Tag Archives: drama book

Exit Wounds by Annie O’Neill Stein Review

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

A woman who grew up in a volatile household struggles with addiction through dark humor and strength learned only through her childhood in late author and actress Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Born to shanty Irish on one side and Park Avenue privilege on the other, Laura navigates a turbulent childhood filled with the alcohol-fueled abuse of her volatile father and her mother’s excessive drinking. As the middle child of three girls, she assigns herself the role of her mother’s protector, who dies when Laura is thirteen, leaving her heartbroken and adrift.

Insecure, anxious, and fearful, she tries drugs, random sex, and a sequence of lovers. Along the way, she becomes a successful painter and has a bad first marriage. Nothing, however, seems to assuage her emptiness and her sense of loss. Eventually, she marries a caring man and has a loving daughter. It is only at the end of her life, and by way of an unusual and unexpected turn of events that she is finally able to make peace with herself, to let go of the feeling that she never really grieved, and said goodbye to her beloved mother, and to appreciate that though we work at love and acceptance, sometimes the most wonderful experiences in our lives come in unanticipated and unsought ways. 

The Review

This was such an incredible story. The natural way the author was able to infuse humor, even dark humor, into such a heavy and serious subject matter was great to read, as it allowed for a more human connection to the subjects and themes the author was exploring. The heart and passion for which the author wrote were felt on every page, and the rich imagery really brought out the protagonist’s story to life in a very vivid way.

The heart of this story rests in the rich character growth that the author was able to develop. The relatability and nearly historical aspect of this narrative really brought these characters to life. The way the author was able to delve into the emotional journey that the protagonist went on was so heartfelt and allowed readers to connect to the narrative. The amazing way the author wrote this journey in a way that felt like a collection of short stories and yet made the narrative feel cohesive was truly incredible.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, captivating, and engaging, author Annie O’Neill Stein’s “Exit Wounds” is a must-read novel. The rich character dynamics and beautiful cohesion of dark humor and emotional storytelling made this a beautiful and thought-provoking journey. I am truly honored to have been able to read this novel. I learned recently that the author had recently passed, but the family had wanted to keep pushing and promoting the author’s work as the book launched, and I hope you all will join me in supporting the author’s literary work and her family as this story sees the light of day. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

I moved to Los Angeles in the early 80s as an actress, during the great migration of NY actors to LA. Talk about being a dime a dozen. After many small parts in TV series, from Miami Vice to Charlie’s Angels, I decided to follow my true passion, writing.

I found my mentors at UCLA, Eve LaSalle Caram, and Kerry Madden, studying with them both for several years. Being accepted to Sewanee Writer’s Conference to study with Alice McDermott planted the seed for Exit Wounds, my novel (forthcoming by The Permanent Press: 9/6/22).

Having written for several magazines, More, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Distinction, Folks, and being a regular contributor to Huffington Post for several years, helped me hone the skills to attempt to write my novel.

Word; do the homework!
One of the things I’m proudest of is leading creative writing workshops with foster teens for five years, and editing and publishing Beauty From Ashes, short stories, and poetry written by foster youth.

I live in LA with my husband and have two grown daughters. Although I would love to pretend I live in the French countryside. On this website, I’ll be sharing info on books, articles, photos, and anything I think worthy and uplifting. I‘ll share feelings about the state of the world trying not to point fingers or be judgmental. How to do that and be honest may be hard but I said try.

I’m a huge advocate of kindness. Kindness, gratitude, and the belief that we’re all on this planet to help each other.
Enough about me.

https://www.annieoneillstein.com/

Blind Spot by Robert Hoffman Review

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

An average family man who’s always seen himself as a decent guy finds his world turned upside down when the one neighbor he can’t stand collides with him one fateful afternoon, resulting in an accident that could destroy his life forever in author Robert Hoffman’s “Blind Spot”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Doug Kaplan seemed to be doing about as well as one could hope. He had a beautiful and loving wife, three healthy boys, and a successful career. He also had a neighbor who seemed to exist for the very purpose of driving him crazy. Trudy Fleischmann was a force of nature, a presence to be reckoned with for sure. She didn’t mean any harm, but if she had a thought, or an opinion, she was going to share it with whomever happened to be in her crosshairs, and lately that had been Doug.

The problem was, nobody else seemed to mind Trudy, and this made Doug even crazier. With peaceful coexistence seemingly beginning to fail, it appeared as if an ugly conflict between Doug and his elderly German immigrant neighbor was going to be unavoidable, until the accident, the accident that changed everything.

Now, in the aftermath of a moment of carelessness, everything Doug holds near and dear is at risk of being taken from him, and now the one individual whom he wished to see purged most of all from his life may hold the key to any chance of normalcy and happiness going forward in his life.

The Review

This was such an intriguing and intimate character-driven narrative. The author really found the perfect balance between humorous dialogue and character interactions and personal drama amongst the large cast of characters. The story felt so real and connected to our very tumultuous times right now, exploring how we often clash with those around us. The character growth and relationships explored in this narrative were so relatable and engaging, allowing readers to see the backstory to these characters and the narrative overall felt like such a rich and fulfilled journey to readers overall.

What really struck me with this narrative was the theme and atmosphere of this story overall. The concept that we as people rarely if ever are able to see the flaws or mistakes we make in our own lives, and are always quick to point out other people’s flaws instead was such a relatable theme to the age we are living in now. To me, what stuck out was how the story seemed to explore how we often criticize others who seem to reflect our flaws that our subconscious buries deep within ourselves, and take our internal frustrations out on those around us. 

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and detailed yet entertaining read, author Robert Hoffman’s “Blind Spot” is a must-read, character-driven humorous drama. The immersive way the author transports readers into the narrative and makes the characters feel so alive and gripping to behold will keep you enthralled as the story unravels, and the emotional yet heartwarming ending will be a moment of true clarity and hilarity to readers as the pages come to an end. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.

Advertisements

About the Author

It’s about time somebody asked that question.  Rob Hoffman is originally from a town on Long Island called North Massapequa.  He attended SUNY Oswego where he majored in Communications, a degree that it turned out he had little use for.  He did however meet  the woman who would eventually become my wife, the former Michelle Lindell.  Rob and Michelle lived in the aptly named Flushing, Queens for six years before moving to a town called Clifton Park, New York just south of Saratoga Springs.  Finding little value in his degree in communications, Rob became a social studies teacher, teaching in Long Island City, Queens for four years before spending the remainder of his career in Rensselaer, New York, a small city on the banks of the Hudson River just across the water from Albany.  Rob taught for 31 years before retiring in June of 2021, only to come back as a part-time teacher in September of 2021 at Rensselaer High School.  Rob had always been interested in becoming a writer and he began his blogging career as a contributor at the “Times Union” of Albany for six years.  In this time Rob also blogged for a variety of sites including Fark.com, Crooks and Liars.com, Albany.com, and Knees and Fists.com.  Rob has remained happily married to Michelle for 34 years and counting, and has two grown sons, Andrew and Alex, ages 29 and 23.  Most recently, Rob and Michelle became grandparents to the newest addition to the family, Sam Hoffman, son of Andrew and his wife Katie.

“Blind Spot” represents Rob’s first true attempt at writing fiction, an experience Rob both fun and exhausting.  Rob had thrown around several ideas as he began to think about what it was he wanted to write about, and then one day his wife had sent him to the supermarket on an errand where he saw somebody he really didn’t want to spend anytime talking to, so he raced out of the store, got in his car, turned it on, slammed it into reverse and was about to speed out of the spot when he stopped himself and said, “Dumb-ass, be careful, you could hit somebody.”  Then, as Rob began to slowly and carefully pull out of his parking spot, he thought for another second and it occurred to him how ironic it would be if he accidentally hit the person he was trying to get away from and “Blind Spot” was born.  The character of Doug Kaplan, while not autobiographical, is sort of based on the best and worst of Rob’s traits.  Doug is at times the guy Rob always wanted to be, and yet at the same time, Doug also represented the guy Rob was relieved to know he never became. The other characters according to Rob are combinations of people that he knew from his childhood, as well as college and work experiences. 

Follow the author online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.s.hoffman.7/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/burtpurdy

Linked-in – https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-hoffman-43999348/

Instagram – hoffman_files

Website – https://thehoffmanfiles.wixsite.com/website

— Blog Tour Calendar

November 22nd @ The Muffin  

Join us at The Muffin for an author interview, giveaway, and blog tour launch post for Robert Hoffman’s “The Blind Spot”

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

November 23rd @ Lisa Haselton Book Reviews and Interviews

Today, Lisa Haselton interviews Robert Hoffman about his humorous work of fiction titled “Blind Spot”. Find out more about this debut novel and it’s author!

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

November 24th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Readers at Choices will hear from guest author Robert Hoffman with his post titled ” Man Plans and God Laughs “. Don’t miss this guest post and an opportunity to hear about Hoffman’s debut novel “Blind Spot”. 

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 26th @ The Faerie Review

“The Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman is the highlighted book today at the Faerie Review – don’t miss a chance to learn more this work of humorous fiction by an accomplished blogger!

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

November 29th @ Word Magic with Fiona Ingram

Robert Hoffman pens today’s guest post at Word Magic (fellow author Fiona Ingram’s blog). Don’t miss this great article titled: “Sorry isn’t Enough” and an opportunity to learn more about Robert and his latest work of humorous fiction – “Blind Spot”. 

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 2nd @ The Knotty Needle

Judy reviews “Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman for readers at the Knotty Needle. Don’t miss this opportunity find out more about Hoffman’s humorous work of fiction! 

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird

“Do I Have a Story to Tell” is today’s post at Beverley A. Baird. This post is penned by none other than Robert Hoffman who recently released “Blind Spot”, a humorous novel readers are raving about! Don’t miss your chance to learn more from Hoffman himself! 

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 4th @ Author Anthony Avina

Readers at Anthony’s blog will delight in today’s guest post “Woulda Coulda Shoulda” by author Robert Hoffman. Don’t miss this guest post and opportunity to learn more about Hoffman’s new book “Blind Spot”. Stop back in a few days (on the 11th) to read Author Anthony Avina’s review of “The Blind” spot as well! 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 7th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Readers at World of My Imagination are in for a special treat! Not only is Nicole going to review “Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman, but she also will be offering a giveaway! This is your chance to learn more about this humorous book and maybe even snag a copy of your own!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto reviews “Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman for readers at Bring on Lemons – Otto has hinted that she would give this book 5 stars and said “it made me laugh out loud so often” – so don’t miss your chance to hear more about this debut novel!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 11th @ Author Anthony Avina

Fellow Author Anthony Avina reviews “Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman. 

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 14th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro

Fellow Author Linda Appleman Shapiro shares her thoughts about Robert Hoffman’s “Blind Spot”. Find out what an accomplished Memoirist and Psychotherapist thinks of this humorous work of fiction.

http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/

December 15th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte

Michelle DelPonte, a Wisconsin mother, healthcare worker, autism advocate, and history buff shares her review of “Blind Spot” by Robert Hoffman. You won’t want to miss Michelle’s insight into this humorous book! 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 16th @ Bring on Lemons with 14 Year Old Carmen Otto

14 year old Carmen Otto heard her mom laughing out loud while reading “Blind Spot” and couldn’t help from grabbing a copy to read for herself. Find out what a young reader things of this debut novel by Robert Hoffman!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 18th @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen

Wisconsin business owner and educator Cathy Hansen offers insight into what she thought after reading Robert Hoffman’s debut novel “Blind Spot”. Will this be a lemon or sweet lemonade? Stop by Bring on Lemons to find out!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 24th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Stop by Jill Sheet’s Blog today and hear from Robert Hoffman as he pens his guest post titled “Aren’t We All Just a Little Bit Selfish?” just in time for the holidays! Learn more about this topic as well as Hoffman’s novel “Blind Spot”! 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Son of the Moon: A Quest for the Perfect Woman by Amo Sulaiman Review

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

A young man who goes through life searching for his other half and womanizing meets his match and finds himself going down a dangerous path in author Amo Sulaiman’s “Son of the Moon: A Quest for the Perfect Woman”. 

The Synopsis

He’s but a boy still, in his late teens, exotic, charming, a naïve stranger in a strange land with an unquenchable thirst for pleasure. Saddled from birth with a name that takes people aback, El Nobis von Albion sets out on a noble mission in life: to unite with his missing other half. And for a while, his strategic wit and his habit of poetically praising women’s sensuality right to their faces win him one homerun after another.

But, unfortunately, his high-spirited foster mom never taught him that Pretty is as pretty does, so when he finally meets the Perfect Woman, the tables start to turn. He finds himself being sucked down into a situation that could threaten his freedom…and even his very life.

Advertisements

The Review

Such an interesting and mind-bending sociological and psychological read! The author does a brilliant job of touching on themes of philosophy, nature vs nurture, and the examination of relationships as a whole, especially on how men treat women and vice versa. The tension and way the story is narrated from multiple perspectives were engaging to read, and the chilling direction the main character’s life takes, from the tragic circumstances of his birth all the way to the search for romance and pursuit of relationships in his life taking a very dark turn, was thought-provoking to read.

The author’s philosophical and psychological approach to the writing was the most gripping aspect to me. The examination of sexism, the way we teach our youth to view relationships and the impact dysfunctional relationships have on developing minds was felt throughout this narrative. The contrast between protagonist “Al” and his long-lost brother Marvin early in the story is a great example of the nature vs nature argument, showing how different they grew up and how they approach life as a whole.

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, thoughtful, and entertaining read, author Amo Sulaiman’s “Son of the Moon: A Quest for the Perfect Woman” is a must-read novel. Shifting back and forth between dark family dynamics, hopeful romantic notions, and intense psychological profiles of these well-developed characters, this is one book you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Ignored Tags: $0118, $0119

Born in Guyana and continuing his education in Canada, Amo Sulaiman received a B.A. Degree in Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. B.A. in English and American Literarure. He then completed his Master’s Degree in Philosophy in Montreal. Shortly after this, he went to Switzerland where he did his Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Bern. He has been living in Switzerland ever since.

Besides publishing two books on philosophy, one on English Literature, and several academic articles, Proud City is his first novel.

https://www.amoinfo.info/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09DW398L2/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F59119348-son-of-the-moon%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DZ5ZKMtUF1z%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Broken Pieces of God by David Seaburn Review

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

A family reeling from setbacks and tragedies must find a way of banding together to face the darkness in author David Seaburn’s domestic drama, “Broken Pieces of God”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

In Broken Pieces of God David B. Seaburn returns to the domestic arena to explore the complex and extraordinary lives of an ordinary American couple, Eddy and Gayle Kimes. Eddy, a supervisor for a cable company, loses his job. Gayle, a tax accountant, is recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Unemployment, failed chemotherapy, and no insurance bring them to life’s precipice. Desperate, Eddy turns to a statue of Jesus, seeking a miracle, while Gayle dives deeper into a scheme she has been concocting for twenty-five years.

In the meantime, their adult offspring, Rich and Sandy, grapple with the aftershock of a tragic incident that has shadowed their lives since high school. What will happen when their secret is revealed?

At the eleventh hour, Gayle re-enters treatment and the family pulls together. Will it be too late?

This is a story of resilience in the face of uncertainty, hope in the midst of darkness, and family ties strengthened by life’s vicissitudes. 

The Review

The author does a fantastic job of relaying the paths we take in the face of overwhelming hardship, struggle, and pain, and how families each struggling with their own issues can come together to face the future with hope in the face of darkness. The author writes in a way that feels relatable and personal all at once, crafting a gripping tale that embodies life’s greatest trials and tribulations, and how people search for help or solutions from various sources, whether that be faith, family, or a little of both.

The character development was what really sealed the emotional pull this reader had with the story. The author perfectly captures the emotional depth of each character, highlighting the real-world struggles that many readers will be able to identify with while crafting a story that is engaging and pulls the reader in full-throttle. The blend of family dynamics and personal turmoil, and the family’s push to come to terms with the events of their lives was a whirlwind of emotional ups and downs as the reader became invested in this narrative. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, gripping, and emotionally driven narrative, author David Seaburn’s “Broken Pieces of God” is a must-read drama this fall. The relatability of the characters and their plights will become super relatable to readers, while the narrative and the balance of faith and family in the midst of crisis will touch a lot of reader’s hearts. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

David B. Seaburn is the author of seven novels with his eighth, Broken Pieces of God, being released in September 2021.

David’s first publication was a series of poems when he was in seminary at Boston University (1972-75). He continued writing while serving a church for six years, mostly short stories, plays, songs, essays and two manuscripts of inspirational prose.   

He entered the field of marriage and family therapy in 1986 and was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center where he did extensive academic writing.  During this period, he co-authored two professional books and wrote over 60 papers and book chapters.

He started writing fiction in 2000, completing his first novel, Darkness is as Light, in 2001. It was published in 2005. 

Since then, David has been busy: Pumpkin Hill (2005), Charlie No Face(2007), Chimney Bluffs (2012), More More Time (2015), Parrot Talk (2017), and Gavin Goode (2019).

He has also written and co-written numerous non-fiction pieces some ofwhich are listed on the Other Publications Page.

www.davidbseaburn.com

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/going-out-not-knowing

Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello Review

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

A tale of platonic love and redemption take center stage when two people meet in a small Vermont town in author Rich Marcello’s “Cenotaphs”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.

When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.

The Review

What a truly remarkable and memorable read. The author does a fantastic job of balancing atmosphere and pacing within this narrative, establishing the needful search for serenity and peace within both of the protagonists of this narrative while also peeling back the layers of their backstories little by little. I absolutely loved the setting of this narrative as well, capturing the haunting beauty of the northeastern portion of the United States, in particular the crisp atmosphere of Vermont, in a truly memorable way.

The character development of this novel was the cornerstone of the entire story. The complexity and emotional depths the author took these characters were gripping as a reader. Both characters proved to be flawed yet steadfast in their need for understanding, and their platonic connection showcased the importance of having someone to love and care for us all, even if that doesn’t translate into romance. 

amzn_assoc_ad_type = “banner”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_placement = “assoc_banner_placement_default”; amzn_assoc_campaigns = “audible”; amzn_assoc_banner_type = “category”; amzn_assoc_isresponsive = “true”; amzn_assoc_banner_id = “0S6C9RC4J0QCW7HD2PG2”; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “authoranthony-20”; amzn_assoc_linkid = “54e48b08cb5048486fcc1cc628e64538”; //z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetScript&ID=OneJS&WS=1

The Verdict

A heartfelt, engaging, and breathtaking story of connection, growth, and speaking our truths in order to find love, author Rich Marcello’s “Cenotaphs” is a must-read novel. The perfect story that reads like an Oscar-worthy, character-driven film that would compel any audience, the novel’s story is truly inviting and memorable. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and Cenotaphs, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.

http://www.richmarcello.com/

Canterberry Tales by C.P. Hoff Review

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

A young girl known for causing havoc and looking at life with wonder in her small town takes readers on a journey of self-discovery in author C.P. Hoff’s “Canterberry Tales”, the first in the Happy Valley Chronicles series.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Pull up your knee socks and buckle your pinchy shoes, your childhood is calling. Celia Canterberry, a precocious seven-year-old, hell bent on saving earthworms, is about to drag you down memory lane and remind you what it was like to look at a careworn world with wide-eyed bemusement. Now take a deep breath. Smell that? Nostalgia.

Celia flits through the streets of Happy Valley to her Nan’s chagrin, causing havoc wherever she goes. She’s so infamous, she’s got her own comic strip in the local paper, and Old Lady Griggs, her babysitter, is only too happy to read it with her. But what Celia secretly wants to know is where she came from. You see, Celia was abandoned at the hospital by her should-have-been parents, and her Nan won’t explain how or why…

The Review

A truly well-written and engaging story, the author draws the reader in with colorful characters and brilliantly dry humor that immediately sets the tone for the story. The characters are vibrant and really stand out, balanced between the young protagonist Celia’s perspective and the sometimes harsh yet often true reality. 

What really stands out in this narrative is the balance between character growth and story. Often times one aspect of a novel like this will overtake the other, but the author has found the perfect amount of character development to help elevate the overall story and theme of this novel. The humor does a great job of highlighting the lengths those in Celia’s life have gone to in order to both protect her from the truth of her origins and then to finally reveal them to her and her inquisitive mind. 

The Verdict

A well-balanced, engaging, and driven narrative, author C.P. Hoff’s “Canterberry Tales” is a must-read novel. The inclusion of story elements like Celia’s local comic strip brought to mind visions of a little Dennis the Menace style story, while the balance of humor and emotional storytelling really brought the reader into the narrative, identifying and even becoming emotionally invested in Celia’s story as time went on. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

C.P. Hoff lives in southern Alberta with her husband, and the child who has yet to fly the coop. She has written for the local paper, which might be impressive if she lived in New York, and if anyone read the local paper. Hoff is presently writing two series. Her novel, A Town Called Forget, was longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. More information can be found about C.P. Hoff at: C. P. Hoff – C. P. Hoff: Author of the Picaresque Chronicles.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/canterberry-tales-the-happy-valley-chronicals-by-c-p-hoff

Across the Street by Laurie Lisa Review

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

Twin sisters embark on an emotional journey as one becomes a surrogate for the other, and in the process both of their families undergo hardships, struggles and upheavals as secrets are revealed in author Laurie Lisa’s novel “Across the Street”.

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Does love between sisters last forever? In a novel about the bond between twins, relationships are complicated by anger, resentment, and impossible choices.

Alex Carissa is thrilled when her identical twin sister, Sam, and her husband move into the neighborhood. For Sam, years of infertility, followed by an unthinkable tragedy, have left her despairing of ever having a child. Money is tight, and IVF is expensive. Sam’s only hope may be to ask her sister to be a surrogate. Alex will do anything for Sam, but when the sisters embark upon an unorthodox route to surrogacy, jealousy, guilt, and legal complications soon follow.

As the limits of sisterly devotion are tested, the family’s hidden wounds and secret addictions come to light, shaking the foundation of their marriages and their lives.

An emotional story of a woman’s struggle with infertility and a riveting book about the complexities of family, Across the Street makes an excellent selection for book clubs.

The Review

The author has crafted a truly engaging story here. The drama and emotional core of this story rest within the relationship not only between Sam and Alex but between their families as well as each member struggles with their own problems. The story is equally balanced with fully developed and evolving characters, who are relatable and realistically written in connection to the larger story being told. 

The author’s writing style was descriptive and entertaining and written in a way to feel almost visual in its use of imagery throughout the narrative, painting a picture in the reader’s mind of the scenes unfolding here. The way the author was able to showcase the point of view of so many characters and still make the story feel fresh and alive was a fantastic accomplishment, as I felt drawn into the narrative more and more as each chapter passed by.

The Verdict

A lengthy yet entertaining and emotional read, author Laurie Lisa’s “Across the Street” is a must-read drama novel. Full of suspense, shocking secrets, and twists and turns in the character’s arcs that will keep readers on the edge of their seats, this is a novel readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

Laurie was born and raised in small towns in Southern Illinois. She obtained her B.S. in English Education from the University of Illinois, where she also met and then married her husband Steve. Laurie earned both a M.A. and a Ph.D. in English, 20th-century American Literature, from Arizona State University, where she also taught literature and composition. In addition to her eight novels, Laurie has published two academic books, several short stories and poems, and edited other’s works. After much time spent in Academia and raising her three children (Anthony, Michelle, and Caitlin), Laurie returned to her passion for writing fiction. She is a prolific writer and typically completes one novel each year. Laurie resides with her husband, Steve, in Paradise Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

https://laurielisa.com/

https://www.instagram.com/laurieolisa/

https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurielisa/

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

Advertisements

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/

Out of the Basement by James Rourke Review

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

A writer with a haunting past must face his history and forge a new path forward in author James Rourke’s novel “Out of the Basement”. 

Advertisements

The Synopsis

Michael Tanner is a citizen of two worlds. His outer world as a respected college professor affords him the opportunity to quietly pursue his joy of learning. His inner world, shaped by childhood abuse, is a prison of shame and pain where he battles mythological monsters that draw power from his nightmarish memories.

Though Michael has mastered the art of hiding his pain while in full view, the unexpected success of his new book, Bruce and Buddha: How Rock and Roll and Ancient Wisdom Can Guide your Life, pushes him well beyond his comfortable existence.

Bolstered by the possibility of romance, the encouragement of old friends, and a new ally, he decides he must face his past. Only by challenging humiliation can he earn the inner victory necessary to bring authentic peace to his life.

The Review

A truly powerful read, the author does an amazing job of creating a personal story of inner-turmoil that the protagonist has to fight from bleeding into his everyday life. Interspersed with the protagonist’s personal struggles is a fantastic and intellectual study of philosophy and mythology that really fascinated me. 

While exploring the study of great philosophers and how modern-day equivalents exist even unwittingly in music, television, and film from some of pop culture’s greatest artists was a fantastic concept to explore. One of the early discussions that the protagonist had with a reporter that immediately stood out to me was the concept of synchronicity, as this is something that has played into my daily life for the last year or so and the study of it has been a truly remarkable journey to undertake, so getting to see the protagonist’s perspective was incredible. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, emotional, and grounding, this was a quick yet engaging psychological drama that readers will instantly love. Memorable and relatable characters showcase the inner demons so many people must face and yet hide behind a carefully orchestrated mask to hide the pain, creating a truly one of a kind narrative that cannot be ignored. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Advertisements

About the Author

James Rourke has been a high school of teacher of history, psychology, and philosophy for twenty-five years. His commitment to the idea that these three disciplines can assist his students to connect not only with his material, but to the unifying aspects of humanity, also guides his writing. “The Comic Book Curriculum” is praised for revealing”how major superheroes and their stories raise some of the deepest and most important ethical and psychological questions we all need to ask and answer.” This aspect of storytelling, the quest to tell stories that entertain, challenge, and uplift the reader, inspires James in his fiction as well.