Right Now by Sarah Baethge Review

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

A private investigating firm finds themselves in the middle of a strange phenomena in author Sarah Baethge’s novel Right Now. Here’s the synopsis:

Lilly Aldern finds herself without a job,so she is hired to work as a secretary for her brother and his partner. When investigating the workings of an aerospace company, Legacy Towers, they come across a strange man named Joe that should have his own knowledge of their workings; yet his memory of the past has somehow been almost completely taken away.

Strangely, this seems to have enabled a brief glimpse of the future for him.

This short read was a great way to delve more into the works of author Sarah Baethge. With her recent release The Illumination Query, it was fun to explore the creative force behind that novel in this short story. Exploring a unique twist on the time travel/seeing the future storyline, we get to see a man who’s memories are replaced with visions of the future, and one person’s struggle to accept that reality. It was full of strong imagery, and left things on a cliffhanger of sorts that begged for more story to be told.

Overall I loved the story. It was a very quick read, but is worth the purchase if you’re looking for a quick, gut-punch of a science fiction thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Right Now by Sarah Baethge today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge Review

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

A simple tale of a zoo keeper takes a dark turn in author Sarah Baethge’s novel The Illumination Query. Here’s the synopsis:

A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with.

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What makes someone a monster? 

The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong?

Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully. 

When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?

This story is like Frankenstein meets The Island of Dr. Moreau, where a zoo keeper finds himself in a deal he literally cannot refuse, overseeing security for some of the strangest and most dangerous creatures on the planet, while one scientist takes an experiment into his own hands and suffers the ultimate consequences. This story was filled with twists and turns galore, exploring a world of mad science and exploring the way humanity treats the animals of this planet, often caging them rather than letting them live free and open in the world.

The story and it’s background are what really thrive in this novel. The mythology being built of supernatural and scientific creatures alike, amazing abilities and dangerous science gone wrong are all so mesmerizing to read that one can’t help but be drawn into this amazing world created by the author. The scientific methodology used for this story all makes it so believable that you almost start to imagine what kind of secret organizations and creatures are hiding in the shadows of our world…

Overall I loved this story. It was fun to read, quick and fast paced, and delivered an incredible first entry in what should be a whirlwind adventure. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge today!

Rating: 8/10

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We Own The Sky (The Muse Chronicles #1) by Sara Crawford Book Review

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

Trigger Warning: This book deals in themes and story elements involving drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and suicide. If any of these themes are triggering be warned this review and book involves them.

An incredible YA series gets a jump into a rarely used part of Greek mythology in author Sara Crawford’s We Own The Sky, book one in the Muse Chronicles series. Here’s the synopsis:

What could you create if you fell in love with a Muse?

16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been different. She’s the only one who can see the “flickering people.” When she sees a gorgeous flickering man named Vincent, she learns that they are Muses. 

With his help, she finds herself creating exquisite songs that she loves almost as much as songs by her favorite bands–Radiohead, M83, and The Black Keys–and she is falling in love in a way she never knew was possible. While trying to maintain her newfound friendships and her band, she falls deeper into the world of the Muses. 

When the original Greek Muses wake to find a world in which the internet has given everyone the tools to be an artist, a battle between traditional and new methods of creation ensues. As Sylvia discovers how she is connected to the world of the Muses, she learns that this war may put her music, her love, her very life at stake.

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I really have to applaud the author of this book. She did a marvelous job of drawing me into this world from the very first pages all the way to the stories climactic and cliff-hanger of an ending. I am already a big fan of Greek mythology, often employing it into my preferred reading material and my own writing. Getting to explore this underutilized aspect of mythology was brilliant. The story did a fantastic job of creating and building upon one of the world’s largest and most inspirational mythologies while blending a unique and personal tale of what it’s like to grow up in today’s society.

The character development was the highlight for me. As a mental health awareness advocate, this story did a great job of both highlighting the struggles of those with mental health ailments and showing the stereotypes those with mental health illnesses must deal with in our society. It also highlighted humanity’s instinct to label those who are creative or act outside of what society has deemed “normal” as being “crazy”, an offensive word that brings negative connotations to the mental health profession. The protagonist Sylvia is a relatable teenager and artist, showing how therapeutic and mentally alleviating diving into the arts can be for people. As someone who suffers from depression, I know my love for writing has helped me to channel the sadness and loneliness I’ve felt into something positive, and that’s what this author has shown brilliantly.

Overall I loved this story. It was emotional, personal and a fantastic entry into what promises to be a thrilling new YA franchise. This story is just the tip of the iceberg for the story of the Muses, and I cannot wait to dive head first into Sylvia’s story in book two. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of We Own The Sky by Sara Crawford today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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Sara Crawford is an author, a playwright, and a musician. Ever since she was five years old, she has lived for art in one form or another. This manifested itself as writing plays at age eight and convincing (forcing) the neighborhood kids to perform them on her driveway, auditioning for Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker three years in a row before finally landing a small role as a toy soldier, starting an all-girl band in high school, writing and producing her own plays and short films, and most recently, writing a book about a girl who falls in love with her Muse (WE OWN THE SKY). Sara has been an actress, a singer, a playwright, a songwriter, a guitarist, a keyboard player, a poet, a screenwriter, and an author of both fiction and non-fiction.

She graduated in 2008 from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in English and in 2012 from the University of New Orleans with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (emphasis in Playwriting). Currently, in addition to working as a freelance writer and internet marketer, she is also a creative writing professor in the graduate program at Southern New Hampshire University, teaching online classes. She also loves to talk about books, music, and writing on her YouTube channel. For more information visit http://saracrawford.net or https://www.youtube.com/user/saracrawford.

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The Sweetness Run: Book One by Wendys Donuts Review

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

If you’ve ever known a college frat boy who thinks he walks on water and want to have a good laugh at their expense, then you will not want to miss the latest comedic novel The Sweetness Run: Book One by Wendys Donuts. Here’s the synopsis:

The Sweetness Run is the brand new, no holds barred, nonsense comedy from professional class clown Wendys Donuts.

Dip your toes in the pool of ridiculousness.

Step into the shoes of Jason and tag along for his grand love affair with her Majesty The Sweetness.

In the greatest adventure a Fantasy Football champion can undertake Jason will have all of his senses tested to their extremes, battle foes he never imagined possible and brave adversities of a most nefarious nature. Not to mention he’ll have his mind warped by some troubling tricksters and inevitably have his soul searched.

But

The Sweetness does not reward plebs of a timid nature so Jason will have to prove his metal and fight against all odds to prove his worth to her Majesty The Sweetness. Ideally he’ll manage to find a bountiful haul of treats, libations and snacks along the way. Because c’mon, who wouldn’t mind a snack and a drink.

The Sweetness is Desire. The Sweetness is Warmth. The Sweetness is Glory.

This adventure isn’t a traditional romantic love story, this is the story your momma warned you about.

What The People Are Saying

“The most vulgar and entertaining thing I’ve ever read.” – N.R.

“Funny, original and over the top.” – J.S.

“One of the few times a book actually made me laugh out loud!” – D.K.

“Satire at its highest!” – S.R.

Now let’s be clear about one thing: this group of friends is not the best example of guys you’d want to hang out with on a Friday night. The chemical fueled, sex obsessed hero of this tale Jason definitely has a skewed view of women, the world and even himself. This hysterical and satirical look at the modern frat boy mentality and how it carries over into their adult lives is an exhilarating journey. I’d compare it to a combination of the comedy of projects like Family Guy, Deadpool and Curb Your Enthusiasm all rolled into one. An incredibly raunchy comedy that brings both humor and insight into male friendships, Wendys Donuts has done an amazingly funny job of bringing a new comedic voice into 2018.

Overall this was an amazing read. The characters were completely unique and unlike most of the characters I’ve come across in my reading career. The tone was lighthearted despite the protagonist’s misogynistic and misguided worldview. It also had some of the best imagery in a book, with the protagonist creating some of the most descriptive and colorful commentary on life that I’ve read. It’s a hilarious first entry into the Sweetness Run series, and does a fantastic job of bringing a new comedic voice into the literary world. If you haven’t yet pick up your copy of The Sweetness Run by Wendys Donuts today!

Rating: 8/10

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Destroying Their God: How I Fought My Evil Half-Brother To Save My Children by Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor Review

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

One man’s journey to escape a dangerous religious group he was born and raised in and the harrowing experience of trying to save his own children in the process comes to life in former FLDS member Wallace Jeff’s novel, Destroying Their God. The book, (written also by Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor), shows the terrifying process of being indoctrinated into a harmful doomsday religion and how despite a lifetime of indoctrination he managed to escape the group, but not without both physical and emotional scars. Here’s the official synopsis:

In 1991, Wallace Jeffs was coerced to become an FLDS polygamist. 

In 2011, Wallace rebelled against the sect, and the FBI helped him reclaim his kidnapped children.

Then an “accident” put Wallace into a forty-five-day coma. 

Growing up as half-brother to future Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saint prophet Warren Jeffs, Wallace tried to follow FLDS teachings. After he built a successful business, the church required him to marry a second wife. Wallace fathered twenty children, but he never felt comfortable with polygamy or many other FLDS beliefs.

As his prophet-brother increasingly manipulated him, Wallace started hearing about FLDS atrocities. On the day the FBI arrested Warren Jeffs for child rape, the prophet was en route to reclaim Wallace’s second wife for himself. Wallace defied the prophet and soon ended up in a coma. Though Wallace feared FLDS sabotage caused his car crash, he kept fighting the sect.

With today’s movement against male abusers, Wallace’s story reminds us that power and position don’t corrupt all men. In 2018, Wallace found resolution by marrying an LDS woman in the Salt Lake Temple. At the same time, he renews our concern for the thousands who still live under FLDS control, including some of Wallace’s own children. 

This is one of the most tragic, heartbreaking yet important reads of 2018. This is the kind of story people can connect with on multiple levels. For me, I’ve always been angry about all of the innocent people who’s lives are destroyed by religious cults and curious how the indoctrination process claims so many lives. As a non-religious person, I was always curious how people could get so ingrained into a religion’s policies no matter how strange or ridiculous they seemed to the rest of the world. Thanks to the incredible bravery of Wallace Jeffs defying his brother and the church he spent a lifetime serving, the world at large can garner a far better understanding of indoctrination as a whole.

The book goes into incredible and tragic detail on the religion and it’s actions. From the strange laws that dictated their appearance and interactions with the rest of the world, to the inner workings of polygamy and the apocalyptic beliefs that drove people to do or allow unspeakable things to occur. The book also allows readers to get better insight into the behavior and mindset of the sick religious leader who is deemed “prophet” in this religion, and that’s Warren Jeffs. Wallace and this incredible writing team showcase the rise of this criminal, whom his brother describes as “the most evil person to walk the earth”. From his early years being groomed to be the religion’s poster boy, to his sick pleasures and the mind games he played with the followers, including his own brother.

Overall this was an amazing book to read. Definitely one of the best books of 2018, Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor have brought to life an emotional, heartbreaking and yet vital tale of escaping a toxic environment. You also get to see how he learns how to integrate himself into society years later than most and the physical and emotional struggle of one father who’s love for his children gave him the strength to fight the only group he’d called family to save his kids. This is a must read book, so be sure to grab your copy in eBook, audiobook or paperback formats on June 6th, 2018!

Rating: 10/10

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Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! by Author Heather L. Beal Review

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

Another beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written story of nature and safety come to life in author Heather L. Beal’s children’s book, Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My! Here’s the synopsis:

Lily and Niko Rabbit are at childcare when the weather changes and a thunderstorm strikes. One of the children’s parents is a meteorologist and he talks with the children about thunderstorms. They learn about severe weather events like thunderstorms and what conditions these events can bring, like lightning, hail, and winds. They also learn what to do to stay safe.

This is another fun illustrated adventure from author Heather L. Beal. The story focuses on thunderstorms, and how dangerous they can be. It allows kids to learn about common weather in our world that can affect our daily lives, and how to be safe when confronted with this weather. Children will love the colorful art and humorous writing that will allow them to connect with the story, while parents will love the way the story allows them to bond with their child and helps teach their child valuable lessons going forward in life. It’s everything you want in a children’s novel and more, combining fantastic creativity, passionate characters that teach the children about this topic, and an important life lesson on safety and not taking unnecessary risks. Overall I loved this story, as it brings another fantastic chapter to the books from this incredible author that fuses education and creativity beautifully. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copies of Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My!

 

Rating: 10/10

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Never, Never and Never Again by K.M. Breakey

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

Be prepared guys: this book was a very intense and emotionally charged book that made me get philosophical and political in my review. You’ve been warned…

A chilling story that blends fiction with history brings the horrors of South Africa to a brutal light in author K.M. Breakey’s novel Never, Never and Never Again. Here’s the synopsis:

Audrey is a starry-eyed Brit, Pieter a tenth-generation Afrikaner. At the height of Apartheid, they fall in love. A life of splendour awaits, but the country is shifting underfoot. The winds of change fan revolution, and Michael Manzulu’s rage boils. He is hungry, and will risk everything to destroy his oppressor. 

When white rule gives way, trepidation is tempered by precarious optimism. Mandela will make the miracle happen. Or not. Twenty-three years on, South Africa has suffered unprecedented decline. The country unravels and fear is pervasive. Fear of persecution, land seizure, slaughter. Pieter and Audrey march on. They navigate the perpetual threat. They pray the wrath will not strike their home. 

Recently, voices of protest cry out, none louder than the bombastic scholar, Kaspar Coetzer. World leaders cautiously take note, but will they take action? More importantly, can they? 

“Never, Never and Never Again” is a story of vengeance, greed and corruption. A story the world ignores, but a story that must be told…before it’s too late. 

I must admit to you guys this was a tough one to read. I don’t talk about it all the time, but I am very much a liberal. My moral viewpoints tend to line up with liberal democrats in the United States. I am not religious, I support the LGBTQ community, am a proud feminist and hope to see a world where everyone is equal in both mind and law. Yet reading this novel showed me that evil and violence can come in many forms, and the issues we face are so much more than black and white (no pun intended).

The story itself was very interesting. It explored a family’s struggles in South Africa over a few decades. It shows the racially charged environment and the hatred that brews between both the black and white communities of this nation.

One of the hardest things for me to write about are race relations. I myself am half Hispanic and half white. I do not and will not ever understand the hatred and discrimination faced by the black community not just in my own country but around the world. I fully support equality for all, and support causes like Black Lives Matter, which despite what some people claim is about telling the world that all lives matter including black lives, not just white ones. It’s about equality for all, not discrimination against one or the other.

This book delved into something that really spoke to me. While the book showed both the hatred and violence that brewed within the black community of South Africa for years thanks to the horrors of Apartheid, it also showcases the corruption and power hungry politicians who utilize each side’s fears and mistrusts with the other to further their own needs. Now I had very little knowledge personally going into this story about South Africa and it’s history both in the past and presently. After reading this book I did my research and was saddened to see that while the author did an excellent job of using fictitious characters and events to further the story, some of that fiction was based in reality.

Innocent men and women and children are being killed every day in South Africa. Many of them are white farmers who make up over 70% of the farming community in the country, and are subject to blackmail and assault from criminals. However I also read accounts from unnamed white farmers who say the black community is also subject to these violent crimes, not just white people. It shows that the issue isn’t about white vs black, but rather good vs evil. I saw this a lot through the side character of Mosegi, an employee of the Van Zyl family that spent his entire life with the family. He was the subject of violence from criminals who called themselves revolutionaries, being beaten nearly to death for being loyal to the family. However he was more than an employee but a part of the family. Despite the family’s flawed mentality at times, he still loved them and dedicated his life to them. He was a black man who found a path to be part of both communities and tried to find a way to have peace between the white family he worked for and the black community he was a part of.

The story was well written, and told in great detail. The author did a wonderful job of blending our current political climate with the horrors of the past, and focused on bringing to light the suffering of a nation that hardly get’s recognized by the international community. However I will say it was difficult for me to identify with the formerly powerful white characters who were now victims of a corrupt government and criminals. The horrors they endured were awful and I too condemn the real victims of these horrors. However the misguided notion that this is a result of the black community of South Africa as a whole taking over and the white community losing control of the country was not something I could support. Instead I saw between the lines of what the author wrote and saw instead a common thread between both sides: neither the white or black communities could learn from the past.

Instead of looking to a future where everyone was equal and they could tackle the issues of a low economy, poor housing and out of control corruption and criminals, instead the white community focused on all of the black community being unable to run the country while the black community members portrayed couldn’t move on from the past and instead harbored the same level of hatred and violence their ancestors endured from white people. Moving forward as a people is not about living in the past and having everyone in present day pay for the sins of their fathers (in a manner of speaking). Instead it’s about acknowledging the mistakes of our fathers and ourselves and finding a common ground to move forward. So long as everyone continues to hate one another and keep this “us vs them” mentality, violence and corruption will never end. I fully oppose the mentality and actions of people like current President Donald Trump and his administration, but I also condemn the violent actions of the criminals in South Africa. The answer is not to return to the days of Apartheid or to violently seize and assault farm owners land, but to find a way to stabilize and improve the nation and bring the harmony Nelson Mandela promised and hoped for all those years ago.

Overall this book was incredibly well written, powerful and gave a unique perspective from both sides of a long conflict on the African continent. I think that this is the kind of book that could help bring some perspective to the highly unrecognized conflicts that still plague both the black and white communities of the country, and show us all that there are still a lot of steps that need to be taken before we can live in peaceful coexistence. Thank you to author K.M Breakey for providing me such a thought provoking and realistic read. If you haven’t yet be sure to check out Never, Never and Never Again by K.M Breakey today!

Rating: 8/10

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About K.M. Breakey

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I was born in Toronto & educated at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. I received a degree in Mathematics & Computing Science in 1992, and commenced a 25-year career in Information Technology. In 2016, I turned full attention to writing with the success of my 3rd novel. Johnny and Jamaalfearlessly explores racial dysfunction in America, from perspectives you won’t hear in mainstream media.

My latest, Never, Never and Never Again, tackles South Africa’s complicated history, from Apartheid, through Transformation, and into the chaos currently laying waste to this once-prosperous nation. In an age of mass media distortion and rapid erosion of free speech, I see fiction as a powerful vehicle to disseminate truth and expose lies.

NNANA is my fourth novel and I’ve caught the bug. Currently dreaming up scenarios for my fifth, and always working hard to find new readers 🙂 When not writing, I enjoy business pursuits, political debate, hockey, tennis and skiing.