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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”. 

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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

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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

Villainous by Stonie Williams 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 looking to become the newest recruit into a group of superheroes discovers a dark and sinister secret, and discovers that sometimes the only way to become a true hero is to be the villain in author Stonie Williams graphic novel, “Villainous”.

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The Synopsis

Tilly, one of the newest super-powered people to join the Coalition of Heroes, is doing her best to navigate the dizzying world of superheroes. Working with her idols should be a dream come true, but when she learns the truth, Tilly’s dream quickly becomes a nightmare. Now, Tilly has to make a choice – Get in line and stand with her heroes, or take a stand and risk becoming something more… Villainous

The Review

Wow. Such a fun and engaging graphic novel, the author finds the perfect balance in the tone of the narrative immediately, settling somewhere in-between a more mild version of the Boys meet Marvel’s X-Factor and DC Comics Suicide Squad. The author does a great job of building the world early on as well as the mythos of the world of Villainous. 

The theme of the line between hero and villain is blurred or gray has been around for a long time, but the author brings a fresh voice and the illustrators bring a dynamic artwork to the pages that make this story feel fresh and original. The characters pop off the page, from the meathead hero Showdown to the hopeful hero turned forced “villain” and protagonist Tilly and even the world itself, which allows the shadowy figures behind the scenes to perpetuate the lies of the “heroes” are telling. 

The Verdict

A memorable, visually stunning, and entertaining read, author Stonie Williams and Mad Cave Studios “Villainous” is a fantastic work of comic book and graphic novel magic. The action is fast-paced and the characters are multi-layered and complex, and by the first volume’s end, the story takes a dramatic turn that sets the pace for the rest of the series. Be sure to grab your copy on May 4th, 2021!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Stonie grew up in the back of a comic book shop in Tulsa and played guitar as a teenager. Both comics and music nurtured a passion for storytelling. Now he looks to create his own stories

instagram.com/baldbeardedbard/

https://campsite.bio/baldbeardedbard

https://www.youtube.com/c/madcavestudios/featured

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/

Blackacre Rising (Ivy Spires #2) by John C. Adams Review

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

Loyalties will be tested and lines will be crossed as the fight for humanity wages on in author John C. Adams’ latest entry in the Ivy Spires dystopian series, “Blackacre Rising”. 

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The Synopsis

From Horror Tree reviewer and double Aeon Award Longlister John C Adams comes a disturbing tale of scientific experimentation and sadistic cruelty. The sequel to ‘Souls For The Master’, ‘Blackacre Rising’ features a stunning cover by Fiona Jayde Media.

Leaving the chaos erupting in the Metropolis behind, Gerald speeds north to his cousin Brett Flint’s farmhouse, Blackacre. He is certain that their vehicle is being followed, but returning to the capital with Don and Ivy is simply too risky now that Janus Fidens has taken over the Resistance and declared the pair to be outlaws who have betrayed the Revolution. Arriving at Blackacre, Gerald begs Brett and his wife Radclyffe to shelter Ivy and Don under their roof without asking too many questions about why his young companions have had to flee to the sparsely populated uplands and need their presence there kept secret.

Distraught at saying goodbye to Gerald, Ivy admits how much she has come to care for him since they have been battling the authorities together. They snatch a few moments alone together to say a private farewell before Gerald drives back to the capital, hoping to persuade Janus to drop his pursuit of Ivy and Don. En route, Gerald is followed by the same car that tailed them northwards. Lured into stopping to assist at the site of a road traffic accident, the trainee surgeon is captured and transported to a shadowy underground scientific research facility, where he is disturbed to discover that Sinister Tungsten, sister to his arch nemesis Hendra, awaits him.

In the Blackacre library, Don is welcomed by the Seven. This mysterious group includes the Master he fought to defeat down in the Metropolis, five other strange figures with bizarre powers and, of course, the malignant farmhouse itself. Brett, Radclyffe and their twin baby sons reside in the oddest place Don has ever encountered. He reluctantly agrees to become involved in the Seven’s project to assassinate Dr Luther Honigbaum, who funds the facility where Gerald is being held prisoner and runs the asylum in Austria which supplies its young female test subjects.

Learning how to transport herself from one location to another shocks Ivy. Unlike Don, who has wielded great power his whole life, her skills as an assassin are more practical in nature, and she worries that having shifted safely to Austria she’ll be unable to return safely. Finally, she is ready to undertake her mission to kill the evil man behind the gruesome experiments that serve no purpose other than to gratify the rampant cruelty of Honigbaum and his acolytes.

Meanwhile, the Seven show Don another facility, this time in Antarctica, where equally cruel experiments take place upon men. When the Seven tell him he is too young to witness exactly what it taking place, he uses his unique powers to advance his age by three years so that he is now eighteen. He gladly sacrifices a part of his natural life to rescue the men kept prisoner there and tormented by sadistic experiments with no scientific value whatsoever.

Arriving in Austria, Ivy is horrified to discover that her cover is already blown and Honigbaum lies in waiting for her. He has a sinister agenda of his own and will stop at nothing to eliminate anyone who resists both his sadistically cruel medical research and his repulsive sexual advances. When Brett Flint’s cousin Henry turns up at Ubersneller, Honigbaum locks him up in one of his asylums high up in the mountains to ensure his silence. He has particularly dark designs on Ivy, and is determined that her close friendship with Don will enable him to reach out to his estranged son. Drugged and forced to comply, Ivy is young enough to provide the ageing Honigbaum with everything he wishes. Gerald’s imprisonment ends when Sinistra’s elder sister Hendra returns and the authorities brutally re-establish law and order, but he is no safer with her than with her sibling.

The Review

A truly gripping, intense, and engaging dystopian sci-fi read. The author does a brilliant job of creating a large mythos in this dystopian world rich with a multitude of main and side characters that readers will be able to both loathe and root for. 

Although I had not read the first book in the series, the author writes in a way that allows readers both new and established to be able to delve into this new narrative, as the central characters find themselves split up and fighting brutal battles all on their own. Each finds their path fraught with horrifying trials and monstrous adversaries, all while their own abilities grow and develop over time. 

The story really benefits from a strong character arc for the central protagonists and antagonists. This lengthy read delves into the hardships and struggles each character undertakes in this world divided by class and exposed to horrors unlike anything seen before. In the midst of powers and action, the author really brings about complex characters that readers can identify and support throughout this narrative.

The Verdict

A must-read dystopian sci-fi thriller, author John C. Adams’ “Blackacre Rising” is a fantastic sequel in the Ivy Spires series. Emotionally driven character arcs and action-packed scenes all come together under strong mythology and ends on a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Be sure to preorder your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a non-binary author and critic of fantasy and horror.

I review for Schlock! Webzine, the British Fantasy Society and Horror Tree, as well as placing reviews and articles across a wide range of blogs and magazines.

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. I’ve been a Contributing Editor for Albedo One Magazine and the Aeon Award since 2016. Before that, I was a Submissions Reader with them.

My debut horror novel, ‘Souls for the Master’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. Likewise, my debut fantasy novel, ‘Aspatria’, is 99c on Smashwords retailers and 99p on Kindle. The sequel to ‘Aspatria’, ‘Dagmar of the Northlands’, is out now on Kindle and Smashwords retailers.

Although I write mostly long fiction, since 2015 I have had stories published in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press, Fantasia Divinity and Jersey Pines Ink. My short stories have also been published in the Horror Zine, Swords & Sorcery, Sirens Call, Blood Moon Rising, Lovecraftiana and various other magazines.

Every emerging writer needs plenty of encouragement right at the start, and entering lots of competitions early on made a real difference to my confidence to press on with writing longer fiction and think about submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies in due course. In 2012, I was longlisted for the International Aeon Award Short Fiction Contest for ‘The Visitors’ and again in 2013 for ‘We Can Finish Your Baby’s Brain For You’. My writing was also recognised by the Enrico Charles Literary Award (runner up in 2012) and by the University of Winchester Writers’ Conference in both 2012 and 2013, including a Commendation in the First Three Pages of a Novel category, and other nominations in poetry and short fiction.

I read PPE at Somerville College, and I am a non-practising solicitor. I live in rural Northumberland, UK, and I combine my career as an author and critic with raising my kids and caring for a severely disabled relative. I’m always busy!

http://johncadams.wix.com/johnadamssf

Twitter: johncadamssf

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/

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

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/

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

Nefer Blue Phoenix by Micah Patton Review

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

A young warrior haunted by the events of her past must fight to reclaim what is rightfully hers and protect her family along the way in author Micah Patton’s “Nefer Blue Phoenix”. 

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The Synopsis

We all fear the unknown. Scared of never achieving the ultimate dream. On an island of ancient super beings lives a warrior haunted by attaining one goal. Kill every rebel responsible for stripping an innocent child’s family of their throne. They left the empire decorated in death and gave birth to a warrior hellbent on restoring the rightful order of the nation. But will the warrior go as far as to risk forsaking friends? Family? The gods themselves? Absolutely…

In a land of magic, pharaohs, and thrones, one warrior will discover just how treacherous they will have to become to achieve the ultimate goal. Power. Welcome to the island nation of Serenium. Where the quest for power is a must. The ability to lose it is just a scandal away. When the rich and powerful cry. They kill.

The Review

This is a fantastic historical fiction/fantasy novel that delves deep into a world of gods and royalty in the days of Ancient Egypt. In the Kingdom of Serenium, a young woman born to avenge her fallen parents and retake the throne that was meant to be hers must play a dangerous game of deceit, power and even battle amongst the new Pharaohs and the royalty surrounding them. 

The mythology really takes center stage here, mixing with the political drama of the narrative that showcases the dangerous rise to power one must take and the powerful individuals the protagonist must overcome in order to achieve it. The introduction and use of the gods and the Divinity was a nice inclusion in this fantasy narrative, bringing a sense of otherworldly wonder into the bloody, sexual and tense drama of the royal court and all it’s backstabbing that comes with it. 

The Verdict

A well written, lengthy yet well executed narrative, the story of Nefer Blue Phoenix by Micah Patton is a must watch for anyone who enjoys ancient mythology, fantasy, history and political drama. Action packed, character driven and a fun read overall, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing novel on April 10th, 2020! 

Rating: 10/10

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