The Fourth Courier By Timothy Jay Smith Review

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

A hunt for a killer leads to a high octane thriller filled with drugs, power hungry military leaders and a missing atomic weapon that threatens the security of the free world in author Timothy Jay Smith’s The Fourth Courier. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

A Fast Paced Espionage Thriller for Alan Furst Fans Set In Post-Cold War Poland. 

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

The Review

A powerful espionage thriller, this novel pushes the envelope and brings a balanced mix of action, suspense and fantastic character development that will instantly make readers fall in love with this story. This novel perfectly explored the post-communism era of Poland as families struggle to make a daily living, shops and restaurants fail to gain the daily resources many take for granted, and drugs begin to filter into the city at a much faster rate. 

The duality of the characters reflects the dual nature of the narrative perfectly. An FBI agent who works to balance his case with a possible romance; a power hungry military leader who hides a truth about himself; a cop who finds themselves crossing the line one too many times. All of these characters bring with them heavy pasts and showcase that everyone has secrets, and everyone is fighting to find the balance between those secrets and daily life. Blended with the larger than life drama and action of this murder mystery and missing nuclear device, and the novel plays out like a must read spring thriller that cannot be missed. 

The Verdict

A must read 2019 novel! Perfectly capturing the espionage thriller genre, author Timothy Jay Smith has brought a rarely seen era in post-communism history to life in a perfect way. The writing is so crystal clear and descriptive that the reader instantly pictures the events like a movie in their own mind, and as the twists and turns in the plot continue to play out in this evenly paced novel, the characters find themselves in the race of their lives as all of their lives begin to converge upon one another. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “The Fourth Courier” today! 

Rating: 10/10

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that saw him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a “devil’s barge” for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail. 

These experiences explain the unique breadth and sensibility of Tim’s work, for which he’s won top honors. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012. Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His screenplays have won numerous competitions. His first stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. 

Timothy Jay Smith Social Media Accounts 

Website:

Facebook:

Twitter:

Instagram:

About Arcade Publishing Arcade has been an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing since 2010. We continue doing incredible work discovering, publishing, and promoting new and brilliant voices in literature from around the world. Arcade has published literary giants such as Samuel Beckett, E. M. Cioran, and Leo Tolstoy, alongside new voices such as Ismail Kadar and Andrei Makine. In 2012, Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, an exciting achievement for Arcade which had published five of his novels. 

THE FOURTH COURIER by Timothy Jay Smith Arcade * April 3, 2019 * 320 pages * $24.99 ISBN: 978-1948924108 * Hardcover Please visit http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/arcade-publishing 

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Weekly Comic Book Round-Up #2: April 2nd, 2019

Venom: Space Knight, Vol. 1: Agent of the Cosmos

Written by: Robbie Thompson (Writer),

Illustrated by: Ariel Olivetti (Artist), 

Cory Petit (Letterer), Joe Caramagna (Letterer)

Synopsis:

Flash Thompson is many things. Soldier. Veteran. Double amputee. Guardian of the Galaxy. Host to a powerful yet newly tamed alien symbiote. Now Flash is tasked with being an intergalactic ambassador of Earth and an Agent of the Cosmos! Join Flash for high adventure in deep space as he swashbuckles his way across the universe! But as Venom travels the galaxy, helping the helpless and punishing the violent, he will go from Guardian to gladiator when he’s made to fight in an alien arena. And when facing an emergency on a planet of volcanoes, how can he serve as a Space Knight when his symbiote suit of armor is afraid of fire? And when an enemy seeks to corrupt the symbiote, will this mark the return of the big bad Venom?

CollectingVenom: Space Knight 1-6

Verdict:

While casual fans will more than likely know the story of Eddie Brock and his villain/antihero story as Venom. However modern day fans will love this story that brings Flash Thompson’s time with the Venom symbiote into the forefront, showcasing the character’s potential for heroism in a whole new light. Delving more into the mythology surrounding the symbiotes, otherwise known as Klyntar, the first volume of this series brings Agent Venom’s space adventures to a whole new platform. Heeding a natural call to help those in distress across the galaxy, Venom soon learns that not only are there others like him in the universe, but there are those seeking to use Venom as a weapon, and both Flash and Venom must use their symbiotic nature to stop this new galactic threat before it’s too late. Fantastic artwork and a great new story make Venom shine brightly in the Marvel universe once more. 

Venom: Space Knight Vol. 2: Enemies And Allies

Written By: Robbie Thompson (Writer), 

Illustrated By: Ariel Olivetti (Artist), Kim Jacinto (Artist), R.B. Silva (Artist), Ario Anindito (Artist), Java Tartaglia (Colourist), Andrew Crossley (Colourist), Joe Caramagna (Letterer) ,Gerardo Sandoval (Artist), Dono Sánchez Almara(Colourist)

Synopsis:

Venom’s new career as an Agent of the Cosmos continues with the hunt for Black October! Flash Thompson has been learning quickly on the job as a space knight in symbiote armor, helping the hopeless and impressing the oppressed across the galaxy. He’s even picked up a few new friends along the way, like sad cyborg 803, serpent-tressed Iqa, and mercenary panda Pik Rollo! But even they might not be enough to stop what’s coming. A fearsome new foe has set sights on the Agents of the Cosmos, and that means Flash’s training is about to get intensive. The reinvention of Venom continues!

CollectingVenom: Space Knight 7-13

Verdict

After the galactic battle that brought Venom into the Agent of the Cosmos ranks, the saga of Venom takes a whole new turn. The amazing storytelling here delves into Venom’s nature as a whole, exploring the darkness that consumed the symbiote early on in its life and showcasing Flash’s heroism and dedication to his symbiotic friend. Exploring the psychology of the symbiote and Flash brings this story to life in a whole new way. Plus, fans will love to see the brief crossover into the Civil War II Marvel storyline and highlights the deep animosity between the symbiote and everyone’s favorite web-slinger Peter Parker. A truly must read for any fan of Venom and a great ending to the Space Knight story for the character. 

The Life of Captain Marvel

Written by Margaret Stohl 

Illustrated by: Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Marguerite Sauvage (Illustrator), Artgerm (Illustrator)

Synopsis:

Collects The Life Of Captain Marvel #1-5.

She’s one of the mightiest heroes not just on Earth but in the entire galaxy! Now learn exactly how Carol Danvers became the woman she is — the Avenger she is — in the definitive origin of Captain Marvel! When sudden, crippling anxiety attacks sideline Carol in the middle of a fight, she finds herself reliving memories of a life she thought was far behind her. You can’t outrun where you’re from — and sometimes, you have to go home again. But while Carol takes a temporary leave from duty to unravel her past, trouble comes looking for her. A weapon has been unleashed, and Carol’s sleepy coastal town is about to become the center of its world. But there are skeletons in Captain Marvel’s closet — and what she discovers will change her entire life!

Verdict: 

A fantastic new chapter in the story of Carol Danvers, one of Marvel Comics greatest heroes. Author Margaret Stohl brilliantly brings the new era of Captain Marvel to life, showcasing the superb writing talent that saw Black Widow regain her spot in the limelight with the Black Widow YA novel series. Delving into Carol’s family history with her alcoholic father, and the strained relationship with her brother and mother, was a great way of showcasing Carol’s humanity and the person behind the costume. The shocking twists and turns in Carol’s family history sheds a whole new light on the hero, and will leave fans on the edge of their seat as the new era of Captain Marvel begins. A great story and perfect read as Marvel’s Captain Marvel continues to dominate the box office. 

Superman, Vol. 1: Son of Superman

Written by: by Peter J. TomasiPatrick Gleason

Illustrated by: Doug Mahnke (Artist), Jorge Jimenez (Artist)

Synopsis:

WE ARE KRYPTON

Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

When the Man of Steel died defending his adopted home, it seemed that the spirit of truth and justice he represented was extinguished forever. But watching from the sidelines was another Superman-older, wiser, more experienced-with his wife, Lois Lane, and their son, Jonathan Kent.

Now this refugee from a vanished universe is stepping out of the shadows, ready to assume the mantle of his fallen counterpart and take to the skies once more as Earth’s greatest hero.

But he is not the only survivor of Krypton to make the journey to this reality.

The machine mind known as the Eradicator is on the trail of the House of El, and its hardwired directive to protect the Kryptonian genome permits no consideration for any other forms of life-not even those that share Kal-El’s blood.

Can the son of Superman harness his newly emerging powers in time to resist the annihilation of his humanity? Or will he be reborn into a new Krypton forged from the ashes of his mother’s world?

Exploding out of DC’s blockbuster Rebirth event, SUPERMAN VOL. 1: SON OF SUPERMAN marks the beginning of a new era for the Man of Tomorrow and a great jumping-on point for new fans-brought to you by acclaimed storytellers Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, Jorge Jimenez, Mick Gray, Jaime Mendoza, John Kalisz, Will Quintana and Alejandro Sanchez! Collects issues #1-6 and the SUPERMAN: REBIRTH one-shot.

Verdict

A truly fresh and original addition to the Superman saga. Brilliant storytelling showcases a world mourning the loss of its original Superman, and reintroduces comic book fans to the original Superman as he makes his debut in the Rebirth era. Showcasing the Superman we all knew years ago adapting to this new world while still trying to be a good husband and father is a unique way of bringing the story of Kal-El to life once more. From the deceased Superman’s allies trying to understand who the “new” Superman is and what is intentions are, to foes of the past showcasing the harsh nature of the former Krypton, this is a one of a kind story that really does a great job of kicking off the new era of Superman. The artwork brilliantly captures the non-stop action and heart-pounding drama as Superman fights to protect his family from a brutal threat that is both old and new. Truly great storytelling and Superman at his best. A must read narrative for longtime Superman fans. 

Teen Titans, Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best: 

Written by: Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author),

Illustrated by:  Khoi Pham (Artist), Jonboy Meyers (Artist), Diogenes Neves (Artist)

Synopsis: 

Exploding from the blockbuster DC Rebirth event, it’s an action-packed new spin on one of the most famous superhero teams of all time, from writer Benjamin Percy (GREEN ARROW) and a titanic team of talented artists including Jonboy Meyers (Spawn), Diogenes Neves (GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS) and Khoi Pham (The Mighty Avengers) comes TEEN TITANS VOL. 1: DAMIAN KNOWS BEST.

His father is the world’s greatest detective. His grandfather is the world’s deadliest terrorist. He is Damian Wayne, a.k.a. Robin, Son of Batman-and he now commands the Teen Titans.

Whether they like it or not.

When Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Kid Flash answer this brash new Boy Wonder’s call for help, they find themselves on the front lines of a war between Damian and his immortal grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul. The entire League of Assassins and the elite Demon’s Fist are prepared to move against these young heroes, all to claim Robin for their own. And if these new Titans are toppled, so be it.

The stakes are crystal clear: if they win, they live. If they lose, Robin will join the forces of evil-and the rest of them are history. But with Damian in charge, sometimes death doesn’t look so bad…

It’s a culture clash for the ages in TEEN TITANS VOL. 1: DAMIAN KNOWS BEST. Collects TEEN TITANS #1-5 and TEEN TITANS: REBIRTH #1. 

Verdict:

This is a fantastic new take on the Teen Titans saga. The dual nature of Damian Wayne shines brightly in this story as his years of training and experience clashes with the need to define himself and the desire for something most kids take for granted: friendship. The artwork is brilliant, capturing the bright nature of the team versus the dark reality they find themselves in. While this is the team’s origin story in the Rebirth era, this first volume is definitely Damian Wayne’s spotlight, and begins a new era of the Teen Titans that fans will definitely love. The writing is fast paced and challenges the reader to define friendship, identity and family, a great direction to take this series. This is definitely a must read for any Teen Titans or DC Comics fan. 

Justice League, Vol. 1: The Extinction Machines

Written by: by Bryan Hitch

Illustrated by: Tony S. Daniel (Artist), Sandu Florea (Artist)

Synopsis:

Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

Superman has fallen. The Man of Steel died protecting his adopted home, leaving his allies in the Justice League to fight on without him-and leaving the older, wiser Superman of a vanished universe to pick up the torch.

But to Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the League, this new “Superman” is a stranger. And just like Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, the rookie Green Lanterns left by Hal Jordan to guard the globe in his absence, the replacement Superman has a lot to prove.

He’d better do it quickly. Because a godlike threat unlike any the League has ever fought is coming. Vast engines of destruction are about to be unleashed, remaking the planete s surface and forging its people into living weapons.

They are the extinction machines. And it will take every member of the Justice League to shut them down…

Comics superstars Bryan Hitch (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) and Tony S. Daniel (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN) join forces to launch a bold new era for comics’ greatest superhero team in JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 1: THE EXTINCTION MACHINES-exploding from the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event! Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-5 as well as the JUSTICE LEAGUE: REBIRTH one-shot.

Verdict:

A story that holds no punches, readers are thrust into a world where one Superman has died, and the Justice League struggles not only with whether or not to trust the new Superman amongst them, but faces a catastrophic crisis as millions of people around the world are consumed by an unstoppable force of a cosmic scale, and the world threatens to tear itself apart. With some of the hero’s powers suddenly failing them and the team scrambling to find a way to stop this destructive force of nature, trust will have to be earned quickly and the team will have to recover from their loss before it’s too late. The artwork is eye catching and beautiful, and the story begins a new era for the Justice League that teases a looming threat and brings new heroes into the fold. A fun, gritty and fantastic read for Justice League fans. 

The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere Review

A simple cloth becomes the vocal point for an international mystery involving war crimes, art theft and murder in author Vincent Panettiere’s The Scopas Factor.

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

A simple cloth becomes the vocal point for an international mystery involving war crimes, art theft and murder in author Vincent Panettiere’s The Scopas Factor. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

A Hmong “story cloth,” a Revolutionary War battle flag, forged Picassos and a Russian drug dealer—finding the link between these disparate elements is the challenge Mike Hegan faces in The Scopas Factor, the latest mystery from Vincent Panettiere.

After his last investigation ends tragically, Detective Mike Hegan returns to Chicago from St. Kitts, hoping to put everything behind him. But his girlfriend, Diana, has other plans, and although he has no interest in the job opportunity she presents him—in a small northern California town, no less—he wants to please her. Upon his arrival in Weedley, he’s caught up in a kidnapping and two murders. A visit to Diana’s family in San Francisco only serves to deepen the mystery, as her father might be the link to a gang of antiquities thieves that might have something to do with the crimes in Weedley. And when Diana’s father disappears, Hegan takes off for Antibes in southern France, where he discovers that the mystery has only just begun.

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The Review

A whirlwind adventure that explores the horrors of war and the ways in which criminals profit from other’s misery, the story is the third highly acclaimed novel from author Vincent Panettiere. The novel is very character driven, taking readers through the mystery by showcasing everyone involved in great detail, from Detective Heagan and his investigation into the mystery, to the woman who’s mother left a legacy behind that she hopes will reveal the truth, and an art forger who finds himself caught in the midst of a bloody battle. 

The author does a fantastic job of commanding the story fully into the mystery genre. The action of the narrative plays out in a very creative and cinematic way, creating instant images in the readers imagination as they follow the adventure piece by piece. The way the author stretches out the mystery is perfect as well, taking readers in one direction and then completely dropping the floor out from under them, taking the adventure into an entirely unexpected direction. 

The Verdict

This is a wonderful novel, filled to the brim with action, suspense and romance as one lone detective becomes embroiled in a larger than life international mystery. Who can you trust when everyone seems to be connected? And with a feeling of dread hanging over the detective after the loss of his last two relationships, can he find happiness in a new relationship, or are the dangers of the case too overwhelming for his relationship to survive? Find out in this incredible roller coaster mystery by picking up your copy of The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere today!

Rating: 10/10

www.vincentpanettiere.com

Spring Promotion – $5 off $45 @ eBooks.com. Use Code: springebookscp. Valid until June 20.

About the Author

Many times imagination develops through loneliness. Left in solitude and quiet the creative process emerges later, dormant until activated by circumstances or maturity.

Vincent was the only boy in a family of six children. Many times he was left to himself and his imagination. As he got older, he started writing short stories.

Vincent tells about the time he submitted a short story to “one of those magazines at the supermarket checkout counters”. He showed this story to his high school English teacher who then became convinced that the teenager was having trouble at home. He wasn’t, but this story earned him his first acknowledgement as a writer – as well as his first rejection slip.

He began his career as a sports reporter for the UPI wire service. While in graduate school at Boston University, he wrote sports for The Boston Herald, a daily newspaper.

Several years later after having reviewed his screenplay submissions a story editor at Columbia Pictures encouraged Vincent to move to the West Coast and keep writing. He wrote and sold several screenplays which – “in the byzantine world of motion pictures” – went unproduced.

It was time for a career change. Panettiere struck out on his own becoming a licensed literary agent representing writers and directors in TV and Film. During this time he became frustrated with the entertainment financing system, and began searching for outside financing for his clients. Some of his experiences are chronicled in his book, The Internet Financing Illusion.

Whether as a literary agent or executive at CBS or Twentieth Century Fox, Panettiere continued to search for ideas and stories to feed his imagination. For him, the seed of a story starts nudging his mind, forming characters and situations. His characters lead the story, and often surprise him with unforeseen twists.

The Scopas Factoris Panettiere’s third novel. His other novels are A Woman to Blameand the award-winning and critically acclaimed These Thy Gifts, which earned 5 stars from Readers’ Favorite,  second place in Literary and  Contemporary Fiction from CIPA, as well as the Reviewers’ Choice Award in General Fiction Novels. He is also the author of The Internet Financing Illusiona nonfiction account of the dark side of the internet.

For Vincent, writing brings several joys. He looks forward to reading the pages he has written a day later. Many times he can’t remember writing the pages. “This is my favorite part of the creation process. Something inside takes over. Something that I know I can rely on indefinitely.”

Most importantly, he says, the best part of the writing process is “having written – having defeated the tyranny of the blank page.”

Vincent Panettiere currently resides on the West Coast.

The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale by Rebecca Henry Review

The classic tale of Cinderella takes a very dark turn in author Rebecca Henry’s The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale.

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

The classic tale of Cinderella takes a very dark turn in author Rebecca Henry’s The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale. Here is the synopsis.

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The Synopsis 

In The Lady Raven, Rebecca Henry tells the tale of Zezolla, a little princess abandoned by her father into the hands of her evil stepmother and wicked stepsisters. A familiar fairy tale you may think but all is not as it appears. The reader is soon drawn into a web of witchcraft, lies and deceit, and gradually realises that this is no typical fairy tale but a dark and macabre take on one. Zezolla is treated with the utmost cruelty, neglected and vilified, and left to live in the damp cellars of the castle. The only friends Zezolla has are her beloved raven and her pet wolf. Her only comfort lies in the loyalty of the creatures of the forest and her mother’s hazel tree. Will Zezolla have the power to escape her torment and ultimately save herself from the unscrupulous clutches of the king? The Lady Raven is a compelling tale and one that is not for the faint-hearted.

The Review

If George R. Martin and The Brothers Grimm were to retell the story of Cinderella, they would have come up with this tale. It’s a truly dark retelling of the original story, filled with the same elements of the classic fairy tale with added elements of horror, dark fantasy and drama that rarely make their way into modern day retellings. The author does a marvelous job of adopting the same writing style of the classic fairy tale while infusing darker elements that not only play to the story, but bring imagery that reflects the attitudes and views of modern day life.

To read this story is to mirror the way in which women are viewed and treated in our world. While the fantasy elements are more prevalent than anything else, it’s hard to ignore the ways in which the protagonist Cinderella is shown the cruelty of men. From her father’s betrayal to future king’s desire to own and conquer her, she is also shown how women are too often pitted against one another by society, one made so desperate to find their perfect life that they are willing to burn down anyone in their way, much like the evil stepmother and her daughters. 

The Verdict

This was a unique and interesting take on the Cinderella tale. Bringing the subtle horrors the protagonist had to face in her original story to the forefront in a much darker and in your face way, the author beautifully blends the magical fantasy elements of the genre with a look into the cruelty of mankind and the hope that in that darkness, light can find it’s way out into the open once more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of The Lady Raven: A Dark Cinderella Tale by Rebecca Henry today! 

Rating: 8/10

https://rebeccahenryauthor.blogspot.com/

Spring Promotion – $5 off $45 @ eBooks.com. Use Code: springebookscp. Valid until June 20.

About the Author

I am a newly published author with one novel released and another book coming out for publication, in February 2019. I am also a world traveller, living abroad. I have many interests and hobbies in life, besides my greatest passion of all, my family. I am also a vegan, gardener, crafter, and I practice yoga regularly.

The Burden of Trust: The Price No One Expected To Pay by Tabitha Young Review

Two unlikely people find themselves connecting in unexpected ways and going on a journey of discovery in author Tabitha Young’s “The Burden of Trust: The Price No One Expected to Pay”.

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

Two unlikely people find themselves connecting in unexpected ways and going on a journey of discovery in author Tabitha Young’s “The Burden of Trust: The Price No One Expected to Pay”. Here is the synopsis. 

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The Synopsis

Sometimes, the heart exacts more than we want to pay 

Faced with a decision that would change her life forever, Katherine “Kate” Woods took the route that seemed best with the circumstances. Only time would tell whether or not she had made the right choice. Her own family required more than a bit of finesse. From being an on-demand aunt for her niece when her sister checked out on them to dealing with her mother’s peculiarities, she just needed some solitude to get her life back on track. 

Chris Cody—sexy, arrogant, and in need of a serious attitude adjustment—enters Kate’s life in nothing less than the dramatic way known as second nature to the very handsome movie star. Armed with his own issues and in need of a good friend, Chris lands on Kate’s doorstep with a proposal to shock them both. 

From New York to Florida to California, the two find themselves in a situation that is not “ripped from the headlines” but makes the headlines in all the ways that Kate does not want. The bonds of love and friendship are truly tested in this moving tale about relationships, families, and life’s surprises.

The Review

A whirlwind story of loss, friendship and the hope for a better tomorrow, this story takes readers in unexpected directions. Readers will be shocked to discover the story is far more complex, deep and emotional than they could have imagined, and creates a truly unique dynamic between Kate and Chris that instantly creates a visual in the readers mind. 

The story itself is strong and evenly paced, making this a fairly quick read overall. Yet it’s the character development of both protagonists and the intricacies of their unique relationship that really make this novel shine bright. Touching on the pulse of some of today’s most emotionally charged social issues, this novel does an excellent job of creating suspense, intrigue and heartfelt emotion that draws the readers in further and further into the narrative.

The Verdict

This is a fantastic women’s fiction novel that readers will thoroughly enjoy. Creative, passionate and humorous all wrapped into an emotionally charged package, this is the novel readers of the genre will not want to miss. A must read women’s fiction novel for 2019, be sure to grab your copy of Tabitha Young’s “The Burden of Trust” today! 

Rating: 10/10

Spring Promotion – $5 off $45 @ eBooks.com. Use Code: springebookscp. Valid until June 20.

About the Author

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

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

https://www.tabithayoung.com/

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

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

Weekly Comic-Book Roundup #1

As a writer, I am always looking towards other creative fields for inspiration. Growing up and well into adulthood now, one of my biggest sources of creative inspiration has been comic books. Whether it was all powerful heroes like Superman or everyday vigilantes like Batman, I’ve loved reading the stories of DC Comics, Marvel and more. The incredible world building, mythology and character development are part of the inspiration for me as a writer when I look to build my own fictional universes. For me and many others out there, comic books serve as the modern day version of Greek mythology, not to mention the other various mythologies of our world.

With that in mind, I want to try and start a new weekly series where I review the comics I read in that given week. Not all of these will be brand new releases. However I think comic books can stand the test of time, and I want to keep that storytelling power alive by sharing with you all what I read in the world of comics. So with that in mind, here is the first comic book roundup.

Thor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder (Thor (2014) #1)

Written by Jason Aaron

Illustrated by: Jorge Molina, Russell Dauterman 

Synopsis

Who is the Goddess of Thunder?

The secrets of Original Sin have laid low one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. The God of Thunder is unworthy, and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted! But when Frost Giants invade Earth, a new hand will grasp the hammer–and a mysterious woman will take up the mantle of the mighty Thor! Her identity is secret to even Odin, but she may be Earth’s only hope against the Frost Giants. Get ready for a Thor like you’ve never seen before as this all-new heroine takes Midgard by storm! Plus: The Odinson clearly doesn’t like that someone else is holding his hammer–it’s Thor vs. Thor! And Odin, desperate to see Mjolnir returned, will call on some very dangerous, very unexpected allies. It’s a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor! 

CollectingThor 1-5

Verdict

As a longtime fan of Thor, I have to say that I personally was loving this new twist on the mythology. Already playing off the classic Norse mythology of Asgard, Odin and Thor himself, this new story showcases the god of thunder in a whole new light, as his power is bestowed onto a new hero, the goddess of thunder herself Thor. Playing with the mystery of this woman’s true identity, it allowed the Thor we know to take a hard look at himself and decide whether he was a hero without the hammer or not. Meanwhile, the narrative played well with the modern day social problems many women face. Told they can’t do the same job as a man and aren’t as powerful, the new Thor shows that she is just as worthy of Mjolnir and the power of Thor as the original Odinson, and more so than any other man in the universe. A hero in her own right, the artwork captures her raw power and the almost fantasy-like quality of classic mythology we’ve seen for ages in art. This is a must read story of female empowerment, heroism and adversity against all odds. 

Rating: 10/10

Convergence (Convergence 0-8)

Written by: Jeff King

Illustrated by: Carlo Pagulayan 

Synopsis

This is it! The entire DC Universe from the dawn of time through the New 52 stars in CONVERGENCE, an unprecedented event that brings together your favorite characters from every era and series—and none of them will ever be the same.

The evil alien intelligence known as Brainiac has stolen 50 doomed cities from throughout time and space and brought them to a place beyond the Multiverse—a sentient planet of his own design, a world with the power of a god. As heroes and villains from dozens of worlds battle each other for their very existence, it’s up to a ragtag band of warriors from a slain Earth to put an end to this threat that bends the Multiverse to its will. Reality itself hangs in the balance…

Existence comes to end and a beginning with writers JEFF KING (USA’s White Collar), SCOTT LOBDELL (SUPERMAN: DOOMED) and DAN JURGENS (BATMAN BEYOND), and artists CARLO PAGULAYAN (Incredible Hulk), STEPHEN SEGOVIA (GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS), ANDY KUBERT (DAMIAN: SON OF BATMAN) and ETHAN VAN SCIVER (GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH). Collects CONVERGENCE #0-8.

Verdict

A fantastic delve into the concept of the multiverse, DC Comics unleashed a whirlwind story of sentient planets, monstrous AI villains who sought to control, and a madman who’s quest for power nearly leads to the destruction of the multiverse. Meant to end the New 52 branding (not necessarily the stories themselves), this crossover event featured the heroes of Earth 2 as they sought allies across the other captured realities of Brainiac in hopes of returning home. The blend of stories and universes was well thought out and gave fans an opportunity to follow a group of heroes not always featured prominently such as Jay Garrick’s The Flash or the Flashpoint Batman. Now one critique I would have is if fans are unfamiliar with the New 52’S Earth 2 heroes or storyline, or the multiverse as a whole, it might be a bit confusing to follow the overall plot. Not as much time was spent exploring the character’s backstories (especially due to the sheer volume of various incarnations of characters), but overall the story still shined and laid the groundwork for the coming of the Rebirth storyline in the years to come.

Rating: 8/10

Batman, Vol. 1: I Am Gotham

(Batman (2016) #1)

Written by Tom King and Illustrated by David Finch

The Synopsis

Part of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling, all-new line of volume one graphic novels, DC Universe Rebirth!

He is Gotham City’s hero, its Dark Knight, its greatest protector. He is Batman. And he is not alone.

There are two new heroes in town-a pair of masked metahumans with the powers of Superman and a devotion to preserving all that is good about this twisted city. Calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl, they’ve saved Batman’s life, fought by his side and learned from his example.

But what happens if Gotham’s new guardians go bad? What if they blame the Dark Knight for the darkness that threatens to drown their city?

When sinister forces are unleashed that can warp the minds of men and make heroes into monsters, the time will come for Batman and his allies to decide once and for all: Is Gotham a force for good…or an engine of evil?

From the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event comes BATMAN VOL. 1: I AM GOTHAM-the beginning of an all-new saga in the life of the Dark Knight from superstars Tom King (GRAYSON) and David Finch (WONDER WOMAN), featuring an all-star cast of creators such as Scott Snyder (BATMAN: THE COURT OF OWLS), Ivan Reis (JUSTICE LEAGUE) and Mikel Janín (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK)! This great starting-point graphic novel collects BATMAN: REBIRTH #1 and BATMAN #1-6. 

The Verdict

Writer Tom King and illustrator/artist David Finch expertly bring the gritty world of Gotham to life in this first volume of Batman’s Rebirth story. Exploring the influence and inspiration that the legend of the Batman has on the citizens of Gotham, (whether it’s a young boy and girl inspired to become heroes or low-level criminals spurned into becoming deadly villains), this volume does a marvelous job of showcasing Batman’s hope for a Gotham that is always protected, even if he were no longer there. It also does a great job of showing how the most noble and heroic person is susceptible to negative influences, and could easily fall to the dark side, so to speak. It’s a haunting and poetic story of good versus evil, and the dangers that come from stepping into the role of a city’s hero. 

Rating: 10/10

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley by Carol Es Review

One woman’s harrowing journey through a tumultuous childhood and the back and forth struggle between living a “normal life” and being indoctrinated into Scientology comes to life in author Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley”.

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

TRIGGER WARNING: THEMES AND STORIES INVOLVING ABUSE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, DRUG USE AND SUICIDE ARE FEATURED IN THIS NOVEL. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

One woman’s harrowing journey through a tumultuous childhood and the back and forth struggle between living a “normal life” and being indoctrinated into Scientology comes to life in author Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley”. Here is the synopsis. 

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The Synopsis

Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion, and a small vegetable farm. Moving 16 times before the age of nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head. Living with an unstable family, a mentally abusive mother, and enduring years of neglect and sexual molestation left Carol Es believing she was inherently bad. At 14, she decided to ditch a rootless, dysfunctional family circus, seeking something that might make her a better person.

She thought she found her answers in Scientology, but she thought wrong.

As a self-taught artist, writer, and drummer, Carol maintained an unbreakable bond with her passions as a means of survival. She exhibited her art and played music tirelessly in bands on Sunset Boulevard and the LA circuit. She toured the US and Canada, signed with Sony Music, but all the while, she’d been conditioned to hide and deny her own mental illness in order to stay true to the doctrine of L. Ron Hubbard—a man who claimed psychiatric treatment was an evil hoax.

In her book, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley, Carol explains how it was even possible to be both brainwashed and live “normally” in the world of contemporary art and rock n’ roll.

After a tumultuous childhood and 20 years in the cult, Carol Es takes a huge stride out of fear and silence by sharing her true vulnerabilities and intense experiences. With gallows humor and a unique perspective, she invites readers into her confidence, laying bare her most raw and intimate revelations on her seemingly endless search for self-worth as a woman. In conversational prose, she manages to embrace the horrifically sad scenes of her past, her biggest embarrassments, and finds absurdities one can only laugh about through tears.

Illustrated with crude sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a courageous, relatable story that will keep you turning pages to the very end.

The Review

This has got to be one of the most detailed and emotionally powerful books of not only an ex-Scientologist, but of a survivor in general. Having overcome so much hardship and struggles in her life, author Carol Es has delivered an emotionally driven, informative and down to earth retelling of the events that shaped her life, and her journey to overcome those experiences. 

While I will reiterate that his novel has some powerful themes and stories that can be triggering for some (and should not be read by anyone who is triggered by these stories or children), the story is one everyone should get an opportunity to read. The life led by the author has elements many people can find a way to relate to. Whether it’s the abuses she survived, the indoctrination in Scientology, (one of the biggest cults currently running in the world), a troubled childhood and family life and coming to terms with that while dealing with loss, the highs and lows of the music industry, and even those struggling with autoimmune illnesses like MS and Lupus, this novel has something most readers will be able to relate to and identify with. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s a top contender for best nonfiction and top read of 2019 on my website. It’s has humor infused in a natural way, while also incorporating emotionally charged stories that not only showcase the worst of humanity, but also shows the power of resilience and fighting for a brighter, better tomorrow. An in-depth analysis of Scientology as well, viewers of the show conducted by former Scientologist Leah Remini or former scientologists themselves will be shocked, surprised and relieved to see someone give such an accurate and powerful account of what life in this organization is truly like. If you enjoy powerful memoirs, real life accounts of life inside of a cult and stories of overcoming great odds to find a brighter future, then grab your copy of Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley” on April 6th, 2019. 

Rating: 10/10

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Author Bio

Carol Es

Carol Es is a self-taught artist, writer, and musician born in Los Angeles. Using a wide variety of media, she is known for creating personal narratives that transform a broken history into a positive resolution. Her paintings, drawings, installations, videos, and books have been exhibited nationwide in venues such as Riverside Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, and Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles. Some of her works can be found in the collections at the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her collaborative film was also featured in the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale. 

Awarded many honors, including several grants from the National Arts and Disability Center and California Arts Council, she is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and the Wynn Newhouse Award. She has written articles of art critique for the Huffington Post and Coagula Art Journal, as well as having poetry published with small presses. She also received a writing grant from Asylum-Arts—a Global Network for Jewish Culture.

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

esart.com

Desert Dog Books

Mental Health Awareness is a subject I get very passionate about. One thing that has helped me advocate for this cause has been my partnership with BetterHelp, a fantastic website that allows you to seek the help you need. If you seeking advice on the best online therapy websites, then click the link below and find the help you are looking for today!

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-are-the-best-online-therapy-sites