Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. – Stephen King

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

A young woman’s reluctant journey into the world of reality television may just lead her to a mission of self discovery and possibly love in author Brooke Williams novel The Leftover. Here is the synopsis:

Megan Malone is the ultimate homebody. When her sister talks her into going on The Leftover, a local version of the TV show Survivor, she isn’t sure she’ll make it past the first vote. Cane Trevino is nursing a broken heart by joining the show as a medic. With time away from his regular job and a dozen contestants to distract him, he hopes he can finally get over the woman he thought was “the one.”

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This book was incredibly well written. A testament to both the author and her handle of the new adult/romance genres, the book does a great job of showing two people with self-confidence issues finding one another in the most unlikely of places. I heavily identified with the protagonist, Megan Malone. Her life as an introvert who works from home spoke to me greatly, as I personally suffer from social anxiety and have had trouble speaking to people in general, and so her journey to finding her voice and confidence is something I found myself clinging to throughout this novel.

The novel itself was a quick read. The only critique I had personally was just a matter of eBook formatting, but as my copy was a media copy I believe the formatting may have been fixed before publIshing to the public. The author did a masterful job of creating relatable characters and integrating the modern day reality television aspect of the plot in a natural and authentic way.

Overall I loved this book. The imagery and setting of this tale was incredibly vivid and easy to picture in my head, and the whirlwind romance Megan finds herself in is strong enough to keep the reader hooked until the final pages. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of The Leftover by Brooke Williams today!

 

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Rating: 8/10

 

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It seems like just when we get used to our phone or computer, another one comes along that is better and faster. Everything is faster and everyone seems to want to move at the speed of sound. What happened to slowing down and relaxing? I bet none of the teenagers now would even understand if we told them to stop and smell the roses. Well, they could actually just Google it but they still would not really understand what it actually means. Why is everyone in such a hurry?

Why Are We in Such a Hurry?

In the beginning, nature pretty much went along as a slow pace, moving at nature’s schedule when time was only noticed by the passing of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Until humans decided they wanted to change time (daylight savings time) and move along at their own schedules whether it went with nature or not. In ancient times, when it got dark, it was time to go to sleep and when the sun came up, our days would start. That is not true anymore! Now some of us get up and work or party all night long and sleep during the day. Some people barely sleep at all because they are too busy with technology, gaming or talking on Facebook or Twitter all night long. We have disconnected from nature’s nice slow pace and tried to adapt to living under our new unnatural time pressures. Talk about some stress!

Anxiety Disorders

So, it should come as no surprise that we end up in our doctor or therapist’s office trying to figure out why we are so anxious all the time. Many experts are calling this condition time poverty and it is actually recognized as a psychological stressor. Trying to keep up with society and pushing ourselves to catch up when we fall behind is causing a great deal of anxiety in many people. In fact, anxiety disorder is the number one most common mental health condition in the United States. In fact, about 40 million American adults, which is over 18% of the population. On a more global note, approximately 1 in 13 of the world’s population suffer from anxiety.

Exercise

There are many things you can do to deal with your anxiety in this high-tech world. The one that seems most obvious is also the hardest to do, which is to just unplug. Turn off your cellphone, put down your tablet, and get off the computer. Get outside and do something physical such as taking a walk, bike riding, hiking, swimming, jogging, tennis, baseball, whatever you want to do. Exercise is good for both anxiety and depression and it is also good for your physical health. The “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin) increase during and after exercise, making you feel more relaxed and satisfied. It can also help keep your mind off your stressors and keep you too busy to worry about checking your email or updating your Facebook status.

Talk to Someone

Another way to relieve stress is through talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. Both of these can be done from home on your electronic device for those of us who are just too busy to set an appointment. In fact, BetterHelp has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that are available to help you right now.

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

A brutal horror story of a group of children terrorized by a monster straight out of humanity’s worst nightmares comes to life in author Nina Hobson’s novel “Face Your Demons”. Part of the Tainted Blood series, this book is filled with fast paced action, gruesome horror and a cliff-hanger ending you won’t be expecting. Here’s the synopsis:

Librarian’s note: This is an Alternate Cover Edition for ASIN: B0089PT018.

Jennifer’s young life has never been better. She has it all: family, friends and fun. That is until her terminally ill cousin comes to live with them setting in motion a horrific turn of events unlike anyone in the town of Cleveland has ever seen.

Oh yeah…and did she mention her best friend’s sister has a massive crush on her?

 

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This was one of the more unique horror tales I’ve read in recent years. The story reminded me of a more fast paced version of Stephen King’s IT, with a string of child murders plaguing a town and a group of pre-teen children facing this threat alone. The adults are all acting strange, and have dark secrets of their own. The horror of this tale is what really sells the story. The in your face scares and gory deaths solidify the horror heavy tale, while the character development between protagonist Jennifer and her friends helps bring a much needed human element to this supernatural tale.

The only criticism I would have is that while fast paced, this story does have moments of show vs. tell writing. I’d advise a slightly lengthier approach to garner that show quality storytelling that allows the reader to visualize the monsters for themselves. While the formatting itself did make some of the pages jumbled, I did receive an early copy of this book and therefore the formatting has most likely been improved since then.

Overall this was a very enjoyable horror tale. Filled with suspense, intense action horror scenes and a deepening plot that screams for more stories to be told, this was a fantastic first entry into the horror series. If you haven’t picked up your copies of Face Your Demons (Tainted Blood #1) by Nina Hobson, then do so today!

Rating: 8/10

 

 

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

We all had that one special toy, that one stuffed animal that was always a source of comfort, friendship and love when we were children. In author Mawson Bear’s book It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In, adults and children alike can reconnect with that special connection we all shared with that special toy in our lives, and remember what it’s like to search for love and your place in the world. Here’s the synopsis:

Are you feeling a little lost? Got that ‘left in the spare room’ emptiness about you? Mawson does too.

He sits atop his cushion and ponders about baffling things.

The world is a funny place for a curious teddy bear to live in. Friends approach him about their own dilemmas. They seek instant answers that will make everything all right. Mawson does his best. But after he ponders deeply, most things remain for him just as baffling as they were before.

Take a moment out of your day to pawse with him and explore the world. For the many frazzled readers who feel, secretly, much the same, he offers the comfort that the world is a bright place to be.

This book has a surprising emotional pull for adults that you wouldn’t expect just looking at this book’s cover. While it features a stuffed animal bear as the narrator, the story takes a wonderful journey of self discovery as we explore what it means to be needed and loved. It highlights the simplistic yet care free nature of being a child, and the painful process of growing up. The theme of the story reminds me a lot of the overall theme of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise. It’s the story of growing up, and finding a way to still be wanted or needed in the world.

Overall this was a wonderful story. Filled with heart, emotion and a unique picture book style with photographs in lieu of artwork. The story felt personal, emotional and incredibly powerful. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Mawson Bear’s It’s A Bright World to Feel Lost In today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Its-Bright-World-Feel-Lost/dp/1922200441/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522411782&sr=1-1&keywords=9781922200440

 

 

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

Looking for the perfect spring/Easter book to share with your child? Look no further than author Leen Lefebre’s Ebba, the first Easter Hare! Here’s the synopsis:

[2018 REVISED EDITION]

King Stern rules over a dark empire of hares. His brother Atta leaves. Before his love Hulde gives birth to their first child, he wants to find a field of his own, bathing in light. Every day Hulde runs to the frontier, where she stands on the lookout for Atta. But then the baby arrives, too soon.

At a rapid pace, Princess Ebba grows into a smart child. Hulde notices that this curious girl resembles Atta more and more – and that is not a gift. When they discover an abandoned bird’s nest in a rabbit cave, Ebba wants to go on a trip just like her father. But, is she as brave as him?

[Crossover Fiction]
[Modern Fairy Tale]
[Family Read Aloud]
[Middle Grade Novella]
[Seasonal Stories, Holidays]
[FOUR SEASONS #2/4: SPRING]

The story is well written and incredibly creative. The tale of a ruthless and evil King and his brother the Prince is a tale as old as time itself, and yet this book puts a new spin for the holiday season as we look at a journey a daughter goes on in honor of her father. Fighting to shed the darkness of her evil uncle’s rule, Ebba sets out to find the brighter future her father disappeared searching for. Taking a story about the lives of simple woodland creatures and turning into a modern day fairytale of dark kingdoms and journeys of self-discovery is an enlightened choice. The story will delight children while giving adults a great new story to bond over with their children. The character’s relationships are the emotional core of the tale, and brings the seasonal story to life in a really fantastic way.

Overall this is a must read children’s book. Bringing a story to life in a seasonal way is a fantastic choice, and makes for a great story to read with your child during the holiday season. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up a copy of Ebba, the first Easter Hare by Leen Lefebre today!

Rating: 10/10

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

A tragic, emotional and powerful story about the reality of war and its impact on both a nation and the everyday people living through that war takes center stage in author Young-Im Lee’s Forgotten Reflections: A War Story. Here’s the synopsis:

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories, folklore and an unforgotten history, spanning three generations as South Korea rises from the ashes.

DARE TO DREAM IN THE MIDST OF WAR.

1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul the villagers have been starving for as long as they can remember. Their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them as they are finally forced out of the Peninsula. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul and Jung-Soo dream of what their future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and Iseul has fallen for an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Men are conscripted and rice is taken to feed the growing army as the Peninsula is thrust into an international war that would determine if the strategic region will become communist or democratic. With nothing but the news of death and hunger awaiting the village of women, children and the aged, Iseul musters up whatever hope she has left to bring the village together to make paper. Soon, the village once known for its rice, becomes famous for its paper, becoming a beacon of hope for their battle-worn soldiers awaiting letters from their loved ones.

Yet spies and communists continue to roam South Korea, turning neighbors and families against one another. For years, Jung-Soo has been suspicious of his father’s allegiances. With a series of mysterious revelations about his father, Jung-Soo is forced to choose between his tainted communist past, and the future he hopes to have with Iseul after the war.

I have to say, this was one of the most emotional stories I’ve read in recent years. The true heartbreak of the impact of war is felt throughout each and every page of this story. Never has a book been more relevant, as the struggle between North and Souther Korea (and the rest of the world) continues to be a constant focus in our world today. The struggle of those innocent soldiers and simple villagers looking to survive made this story have an incredibly huge impact. The relationship between Iseul and Jung-Soo is the emotional core of this tale, and the modern day mystery of what happened to the two friends and romantic partners keeps the reader hanging by every page.

The writing was beautifully done. While the book is a long one, (nearly 600 pages), the story is so enrapturing that you find yourself drawn further and further in. The most impactful thing about this book however is while the setting is incredibly vivid and highlights the struggle of both North and South Korean citizens back during the war, but it shows the affects of war in general. The heartbreak, the tragedy and the impact the constant death and struggle has on both soldiers and citizens alike.

Overall this was an incredible read. Filled with emotional connections you don’t always find in historical fiction and with a lesson on love and trust, this is a must read for any historical fiction fans out there. If you haven’t yet, be sure to read author Young-Im Lee’s Forgotten Reflections: A War Story today!

Rating: 9/10

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

 

I was born in Oregon, raised in Alaska, and have a beautiful wife and five fun-loving children that I adore.  When I’m not writing, I’m probably at work where I am trying to make the world safer, or at home, hanging out with my family.

 

I’ve always wanted to write a book.  Always. I didn’t know what type of book it would be, but I assumed that someday I would do it.  As time marched on, my children grew up and stopped needing me so much. With the extra energy I had, I decided it would never be a better time to start, so I just started typing.

 

I probably should have taken a creative writing class, but I didn’t.  It may have been wise to write a few novellas first, but I didn’t do that either.  I’ve always been a, ‘go big or go home’ sort of person, so I just dived right into a giant epic fantasy novel prophetic super-project thing.  It was a great choice, and I don’t regret it for a minute.

 

2)    What inspired you to write your book?

 

In my day job, I work as a law enforcement officer here in Alaska.  Most of my career has been supervising major crimes investigations involving child exploitation.  In this kind of work, you come in contact with some pretty heartbreaking situations, where children have become victims of some selfish, broken person.  As I’ve chased these villains and sought to protect the wee ones, the journey has made the pathos of the human condition powerfully real for me.

 

Pain is a big part of life, and fear of pain seems to hold so many people back.  Selfish people spread the pain around, creating more pain. Faith, however, seems to have the power to overcome much of the negative aspects of these adverse experiences, often reversing, to some degree, the damage that is done.  I’m talking about faith done right, not faith done wrong. There are plenty of examples of the latter in our world. I hoped that my book could touch on these things, and maybe help heal some hearts.

 

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

 

I hope readers are encouraged, most of all.  When they see the characters struggling through difficult circumstances, encountering both victory and loss, I hope readers will take heart that their own circumstances might get better.  There is no joy that doesn’t come with a risk of pain and all suffering has the potential to become greatness. That’s the way the world works. I also hope that my readers see the value in faith.  I hope that they try it out, if they haven’t already, or at least that they don’t cast a skeptical eye on those who do. There is value when someone believes in something bigger than themselves, and we need all the help we can get.

 

4)    What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I have always loved fantasy novels.  Maybe it’s the escapism they allow, the complete freedom of participating in a completely different world, that breaks the chains of mundanity that hold us down.  I consumed fantasy novels regularly as a teenager, along with an occasional sci-fi novel, and it was a magical time for me.

 

Young adult fantasy is a great genre to write in, for a couple of reasons.  First, you get to write to the hearts of some very passionate human beings. As young adults, we seem to feel passion so much more strongly than we do when we’re older. That’s part of why we often get ourselves into trouble.  It is during this formative time that we develop our ideas about who we are, and what our values and goals should be. As we grow, we see more, we suffer more, and are weighed down by the responsibility of employment and family commitments.  It’s easy to close ourselves off to new ideas and stick to protecting what’s ours. In my opinion, the motivation to make positive changes in our world becomes gradually lost or at least more difficult.

 

There is no more fertile ground in which to plant hopeful ideas than the minds of our youth, and young-adult fantasy is, therefore, a very flexible genre to use as a foundation for such an ambition.

 

5)    If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

 

I was asked a very similar question recently, and I responded with a different answer than I am going to right now.  Odd how that works. I wonder if it was the particularly yummy cup of coffee I just drank that has me tilted just so.

 

I’d sit down with Nikolas Vorick.  He’s the main antagonist in the story, and a victim of some pretty horrific suffering, but his life doesn’t start off with him as a villain.  I’d ask Nikky why he let his suffering overwhelm him–why he let it change him so much. I’d ask what might have happened if he’d found a mentor, a kind benefactor to guide his ways; would that have made him kinder?  And I’d ask him what his mother’s name was. He never shared that with us in the story. I’m still curious.

 

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

 

Facebook.  Hands down.  I’m not much of a InstaTweetgrammer, and can’t snap any chats.  I’ve tried, and I’m terrible at it. But I like books, so I signed up with one that has faces on it, and we clicked right away.

 

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

 

Writers write, so just do it.  Write. Write a journal. Write a report at work.  Write a blog. Write something. Practice your craft. Get used to seeing how words fit together, how they inspire, what works and what doesn’t.  Get feedback. Don’t seek praise, because that doesn’t help you very much. Get critical feedback.  Get disappointed in yourself and then struggle through it.  I’ve never learned anything in life by doing it right the first time. Failure is your teacher, but you have to have the courage to fail.  The courage to learn.

And there is no better time to start than right now.  Don’t wait until you’re almost fifty years old (like me) to start doing what you always wanted to.  It’s a marvelous journey, and the highs and lows of building a story are hard to describe other than to say that if you don’t do it, you’ll regret it forever.

 

Don’t let fear hold you back from doing what you want to do.  Suffer. Heal. Grow. Then do it again. This isn’t just good advice on writing, this is good advice on how to live.

 

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

 

Looking for Dei has been built as the first story in a world I’ve called The Great Land.  Looking for Dei ends at a great stopping point but pretty obviously begs for a sequel. And probably a few more books after that.  I’ve already begun outlining the next book. I have a title, a cover, and have started writing it, but don’t have a specific timeline set out for completion.  Might be a couple years before it’s done; I have big ambitions for this one. Stay tuned.

 

Links:

Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/lookingfordei

Author Website
http://www.davidawillson.com

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/dawillson

Author Bio:

David A. Willson has worked as a restauranteur, peace officer, and now, author. Taught by his mother to read at a young age, he spent his childhood exploring magic, spaceships, and other dimensions. In his writing, he strives to bring those worlds to his readers.

Much of his material is inspired by the “Great Land” of Alaska, which he has called home for over 30 years. He lives there with his wife, five children, and 2 dogs. He is passionate about technology, faith, and fiction—not necessarily in that order.

Looking for Dei is Willson’s debut novel, set in a land where many more adventures will take place. Stay up to date with his ongoing efforts through the Looking for Dei Facebook page or visiting the website at davidawillson.com.

TSTDTW BannerThe Succubus, The Demon, & The Witch

By T. A. Moorman

Published by After Glows Publishing 3/27/2018

Paranormal/Supernatural

The Succubus, The Demon, And The Witch Final

Blurb:

In Underlayes, a dimension separate from our own,
where all mystical creatures reside, lies an orphanage for seemingly cast-off children, known as the Abbey. Children who are born from two or more factions.
There they learn both who and what they truly are, and what powers they have
lying within. What these children do not know is they were put there for their
own good, for their protection, not because they were unwanted or unloved. In
fact, the very opposite is true. Many would kill to get their hands on these
children.
As Jelissa comes of age, she is about to learn the
hard way to what lengths one such being is willing to go.
Jelissa has been a resident of the Abbey for as long as she has been alive. She has also never known what she is, besides being part witch. At the age of twenty-five, she will learn just what types of blood run through her veins. She will also find out much more — that she is also the long-lost princess almost no one even knew existed.
Tialanna secreted her only child away for her own protection. Before she can tell Jelissa the truth, Jelissa is kidnapped. All Tialanna’s greatest fears unfold before her very eyes, and her past comes back to haunt her in more ways than one.
As most do when they come of age, Jelissa will learn the hard way that adult life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And Tialanna learns the hard way that if you don’t learn from your past, it will come back and bite you on the ass.
Tialanna and her band of unmerry misfits are in a race against the clock to rescue Jelissa. Will they find her in time? And if they do, will they be able to save her from a danger they hadn’t anticipated: herself?
About the Author:
moorman pic
When you become a Mom, you begin to put yourself last, and your
combat boots begin to collect dust. Going to your child’s PTA meetings in full
Gothic, especially industrial, regalia is pretty much frowned upon. Especially
by your own children, and your teens would die of a heart attack. But, one
should not have to completely stop being themselves, uniqueness is greatness. All
of that darkness is put into the words in her books, and designs in her jewelry
sold in her GothicMoms DarkCharms shop.
Single mother of five beautiful children, but by
far more than just that. T. A. Moorman is an artist, a former violinist, a
seamstress, a crafter, a writer, a blogger, a reviewer, a dark confidant and a
darkly dangerous, fiercely protective friend.

Author Links:

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

A woman reconnecting with her son after recovering memories of a life she never knew she had leads a small knit group of people through a mystery that shakes up the small town of Providence Island in the hit book Towne Square (Providence Island Book 2) by Dianna Wilkes. Here’s the synopsis:

Jamie Danvers’s luck changed for the better when she was hired to handle marketing and communications for a Providence Island design firm. Although she’s learned from her past mistakes, her family continues to believe the worst about her. On PI, she’s making a fresh start—a home, good friends, and a challenging career. Her boss, Dana Canfield, believes in her, something Jamie hasn’t experienced for a long time. Falling in love with architect Rhys McCall wasn’t in Jamie’s plan, especially since he’s Dana’s son. Can she trust her instincts this time that Rhys might be The One?

Workaholic Rhys McCall put off having a personal life for too long. A fractured family life growing up left him cynical about finding eternal love. Jamie’s beauty catches his interest from the beginning. Her clever mind and quick wit keeps him on his toes, and he’s ready to become a believer in Forever After. She’s the perfect fit for him—personally and professionally.

But the path to love isn’t going to be easy. A killer roams the streets of PI. He’s murdered two people already, and Rhys appears to be next in his sights. Until Rhys discovers who’s targeting him, he can’t put Jamie’s life at risk. But Jamie’s not about to let Rhys shut her out. Will her determination to save their relationship put them both in jeopardy?

This book perfectly balances the mystery surrounding these characters with the personal relationships both romantic and familial that everyone loves to read. This romantic suspense thriller is the second in the acclaimed Providence Island series, and sees the story continue as a woman who learned she was lied to for years about who she was reconnects with her long lost son, trying to rebuild the life they never got to have together. However her son not only has to deal with a blossoming romance, a man swooping his mother off her feet and a huge business deal that could affect the entire town, but now he has to contend with a stalker who sets their sights on him, going after anyone he cares about.

The suspense is addicting to read, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat until the books final moments. Leaving room for the anticipated third book in the franchise, the story does a marvelous job of furthering the character’s story developments while keeping the relationships fresh and heartwarming to read. Twist after twist keep the story flowing in this small town, as the island itself becomes a character that sets the scene for a coastal town becoming the home to a mysterious killer with an agenda all his own.

In the end, this was a wonderful read. While I hadn’t read the first book in the series, the second book does a great job of balancing past events in the first book with a fresh new story that doesn’t require the reader to go out and buy the previous book. It’s an engrossing read that everyone should try, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Dianna Wilkes novel Towne Square today!

Rating: 8/10

 

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