Author Archives: authoranthonyavinablog

About authoranthonyavinablog

Anthony Avina, (Born March 1990), is an author, a journalist, and a blogger. Born in Southern California, he has battled through injuries, disabilities, moves back and forth across the country, and more, yet still maintains a creative voice that he hopes to use not only to entertain but to inspire hope in even the darkest situations. He writes short stories and novels in several genres, and is also a seasoned journalist for the online magazine, On Request Magazine, as well as the popular site TheGamer. Having grown up reading the books of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, they inspired him to write new and exciting stories that delved into the minds of richly developed characters. He constantly tries to write stories that have never been told before, and to paint a picture in your mind while you are reading the book, as if you could see every scene of the book as if it were a movie you were watching. His stories will get your imaginations working, and will also show that in spite of the most despairing and horrific situations, hope is never out of reach. He am always writing, and so there will never be a shortage of new stories for your reading pleasure. http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

The German Wife: A Novel by Kelly Rimmer Review

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

A family who was forced to join the growing military power of Nazi Germany at the height of the war relocates to the United States in the war’s aftermath, and hostility in the anti-German wave that hits the US leads to a shocking series of events between two women in author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife: A Novel”.

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The Synopsis

The enmity between two women from opposing sides of the war culminates in a shocking event as anti-German sentiment sweeps America, when the aristocratic wife of a German scientist must face the social isolation, hostility and violence leveled against her and her family when they’re forced to relocate to Alabama in the aftermath of WWII. For fans of Beatriz Wiliams, Pam Jenoff, and Kristin Harmel.

Berlin, Germany, 1930—When the Nazis rise to power, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes and her academic husband benefit from the military ambitions of Germany’s newly elected chancellor when Jürgen is offered a high-level position in their burgeoning rocket program. Although they fiercely oppose Hitler’s radical views, and joining his ranks is unthinkable, it soon becomes clear that if Jürgen does not accept the job, their income will be taken away. Then their children. And then their lives.

Huntsville, Alabama, 1950—Twenty years later, Jürgen is one of many German scientists pardoned and granted a position in America’s space program. For Sofie, this is a chance to leave the horrors of her past behind. But when rumors about the Rhodes family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spread among her new American neighbors, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results tears apart a family and leaves the community wondering—is it an act of vengeance or justice?

The Review

This was such an emotional and captivating read. The amount of research and creativity that went into this narrative was so evident from the story’s first chapter. The vivid imagery and atmosphere the author crafted really brought these settings to life, both in terms of physical location and the social atmosphere during and after the war. 

What stood out to me was the heartbreaking character development that went into this narrative. The haunting reality of war and in particular WWII as the life or death stakes of Hitler’s regime made people forced into jobs and careers within the Nazi party that they hadn’t really wanted. The way the author explored natural prejudices and the building tensions of a community in the wake of that war too was so important to understanding our own modern divides and how social tensions can contribute to conflict. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, poignant, and engaging, author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife” is a must-read historical fiction read. The emotional storyline and shocking series of twists and turns the narrative takes were so captivating, and the brilliant way the author wrote really brought this history and the characters to life in a powerful and grounded way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10                                                                                                                            

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About the Author

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

Facebook: @Kellymrimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-german-wife-9781525899904/9781525899904 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525811432 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-german-wife-kelly-rimmer/1139609914?ean=9781525811432  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FGT2V4F/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i4 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-german-wife-a-novel/9781525804830-item.html?ikwidx=1&ikwsec=Books#algoliaQueryId=bcb8245f4a6a5bf65037b28607513004 

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Here is an Excerpt from author Kelly Rimmer’s “The German Wife”

1

Sofie

Huntsville, Alabama 1950

“WAKE UP, GISELA,” I MURMURED, GENTLY SHAKing my daughter awake. “It’s time to see Papa.”

After the better part of a day on a stuffy, hot bus, I was so tired my eyes were burning, my skin gritty with dried sweat from head to toe. I had one sleeping child on my lap and the other leaning into me as she sprawled across the seat. After three long weeks of boats and trains and buses, my long journey from Berlin to Alabama was finally at an end.

My youngest daughter had always been smaller than her peers, her body round and soft, with a head of auburn hair like mine, and my husband’s bright blue eyes. Over the last few months, a sudden growth spurt transformed her. She was now taller than me. The childhood softness had stretched right out of her, leaving her rail thin and lanky.

Gisela stirred, then slowly pushed herself to a sitting position. Her eyes scanned along the aisle of the bus as if she were reorienting herself. Finally, cautiously, she turned to look out the window.

“Mama. It really doesn’t look like much…”

We were driving down a wide main street lined with small stores and restaurants. So far, Huntsville looked about as I’d expected it would—neat, tidy…segregated.

Minnie’s Salon. Whites Only.

Seamstress for Colored.

Ada’s Café. The Best Pancakes in Town. Whites ONLY!

When I decided to make the journey to join my husband in America, segregation was one of a million worries I consciously put off for later. Now, faced with the stark reality of it, I dreaded the discussions I’d be having with my children once we had enough rest for productive conversation. They needed to understand exactly why those signs sent ice through my veins.

“Papa did tell us that this is a small town, remember?” I said gently. “There are only fifteen thousand people in Huntsville and it will be very different from Berlin, but we can build a good life here. And most importantly, we’ll be together again.”

“Not all of us,” Gisela muttered.

“No, not all of us,” I conceded quietly. Loss was like a shadow to me. Every now and again, I’d get distracted and I’d forget it was there. Then I’d turn around and feel the shock of it all over again. It was the same for my children, especially for Gisela. Every year of her life had been impacted by the horrors of war, or by grief and change.

I couldn’t dwell on that—not now. I was about to see my husband for the first time in almost five years and I was every bit as anxious as I was excited. I had second-guessed my decision to join him in the United States a million or more times since I shepherded the children onto that first bus in Berlin, bound for the port in Hamburg where we boarded the cross-Atlantic steamship.

I looked down at my son. Felix woke when I shook his sister, but was still sitting on my lap, pale and silent. He had a head of sandy curls and his father’s curious mind. Until now, they’d never been on the same continent.

The first thing I noticed was that Jürgen looked different. It was almost summer and warm out, but he was wearing a light blue suit with a white shirt and a dark blue bow tie. Back home, he never wore a suit that color and he never would have opted for a bow tie. And instead of his customary silver-framed glasses, he was wearing a pair with thick black plastic frames. They were modern and suited him. Of course he had new glasses—five years had passed. Why was I so bothered by those frames?

I couldn’t blame him if he reinvented himself, but what if this new version of Jürgen didn’t love me, or was someone I couldn’t continue to love?

He took a step forward as we shuffled off the bus but didn’t even manage a second before Gisela ran to him and threw her arms around his neck.

“Treasure,” he said, voice thick with emotion. “You’ve grown up so much.”

There was a faint but noticeable American twang in his German words, which was as jarring as the new glasses.

Jürgen’s gaze settled on Felix, who was holding my hand with a grip so tight my fingers throbbed. I felt anxious for both children but I was scared for Felix. We’d moved halfway across the world to a country I feared would be wary of us at best, maybe even hostile toward us. For Gisela and me, a reunion with Jürgen was enough reason to take that risk. But Felix was nervous around strangers at the best of times, and he knew his father only through anecdotes and photographs.

“Felix,” Jürgen said, keeping one arm around Gisela as he started to walk toward us. I could see that he was trying to remain composed, but his eyes shone. “Son…”

Felix gave a whimper of alarm and hid behind my legs.

“Give him time,” I said quietly, reaching behind myself to touch Felix’s hair. “He’s tired and this is a lot to take in.”

“He looks just like—” Jürgen’s voice broke. I knew the struggle well. It hurt to name our grief, but it was important to do so anyway. Our son Georg should have been twenty years old, living out the best days of his life. Instead, he was another casualty of a war that the world would never make sense of. But I came to realize that Georg would always be a part of our family, and every time I found the strength to speak his name, he was brought to life, at least in my memories.

“I know,” I said. “Felix looks just like Georg.” It was fitting that I’d chosen Georg for Felix’s middle name, a nod to the brother he’d never know.

Jürgen raised his gaze to mine and I saw the depth of my grief reflected in his. No one would ever understand my loss like he did.

I realized that our years apart meant unfathomable changes in the world and in each of us, but my connection with Jürgen would never change. It already survived the impossible. At this thought, I rushed to close the distance between us.

Gisela was gently shuffled to the side and Jürgen’s arms were finally around me again. I thought I’d be dignified and cautious when we reunited, but the minute we touched, my eyes filled with tears as relief and joy washed over me in cascading waves.

I was on the wrong side of the world in a country I did not trust, but I was also back in Jürgen’s arms, and I was instantly at home.

“My God,” Jürgen whispered roughly, his body trembling against mine. “You are a sight for sore eyes, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes.”

“Promise me you’ll never let me go again.”

Jürgen was a scientist—endlessly literal, at least under normal circumstances. Once upon a time, he’d have pointed out all the reasons why such a promise could not be made in good faith—but now his arms contracted around me and he whispered into my hair, “It would kill me to do so, Sofie. If there’s one thing I want for the rest of my life, it’s to spend every day of it with you.”

“Many of our neighbors are Germans—most have just arrived in Huntsville in the last few weeks or months, so you will all be settling in together. There’s a party for us tomorrow at the base where I work, so you’ll meet most of them then,” Jürgen told me as he drove us through the town in his sleek black 1949 Ford. He glanced at the children in the rearview mirror, his expression one of wonder, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. “You’ll like it here, I promise.”

We’d be living in a leafy, quiet suburb called Maple Hill, on a small block the Americans nicknamed “Sauerkraut Hill” because it was now home to a cluster of German families. I translated the street signs for the children and they chuckled at the unfamiliar style. Our new street, Beetle Avenue, amused Gisela the most.

“Is there an insect plague we should worry about?” she chuckled.

“I really hope so,” Felix whispered, so quietly I had to strain to hear him. “I like beetles.”

As Jürgen pulled the car into the driveway, I couldn’t help but compare the simple house to the palatial homes I’d grown up in. This was a single-story dwelling, with a small porch leading to the front door, one window on either side. The house was clad in horizontal paneling, its white paint peeling. There were garden beds in front of the house, but they were overgrown with weeds. There was no lawn to speak of, only patchy grass in places, and the concrete path from the road to the porch was cracked and uneven.

I felt Jürgen’s eyes on my face as I stared out through the windshield, taking it all in.

“It needs a little work,” he conceded, suddenly uncertain. “It’s been so busy since I moved here, I haven’t had time to make it nice for you the way I hoped.”

“It’s perfect,” I said. I could easily picture the house with a fresh coat of paint, gardens bursting to life, Gisela and Felix running around, happy and safe and free as they made friends with the neighborhood children.

Just then, a woman emerged from the house to the left of ours, wearing a dress not unlike mine, her long hair in a thick braid, just like mine.

“Welcome, neighbors!” she called in German, beaming.

“This is Claudia Schmidt,” Jürgen said quietly as he reached to open his car door. “She’s married to Klaus, a chemical engineer. Klaus has been at Fort Bliss with me for a few years, but Claudia arrived from Frankfurt a few days ago.”

Sudden, sickening anxiety washed over me.

“Did you know him—”

“No,” Jürgen interrupted me, reading my distress. “He worked in a plant at Frankfurt and our paths never crossed. We will talk later, I promise,” he said, dropping his voice as he nodded toward the children. I reluctantly nodded, as my heart continued to race.

There was so much Jürgen and I needed to discuss, including just how he came to be a free man in America. Phone calls from Europe to America were not available to the general public, so Jürgen and I planned the move via letters—a slow-motion, careful conversation that took almost two years to finalize. We assumed everything we wrote down would be read by a government official, so I hadn’t asked and he hadn’t offered an explanation about how this unlikely arrangement in America came to be.

I couldn’t get answers yet, not with the children in earshot, so it would have to be enough reassurance for me to know our neighbors were probably not privy to the worst aspects of our past.

Jürgen left the car and walked over to greet Claudia, and I climbed out my side. As I walked around the car to follow him, I noticed a man walking along the opposite side of the street, watching us. He was tall and broad, and dressed in a nondescript, light brown uniform that was at least a size or two too small. I offered him a wave, assuming him to be a German neighbor, but he scoffed and shook his head in disgust and looked away.

I’d been prepared for some hostility, but the man’s reaction stung more than I’d expected it to. I took a breath, calming myself. One unfriendly pedestrian was not going to ruin my first day in our new home—my first day reunited with Jürgen—so I forced a bright smile and rounded the car to meet Claudia.

“I’m Sofie.”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Since we arrived last week, you are all I’ve heard about from your husband! He has been so excited for you to come.”

“I sure have.” Jürgen grinned.

“Are you and the children coming to the party tomorrow?” Claudia asked.

“We are,” I said, and she beamed again. I liked her immediately. It was a relief to think I might have a friend to help me navigate our new life.

“Us too,” Claudia said, but then her face fell a little and she pressed her palms against her abdomen, as if soothing a tender stomach. “I am so nervous. I know two English words—hello and soda.”

“That’s a start,” I offered, laughing softly.

“I’ve only met a few of the other wives, but they’re all in the same boat. How on earth is this party going to work? Will we have to stay by our husbands’ sides so they can translate for us?”

“I speak English,” I told her. I was fluent as a child, taking lessons with British nannies, then honing my skills on business trips with my parents. Into my adulthood, I grew rusty from lack of speaking it, but the influx of American soldiers in Berlin after the war gave me endless opportunities for practice. Claudia’s expression lifted again and now she clapped her hands in front of her chest.

“You can help us learn.”

“Do you have children? I want Gisela and Felix to learn as quickly as they can. Perhaps we could do some lessons all together.”

“Three,” she told me. “They are inside watching television.”

“You have a television?” I said, eyebrows lifting.

“We have a television too,” Jürgen told us. “I bought it as a housewarming gift for you all.” Gisela gasped, and he laughed and extended his hand to her. I wasn’t surprised when she immediately tugged him toward the front door. She’d long dreamed of owning a television set, but such a luxury was out of reach for us in Berlin.

I waved goodbye to Claudia and followed my family, but I was distracted, thinking about the look of disgust in the eyes of that passing man.

Excerpted from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer, Copyright © 2022 by Lantana Management Pty, Ltd. Published by Graydon House Books. 

The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates Review

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

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates takes readers on a personal story of growing up with a tough-love father, his relationship with his mother, and the trials he would face, including racism, girl troubles, and so much more in the YA adaption of his memoir, “The Beautiful Struggle”. 

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The Synopsis

Adapted from the adult memoir by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, this father-son story explores how boys become men, and quite specifically, how Ta-Nehisi Coates became Ta-Nehisi Coates.

As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who’d been part of the Black Panthers and was dedicated to reading and publishing the history of African civilization. When it came to his sons, he was committed to raising proud Black men equipped to deal with a racist society, during a turbulent period in the collapsing city of Baltimore where they lived.

Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother “Big Bill,” who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his family struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

The Review

I found the author’s work to be so passionate and moving. The intimate way the author delved into his personal experiences and his life as a whole was in one breath very relatable, and in another breath very eye-opening, as he brought a truly unique perspective of what life was like as both a young black man and as the son of a Vietnam vet and Black Panther during a very turbulent time in our world’s history. The imagery and tone the author struck really brought the experiences the author delved into to life in a vivid way.

The author’s ability to translate this very adult memoir into a teachable lesson for younger readers, primarily YA readers, was amazing to read. The history and culture of that era and the hardships the author endured on both a cultural and personal level are things younger generations can definitely learn from. The personal struggles of his home life and his childhood will resonate with so many readers out there, and the artistry that has defined the author’s life and career is felt in every chapter.

The Verdict

Engaging, atmospheric, and beautifully written, author Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction meets YA book. The contrast of struggle versus hope is a powerful theme that is felt throughout this reading, and readers will be able to find both important lessons on culture and history while also relating to the author’s life in one way or another. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.

https://ta-nehisicoates.com/

Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo Review

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

Find out how the mind of a disturbed and vastly rich stalker works as they pursue the person they believe loves them in author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love”.

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The Synopsis

I love Emily. I know she loves me too, she just needs me to show her. One day, we will be together forever, I’ll make sure of that. She’s only with this guy she’s been hanging around with to test me, see if I’ll stand true. Emily wants me to fight for her, to see if I can win her. Of course, I will. Once she sees how I’ve been caring for her, all the plans I’ve made, the lengths I’ve gone to in order to be with her, she will be so proud of me. If only she would stop pretending so I could stop hiding in her attic.

Reach deep into the mind of mentally ill millionaire, Noah Burell, as he turns Emily’s world upside down.

The Review

This was such a chilling and haunting read. The author perfectly captures the fear and horror that so many people have had to endure over the years. The combination of mental illness left untreated and unhealthy obsessions have led to some truly terrifying cases over the years, and the author’s story really drew the reader in with the theme of obsession. The haunting atmosphere and tone the author’s narrative captures is the perfect way to capture the suspense thriller genre. 

The characters really just jumped off the page. The way the author was able to capture the POV of each character’s journey made the story feel that much more alive. The striking contrast between Emily’s whirlwind relationship with the protective and loving Isaiah with the disturbing and haunting obsession that Noah takes with her makes this story the heart of the novel overall.

The Verdict

Chilling, harrowing, and entertaining, author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love” is a must-read novel. The brilliant way the author captures the fear these cases can bring while also highlighting the need for better mental health awareness and help was a breath of fresh air, and the way the author did this without sacrificing the heart-pounding thriller aspect of this suspense novel was amazing to read. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!


Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Rachael Tamayo is the bestselling author of the award-winning Deadly Sins Series, and award-winning thriller, Crazy Love, among several other titles.  Before she started her writing career, she was a highly awarded 911 emergency services dispatcher with twelve years of experience and many commendations under her belt.   Upon exiting law enforcement, she’s focused her writing career on the dark, suspenseful, and psychological after beginning as a romance author.  Now Rachael uses her dark thriller as a sort of self-therapy after all those years answering 911 calls, and works all that she knows and was exposed to into the frighteningly realistic and layered characters her readers know and love her for.  Rachael lives on the Texas Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas with her husband of eighteen years this May,  their two children. 

https://rachaeltamayowrites.com/

The Archivist by V.S. Nelson Review

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

The last Archivist who sells his services as a soul harvester to others in order to preserve their dying loved ones finds himself embroiled in a deadly plot after a teenage boy tricks him into murder, and as a suicidal cult dies at his feet, an ancient power begins to hunt him down in author V.S. Nelson’s “The Archivist”.

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The Synopsis

Death is not the end.

There is no God waiting for you in paradise. No afterlife where friendships severed by death are reformed and families reunited. There is only the Aether, a dimension of insatiable hunger that will possess you no matter the life you led.

Yet there is hope for a lucky few. Archivists, existing between the world of the living and the world of the dead, can offer salvation… for a price. Taking your essence in the final moments before death, they become your afterlife, allowing you to speak with those who remain.

When the last archivist is tricked into murder by troubled teenager, Sun-young Kang, he finds himself the centre of a suicidal cult that die at his feet. But there is more to these deaths than the Archivist realises. Someone is coming for him.

The Archivist may be the closest thing to a god that walks the Earth, but is that enough to keep those he cares about safe?

The Archivist is an incredibly rich novel with a truly original concept. It is cinematic in its scope and details the haunting, but also beautiful, gift an archivist could offer a person in their final moments.

The Review

This was such a brilliant and unique read. The author did an incredible job of crafting a mythos and world that felt both alive and new in its identity. The emotional depth of the narrative was greatly felt, as readers felt the character’s struggles with loss and the concept of death and the afterlife as a whole. The heavy atmosphere and tension that came with that reality were both relatable and original in their delivery. 

The character arcs of this narrative and how they played into the evolving mythos surrounding the Aether and the Archivists were incredible to watch. The complexity of the Archivist itself and how it holds so many other essences within itself while maintaining some sort of autonomy was so thought-provoking and unique. Yet it was the emotional toll of the families and those living within the Archivist in death that really drove the heart of this narrative home.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thoughtful, author V.S. Nelson’s “The Archivist” is a must-read novel o 2022. The growing mythology of the Aether and the Archivists was so creative and unique in its development, and the imagery the author used in their writing was both beautiful and chilling, depending on the moment in the book the reader was reading. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today. 

Rating: 10/10 

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About the Author

V S Nelson writes unconventional middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction and supernatural stories for readers who enjoy something a little strange.

Their first story was The Keeper of Portals, a middle grade fantasy/sci-fi with plenty of portal jumping and time slipping. Their second story, The Archivist, is a young adult dark fantasy all about death and what happens after.

V S Nelson loves big ideas, fantastical concepts and stories that unsettle the reader and set them thinking about something new.

V S Nelson lives in Winchester with their other half, two children and three cats. When not writing, they’re either working as a theoretical physicist or building Lego.

https://vsnelson.com/

Running with Roselle by Michael Hingson and Jeanette Hanscome Review 

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

A man blind from birth and a young Golden Retriever puppy come together, never knowing they would capture the world’s attention by achieving the impossible and surviving one of the United States deadliest terrorist attacks in author Michael Hingson and Jeanette Hanscome’s “Running with Roselle”.

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The Synopsis 

A puppy who became a true American hero. The blind boy who let nothing stop him. When they finally grew up and met, it was magic. On September 11, 2001, a blind man escaped the World Trade Center by walking down 78 flights of stairs with his guide dog. Days later, America fell in love with Mike and Roselle, and the special bond that helped them survive. Mike shared his story in the New York Times bestselling book, Thunder Dog.

Now, in Running With Roselle, kids can follow Roselle as she grows from an energetic yellow Lab prone to stealing her puppy raiser’s slippers to a confident guide dog who passes the ultimate test when her partner needs her most. Meet Mike, a boy blind from birth who excels in public school, shocks the neighbors by riding his bicycle through the streets of Palmdale, CA, drives a car around his college campus, and uses his relationship of trust and teamwork with Roselle to help others on a day that changed America forever.

The Review

As an eleven-year-old boy, I remember waking up on September 11th, in the hours before the rest of my family woke, and I watched from my home in Southern California as the attacks on the World Trade Center took place. The fear and anxiety that I felt at that moment, as well as the heartbreak at the people hurt or worse in those attacks being played over and over again on TV, broke my heart and made me cling to my family more than ever before. Yet I always have known that I could never hold a candle to the people who experienced that day firsthand or the families of those who were affected by that terrible day.

The authors did such an amazing job of finding the right balance between the grim reality of that day’s events with the more detailed backstory of both Mike and Roselle. The creative direction this nonfiction read took by sharing both Mike and Roselle’s perspectives and histories was great to read, as it gave a depth of character to the nonfiction events playing out over the narrative.

Yet what really struck me was the harmonic way the author shared multiple themes and stories with the audience. The overall theme of Mike and Roselle’s fight to survive that horrible attack was the prevailing story here, but the authors hone in on Mike and Roselle’s developing relationships, as well as the process of becoming a guide dog and the things that people born or made blind want the world to know and understand through Mike’s backstory, made this such a well-rounded narrative overall.

The Verdict

Haunting, chilling, and engaging, authors Michael Hingson and Jeanette Hanscome’s “Running with Roselle” is a must-read book. Terrifying yet inspiring, the authors not only highlight the pain, the struggle, and the horrors of that awful day, but show the camaraderie, strength, and courage it took for not only Mike and Roselle to survive the events but how they helped others and bonded with other survivors to get out of the building before it was too late. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

When the World Trade Center was attacked on 9-11, it was as though the world stood still. It was a day that captured our full attention. Michael Hingson and his Guide Dog Roselle were on the 78th floor of Tower One that day, and were able to make their way to safety and survive the attack. The duo was immediately thrust into the international spotlight, becoming well-known representatives of the strength of the human/animal bond and a living example of the powerful partnership that exists between a blind person and their Guide Dog. In 2002 Michael joined the Guide Dogs for the Blind team as the National Public Affairs director, to share his story throughout the world on behalf of the school. In June of 2008 Michael left Guide Dogs to form The Michael Hingson Group to continue his speaking career as well as to serve as a consultent for corporations and organizations that need assistance with Inclusive and Diversity training as well as adaptive technology training.

Michael Hingson is available for speaking engagements, public appearances, consulting and training contract positions and media interviews.

Jeanette Hanscome is the author of five books and hundreds of articles, devotions, and stories. She has contributed to over a dozen books, including Guideposts All God’s Creatures and Mornings with Jesus 2019. Her most recent book, Suddenly Single Mom: 52 Messages of Hope, Grace, and Promise, is described as a devotional that reads like a memoir. This year, she returned to her love of writing fiction. She is now in the process of writing the first of two novels for Annie’s Fiction.

Jeanette serves on the leadership team for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference and thoroughly enjoys equipping writers through workshops, critiques, and one-on-one coaching. When she isn’t writing, Jeanette gravitates toward all things creative, including singing, creative lettering, knitting and crochet, and (the newest addition) learning ukulele.   

Dead Without Remorse by Diane Bator Review 

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

An explosion forces an investigator to discover a killer’s identity before the suspects of the case somehow disappear in author Diane Bator’s “Dead Without Remorse”, the fifth book in the Gilda Wright Mystery series!

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The Synopsis

An explosion leaves a gaping hole in the streetscape where the Nine Lives Consignment Shop and the former martial arts school once stood.

When police find remains of a bomb inside, Gilda Wright needs to track a killer before her suspects scatter like debris.

The Review

This is a nice little whodunnit with an explosive twist. The author does a great job of layering the tension and humor of this mystery early on, starting the story with the protagonist and her friend enjoying an at-home vacation and quickly turning the happy friend’s day into a nightmare when a local building explodes. The fast pace of both the plot and the investigation will keep readers on the edge of their seats, and the twists and turns the mystery takes will have readers guessing about the killer’s identity.

The balance of suspense and rich character development was great to read here. The clues uncovered as each chapter plays out and the haunting reality of the character’s backstories were what kept readers hooked, and the beautiful way in which these characters came to life on the page was great to read. The tension between the protagonist, her current romantic interest, and the lone man who keeps becoming a constant in her life, was what kept me invested as the story progressed, adding a very real human element to the story. 

The Verdict

A harrowing, entertaining, and brilliant novel, author Diane Bater’s “Dead Without Remorse” is a must-read mystery novel and a great addition to the Gilda Wright Mystery series. While a knowledge of the series will help readers, the author did a great job of crafting a story and mystery that will allow readers to jump head first into the narrative, and readers will be eager to know what’s next for Gilda and the people in her life. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Diane Bator is a prolific writer published by BWL Publishing. She is a A member of WCYR, Sisters in Crime and a board member for the Crime Writers of Canada. She is the author of several mystery series and a budding playwright.

https://dianebator.ca/

Suspension (Time Binder) by Andrea Faye Christians Review

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

A young woman finds herself stuck between two worlds as a time travel adventure introduces historical figures, a shocking murder, and a startling discovery about her destiny in author Andrea Faye Christians’s “Suspension”, a Time Binder series novel.

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The Synopsis

An unexpected time travel tale. When Carla Thompson falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, she is shocked to discover what destiny has in store for her. Suspended between two worlds, she meets Isambard Brunel, the legendary eighteenth-century civil engineer, who built the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England, and who now serves as guardian of its secrets. Historical events intertwine with Carla’s current reality and along the way she discovers a murder, encounters a host of characters including Jamaican psychic, Matilda, and engages in verbal banter with literary legend, Ernest Hemingway. Her adventures lead her to a startling revelation about why she was chosen for her strange new role. In death Carla realises she has never felt more alive.

The Review

This is such a unique and imaginative read. The author does an incredible job of capturing the curiosity, the surreal, and almost magical concept of how life after death works and how the concept of destiny doesn’t always end or even start in life. The imagery and atmosphere the author creates are so mesmerizing, and the layered mythos that the author creates is so engaging for the reader to delve into.

Yet it was the richness of the characters and their backstories that really drew me into the narrative. The shock of the protagonist’s new reality and the explorative nature of her journey as she learns and discovers herself in this world within our own world was amazing to read. It put an all-new spin on the time-travel elements of the story, as well as the more philosophical and spiritual themes the author explored in this read.

The Verdict

Engaging, thought-provoking, and highly creative, author Andrea Faye Christians’ “Suspension (Time Binder)” is a must-read novel for Summer 2022! The surreal reality that Carla finds herself in and the amazing cast of characters she meets along the way showcase the connectivity of our world and those within it, and made for such an intriguing story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Andrea Faye Christians was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales. Following a successful career in British radio including the BBC, she moved to the southern Mediterranean island of Malta to pursue her dream of becoming a freelance writer. A decade later she bought a farm in the Madonie Mountains of Sicily where a menagerie of rescue animals found their way to her. With a son in Malta and a daughter in Sicily, Andrea has a home and her heart in both places, and she now divides her time between the neighbouring islands. Suspension is her debut novel. She is working on the second book in the Time Binder Series as well as a novel entitled Chemo Club.

https://andreafayechristians.com/