Tag Archives: novella

Wolf at the Door by Joel McKay Review

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

An attempt at a lovely Thanksgiving dinner takes two drastic turns as family drama erupts and a deadly encounter with a werewolf throws the entire dinner for a loop in author Joel McKay’s “Wolf at the Door”. 

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The Synopsis

All Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad for her no one else wanted to be there. By the time the turkey is carved, old grievances, bad behavior and crass remarks have transformed her dinner party into a disaster. And then a werewolf shows up to do some carving of its own.

Wolf at the Door is a fast-paced, absurdist take on modern creature horror, levering humor and action to highlight how one family comes to grips with what really matters in life.

The Review

This was one of the most unique and charismatic dark comedy horror novels I’ve read in years. The clashing dynamics between this cast of characters immediately stood out to me above the monstrous aspect of the narrative. The unique tensions and awkward moments that the holidays lend to themselves in a family dynamic or large dinner gathering is iconic comedy gold, (looking at you, Christmas Vacation), and the use of this dynamic between this cast of characters gave some heart and humor to the characters who find themselves caught up in this horrific nightmare. 

The blend of unique setting with the holiday dinner theme and blood-chilling horror made this story shine so brightly. The juxtaposition of how the holidays can bring out the worst in some people, especially those with underlying tensions, and the explosive entrance of this werewolf attack made this such a gripping and brilliantly creative storytelling device. Yet the author also did a great job of capturing the horror aspect of the narrative too, building upon the classic and iconic “creature feature” genre and adding a depth of character to it to make those bloody scenes more impactful.

The Verdict

Haunting, chilling, and entertaining, author Joel McKay’s “Wolf at the Door” is a must-read horror comedy. The story works well as a short story or novella, and yet hits the reader with an impact that can be felt from a novel or even a film script, bringing a greater sense of imagery and atmosphere that keeps the reader invested in this story as the narrative takes off. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Joel McKay is an award-winning writer and economic development professional. He calls Prince George, B.C. home, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Wolf at the Door is his first novella. His most recent published fiction was the short story Number Hunnerd in Tyche Books’ anthology Water: Selkies, Sirens and Sea Monsters.

The inspiration for his fiction is drawn from the landscapes and people of British Columbia, particularly the province’s vast, untamed and often misunderstood north. It’s the small towns and the people who call them home that inspired the good ol’ boys featured in Number Hunnerd, or the cool, crisp evenings and early sunsets of October that planted the idea for werewolves at a Thanksgiving feast.

Joel is passionate about Canada, its history and the history of the peoples who have called it home since time immemorial. As far as he’s concerned, New England has got nothing on Northern B.C. when it comes to perfect settings for supernatural tales.

In his spare time, Joel is an avid fly fisherman, mountain biker, hiker and reader. His work as an economic development professional, public relations specialist and journalist has earned him numerous national, provincial and local awards and recognitions.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B35X89CH/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61248506-wolf-at-the-door%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D4fvf1djqZI%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Things Happen by Christopher Acker Review

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

The desperate search for answers we all desire takes center stage in four incredible short stories from author Christopher Acker in the collection, “Things Happen”. 

The Synopsis

In these four stories, things happen.

A mother loses her son to a magic trick gone horribly wrong. Now a Google Maps car is trying to erase the last tangible memory she has of him.

Michelle lands her first big role in Hollywood as a prostitute in a Sam Cooke biopic. But her chance at stardom is jeopardized when riots break out after an innocent black man is murdered by the LAPD.

Everyone in St. Louis knows about the Salazar House of Horrors where a teenage girl was tortured and imprisoned. The prosecution asks Brandon—a model railroad enthusiast—to make a miniature replica of the infamous dungeon. The goal is to persuade the jury to put the monster behind bars forever. But constructing such degradation at 1/12th scale with his wife and two daughters lingering over his shoulder pushes Brandon and his family beyond their limit.

Disgraced journalist Alexander Reynolds is knee-deep in depression. Just about the only thing he can muster these days is slithering to his couch to watch The Maury Povich Show. In a sudden stroke of genius, a path out of his humiliation falls into his lap: he will fake his way to being a guest on Maury. There’s only one problem. He’ll need to convince his wife—the Oscar-winning filmmaker—to play a co-starring role.

The characters here are bruised, battered, and just plain exhausted. They’re like us. And like us, not everything works out for them. It’s this humanity that’s at the heart of this unforgettable collection.

THINGS HAPPEN offers a poignant yet highly entertaining portrayal of people desperately looking for answers in a time when truth and facts are more elusive than ever. The themes of infidelity, unresolved grief, identity, redemption, and racial injustice are woven throughout, lending these short stories a degree of resonance every reader can connect with. And to keep things interesting, a celebrity or two might even make an appearance.

Above all else, THINGS HAPPEN reflects what’s going on in this country right now:

A whole lot of something. 

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The Review

This was such a compelling and engaging read. The author expertly crafted each story to represent an important representation of today’s issues facing our nation, from racial injustice to grief and loss and everything in-between. The characters in each story felt real and gripping as their stories developed over time, and their struggles touched upon so many issues that have always been there but seem to have intensified and become more prevalent in the last couple of years during this pandemic.

What stood out to me was the pacing the author took with each story. With each story being a short story or novella, the reader may have expected the narratives to feel rushed or details to have been missed, but honestly, after reading this collection I felt like the author perfectly elevated the tension and built up the atmosphere in a natural way without sacrificing the theme or characters in any way. 

The Verdict

A memorable, thought-provoking, and entertaining read, author Christopher Acker’s “Things Happen” is a remarkable and relatable must-read collection, and the perfect book to pick up this fall. Emotional storytelling, haunting atmosphere, and perfectly built-up tension allowed this collection to shine brightly, and I was truly enthralled with each story’s narrative. If you haven’t yet, either preorder or pick up your copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christopher Acker is a husband, father, and full-time clinical social worker living in Bridgewater, New Jersey. His fiction has appeared in Change Seven, Crêpe & Penn, New Reader Magazine, Junto Magazine, The Ocotillo Review, Thing Magazine, Subtle Fiction, The Raven’s Perch, Inwood Indiana, Fictive Dream, Spelk, Firefly Magazine, The Molotov Cocktail, and No Extra Words. His work has also been featured on Wandsworth Radio in the UK.

www.facebook.com/christopherhowardacker

www.amazon.com/author/christopheracker

www.goodreads.com/christopheracker

Tiny Ruins by Nicole Haldoupis Review

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

A young woman struggles to understand her growing feelings and her identity as a bisexual woman in author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins”. 

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The Synopsis

“The dahlias on Sara’s dress scrunched and stretched with her body as she spun on the grass and Alana couldn’t understand why no one else was mesmerized.” Tiny Ruins is a coming-of-age and coming out story that follows Alana, as she grows up, discovers, and tries to understand her bisexuality. Small windows offer us a glimpse of Alana’s memories, often fragmentary, fleeting, and touching. When she confides in her sister that she is attracted to girls, she is met with disbelief, and so the secret is kept and Alana continues as the outsider looking in.

The Review

This is a beautiful and emotional novella. The author has crafted quite an incredible and unique tale that comes in the form of snapshots of memories and events in the protagonist’s life. From the ups and downs of childhood to the hardships and struggles those in their teens coming to terms with who they are and the peer pressure to hide from everyone around them and so much more, this novella perfectly captures the growing up experience. 

The snapshot storytelling component really works here. Each page has sections that look like direct dives into the protagonist’s memories, speaking on random events and experiences that somehow come together to tell a cohesive character-driven narrative that captures so many different emotional beats. 

The Verdict

A short yet powerful and emotional read, author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins” is a must-read novella. The story that evolves throughout the protagonist’s life is memorable and relatable, especially to anyone in the LGBTQ community who has ever had to deal with conflicting feelings and the journey of understanding who they are. From accepting her own sexuality to a conflict-filled relationship with her sister and the long journey into adulthood, this is a fantastic read that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nicole Haldoupis is a queer writer, editor, and designer from Toronto. She’s the outgoing Editor of Grain and a co-creator of untethered and Applebeard Editions. Her work can be found in Bad Dog Review, The Feathertale Review, Bad Nudes, and others. Her first book, Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020), is a novel made up of linked flash fiction pieces. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @nicolehaldoupis.

http://nicolehaldoupis.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/nicolehaldoupis/?hl=en

In the Sun by Mixie Plum Review

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

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS NOVELLA DEALS WITH THEMES OF DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE, AMONG OTHER THINGS. IF THESE SUBJECTS ARE DIFFICULT TO READ OR TRIGGERING, BE ADVISED. 

A woman struggling with difficult news contemplates her future while looking at her past in author Mixie Plum’s novel, “In the Sun”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A novella inspired from a life lived; almost lost, & lived again

The Review

This short novella is a beautifully written story expressing the hidden pain both physically and mentally many people suffer from, and the various ways that people cope or don’t cope with it. Whether it’s through a painful and heartbreaking decision or a wild and hilarious sense of humor that gets a person through each day, the story showcases the highs and lows of living with depression and through difficult circumstances in life. 

The author’s passion and emotional connection to the story are felt in every page. Written in a voice that speaks of honesty, humor and charm while delving into some of humanity’s darkest and most painful subjects and themes, the novella takes great strides to not only highlight the importance of mental health and being proactive about caring about the people in our lives who suffer from it, but about showcasing the very real circumstances in life that force our futures to be taken out of our own hands, no matter how desperately we try to retain control. As someone who suffers from depression myself and has advocated for mental health overall, I felt a deep connection to both the author’s own personal struggles and the story itself, and felt as invested as other readers will once they read this story.

The Verdict

Witty, charming and heartbreaking all at once, this is a must read novel that readers will not soon forget. It’s the kind of novel that leaves an impression long after it’s been read, and yet it’s something that everyone who can read it should read it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of “In the Sun” by Mixie Plum today.

Rating: 8/10

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

Interview with Author Sarah Baethge

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

I’m Sarah Baethge and I’ve always loved reading. After a car wreck derailed my college career, I started reviewing stories and that eventually led to me trying to write my own.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I self published a short novella a few years ago (free on Google Drive now) but it started somewhat abruptly, so I wrote this story to be a prequel for it because the whole story has just kept growing in my mind.

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

I hope that they can enjoy it. I wrote it as fun entertainment.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I like to read it.

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

I’d sit down with Ronald Carpenter, I’d like to know more about his view of The Eclipse company; I don’t feel like I describe it very well.

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

I like using Twitter, but more people seem to be concerned with my Facebook page.

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

Write what you like to read. Don’t give up just because you aren’t sure how other people will react.

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

I have some plans for about four sequels to this Speed of Darkness book and a couple of Ideas for both a space story and a time-travel story. I’m not really sure which one I will work on first.

Book Blitz/Release: A Bleak December by Author Hanleigh Bradley

Author: Hanleigh Bradley

Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance,

Release Date: 1st May 2018

Price: 99c / 99p

Key Words: Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Short Story, Novella, Christmas, Death of a Parent, Loss of a Loved One, Office Romance, Depression, Grief,

Length: Just below 20K

Availability: Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, etc.

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oTOGJg

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38943078-a-bleak-december

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Blurb:

Her Christmas list isn’t long. It is the shortest it has ever been. She doesn’t want a pretty new pair of shoes or a new dress to wear to her work’s New Years Eve bash.

All Ella wants is a Christmas Miracle.

With a sick mum in hospital and a little brother at home, she struggles to maintain order in the chaos that is quickly engulfing her. If she doesn’t get her miracle will her entire world fall apart? And if it does, who will help her put it back together again?

Excerpt:

He’s my boss. That doesn’t stop me though. It doesn’t stop my mind from picturing him naked standing in my shower, water cascading down over his toned, muscular flesh. No. It doesn’t stop my inappropriate thoughts, and it definitely doesn’t stop me having them at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not like I just think about him when I’m lying in bed late at night. No, I fantasise about him during staff meetings, when he’s being a pain in the arse bossing us all around and when he’s reprimanding me yet again for being late.

Do you want to know the worst bit? It’s not the thoughts. I can deal with my dirty mind; it’s always been that way. Dirty thought after dirty thought, wrapped in a world of dirty thoughts. No. The thoughts are fine; it’s the things that come out of my mouth. The actual words that I apparently have an equal lack of control over. Like right now, the whole room has gone silent in shock because of my stupid, big mouth. As if I just said that. I can feel my cheeks redden with embarrassment and my best work friend is laughing under her breath beside me. The bitch.

Tristen had asked me why I was late. It was a reasonable enough question but why, oh, why couldn’t I give him an equally sensible response??? No. Instead, I only went and gave him the most ridiculous cock and bull story known to man.

“Why are you late?” Tristan Riggens, my boss had asked in that deep, authoritative, yet almost disrespectfully uninterested voice of his. It’s a voice that threatens to destroy you while drawing you in, keeping you walking some imaginary tightrope.

“My dog ate a condom.” Why that sentence made it passed whatever filter I have, I will never know. Sometimes my mouth does unexplainable things, embarrassingly unexplainable. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood and it shows no sign of improving.

The room goes silent, but he doesn’t react at all. His face remains expressionless except I think I can see humour in his eyes, or at least I hope I do. He’s not exactly easy to read and right now I really have no idea what he thinks. “Well, I hope your dog is okay now.”

“He’s absolutely fine.” I’m probably the colour of the Christmas tree in the corner. I think I might throw up my breakfast from the sheer embarrassment that I now feel.

“Someone should call the RSPCA.” A voice says from somewhere behind me.

“You might want to reconsider where you stash your condoms.” Another of my colleagues laughs.

My best friend, the one who’s supposed to be on my side is in fits of hysteria. In fact, she’s laughing so hard she’s close to choking. I hope she chokes.

“Okay.” Tristen tries to divert their focus from me and my condom eating dog, back to the meeting. “New Year – we’ll be having an office party.”

If he thinks talk of a party might divert their attention from my poor imaginary dog, he is wrong and he clearly doesn’t know his team that well. “How on earth did your dog get a hold of a condom?”

“Did it still have the foil wrapper on?”

“Eww, it wasn’t used, was it?”

I’m shrinking into myself. Massively embarrassed. Eyes on the floor. Cheeks burning hot. Head pounding. Heart palpitating. How the hell will I get out of this one? I have an uncanny knack for getting myself into a bit of a pickle and absolutely no skill at getting myself back out again. “That’s enough – I’ve heard more than enough about condoms and dogs for one day. Back to work.” He’s shaking his head as he dismisses us all before leaving the open offices of our floor of the TRW Advertising building. Walking into his office, he closes the door behind himself. Lucky sod. At least he has a door he can hide behind.

“Fuck.” I say under my breath.

“Only you Ella.” Sadie laughs beside me. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I just open my mouth…” I sigh.

“You don’t even have a dog!”

“I know.” I’m groaning in mortification. “We should get back to work before Tristen gets all shitty.”

“Or worse,” Sadie whispers, “Delos might come out of her office and have at us.”

“As if – Clara’s too nice for that.”

“To you. She hates me.”

“That’s not true.” I laugh gently. The door to Tristen’s office opens once more, and he pops his head out. “Winthrope. Reed. Do I need to find you something to do?”

“No sir.” Sadie nods her head before turning back towards her cubicle.

I move to follow her, but Tristen is still talking. “Winthrope, in here please.”

“Shit.” I grumble before following him into his office. This is the moment when he finally tells me that enough is enough and I need to start being on time, or worse look for a new job. The new job scenario is probably more likely. My tardiness is my biggest failing. I’m lucky I haven’t already lost this job.

 

He’s sat behind his desk; calm and composed in a way I have never been. He motions a hand towards the leather chair in front of him, and I take it gratefully because my legs are like jelly. My mouth is practically glued shut because I can’t trust myself not to say something completely absurd. His eyebrow is raised. “Your dog ate a condom?”

“Yes.” My sister Tia says when you lie you have to own it.

“Have you taken him to the vets?”

“No. He… he just coughed it up.” I tell him, desperately hoping that he doesn’t see through my lies.

“You do need to make a better effort to be on time for work in the morning.”

“Sorry Sir.” I tell him honestly. It’s not exactly news to me that I need to get my shit together.

Author Photo

About The Author:

Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.

Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.

Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

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Author Links:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorhanleigh/

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighbradley/

Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hanleighsstreetteam/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HanleighBradley

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

AFWB: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/members/HanleighBradley

Readers Group: http://authorfriendswithbenefits.com/afwb-groups/hanleigh-s-brits

Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/1/+HanleighBradley

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14468232.Hanleigh_Bradley

Valentine’s Day Book Giveaway!

I wanted to let you guys know that two of my books will be free starting today and ending on the 17th! The first is Blood and Romance and the second is At First Glance.

At First Glance: A Frightening Romance Novel https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008X0NK56/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_umVGAbMERH74E

Blood and Romance: A Book of Poetry and Horror https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042P5DP6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_4mVGAbAWZFY7K

Why Should You Re-Release Old Books?

Time. 
Time has produced new innovations in the world of writing and publishing. In today’s world of publishing authors have more opportunities than ever to showcase their work without traversing through the process of traditional publishing houses. However as many self-published and traditionally published authors can agree, time allows us all to learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves and our writing. With self-publishing it is easier now than ever before to improve on our previous work.
In a month and a half, I will be releasing I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered. This is a three novella series telling the story of Lisa Etron, a seemingly innocent teenage girl with a dark persona bubbling just beneath the surface. I originally published the first novella, I Was A Teenage Killer, in 2010. This story was fun to write, but as the years have gone on i recognize so many grammatical and story based errors that the time to fix it was here. Not only have i and my skills as a writer changed and improved, but the world has changed as well. Whether its our current political climate or the tragedies of our world reshaping our views or the wisdom and strength that comes with age, this book began to feel outdated and in need of serous improvements. So i went through all of the novellas and realized this would make a great remastered novel, and so i began to work.

In the end, i think this remastered book is stronger and more character driven then it ever was before. The themes are more prevalent and the show versus tell style of writing has helped me to improve how the story is conveyed. This is something all authors can do. Our experiences and our understanding of the world can reshape how we view the past, and with the innovation that is online self-publishing it is easier than ever to strengthen the works that came before. I highly encourage any author out there to take the time to reread their books and look to see if time has given them any new insights or views that can improve their work. I hope you guys enjoyed my brief viewpoints on re-releases and book publishing. If you guys want to check out my work for free be sure to sign up for my free newsletter here on my blog, and if you guys are interested in seeing what a remastered book looks like then be sure to preorder your copies of I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered today on Amazon and soon to be available on iBooks, Barnes & Noble and more!
I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0756SVSGD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_wwqRzb0T6F1VC

Book Cover Reveal: I Was An Evil Teenager Remastered

Hello everyone! I am so proud to announce that my book, I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered, is now available for preorder. It is available on Amazon for $2.99 and will be available for the same price soon on iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and more. Here is a little bit about the book:
Killer. Zombie. Demon.
Evil comes in many forms, and Lisa Etron embodies them all in I Was An Evil Teenager, the three novella series that explores evil and the ways in which it appears. Author Anthony Avina brings a unique look at the work of Lisa Etron, a seemingly normal teenage girl who harbors a dark secret that threatens to tear apart not only those closest to her, but an entire town as well.
Lisa Etron is the girl next door. Lisa Etron is the most beautiful and popular girl in her school. Lisa Etron is the girl of Dave Trent’s dreams. Lisa Etron is a demented killer, hellbent on chaos and murder, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve those two goals. While a seasoned detective works to solve the mystery of a series of brutal murders, Lisa plans a deadly killing spree that threatens to destroy those who have made the mistake of loving her. 
This remastered edition of the book updates the story and brings a deep dive into the battle between good and evil. Showing the lengths in which evil is willing to go to to tear people down, and the way in which people use hope and love to overcome that evil, this novel features the combined novellas of I Was A Teenage Killer, I Was A Teenage Zombie and I Was A Teenage Demon. 
A twisted horror saga like no other, this series follows one group of people who must survive the twisted mind of a killer who refuses to go away and let them live happy lives. In this one of a kind novel, discover whether or not evil ever truly dies…
In honor of the book preorder, I wanted to share with you guys the official book cover reveal. I spent a long time designing this cover and hope it captures the essence of the books. I’d love for you guys to share this book cover on Twitter and Instagram. If you do tag me (@AuthorAAvina on Twitter, @authoranthonyavina on Instagram), and use the hashtag #EvilTeenager or #EvilTeenagerRemastered and I will share your posts on my social media feeds and feature you guys in my upcoming videos on my YouTube channel, Avina Vlogs. Thanks guys, and stay tuned for more information on this book release in the months to come. I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered is due to release on October 20th, 2017! Preorder your copies today!
http://amzn.to/2vHLlhN