In First Generation Father: How to Build a Healthy and Happy Home When You Come From a Broken One, Anthony Blankenship displays his diverse writing skills. The author’s writing will have one virtually wear his shoes and experience the things he went through. Not only is he skilled with his narration, but he is also great when driving a point home. Anthony Blankenship will give stories and tales of his experiences, but at the end of the paragraph, there will be a life lesson or life hack that the author will have shared. Reading this book was a delight. It enables you to see life from the eyes of different people and helps you understand the different types of families that exist.
In the introduction, the author explains in detail what a first-generation father is. He explains that a first-generation father is any man who grew up without having to experience the love and guidance of a father. One thing I have to applaud Anthony Blankenship on is how great he is when explaining unfamiliar terms and new words. The author goes into detail and even gives examples whenever he talks of a subject or a term not many are familiar with. Reading about and understanding all the terms associated with broken unhappy homes, trauma, and childhood depression was interesting.
Anthony Blankenship’s story is not entirely sad. A huge part of his narration was agonizing but one could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The author writes extensively about his childhood and time growing up, talking about family members and everyone he interacted with. Reading about his past was intriguing. Anthony Blankenship is so good with his words that one can tell how emotional he was when going through the experiences and when recounting them. I appreciate the positive tone in the author’s text. Anthony Blankenship had a ray of hope and positivity even when talking about sad events. He has a way of encouraging his readers and people that may be going through the struggles he went through.
First Generation Father is a great book for fathers that want to be the best version of themselves and young men who are yet to experience fatherhood. There are tons of lessons for males and wise words that will guide them as they lead their homes. Every child deserves a happy home and as the author writes, no one should be stigmatized for coming from broken homes. There are a dozen lessons for both parents and children. The language used in the book is easy to understand and the stories told compellingly. First Generation Father is a nice quick read that will have you appreciate the work present fathers do.
Pages: 204 | ASIN: B08JNN82PP
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Ungodly is a chilling horror thriller written by Braedon Riddick. There is a fascinating, albeit disturbing, concept explored within the pages, reminding me of the eerie feel in Stephen King novels, but a bit more expressive rather than reminiscent. Set on Calisade Mountain College, Ungodly begins with a thwarted plan from a troubled teenager who aimed for mass murder. The mass murder may have been stopped but an unseen aftermath, possibly worse than before, now takes place.
There are more than a few characters in Ungodly, some wildly different while others seem similar in certain regards, but there is one word that can describe every single one of them; flawed. Author Braedon Riddick went far to set up realistic character flaws, then to delve in and show how these can control someone or affect them silently. I appreciated how these were portrayed as realistic flaws, from a drunken abuser to a cheating spouse, and all the characters, victims included, don’t always have a good ending. I had some trouble connecting with particular characters, which I assume was the point, but it did make me reluctant to read a few chapters. Eventually, this balances out with character strengths and relationship growths throughout the story. The relationship between our protagonist Amanda and Brian was a breath of fresh air from the horror and suspense filling this book.
Braedon Riddick’s prose is a big highlight in this novel. He has the ability to evoke some raw emotions with simple but effective language. There are many scenes in Ungodly that froze the air still and silent before shrieking in the reader’s face. The atmosphere was incredibly eerie for the first two thirds before propelling readers towards the climax, and that may be because of how effectively the author writes fear of the unknown. However, the novel takes place with multiple timelines shifting between many perspectives. This can take a while to get used to and takes some time to get emotionally invested in the characters because we’re hopping from one character to the next.
Following incredibly authentic, and flawed, characters made me want to push through the slower parts of the novel. The second half had me completely immersed in the story. By the ending, I rooted for our main cast, nervous for what may happen but excited to see where it would go. Ungodly is a horror novel for readers who enjoy slow building thrillers with a thick atmosphere and a dark but gripping story line.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B08QF8J884
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Cyberattack—an ominous word that strikes fear in the hearts of nearly everyone, especially business owners, CEOs, and executives. With cyberattacks resulting in often devastating results, it’s no wonder executives hire the best and brightest of the IT world for protection. But are you doing enough? Do you understand your risks? What if the brightest aren’t always the best choice for your company?
In The Smartest Person in the Room, Christian Espinosa shows you how to leverage your company’s smartest minds to your benefit and theirs. Learn from Christian’s own journey from cybersecurity engineer to company CEO. He describes why a high IQ is a lost superpower when effective communication, true intelligence, and self-confidence are not embraced. With his seven-step methodology and stories from the field, Christian helps you develop your team’s technical minds so they become better humans and strong leaders who excel in every role. This book provides you with an enlightening perspective of how to turn your biggest unknown weakness into your strongest defense.
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Janet has a promise ring, and Will is her one true love. Both of them work hard, have plans for a beautiful future, and look forward to the day they are reunited. But Will has a dream. He will do anything to be among the first to board the famed Titanic. When news of the tragic event reaches Janet, she has no reason to believe Will is among the victims–or does she?
A Ring of Promises, by Marie Gage, is a love story like no other. Based on actual historical events, Gage’s story is gripping and encompasses all the horror loved ones must have felt following the sinking of the Titantic. The author manages to portray every emotion while drawing readers into every harrowing second of the characters’ experiences. Janet and Will, both living their separate horrors, are relatable and fascinating. Gage does a wonderful job of capturing the various dialects in her writing along with the tone of both their love and fear.
I have always found the story of the Titanic riveting. Gage’s account of that fateful night told through the relationship between Janet and Will, is no less gripping. There is an intense amount of pain and heartbreak surrounding the tragedy, and Gage’s work captures every aspect of it. Janet and Will have my heart. Their hearts are pure, and their love makes this story truly enchanting.
A Ring of Promises is a romance novel that transcends genres and offers readers much more depth and emotion than your typical love story. Time and distance play an integral role in Gage’s work. The author keeps romance alive with Janet and Will. Not many books maintain the integrity of the characters’ love and dedication like this one. Being able to weave this throughout the story of a tragic historical event like the sinking of the Titanic is a true accomplishment.
I highly recommend A Ring of Promise to any fan of historical romances that are steeped in emotion and focused on true love conquering all. Gage’s work is genuine and serves as an example of what tenderness and courage can accomplish together. A Ring of Promises certainly surpasses my expectations of a historical fiction romance.
Pages: 449 | ASIN: B089DN4GFQ
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CHANGE is a riveting space opera following Major Markis and her journey to protect a young prince amid warring factions. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
I wish I could take credit for it. I actually went into the future and stole it from myself. …or is that Bill & Ted?
The idea for the novel came from 2 short stories. One about an Empire torn apart by dynastic rivalry, on the brink of civil war. The other centered on the experiences of two humans, abducted and sold into a life of forced labour on a fog covered death trap of a world. Neither story seemed complete in itself so I intertwined the two, with the aim of bringing both worlds together in the next book of the series. The crux of both storylines is that most of us take the stability of our world for granted. Yet, as we’ve seen over the last year, that stability can soon be ripped away. Almost overnight things can “Change”, and not in a good way. It’s about how the characters adapt to their new reality, how they survive, deal with the challenges and push through to the end.
The characters in your novel were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My main characters: Patricea, Paul and Bernadette, because they create the action and draw the reader into their world. We experience their struggle and view everything that’s happening to them through their eyes. But then there’s Hellia Vallion. She is narcissism personified. No regard for anyone else, she acts solely out of self-interest every time. Hopefully a character you’ll love to hate. I know I do. Last but not least, there’s the Lady Orphalia Darteane – a totally deep red haired wild card. Is she from somewhere else – or was she born here, and life just made her this way? Who knows? Definitely a woman who would attract and yet terrify me. Yeah – I know I have no hope. But still…
What were some sources that informed the development of the universe you were creating in this book?
Well, when it comes to dynastic rivalry on an interstellar scale – Frank Herbert is the master. Of course, “Change” doesn’t come close to that – but “Dune” did inspire me. So much so, I had to set the first chapter on a desert planet, to pay homage and set the tone. I explore other worlds in the novel after that. The Phylean capital, and the fog shrouded swamps of Es-Ra, are nothing like Arrakis. Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy was an inspiration too
Technology: I’ve read and I watch a lot of science fiction. One of the things I wanted to do was examine the availability of access to technology, depending on where you lived and where you were ranked in society. The rich, the military, think nothing of using teleportation. If you can afford it, you travel across tremendous distances instantly via Trans-spatial barge. If you’re less well off, you travel via Jump Drive, or Hyperdrive Transport. If you get abducted into forced labour, you just get put into stasis and travel to who knows where, via who knows how.
Speech marks: the editions of the books I have, written by Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke, all use single speech marks. I liked the look of punctuation lite, it felt smoother – so I used that when writing “Change”.
The virtual worlds of “Change”: The 1990 version of “Total Recall” was my inspiration when creating the virtual worlds of “Change”. Rather than having to be plugged into a rather large machine, I decided that total sensory immersion via bio-technical implants was the way to go. When someone transitions into the Network – I wanted the virtual environment to be indistinguishable from the real. Like “The Matrix” when you go virtual, there is no scent, no sound out of place, nothing out of the ordinary to tell you where you actually are. ‘Do you think that’s air you’re breathing…?’
I’ve mentioned some of my on-screen influences and favourite authors above, and I’m really grateful to them. There is no doubt the style and ideas influenced me when I was writing “Change”.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on the next book now. It will be a sequel to “Change – but I don’t have a title yet. All I can say at this point is that It won’t be “Change 2” – I can tell you that. My publicity team is comprised of me, so I’ve been busy obtaining reviews and advertising via BookBub. So far I’ve finished 10 chapters of the first draft of the new novel. I have a skeleton outline for each chapter – and touch wood, the writing is going fine. I hope to be able to publish it next year.
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No Birds Sing Here is a satire that follows two young aspiring authors, Beckman and Malany. The duo tries to escape the mundanity of their everyday lives when one day Beckman decides he has had enough. They flee through an apartment window and hit the road! Along the way, they discuss how they’ll actually make it as writers. And in an effort to get their names out there, they pull some wild antics and play up all the artistic clichés.
Author Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has created a complex plot compared to most satirically driven stories. And there are many highs and lows to this riveting story. Where one part lacks another shines so bright it’s blinding. Meier’s character building left me with mixed emotions. Due to the lack of descriptions of Beckman and Malany, I had a hard time visualizing them in my mind. Although, when it came to the construction of their personalities, I felt that Meier was spot on with details. Within the first few chapters I could tell what kind of people Beckman and Malany were. That also lent to me being able to figure out what their story arcs would be. I appreciate Meier’s sharp satirical take on artists and what their audiences truly want. His incisive portrayal of human desire and all of its clichés is wildly fascinating. With nimble writing and refreshing viewpoints the story gave me off beat poet generation vibes, which I adore. His metaphors mimicked the style of that generation and overall gives the story some color.
No Birds Sing Here is a literary adventure that I heartily enjoyed for its savvy dialogue and intriguing views. But I would have loved to have gotten more backstory within the early pages because the characters are captivating and I wanted more of them. Author Daniel V. Meier gives readers a road trip they won’t soon forget.
Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08GZGFYLF
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Diane Gensler couldn’t be more out of her element. She is Jewish and teaching in a Catholic school. The two worlds colliding around her are just the beginning of her experience educating the students of the parochial Baltimore school. Gensler finds herself facing anti-Semitism in addition to what can already be a challenging career path. While she has looked forward to being a teacher in her own classroom, she can only begin to guess what this particular position has in store for her. What Gensler finds out in her first days at the Catholic school is that even creating a welcoming atmosphere and being an eager teacher might not be enough to battle the preconceived notions of others.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses, by Diane Gensler, is the story of the author’s time spent teaching in a Catholic school in Baltimore. As a Jewish woman, she experienced biases and treatment to which her coworkers were immune. Her first year as a teacher should have been filled with joy and rewarding firsts, but she was subjected to prejudices–some veiled, others not so much.
As a teacher, I found so many truths in Gensler’s story. There is a seemingly endless number of things you are not told when you enter your first year, and she reveals them all plus more. I felt every one of her frustrations over losing instructional time to extra and unexpected duties. Nothing prepares you for all of the additional tasks, and Gensler explicitly lays out each and every one of them with all of the brutal honesty of a teacher eager to educate but overwhelmed by the magnitude of her job.
Gensler handles herself with a finesse not always known to first-year teachers. From dealing with attending Catholic church services to coping with parents who seem out to prove her incompetent, she persists and does so with much success. I was amazed at how well she dealt with coworkers who snubbed her without reason and the coldness of her principal. It takes a strong person to do this job and handle that kind of treatment.
I am giving Forgive Us Our Trespasses, by Diane Gensler, 5 out of 5 stars. If it were possible to give it more stars, I would do so enthusiastically. Gensler has put into writing what every teacher feels and given voice to some of the most challenging aspects of our jobs. Her words are not only relatable; they are filled with all the raw emotion of a woman experiencing the sting of prejudice while facing some of the most important work that can be done.
Pages: 188 | ASIN: B08BNPNP3J
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Snow Dust and Boneshine follows a granny witch who forms a bond with a wandering cowboy that has an alluring secret. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
Not long ago, I lived in Wyoming, and I met so many fascinating people with an amazing balance of grit and heart. Becoming one with the brave souls on the prairie for a moment in time absolutely informed the development of Snow Dust and Boneshine. Equally as powerful in the development of Snow Dust and Boneshine was my connection to my ancestors and all the memories of my granny when we lived in the rolling hills of Appalachia together. I wanted to honor my granny and pay my respects to the many forms of healing and caring for those in need.
The idea of a granny witch was imaginative and developed creatively. How did you come up with this idea and how did it change as you wrote?
I decided to write Snow Dust and Boneshine as an homage to the granny witches in the Appalachian community where I grew up. My own granny was a powerful source of inspiration for me as I wrote this book. I really wanted to capture the spirit of folk magic and folk medicine because it’s a different kind of magic. I think it’s one of the most beautiful aspects of Appalachian culture, and I really wanted to connect with my roots and my ancestors. I wanted to share this story with others because it’s an historical glimpse into a community and a culture, their beliefs, their perspectives, and their desire to help and heal those in need.
The story takes place in Wyoming in the 1800’s. Why did you pick this time and place to tell your story?
I’ve always been intrigued by the wild west, which was probably a driving force in me moving to Wyoming and living there for a few years. The magic of old man winter, the tough as nails people, the golden grass in the summer, the bluebirds and the adventure – all of these things inspired me to capture the beauty and the perils of prairie living. Also, I love 1800s argot. It’s not every day that I get to use phrases like “splendiferous, moonlighting, swacked, among the willows, and a bag of nails.”
This is book one in The Chronicles of Granny Witch. What can readers expect in book two?
At the moment, the second book is still a mystery even to me. I have some ideas about where to go with the storyline, but as always, I’ll let the story flow and reveal itself in its own good time. I do think the second book will answer the inevitable question: Will Patrick return to Purgatory Bend next summer, and/or will Fawna marry Dezi? One of the scenes I’m most excited to write is when the traveling circus comes to Bitter Valley!
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