Posted in reviews

Disorder by Israfel Sivad Review

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

A truly unique memoir tells the story of a young writer who struggled with addiction and mental health, and found a way to overcome it all through love in author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder”.

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The Synopsis

Disorder is the story of Michael Adams, the man behind the pen name, Israfel Sivad. At 37-years-old, Michael wasn’t sure any longer if he was hipstered out or truly beat. He was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He’d been in psych wards, and he’d spent almost a decade writing his second novel. But then, he found himself inspired in a whole new way. He believed he might be falling in love…

Disorder traces Michael’s experiences from a period of homelessness at the age of 32 through his battles with alcoholism and psychosis back to his birth in Southern California. Simultaneously, it weaves a tale of the relationship Michael is trying to build with his girlfriend, Pam.

In this story, the author develops a groundbreaking, nonlinear style that captures both the disjointed madness of psychosis and the natural rhythms of memory. He reveals the reality behind what many of us believe we would never be able to live through: drug addiction, alcoholism and psychotic breaks… and his ability to overcome those demons to discover love, even when it seemed he was already too damaged to let that emotion take hold.

The Review

The author does a fantastic job of conveying a powerfully painful and harsh period of time in their lives, using a non-linear style storytelling device to convey the author’s life. From memories of childhood having lost a grandfather and best friend to dark times living in and out of psych wards and the streets of Richmond, the author doesn’t hold back on the physical and mental toll his life took when he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and the psychosis that he endured as well. 

The imagery really conveys the struggle the author had in his life to the reader, while the story between himself and Pam is the beginning of a path to redemption that anyone who is struggling in life can hang onto and see for themselves that the trials and tribulations in their life aren’t forever. While the writing style can change sometimes throughout the narrative of the author’s life, it adds to the allure and interest of the non-linear storytelling, making this a fascinating read.

The Verdict

Powerful, emotional, and a brilliant read, author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder” is a truly one of a kind memoir both stylistically and intellectually, giving voice to the struggles of those with mental health struggles and addiction in a way that few have ever really captured before. Grab your copy on September 8th, 2020, and see for yourselves how this amazing author came to be.

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About the Author

Israfel Sivad is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, “Crossroads Blues”, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, “The Adversary’s Good News”, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal. 

https://israfelsivad.com/

Posted in reviews

Hinterland by L.M. Brown Review

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

Trigger Warning: Themes revolving around mental illness are present in this novel. If you or someone you know suffers from illnesses such as schizophrenia and are easily triggered by these storylines, reader discretion is advised.

A husband and father trying to take care of his wife and child finds himself struggling as a childhood friend returns home, bringing complex feelings back to the surface and a dark secret threatens to tear apart his family in author LM. Brown’s “Hinterland”. 

The Synopsis

Nicholas Giovanni’s life revolves around his five-year old daughter Kate. When he isn’t driving his taxi, he is taking care of her and her mother Kathleen, whose last involuntary admission to hospital was before Kate was born. When his childhood best friend, Ina, returns next door, tensions rise in the house. Already unstable, Kathleen suspicions of Ina and Nicholas grow until a day of violence ensues and Kathleen disappears.

Kate’s life is shattered by her mother’s disappearance. No-one will tell her where Kathleen is. Although Ina helps to take care of Kate, Nicholas keeps her at arm’s length. He cannot bring himself to tell the truth about Kathleen’s last day, until Kate runs away, and he realizes his silence has torn everyone apart. To find Kate and to keep Ina in his life, there are truths he must face, if it’s not too late.

The Review

This was a well written, slow-burn style mix of family drama and thriller. The author explores two important themes in this narrative: the lengths a parent would go to in order to protect their child, and the hardships of trying to care for someone suffering from a severe mental illness. 

The protagonist Nicholas is a complex man, with both many faults and a desire to protect his daughter Kate from heartbreaking truths. From the return of his childhood friend Ina to the struggle he has with his wife Kathleen and her struggle with a serious mental illness, the author beautifully focuses on character development to highlight the story within this book. 

The Verdict

An emotionally charged, dramatic, and evenly paced read, author L.M. Brown’s “Hinterland” is a must-read thriller drama. The heartbreaking circumstances that push Nicholas and his family to the edge are truly engaging and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, and definitely felt like the delivery of the narrative was very reminiscent of a classic Hitchcock thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to preorder your copy today or grab it on October 13th, 2020!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L.M Brown is the author of novels Debris and Hinterland, and the linked short story collections Treading The Uneven Road and Were We Awake. Her award winning stories have been published in over a dozen magazines. She grew up in Ireland but lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters.

https://www.facebook.com/LornaBrownAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/l.m_brown/

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Saving Jahan by Hans Fellmann Review

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

A hard partying teacher finds himself searching for a way to save himself from himself, by putting himself on the line to help save a young female teacher stuck in a country who values women simply as servants in author Hans Fellmann’s “Saving Jahan”. 

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The Synopsis

Saving Jahan is a 143,000-word autobiographical novel based on my Peace Corps service in the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan. The novel starts at the end of 2006, which was a time of great importance, as the country’s totalitarian dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, passed away due to mysterious circumstances, leaving a power vacuum. It is in this environment that my character, Johann Felmanstien, is sent to teach English for two years in a dusty town in the middle of the Turkmen desert. At the school he is assigned to, Johann meets a female teacher called Jahan, who, despite having an oddly similar name, could not be more different. Unlike Johann, who is a loud, hard-drinking partier, Jahan is a quiet, unassuming homebody, who has dedicated her life to providing for her three siblings and sick mother. Over time, she opens up about her dreams to live abroad and the struggle she faces in a country that sees women as little more than servants. Johann takes a passive stance at first. But as his work suffers because of his shenanigans and alcohol abuse, he realizes that helping Jahan escape Turkmenistan might be the only way to save himself.

The Review

From the first pages of this novel, the author captures the readers attention and foreshadows the growing complexity of the plot in lines like, “Don’t go out there trying to save the world,” she said. “Just find one real reason to stay. The rest will fall into place.” The author showcases an understanding of the complex nature of other nations around the world and the in over your head feeling most people have when searching for “that next great adventure”. 

The author also does an amazing job of not only highlighting the cultural differences between the nations of this book but the similarities between the United States and Muslim-based countries, using the cast of characters to highlight how much we are all the same at our core. The character arc for Johann was a great experience to see play out, as the protagonist clashed with Peace Corps officials, fought to help a young woman realize her dreams and made new friends and even a host family that gave him a well rounded journey.

The Verdict

A well written, engaging and lengthy read, this fictionalized autobiography/travel memoir was a great story filled with memorable characters that felt real and relatable all at once. A story of growth, finding oneself and helping others along their own journeys of self-discovery, this is a great novel for anyone who enjoys protagonists emerging into new cultures and experiencing a new adventure. Be sure to grab your copy soon! 

Rating: 10/10

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Fire on the Island: A Romantic Thriller by Timothy Jay Smith Review

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

A young Greek-American FBI agent finds himself searching for an arsonist, uncovering hidden secrets in a small island community in the Greek Islands and wrestling with a growing and passionate affair with someone who may very well be the prime suspect in the arson case in author Timothy Jay Smith’s “Fire on the Island: A Romantic Thriller”.

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The Synopsis

For lovers of crime fiction and the allure of the Greek islands, Fire on the Island is the perfect summer read. 

FIRE ON THE ISLAND is a playful, romantic thriller set in contemporary Greece, with a gay Greek-American FBI agent, who is undercover on the island to investigate a series of mysterious fires. Set against the very real refugee crisis on the beautiful, sun-drenched Greek islands, this novel paints a loving portrait of a community in crisis. As the island residents grapple with declining tourism, poverty, refugees, family feuds, and a perilously damaged church, an arsonist invades their midst.

Nick Damigos, the FBI agent, arrives on the island just in time to witness the latest fire and save a beloved truffle-sniffing dog. Hailed as a hero and embraced by the community, Nick finds himself drawn to Takis, a young bartender who becomes his primary suspect, which is a problem because they’re having an affair. Theirs is not the only complicated romance in the community and Takis isn’t the only suspicious character on the island. The priest is an art forger, a young Albanian waiter harbors a secret, the captain of the coast guard station seems to have his own agenda, and the village itself hides a violent history. Nick has to unravel the truth in time to prevent catastrophe, as he comes to terms with his own past trauma. In saving the village, he will go a long way toward saving himself.

A long time devotee of the Greek islands, Smith paints the setting with gorgeous color and empathy, ushering in a new romantic thriller with the charm of  Zorba the Greek while shedding bright light on the very real challenges of life in contemporary Greece.

The Review

A brilliant blend of action, dramatic tension, thrills and romantic humor and passion, author Timothy Jay Smith has created an engaging read that will keep readers invested in the cast of characters throughout the narrative. The novel does an excellent job of not only creating the tension of the thriller and the passion of the romance, but infuses into it the tone of the very real distrust, heartbreak and painful situation regarding refugees forced to flee and ending up in the Greek Islands. It demonstrates the division amongst the communities regarding accepting and helping these refugees and those who want to blame them for all of society’s woes. 

Amidst this important storytelling sits a beautiful work of character building that really fleshes out the cast of characters well in this novel. The setting comes alive on the pages of this book and really does a great job of making this community become its own character, giving the book’s plot more heft and importance as the story progresses. 

The Verdict

A must-read novel, “Fire on the Island” by Timothy Jay Smith is a fantastic read with a quick pace and engaging plot that will keep the readers on the edge of their seat both for the book’s thrilling plot and romantic character developments. Be sure to grab your own copy on July 7th, 2020. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-day crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.

Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. Another novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland, will be published in spring 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012.

Tim was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

https://www.instagram.com/timothyjays…

www.facebook.com/TimothyJaySmith/

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Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3) by Ellen F. Feld Review

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

A feel good children’s picture book series enters a third novel into the story in author Ellen F. Feld’s Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3)”. 

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The Synopsis

Donkey-Donk wants to hike Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. Before she can hike the mountain, however, she must get in shape by lifting weights and working out on her treadmill. Then it’s off to New Hampshire and the White Mountains, where Mount Washington awaits. Follow along with Donk as she hikes this amazing mountain and enjoy the incredible scenery that she discovers.

Over 20 beautiful, professional photographs of Donk as she prepares for, and then hikes, Mt. Washington.

The Review

In such a short read, the author does a great job of establishing a connection between the reader and the protagonist through not only great photography but artful storytelling. The book brings the story of this miniature donkey to life brilliantly, making the story flow at a reasonable pace for younger readers. 

The use of photography over artwork was an inspired choice, as it allowed for more personal touches to the story than artwork may have. The story itself showcases the narrative that with hard work, training, and perseverance anyone can achieve their goals, including hiking and climbing Mount Washington for Donkey-Donk in this tale. 

The Verdict

A well written, short yet impactful read, this is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys picture books and children’s narratives. Full of heart, joy and creativity, author Ellen F. Feld’s “Take A Hike! A Donkey-Donk Story (Book 3)” is a must-read children’s story that stands out on its own while fitting into the overall series of stories expertly. Grab your own copy of this book on May 07th, 2020. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Award-winning author Ellen Feld began writing about horses more than 20 years ago. At first she wrote for small, regional magazines, but within a few short years, her work began to appear regularly in large, national publications. In 2001, while waiting for her next assignment, Ms. Feld wrote a short story about a Morgan. That tale became the first chapter of Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse. The book went on to win a coveted Children’s Choices award (as did the second book in the series, Frosty), an honor bestowed jointly by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council. The book was also picked up by Breyer Animal Creations to be sold with a model of the star of the story, Blackjack. To date, Ms. Feld has authored fourteen horse books, including seven in the Morgan Horse series. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two children, twelve horses, and assorted other pets.

http://www.willowbendpublishing.com/shop/take-a-hike-a-donkey-donk-story

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I know When You’re Going To Die by Michael J. Bowler Review

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

A young man living life as the social outcast finds himself fighting to save his best friend after he is given a haunting power in author Michael J. Bowler’s “I Know When You’re Going To Die”. 

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The Synopsis

Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death.

His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike.

Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all.

The Review

A brilliant read, the author does an amazing job of capturing the raw nature of fear that grips us all when staring into the face of death while also delving into the hardships and struggles modern day teens face from peers and adults alike. 

The story weaves together a tale of suspense and horror into a modern day high school drama setting, bringing together the problems teens face all too often, including the process of finding one’s place in the world. As protagonist Leo sets out to save his friend, secrets and relationships are revealed, and highlight the heartbreaking process many teens face when forced to conceal their true selves in the face of cruelty from both students and teachers alike. 

The Verdict

An amazing read, I Know When You’re Going To Die by Michael J. Bowler is a must read. A story many can relate to while telling a gripping tale of suspense and thrills, this novel really weaves together multiple genres well, and will leave readers on the edge of their seats. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this novel by either pre-ordering your copy today or getting your copy when it releases on February 25th, 2020!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.

You can find Michael at:

Website: www.michaeljbowler.com

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Michael-J.-Bowler/e/B0…

Facebook: www.facebook.com/michaeljbowlerauthor

Twitter: twitter.com/BradleyWallaceM

tumblr: michaeljbowler.tumblr.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/michaelbowler

Instagram: www.instagram.com/stuntshark

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2NX.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z48BHH4?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1484221699

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/i-know-when-you-re-going-to-die

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-know-when-youre-going-to-die-michael-j-bowler/1134221152;jsessionid=ACEF0B8A8DBF47B8C52210F233FF2F1F.prodny_store01-atgap15?ean=2940163679256

Posted in reviews

Red Road Across The Great Plains By Chandra Lahiri Review

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

Author Chandra Lahiri takes readers on a journey through the history of the Native American people and showcases both sides of that history in an honest and incredible way in the novel “Red Road Across The Great Plains”. 


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The Synopsis

A life-changing solo voyage of discovery across the blood-soaked Great Plains. A pilgrimage to momentous sites of Native American heritage. Meet the amazing “invisible warriors” fighting impossible odds to reclaim their heritage and share in the American Dream without losing their unique identity, much as their ancestors fought on the battlefields to save their way of life.

Nurturing a half-century obsession with Native America and the Old Frontier, this now-retired corporate CEO takes the reader along on his astonishing solo road-trip through haunting places of intense tragedy and stunning triumphs, through Native American spiritual experiences that shook the atheist in him, plunging into the rough and tumble worlds that were Deadwood and Dodge City, chuckling gently over modern American idiosyncrasies. Neither a “white historian” nor a “red commentator,” he visits both sides of the Native American experience and, in the most depressed Native Reservations, discovers exciting sparks of a brighter, more hopeful future emerging – a very different take on the usual Reservation stereotypes and stories of misery. This is an unusual and enthralling odyssey effortlessly plaiting space and time, easy to read, without pompous sermonizing.


The Review

Part history, part travel, author Chandra Lahiri’s novel does an amazing  job of creating a narrative that showcases the authors real life journey to these iconic, historic and sometimes tragic locations in the West and Mid-Western United States. The evenly paced read delved deeply into the violent, heartbreaking and blood-soaked history of the Native American tribes and the impact on both their culture and the white settlers as they expanded their territory further and further westward. 

From the genocide that was the Trail of Tears to the Civil War and more, the author lays out the history behind the Native American people and highlights the struggles they endured. However this history is broken up naturally by the travel aspect of the author’s journey, showcasing the modern day experiences the author had while seeing first hand the locations and the history of the United States as it settled westward. 

The novel is expertly written, with a voice and tone that speaks of personal experiences the author had on this trip with historic facts that are both known and tragically some that are overlooked or forgotten, for as the author points out in the book, history is written by the victors, but often history is only half true or inaccurate if only written by the victors. 


The Verdict

This was a brutally honest, emotional and well written historical/travel novel. An even mix of historical research, graphs and statistics that really put the history of the Native American people and culture into perspective, with the natural observations and personal stories brought to life while on a life-changing trip like the one the author experienced, this novel has something for everyone, and is not to be missed. So if you are a fan of travel stories or are just a major history buff like myself and want to experience the emotional journey of the Native American tribes of the United States, then be sure to grab your copy of author Chandra Lahiri’s “Red Road Across The Great Plains” today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

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Net Force: Dark Web by Jerome Preisler Review

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

A series of terrorist attacks emerge just as a brand new Cyber-Security Task Force emerges, and must prove themselves by stopping this powerful new threat in author Jerome Preisler’s action-thriller, “Net Force: Dark Web”. 

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The Synopsis 

The return of the cutting-edge thriller series Net Force, created by Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik and written by Jerome Preisler.

The number one threat to our nation’s security is in cyberspace. The new US president wants to tackle the urgent problem head-on and launches a top secret line of defense: Net Force. But before the organization can be announced, the country is hit by an unprecedented, two-pronged terror attack.

Not yet empowered by Congress nor embraced by a dubious intelligence community, still untested, unproven and officially unnamed, Net Force’s elite group of cyber experts and field operatives must lead the fight against the ongoing waves of hacks while tracking down the mastermind. Their failure could mean global catastrophe. Success may lead them to become the highest-level security agency in the United States.

A story that seems ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, Net Force: Dark Web relaunches one of the most prescient thriller series at a time when cybersecurity is more vital than ever.


The Review

An exciting relaunch of a series co-created by icons Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, Net Force: Dark Web is an exciting thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seat throughout the entirety of the novel. Full of action from the book’s first pages, the story is equal parts narrative and character development, giving readers plenty to engage with throughout the novel. 

Employing the same beloved military action, espionage and thriller aspects of any good Tom Clancy novel and incorporating modern day technological warfare and diving into how intimately technology has become a part of our everyday lives, the author does a brilliant job of analyzing our dependence on technology and the next era of terrorism and security around the world. As technology and our society evolves, so to will those seeking to use the good aspects of technology for their own nefarious purposes. 


The Verdict

A well-written, lengthy yet action-packed and engaging read. Author Jerome Preisler has done a marvelous job of creating a cast of characters that feel real and personal enough for readers to feel connected to, like one protagonist named Kali, who’s story evolves greatly from the first page of this novel all the way to it’s end. With the United States facing a dangerous new threat, with government officials in the crosshairs and cyberthreats everywhere, it’s up to a new elite task force to stop the threat before its too late. Find out for yourself why this is the next chapter of an exciting new action-thriller series by preordering your copy of Jerome Preisler’s novel “Net Force: Dark Web” today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jerome Preisler is the prolific author of almost forty books of fiction and narrative nonfiction, including all eight novels in the New York Times bestselling TOM CLANCY’S POWER PLAYS series.

His latest book is NET FORCE:DARK WEB (November 2019), the first novel in a relaunch of the New York Times bestselling series co-created by Tom Clancy. Forthcoming in May 2020 is the enovella NET FORCE: EYE OF THE DRONE.

Among Jerome’s recent works of narrative history are CODE NAME CAESAR: The Secret Hunt for U-boat 864 During World War Two, and FIRST TO JUMP: How the Band of Brothers Was Aided by the Brave Paratroopers of Pathfinders Company. His next book of nonfiction, CIVIL WAR COMMANDO: William Cushing’s Daring Raid to Sink the Invincible Ironclad C.S.S. Albemarle,will be published by Regnery Books in October 2020.

Jerome lives in New York City and coastal Maine.


https://www.jeromepreisler.com/

https://amzn.to/2KB2EKG

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Were We Awake by L.M. Brown Review

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

A series of short stories illustrate the world people thought they knew is not what it appeared in author L.M. Brown’s novel “Were We Awake.”

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The Synopsis

In each story of this collection, events make the characters understand that their world is not as it seemed.

In Hidden, the discovery of an affair between her father and aunt is only the start of finding hidden secrets for Hazel.

What it Means to Be Empty-Handed is narrated by a fourteen–year-old daughter of an alcoholic. Her denial and elaborate imagination starts to disintegrate when she lies to the wrong person.

In Crashing, a middle-aged woman lives a life of servitude until she hits teenage boy with her car.

A thirty-year-old murder takes its toll on the victim’s family in Walking A Country Road.

The stories are set in Boston and Ireland.


The Review

Author L.M. Brown does it again, creating a wonderful collection of stories that are both connected and illustrate the way life constantly throws people curve balls, turning the world they knew into a completely new one. A collection that showcases that things are never simple or what they appear. 

One of the truly engaging stories of the collection has to be Hidden, which delves into the complex family life of Hazel when she discovers her father and aunt are having an affair. Yet as her family life implodes, new secrets reveal that things are not as simple as they first appeared. The story is a prime example of how life is often lived in shades of grey, with people often living complicated lives in an attempt to find peace and happiness. The author beautifully illustrates the pain, the shock and the confusion that comes from having a person’s world turned upside down, and perfectly taps into the emotion and complexity of humanity as a whole. 


The Verdict

A fairly average length read with completely dynamic characters and stories that feel both personal and connected, this collection of stories is truly unique and wonderfully captures the author’s unique writing style and voice. A collection that honestly showcases the ever changing landscape of the world we live in, both the world at large and the world we create for ourselves. A dramatic journey through life’s greatest challenges, this is a fantastic collection readers will not want to miss, so be sure to grab their copy of Were We Awake by L.M. Brown today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L.M Brown is the author of the novel Debris. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines. She grew up in Sligo. Ireland, but now resides in Massachusetts with her husband, three daughters, a dog and a bearded dragon.

https://www.facebook.com/LornaBrownAuthor/

https://amzn.to/33xLrJz