5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

Dickensian Advert Portrait v4 (003).pdf Final

Jack Dawkins, AKA as the Artful Dodger, wants to set the record straight about what happened to him after he was obliged to take up lodgings in Newgate Prison.   Thanks to the genius of Lionel Bart, we all have a lasting image of him skipping away into the sunset, arm in arm with Fagin. Well, the young jackanapes is here to tell you that the truth is very different.

You don’t have to know your way round archaic words, history or the works of Mr. Dickens, because Jack has very kindly provided a Glossary that you can refer to as he relates in his own inimitable fashion, his encounters with an unusually erudite Bow Street Runner, murderous villains, turnkeys, philanthropists, Innkeepers, Owlers, passing strangers-and Miss Lysette Godden, the first human being he has ever loved.  Strangely enough, Jack also reveals that, as he conducts what proves to be a highly dangerous search for his mother and father, he finds his true self.

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I thought you might like to take a look at Jack Dawkins’ ghost-writer.

You can see more of both of us on the You Tube video ‘the spirit of the Artful Dodger’,

in which Jack does the decent thing by returning from ‘Mutton Pie and Porter heaven’ to give me a helping hand.

 

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Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward Review

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

In a fun and surprising twist (pun intended), author Terry Ward has given the world the sequel to a book no one ever would have thought they needed, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The book is called “Jack Dawkins”, and follows the legendary “Artful Dodger” as his story picks up after the events of the classic literary hit. Here’s the synopsis:

The Synopsis

After Oliver Twist intervenes to save Jack Dawkins – the legendary Artful Dodger – from transportation to Botany Bay, Jack embarks on what proves to be a perilous quest to discover his roots. Before he can say ‘Fagin!’ he’s battling to survive a devastating flood and rescue beautiful black-haired, green-eyed Lysette Godden, the girl of his dreams, from the hands of murderous villains. Jack and Lysette, searching for Jack’s parents, head to France and have an adventure there which tests their mettle and mutual love to the utmost and changes their lives for ever. 

Brilliantly and evocatively written, Jack Dawkins is a worthy sequel to Charles Dickens’s immortal masterpiece Oliver Twist. 

Hampered by her tendency always to want what she hasn’t got and an apparent inability to let go of the past, will Lucy ever find her elusive happy-ever-after? This witty, amusing, highly entertaining and fast-paced novel is sure to make you feel Lucy’s dilemma, and warm your heart.

The Review

This was a breathtaking and beautiful story that readers need to have in their lives. Oliver Twist is a literary masterpiece and classic, as many fans of author Charles Dickens knows. The legend of the Artful Dodger continues in this epic story of love, adventure and growing up in the face of great adversity. Taking a look at the classic literary character and giving him a heroic journey like no other, author Terry Ward has given the character a chance to truly complete his story.

The writing was amazing in this book. Capturing the voice and tone of Charles Dickens while giving the story a refreshing new direction, Jack Dawkins is poised to regain his legendary status in the literary world. Set against the backdrop of the return of Napoleon Bonaparte and the looming war with France, this story sees one young man forced to prove his worth against a world who seems to only see a criminal and a dead man walking. In a world where people are still judged guilty and hopeless at such a young age and never given a chance to thrive, this story is much needed and gives readers everywhere the chance to rejoin the Artful Dodger like never before.

The Verdict

Overall this was a truly amazing sequel and novel that I never knew I needed, but one that I could never go without. The imagery brings that era of English history to life in a way that keeps the reader engaged and brings a sense of classicalism to life like never before. If you enjoy the works of Charles Dickens, like historical fiction or want to see what happened to The Artful Dodger after the events of Oliver Twist, then Jack Dawkins by Terry Ward is the book for you. Pick up your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2Nb1ZOv

https://twitter.com/tjohnward

Interview with Author Philip Bencel

Check out my latest #authorinterview with Philip Bencel, author of Freedom City, a dystopian novel set in a world way too similar to our own… #interview #bookblog

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

I’ve been a private investigator in Washington, D.C. for almost twenty years. I’ve written stories since I was a kid, but I didn’t publish my first books until I was in my mid-thirties: Introduction to Conducting Private Investigations and Principles of Investigative Documentation. I returned to writing fiction last year, when I took a sabbatical from my investigations company to write a novel.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The book I aspired to write last year was called Order of Damaged Souls, set around the 14th century Flemish peasant revolt. I finished that book, but I ultimately decided it was too dark for mainstream consumption. While bemoaning all the time that I “wasted” on Damaged Souls, I had an epiphany about just how demoralized I was about the American disaster marked by Donald Trump’s presidency. This soul-searching led me to re-read The Monkey Wrench Gang, a campy novel written by Edward Abbey about a band of misfits who sabotage stuff to protect the environment. I thought, ‘I should write something like that, but set in post-Trump America!’ Thus inspired, I wrote Freedom City in about three months, rushing to get it out before Trump’s impeachment. [Laughter].

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

I don’t know if I can curse on your blog—but fucking hell, what we’re living through right now is the resurgence of fascism, plain and simple. I know the left is often too loose with the word ‘fascist,’ and that’s regrettable, but there is nothing else to call attacks on the press, on the judiciary, and outright distain for the rule of law by the so-called President of the United States. So, Freedom City is a serious book about a very serious topic, but I really tried to bring it down to a level where I’m not just screaming incoherently out the window. The thing is that, when you take a deep breath, Trump and his enablers are evil in an almost inept-comic-book-villain sort of way, so there is actually a lot to laugh about in the situation. The one thing I hope people get from my book is that we must kill them with laughter. That’s their biggest weakness, which is why the right has been so up in arms the past few days about Michelle Wolf’s scathing comedy routine at the WHCD.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Well, my first novel was historical fiction, which is what I often like to read. Freedom City, I suppose, is contemporary literary fiction, but I’ve really struggled with whether to call it satire or dystopian fiction. It’s a little of both, actually, more like a tragicomedy. Like I said, I didn’t really set out to write it, but as a longtime private detective who lives in D.C.—I can literally see the fucking U.S. Capitol out of my window—I was probably the person best situated to write a novel like Freedom City.

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

I admit that I struggled a bit with Clare Swan, the main female protagonist. Some female readers have pointed out her promiscuity, and that’s certainly a fair critique. But while my book might not pass the Bechdel test, nobody (so far) has accused me of being anti-feminist. Actually, I’m a diehard feminist. It’s just that I have an active imagination, so when I write female characters I sometimes imagine ways I might sleep with them. [Laugher]. Ultimately, I think Clare turned out to be a delightfully complex human being and a righteous warrior. But if I could talk to her I’d ask if she feels I did her justice.

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

That’s a great question. I had already developed this public persona as a private investigator, and by far the biggest platforms for that are LinkedIn and Twitter. Because of that professional following I already had from my non-fiction books, I’ve gotten the most traction so far from those sites. However, I’m super excited about Instagram—which I confess I wasn’t even on until a few months ago. As I’m someone who loves readings and events, it really gives me a chance to chronicle the “buzz” around my book and hopefully help it, one day, take off.

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

So much of the advice aspiring writers get is to clichéd. I mean, I could say ‘don’t be afraid to suck’ or ‘join a writing group’—both sage pieces of advice—but instead I’ll say this: Write about the things buried deep in your soul that you think might scare your friends to know about you. Just do it. They won’t scare, and you’ll be writing honest shit.

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

I’ve got a couple irons in the fire, including a continuation (sort of) of Freedom City. Lately, however, I’m back to doing investigations, so I don’t have all the time to write I had last year. That’s okay though, because now that I recognize impeachment isn’t happening anytime soon I can take the time to make the next book longer and even more snarky.

 

freedom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 8/10

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078TLJW2R

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37836016-never-never-and-never-again

 

About K.M. Breakey

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

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

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

Interview with Author Caspar Vega

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

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was a kid. My first attempts were dirty rap songs that I wrote on A4 paper and illustrated – I must have been around eight years old then. My mother might still have them stored somewhere. Some angsty teenage poetry followed, then a few short stories that I thought were decent at the time.

I started taking it seriously when I turned 18 in February 2009. That’s when I wrote the first pages of what would eventually become my debut novella The Eclectic Prince that I self-published in 2012. It took me a long time to finish because I didn’t have any writing habits developed but in my mind, I knew I was pursuing something.

What inspired you to write your book?

Different influences inspired the vignettes in Southern Dust. Gretchen’s story is more of an introduction to the Governor. The Governor’s part explores similar themes I had already covered in my earlier novel Hayfoot but something still felt unfinished there and I took it a bit further with Nightingale’s story.

Roger Conaway’s story is a mash-up of several things. Captain America is one of my favorite heroes and I always liked the idea of a super soldier experiment. This was exacerbated when I watched The Guest for the third time – the best movie of 2014 by far.

I was also watching Game of Thrones for the first time a few months before I started outlining and Theon Greyjoy’s arc was so tragic and disturbing. Also Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power. It made me want to tell a story where we see the complete rise and fall of a character. Someone who becomes truly monstrous and unrecognizable by the end of it.

Dominic White is about one third myself, one third Oberyn Martell – one of the greatest characters to ever be on TV – and one third something else.

Plotting this book was a lot of fun because I felt like I was writing a prologue and three separate mini-books. I think they tie together neatly in the end.

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

None whatsoever – I only hope they’re entertained.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I think I bend several genres together in this one but as far as a black magic adventure story, this is my version of a Dennis Wheatley book. Now to replicate his sales numbers.

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

Dominic’s the most like me but he’s very anti-social, I don’t think he’d agree to a meeting.

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

I used to be on Gab which gave me a few interesting acquaintances but I’ve gotten rid of everything except Instagram now. Something about being able to send out condensed little messages on a big platform brings out the worst in some people, myself included.

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

Force yourself to write until it comes to you naturally. I spent three years on my first book – a 20,000 word novella – because I only wrote when I felt “inspired” which is a copout. If you have a rough outline, set yourself some simple goals and get writing. I’m very proud of my first book and I wouldn’t change a thing about it but I was definitely making excuses and stalling for a while.

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

I’m working on a new novella now that’s a parody of the modern thriller genre entitled The Gone Girl On the Train Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’m also working on a few TV pilots because let’s face it, that’s where the real money is for writers. Wish me luck.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/princeofpulp/.

Interview with Author Jennifer Renson

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Hello, my name is Jennifer Renson and I love to write. I started writing as a child. I remember keeping diaries and coming up with short fictional stories. As I got older I developed story ideas and wrote poetry. While attending Monmouth University I participated in the university newspaper and literary magazine. I decided to write three poetry books and two books finally putting my writing skills to the test. Today I write articles for Lost Treasure Magazine and became a contributor for UnDead Walking. For years I read my poetry at Open Mic nights in New Jersey while attending comic conventions and having the opportunity to be filmed for The Walking Dead TWD100 videos. Aside from writing I love history, animals and sewing.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Both Carousel and The Cottontail started with the villain of both books: Feletti. He was the first well thought out character that I wanted to create a story around. At the time I was on a real history kick, specifically Italy in the late 1490’s. By taking my favorite ride as a child and combining it with a very Tim Burton inspired fairy tale I was able to write Carousel. After I received warm feedback and interest in that world I created I decided to take a step back and write the prequel The Cottontail. 
 
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I want readers to be swept away by the world I created in both books. To feel frightened when Feletti speaks, enamored when Princio and Marian/Victorio and Antoinette bond, awed by the carousel and the palace it resided in. As long as readers can imagine being a part of the books and enjoy them I have done my duty as a writer. 
 
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve always enjoyed fiction and fantasy books. Though I have been writing for years, Carousel was my first finished book. I wanted to write a completely different story than the others I’ve been working on. This was a true experiment to see how well I could write fantasy and I’m happy with the results. 
 
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Though I love all my characters equally, Placido from Carousel has a special place in my heart. Although he’s not a main character, I named him after a relative in my family. I would love to pick Placido’s brain and find out what he would ask his deceased father. Placido was left with a huge responsibility of caring for his younger sister Marian after his father dies. Placido juggles being a older brother, father figure and running his newly opened toy shop. I truly want to know what he thinks of his father’s decision. I can almost picture it being a awkward conversation, having Placido sit, arms folded at his chest stuck between wanting his father to speak first and wanting answers.
 
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I use a few social media sites and although I believe all of them help I would say Twitter has been the most helpful. It’s the most fun, engaging and has introduced me to new writers in a similar boat as myself.
 
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write what you want with passion and strength. No one is perfect and you will receive feedback, both good and bad. Do not let the bad reviews bring you down but raise you up. It’s important to differentiate between critics who will nitpick but offer advice to improve your writing and the bitter complaints that hold no water.
My own personal motto is, “There is no apology for passion”.
 
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
After ending my contract with my publisher I am going to self publish Carousel and The Cottontail. I am in the process of redoing the covers and once complete they will be available online. Be sure to keep your eyes open for them in the near future. My three poetry books: Uncharted, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales are doing well and I hope to add a fourth book of poetry soon. I’ve been writing pieces for UnDead Walking and I hope it will lead to more writing opportunities. My first historical fiction book is undergoing edits. I’m not sure where my future will take me but I hope it will lead to more writing experiences.  
The Cottontail

Southern Dust by Caspar Vega Review

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

An incredible genre fusion of a book comes together in author Caspar Vega’s novel Southern Dust. A story filled with monsters, civil war and tales of revenge all set in a post-Trump era, this story delves into the differences between people in our divided world, and how it fuels the actions taken on a large scale. Here’s the synopsis:

A diesel-fueled, black magic powered, vampire-creating Southern extravaganza!

Gretchen Walker: A Southern belle living an idyllic life in the newly independent Alabama; worrying about the upcoming cotillion, and hoping more than anything to find a dapper young suitor from a good family. Might she end up getting more than she bargained for?

The Governor: The enigmatic leader responsible for achieving the aforementioned independence.

Roger Conaway: An enforcer trying to make a clean break. When his boss tells him a friend’s daughter has gone missing, can Roger find the girl and get out of the game while he still has a shard of innocence left?

Dominic White: An obsessive Hornbuster overcome with grief; recovering from a nervous breakdown, and actively seeking revenge for his murdered sister.

Discover their interconnected stories in this spiderweb of love, politics, guilt, and revenge.

This book was a fast yet engaging read. It reminded me a little of the connectivity of a good Dean Koontz novel, with a wonderful blend of genre fusions like horror, science fiction and historical fiction all rolled into one. The characters were interesting to read about as they each dealt with a troubling background, and led into the horrors that brought them all together. Exploring a world in which people rose up and declared independence for individual states was interesting as a plot point, as the current political nature of the United States in particular is volatile and easily could find itself in a time of great turmoil.

The author did an amazing job drawing the reader in, creating beautiful scenery that played out wonderfully through each page of the book. The ease in which the genres blended with the overall story made this feel like a more real story than ever before, and the story itself flowed smoothly.

Overall I loved this story. The writing was very down to earth while blending in these larger than life and fantastic story elements. It was a fascinating read that drew me in immediately from the story’s first page. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Southern Dust by Caspar Vega today!

Rating: 10/10

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2puTGq3

GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2sh5jBW