Posted in Author Spotlight

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Kathy Martone Shares Her Short Stories & Essay

Hello everyone! I am so honored to be able to share a special post today. I was recently contacted by an incredible author named Kathy Martone, whom I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and reviewing here on my site in recent months. She asked me to share a couple of her original short stories, along with one of her essays, and I thought this would be a fun new idea to share to you guys. Please enjoy these incredible stories and this essay, and if you enjoy them be sure to follow me on my website and follow Kathy as well. Enjoy everyone!

Advertisements

MOANA DESPEARA

DAY 1

Her name was Moana. Moana Despeara. Outta nowhere she showed up and ruined my life. Just knocked at my door polly please as if she knew me. 

“Gimme a minute,” I said. “Be right there!” Looked in the mirror first; made sure my hair looked okay. 

Opened the door slowly. Peered out into the blindin’ sunlight. “Can I help ya, young lady?” Why I coulda been starin’ at a mirror, dat girl lookin’ so much like my own self, scat bit younger though. ‘Bout my height and weight, shoulder length curly hair – I be danged, with the same type barrette too – only her hair was bright yellow and mine mousy brown. 

Lookin’ like a stray cat, her head down and eyes at half mast, she peeked up at me through straggly hair and asked, “Kin I come in?” 

“S-s-sure,” I said surprisin’ myself. “Have a seat in the livin’ room.” Shuffled as fast as I could to folla her. Didn’t want her to think I was a pushover or nothin’. Eased my achin’ bones down onto the chair and stared at her with eyes full o’ questions.

“Uh-h-h, um, well, uh, I don’t rightly know how to say this,” she stumbled. “But I’m in need of a place to stay.” She stared right at me with her big green eyes, just like mine.

Met those big eyes straight on, didn’t want her to know how nervous I were. Why would a stranger knock on my door and ask fer a bed? Very odd. “Well okay,” I heard my voice speak out loud. “But you’ll have to pay; I ain’t got no handouts for no down and out youngster lookin’ fer a place to land. And I’ll need some information, if ya please.”

Sittin’ there watchin’ her fill out my list, I felt no jitters a’tall, a bit surprisin’ with me just axin’ this lost and fersaken’ girl into my home. Money’ll come in handy though, I thought to myself. Seemed polite enough; fingernails were clean; clothes a bit wrinkled but otherwise tidy; hair could’ve used some work.

“Thank you ma’am,” she said as she cleared her throat. “Can’t tell ya how much I ‘preciate this. Life’s been a bit of a struggle fer me, ya know? Havin’ a room of my own should make all the diff’rence.” Raisin’ herself up offa my chair, she yawned and stretched her back. “May I?” she asked, her eyes fillin’ with tears. 

“Oh yes, of course. Of course. Lemme show you.” Stood up as quickly as I could and showed her the way into the extra bedroom. “All yours,” I continued as I slipped her check, quiet-like, into my brassiere. “Bathroom’s on your left. Help yourself to the closet and dresser drawers.”

“No need,” she replied. “I don’t come with nothin.”

“Only one other thing. Don’t never touch that chest in the corner, ya hear?”

“Sure ’nuff,” she mumbled.

Not waitin’ round to hear more, I made my way back into the livin’ room and grabbed her application. Heard her door shut behind me. Big sigh of relief. No time to waste on other people’s problems. Or so I thought.

DAY 6

Ever’ night since she arrived, its the same thing what happens over and over like some old movie replayin’ itself on the wheel o’ one of them old fancy movie projectors. Moan groan weep. Moan groan weep. Bedsprings creakin’ like a buncha tree frogs. All to the up and down of my own simmerin’ pot of unrest. Don’t that woman never sleep? 

Right round 5:00AM ever’ mornin’ things go quiet. Real quiet. Like graveyard quiet. Don’t never see her durin’ the day. But then I never see her a’tall. Gotta wonder where she goes, what she’s doin’, who she’s talkin’ to. Always locks her door, though. Not that I’d snoop; I’m ever mindful o’ my rights n’ wrongs. 

DAY 15

Middle o’ the frickin’ night. Sittin’ here starin’ at that dang door. Can’t get no rest no more. That suzy cutesy what paid for my bed ain’t got no worries ’bout who she bothers. Got so many black circles ‘neath my eyes, why you’d think I was some kinda monster from one o’ them ghost tales my dear old marm used to read to me. The kind that scared my little ticker so bad, couldna’ sleep back then neither. 

DAY16

Tossin’ and turnin’ in my bed, sleep still playin’ hard to get. Don’t know how many more nights like this I kin handle. Guess there ain’t no way to ‘scape these demons what haunt my private spaces. But where do these downheartenin’ feelin’s come from? Just makes no dang sense! Used to be, I was so chatty happy. Ever’one always said so. Where did all those bubblin’ up with joy experiences go to? This just ain’t like me a’tall. Just cry, cry, cry. All the durn time. Stupid stupid tears wettin’ my pillow night after godawful night.

DAY 18

When did it become so dang hard just to git outta bed? Coffee sounds good; legs movin’, left right left right left right. Kitchen light on, eyes half shut, coffeepot on. Amazin’ how the aroma of gurglin’ caffeine can be so calmin’. One o’ the few body pleasin’ happenin’s done left to me, surely. Mebbe this missy who shares my house done brought down a curse on me. Wonder when was the last time I had some fun? Just seems as so I don’t have none no more. Just always feelin’ low and fraught with worry. 

Ah, what’s this? Moana’s key? Wonder what that sassy frassy’s up to? Come to think on it, she ain’t paid her rent this week. Why surely she wouldna’ checked out without so much as a bye and bye, without collectin’ her deposit. Guess I’ll think on that later; coffee won’t stay hot forever. 

DAY 19

Surely feels good to get some rest fer a change. Ain’t heard one peep from that girl fer two days now. Guess she’s surely gone after all. Should I or shouldn’t I? Why, this house b’longs to me. I have ever’ right to open that door! Makes me a might nervous though – what if she be lyin’ inside deader ‘n dead? Oh, best leave things be! Standin’ here with both my eyeballs glued to her door ain’t doin’ me no good no way. 

DAY 20

Ain’t lately heard nothin’ more from that room. Why’s my hand shakin’ so? Such foolishness ain’t suitable for one such as me. You’d think I stole m’self into this here house or somethin’. Deep breath. Ever so slow – why, glory be, the door’s open!

Raise m’sef up on my toe tips and ease inside, quieter’n a mouse. Room’s dark, curtains drawn against the risin’ sun. Flip the light. Eyes wide open in surprise. Why those be my clothes on that there bed! Whip my gaze ‘cross the room. Chest wide open with my belongin’s scattered ever’where! What the blazin’ devil, I begin to curse. 

Grabbin’ the lavender underlies and matchin’ brassiere from the tangled bedclothes, I march into the bathroom and flip that light switch. Lookin’ at my reflection in the mirror, all the color drains from that face peerin’ back at me. That face! It’s Moana Despeara. Moana Despeara who’s been inhabitin’ my house, my clothes, my soul.

Advertisements

THE AWAKENING

The dream began like all dreams – shrouded in magic and mystery.

My black haired sister and I walk hand in hand as we head for the dark woods. The deep silence of the forest quickly descends and we are swallowed by the vast network of trees. Entering a large open glade lit by the pearlescent glow of the full moon, we lie down on a moss covered stone and fall asleep, entering the dreamscape as one. In the dream we stand in a large meadow in the middle of a forest. The full moon casts her alabaster net strewn with stars across the firmament, her luminous halo transforming the scene into a mythical landscape of unparalleled beauty. Soon we are confronted by a massive wild boar with ivory tusks who charges at us and carries off my beloved sister. Overtaken with fear, I awaken from the dream to find that my sister is gone. 

I rouse myself from the dream, confused and disoriented. Who is this dark sister of mine and what happened to her? Her tortured cries as the beast carried her away linger in my head. Glancing at the clock on the table beside my bed, I see that it is only five minutes past midnight, the witching hour. Dare I return to the land of sleep? Can I save this mysterious sibling of the murky moon? And how does one go about such heroic efforts with wild beings who inhabit the shadow realms? 

My heart beats a staccato rhythm against my chest wall as I contemplate this scenario. Fearful of facing the moon beast again, I decide to get out of bed and read for a bit. I pad my way into the pitch black confines of my kitchen looking for a glass of wine to calm my nerves. Not wanting to blast myself back into full consciousness with overhead incandescent light, I grope my way along the granite counters until I find the bottle of red wine where I left it earlier. Somehow just holding onto the dark vessel gives me a small measure of comfort, as I slowly begin to orient myself back into non-dreaming reality. 

I hold the cool glass of ruby liquid close to my heart as I tiptoe out of the kitchen and into my living room, where I search the bookshelves for something to occupy my thoughts. The fact that I stand here bathed in moonlight – that same crown of light that highlighted the inexplicable kidnapping I just witnessed – does not escape me. Blindly I let my fingers play along the spines of the books before choosing a thin volume of unknown title. 

Both hands now fully occupied, I take a seat on my red velvet Victorian couch and sigh deeply. Setting the wine glass and book on the coffee table, I lean back against the plush red and purple pillows and gaze up at the ceiling while trying to whisk away the cobwebs of dream memory in favor of some concrete facts – like I’m here, now, safe, now, in my home, now, no wild-eyed monsters here. 

Some moments later, feeling a little less anxious, I take a long sip of the Italian wine savoring its warm slow journey down the pipe of my esophagus and into my solar plexus. Exhaling fully, I let my eyes wander over to the chosen volume still lying on the table. I lean forward to position the glass of wine next to the book as my consciousness wavers between realism and mysticism. Placing my right hand on the green cover, I close my eyes and bring the text onto my lap. The trepidation of facing yet some new additional horror makes me nervous about opening the novel. But I am fully awake, I remind myself, fully awake and safe at home. 

Determined to conquer the demons who occupy my mind, I grasp the hardbound copy with both hands and open my eyes to read the title. Werewolves of London screams silently back at me, my eyes wide with fear and shock. Quickly I drop the bewitched volume back onto the table and gulp down the remaining wine as I careen violently between nightmare and sleep, magical beings and concrete facts, bewitchery and reality.

Leaving the book and the now empty glass of wine on the antique wooden table, I race back into the bedroom and dive under the bedclothes seeking safety and comfort. How much time passes, I do not know. But I eventually find myself dreaming once again.

I am asleep on the moss covered stone in the moonlit garden. The sound of some savage creature barreling through the underbrush awakens me. Holding my breath and casting my eyes about for a place to hide, I spot the white tusked wild pig with beady, red-rimmed black eyes. He stands at least 6 feet tall and his breath fogs the air about him with the smell of rotting flesh. Motionless, he remains standing at the edge of the forest, simply staring at me. 

The entire jungle goes silent as the censorship of death and rebirth takes charge. No more chattering cicadas, no more rustling branches, no more hooting owls. Just the stillness of graveyards and timeless journeys into space. Spinning out of control as my thoughts try to grasp the scene unfolding before me, I am stunned to see my dark haired sister seated upon the back of the beast, smiling at me. She wears a mask of exquisite beauty, black and red sequined feathers glittering in the moonlight as they frame her own ebony eyes. The scene fades as I lose consciousness. 

Later I awaken to find a bag made of animal skin and filled with masks. As I spill the contents onto my green carpeted bed of stone, a group of women gather in a circle, dancing before me, their black and red feathered veils shimmering in the pale light of the moon.

I awaken in my bed, the morning sun peeking around the window frames and brightening up my room. Lying on top of my bedspread sits a black and red feathered mask dotted with sequins and crystals.

Get 6 months of Amazon Music Unlimited FREE when you buy a select Echo device

Still Not Dead Yet

Kathy Martone

   Standing in front of the full-length mirror, I stare at the image looking back at me.  Who is she, I often ask myself.  This older woman with graying hair, wrinkles around her eyes, parchment paper-thin skin, old age spots.  And yet, she looks oddly familiar, this unedited version of myself.  I decide I don’t like her and try to banish her from my life.  But she is persistent and returns every time I look in the mirror.  Make-up, youthful clothing, and hair dye both seem to move her to the corners of my eyes where I don’t have to look at her square on.  This has worked for several years but now she has invaded my inner space, talking to me from inside my head.  There is no escape, it seems.  I feel trapped.  Nowhere to go.  Nowhere to hide.  Destiny is in control.  

   As I begrudgingly accept her presence – this uninvited and unwanted caricature of myself – I am pleasantly surprised to discover how much I enjoy her company.  Often witty and humorous, serious and introspective, she lays out the contradictory puzzle pieces of the map of my life, her ongoing narrative providing depth and wisdom to the flat contours of my memory.  She speaks to me of a life lived and another life to come.  She reminds me that there is much more to this human existence than I ever considered, inviting me into a dance of understanding and wisdom, a song of pain and beauty, all intertwined around a central axis of soul fiber – the true source of human nourishment, she explains.

   And so, I sit myself down in front of this reflection and ask her permission to speak.  Silently nodding, her upturned mouth and twinkling eyes signaling her assent, we begin crafting our relationship – a relationship that will survive beyond eternity.  My teacher, my Self.  The unfolding of the chrysalis of enlightenment, nourished in the womb of silent introspection.

   We begin our wordless dialogue, this Other and Myself.  Telepathically, I complain about her intrusion into my life.  “I don’t like being invisible,” I begin.  “I want to be seen and recognized, understood and valued.  When I walk into a room, no one pays any attention, whereas when I was young and beautiful, heads always turned whenever I entered a room.  I miss the power of physical attraction,” I finish with a sigh.  

   Almost hidden behind folds of skin that inhabit her orbits, her eyes widen with mirth and undeniable interest as she moves closer to me.  “Why, my dear,” she clucks thoughtfully.  “You’re describing the state of emptiness and humility that accompanies spiritual evolution.  Why would you bemoan such gems of transcendence?  This is what we’re all after in this life journey, is it not?  Our time is better spent exploring the invisible realms not complaining about them!”

   Gulping down feelings of shame and embarrassment at not having understood this obvious truth, I bow my head and try to gather my thoughts.  Memories of my childhood begin to flood my mind/body system – a tsunami of images, thoughts and emotions swirling and crashing along the fault lines of old scars and threatening to reopen ancient wounds.  My eyes begin to well with tears.  “Why is my life still so difficult?” I almost yell at her.  “I thought life was supposed to get easier!  My childhood was hell but this is not much better.  My body talks to me constantly – which is really annoying – and  demands so much of my attention.  As you know, I have always been anxious but now there is so much more to worry about – like having enough health insurance to pay for all the necessary maintenance for this bag of bones.  And what will happen to me if I should fall and break a piece of this fragile skeleton?  I feel so fucking vulnerable and everything is harder than it used to be.  Wasn’t I supposed to be feeling stronger as I age?  No one prepared me for this and I’m not happy about it, let me tell you!”

   The old woman in the mirror stares at me, unblinking.  Soon a tear slowly cascades down the hills and valleys of her wrinkled and sagging face.  Now I’m really ashamed of myself.  I didn’t mean to upset her.  But I keep quiet, holding my breath and hoping for more pearls of wisdom.  Standing shakily on spindly legs and grasping her walking cane with her gnarled fist, she turns and inches away from the glass, disappearing from my view.  Where could she have gone, I wonder.  Soon, the sound of distant music makes its way to my ears – the soft strains of a flute and a violin floating gently in the air and wrapping itself around me like a cocoon of remembrance.  But remembrance of what?  Surrendering to the magic of the calming melody, I close my eyes only to jerk them open again as I shield my eyes from the bright white light that floods me.  Out of the luminous glow comes a voice – the now familiar inflection of my elder self.  “Do you remember now, my Sweet One?” her words ring in my ear.  “Do you remember who you really are?  For, without the crucible of pain and suffering, without the burning away of all things mortal, you would never recall that, at your core, you are a Being of Light.  Everything else is irrelevant.  This envelope of skin and bones is simply a distraction and inhibits us from the knowledge of our true essence.  Yes, life is painful for everyone.  And I grieve with you the intensity of such suffering but remember, there is always a reason.  You’re being called to remember that you are more than flesh and bone, you are much more than you ever thought you were.  And bless the fires that have purified you!”  As the music fades away, so does the light.  The reflection of my wise elder stares back at me, a beatific smile radiating from her holy face.

   “But why does it have to be so hard?” I blurt out without thinking.  Slapping my hands over my mouth, I hope she has not heard my careless utterance.  

   “It really doesn’t have to be,” she whispers, her words like thin sheets of parchment paper blowing in the wind.  “Remembering is often the key to release.  Remembering the trajectory of your past with its joys and its pain, its suffering and its delights, will help you to navigate more easily the path of your present and that of your future.  But you must season your remembrance with the sweetness of compassion and self-love.  Sprinkle liberally with that awareness that only comes from years of experience.” 

   Covering my face with my hands, I pull my focus inward, searching and seeking, always looking for the elusive answers to the meaning of my life.  Peeking through my splayed fingers, I’m amused to see the Crone, hands covering her own face, eyes forward, staring back at me.  I chuckle; she echoes.  Pulling her hands down from her face, she looks at me questioningly.  “I just…..I just really hate it….I don’t understand why I’m still struggling with the same issues that plagued me when I was younger.  Wasn’t I supposed to evolve?  I mean, I’ve spent most of my life seeking consciousness and self-understanding.  I immersed myself in the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and made a 6 week pilgrimage to Tibet.  I’m still in therapy and meditate regularly.  But I seem to be standing in the exact same spot with the exact same challenges.  What gives?”

   “Spiritual and psychological transformation take time, often many life times,” she replies.  “It’s a process, not a product.  From where I stand, it seems to me that the only thing missing from your profound journey is empathy for yourself.  Humans never thrive unless they are seen for who they truly are – Light Beings repeatedly caught in the struggle to emerge from the restrictive human experience.  You would do well to enlarge your perspective and excise the judgment.  And now, I’m getting tired.  Shall we take just one more question before I retire?”

   Breathing deeply to collect my thoughts and prepare the query I have purposely left for last, I gaze lovingly into the eyes of my new spiritual friend.  “So, what about death?” I ask.  

   “What about it?” she shoots back with a thin smile creasing her thin lips.

   “Well, uh, I was just thinking,” I begin haltingly.  “My mortality is always lurking around the edges, reminding me that my time is short.  And – I have so many things I still want to do with my life.  I’m curious about death and yet, also afraid of being in pain, afraid of being afraid.  I‘m just not ready….”  My voice trails off.

   “So, with all those past life memories you’ve excavated – soul journeys, if you will – you don’t trust that death is a welcome doorway into another dimension, another life experience?  A chance to further the work you have only just begun in this life?  Death is not an ending, just another beginning – and one that you’ve experienced before.  You survived death in the past and you’ll survive it yet again.  Remember.  Its always about perspective – seeing the future from the perspective of your own ancient and eternal past.  Does that help?” she asks as her form begins to dissolve, like particles of sugar in a glass of water.  Left behind is the reflection of a woman just a bit younger, still with wrinkles and graying hair but a more acceptable and not so decrepit version of myself.  I breathe a sigh of relief – not that old yet.  And definitely not dead – yet.

Advertisements

About the Author

Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.  She and her husband also manage two small BnB’s in their charming turn of the century village.

Before retiring in 2015, Dr. Martone was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys.  Prior to this, she was the director of a small mental health clinic and then she served as company psychologist for Southwestern Bell Telephone.  She taught classes at Colorado Free University, The Jungian Ministries International, Naropa University, and Iliff School of Theology.  For the past 35 years she has studied with Richmond K. Greene, past chair of the New York Jungian Institute.

The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  As a Jungian psychologist and shamanic practitioner, energy and depth of meaning are very important to her.  So frequently she will accent the tapestries with symbolic objects, such as old pieces of jewelry, the lining from a purse that belonged to her grandmother, or a piece of ribbon she wore as a little girl.  Layering these materials into a meaningful image evokes for her the multi-layered realms of dreams, myth and metaphor.  Like the magical nets of ancient shamans, these colorful tapestries ensnare the features of her dream spirits as they stare back at her from their watery dimensions.  Her work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

In 2006 Dr. Martone self published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  The book chronicles the author’s relentless quest for self understanding and provides a blueprint for other seekers who are looking for spiritual enlightenment while grappling with painful life experiences.  Written in easy to understand language, the book explains how various spiritual and psychological practices were brought together in an alchemical blend to produce a potion of timeless healing.  Weaving its way through such healing practices as psychotherapy, shamanism, Buddhism, Jungian thought and dream work, the reader is given a clear map for psychological and spiritual change.

http://www.dreamagik.com/

https://a.co/2JRuJI2

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/victorian-songlight-kathy-martone-phd/1134222514;jsessionid=55ACE2AF79811832054FE012FFDB1A27.prodny_store01-atgap14?ean=9781947381162

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51054900-victorian-songlight

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author James Rosenberg June 2021

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

I have been a lawyer for over 30 years and love cross examining witnesses attempting to get to the truth.  When in trial, I try to craft a story that resonates with the jury.  At the same time, the other side is trying to build a different narrative that is better for the their client.  Ultimately, the jury gets to decide which reality to believe.

I started writing as a way to relieve stress.  My first foray into writing was telling the story of a small success one of my boys had on the baseball diamond. Seeing him achieve just a little on the field was huge for me and witnessing the significance of the event triggered a flood of emotions that compelled me to write an essay about perseverance.  This story is part of my second novel, The Jersey, which focuses on the relationship between father and son who share in the son’s athletic achievements.

Advertisements

What inspired you to write your book?

Unclean Hands is a fictional account of a major trial I had a while ago. Without spilling too many details, it centers around a civil lawsuit brought by the widow of a man killed while shopping at a warehouse store. Although the trial is certainly important to the story, I think it’s the characters and how they navigate the emotional toll a trial takes on all participants that is the main thrust of the novel.

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

Not everything is as it appears.

 What drew you into this particular genre?

I have practiced law for over thirty years and love watching the effect going to trial has on all participants.  The lawyers, judge, jurors and of course the parties all play a central role in a drama that is acted out in public and will have long term effects on everyone who takes part.  Funny aside: The trial in the novel is based on a case I had a few years ago.  The witnesses are based on some of the actual participants in the trial.  Many questions in the novel are taken from the transcript of the actual trial so there is a good amount of verisimilitude to the story. One editor who helped with the story left me notes about how “real” court was different than how I portrayed in the book. She kept saying that “Lawyers don’t talk like that” and how I should “go see an actual trial.”  Well, I’ve been to hundreds of actual trials and the trial in the book is about as realistic of a trial as you will ever read in a novel.

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

Morgan Askew is not one of the main characters in the book but I find him fascinating.  He has a relatively dull job and a slightly weird relationship with his mom. What I would want to ask him is, “if you had the chance to do it again, would you?”

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

Probably Facebook.  I understand it the best and seem to get the best response from readers on it.  I’m trying to get better at twitter and snapchat, but they are a work in progress.  Social media is so important to independent authors and we have to spend so much time each day learning it and more importantly, finding and engaging with readers.  I still have so much to learn about it.

Get 6 months of Amazon Music Unlimited FREE when you buy a select Echo device

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

Keep on writing.  Get the first draft done because once you do, the second draft is always better than the first and the third draft is better than the second. Every day you got to put some words on paper because without the words, your stories don’t get told.  You have great stories to tell.  You just have to believe in them.

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

I’m still practicing law, but every day am closer to becoming a full time writer.  I am about to restart a novel I have put away for awhile that I think holds a lot of promise.  It involves a parent whose kid kills the president.  Can’t wait to get back to it.

Advertisements

About the Author

James Rosenberg is a 3rd generation trial attorney with plenty of stories to tell.
Inspired not only by the courtroom stories his father and grandfather used to tell
him when he was a child, but also by the wild adventures he’s encountered through
his own experience as a lawyer. James is fascinated by the intricate, interpersonal
dynamics of every trial he’s endured. Whether it’s the raw emotion on display in
court, the tension in the air that builds until someone wins, or the impact that a
case’s decision has on the parties involved, James is always paying attention and
keeping tabs on what’s happening.

In his debut novel, “Legal Reserves”, James flexes his creative muscle outside of the
courtroom to share his stories, with a fictional twist, through the eyes of archetypes
he knows well.

A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, James has been a trial attorney in Pittsburgh
for almost 30 years. He started writing legal thrillers as a stress reducer and finds
this creative outlet to be a fun and meaningful diversion from his day job.

When he’s not trying cases, he’s either dreaming up his next book idea, spending
time with his wife and three kids, or both.

To contact James email Rosenberg@marcus-shapira.com

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/RosenbergWrites/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RosenbergWrites

Author website:  Jamesrosenbergauthor.com

Posted in reviews

Accidental Anomalies: Book One of the Mutant Fellowship Series by J. Traveler Pelton

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

Two brothers and world-renowned doctors in a world devastated after a meteorite strike leaves some of the population suffering from mutations work at the Center for Genetic Research, but soon questions arise after the two brothers have a string of wives mysteriously disappear months into their marriages in author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Accidental Anomalies”, book one in the Mutant Fellowship Series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Ever since the meteorite holocaust, mutations have been showing up in the population. Drs. David and Michael Simmons are highly regarded and successful researchers, wealthy philanthropists, and directors of the Center for Genetic Research. They have terrible luck with women, however. When Aspen and Diem, sisters, marry the brothers, like all the other wives, they disappear. What is hidden in the lowest basement of the Center?

The Review

A great blend of YA Dystopian thriller with mystery and suspense, this was a truly unique read. The author blends sci-fi and fantasy elements into a harsh world where the progress made in our modern world was undone after the tragic disaster of the mutant meteorite that devastated the world. Much like in The Handmaid’s Tale, the world is suffering from mutations in births and women with healthy wombs are asked to help repopulate the Earth, no matter their sexual orientation or preferences regarding children. 

Yet the author takes this narrative in a whole new element, adding a domestic suspense and thriller element to the novel with the inclusion of the brothers David and Michael, doctors and researchers who have used sinister means of acquiring test subjects. The story focuses on great themes of good vs evil, facing prejudices in society and justice in a world where money can buy freedom despite the crimes one commits. The pacing of the novel adds the level of suspense this narrative deserves, and the character development really adds depth to the mythology of this dystopian world.

The Verdict

A memorable, engaging and mind-bending read, author J. Traveler Pelton’s “Accidental Anomalies” is a must-read sci-fi and dystopian thriller. A gripping tale of heartbreaking relationships gone wrong and cruelty in the name of progress, the author explores a haunting world that keeps the reader invested and entertained throughout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

J. Traveler Pelton was born in West Virginia in the last century. She is active in her home church and was the Nation’s Mother for her tribe for several years. She is still wife to Dan after 47 years (He is so long-suffering!), mother of six adults, a grandmother of nine, a Clinically Licensed Independent Social worker in private practice, a retired adjunct professor of social work at her local university, and an avid reader. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, seven alpaca, a flock of spoiled chickens, five Siamese cats, four Pomeranians, a talkative Amazon parrot named Gizmo, and her aviary of canaries. Traveler enjoys the intersection of fantasy, possibility, creativity, and speculation. Join her on the other side of the imagination tree. She’ll be sitting there waiting for your visit.

Posted in Comic Book Roundup, reviews

DC PRIDE #1 (DC CULTURAL ANTHOLOGIES) REVIEW

DC Pride (2021-) #1 (DC Cultural Anthologies (2021-))

by Andrew WheelerSam Johns (Goodreads Author), Nicole MainesVita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Sina Grace (Goodreads Author), Danny LoreMarc AndreykoMariko TamakiSteve OrlandoJames Tynion IVTamra Bonvillain (Cover Art), Scott Williams (Cover Art), Jim Lee (Cover Art), Luciano Vecchio (Penciller), Klaus Janson (Penciller), Kevin Wada (Penciller), Travis Moore (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Sophie Campbell (Penciller), Rachael Stott (Penciller), Skylar Patridge (Penciller), Ro Stein (Penciller), Mildred Louis (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Kris Anka (Penciller), Nick Robles (Penciller), Brittney Williams (Penciller), David Talaski (Penciller), Amy Reeder (Penciller), Stephen Byrne (Penciller), Trung Le Nguyen (Penciller), Ted Brandt (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist), Marissa Louise (Colorist), Dave McCaig (Colorist), José Villarrubia (Colorist)

I am proud to share my review of the brand new collection of PRIDE inspired stories within the DC Universe, featuring some of the greatest LGBTQ DC Heroes around in the new anthology, DC Pride. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DC Pride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen

Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder

Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne

Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle

Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson

Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio

Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachael Stott

Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge

Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come!

The Review

Some of my favorite heroes in the DC Universe are proud members of the LGBTQ community. From the incredible story of Alan Scott trying to bond with his son Obsidian in an attempt to recognize how far the world has come since the days of gay men having to hide in secret bars, to the heartfelt romance of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and even the promise of a future league within the DC Universe that celebrates the wide range of LGBTQ heroes that the comic book company has to offer, this collection celebrates a wide range of stories and heroes that showcase not only their PRIDE but of the power and rich stories that they embody. 

However, my personal favorite story within this collection comes from the Arrowverse, which focuses on one of my favorite new heroes and favorite actresses, Dreamer, played by the lovely and incredible Nicole Maines. Her story of fighting for peace and allowing people’s dreams to become a reality was beautifully brought to life with rich artwork and a story that felt both fresh and unique to the character dynamics established in the Supergirl corner of the Arrowverse. Nia is a truly great hero to embody the future of the DC Comics universe, embodying both powerful heroics and in-depth and emotional character development, making her story feel like the future so many of us comic book fans have been waiting so long for.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and action-packed comic book anthology comic, DC Comics’s “DC Pride” is a must-read anthology for not only PRIDE month, but for the future of DC Comics. Engaging characters and emotional storytelling make these stories both entertaining and resonate with fans around the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

https://www.bookbub.com/books/dc-pride-2021-1-by-andrew-wheeler-sam-johns-nicole-maines-luciano-vecchio-klaus-janson-kevin-wada

Posted in Comic Book Roundup

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #17

Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands

(Shazam! (2018) (Single Issues) #1-12)

by Geoff JohnsDale Eaglesham (Illustrator), Scott Kolins (Illustrator), Marco Santucci (Illustrator), Mayo “SEN” Naito (Illustrator), Max Raynor (Illustrator), Mike Atiyeh (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)

The Synopsis 

Legendary comics writer Geoff Johns continues his modern reimagining of Shazam following the hit 2019 Warner Bros. movie starring Zachary Levi.

In these stories, after a stop at the mysterious subway location of the Rock of Eternity, source of his mighty powers, Shazam and his foster siblings take a trip to a series of magical lands including the Funlands and the Wozenderlands. But these dreamlike fantasy worlds hide a nightmarish reality, as the young heroes must face the tyrannical King Kid and try to avoid being fed to hungry tigers. Collects Shazam! #1-12. 

The Verdict

The latest chapter in the world of the Shazam family takes center stage as the reimagining of the character began in the hit Warner Bros. Film Shazam starring Zachary Levi, and it is fantastic! The exploration of the fabled “Magic Lands” and the mythology of the Rock of Eternity was perfectly balanced with the complex family dynamic not only between Billy and his foster siblings but his foster parents as well. Add to this the inclusion of a figure from Billy’s past and the introduction of some powerful new foes from these new lands, including the diabolical King Kid, as well as some well-established threats from Shazam’s past, make this series a shining example of DC’s future. 

Made in China – DC Universe Rebirth

(New Super-Man #1)

by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Viktor Bogdanovic (Artist), Richard Friends (Inker), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)

The Synopsis

#1 New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award nominee Gene Luen Yang continues his work at DC with New Super-Man, Volume 1, a part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. As the government creates their own Superman, will they live to regret the person they’ve chosen? Rising from the ashes of Superman: The Final Days of Superman and the death of the Man of Steel, will this New Super-Man step up to the challenge, or be crushed under the weight of his hubris and inexperience?

Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born ChineseSuperman) and on-the-rise art star Viktor Bogdanovic (Batman: Arkham Knight) introduce readers to Kong Kenan, an all-new superhero who could change the world…or be the end of it, in New Super-Man, Volume 1.

CollectingNew Super-Man 1-6 

The Verdict

A truly fantastic new era of storytelling in DC Comics, a powerful new Chinese superhero is born in this first volume of The New Super-Man. Kong Kenan stands out because, unlike his American counterpart, the hero is just an average teenager with a complex family dynamic and a troubling worldview that can make him unlikable more times than not. However the comic highlights not only his rise to becoming a hero and gaining powers but his evolution as a character and person as he becomes acclimated to this world. His abrasive nature can be seen softening often in the face of injustice and heartbreak and promises a future for Kong Kenan that can make him a true force for good. Include this with Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman, and not only does the book become a narrative on Western influences on Eastern nations, but how competitive and high-stakes the governments of the world become with one another, often with their citizens caught in the crossfire on both sides. A truly great story and an excellent new cast of characters for the DC Universe.

Advertisements

Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky, Vol. 1: Know Fear

(Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky #1)

by Chip ZdarskyMarco Checchetto (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Matt Murdock has clawed his way through physical therapy, but his near death experience that nearly left him crippled has left its mark on him. Reacquainted with pain and fear, the devil is back in hell’s kitchen, but is the man who returned to the rooftops the same man who fell off them? Find out, in CHIP ZDARSKY’S new era of DAREDEVIL!

COLLECTING: DAREDEVIL (2019) 1-5

The Verdict

Great use of Daredevil’s character, Marvel has taken one of their most self-critical and perpetually guilt-ridden characters to examine the concept of accountability and examination of who the true “villains” are in the world, let alone criminal “elements”. The character’s struggle with injuries and realigning his abilities as a crimefighter take a dark turn, and Matt is forced to examine how he approaches his life as a hero and protector of Hell’s Kitchen, as well as learning to find acceptance and peace after being part of some great loss. The action and morality that Daredevil has become known for is a masterful turn of events for Marvel and a much-needed story in today’s landscape. A must-read at Marvel!

King Deadpool, Vol. 1: Hail to the King

(King Deadpool #1)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Chris Bachalo (Illustrations)

The Synopsis 

A new era begins for the Merc with a Mouth! Deadpool’s newest job has him going after the King of Monsters, who has claimed a new kingdom for his terrifying subjects…on Staten Island! But you know what they say, when you come at the king, you better not miss! Soon, Wade Wilson finds himself with a new role – one that leaves him neck deep in political intrigue, with major obstacles including Captain America and the monster-hunting Elsa Bloodstone in his way! Will Deadpool’s smooth charisma and deft diplomacy allow him to keep his head – or will he be royally screwed? Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown – particularly when it’s in the sights of some of the deadliest people in the Marvel Universe!

COLLECTING: DEADPOOL (2019) 1-5

The Verdict

A chilling yet still hilarious and unbelievable chapter in the world of Deadpool, readers are treated to a whole new side to the Merc as his latest job puts him in the role of becoming the King of the Monsters, who have come to State Island and made it their home as refugees. His humor and gritty fighting are a great play against the more structured and honored society that the kingdom of the monsters has crafted for itself, and the inclusion of Elsa Bloodstone in the series has paired Wade with a strong and fierce ally and foe throughout the series. 

S.W.O.R.D. by Al Ewing, Vol. 1

(S.W.O.R.D. #1)

by Al EwingValerio Schiti (Art)

The Synopsis

One giant leap for mutantkind! The new nation of Krakoa has quickly become a major force on the world stage…but why stop there? The X-Men have relaunched the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate — a fully independent organization dealing with all things extraterrestrial on behalf of Earth. And S.W.O.R.D. is thrown right into the deep end of a planetary crisis as Krakoa battles the invading King in Black! Meanwhile, Abigail Brand prepares a deniable operation all her own. What is Protocol V — and can the Earth survive it? Then, walk a mile in the Manifold’s shoes as S.W.O.R.D.’s Quintician takes a journey across the universe — and comes face to face with a deadly enemy! And as the Quiet Council discuss the rules of murder on Krakoa, in space the killings have already begun…

COLLECTING: S.W.O.R.D. (2020) 1-6 

The Verdict

A much-needed balance of cosmic storytelling and Earth-based heroics, the new iteration of SWORD comes straight out of the events of Empyre and the new era of X-Men comics. The new team comes together to explore alien politics and protection against cosmic threats just in time for the arrival of Knull, and the balance of threats at home and off-world is highlighted when looking into the nation of Krakoa’s influence on the new SWROD program. Getting one-on-one interaction with characters like Brand and Manifold made this new series shine brightly. 

Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing, Vol. 1: Then It’s Us

(Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing #1)

by Al EwingJuann Cabal (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Once they were a team of misfits. Now they’re a family, and they’ve earned their peace. But the universe is not a peaceful place – and it’s only getting worse. The Great Empires are in turmoil. The rule of law is dead. And amid the chaos, the gods of Olympus have returned – harbingers of a new age of war, reborn to burn their mark on the stars themselves. Someone has to guard the galaxy – but who will accept the mission? And will they survive it?

Al Ewing (IMMORTAL HULK) and Juann Cabal (FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN) bring you in on the ground floor of a whole Marvel Universe of action and suspense!

COLLECTING: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

It wouldn’t be a Guardians series if there wasn’t some cosmic threat bearing down on the universe, and yet the foes thrown in their path are quite a shock to behold. From the introduction of a deadly pantheon of gods on the warpath throughout the galaxy to the shocking loss of a major character early on in the series and the introduction of not one but two new iterations of the Guardians make this series a true delight. The weight of loss hits them all hard, but the action and humor the team always brings to the table is enhanced by both members old and new and makes this new series a true must-read for all longtime Marvel fans. 

Advertisements

Spider-Woman, Vol. 1: Bad Blood

(Spider-Woman (2020) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Karla PachecoPere Pérez (Art), Paulo Siqueira (Art), Jung-Geun Yoon (Cover Art)

The Synopsis

Spider-Woman is back, and she’s pulling no punches! But Jessica Drew hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. When the angry, irritable, and unwell Spider-Woman takes a simple security gig to help get back on her feet, she finds herself suddenly besieged by unknown forces out to destroy everything around her. What’s wrong with Jessica? Just how did she get this job? Who are these violent lunatics who keep trying to blow her up? What does her illness have to do with the daughter of her old nemesis Otto Vermis? And how does a shipment of black-market spiders fit in? Jessica Drew is fighting for her life while someone pulls her strings, in an explosive new adventure that takes Spider-Woman to new heights!

COLLECTING: SPIDER-WOMAN (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

I am a longtime fan of Jessica Drew, and her evolution in recent years has been great to see. The dark new road that she is forced to go down is both relatable and classic heroic storytelling at its best. Her decision to take on odd jobs to help pay for her child is something many can relate to, and yet her journey leads her to discover more haunting secrets of her past, as well as a haunting illness that threatens not only her but possibly her son as well. The further down the path she is forced to go down, the more chilling her evolution, which makes for some incredible storytelling for Jessica and her friends and allies. A must-read for longtime fans of Spider-Woman.

King in Black

(King in Black: Collected Editions)

by Donny CatesRyan Stegman (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Knull is coming, and when he arrives, everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men will learn just how unprepared they are to face off against the God of the Symbiotes. Everything in Cates and Stegman’s landmark run on VENOM has led up to this monumental story, and readers will finally witness Eddie Brock’s climatic standoff with one of Marvel’s most terrifying villains. 

The Verdict

The last couple of years’ worth of storytelling of Venom, aka Eddie Brock, have been some of Marvel’s strongest yet. The introduction of this cosmic god of the symbiotes was an inspired choice, and Knull has officially become one of Marvel’s most deadly foes in years. The shocking turn of events upon his arrival to Earth hits readers like a ton of bricks. The evolution of Eddie Brock and the introduction of a powerful new cosmic threat make this a must-read event for Marvel Comics. 

Atlantis Attacks

(Atlantis Attacks #1-5)

by Greg Pak (Goodreads Author), Ario Anindito (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

The armies of ATLANTIS face ATLAS in a showdown destined to shake allegiances and break hearts! AMADEUS CHO, SILK, WAVE, SHANG-CHI, and all the heroes of the Atlas have bonded with each other after the challenges of WAR OF THE REALMS. But when a terrible secret incurs the wrath of KING NAMOR, who’s the true friend — and who’s the true enemy? A titanic tale of love and betrayal, heroes and monsters, gods and underdogs — plus the shocking return of JIMMY WOO and the original AGENTS OF ATLAS!

COLLECTING: ATLANTIS ATTACKS (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

Namor proves once again why he is such a formidable foe in the Marvel Universe. With the weight of an entire kingdom at his back, the King of Atlantis showcases the terror of the sea against the forces of ATLAS. This team of heroes must not only contend with Namor but with a shady backer of their work, and the incredible artwork and focus on one of the most needed yet unexplored corners of the Marvel Universe makes this a truly fantastic book.

Advertisements

Black Cat, Vol. 4: Queen in Black

(Black Cat by Jed Mackay #4)

by Jed Mackay

The Synopsis

Felicia Hardy is back for a classic game of cat and…symbiote? Knull’s attack on Earth interrupts the Black Cat’s latest heist, and if you know Felicia, you know that’s a problem. So the Cat and her crew aim to steal something of great value — both to Knull and to Earth’s hope of survival! But Felicia never shows up inappropriately dressed  — and a job like this requires a special kind of suit. You won’t believe it when the Black Cat gets her own Anti-Venom costume! Felicia Hardy returns to center stage in an action-packed adventure guest-starring the X-Men, Captain America and Doctor Strange! 

COLLECTING: Black Cat (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

Felicia proves once again why she is one of Marvel’s best-underrated characters. Her balance of heroism and thievery makes her an instant hit with fans, while her command of heroism in the face of Knull’s arrival on Earth plunges her into a cosmic and magic adventure that puts her unique skills to the test. Running against Knull’s army alongside the likes of the Avengers and more of Earth’s heroes highlights the struggles of the everyday heroes in the face of this great cosmic foe. This is a must-read for any fans of Black Cat and the King in Black event. 

Posted in reviews

Red Earth Diaries by Jason Rebello Review

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

Two newlyweds from another country throw caution to the wind and travel the country they plan to call home in author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

A one-way ticket to Australia…two months of travel…and a shoestring budget.

In Red Earth Diaries we meet Jason and Ambika, a newlywed couple who migrated to Australia with the hope of a fresh start. However, unlike most migrants, they made a bold decision to postpone their settlement plans, throw caution to the wind and backpack in Australia on a shoestring budget. Their intention was to learn about the country and its people first-hand … a land they would someday call home. Swimming with sharks, cuddling cute koalas, chartering private helicopters, venturing deep into ancient rainforests, and getting to know plenty of locals – the couple had incredible experiences in this stunning country.

Their travel story is interwoven with snippets of history and provides the reader with a glimpse of Australia as viewed through the eyes of newly arrived migrants. Join Jason and Ambika on their spectacular journey of discovery. Red Earth Diaries is founded on four primary pillars: a migrant’s journal, a travelogue, a delve into Australian history, and an inspirational tale.

The central message of the book is for everyone to chase their dreams – however distant and impossible they may seem. Moving to Australia has been one seemingly impossible goal the author had set decades ago, and he likewise urges the reader to shed all reservations and to dream the wildest dreams possible. The Preface of Red Earth Diaries is called Dreamtime, and in it, the author describes the evolution of his journey to this strange and peculiar wonderland.

As a travelogue, the book harkens to all travellers as well as migrants who are already in Australia or who are thinking of making the move to this beautiful country. The book also contains stories of local Australians the couple met along the way. In it you will meet, amongst others – Helen, a 10-Pound-pom; Rowland Mosbergen, a sprightly man in his eighties who survived the horrors of WWII in a remote jungle in Bahau; Rafael and Nadia and their three kids based in Research, Victoria; Ranjit, a practising surgeon and his wife who are based in Kew, Melbourne. The travelogue aims to deliver an essential message to all migrants in Australia – to not take this country for granted and to try to understand and embrace its culture first.

Some Key Personalities mentioned: Paul Hogan, Ned Kelly, Steve Irwin, Captain Cook, Burley Griffin, Gregory Blaxland, Jorn Utzon, Eddie Mabo

Some key historical events described: The Endeavour striking the reef, finding a passage through the Blue Mountains, the discovery of gold, the naming of Sunshine Coast, the birth of Canberra as the nation’s capital, the iconic rail journeys in Australia, WWI and WWII, Early colonization, construction of Hume Highway, Blackbirding, construction of Opera House.

Charity Donation: Five per cent of all profits from the sale of this book in the first year of publication will be donated to the Red Cross towards the 2019–20 bushfire crisis management (www.redcross.org.au) and a further five per cent will be also be given to aged care in India through Help Age India (www.helpageindia.org).

The Review 

A wonderful blend of travel, memoir, and history, author Jason Rebello has done an incredible job bringing this book to life. The non-fiction story gives readers a unique perspective on not just general travel but immigrating to an entirely new country, as the newlywed couple immerses themselves in the culture and history of Australia while experiencing the nation firsthand. 

The author does a great job of sharing the experiences of their adventures and their relationship and the history and culture they were experiencing. The way in which the author brought that spirit of travel and adventure so many seek was felt throughout every chapter, while the attention to detail on Australia itself was fantastic to see unfold. From the nation’s history and pop culture to the nation’s strict quarantine procedures and so much more, the author poured so much culture and heart into this story, creating a truly interactive and mesmerizing non-fiction read. 

The Verdict

A gripping, heartfelt, and breathtaking travel and memoir-style book, author Jason Rebello’s “Red Earth Diaries” is a must-read. The wonderful blend of history and culture does a great job of mirroring the emotions and adventure that the couple themselves experienced along the way and creates an intimate and thoughtful narrative that many readers can identify with and that many of us can only hope for. A great and fantastic read, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story on July 8th, 2021. 

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Jason Rebello was born in Mumbai, India and went to sea at the early age of seventeen.He spent many years sailing across the world on modern ocean liners, eventually rising to the rank of a ship’s Captain. His sea career was interspaced with a healthy dose of backpacking and intrepid travels and as a result, he was firmly hooked on a life of adventure and uncommon living.His travel blog, The Evolving Backpacker, was born out of his passion for travel. He has also written several self-help books under the ‘Migrant Ninja’ series.Jason along with his wife and two children is now settled in Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/theevolvingbackpacker/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0948GVRBM/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58172451-red-earth-diaries%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D2GKMQ0lXzA%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad by Tom Kreffer Review

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

A humorous and heartfelt exploration of impending fatherhood and the process of pregnancy from a husband and father’s perspective is brought to brilliant life in author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory: Journal of a Soon-to-be-First-Time Dad”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Imagine discovering you’re about to become a parent, even though doctors told you the chances of making a baby were close to zero.

Now, a soon-to-be first-time father is charting a course through the perilous and choppy waters of living with a pregnant woman. He’s dodging hormonal right hooks, evading emotional explosions, saying all the wrong things (like ‘Are you okay?’) and trying to figure out how the hell you install a car seat.

Written as a journal to his unborn child, Dear Dory is the unfiltered, irreverently funny, honest and heartfelt account of one man’s journey to fatherhood as he contemplates his new identity as a Daddy and prepares for the responsibility of a lifetime.

WARNING: This book contains a truckload of profanity.

The Review

This is such a fantastic and honest read. The author brilliantly delves into the raw and honest emotions that run through an impending father’s mind throughout the course of a nine-month pregnancy. From the rush of nerves and fear of hoping when facing a pregnancy test to the changing health conditions of your pregnant wife, including her low iron levels, and the challenge of finding the right remedy to help their exhaustion, the author covers a wide range of both physical and mental (along with emotional) experiences throughout pregnancy both for his wife and himself. 

The tone and the pacing of this  book are what really stand out to me. The author’s truthful and humorous approach to the subject of fatherhood really makes this narrative relatable, and the fact the author promises that the book is not a must-follow guide on all things parenting, but instead an honest conversation on the author’s personal experiences throughout the pregnancy and looking ahead to fatherhood. Both parents and impending parents will be able to relate to the author’s story, as it is refreshing to see a father who not only seeks answers and hope for parenting but exudes a sense of optimism in his writing about fatherhood.

The Verdict

A heartwarming, engaging and eye-opening read for any father, parent or future parent, author Tom Kreffer’s “Dear Dory” is a must-read book on parenthood. The humor and wit the author infuses into his writing balances the honesty and hope that the author brings to the subject matter, and makes this a valuable as well as entertaining read that should not be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Tom Kreffer has a degree in film and television and has worked in finance for over ten years. Dear Dory is his first book.

He lives in Northampton, England with his family, whom he intends to exploit for many more story opportunities in the years to come.

Amazon: Say Hi

Facebook: Say Hi

Instagram: Say Hi

https://www.bookbub.com/books/dear-dory-journal-of-a-soon-to-be-first-time-dad-adventures-in-dadding-1-by-tom-kreffer

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques 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 searching for her brother in a city of monsters must navigate her growing power and the inner workings of the city of Avergard’s politics in order to save her family and friends in author Kristin Jacques’s “Skin Curse”, the second book in The Gate Cycle series. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

The Children of the Gate wait for the call to Rise.

Azzy Brimvine knows her brother is in the vast city of Avergard. She must find him, but time is not on their side.

In the House of Seven Smiles, Azzy struggles to understand the constraints and limits of her power. She finds the whispering voices that guided her for so long, suddenly silent. The enigmatic Lord Wallach is both a frustrating ally and a dangerous mystery, and a strange entity lurks among the household servants. The haven Azzy sought may not be as safe as she thought…but is anywhere truly safe in the Above? 

The city of Avergard is full of monsters and secrets, and a dark history festers at its root. A yawning pit nestles in the house of a scheming lord, who will use Armin’s dangerous gifts to raise history, and raze the city to the ground. As Azzy finds herself and her brother pulled into these machinations, she must navigate the politics and society of Avergard’s brutal ruling class to save her family and friends before the Gate consumes them all.

©2020 Machovi Productions Inc (P)2021 Machovi Productions Inc

The Review

This was a gripping and engaging story, blending everything from fantasy and horror to sci-fi and dystopian themes. While I am new to this series, I found the author did a great job of implementing enough of the first book’s story into this novel to make it feel both fresh and well-understood. 

The pacing and haunting atmosphere played a big role in establishing this fantasy world. The blend of chilling imagery that really brought Avergard to life in the reader’s mind and the narrator (Amie Lyn Hornick) really did a great job of voicing this story, establishing the mix of wonder and terror the protagonist endures throughout the novel while capturing the raw emotions and action that Azzy must overcome to save those closest to her. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and mesmerizing fusion of gothic horror and sci-fi dystopian elements, author Kristen Jacques’s “Skin Curse” is the perfect fantasy read for both new and established fans alike of this series. As a fan of history, I loved the backstory the author established of using one of history’s greatest villains, the Third Reich, and showed their involvement in opening the fabled Gate that let the magic and monsters into this dystopian world, as I know it is well established that one of Hitler’s mad machinations was to harness the power of the occult into his hatred and war machines. Add to this a great story with both haunting and engaging characters and a heart-pounding narrative that readers won’t be able to get enough of, this is a brilliant audiobook that can’t be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

Author: Kristin Jacques

Narrator: Amie Lyn Hornick

Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

Series: The Gate Cycle, Book 2

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Apr. 21, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Continue reading “Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review”
Posted in reviews

Poohlicious: Oh, The Wonder of Me by Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline Review

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

A heartwarming look into the awkward moments and funny parts of childhood that allow children to grow takes center stage in authors Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline’s “Poohlicious: Oh, the Wonder of Me”, the third book in the Poohlicious children’s book series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis 

In the third installment of Mary E Jackson’s Poohlicious books, perfectly precious is a little boy and it’s wonderful! children are so susceptible to what we think and to see them as wonderful is one step to building up happy healthy children.

Book Three in the Poohlicious series is carrying on the tradition of seeing the wonderfulness in each child. Oh, the Wonder of Me, shares both the funny parts of children and the things that make them different teaching them that they are okay no matter what. Having different shaped ears, hair that won’t behave, and doing things in their own style is what childhood is full of.

Join us with your Poohlicious, as we journey through the funny and sometimes awkward parts of childhood while learning empowering, I AM statements to carry with them as they grow. Wonderful for ages four through seven. Let’s get them started early on a road to self-belief and empowerment. 

The Review

A wonderfully crafted and easy-to-read children’s story, the authors here have brought to life a heartwarming story that focuses not on some grand adventure, but instead on the everyday adventures of growing up. The simple discoveries or even humorous mistakes often make for memorable moments in our childhood. 

From wearing one’s shirt inside out to being able to pull one’s ears out and letting our imaginations run wild with dreams of using them to fly around, the authors and the illustrator, (Alice Antimie), really did a great job of highlighting the heartfelt and unique quality of childhood so many of us often forget. The utilization of “I” statements really helped to build an educational and identifiable nature to the writing for children who read this book with their parents.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and engaging children’s read, authors Mary Elizabeth Jackson and Thornton Cline’s “Poohlicious: Oh, the Wonder of Me” is a fantastic addition to this growing children’s book series. The blend of simple yet thoughtful storytelling layered with fantastic messages and an inviting style of illustration makes this book shine brightly. Be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Authors

Mary Elizabeth Jackson is the award-winning author of the children’s book series Perfectly Precious Poohlicious and Poohlicious Look at Me, (Tuscany Bay Books), the third book releasing June 1, 2021, Poohlicious Oh the Wonder of Me, (Tuscany Bay Books). Cheers from Heaven, a mid-grade reader releases in 2021, (Tuscany Bay Books), with co-writer Thornton Cline. Jackson focuses on writing empowering books for kids and is working on an eight-book series with Cline for children as well as books for the special need’s community and a motivational book for adults. Jackson is also a ghostwriter, book collaborator and the voice for the Sports2gether App.

Jackson is the co- founder and co- hosts of Writers Corner Live TV Show and Special Needs TV Shows on Amazon Live, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Writers Corner Live features author interviews from debut authors to New York Times bestsellers and everything about writing all the way to getting published. Special Needs TV features interviews and resources for parents, families, and caregivers. Jackson is an ambassador advocate for AutismTn.

Mrs. Jackson has been featured and interviewed on national and international radio shows including Sirius XM and iheart radio as well as numerous Podcasts and TV shows.

Jackson is starting a YouTube channel and an Amazon Live show dedicated to children’s book reviews with her son who inspired her series, and an education show for kids of all needs.

Mrs. Jackson is a very busy mom and wife. She loves nature, being creative, anything funny, and inspiring others to believe in themselves. She lives with her hubby, three kids, and dog in the Nashville area. -Cherish every moment of life.

https://www.maryejackson.com/

Ever since his mother signed him up for piano lessons at age five, Thornton Cline has been writing non-stop.
With over 1,000 published songs, 150 recorded songs, 32 traditionally published adult, children’s and young adult books published. 
Thornton Cline has been nominated multiple times for Grammy and Dove Awards. In 2017, Cline won a first-place
Maxy Literary Award for “Best Children’s Young Adult Book”.

Thornton Cline’s books have appeared at the top of the Amazon bestselling charts. Cline has been honored with “Songwriter of the Year” twice-in-a row and has received a platinum award for certified sales of over one million units in Europe. Cline continues to mentor, speak, teach, and inspire aspiring authors and songwriters around the world.
When Cline isn’t writing, he is teaching at Welch College in Middle Tennessee.
He resides in Hendersonville, Tennessee with his wife, Audrey and their cat, Kiki.
You can follow all the latest updates on his books and songs at his website, ThorntonCline.com; Thornton Douglas Cline on Facebook, @ClineThornton on Twitter, and @ThorntonCline on Instragram. Mrs P: Your Hair’s On Fire is Thornton Cline’s debut book with INtense Publishing.
Love to hear from You
Get in Touch Below 

Contact Links Website:  
http://www.thorntonCline.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thorntoncline

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thorntoncline/?hl=en

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thornton-cline-bb103713/

BookBub: Thornton Cline 

Goodreads: Thornton Cline

Alice Antimie was born in Anaheim, California. She spent a decade of her childhood on the sandy shores of the west coast before her family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Alice’s passion for art started at an early age and led her to pursue a degree and career in the fine arts. She is a Commission Artist, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator. Alice has also taught Visual Arts, K-12.

http://www.aliceantimie.com/