Tag Archives: author anthony avina

The Art of Holistic Living: The Balancing Act: Career, Family, and the Self by Dr. Manish Sethi Review

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

Author and Dr. Manish Sethi take readers on a journey of self-discovery as the book outlines how to live a fully balanced and holistic life through constant improvements to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in the book “The Art of Holistic Living: The Balancing Act: Career, Family, and the Self”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Go far in all your life’s goals and endeavors!

The following descriptors collectively make us distinct:

Bodymindcareerfamilysocial circlethoughtsbeliefs, and aspirations.

What if all areas of our lives were truly blossoming?

What if we could live a wholesome, balanced, and holistic life?

The only way to achieve that is to become a better version of ourselves, with a mindset of continuous improvement.

The topics covered in this book are diverse:

  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Healthy Habit formation
  • Mindfulness and Spirituality
  • Being more efficient in 24 hours
  • Work-life Balance
  • Communication
  • Career Growth
  • Parenting


This book started as notes for myself. After studying and practicing different aspects of healthy living for the past 20 years, I realized an apparent gap in the teachings of all those topics; this book highlights that gap and an underlying connection among different principles.

The Review

What immediately stuck with me as I read this book was the way the author was able to connect very pointed and specific ideas on self-improvement that are found in many books on this subject by using a more general and holistic perspective. One of the most challenging things a person can come up against is life itself getting in the way of self-improvement. From an overwhelming workload to conflict within our relationships and ailments of both the mind and body, there will always be obstacles preventing us from achieving our innermost goals. 

The relatability of the author’s writing style and the multi-pronged approach to the guide itself on growth and change in our lives was brilliantly presented within this book. The honesty and clarity with which the author delivered his message and the experiences that informed his views were thoughtfully crafted and showcased the wealth of knowledge this book presents. 

The Verdict

In-depth, passionately written, and engaging, author Dr. Manish Sethi’s “The Art of Holistic Living” is a must-read guide on balancing our lives and improving our own selves. The balance of the author’s work in matters of spiritual, physical, and mental health was greatly emphasized in this book and the depth of information that the author is able to bring to such a short yet powerful read made this one enlightening experience. If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10 

Advertisements

About the Author

MANISH SETHI, PHD, lives a life of inquisition and exploration. His desire is to learn how to live a holistic life with a balance of career, family, and self.

His research, personal experiences, and thoughtful interactions in the spiritual realm have guided Manish to understand the deeper meaning of faith, mysticism, career and ambition, healthy mind and body, family, and even materialism. He understands that a fulfilling life consists of finding a balance between various facets of life and integrating these diverse concepts to become a more wholesome individual.

What began as personal notes of inspiration on his journey to becoming a better person today than he was yesterday, Manish has provided a resource full of concepts to assist the reader on a path to greater learning and deeper understanding.

Manish lives in North Carolina with his wife Mona and two daughters, Anika and Anaya.

https://a.co/d/gnpNQcj

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-art-of-holistic-living-manish-sethi/1142613833

https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Art-Holistic-Living/Manish-Sethi/9798986549606?id=8714782673533#

The Rebellion Awakens (Sentrys of Terrene: Book One) by TC Marti Review

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

A leader within the growing Insurgency against an Imperial war machine must test his faith after being taken to an Imperial stronghold, while two other rebels find a young girl who could turn the tide of the war in author TC Marti’s “The Rebellion Awakens”, the first book in the Sentrys of Terrene series and the latest entry into the Elementals universe the author has crafted.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

War!

A strike from underground bases won the Insurgency’s first victory against Vranom Imperials.

During the battle, Insurgency spies intercepted a blueprint regarding the Imperials’ superweapon, the Fusion Bomb, constructed with enough Source energy to wipe out an entire landmass.

Commander Tage-Ras Svendson intends to celebrate the Insurgency’s victory after relaying the stolen plans before a confrontation with the notorious Venn Rhine forces him into a Vranom stronghold. With only a disembodied voice giving directions, Tage faces the ultimate test of faith.

Meanwhile, in Vranom’s capital city of Sunrise, two insurgents stumble across a girl who may hold a key to restoring justice to the lost world.

The Rebellion Awakens is Book I in the post-apocalyptic dystopian military science fantasy Sentrys of Terrene Series. Inspired by Star Wars with a touch of Avatar: The Last Airbender, join Tage-Ras Svendson, Sabre Kjaergaard, and Ren Elk-Jaer as they battle the People’s Republic of Vranom and expose the global superpower’s lies regarding the extinct Sentry Order.

The Review

This was a wonderful blend of action and epic sci-fi fantasy storytelling. The latest entry into the Elementals saga is the perfect way to jumpstart “phase II”, and the way the author is able to blend elements of the other books in the saga with this new world and its own mythos was remarkable to see come to life. The society for which this rebellion is born highlights the somber and fear-state atmosphere that compels the characters forward in their journey. 

The character growth and powerful themes really hit home in this novel. The cast of characters all played great roles in this story, but the character who best showcased the wonder and terrors of this world that the reader could relate to was Sabre, who found within herself her own form of rebellion by reading ancient texts hidden by her father and discovering the true ways of this world for herself, which flies in the face of the faith and government that they are all sworn to abide by. The concept of a fear-state and ruthless government rule is a dystopian nightmare that plays heavily into our own current state of affairs in the world, which makes for truly engaging and frightful narratives.

The Verdict

Mesmerizing, haunting, and entertaining, author TC Marti’s “The Rebellion Awakens” is a fantastic dystopian and post-apocalyptic thriller and a must-read first book in the Sentrys of Terrene series. The twists in the author’s story and the wealth of character development and dynamics will keep readers engaged with this narrative, and the rich mythos and world-building will have fans enthralled by this brand-new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10 

Advertisements

About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic, and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

Laugh, Cry, Rewind: A Memoir by Judy Haveson Review

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

Author Judy Haveson steps forward to share the emotional journey of her life, from the author’s childhood to the birth of her son, and how she has come out on the other side through a series of losses and painful experiences in order to keep on living her life to the fullest in the book “Laugh, Cry, Rewind: A Memoir”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Growing up in 1970s and 80s suburban Houston, Judy Haveson is funny, sarcastic, and fiercely loyal, especially to her family, friends, and big sister, Celia. When she suffers a series of unimaginable traumatic events, her seemingly idyllic childhood comes to a halt, changing her life forever.

In Laugh Cry Rewind Judy takes readers on her journey of self-discovery, sharing funny, touching, and heartbreaking stories from her childhood all the way to the birth of her son. Her experiences serve as a reminder that while life is not always fair, ultimately, the choice to surrender or keep on living is ours. Her message to others who have experienced loss or tragedy is this: stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let life go on, and good things will be waiting for you on the other side of the pain.

The Review

As an older brother, the first and most important thing that stuck out to me was the deep-seated bond the author shares with her older sister. The emotional pull of their story and how her sister influenced her both in childhood and in the years following the tragedy in her life was haunting yet beautiful at the same time. The hopeful tone the author tries to bring out in their narrative was great to see, as it helped by acting as a guiding light out of the darkness that threatened to consume the author in the wake of this tragedy.

The themes of love, loss, and hope were strong in this book. The way the themes blended into the author’s story and kept shining through in natural ways was remarkable to read about. The balance in the author’s personal story set against the backdrop of the 70s and 80s, as well as the honest and personable way of writing the author utilized, made for a compelling and engaging story that readers won’t be able to get enough of.

The Verdict

Poignant, heartfelt, and emotionally driven, author Judy Haveson’s “Laugh, Cry, Rewind: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction book. The sense of history and culture through the author’s own background and the rich setting of her life helped elevate this personal story of growth and hope in the wake of tragedy and kept me as a reader emotionally invested and connected as an older brother to a truly remarkable sister myself. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Judy Haveson is a proud Texan who will never lose her southern charm or accent and uses both when the situation absolutely calls for it. Her one-time dream of becoming a journalist was shattered when a professor suggested she pick a new major due to her penchant for obsessive conversation. He claimed she’d be an editor’s nightmare because she wrote as she spoke and never stopped talking. This led her to a career in public relations. Judy’s fixation with reading books and stories about other people’s lives inspired her to write her debut memoir. She currently lives in The Hamptons with her husband, Adam, son, Jack, and beloved Yorkie, Toby.

https://www.judyhaveson.com/

Shine Baby Shine, 7 Steps to Energetic Self-Empowerment by Antoniella Del Vecchio Review

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

Author Antoniella Del Vecchio shares an easy-to-follow yet comprehensive guide on how to improve yourself and gain a better understanding of what is happening around them emotionally in the book “Shine Baby Shine, 7 Steps to Energetic Self-Empowerment”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

SHINE, BABY, SHINE 7 Steps to Energetic Self-Empowerment is an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow self-help book which allows the reader to gain understanding and awareness of what is happening within them emotionally, as well as energetically. There are integrative strategies and exercises that the reader can utilize to become stronger and healthier emotionally and spiritually. Reading the book and following the steps will facilitate change to help them raise their self-esteem, feel happier and motivated so that they can enjoy life. Following the Energetic Self-Empowerment program is so easy, so effortless, that they will feel surprised at how much they will accomplish, regardless of where they start. Self-transformation can be exciting, easy, highly effective, and quick!

The Review

Right off the bat, I truly appreciated the author’s honesty and heartfelt tone throughout the book. Immediately the author shares with readers that this self-help book is a workbook not meant to replace medical or psychological needs, which is so important in these types of books as so many people may confuse self-help with replacements for medical or psychological help they may need. The blend of energy work and emotional support that the author’s work promotes was great to see come to life on the page.

The step-by-step guided work that the author outlines in this book was both easy to follow and thoughtful in its approach. The way the author was able to hone in on both physical and emotional aspects of life that could impact our emotional state or well-being was insightful, and the balance of personal storytelling of her own life experiences with the guided work she put into place will help keep readers invested in the work itself.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and well-written, author Antoniella Del Vecchio’s “Shine Baby Shine, 7 Steps to Energetic Self-Empowerment” is a must-read self-help and personal transformation book. The heartfelt delivery of the author’s personal story and experiences when developing these steps will help balance out the reader’s own emotional journey working through these steps themselves, and the book itself speaks to a large number of different people to help guide them on their emotional and often spiritual journey to self-improvement. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Antoniella Del Vecchio attended Marist College for a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Long Island University for a master’s degree in mental health counseling. Antoniella is also certified as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, her area of specialty for the last ten years. She is a licensed mental health counselor in New York, and a licensed professional clinical counselor in California, with a specialty in substance abuse from the state of California. Antoniella is currently working with the military to help alleviate symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and patterns of addiction. She also has a private practice in La Jolla, California, where she works with people from all walks of life. Antoniella feels that everyone has the right and deserves to live a happy, empowered life. Everyone has their own innate gifts and skills that deserve to be expressed and celebrated according to their truth. With that in mind, Antoniella has created a signature program, Energetic Self-Empowerment, which will allow for individuals to reach their full potential in a compassionate, gentle way. Antoniella’s focus is to help those who are willing, to find their voice, their joy, and their personal power with no apologies. Antoniella lives by the motto ‘don’t talk about it, be about it’. She is now offering her program to the public for the first time. The method she developed and followed to reawaken her self-empowerment is now available. She promises that you, too, will feel a powerful shift in your own life in an easy, simple way that will help you stand in your own power while feeling happy, vital, and alive.

Interview with Author Michael J. Stiehl

Advertisements

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

When I was a kid I fell in love with writing through comic books. I loved stories by Peter David, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman and so many others – the 80’s were golden years for writing in comics. Later I was drawn to George R. R. Martin’s Wildcards books, which ultimately led me to Isaac Asimov and classic Sci-Fi.

As a kid I would daydream about superheroes and science fiction, occasionally trying to put those dreams on paper but never finishing anything. In college I migrated from creative writing to journalism before becoming pragmatic and abandoning the idea of writing for a living altogether to pursue other interests.

I still thought about writing after college though, even starting a book or short story from time to time but never finishing it. Finally, a few years ago, after giving a friend of mine feedback on his third novel, he suggested I give writing another try.

I’m glad I did.

Since then I’ve been writing as much regular life allows, creating characters, stories and worlds. It’s the most fun I’ve had doing something in a long time. Recently I re-watched the movie Stand By Me – which I loved as a kid – and was struck by the scene where Chris tells Gordie he could be a real writer if he tried and that the stories he can make up are a gift he shouldn’t lose. 

It reminded me that creativity is a gift and that I should make the most of what talent I have. I’m happy to say that my novella Sanctuary is my reward for doing just that.

What inspired you to write your book?

I wrote a novella a few years ago that didn’t work but that had a character in it named Theobard that I liked. I couldn’t shake wanting to know more about him, who he was and where he came from. Sanctuary started as my attempt to answer those questions.

Once I started writing I got interested in the idea of how sometimes people we meet, and fall in love with, change our lives forever. From there Dellia came into view and I could tell right away the interactions between Dellia and Theobard were exciting. The story took off from there, driven by Theobard’s past and present but altered by his feelings for Dellia.

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

I’d like readers to consider that sometimes you have to be who you are, no matter what. However, choosing that truth can come with a price but, even if it’s a huge price, being who you are is worth it. It’s like Shakespeare said “This above all: to thine own self be true…”

What drew you into this particular genre?

This particular story started out as a straight romance but quickly changed as I began writing. In the back of my head I kept thinking about old gothic mysteries like Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I love how that book makes you think it’s going to be one thing, a Victorian drama, and then turns into a sort of ghost / horror story. I wanted a story with a compelling set of characters that lead you through an unfamiliar place to uncover a mystery. I’m not sure what genre I’ve landed on, but it certainly has bits of fantasy, romance, horror and mystery in it.

Advertisements

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

I would sit down with Mansell, owner of Mansell’s Marvels in the Mantori Bazaar. As a merchant of the most unique items available, I would ask him which was his favorite object, how he found it and why it was his favorite. Mansell, being a good salesman, would no doubt have a great story to tell, one that would leave me convinced the object was of immense value and interest. I would probably by it from him at too high a price and then be left wondering if it really was his favorite object or just the one he thought he could sell me.

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

I am terrible at social media. I have a Facebook page that I neglect and I’m on Reddit but that’s about it. I do have author’s pages on both Amazon and Goodreads but beyond that I don’t spend a lot of time on social media. I will say that I have found things like Submission Grinder invaluable for finding new open calls and writing opportunities.

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

  1. The following three things are true:
    1. The old quote by Hemingway, “the only kind of writing is rewriting.” 
    2. The advice Stephen King gives in his book “On Writing” that the second draft should always be ten percent shorter than the first
    3. Neil Gaiman’s advice from his Master Class to always finish your story.

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

I have a couple of submissions out there I’m waiting to hear back about, both of which are exciting. One is a short story I like a lot for a very cool music themed anthology. The other is another novella I completed earlier this year set in the same world as Sanctuary but with completely different characters. I’ve got my fingers crossed that both will see print. Other than that, I’m still fooling around with a story about Houdini in World War 1 that I hope to finish one of these days.

Advertisements

About the Author

Michael J. Stiehl has had a lifelong passion for fiction, in particular horror, comics, adventure and science fiction, and is thrilled to finally be writing some of his own.  Michael lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife, two kids and his very silly poodle Jack. When not writing fiction, Michael spends his time riding bikes, camping, reading books, obsessively listening to music and playing D&D with his friends. In short, he hasn’t changed a bit since junior high.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/michael_stiehl

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.stiehl

The PI’s Deadly Charade (Honor Bound Book Six) by Anna J. Stewart Review

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

An ex-con turned PI must team up with an up-and-coming attorney he has been trying to avoid his feelings for in order to protect her from his past when their respective cases cross paths in author Anna J. Stewart’s “The PI’s Deadly Charade”, the sixth book in the Honor Bound Romantic Suspense series from Harlequin Press.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Proving himself

Means saving her life

An ex-con, PI Jason Sutton has ignored his attraction to Kyla Bertrand for years, not wanting his past to drag down the up-and-coming attorney. But his missing person’s case and her investigation into a friend’s murder have connections that require joining forces. As they’re lured deep into a shadowy underworld, proving himself means not only unraveling dangerous mysteries, but keeping Kyla alive.

From Harlequin Romantic Suspense: Danger. Passion. Drama.

Feel the excitement in these uplifting romances, part of the Honor Bound series:

Book 1: More Than a Lawman

Book 2: Reunited with the P.I.

Book 3: Gone in the Night

Book 4: Guarding His Midnight Witness

Book 5: Prison Break Hostage

Book 6: The PI’s Deadly Charade

Book 7: Deadly Vegas Escapade

The Review

This was a phenomenal read. The author does a remarkable job of finding just that right balance between mystery, suspense, and romance. The fast-paced of the novel and the way the mystery unravels between both cases as they come together was great to see unfold over the course of the narrative. The tone of the narrative ranged from haunting and chilling to heated and passionate, capturing the adrenaline and thrill of being in the thick of danger together as passions bloom.

The dynamic between Kyla and Jason is so rich and captivating to read and see come to life on the page. The passionate way that Kyla pursues her friend’s case and the emotional pull of not only Kyla and Jason’s budding relationship but of Jason’s redemptive arc was moving and added depth to the mystery and suspense aspects of the narrative. The connectivity of the cast of characters from previous entries in this series allows the reader to feel fully immersed in this setting and showcases the level of world-building the author contended with in this entry.

The Verdict

Entertaining, passionate, and thrilling, author Anna J. Stewart’s “The PI’s Deadly Charade” is a must-read romantic suspense thriller and a great entry into Harlequin’s “Honor Bound” romantic suspense series. The shocking twists and dangerous turns the investigation takes the two protagonists will not only unravel the dangers facing them but show the elevated romantic journey that the two take as they grow closer together throughout their investigative journey. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

A geek at heart, USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes “refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving romance.” (RT Book Reviews) Her books include The Butterfly Harbor series for Harlequin Heartwarming, along with the Blackwell continuity series. She also writes the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and has written in the ongoing Colton family saga. As her first love is paranormal romance, she’s published a number of novellas, including the Tome Wardens trilogy collection. EXPOSED, her first book of The Circle of the Red Lily romantic suspense series with CAEZIK Romance will be released in November of 2022. Readers can get a taste for what’s to come with her Nemesis Files Trilogy (light romantic suspense), available on audio through Scribd.

NYTimes bestselling author Brenda Novak says “The talented Anna J Stewart delivers every time!”

Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Jason Momoa addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates two devious cats named Sherlock and Rosie.

The Unraveling: A Jade & Sage Thriller Series Book One by Joanna Vander Vlugt Review

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

After the client she successfully defended is murdered, a lawyer must rely on her sister’s motorbike club to help defend her from a secret justice society and their assassins when they come after her next in author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “The Unraveling”, the first book in A Jade & Sage Thriller Series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Jade Thyme celebrates successfully defending Jules Cranbury on a murder charge. Her celebration is short-lived when she finds Jules murdered. Jade investigates and uncovers a secret justice society whose members hide behind white tabs and black robes while delivering their own vigilante justice. Jade locates a once prominent and respected lawyer, now known as Noxzema Man, homeless and panhandling in Fan Tan Alley. He warns Jade. Judges, lawyers and police make up the Society. Trust no one. The MotoCityDolls, her sister’s all-female motorcycle gang, save Jade from a Society assassin. Forced to take a leave of absence, Jade packs up her office, but not before coming face-to-face with another assassin–Jules’s murderer.

The Review

This was such a compelling and chilling crime meets legal thriller. The haunting nature of the conspiracy that unravels throughout this narrative and the frightful tone that the dangers facing the protagonist emit help drive the narrative forward and keep the reader on the edge of their seats as one after the other the dominoes in the character’s lives begin to unravel. The rich setting and adrenaline-fueled blend of mystery and suspense (with a hint of supernatural storytelling elements) made this a completely engaging read.

The character growth and interactions really highlighted the growing mystery and dread that the dangers presented to the cast of characters. Jade is such a strong and inviting protagonist, and her bond with both her sister and Osmond was definitely a compelling element of her story. Yet it was the unraveling of the conspirators and the society that comes after her, as well as the haunting nature of the supernatural twist that affects her journey, that kept me invested in the overall narrative.

The Verdict

Chilling, entertaining, and thrilling, author Joanna Vander Vlugt’s “The Unraveling” is a must-read crime thriller that meets paranormal suspense and mysteries. The brilliant start to the Jade & Sage Thriller series, the rich dynamics between the characters and the haunting nature of the crimes, and even the connection between Jade and the first victim of the crime spree, will keep readers on their toes as these twists and turns up the ante of this narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Joanna Vander Vlugt is an indie author and illustrator. She hosts a podcast called JCVArtStudio from the Dressing Room which provides authors and artists an opportunity to tell their story–a dress rehearsal before taking their book launch or art show on the road.

Her legal thriller Dealer’s Child is a 2021 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist and The Unravelling, the first novel in her paranormal thriller series, was a 2019 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist. Her previous publications include her short essay No Beatles Reunion for the Dropped Threads 3 anthology, Beyond the Small Circle; Egyptian Queen for the Dead in the Water mystery anthology and The Parrot and Wild Mushroom Stuffing for the Blood on the Holly mystery anthology.

Joanna’s art can be viewed on Instagram @jcvartstudio

https://www.jcvartstudio.net/

Girl Targeted (An Aoife Walsh Thriller Book One) by Val Collins Review

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

A newlywed wife who takes an office job whilst awaiting the birth of her daughter witnesses a horrific accident that just may point to a cold-blooded killer, and everyone in her life, including her own husband, may not be able to be trusted in author Val Collins’s “Girl Targeted”, the first book in An Aoife Walsh Thriller series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Office jobs can be stressful. Aoife’s may be lethal.

Aoife’s life is finally on track. She’s happily married, pregnant with her first child and has the world’s best mother-in-law. But when Aoife accepts a job as an office temp, her entire life begins to unravel.

Is one of Aoife’s colleagues a murderer? Is Aoife the next target? Why is her husband unconcerned?

Can office politics lead to murder? 

The Review

I love how the author immediately draws the reader in with their relatable character development and subtle buildup of tension that allows for those explosive moments to really shock the reader and stay with them long after the scene has ended. The rich setting and captivating mystery that surrounds the setting itself give the reader an equally magnetized pull that draws them into the mystery the same as the protagonist, who takes on this investigative role.

The character development really drove the story home for the reader. The determination and curiosity that Aoife displays are so relatable to true crime enthusiasts and journalists alike, and how she balances this with her life as a wife and mother is great world-building in my opinion. Balance this with the twisted relationship that reveals itself over time with her husband, who displays rudeness and abruptness that so many people will recognize from their own past relationships and informs the reader on how far Aoife’s narrative journey takes her over time.

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Val Collins’s “Girl Targeted” is a brilliant story and a great first entry into the Aoife Walsh Thriller series. The twists this mystery takes and the dangers that Aoife comes into contact with are a great foundation for building a new heroine to tackle the mysteries and criminal dangers facing her small corner of the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Val Collins is the author of the award-winning psychological thriller GIRL TARGETED and the No. 1 international bestsellers ONLY LIES REMAIN, THE SILENT SPEAK and WHERE LOYALTIES LIE. All four books are stand-alone thrillers and they can be read in any order.

Val has lived in Ireland her entire life, and graduated from University College Dublin. She enjoys chocolate, going for long walks in the countryside, seeing as much of the world as possible, meeting friends, writing, and reading. In fact, she devours books at the rate of one per week, and her favourite authors range from Philippa Gregory and Sophie Kinsella to Lee Child and Linwood Barclay.

Join Val online at valcollinsbooks.com, and on social media @valcollinsbooks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MT89VW/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F38125916-girl-targeted%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D6KUFgDjvlb%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Interview with Author Laura Pratt

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

I am a career writer. I’ve made my living as a journalist for almost thirty years. I would say, however, that I didn’t really find my voice until I started writing creative nonfiction.

What inspired you to write your book?

In 2018, I went to the University of King’s College in Halifax to start a two-year program in creative nonfiction. I earned my MFA in 2020. The graduate thesis for this program is in fact a book, which we work through with mentors over the course of two years. Ideally, you have your book finished in alignment with the program. I chose to write about heartbreak because it has been such a powerful experience in my life. My story, coupled with a range of more scholarly explorations into the phenomenon of this universal experience, seemed like juicy fodder for a creative nonfiction project.

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

I think the biggest takeaway I envision for this book is that you’re OK. I’m OK. We’re all OK. If you’re reeling from heartbreak, you needn’t imagine you’re failing society or yourself or anyone at all for your failure to surface according to some perceived timetable. It’s OK to be reeling. It’s OK to hurt and yearn and struggle for a long time. I want people to stop judging themselves for not being OK, and to be kind to themselves in the face of their discomfort and despair. To realize, through my story, that it is entirely natural to hurt for a long time. They are not losers. They are only human.

What drew you into this particular genre?

Creative nonfiction is a natural fit for me. As a journalist, I am deeply concerned with the truth and feel strongly about holding my writing accountable to facts alone. But the *creative* aspect of this approach to writing was a wonderful discovery for me. Here, writers apply the tools and literary devices of creative writing (think: character development, scenes, detailed description, dialogue, etc.) to nonfiction. It elevates factual storytelling to a much more compelling and enjoyable place.

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

I have launched an Instagram account around this book, and am excited to see where this path takes me. It is my first experience on that platform and I’m hopeful for its reach in terms of attracting readers.

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

Keep going. It’s hard to write a book. It takes tremendous stick-to-it-iveness and patience. It’s a lot of work and a lot of words. But you need only to take a stroll through a bookstore, electronic or brick-built, to come away encouraged by the number of people who have been able to pull off this enormous undertaking. Have faith in yourself. If all those folks could do it, why not you?

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

I make my living now as a book editor, but feel strongly that there are more memoirs on my near horizon. I am a mother to four kids who are all young adults now, and I am kicking around ideas for another memoir that delves into this stage of maternal life. But I am so consumed right now with giving “Heartbroken” the birth it deserves, that I don’t want to muddy the waters by thinking too much ahead. I have loved every minute of writing this book and am awfully excited at the prospect of getting it out into the world. Thank you for taking the time for this conversation!

Advertisements

About the Author

LAURA PRATT is a long-time journalist, writer and editor. She writes for Canadian magazines and edits books. Her first memoir, The Fleeting Years, was published in 2004. She lives in Toronto with whichever of her kids and dogs she can corral to join her. She’s a 2020 graduate of the University of King’s College’s creative nonfiction MFA. She won an honourable mention in Prairie Fire’s 2020 CNF contest and was shortlisted for The Fiddlehead’s 2019 CNF contest. She has served as a judge at the National Magazine Awards for several years.

http://www.laurapratt.ca/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5K9DDQP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61389212-heartbroken%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DBFdCXa0sJJ%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20