Tag Archives: drama

First Born Sons by Vincent Traughber Meis Review

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

A group of Coastal Californians faces racism, wildfires, and their own demons in author Vincent Traughber Meis’s “First Born Sons”.

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The Synopsis

A group of coastal Californians battle wildfires, racism, and their own demons in five distinct narratives set in late 2019 and 2020.

First Born Sons is populated by a cast of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies who struggle to find love, comfort, and fulfillment. As the novel progresses, characters interact across the separate narratives and are brought together for a birthday and a disastrous Black Lives Matter demonstration. A man returning to the horrors that made him leave Mississippi, a blind gay man flirting with love, an FTM transgender starting hormone therapy, a woman struggling to protect her sons from her ex-husband’s surge to right-wing politics, and a teenager with two gay dads searching for his Black surrogate mom paint a disturbing tableau of modern-day America.

The Review

This was such a powerful, emotional, and relevant read. The author did an incredible job of layering this drama with rich and powerful character development, story-driven narratives that span the world, and themes that speak to the communities most impacted by the surge of violence and bigotry that is affecting our world right now. The author finds natural and relatable ways of infusing issues such as Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much more into the story, weaving together a narrative that feels heartfelt and evoked strong emotional responses from readers, from sadness and grief to outrage and hope all at once.

Yet it was the character growth that truly spoke to me as a reader. The relationships and personal turmoil that really affected these characters were really humanizing and allowed readers to feel seen and heard in this narrative. For me, it was the scenes involving Lamar, George, and Byron that really popped off the pages of this novel. From the shocking initial chapter introducing these characters to the cruel reality of police profiling and brutality to the strong emotional and physical relationship that develops between the two of them over time, and all of the prejudices that their pasts and present bring to their relationship felt so impactful to get lost in through this narrative.

The Verdict

Shocking, moving, and engaging, author Vincent Traughber Meis’s “First Born Sons” is a must-read drama. The brilliant character development and emotional themes that the author brings to life so beautifully will have readers unable to put this book down, and the blend of intimate moments and powerful societal studies that this book brings to life will have readers eager for more from this powerful author. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vincent Meis grew up in Decatur, Illinois and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.

He has worked as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, publishing many academic articles in his field as well as articles about teaching ESL overseas. He has also traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Central and South American. He is fluent in Spanish. As result of his travels and time abroad he published a number of pieces, mostly travel articles, but also a few poems and book reviews, in publications such as, The Advocate, LA Weekly, In Style, and Our World in the 1980’s and 90’s. His travels have inspired four novels, all set at least partially in foreign countries: Eddie’s Desert Rose (2011), Tio Jorge (2012), and Down in Cuba (2013) and Deluge (2016). Tio Jorge received a Rainbow Award in the category of Bisexual Fiction in 2012. Down in Cuba received two Rainbow Awards in 2013. Deluge won a Rainbow Award in 2016. Recently his stories have been published in several collections, including WITH:New Gay Fiction, Best Gay Erotica Vol 1and Best Gay Erotica Vol 4. In December 2019, his fifth novel Four Calling Burds will be published. In 2021, he has published two books with NineStar Press, The Mayor of Oak Street, a novel, and Far from Home, a collection of short stories.

https://www.vincentmeis.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6T5WWHK/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61680454-first-born-sons%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DsDwIiz2aFA%26rank%3D4&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

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”.

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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

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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/

A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio Review

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

A man struggles to find his place in the world through trials and tribulations as he comes to terms with his own internal identity in author L.J. Ambrosio’s “A Reservoir Man”. 

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The Synopsis 

Everywhere Michael turns he sees a Reservoir Man. Michael’s endless trials of survival include sexual assault, The Vietnam War, an arrest in Spain, Hollywood scandal, the AIDS outbreak, 9/11 and beyond. If only Michael could find the one thing he values most, his freedom. Michael’s coming-of-age is tarnished by many but the courage to live his truth may just keep Michael one step ahead…or will he succumb to the embraces of a Reservoir Man? 

The Review

This was such a moving and powerful coming-of-age story. The heartbreak and tragedy the protagonist goes through balances out with the tone of hope and awareness the author infuses into the narrative. The way the author hones in more on deep character development and the emotional core of the narrative over world-building was refreshing to see, as it allowed readers to really connect to the story in a personal way.

The characters of this story were truly the heart of the narrative. Michael’s story is so heartbreaking and his experiences encompass so many people’s own experiences in life, and yet his never-ending pursuit of acceptance, hope, and identity is the push forward to overcome those tragedies that so many of us are constantly seeking and the way the history and events that he lived through became the tapestry for which his story rose was incredible to read.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thought-provoking, author L.J. Ambrosio’s “A Reservoir Man” is a must-read coming of age story of 2022. The themes that the author explores, from betrayal and family to secrets and identity, become the perfect backdrop to the protagonist’s story and make the twists and turns in the narrative even more impactful. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theaters for eight seasons. He taught at over 20 universities in America. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career.

Lucky Ride by Terry Tierney

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

A man looking for a fresh start after his wife’s affair finds himself on a wild ride of discovery across America during the Vietnam War era in author Terry Tierney’s “Lucky Ride”.

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The Synopsis

Set in the Vietnam era, Lucky Ride tells the story of a recent veteran, an unraveling marriage, and a hitchhiking trip steeped in hippie optimism, post-war skepticism, and drug-induced fantasy 

When his friend Rick shows up in Binghamton, New York, with an interstate weed delivery, Flash jumps at the chance to escape his wife Ronnie’s affair with her middle-aged boss. Joining Rick on a speed-fueled drive to Fort Worth, Flash dodges a highway stalker and recalls his military service on Adak, a desolate cold war outpost where Seabees bravely defended their country with marijuana and LSD. Hitchhiking west from Fort Worth, Flash confronts Texas Rangers, amorous witches, armed felons, and good Samaritans, all offering advice and misdirection. But his dreams of starting fresh in California recede like a spent wave, his money gone and no chance of a job. Ronnie offers reconciliation and Flash must decide how much he still trusts the seductive pull of the irresistible campus radical he married before the draft descended on their lives.

The Review

The author did a truly wonderful job of capturing the uncertainty and chaos of the Vietnam War era in the United States of America. The drug culture and the impact the war had on veterans, in particular, were looked at extensively, and the very natural pacing of the novel’s events was perfectly timed, not feeling too rushed or overextended in its delivery. 

The novel itself was definitely very character-driven. The protagonist in particular represented the confusion and soul-searching that so many people undertook in that era. The age of hitchhiking and travel along America’s highways showed both the main character’s experiences and emotional development throughout the narrative but highlighted how the highways themselves almost became characters in the story, the settings so vital and so detailed that readers could almost feel the atmosphere the author was developing throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Personal, heartfelt, and entertaining, author Terry Tierney’s “Lucky Ride” is a brilliant and captivating read. The exploration of self-discovery, relationships, and the impact of war on those vets and their loved ones in the wake of the Vietnam War was an inspired road to explore in this novel and gave readers a protagonist and narrative to really sink their teeth into and feel compelled forward into the author’s world he developed. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Terry was born in South Dakota and raised in Minneapolis and Cleveland. After serving in the Seabees, he received a BA and MA in English from Binghamton University and a PhD in Victorian Literature from Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he later survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineering manager. His stories and poems have appeared in over forty literary magazines, and his novel Lucky Ride, an irreverent Vietnam era road novel, will be published by Unsolicited Press in 2022. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, a Librarian from the University of California, their son, and their goofy Golden Retriever. Terry’s website is http://terrytierney.com.

Purchase Links

https://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/p285/luckyride.html

https://bookshop.org/books/lucky-ride-9781950730933

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lucky-ride-terry-tierney/1139820900

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1122846

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/poetsgarage/

Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley Review

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

A widower seeking a fresh start in life must confront loss, and discover the means of finding a community and career that is truly his in author Linda Stewart Henley’s “Waterbury Winter”.

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The Synopsis

Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open. A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles. 

 A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.

The Review

This is such a powerful and moving story. The pain of loss can be truly debilitating and takes on so many different forms. From the loss of a dream or the loss of a loved one, people can find themselves lost and stuck in the past by the pain of that loss. The author’s ability to navigate these complex emotions and craft a narrative that felt realistic and alive on the page was truly incredible to read.

The balance of character growth and imagery throughout the author’s writing was so profound. The setting and imagery presented both through the author’s words and described in the protagonist’s artwork were creative in their approach, as even the local haunt O’Malley’s felt alive and captivating to behold. Barnaby’s evolution as a character was both heartbreaking and heartwarming, as the pain of his loss and how it kept him from his pursuits in life both professionally and personally is something so many people can identify with, and yet his hope stirred by one loss too many is so inspiring and the path he goes on is something readers will instantly connect with. 

The Verdict

Haunting, emotional, and engaging, author Linda Stewart Henley’s “Waterbury Winter” is a must-read novel. The perfect drama and a great way of studying the evolution of friendship and relationships as a whole, readers will be amazed at the authors’ creativity and entertaining way of bringing true heart and passion into a realistic and honest yet fictional world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Linda Stewart Henley is the author of Estelle: A Novel. Among other honors, it won Silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for The Eric Hoffer Book Awards as well as for the 2021 Nancy Pearl Award. She lives in Anacortes, Washington, with her husband. Waterbury Winter is her second novel.

Find out more about Waterbury Winter by visiting GoodReads or the author’s website. You can also purchase it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.

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Blog Tour Calendar

May 2nd @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 3rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews Blog

Stop by Lisa’s blog today and read an interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

May 3rd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Visit Fiona’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about writing historical fiction.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

May 5th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog and read her interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.

https://amandadiaries.com/

May 7th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Join Linda as she interviews Linda Stewart Henley about her book Waterbury Winter.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

May 8th @ What is That Book About?

Michelle spotlights Linda Stewart Henley’s book Waterbury Winter.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

May 9th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy as she features Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about mixed genres in writing.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

May 12th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

May 13th @ CK Sorens’ Blog

Visit Carrie’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about the importance of setting.

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

May 15th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Linda Stewart Henley’s guest post about what a difference an editor makes.

http://madelinesharples.com/

May 18th @ Beverley A. Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog and her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 19th @ Reading Is My Remedy

Join Chelsie over at her Instagram page today where she shares her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://www.instagram.com/reading_is_my_remedy/

May 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Crystal shares her thoughts about the charming Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Make sure to visit Anthony’s blog and read his review of Linda Stewart Henley’s book Waterbury Winter.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

May 25th @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley again as she features Linda Stewart Henley’s post about inspiration in art.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Roselyn’s blog as she reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

May 27th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra’s blog features Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

May 30th @ Liberate and Lather

Stop by Angela’s blog today and read her thoughts about Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

http://liberateandlather.com/

May 31st @ The Faerie Review

Lily spotlights Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

June 2nd @ Pages & Paws

Join Pages and Paws for their review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 4th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. 

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

June 5th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Visit Jill as she interviews author Linda Stewart Henley.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

Root That Mountain Down By Evan Balkan Review

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

A man on a mission to bring his murdered father’s body back home to the United States comes face to face with the cruelty and violence, (as well as the hope and beauty hidden within), of the blood diamond business in author Evan Balkan’s “Root That Mountain Down”. 

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The Synopsis

Felix Laszlo is on a somber mission: Retrieving the body of his murdered father, a doctor who had volunteered to treat the civilian casualties in war-torn Sierra Leone, and bringing him home to be buried in the United States.

Along the way Felix will discover how little he knew about his father, Africa and himself. Once in Africa, Felix will see first-hand the greed and corruption that is commonplace in the “blood diamond” trade. But he will also find beauty, heartbreak, joy as well as the path to his future.

The Review

This was both an emotional and culturally significant read. The narrative did such an amazing job of really delving into the horrors and struggles of the wars and ruthless blood diamond trade in Africa. The novel captures so many themes that readers are going to be able to relate to, from the concept of families and how they work to the culture of violence that exists within war-torn countries and the misconceptions and prejudices that exist against the people of Africa as a whole. The striking clash of the violent attacks on both the people of Africa and those doctors and volunteers who come to help with the prejudice that people have against all African citizens as a result of the violence highlights the never-ending cycle of hatred and pain that continues to this day.

The character growth in this narrative was the perfect vehicle for the themes of this story. The complexity of the protagonist’s mission as Felix grapples with his father’s brutal loss while also seeking firsthand the violence and struggles the people of Africa are facing themselves makes this such a brilliant story, and the balance of mystery and action with the pops of romance and emotional family drama made this such an enrapturing story to behold. 

The Verdict

Haunting, engaging, and thought-provoking, author Evan Balkan’s “Root That Mountain Down” is a must-read novel. The clashes of grief and anger mixed with both the horrors of war and the hope that survives in the face of that war made this both a complex yet a much-needed story that I just couldn’t put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Evan L. Balkan is the author of three novels, including the PEN/Faulkner nominated Independence, and seven books of nonfiction, including The Wrath of God: Lope de Aguirre, Revolutionary of the Americas, as well as many essays and short stories in an array of publications. His screenplays, including Spitfire, adapted from his novel of the same name, have won multiple fellowships and awards. He is a co-writer for the television series, Wayward Girls. He coordinates the English Department at the Community College of Baltimore County, where he runs the creative writing program, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Johns Hopkins University’s graduate Teaching Writing program. He holds degrees in the humanities from Towson, George Mason, and Johns Hopkins universities and has served as a guest lecturer at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Bryn Mawr, and many other institutions. 

https://evanlbalkan.wixsite.com/evanbalkan

Moss by Joe Pace Review

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

After his father passes away, a struggling writer who spent his life in his successful father’s shadow finds his late dad’s unpublished work, and must struggle with whether to use it to launch his own career while learning more about his father’s past in author Joe Pace’s “Moss”.

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The Synopsis 

Isaiah Moss was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His illegitimate son Oscar Kendall wasn’t. Living in Isaiah’s inescapable shadow, Oscar has become an inveterate quitter who hides his own literary work from the world rather than suffer the pain of failure or rejection.

But when Isaiah suddenly dies, Oscar inherits the old man’s lakefront writing cabin in New Hampshire. There he finds his father’s typewriter, a full liquor cabinet, and an unpublished manuscript of such genius that it could launch Oscar’s career if he claims it as his own.

But as Oscar wrestles with his own twisted inspirations, he meets the women in Isaiah’s life and begins to learn the depths of his father’s secrets…and the costs that come with unresolved trauma and romantic delusion.

The Review

This was a truly profound and moving read. The author did an incredible job of crafting a character-driven narrative that excelled in the most personal and intimate of ways. The emotional pull of the narrative and the honesty in which the author crafted these characters was both relatable and yet mesmerizing to behold, especially with main characters Oscar and May, who each hold a past of hardships and struggles in their own right.

There were quite a lot of truly memorable themes in this story, but two of the ones that stood out the most were the complexity of loss and the legacy of war. These themes were profound as they reflected Oscar and May’s individual journeys perfectly. The heartbreaking reality of Oscar’s non-existent relationship with his late father and the path he must walk to find empathy and understanding for others who are suffering is felt strongly, while May’s experiences with the war and how it has impacted her not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well are greatly explored and keep an honest dialogue going within the reader throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, poetic, and engaging, author Joe Pace’s “Moss” is a must-read novel. The intense and layered struggles that we as humans face and the way in which we relate to one another are thoroughly explored in this narrative, and the heart of the narrative focuses on connections and how we engage with one another despite past experiences or traumas made this such a moving read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Joe Pace is a writer of literary and science fiction. He studied political science and history at the University of New Hampshire, and his writing reflects his ongoing academic and practical interest in both.

Joe has also served in elective office, taught American history, and worked in business banking. His assorted interests include comic books, pickup basketball, Greek mythology, and the occasional marathon. He was elected student body president as an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire and then served nine years on the Select Board in Exeter. After coming up short in a bid for New Hampshire’s Executive Council, he returned to municipal governance as a Selectman in his new hometown of Kensington. 

As a storyteller, he seeks to weave memorable characters and places with unforgettable stories that speak to the human condition. His literary inspirations include John Irving, Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Patrick O’Brian. He’s also an unapologetic Star Trek, Marvel, and West Wing guy. 


Joe was born and raised in seacoast New Hampshire and still calls it home with his wife, Sarah, their sons Bobby and Xavier, and their dopey dogs Sam and Joy.

https://www.joepacewritehouse.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”. 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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