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 Hope Raisers: How a Group of Young Kenyans Fought to Transform Their Slum and Inspire a Community by Nihar Suthar 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 young people in Kenya work through their band and outreach program to help young people seek artistic means of escaping a life of crime and hardship in author Nihar Suthar’s “The Hope Raisers: How a Group of Young Kenyans Fought to Transform Their Slum and Inspire a Community”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

The poignant and inspiring true story of three young Kenyans who fought to transform their slum and improve the lives of those around them.

Korogocho is one of Kenya’s darkest slums, plagued by gang violence, food and water shortages, and rampant pollution. Most children have no future except for scavenging through trash piles or resorting to lives of crime. One day, a boy named Daniel Onyango decided to do more, creating a band called the Hope Raisers to inspire the kids of Korogocho. His friend, Mutura Kuria, quickly joined in.

In The Hope Raisers: How a Group of Young Kenyans Fought to Transform Their Slum and Inspire a Community, Nihar Suthar tells the amazing story of how Daniel and Mutura turned the band into a platform for change. They started teaching children on the streets how to express themselves through art and established a skating team after finding a pair of rollerblades in the dump. Suthar closely follows the story of one rebellious girl, Lucy Achieng, who refused to get married off at a young age and instead used competitive rollerblading to reach for her dreams. Lucy continues to inspire girls to stand up for themselves and challenge the longstanding practices in Korogocho of early marriage and prostitution.

The Hope Raisers is an eye-opening look into a world of poverty and violence where children receive only a basic education and are left with little to no means to get out. Yet it also reveals the remarkable impact that a few determined individuals can have on their community, even in the most challenging of conditions.

Part of the proceeds from all book sales will be donated to the Hope Raisers and toward improving the slum of Korogocho.

The Review

This was a truly inspiring story. The author did an incredible job of capturing the despairing nature of the Korogocho slums and showcasing the hardships and struggles that people face here. Many people outside of Kenya remain unaware of how difficult life there truly is, with many people having to work as trash pickers to find food or unique items to survive and feed their families while dealing with local gangs, and young women having to choose between prostitution or marriage at a young age. The hardships and struggles mirror the haunting tone of the reality of life for so many in this part of the world.

Yet the juxtaposition of this darkness was matched by the hopeful tone and positive atmosphere this group of young people brought through their music and actions within the neighborhood. In the face of such adversity, the fight to help young people find a creative outlet and means of escaping this chilling reality they live in was a true inspiration to read about, and the author’s incredible use of imagery and artistry in his writing allowed the reader to feel this hope radiate off of the page.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, inspiring, and engaging, author Nihar Suthar’s “The Hope Raisers” is a must-read nonfiction book of 2022. The haunting nature of life in this Kenyan slum and the bright notes of hope that these incredible young people bring to life on their streets make this story shine so brightly in the darkness that often feels like creeps into our lives. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Nihar Suthar is an award-winning writer, covering inspirational stories around the world. Believe it or not, he stumbled upon writing completely by accident after moving to New York City for the very first time (at the young age of 17). While in the Big Apple, Nihar noticed that there were thousands of people missing out on the greatness of everyday life, due to the very fast paced lifestyles they lived.

As a result of his observations, he had a big idea to inspire people around the globe by writing a book (which was strange, because he always hated reading books. Why would he ever write one?). With the support of his family and friends though, Nihar ended up debuting his first international book, Win No Matter What, with Balboa Press in May 2013.

Since then, Nihar’s work has taken him to both distant parts of the globe and down strange alleyways. For his 2016 release, The Corridor of Uncertainty, Nihar traveled to the United Arab Emirates and received threats from the Taliban, as he sought to chronicle the miraculous story of the Afghan cricket team. To deepen his understanding of the Middle East region, Nihar also studied Pashto, one of the official languages of Afghanistan.

Nihar graduated cum laude from Cornell University, where he studied applied economics and management, with concentrations in finance and strategy. He currently calls Tampa home. His newest book is about three young Kenyans who fought to transform their slum and improve the lives of those around them. Sign up HERE to receive exclusive content (early drafts, behind the scenes content, etc.) regarding Nihar’s next release, The Hope Raisers.

https://www.niharsuthar.com/

Rebirth: Real-Life Stories About What Happens When You Let Go and Let Life Lead by Kate Brenton Review

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

Author and podcaster Kate Brenton take readers on a journey to discover how one leap or small decision can lead to life-changing results in the book “Rebirth: Real-Life Stories About What Happens When You Let Go and Let Life Lead”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

When life is calling, often we need only the space and the support to remember our way. Sometimes we lean into our expansion, and sometimes we bolt from our greatness. The biggest shock is that big change happens in small choices. In Rebirth you will find real-life stories of people who made courageous leaps, inspiring you to make your own. It’s time to step out of line and back into the spiral of life—that’s where the alchemy is. This book fits right into the side pocket of your bag + your life to inspire you as you read others’ stories of how they listened and learned to make embodied changes in their own lives.

The Review

This was a well-written and inspiring read. The author did a tremendous job of finding just the right balance of humor and charm in her writing with the hopeful stories the author collected from people. The sincerity and honesty with which these stories were delivered spoke to the inspiring tone the book held overall.

Yet it was the guidance and stories themselves that really brought the book together. The author delved into a number of topics for self-improvement and overall wellness through these stories, from how we define beauty to the never-ending journey to improve upon ourselves. The thoughtful and caring way the author presented these stories to the reader was truly remarkable.

The Verdict

Touching, engaging, and meaningful, author Kate Brenton’s “Rebirth” is a must-read self-help book of 2022. The teachable moments of this book mesh well with the heartwarming tales of overcoming the odds and finding oneself that define this book. The passion and heart that the author brings from the podcast that began this journey and into this book was so amazing to see come to life on the page. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Kate Brenton, Ed.M., educator, author, mama, and healer, used to climb trees in her childhood to sit in and read books. A lifelong teacher, from secondary English to spiritual development, Kate has the archetype for sharing wisdom to empower and elevate through online courses, inspirational speaking, and retreats. Come say hello or listen to the Rebirth podcast at www.katebrenton.com

You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Substack.

Purchase a copy of Rebirth on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

November 21st @ The Muffin

Join as WOW’s blog The Muffin as we interview author Kate Brenton about her inspiring book Rebirth and give away a copy to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 21st @ Rachael’s Thoughts

Join Rachael as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton

https://rachaelstray.com/

November 24th @ Deborah-Zenha Adams’ Blog

Join Deborah as she features a guest post by Kate Brenton about writing where and when you can.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/blog/

November 25th @ Freeing the Butterly

Join Michelle as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/

November 27th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Visit Linda’s blog where she reviews the insightful book Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 29th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Kate Brenton about her inspirational book Rebirth.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews Kate Brenton’s book Rebirth.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

December 1st @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Read Kate Brenton’s guest post about story as medicine over at Michelle’s blog.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

December 2nd @ The Frugalista Mom

Join Rochie as she shares her thoughts about Rebirth by Kate Brenton. You can also win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

December 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as features Kate Brenton’s guest post about writers needing a high inspiration diet.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 5th @ Balance and Joy

Join Sheri as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://www.balanceandjoy.com/

December 6th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he features Kate Brenton’s guest post about why what you love will get you through.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

December 7th @ Katherine Itacy’s Blog

Come by Katherine’s blog and read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://katherineitacy.com/

December 8th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 9th @ Rebecca J Whitman’s Blog

Join Rebecca as she features Kate Brenton’s guest post about when to keep going on faith.

December 10th @ A Story Book World

Deirdra showcases Rebirth by Kate Brenton, a must-read book for the new year!

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 13th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog and read Kate Brenton’s guest post about the evolution of podcast to book and how it was a walk of faith.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 15th @ Create Write Now

Read a guest post by Kate Brenton on Mari’s blog today about the power of birth as a mother and as a creative.

https://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

December 17th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Linda interviews author Kate Brenton about her writing and her inspirational book Rebirth.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

December 18th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Kate Brenton’s guest post about mothering, writing, and working in the modern world.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

December 19th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton. Don’t miss this inspirational book!

https://liberateandlather.com/blog

December 20th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog to read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth Review

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

A woman struggling during the holidays after a year of hardship finds old family secrets and a mystery brewing in her small Georgia town in author Barbara Barth’s “A Wingman for Christmas”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

The annual Sweet Water, Georgia, Christmas parade is nearing but relationships are fractured on Wild Rose Lane. Antique dealer Cheryl Calloway’s holiday spirit has tanked. It’s been a horrible year with her divorce, her ex marrying younger and perkier Miriam across the street, and Mama moving into Cheryl’s Victorian cottage with her Amazon parrot right before Thanksgiving. A party girl in her eighties, Mama smokes up a storm, likes her nightly vodka, has a hankering for men, and now a wingman named Nigel. If that isn’t enough, the Historical Society wants Cheryl to clean up all the projects on her porch waiting to go to Spivey’s Antique Mall for their Christmas Open House. Her desire to work her booth is as dead as her marriage. Miriam, President of the Historical Society, chastises her, “If it ain’t pretty don’t put it on the porch.” Then there’s Alice, her strange neighbor with the six-foot fluorescent light bulb cross nailed to the huge Magnolia tree in the middle of her rose garden. Alice watches all the neighbors too closely. Just when Cheryl thinks things can’t get worse, an incident shakes her to the core, and a mystery follows revealing family secrets long forgotten. Cheryl wants to believe in miracles and love again, and Dr. James may just be the man of her dreams as he helps her and Mama sort things out.

Filled with quirky characters, mystery, family secrets, and sweet love, all set in a hot Georgia small town.

The Review

This was a perfect feel-good cozy mystery meets holiday romance novel. The author did a fabulous job of capturing both the holiday spirit with the rich dynamics of the Georgian setting that felt just as much like a character in the novel as any of the people. The heartfelt tone and moving ways in which the author brought the themes of relationships and the complexities of life were so engaging and showed just how much there are multiple sides to people in any situation.

The character arcs were the biggest highlight for me. As a bird parent myself, I felt instantly for the connection the protagonist, her mother, and practically everyone had for the parrot Nigel. The emotional connection that they had with this beloved bird and how it impacted the relationships they had with one another brought both the cozy aspect of this subtle mystery and the heartwarming nature of a holiday novel.

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Barbara Barth’s “A Wingman for Christmas” is a must-read cozy mystery and holiday romance novel for 2022. The unique setting and relatable cast of characters will keep readers hooked, and the emotional journey that the protagonist goes on and the engaging conclusion will have readers eager for more of this author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Barbara Barth turned to writing and adopting dogs to heal after her husband died fourteen years ago. Known as ‘Writer With Dogs’, Barth currently lives with four Chihuahuas in a charming town forty miles outside of Atlanta. She is Literary Arts Chair at a small art center where she promotes writing activities, author events, book launches, and hosts an online group Walton Writers. Inspired by the wonderful artists around her, Barth started painting and has won several awards with her whimsical art. Her books are available on Amazon. Visit her Instagram page Barbara Barth Studio.

You can also check out her website.

Blog Tour Calendar

November 28th @ WOW! Women on Writing

Join us at our blog The Muffin to celebrate the launch of A Wingman for Christmas. We’re interviewing the author and giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A perfect novella for the holiday season!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 1st @ Deborah-Zenha Adams

Visit Deborah’s blog where she shares a guest post by author Barbara Barth about how many editors you really need.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/

December 3rd @ Pages and Paws

Kristine shares her review of the charming holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

https://pagesandpaws.com/

December 5th @ One Writer’s Journey

Join Sue as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

December 6th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Join Michelle as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A must-read novella for the holiday season!

https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

December 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Rochie shares her review of A Wingman for Christmas and gives away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

December 8th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about starting a writing group.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

December 9th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog for a spotlight on A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 10th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Visit Michelle’s site as she features author Barbara Barth’s guest post on encouraging others to write.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

December 12th @ Storeybook Review

Leslie shares her thoughts about this fun novella A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://storeybookreviews.com

December 13th @ Bring on Lemons

Join Crystal as she shares this fun holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

https://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 14th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 14th @ Avonna Loves Genres

Join Avonna as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://avonnalovesgenres.com/

December 15th @ One Writer’ Journey

Visit Sue’s blog where she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about finding inspiration around you.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

December 15th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog again as she shares her thoughts about Barbara Barth’s fun holiday read A Wingman for Christmas.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

December 16th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Barbara Barth about writing fiction versus memoir.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 18th @ Life According to Jamie

Jamie will be reviewing a fun novella for the holiday season: A Wingman for Christmas

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

December 19th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Barbara Barth about her book A Wingman for Christmas.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

December 20th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about researching your topic as well as your time frame.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 21st @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

Adam’s Daughters (Westward Sagas Book 2) by David Bowles Review

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

A young woman who survived a deadly battle must navigate life in the years following the formation of a new nation and raise her siblings as her own children as they deal with an untamed land in author David Bowles’s “Adam’s Daughters”, the second book in the Westward Sagas series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

The Westward Sagas tell the story of the Mitchell family’s 100-year odyssey west from Pennsylvania to Texas. In Adam’s Daughters: Book 2, Peggy Mitchell, a survivor of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, grows up in Jonesborough, Tennessee during the tumultuous first twenty years of the nation’s existence. Though haunted by memories of war, she matures into strong, independent young woman who is courted by Andrew Jackson and who has a freed slave as her best friend. Her younger brothers and sisters become her surrogate children and students. Together the children of Adam and Elizabeth take on renegade Indians, highwaymen, and the hardships of an untamed land. 

The Review

This was yet another engaging and thoughtful historical fiction read in this expansive historical fiction series. The striking balance between the history of the story’s setting and the events happening around the cast of characters with the emotional core of this family’s struggles and journey overall made this a captivating read. The heavy tone the narrative strikes reflects the heaviness of the era, with every day a fight for survival and many people having to fight ignorance and mistrust of one another to avoid violence and conflict.

The standouts of this novel to me were the strength the author portrayed in protagonist Peggy with the rich amount of history and culture the narrative featured. As a longtime fan of history, I found it unique that the author would hone in on such a specific era of the nation’s first founding years, in the aftermath of the war and families pushing to find their place in this new country. The way in which Peggy stepped up into the role of both sister and mother to her siblings and found herself pushing against many of their young society’s ideas of what is acceptable or not, from her friendship with a freed slave who had become more like family to the misclassification of Native Americans as all being “savages”, showcased her strength and will of character, and a worthy heir to continue the Mitchell family in her grandmother’s and parents absence.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and rich with history, author David Bowles’s “Adam’s Daughters” is a must-read historical fiction read from the post-American Revolution days and a great second entry into this historical fiction series. The detail of the landscape of this fledgling nation and the hardships of traveling and living off the land highlighted the strong nature of these characters and kept the reader invested until the book’s final pages. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

David Bowles, a native of Austin, Texas, lives in San Antonio with his best friend and constant companion Lulubelle, a yellow Lab. He grew up listening to stories of his ancestors told by family members in the generation before him. The stories fascinated David so much that he grew up to become a tale-spinner, spinning tales through the written word in The Westward Sagas and through the spoken word speaking to groups of both adults and children. David started writing stories of his family to ensure that his children and grandchildren had accurate records of the family history. However, while the original versions, written in narrative textbook style, did maintain the records, they didn t maintain the interest of the readers. So he used his imagination and creativity to fill in the gaps of what might have happened when the details weren t available. He created dialogue and scenes to add true life drama to the story of the Mitchell Family from colonial days to the settlement of the West. He hopes these stories fascinate his readers as much as the stories of his ancestors have always fascinated him.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002U0KW10/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F7084126-adam-s-daughters%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DcO4xYdKAwb%26rank%3D4&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Augment Nation by Scott Overton Review

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

In a world where mega-corporations begin to conspire together as brain augmentations replace smartphones, a young man who was one of the first to gain such an implant years before it became popular may be humanity’s only hope to raise a rebellion against these corporations in author Scott Overton’s “Augment Nation”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Since the age of fourteen Damon Leiter has had a brain-computer interface implanted beneath his skull to correct a neurological disorder. As a teenager, it branded him as an outcast—as an adult it endows him with extraordinary abilities. He may represent the next step in human evolution.

When computerized brain augments replace smartphones as the must-have status item, mega-corporations and governments conspire together and marketing becomes mind control. Damon is uniquely equipped to lead a worldwide resistance. But Damon can’t be sure he isn’t playing into the hands of the rich and powerful.

They might even be right:

Maybe the real threat to humanity is Damon himself. 

The Review

This was an absolutely captivating,  near-future sci-fi thriller! The author did an incredible job of really layering this world with vivid imagery that brought this near-futuristic world to life. The juxtaposition of the coldness of the corporations and their machinations against the warmth and beauty of the character’s perseverance really highlighted the theme of technology and its influence on humanity overall.

The harmonious way the author brought together the character dynamics with the gripping thriller atmosphere of the narrative. The complex story behind the protagonist and his connections to both sides of this “war” was so enthralling to get lost in, as it really made his arc so much more thought-provoking. The earnestness with which he pursues his goals and the more extensive overarching nature of the antagonists and their goals kept the murky, shadowy nature of the genre alive as the story continued to evolve. Having the protagonist develop a connection with Valerie also gave him a human connection.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and adrenaline-fueled, author Scott Overton’s “Augment Nation” is a must-read sci-fi novel. The twists and turns in the narrative and the complex nature of these characters and the mythos of this world the author has created built up the emotionally charged and shocking final chapters and the revelations of this narrative, making this story readers won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

With a long career as a radio morning show host, Scott’s always had a way with words. But his lifelong devotion to science fiction was destined to lead to a second career as a writer. Although his first novel, the mystery/thriller Dead Air was set in the radio world (and shortlisted for a Northern Lit Award in Ontario, Canada) all of his writing since has taken the reader to even stranger places, including the human bloodstream in his SF novel debut The Primus Labyrinth, a science fiction thriller that readers compare to Michael Crichton and Dan Brown. His most recent novel Naïda chronicles a reluctant hero with an alien being living inside him. Scott strongly believes that science fiction should involve compelling themes and important issues, along with memorable characters.

His short fiction has been published in magazines such as On Spec, AEscifi, Neo-opsis, Penumbra and anthologies including Future Visions 3, Casserole Diplomacy: The On Spec 25th Anniversary Anthology, Canadian Tales of the Fantastic, In Poe’s Shadow, and Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound. Fifteen of his SF/fantasy short stories have been gathered in the collection BEYOND: Stories Beyond Time, Technology, and the Stars. Many more SF novels are on the way. Scott’s distractions from writing include scuba diving, music, and collector cars. He lives with his wife on a private island in Northern Ontario.

http://www.scottoverton.ca/

The Tangled Stars by Edward Willett Review

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

Over a century after the collapse of the network that allowed space-time travel to occur, a thief and conman seeking to escape his debts discovers a possible tunnel that has reawakened and gives him the chance to travel to a new part of the universe in author Edward Willett’s “The Tangled Stars”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

This new novel from an Aurora Award-winning author presents a sci-fi caper of high-stakes interstellar travel.

More than a century ago, the network of MASTTs, the space-time tunnels that made interstellar travel possible, violently collapsed, the backlash destroying a lot of the solar system’s space-based infrastructure. Cooper “Coop” Douglas, a thief and conman is in serious debt to outer-system crime-lord Eric Galioto. While trying to salvage a valuable chunk of a space station destroyed by the backlash, Coop makes a startling discovery: MASTT Primus, the tunnel that used to lead to New Earth, is open again. That raises an intriguing possibility: Coop could flee the solar system and his debt to Galioto and make a new life—and possibly fortune—around another star.

Accompanied by his first mate, the wisecracking, AI-uplifted, genetically modified cat Thibauld, Coop sets out to “liberate” the solar system’s only remaining functioning starship from an Earthside museum, enlisting the help of Laysa Grey, a former-lover-turned-cop on Luna. Along the way, he is pursued by Galioto and dogged by law enforcement and thugs.

And beyond MASTT Primus, the tangled stars await . . . 

The Review

This was a fantastic, action-packed, and dynamic reading experience for longtime sci-fi fans. The author did an incredible job of capturing the rich atmosphere that honed in on the heist dynamics that the narrative promises while also hitting the witty charm that great sci-fi thieves who are thrust into the role of a “hero” are known for. The author’s attention to detail on the technical aspects of the laws and physics of this narrative’s space travel and sciences was engaging to get lost in and added to the mythos that the author established early on in this read.

The story found a perfect balance between thoughtful character development and world-building. The dynamics between the protagonist and his allies, including an AI-minded cat, added a human element to the overall narrative, while the multiple POVs between the protagonist and the antagonist gave a well-rounded, three-dimensional view of the characters and their motivations. Yet it was the rich mythology and universe-spanning story that the author brought to life that kept me invested in the book, as its use of imagery brought this story to life perfectly. 

The Verdict

Harrowing, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining, author Edward Willett’s “The Tangled Stars” is a fantastic epic sci-fi novel of 2022. The grand scale of the universe the author has created and the dynamic cast of characters will have readers fully invested in this world, and the cliffhanger ending will have readers clamoring to get their hands on the next saga of this makeshift crew of misfits and heroes. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter/photographer for the weekly Weyburn Review, eventually becoming news editor. In 1988 he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and in 1993 he became a fulltime freelance writer. He still resides in Regina.

Willett is now the author or co-author of more than 60 books, ranging from computer books and other nonfiction titles for both children and adults, to science fiction and fantasy for all ages.

His science fiction novel Marseguro (DAW Books) won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author. He has also won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his YA fantasy Spirit Singer. He has been shortlisted for the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Awards multiple times.

His most recent novels include Worldshaper and Master of the World, the first two books in his new series Worldshapers, and The Cityborn, a stand-alone science fiction novel from DAW Books; the Masks of Aygrima trilogy, YA/adult crossover novels published by DAW and written as E.C. Blake; the five-book YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books; and the stand-alone YA fantasy Flames of Nevyana (Rebelight Publishing). He’s also the author of the Peregrine Rising duology for Bundoran Press (Right to Know and Falcon’s Egg).

Other novels include SF novel Lost in Translation (DAW Books), Terra Insegura (sequel to Marseguro, DAW Books), Magebane (DAW Books, written as Lee Arthur Chane), YA SF novels Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, and The Chosen; and YA ghost story The Haunted Horn.

Shadowpaw Press recently released his short story collection Paths to the Stars and re-released Spirit Singer, a YA fantasy that won a Saskatchewan Book Award and other awards.

His non-fiction titles run the gamut from science books for children on topics as diverse as Ebola Virus and the Milky Way to local history books like Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw for Red Deer Press, awarded a Municipal Heritage Award by the City of Regina in the education category and A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 years of engineering and geoscience achievements in Saskatchewan, published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS). He’s also written biographies for children of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Andy Warhol, Orson Scott Card, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

You can find Ed online at www.edwardwillett.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @ewillett.

His is represented by literary agent Ethan Ellenberg (www.ethanellenberg.com).

Besides being a writer, Willett is a professional actor and singer who has performed in dozens of plays, musicals and operas in and around Saskatchewan, hosted local television programs, and emceed numerous public events.

He’s married to a telecommunications engineer and has one daughter.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6YYJLXP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61763234-the-tangled-stars%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DIihziUPi8o%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles by Mark Leslie Review

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

Author Mark Leslie takes readers on a humorous and engaging journey to look behind the scenes of the making of John Hughes’s instant classic film Planes, Trains and Automobiles and the use of a very real book in a pivotal scene in his book, The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. 

The Synopsis

The Prop Book That Keeps on Popping Up!

Yes, the cover of this book looks a lot like the one Del Griffith (John Candy) is reading at the New York airport in the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A strikingly similar book also appears in 2018’s Deadpool 2. It was long believed that this was a prop book. But it was a real book published in the 1980s and from a company that went out of business before the end of the decade.

This re-imagined incarnation of The Canadian Mounted explores the use of this prop book and many other intriguing, insightful and entertaining behind-the-scenes details as they relate to the classic 1987 John Hughes film.

Created for fans of the movie and of John Hughes, this book explores and shares stories related to the writing and making of the film, curious tales and collected trivia associated with it, including:

The incident that inspired Hughes to write the original script

Del-isms

The film’s eclectic sound-track

Missing Oxford commas

Deleted scenes

Ryan Reynolds’ adoration of fellow Canadian John Candy

General trivia

And more…

If you love and regularly re-watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles, then this is a book you must read.

The Review

This is a truly detailed and captivating read. The author does an incredible job of finding just the right balance in tone between educational moments from the film and book in question and personable writing styles that make this feel like a shared experience between friends. The wit and charm with which the author crafts this narrative was incredibly inviting to the reader. 

The vast amount of research and information the author provided the reader was spectacular. The way the author was able to implement everything from unused portions of the original script to behind-the-scenes commentary, and finds a natural way to blend this into the author’s own personal connection and history with the film and book itself made this such an inviting and unique read.

The Verdict

Informative, thoughtful, and humorous, author Mark Leslie’s “The Canadian Mounted: A Trivia Guide to Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is a must-read film and pop culture trivia and reference book. The personable and imagery-heavy writing style really allowed these experiences both for the author and those involved in the original production of the film to come to life on the page, and this book makes the perfect story to pick up for longtime fans of this film and filmmaker John Hughes in general. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Mark is a writer, editor and bookseller who was born and grew up in Sudbury, spent many years in Ottawa and Hamilton and currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

When he is not writing, he tacks “Lefebvre” back onto his name and works as a book industry consultant, having been a bookseller since the 1992, the same year his first short story was published.

Apart from publishing novels and non-fiction paranormal explorations under the name Mark Leslie, having works occasionally appearing on his mother’s refrigerator door under the name Mark Lefebvre, and podcasting and consulting about the book industry under the name Mark Leslie Lefebvre for his Stark Publishing/Stark Reflections brand, Mark is a lover of craft beer.

When he’s not enjoying craft beer or playing around with his three given names, he can usually be found wandering, awestruck through bookstores or libraries. 

http://markleslie.ca/

Long Lost Elvis (Boomer’s Tales 4) by Christine Isley-Farmer Review

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

A young girl discovers a new mystery to solve after rescuing a farmer’s donkey and discovering his wife’s favorite painting is missing in the fourth book in the beloved Boomer’s Tales series, “Long Lost Elvis” by Christine Isley-Farmer.

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

A donkey runs out in front of Nana Weathers’s car when she, Chloe, and Boomer are returning from Camp Resound. Mr. Brown, a farmer, drives upon the scene. To thank them for keeping his donkey, Elvis, safe, Mr. Brown invites everyone to his farm. There, they discover that his wife’s favorite painting is missing, and so begins a new mystery for Chloe and friends to solve. Will their efforts be successful, and what surprises will they learn about Elvis, the runaway donkey?

The Review

This was such a thoughtful and engaging story for young readers. Longtime fans of the Boomer’s Tales series will love the continuation of this story, as readers are treated to a heartwarming tale of a young girl and her animal friends not only investigating this new mystery but getting to know this unusual and fun new animal friend as well. The imagery and subtle emotional tone of the narrative really played well with the narrative, as the reader delved further and further into Elvis’s backstory and the mystery of Mr. Brown’s painting. 

The heart of this story definitely was the character development the author utilized. Not only did readers get to see the chemistry between the established characters shine brightly here, but the backstory of Elvis and the mystery of his past, as well as the emotional backstory behind the painting itself and the reality of who took the painting itself at the end of the narrative. 

The Verdict

Thoughtful, emotional, and captivating, author Christine Isley-Farmer’s “Long Lost Elvis” is a must-read children’s book. In the perfect continuation of the Boomer’s Tales series, the author keeps an even pace and brings a great balance between the established characters and the newcomers involving Elvis and Mr. Brown’s stories. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Christine Isley-Farmer is the author of the children’s chapter book series, “Boomer’s Tales.” Three of the books in the series have been published. Her debut book in the series, Finding My Yip, was named Finalist in the Children’s Fiction category by the American Writing Awards 2021. In 2022, her second book in the series, A Hard Nut to Crack, was named Finalist in the Children’s Chapter Book category by the National Indie Excellence Awards.

Christine is also a writer of miscellaneous poetry.

She holds BM. MM, and DMA degrees and is Professor Emeritus in the School of Music at Middle Tennessee State University where she coordinated the voice area. She has sung professionally in opera and concert in the US and Europe. Christine currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dylan. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BHWF1RF2/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F63271404-long-lost-elvis%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DBaL7j0Jlno%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

The Prisoners of Stewartville by Shannon Felton Review

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

A teen boy starts to look into the mysteries of the small town defined by its prison system after discovering a hidden tunnel in the basement of a home, and in doing so uncovers dark histories and hidden secrets that will terrify him to his core in the author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Stewartville. A town living in the shadow of the prisons that drive its economy. Haunted by the ghosts of its past. Cursed by the dark secrets hidden beneath. A town so entwined with the prisons waiting outside the city limits that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other, or to ever imagine escaping either.

When a teenage boy digs into the history of the town, he discovers a tunnel system beneath Stewartville, passageways filled with dark secrets. Secrets leading not to freedom, but to unrelenting terror.

Stewartville. Where the convicts aren’t the only prisoners.

The Review

This was a truly captivating and masterful read. The heavy atmosphere of the narrative kept readers engaged right from the beginning. The rich mythos that the author develops for this story and the evil that infects this town (or is it the other way around?), really do a remarkable job of keeping the reader’s hearts pumping.

The heart of this short horror read is actually the balance of character development and the book’s setting. The thing that stuck out to me was how the people of this town felt very much like a by-product of the infestation that this town had become, as it not only seemed to draw in people who are typically deemed by society to live “on the fringes” but would transform people into their worst nightmares through fear and terror. The protagonist’s story and his confrontation with the evil of this town reflected the status of the town altogether, which became a central character in its own right.

The Verdict

Horrifying, chilling, and entertaining, author Shannon Felton’s “The Prisoners of Stewartville” is a must-read occult fiction meets paranormal & urban fantasy novel. The twists and turns this narrative takes and the larger discussion on the prison system and how society treats those living on the fringe kept me invested in this gripping story, as did the shocking twist final pages of this instant horror classic. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Shannon Felton lives in Buckeye, Arizona with her husband, their four children, and three dogs. The Prisoners of Stewartville is her debut novella.