I Am Marcus Fox by Bryon Cahill 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 grand story of his life blurs the line between reality and fiction in author Bryon Cahill’s novel “I Am Marcus Fox”. Here is the synopsis.

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The Synopsis

A dangerous man on the brink of madness recounts his life story—a nonstop, action-adventure thrill ride that proves fiction is stranger than truth.

Texas, 1967. Marcus Fox is born to notorious outlaw parents who are always on the run. Unaccustomed to any semblance of a stable family life, the often-neglected child is quick to realize Mom and Dad are driven by sheer violence and mayhem. Hiding out in cheap motels between heists, Marcus’s favorite pastime is listening to his father tell tall tales. He also secretly yearns for any glimmer of love from his monstrous mother. But those banks and roadside diners aren’t going to rob themselves. 

Zambia, Africa, 1973. Six-year-old Marcus Fox is abandoned. Adopted by a local tribesman and his wife, he learns their ways and survives along the Zambezi River. As he grows, Marcus becomes an experienced hunter and fights unimaginable beasts for his supper. But the one animal he can’t best is the ferocious lion within. In the prime of his life, Marcus finds himself strapped with an orphan baby of his own. Acting as both brother and father to the growing boy, Marcus must protect him from the nutty, imperceptible call of nature and shield him from the lucid lure of human contact.

The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Marcus, an unreliable narrator, navigates his most penetrating memories. In retelling his hero’s journey, Marcus reminisces on tragedy and farcical comedy, terror and psychological warfare. At times, he will even question his own sanity. 

Never faltering in his tale, Marcus paints an unbelievable story with larger-than-life bravado. But his overconfidence may just shake him apart and disrupt the infinite, swirling cosmos.

The Review

This has to be one of the most unique and fascinating character driven narratives I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. A truly one of a kind story of a man who’s very existence is called into question as his life’s story becomes more and more surreal and his encounters become more and more “otherworldly” at times, this novel brings a unique study of the nature of one’s self. In the grand scheme of things, when any of us stop to look back on our lives, the biggest question we inevitably ask is, “Who are we?” And in that moment for the protagonist, the narrator responds calmly, “I Am Marcus Fox”. 

The book was evenly paced and provided a great deal of character growth. Heavily leaning on the protagonist’s life rather than a complex plot, the author beautifully captures the line between the reality most of the world sees, and the reality some of us tell ourselves or simply believe to be. It’s a fascinating story that will instantly capture the readers attention, and is a unique take on creating or interpreting a mythology to fit into an author’s vision. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel for anyone who enjoys character studies, African literature and mythology, and drama fueled with satire and humor. A story of abandonment, violence, and the journey to discover who we are, the story will have readers heart’s pounding as they look to discover for themselves who Marcus Fox really is, and if his story is true or just true for him. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of I Am Marcus Fox by author Bryon Cahill today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Bryon Cahill is an author for all ages. A Stay-At-Home Dad by day and night, he writes by proverbial candlelight in the wee strange hours of morning. 

In the past, Bryon was an award-winning writer and editor of literary publications for teens. His stories, influenced by phantasmagorical classics such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, do often steer off-course, alighting on the wings of the fantastical.

When not writing or Dadding, Bryon dreams of sleeping sheep. He summers, winters, springs, and falls with his loving family along the sunny beaches of the Jersey Shore.

I Am Marcus Fox is Bryon’s debut novel for adult readers. It will be available for human consumption on May 7, 2019. 

Novels steeped in magical realism for young adult and middle grade readers are forthcoming, as is more fiction for adults.

Website & Blog: www.bryoncahill.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/bryoncahill

Twitter: www.twitter.com/shakabry

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BryonCahillAuthor

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/shakabry

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Interview with Author Mixie Plum

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

I don’t remember I time when I wasn’t a reader and writer, I’ve always had an obsession with books. I lived at my public library. In elementary school when the book fair would come around I’d always get more than all the other kids. One time I heard one of them say “I bet she doesn’t even read them all” Well I always did, and I still have them too haha. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

In my early thirties when I began to turn my life around, I wanted to write out all of my pain so I could not only get it out of my head but work through it piece by piece. It worked luckily

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

I want to relate to people and hope they find solace in another person’s tale. I want them to know that I understand and accept and am always around to give a healing hug. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I thought I could help people

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

I’d ask the wolf  if I could hang out with him haha. He’s based on John Cleese & Belgarath the Sorcerer from David Eddings so how cool would that be? 

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

Instagram for sure. I’ve been connecting with so many lovely humans

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

Go at your own pace and don’t put expectations on yourself. I thought “Sun” would be a huge novel at first, I got out eveything I wanted in a fraction of that. 

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

Yes! My creepy children’s poetry book, Gobbledygook, is currently being written and performed by me on YouTube. I find it more fun introducing it like that before it becomes a book. I want to be the next Shel Silverstein/Edward Gorey/Dr. Suess haha.

My second book, BYOFU (Be Your Own Fucking Unicorn), about mindfulness and coping will be coming out next year hopefully.

A graphic novel & a podcast are also in the works. 

I’m also in an indie horror movie coming out in the fall. 

https://www.instagram.com/abottleaplomb/

Interview with Author Tabitha Young

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

A:   Growing up, I was never into writing stories, or even reading for that matter. I read textbooks and enjoyed movies over books for most of my life. I didn’t into writing until I started working on The Burden of Trust. 

Q: What inspired you to write your book?

A: The idea for The Burden of Trust came to me in a dream. The dream was vivid and detailed and refused to leave me. This dream was the first scene where Kate and Chris meet. It continued to play over and over again, and when I was telling a co-worker she suggested that I write it down.  When I began writing, the story line started to progress and I couldn’t stop writing.

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

A: I hope that readers will discover that love comes in all shapes and sizes. Love is deeper than romance and sometimes it takes a new and unexpected love to give you hope in this world. 

Q:What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I’ve always been a sucker for a great romance story, but I wanted to create something different. A love story with something more.

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

A: I would probably sit down with Kate and ask her why she is so resistant to Chris’s affection?  I’d want to know why she is so willing to turn away love because it doesn’t come in the right package.

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

A: I”m a huge fan of FaceBook and I find it is easier to connect directly with my readers there. Although, I am still learning the ropes of IG.

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

A: Don’t publish too early! Especially if it’s your first novel, have it gone over from a reputable editor.  Then reach out to book reviewers and avid readers to see what their perspective is.  When I first self published The Burden of Trust, my first review from a reviewer was so bad, she couldn’t publish it. Basically, I got told I had a good story, but the writing was horrible. Write and rewrite your book!

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

A: Currently, I’m finishing up the second book in The Burden of Trust series.  Keep your fingers crossed, it might be out in early 2020!

About the Author

Tabitha grew up in Virginia, outside of Washington D.C., but moved to Orlando to attend UCF (Go Knights!) where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. It was five years ago when she met her husband, who is a graduate from Deland High; two years ago, they moved back to Deland. During this time, she has fallen in love with the town and community. 

Currently, she is an active alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta and serves on the Advisory Board as the Facility Management Advisor for the Epsilon Theta Chapter at Stetson University. During her free time, she loves being with her family (although they are usually working on their small family farm), traveling, and of course, watching college football.

https://www.tabithayoung.com/

https://www.instagram.com/tabithayoungauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/TabithaYoungAuthor/

Memoir From Hell by Stephen Ross Review

A young man begins the painful journey of recovery by sharing the gristly details of a hellish childhood that changed him forever in author Stephen Ross’ novel “Memoir From Hell”.

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

TRIGGER WARNING: This novel contains story elements involving physical and mental abuse (including those involving children), as well as themes of domestic abuse. If these things are too upsetting or triggering for readers, reader discretion is advised.

A young man begins the painful journey of recovery by sharing the gristly details of a hellish childhood that changed him forever in author Stephen Ross’ novel “Memoir From Hell”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A child’s life should be idyllic: filled with friends, abundant joy, and carefree days of endless possibility. But that was not to be for Jake Malloy and his little sister, Dory. Their lives traversed paths upon which no child should tread.As a young adult trying to overcome the past, Jake chronicles the events that destroyed the possibilities and turned life for the Malloys into a living hell. Will Jake and Dory ever be able to lead normal lives? Only time will tell.A fictional memoir not for the faint of heart.

The Review

This is a painful yet important and well written novel. A top read contender for best literary fiction/drama/thriller, author Stephen Ross has expertly brought the heartbreaking reality of domestic abuse and childhood trauma to life. Studying the effects of abuse on the mind a young person who grew up in a truly harmful environment, the author creates realistic and relatable characters that bring the raw emotions of that situation to the forefront, instantly connecting with readers.

The themes and story elements of the story are both powerful and hard to read at times. Yet in this very quick read, the message that comes through has never been more important than it is today, as violence (especially violence against children and domestic violence), seems to be getting worse and more rampant, and the need for the laws to change have never been more apparent. 

The Verdict

This is an emotionally charged novel that needs to be read. Haunting and painfully relevant, this novel is a horror story that challenges the concept of monsters, as it proves that the true monsters are often hiding in plain sight, and could be hiding inside the people we should be able to trust the most. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Memoir From Hell” by Stephen Ross today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Stephen Ross was born in LeMars, Iowa, in 1948. He lived in Fremont, Nebraska, from the age of five until he left home to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. After college, Stephen taught business courses at Nebraska Technical College for two years prior to moving to Los Angeles, California, to pursue an acting career.

During his eight years in Los Angeles, he not only acted, but gained extensive experience as a waiter. He moved to San Diego, California, in 1981 to attend law school at the University of San Diego, and practiced law there until retiring in 2017.

Website: www.stephenrossauthor.com

Facebook: StephenRossWriter

Twitter: StephenRoss48

Interview with Author N. Lombardi Jr.

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

Born and raised in New York City, I left to see the world at age 24 as a water engineer in the Peace Corps. For most of my life, I had never entertained the idea of becoming an author. My career as a groundwater specialist kept me busy enough, filled with both adventure and satisfaction with my job. However, while in Kenya I fell in love with a woman, and this relationship was doomed from the start. As a kind of catharsis, I began to write a semi-autobiographical story which became Journey Towards a Falling Sun. As I said, it was the need to purge my emotions that drove me, without immediate plans for publishing, as I was in the prime of life as regards to my vocation. But in 1985, I did manage to get an agent who was very enthusiastic over the manuscript. After fifteen rejections by big publishing houses, however, I gave up and shelved it, abandoning any thoughts about being a writer. It wasn’t published until 30 years later.

In 1996, while working in Laos, I learned of the secret war that the US conducted for 9 years, and resulted in the aerial bombardment that has given that country the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country of all time. As an American, I was ashamed of my ignorance of this matter, for I had never known of this secret war. I was so moved, I decided I would write an epic novel that would illustrate the consequences of that war which became The Plain of Jars, released in 2013. And from there my path as a writer began.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The idea for Justice Gone came from a true incident – the fatal beating of a homeless man in California. It was such an outrageous act, recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube, that I wondered what would happen if someone who saw the gruesome video would mete out their own version of justice to the police officers involved.

The novel then, is a tale of what happens in a small town following the fatal beating of a homeless Iraqi war vet at the hands of police. A cascading series of events, from street protests to a vigilante shooting of three police officers leads to a multi-state manhunt for the vet’s war time buddy. A controversial trial attracting nationwide attention dominates the second half of the novel. The story ends with a twist revealing the identity of the cop-killer

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

Although deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers disturb me, I tried to avoid taking too strong a stand against the police, and just presented a possible (albeit extreme) scenario if this issue is not addressed. I also wanted readers to have a detailed look at the legal system in the US, i.e. the importance of lawyer tactics on both sides of the bench and of jury sentiment in deciding a case.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

First of all, I don’t consider myself a genre writer, I just write about things that move me. Having said that, as a reader I do enjoy mystery/thriller/suspense/crime, so I may be writing more of this kind of fiction from now on. It is much easier to write this sort of stuff than cross-cultural adventure novels such as my first two books, The Plain of Jars, set in Laos, and Journey Towards a Falling Sun, set in Kenya.

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

I would have to say, the policemen that beat Jay Felson to death – Why, when he was unarmed, did it take 6 cops to bring him down and beat him till he died?

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

I’m really not active in the social media scene, so I would have to say Goodreads, despite the fact I find Goodreads a bit exploitive and disdainful of independent authors. As a reader, it is pretty good. I tried Facebook, but it isn’t focused enough and being an old fart, I’m mistrustful of Twitter. I love book bloggers, thank god for them!

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

Although it sounds cliché, the first thing is to write well. Many independent authors, particularly those who self-publish, write with a quality barely above a high school student. You don’t have to be a wordsmith, but the book should not sound stilted. Read passages from a book by an acclaimed author than read your stuff. How does it compare?

Secondly, unless you’re with a big publishing house, be prepared to market your work. You should have a budget of $2,000 for this, even if you are very active on social media, because it’s always better for someone else to tout your book than you as the author. That means reviews, which can only result from exposure.

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

I’m in the process of fine-tuning another Tessa Thorpe novel, Woman in the Shadow. It takes place several years prior to the setting of Justice Gone, and is considerably darker, more of a psychological/suspense thriller. I actually wrote this before Justice Gone, but I was disappointed with the publisher’s reaction to it so I shelved it. Directly related to this, I’m looking for another publisher, so I hope it doesn’t take too long for the book to come out.

Interview with Author Lorna Brown

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

I always wanted to write, I don’t remember a particular time when the feeling came to me- it was always there. I started my first book at around 11 and it was an orphan Annie story that really disappointed me for the lack of originality. I thought ‘I have nothing to write about’ and I believe that’s when the yearning for travelling came. I talked about that all the time. After studying psychology and working for a year, I left Ireland. I worked in Australia, Japan, Boston and traveled South East Asia and New Zealand for three months alone, and South America for six months with my husband who I met in Japan. Eventually I came back to Ireland and I was nearing 30 when I finally started writing full time, with my husband’s support.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This collection has been a while in the making. I’d been writing novels, breaking every rule in the book too as I tried to figure it out, and when I moved the States with my husband and three daughters, I started writing the stories. I wanted to write about how society views certain people, which make it difficult for them, like Lou and dyslexia, or Marcus marrying and trying to hide that he was gay, or Ester getting it wrong when her friend moves in with an older man, all these mistakes we make about people because it is impossible to know the whole truth about anyone. After I knew the characters, I put them together in the village I grew up.   

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

I think through all the stories is the idea that we never truly know what’s going on with other people, while also addressing the fact that society can be tough. ‘In Taste of Salt’, when the group of kids come into the room with Lou, I write, they didn’t really know him but it was easy to forget this, to accept their wariness as reasonable, because there is the idea that we become how society views us. It is so hard to break from the mold. But there is also through the stories an idea of second chances, or being able to rise above it, and I think the ending of ‘White Trout’ is good for that.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I started short stories because I wanted to understand them and see how it was done. It took a good while for me to learn what they were about and how to write them.  This year I finished my second collection ‘It Is Good We Are Dreaming’ which is about that moment when people realize something about their live never known before, or that moment when we are forced to grow up, and I loved writing the stories, as well as the stories of Treading The Uneven Road, because they really made me look at the world around me. Writing a novel is a lot more insular I think. At least I tend to focus on the world I am creating, but when I am working on a collection I really look at what’s going on around me. The second collection most of the stories are taken from news articles and my ideas of what was behind them while Treading The Uneven Road was more about society and its biases.  

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

Hard one, I like Dick for his dreaminess, but I really like Patrick from ‘Amends’ for his sense of humor. Eilish is a funny one, so stern and upright, but there is some softness to her that I’d like to see, Ann, would be interesting, I’d imagine sitting in her small kitchen with the view of the bay and that I wouldn’t get a word in edgeways. I’d probably ask her if she wished she’d knocked on that hotel door. (You have to read the collection to get see what I mean)

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

I really don’t like social media, and I don’t use it much. But I love all the reviewers, such as yourself, who have been willing to review my book after my request with a synopsis. It’s fantastic that you spend time helping authors get known. I have to give it to the book bloggers sites.

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

To accept feedback with gratitude because it is impossible to get better or learn without it. To be able to erase your words, none written is a waste of time. They lead to the destination, but not all are meant to stay. Read and write as much as you can and believe in your talent and ability no matter what anyone says, or how long it takes.

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

I have a lot of projects on the horizon. Fomite has my second collection. It Is Good We Are Dreaming. I secured an agent with my novel, Patient 55. But I finished my re-write of Hinterland soon after and we both agreed it was a stronger one to start with. It took eight years for me to get all the pieces right for Hinterland.  I was glad that he thought it stronger because I’d like to think my books get better with each one. I recently finished my latest novel Our Wandering, and I was planning to write a short story collection with Irish folklore in present day setting. I love doing short stories between novels. They are so different. But with the Government shut down and everything that’s happening here, I realize I need to write something about that. I’m reading now and in the planning stages. I write a lot and am always thinking of stories.

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Treading the Uneven Road by L.M. Brown Review

Author L.M. Brown delivers a powerful collection of short stories that explores the connected lives of several people living in a small village in Ireland during the 80’s and 90’s in her upcoming book, Treading the Uneven Road.

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

Author L.M. Brown delivers a powerful collection of short stories that explores the connected lives of several people living in a small village in Ireland during the 80’s and 90’s in her upcoming book, Treading the Uneven Road. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later. 

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

The Review

This is a fantastic short story collection. Filled with heart, passion and fantastic character development, the story flows naturally and makes for an even paced series of stories that build this village’s life in unique ways. Exploring this unique time period and showing off some of the many problems people living in Ireland faced on a daily basis was an inspired choice, highlighting the changing world around them and how some people accepted this change, while others fought it wholeheartedly. 

From the hostility towards anyone who comes out or is found to be gay in a very religious community to the trouble that comes from  parenthood and how some people aren’t made to be mother’s or father’s. Exploring marriages, friendships and everything in between, this emotional roller coaster of a short story collection is truly unique and brings some heartfelt struggles to life.

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The Verdict

This upcoming collection is a must read 2019 book. An interesting journey of individuals with their own personal struggles and how those struggles affect others really shone brightly in the novel. Amends in particular is one short story you won’t want to miss, as the story takes readers into shocking directions and forces the reader to ask themselves how our elders prejudices affect us, and how they can affect others. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of L.M. Brown’s “Treading the Uneven Road” today (or grab your copy of the book if it’s already released)!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Treading-Uneven-Road-L-Brown/dp/194438880X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1548732149&sr=1-1&keywords=9781944388805