martin’s BEYOND THE STARS AND SHADOWS that I am a big believer in not only the paranormal, but high strangeness, metaphysics, and everything in-between. I’ve definitely talked about Hellier more times than I could count. The author’s work here is a great addition to this line of research and study, exploring the ever-changing nature of reality, and the conversations between him and this ancient alien visitor are incredible to read, expanding not only our own consciousness but our exploration of the universe overall.

The Verdict

A thoughtful, engaging, and brilliant book that explores the concept of reality and the paranormal, author Bruce Olav Solheim’s “Anzar the Progenitor” is a must-read story. After being introduced to the concept of synchronicities, I am a firm believer that books like this often come to us during times of high strangeness and when we don’t even realize we need it. The kind of book that readers will come back to and study time and time again, the author’s respectful approach to the topic, and the reader’s need to come into it with a skeptical yet open mind really speaks to the growing change in our world in regards to this topic. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Author

Bruce Olav Solheim was born on September 3, 1958, in Seattle, Washington, to hard-working Norwegian immigrant parents, Asbjørn and Olaug Solheim. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a helicopter pilot. He earned his PhD in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993.

Bruce is currently a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He also served as a Fulbright professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway.

Bruce founded the Veterans Program at Citrus College and cofounded, with Manuel Martinez and Ginger De Villa-Rose, the Boots to Books transition course—the first college course in the United States designed specifically for recently returned veterans. He has published five books and has written seven plays, two of which have been produced.

Bruce is married to Ginger, the girl of his dreams, who is a professional helicopter pilot and certified flight instructor. He has been blessed with four wonderful children: Bjørn, Byron, Caitlin, and Leif. He also has a precious grandson, Liam. Bruce, his brother, and his two nephews still own the family home in Åse, Norway, two hundred miles above the Arctic Circle.

https://www.bruceolavsolheim.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/bruce-olav-solheim

Oware Mosaic by Nzondi Review

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

An Enhuman girl must race against the clock along with her human best friend and detective to find a way of saving sentient life in a nightmarish virtual landscape in author Nzondi’s futuristic, dystopian thriller “Oware Mosaic”.

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The Synopsis

Decades after a cataclysmic nuclear war, Ghanaian scientists develop technology that store consciousness onto data orbs called retcons. Seventeen-year-old forensic specialist, Feeni Xo, is a Enhuman (a radiation-enhanced metabolic human) that, similar to a vampire, need blood for sustenance. Through a game called the House of Oware, Feeni discovers that the virtual construct is actually an augmented reality. She and her human best friend, Sammi, a young female detective, have been mysteriously given specialized neural implants that allow them to hack into government software. The two teenagers race against time in a horrific world of deformed beasts to piece together the puzzles of the digital mosaic. Will they find a way to save sentient beings from total extinction or will they run out of time?

The Review

An incredibly daring and creative new dystopian and sci-fi horror novel, author Nzondi has captured the reader’s attention and painted a vivid picture of this apocalyptic-level future. A fantastic story that delves into the much needed genre of Afrofuturism and contemporary Black science fiction, the narrative does an excellent job of balancing the intricate pacing of the main mystery with the powerful and artistic setting that is both original and full of culture all at once. 

The character arcs were the true draw for many readers, including myself. The protagonist’s early struggle with guilt and horror after she is convinced she was complicit in a horrific accident and coverup is the perfect shock to the reader’s system as they delve into this terrifying and futuristic world. Yet it is the twist and turns that take the protagonist off into varied directions that keep the mystery and suspense element of the narrative alive, and the introduction and revelation of long thought gone characters will keep readers guessing the true mystery all the while.

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The Verdict

A memorable, creatively-inspired, and haunting sci-fi and horror-driven narrative, author Nzondi’s “Oware Mosaic” is a must-read sci-fi novel. A gripping tale of family, corruption and culture, this book draws the reader in immediately and keeps them locked in till the last page’s final turn, making this a truly remarkable novel. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nzondi (Ace Antonio Hall) was born Acemandese Nzondi Hall in Queens, New York on July 4th. Hall received his BFA from C. W. Post, Long Island University. His science fiction/horror work, Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum, September 2019), is the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Winner for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. Hall is a two-time Honorable Mention winner of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Award. He is also the author of the novel, Confessions of Sylva Slasher, (Montag Press, April 2013) and a non-fiction book, Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers (Omnium Gatherum, April 2017).

https://www.aantoniohall.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/oware-mosaic-by-nzondi

Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast Review

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

Twin witches must avenge their mother’s murder, stop an ancient evil from taking over their town and ultimately fulfill their destiny in authors P.C. and Kristin Cast’s “Spells Trouble”, the first in the SISTERS OF SALEM series. 

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The Synopsis 

Double double, twins spell trouble…

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.

Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.

The Review

A truly mesmerizing and haunting fantasy and supernatural YA series comes to life in a one-of-a-kind way, blending history and culture with mythology and the true concept of family. The family dynamics of the Goode sisters are engaging, to say the least, highlighting their differences as the two sisters who have always been close find themselves lost and drifting apart off and on throughout the narrative after the brutal loss of their mother. The history of Sarah Goode from the infamous Salem Witch Trials and tying her story into that of her descendants was an inspired choice for story and character growth, which helped elevate this story. 

What was the biggest draw for me as a reader was the incredible attention to detail both historically and mythologically, not only exploring the impact and culture of the Salem Witch Trials to a fantasy setting, but incorporating ancient gods and goddesses and mythological creatures from not just single mythology, but multiple mythologies. From bloodthirsty Norse monsters to ancient and sometimes even obscure goddesses of Greek origin made this narrative feel larger than life, while the balance came from the intricate relationship between the sisters, as well as their relationships with their friends as well.

The Verdict

An entertaining, shocking, and haunting YA fantasy and paranormal read, authors P.C. and Kristin Cast’s “Spells Trouble” is a must-read novel for YA fans this summer! A perfect blend of mythology, history, and family dynamics, the shocking final moments of this narrative will leave readers anxious to get a glimpse into the next book of this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

P.C. CAST

PC was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school, she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. PC is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. PC is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. Ms. Cast lives in Oregon near her fabulous daughter, her adorable pack of dogs, her crazy Maine Coon, and a bunch of horses. House of Night Other World, book 4, FOUND, releases July 7th, 2020. More info to come soon about the HoN TV series!

https://www.pccastauthor.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/p-c-cast

KRISTIN CAST

Kristin is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who was born on an Air Force base in Japan and grew up in Oklahoma where she explored everything from tattoo modeling to broadcast journalism. After battling addiction, Kristin made her way to the Pacific Northwest and landed in Portland. She rediscovered her passion for storytelling in the stacks at dusty bookstores and in rickety chairs in old coffeehouses. For as long as she can remember, Kristin’s been telling stories. Thankfully, she’s been writing them down since 2005.

https://kcastauthor.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristin-cast

Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad by Eric L. Heard Review

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

A father speaks to his son on the experiences of his own childhood in an effort to connect those experiences to the anxiety and challenges of parenthood in author Eric L. Heard’s “Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad”. 

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The Synopsis

The purpose of this book is an awkward discussion of Eric Heard’s life to his son. He talks about his life in a candid way that tries to explain his anxiety as an African American dad. It is an open and honest account of his life through the life of a child that has been through a lot in his life. It is a reflection on his life that has been shaped by his childhood experiences.

The Review

This was such a brilliantly written and emotionally driven memoir. The personal nature of this particular memoir really helps readers to feel connected not only to the message this novel creates but to the author himself and his struggles both with his past and his anxiety to be the best parent to his son possible. Stemming from a fear that his son would go down a path of chaos and bad decisions, the author recognizes his behavior not only directly impacts his son and his perceptions of the world, but how his own past and the adults in his life have impacted his actions in the present. 

This is not only a great examination of learned behavior and environment on the growth of a child, (examining the author’s life and childhood growing up in the American South during the ’70s, 80’s and beyond), but in particular, this is a much needed and thoughtful look at the experiences African-American children undergo and the added pressures that African-American parents have to help raise their child in a nation that still houses too much racism. Combine this with the personal stories the author shares of his relationship with his parents, his grandparents, and the relationship between his parents and his grandparents together, and the reader gets both an intimate look into the author’s life and a broader look into the life of an African-American parent in the United States today.

The Verdict

A meaningful, insightful, and thought-provoking memoir, author Eric L. Heard’s “Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad” is a must-read nonfiction book of 2021. While a short read, the book has a major impact, speaking to parents and in particular African-American parents as the book takes an intimate look into the author’s personal stories and showcases how our childhood and the way adults interact with children do have an impact on their lives later on. A truly meaningful book that is not to be missed, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Eric L. Heard currently lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky with his wife, Sonya, of 17 years and his son, McKinley. Eric is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Engineering. He also has a Master’s Business Administration from Indiana University and Master’s of Manufacturing Operations from Kettering University. He is an Army Brat who has lived in the Southeast United States, Germany, and Japan. Please contact me at ericlheard@hotmail.com, if you have any questions or need to contact me.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/reflections-of-an-anxious-african-american-dad-by-eric-l-heard

Thread of Souls: Book One: Phantom Five by Scott & Ashley Roepel Review

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

A group of adventurers must overcome their differences to face a world of deadly magic, monsters and the undead as they seek answers to the shocking murder of a high priest in authors Scott & Ashley Roepel’s “Thread of Souls: Book One: Phantom Five”. 

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The Synopsis

The sudden death of a high priest in a sleepy coastal village has rocked aspiring Paladin Zok’s world. Finding evidence of murder, he can trust no one in the temple as a dark plot unravels itself. Zok teams up with a group of adventurers to seek answers deep within the desert.

He’s joined by a nomadic Druid who is haunted by visions of a calamity, and an orphan thief who is chasing her kidnapped sister across the planes. And by a boisterous pirate, an enigmatic Wizard, and a Ranger fugitive of war. If they cannot put aside their differences, they will not survive the world of occult magic, interplanar monsters, and hungry undead that await them.

And halfway across the land, Taliesin and Ruuda are two fugitives from their oppressive homes. They venture out in a world where they must hide their identity or risk execution.

The Review

This was such a fun and engaging fantasy read. Detailed with both character backstory and mythology, the authors have done a masterful job crafting a story with both magical and larger-than-life action that blends with personal narratives that really connect the cast of characters with the reader. 

The balance of dark fantasy and character growth really elevates the narrative here. The danger and stakes of this fantasy world are made apparent early on in the story, as one of the main characters watches her sister taken right before her eyes by a large flying creature out of a nightmare. Yet it is the bond between the characters that really steals this story, as the blend of humor, charm, and heroism mixes with the personal problems each of these characters faces with their pasts and futures. It speaks of the classic swords and daggers, hero’s journey elements of adult fantasy novels that fans have come to know and love over the years.

The Verdict

An exhilarating, thrilling, and breathtaking fantasy-driven story, authors Scott and Ashley Roepel’s “Thread of Souls” is a must-read novel for fantasy fans of 2021! The first in an exciting 8-part fantasy series, the authors have created a brilliant and engaging story that hosts the magic and wonder that so many fans of the fantasy genre have always loved, and fans will not want to miss out on this series for themselves. Be sure to grab your copy today!

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About the Authors

Scott and Ashley Roepel are a husband and wife team of writers, creators, and travelers. They are co-founders of Tal & Ru Travels LLC which is focused on entertaining and engaging content. Deep lovers of fantasy, the two of them are avid D&D players and content creators.

https://talandrudungeonloot.com/

https://www.instagram.com/talandrutravels/