The Endowment of Isaac Frey

The Endowment of Isaac Frey by Val Wilson

The Endowment of Isaac Frey

The Endowment of Isaac Frey by Val Wilson is a historical fiction story about a haunted old house in Coventry, England, and the family who occupies the house. The book starts in 1920 with John Weir and his friend, Albert Parry hunting for a legendary priest hole tunnel exit on the grounds of John’s family home, The Old House, a residence filled with tragedy and ghosts. The story spans several decades as the friends grow older and World War II separates them for a time, then brings them back together. Before going off to war to join Albert, John marries Annie Goodwin, a local girl who has returned to Coventry after escaping from an abusive man in London. The first part of the story follows John Weir as a boy and then a man (and later on, his wife, Annie), the current occupants of The Old House. Isaac Frey is introduced into the story after the halfway point. An American G.I. stationed at the base nearby, Captain Isaac Frey begins a relationship with Annie while John is away fighting in the war. But The Old House brings madness to the Weir family… and murder when John learns that he didn’t father Annie’s twins. After the murder of his wife, her children, and her lover, John Weir assumes Isaac Frey’s identity.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style. The vivid descriptions of supernatural events pulled me into the story. The house isn’t just the setting–it’s like another character, albeit creepy and suspenseful. The element of mystery surrounding the house kept me interested in the story all the way through till the end.

I didn’t like the character of Annie Goodwin. She suffered a lot of adversity, but her reaction to it was anger and taking her feelings out on others. I didn’t find her to be a likable character. She seemed to wallow in her misfortune, instead of finding a way to raise above it. Her affair with Isaac leads to her tragic end.

There were some minor issues with typos. And the point of view shifts between characters from one paragraph to the next were a bit distracting. Sometimes the shifts happened in the middle of a paragraph, which made it difficult to keep track of whose head I was supposed to be in. Some of the time jumps were a bit jarring, when something unexpected happened, but then suddenly it was years later without the author showing the previous moment in time playing out. Otherwise, a very entertaining novel.

The Endowment of Isaac Frey by Val Wilson

Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge – Audiobook


Tiny Tim is all grown up, and everything he loves and holds dear has been ripped from him. Upon the death of his dear friend, Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim begins to question each of his beliefs and the very faith that had been instilled in his family with the love of Scrooge himself years ago. Tim, now an adult, is faced with the loss of another of his dear loves, Becky. As fate would have it, Becky is simultaneously suffering through the most trying time of her young life on the streets with her young son and no place to lay their heads. Just as fate intervened fourteen years ago in the form of Ebenezer Scrooge, fate lays its hand on upon Tim once more.

Norman Whaler has crafted a beautiful tale of faith, hope, and love in his sequel to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge – Audiobook details the events surrounding and immediately following the death of an aged Ebenezer Scrooge. Tim Cratchit, once the young crippled boy benefiting from Scrooge’s change of heart in A Christmas Carol, is impacted most of all by Scrooge’s death.

From beginning to end, Whaler’s sequel to the beloved classic pays homage to the original plot and the beautiful transformation made by its key character, Ebenezer Scrooge. Though Tiny Tim, now all grown up, is the title character, he also exhibits a change of heart similar to that of Scrooge. Tim fights a battle within himself as he struggles to regain his faith. Whaler does a phenomenal job of adhering to the feel of the original book with his references to Scrooge’s character transformation. The reader watches as Tim fights a similar battle and, ultimately, wins with Scrooge’s help.

As a fan of the original tale of Scrooge and the Cratchits, I could not help but fall in love with the parallel story line and the magic of three as it again reared its head in Tim’s life. The sound quality and voice over is exceptional in this audiobook and delivers this lovely story in a clear and crisp manner. Scrooge’s reappearance from the afterlife is expected but quite fitting. Whaler has done Dickens proud with this quick read rich with character development and steeped with faith.

Duration: 1 hour 54 minutes | ASIN: B01NAJJLXP

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The Audric Experiment

The Audric Experiment by [Barnes, Patrick]The story of Pierre Morena, a 17-year-old in the year 2328, when England is ruled by something called the Audric who rule society through neural stimulation, either serotonin releases to reward compliance or shocks to punish anti-social behavior, guided by a manifesto called The Financially Prudent World by the Audric prophet, Genesis Smith.

Pierre is the first person in this Brave New World to make it as far as 17 without ever once receiving a shock, earning him the nickname Pure Pierre. And then, after a strange and mysterious incident on the 13th floor of the Library in the Shopping (called the Athenaeum here), Pierre begins to wonder if he’s really as pure as he’s come to think. And he’s not the only one. Pierre is in for the challenge of his life. He’s always thought of himself as virtuous; but what is virtue, he begins to wonder, if it’s never been tested?

He runs into a group called the Gamblers who dress like bikers and quote Nietzsche but worship Grease-era John Travolta. They reject and resist the Audric principles and have their own currency. They want Pure Pierre to endorse their hair product, but he’s not so sure. A Gambler accidentally blows his arm off firing an unauthorized gun when Pierre stops for a Macchiato in a Gambler cafe.

We don’t learn too much about the world, though it seems to resemble a 1970’s version of the future, like you’d see in Logan’s Run or Buck Rodgers or Jack Kirby comics. But the world we are presented with is immensely interesting and beautifully drawn. People take pictures on their phones and ride in solar pods, but they still read print newspapers and play water polo. The water polo match at the beginning, in fact, is a thing of beauty, and it makes you wonder why there aren’t more books about water polo players. The Big Three manufacturers are Little Amore, Generation Gold and Walden Now, and they take at least some of their ideas from the Entrepreneurial Etiquette class where Pierre had been a star pupil, inventing a solar radio inspired by a 20th Century Orangina bottle. This combination makes a unique world that serves as an interesting backdrop to a compelling story.

Patrick Barnes engages and entertains in this novel and leaves you questioning whether we want to truly be happy or to just be comfortable. He drags Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Kierkegaard, even Einstein, into it. It’s like an episode of the TV show The Good Place only with fewer jokes and more suspense. The Audric Experiment is a fun, action-packed read that’s overflowing with great ideas and moral questions.

Pages: 300 | ASIN: B01N313ZXL

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Cottonblood – Trailer

This saga begins amid the wealth of Southern plantation owners and Northern investors. By identifying the equities gained, greater concerns began to rise among the nation’s abolitionists. As a consequence, regional politicians began moving the citizenry into opposing camps.

COTTONBLOOD tracks the lives of two adolescent murderers: The first, a mixed-breed Canadian entering American waters as a deckhand aboard a French freighter. The second, a youngster captured from Sierra Leone to a foreign land where a strange language is spoken. Although the two men never meet, their journeys lattice one another as each search for some form of security. When false hope leads one into an unsolicited life of labor, the other haphazardly finds a future of opulence.

The plot traces their lives, and relations, through generations of survival leading the inheritors into the first year of America’s horrendous Civil War.

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Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol by [Whaler, Norman]

It takes a bold artist to follow up a masterpiece. Far too often, the original creators can’t even recapture a work’s magic in its sequel. Sometimes though, the most devoted admirers are up to the task. Norman Whaler’s Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge – The Sequel to A Christmas Carol might be derivative, but it’s derivative in all the right ways. Whaler knows he’s trying to extend Dickens classic, and he succeeds.

Whaler opens his sequel by briefly summarizing the ending of A Christmas Carol – which quickly helps ground any readers who haven’t read it recently. Here, we see right away that Whaler makes the smart decision to evoke Dickens rather than imitate him. He echos Dickens’ source of tension in the characters’ lives: for crippling poverty still grips this corner of London. And with the newly philanthropic Ebenezer Scrooge now deceased, the citizens again find themselves facing an English winter without money for food or clothing.

My favorite part of the reading was hearing more from the side characters whose voices drive the plot. Unfortunately, the illustrations that start each chapter vary wildly in terms of style and medium. They all match the subject of the story well, but fail to match each other. Some appear hand drawn while others have been made on a computer. Even just applying the same filter to each illustration would have helped unify the novel.

Whaler clearly admires and respects Dickens, but I do think he missed out on an opportunity to be a little more self referential with the sequel – Dickens might very well have appreciated just such humor. Regardless, the voice and tone that first made this Christmas classic are there in full force. If you read the conclusion of Dickens’ original to your children while a cold winter blast beasts against the frame of the house, they might just turn up toward you and ask, as so many readers have over the decades, “what happens next?” In such an event, you now know where to turn.

Pages: 96 | ASIN: B076YGMGF9

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A Dark Mirror And A Passageway

Andi Hayes Author Interview

Andi Hayes Author Interview

The Rebellious Earthling follows Ermina and her experiences in the depraved goblin world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

The hellish world of Tartarus served as both a dark mirror and a passageway to the evil that is business-as-usual behind certain closed doors on Earth. The intent was to expose normalized cruelties and aberrant, sociopathic behaviors in what’s considered a civilized society. Inspiration for the landscape came from many sources, including artwork like Hieronymus Bosch paintings and “The Harrowing of Hell,” and books like “The Princess and The Goblin” and Orwell’s “1984.” The Turquoise Mirror did actually exist at one time but has since been gotten rid of for its unflattering reflection and creepy aura.

Lord Phegor infects a village of noble goblins to create a new species of demonic creatures. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their race?

The new species created was one void of all empathy, decency and morals; they had willingly given up their souls in exchange for hedonistic lives free of guilt or remorse. Theirs was a joyless existence, as every emotion not rooted in hate, pride or deceit was deemed useless and burdensome. Their apathy, narcissism and division amongst themselves served a purpose: it gave the Cabal even more power to control every aspect of their lives, all while allowing them to think they were free.

I appreciated the depth of Ermina and Fairuzo characters and I found their relationship well developed. What were some driving ideals behind their characters and relationship?

The Fairuzo character was based on the magnetic personality traits of an alluring, charismatic sociopath. Ermina’s naïve optimism and adventurous spirit enabled her to see past his cruel exterior enough to recognize a tiny speckle of good within him. In return, he saw within her an innocence long absent from his depraved world of debauchery, a purity he yearned to both corrupt yet preserve. A textbook case of opposites attracting; together, they were the meeting and melding of good and evil. And it is said that good always triumphs over evil.

What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next novel is a pet memoir entitled “Bratskulla The Magical Cat.” It will be available sometime in 2019.

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The Rebellious Earthling: Tale of The Turquoise Mirror by [Hayes, Andi]

ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets DANTE’S INFERNO
She loves animals… he loves to sacrifice them. It’s a mismatch made in HELL.

An entirely new species of demonic creatures is spawned when Lord Phegor of the Fallen Angels infects a village of kind and noble goblins. Their mutated offspring now populate the God-forsaken planet of Tartarus where souls are taboo and nothing is sacred. It is into this hellish realm that the prim but virtuous Ermina descends after having impulsively accompanied Phegor’s charismatic son, Lord Fairuzo, back to his kingdom deep underground.

Surrounded by vicious, hedonistic trolls whose sordid pleasures include sacrificing animals, tormenting slaves and indulging in violent orgies, the animal-loving Ermina refuses to participate in any of the cruel depravity. Suspected of possessing an intact soul and under constant surveillance by a diabolical Cabal, she must now find a way to escape back to Earth or be eaten alive.

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Start Off With Their Flaws

Kevin James Breaux Author Interview

Kevin James Breaux Author Interview

Your novels always have in depth characters and twisting plots. What is your writing process like before and during the process?

Thanks for mentioning that. I work hard to make my characters interesting. I think the most important detail is to create characters that are flawed. Start off with their flaws and build up to the traits that make them likeable and then move slowly, for some, to things that are redeeming.

My characters are meant to seem like everyday people. I do not like to paint them as black or white, I like to use the hundreds of shades of grey in-between. That, in my opinion, makes them more believable and fascinating.

Have you ever thought about exploring different mediums to tell your stories; ex. comics, games, etc.?

This year, I translated one of my novels into comic book script format and submitted it to IDW Comics. I then sent AND even hand-delivered those scripts and copies of my novels to them. I am waiting to hear back. I should be meeting with a representative of the company in the new year.

I am very much a fan of comic and anime. I would love to write for them. While it would be amazing to do so with my own properties, I would also like a shot at writing something like G.I. Joe or something else from the 80’s.

The way I write is imagining my story as a movie. So, my goal would be to have one of my novels or series to become a movie or TV series. With Netflix and Amazon picking up so many books these days, I need to get my works into their hands. If you are reading this Netflix, give me a call. 😊

Writers often find inspiration everywhere and in everything they do. Do you find yourself often looking at the world through the lens of a writer?

Well… I will point out weak writing in a TV show or movie I am watching, but for the most part I separate my two worlds now.

That being said, I do look at the world and see things as a visual artist. Which might be why people often compliment my writing as being so vivid. I spent so many years in art school struggling to force what I saw in my head onto paper in pencil, charcoal, paint, etc…. Over time, I realized I could take those imagines in my head and translate them to words. It was the only way I was able to truly creatively express myself. And it turned out to be much easier.

Since I am both an artist and an author, I do wish to experience life, but my inspiration comes from surrounding myself with the things I love and bring me happiness. Sometimes it just takes watching a good episode of one of my favorite shows to get me fired up.

What novel are you working on right now and when will it be available?

Good question. I finished the Water Kingdom Series and its final book is just being prepped for release. It should be out in late January 2019. It is called THREE BURNING RED RUNAWAY BRIDES.

Then, I will start editing book three in the four book SOUL BORN Series. It is written but needs work. It was originally 180,0000 words long, so I had to break it into two books.

Lastly, I will get back to working on the follow-up to THE LIFEBLOOD OF ILL-FATED WOMEN. Hopefully have that released in early 2020.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Soul Born by [Breaux, Kevin]All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia, Opal seizes the opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful place among them. Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts of the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power, Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war. Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel, Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing headlong into battle Karn begins recalling memories of another life: ghosts that haunt his dreams. Through death of soul, their new world is born.Buy Now From Amazon.com

 

Scream Aim Fire

Jennifer LeBlanc Author Interview

Jennifer LeBlanc Author Interview

Paper Heart is a collection of poetry about love, loss and life. When you first started writing poetry did you know you would one day publish a collection?

When I first started writing it at ten years old, it wasn’t something I really thought about. Essentially I was already doing that by writing a poem on a legal pad, tearing off the page, and then handing it to my mother to read. So it didn’t really cross my mind at that time. It wasn’t until I later started reading it more, in books from the library, that I thought to myself “I want to do this. I want my words in a book like this.” Because I loved reading and I loved reading poetry and anything lyrical that spoke to my soul. It was a lot like music to me and music is something I have an undying love for.

I felt that the poems all explored very emotional topics. What were some ideas you often explored in your poetry?

A little bit of everything, but all of them stem from personal experiences. So depending on the emotions the experience evoked, the tone and feeling would reflect what I felt at the time or what I was thinking. A lot of my personal experiences are things that were hard to overcome or hurtful. Which is why those poems are dominant in the collection and not the brighter happier ones, because that’s not what this collection is about. It’s about each little piece of my heart being put on paper whether good or bad, no matter which outweighs the other. It may not be something every reader can relate to, because these are my thoughts and my emotions. Some may interpret these poems differently than others and for some it won’t evoke much, but that is because this is about me and what I went through. That being the case, it’s very subjective. If someone reading it didn’t have the same experiences they won’t understand it or be able to relate to it. I basically wrote it as a form of therapy for myself. If others can relate and really enjoy it great, but if others don’t that’s okay too.

My favorite poem is ‘Be Every Color of the Sun’. Do you have a favorite poem from the collection?

I actually don’t have a favorite because I like them all for different reasons. One that stands out though, that I had a very emotional experience writing is Scream Aim Fire. That poem pulled from a very dark place and stems from a broken relationship with a family member that I truly care for, but we have grown apart because of arguments and constant misunderstandings of each other. I honestly wasn’t sure putting it in the book was a good idea at the time, but it may speak to someone else going through the same thing with someone in their family. Finishing it and actually getting the words down helped me release a lot of pent up resentment towards that person and it was how I was able to move on and let that dark cloud inside me drift away.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

I am currently working on my second poetry collection titled Lotus & Fury which will be released hopefully in February of 2019. I also have a few other projects that I am outlining for fictional stories that will be released later next year.

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Paper Heart by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]

It is crinkled, torn and frayed,
but it’s still a heart all the same…

Paper Heart is a collection of poetry stemming from the places where light and darkness have shaped who Jennifer LeBlanc is as a writer. Written over years of introspection, love, pain, and hope, each poem is a placeholder for something that held her mind for either a bright moment or a dark hour.

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Explore Deeper Themes

J.R. Alcyone Author Interview

J.R. Alcyone Author Interview

Five Fathoms Beneath follows Ambrose as he must deal with the emotional and untimely death of his father. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

Without giving away too much personal information, I have experience with both cancer and bipolar disorder. That said, an author who chooses to write about mental illness is taking on a great responsibility–how we depict illnesses in fiction impact how people view those illnesses in reality. That led me to do research, and early in that process, I came across an article about the high incidence rate of suicide in the medical profession. There’s relatively little written on the topic, which isn’t surprising when you consider a mental illness diagnosis can adversely impact a doctor’s career. As someone outside the profession, however, I could write freely about the topic, without anyone assuming I was writing about myself or a colleague. And so I came up with the idea of writing a story about a family of medical doctors who deal across the generations with suicide and mental illness, especially depression.

This book deals with mental illness is a passionate and understanding way. Why was this an important topic for you to explore?

At the beginning of, “The Fault in Our Stars,” in his Author’s Note, John Green writes that it’s a fundamental assumption of our species that made-up stories matter. I think Green is absolutely correct because fiction informs how we view the world, and consequently, as writers, we not only have the power to entertain, but we also have the power to explore deeper themes and potentially change the world in a positive way.

We’re almost two decades into the supposedly “progressive” and “woke” twenty-first century, and mental illness is still being used as a pejorative or as a way to fear monger. And that’s even by people who frankly should know better. The stigma attached to mental illness dissuades people from seeking help. Not seeking help costs lives. And that’s something which impacts us all — whether it’s on the personal level when someone in our family is suffering, or on the societal level when we lose our best and brightest. We all should care about mental health because mental health is something which impacts us all.

My hope is Five Fathoms Beneath causes people to pause, rethink what mental illness looks like, and gets them talking about mental illness and suicide prevention.

Ambrose is a unique character that I liked watching change over time. What were some ideas you wanted to capture while creating his character?

I didn’t intend for Ambrose to speak for everyone with depression because depression exists on a spectrum and besides, everyone’s experience is unique and different. That said, with Ambrose’s character, the reader gets some insight into how a depressed person thinks. For example, when he snaps at his patients, it’s not because he’s an inherently bad person, it’s because he’s overwhelmed, exhausted, and struggling with his mental health. Ambrose also accurately depicts why it is difficult for members of certain professions to get help, and the serious impact and far-reaching effects an illness like depression can have on a person’s marriage, family, and life.

Beyond that, much of the novel deals with Ambrose trying to figure out where he fits in the universe and in the grand scheme of life. Ambrose wants to do good and be a hero, and he struggles with who he is and who he wants to be. In the end, he finds his way of being a hero in a way which plays to his own strengths and in a way which is his uniquely his own.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently in the process of brainstorming a sort of prequel to Five Fathoms Beneath, based around Ambrose’s father.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterWebsite

Five Fathoms Beneath by [Alcyone, J.R.]

If Ambrose Serafeim’s life is not quite perfect, then it’s very good–he lives in picturesque Western Australia, he has a lovely fiancée, and he is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician. Brose owes no small part of his station in life to his famous father, Alec, a gentle and idealistic pediatric heart surgeon who lives by a simple moral code–do good and be good. Brose believes in his father and that code the way he believes in absolutes like oxygen or gravity. But when Alec shatters Brose’s perfect world by acting in a way Brose can neither forgive nor understand, Brose is left foundering amidst an existential crisis and clinical depression, unsure not only who he is, but who his father was.

That is until a catastrophic injury in a running race changes everything.

The road from that catastrophic injury leads Brose to the same heart-stopping precipice on which Alec once stood. Facing the possible end of his marriage and having seemingly lost his career, will Brose repeat his father’s terrible mistake, or will Brose blaze a new path forward, one where he finally realizes his potential to help others?

A twist on Loren Eiseley’s famous essay, “The Star Thrower,” Five Fathoms Beneath blends a realistic medical backdrop with a dash of magical realism to tell the heartbreaking yet ultimately life-affirming tale of a man’s quest to find his life’s meaning.

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Voyages Volume I : A Collection of Poetry

VOYAGES Volume I :  A Collection of Poetry by [Debjeet Mukherjee]

There’s a lot to miss about growing older: strength, hair, elasticity. But a collection of poems by a bright young author will make you miss something a little less noticeable – the way the young look at the world. Voyages by Debjeet Mukherjee, an 18 year old writer, is a collection of poetry arranged in the most unusual manner. He arranges the poems by age, nothing new, but in a Benjamin Button like twist, the ages go backwards.

The collection starts with an inviting preface that encourages all, not just the elite or cultured, to experience the poetry of life. This transitions nicely into the poems themselves. Here, we find another added touch: small quotations at the end of each poem designed to carry “a message of what the preceding lines were all about.” Mukherjee takes this approach not because he deems his poems too complex for the average reader, but as a way to help readers learn to dilute the figurative language of poetry in general. And these poems are soaking in figurative language. Worn out topics such as love, friendship, and spirituality feel fresh when enlivened with Mukherjee’s metaphors, couplets, and symbols.

The one flaw in the collection is more due to editing than writing. It only takes a few sentences of the preface to notice some minor typos and some formatting issues move the margins from one page to the next.

But these small mistakes should not discourage potential readers. A highlight of the collection is “Prayers Alive in Hope.” The poem opens with a suppressed sense of rage as a “Syrian boy” prays “to the Lord to keep families safe, Not in this world, perhaps somewhere else!” Lines like these transport the reader. They allow us to see the world from a different perspective; from a background other than our own. The voyage that Mukherjee take readers on ends in a place of hope- that special kind that perhaps only the young can truly see.

Pages: 91 | ASIN: B07H4JJ47D

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