Choker by Bob Moseley is the “coming of age” tale of basketball-obsessed Mark Chamberlain who, in the course on one year went from being the black sheep of his high-school’s basketball team to team captain.
A Clifton High student, Mark Chamberlain misses an all-important throw in the final seconds of a game, which costs his team a championship victory and gets him the nickname “the choker”. However, with help from coach Antonelli and his new girlfriend Su Metha, Mark is slowly getting over the setback and dedicates himself to training hard for the next season. His love for basketball helps him deal with heartache and pain and, after becoming team co-captain, he gets better and better at the game and ends up leading his teammates to victory.
This Young Adult book deals with a lot of issues that are important for teenagers nowadays: race issues, balancing school work and sports, bullying along with social media bullying, and dealing with loss, but also touches on the positive aspects of life, like the book hero’s first love, overcoming obstacles, bettering yourself through hard work. It definitely holds a lot of lessons for the reader, and teenagers and young adults will relate to the characters. The writing is alert and quite visual, and keeps the reader connected to the characters and interested in their evolution. Some of the pages are quite moving, such as the chapters that describe the death and the funeral of Mark’s father. I liked Mark’s character development, but I felt that the other characters were black and white, they were either good or bad. I would of appreciated more nuance.
The abundance of details related to basketball was a little overwhelming at times, for instance the descriptions of some of Mark’s games, a lot of information about game strategies and techniques, or about famous players. Any avid fan of basketball will appreciate the interesting facts and minute by minute break down of the games. This is an engaging and thought provoking coming of age basketball story that is sure to appeal to teens and sports fans.
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07GX8B4T2
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Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?
The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.
He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.
The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.
Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.
By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?
This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.
Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ
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These eight stories readers journey to yesteryear with issues as fresh as tomorrow’s headlines. Written by Legacy Storyteller, Pete Peterson, and published by Pallamary Publishing.
In “An Old-fashioned Fourth” we meet Hamus Zanderhook, badly scarred by the House fire that ate Baby Sister and turned Pap into a cinder. Hamus’ passion when he picks up his banjo, “is that folks will want to dance and be happy.” We follow him through the Missouri Ozarks of late 1930’s from steamy honkytonks to a Hooverville where street urchins beg for food and forgotten families struggle to survive – a haunting vision of today’s political crisis.
“In Winner Take All,” 44-year-old, bare-knuckle champion Ryman Call, fights for something more important than money.
In “The Food Thief” neglected Jeremy Holt steals to feed a hunger that food alone won’t satisfy, while older sister Josephine returns from St. Louis, with ruby earrings and necklace and a terrifying tale to tell.
In “Summer Slave” orphan Art Carr starts what he hopes is his last year as a unpaid laborer on a Missouri farm. When he rescues beautiful Fatima from drowning, a new take on forgiveness, love, and redemption questions old values.
In ‘Rivers to Cross” San Francisco native Samantha climbs hills and wades rivers to visit her father’s remote grave – a father she’s never met, killed in Vietnam who begs her forgiveness from his lonely grave.
In “Rules for Dying” the flag go up each morning at Rosecrans National Cemetery as Mike and his uncover secrets in graves of deceased veterans and a mysterious young widow shows that loyalty and compassion open doors to a new life.
“After Midnight” the title story, provides a ring side seat at a bare-fist fight between the black champ and the indomitable Ryman Call. Defense plant workers skip meals to see this battle, drink beer, eat fried chicken and watch the blood flow. Hamus faces his greatest fear and Ryman faces death, the outcome determined by a .38 caliber pistol.
This collection of stories is gentle as a punch in the gut, as subtle as a slug of morning bourbon. Some enthrall, some educate. All entertain, revealing an America of the past that opens windows on the struggles of today.
Coming Summer 2019
Posted in book trailer
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Mismatched amateur detectives Casey Alton and (former biker gang leader) Smitty have solved some tough mysteries before. But this one may push them to do some truly creative actions on the edge of what’s legal. Casey & Smitty have a dilemma they have to solve… A longtime good friend of Smitty’s has been conned out of $2,000,000 dollars. The perpetrator’s a known ruthless and murderous crook. The friend has been beaten within an inch of his life to keep him quiet.How can they get the friend’s money back without being killed or worse? Run a racket on a racketeer? Run a hustle on a hustler? Out con a con artist? How do the movies fit into their plan? For the answers to these questions and more, read STAGED!
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Oink and Gobble and the Men in Black brings two strange men to the farm and peaks the curiosity of the two farm friends. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this kids book?
All the Oink and Gobble books are are short reads and meant to be humorous and fun and to put a smile on everyone’s face! The Men in Black are popular and familiar to kids and adults alike, but are still are a mystery to be solved!
This is book two in the Oink and Gobble series. What were some new themes you wanted to introduce in this book and what were some ideas you wanted to continue from the first book?
Oink is adventurous and interested in all the strange mysteries of the world, yet has a tendency to jump to conclusions with few facts. Gobble is focused on facts first and tries to bring logic to the investigations the two inevitably start. Though they look at things quite differently, they are best of friends!
What kind of mischief will Oink and Gobble get into in book three and when will it be available?
Without saying too much, Oink once again will jump to conclusions about a mystery of the world, and Gobble will try to bring reason to Oink’s thinking. I hope everyone will enjoy it! Should be out by July 2019.
Posted in Interviews
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In For the Love of Self you outline strategies that helped you with healing different imbalances in your mind and body. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wanted to give others some alternative suggestions to healing their issues because this had worked for me. I believe that we have the power within us to heal ourselves if only we believed and trusted in that. Our intuition, and we all have it, is a wonderful tool to tap into. We can too easily give our power away to the opinions of others, and the scientific/medical treatments that are offered, because of fear and a lack of knowledge. Drugs and surgery are not always the answer. I’m just very happy to say that my theories worked for me so I wanted to share that with the rest of the world. Maybe they can work for others as well. Now, wouldn’t that be nice!!!
In this book you describe your journey from stage 3 vaginal cancer to recovery. What was the biggest lesson you learned along the way?
It was important for me to find the root cause, to understand and heal the mental and emotional reasons that created the dis-eases/imbalances in my mind and body, because if I didn’t, I believe the cancer could come back again. I’ve seen this time and again with others until the body can’t tolerate any more treatment. But I also know that it’s everyone’s prerogative, and I respect that, to make the choices as to how they want to deal with their life’s challenges. We all have lessons and experiences to work through in our life and one way is no better than another.
What is one thing that you hope readers take away from this book?
To believe that anything is possible, and then do the inner work to achieve the desired outcome.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
At this point in time, another book has not been conceptualised as I’d like to give my current book all the focus and energy it needs to give it a fair chance to reach and help the people that need it the most.
When Kaylene Hay was diagnosed with Stage 3 vaginal cancer, her doctor advised her to have surgery. Because of her strong belief in cause and effect, she wanted to find out what could have contributed to this cancer, and particularly in the genital area. What she discovered, shocked her.
In For the Love of Self, Hay outlines the guidelines and strategies that helped with the healing of different diseases and imbalances in her mind and body, all woven within a collection of her life’s experiences. She tells how the success gained by using these strategies can be applied to any situation, and she shares the importance of looking beneath the surface of any presenting health issue to find the root cause, emphasizing surgery and drugs are not always the answer.
Through her own discoveries, Hay encourages others to find the courage to heal their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues by taking responsibility for their health and well-being. For the Love of Self shows how all of the answers are within and people must find their way back to health, happiness, and empowerment by taking charge of their life and doing the inner work to achieve their goals.
Posted in Interviews
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Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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The Love of Gods is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, supernatural, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Actually, I initially was trying to write a mystery with a hint of a simmering romance which I hoped would span several books, but I discovered pretty early on that I am a romance writer and not a mystery writer. So, I tossed my first draft and started over.
Lugos and Keely are interesting and well defined characters. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in their characters?
Lugos is based on two different Celtic gods which gave me a place to start. I immediately understood who he was, what would be important to him, and a good portion of his backstory from the very beginning. And so from that jumping off point, he became a vivid character in my mind. I wanted him to value his intellect over his brawn. I also him to value humanity over his own kin. As for Keely, her southern sass is based on a waitress I know, and the awful taste in men is a nod to a dear friend of mine. Because Lugos is an immortal, I wanted Keely to have a resilient and courageous nature so that Lugos’s god-ness didn’t overpower the relationship. Even though she’s a mortal, Keely had to be his equal in many ways otherwise the relationship wouldn’t work.
I loved the backstory and world building in this novel. What were some sources of inspiration for you while creating this story?
I spend a lot of my time researching various myths and much of the characters’ backstories are tied to my understanding of those myths. The various gods in The Love of Gods all have their own histories in Celtic mythology and I drew from these. The shifter and witch communities have rich literary traditions that gave me a direction, a roadmap, of how they might respond if the world of the Pale truly existed.
This is book one in The Legends of Pale series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?
I’m happy to say that I am hard at work on several books in this series. The Fate of Wolves is the next book and will be out near Christmas this year. I have already finished book three, The Dreams of Demons, and if all goes to plan I’ll release it in spring 2020. I’m currently writing the fourth book, The Souls of Witches and I’m absolutely in love with the main characters. But then, that’s how it is with each book I write.
Lugos had given his word when the world was still young, before he’d endured the wrenching pain of her soul being torn from his. Lifetime after lifetime she’d returned when he’d needed her most, when the apathy of his kind had eaten away at his resolve and his heartfelt vow seemed pointless. One would think he’d be able to protect a single mortal, after all, he was a god. But two long centuries had passed since he’d held her, since he’d been whole. Now, she was back and Lugos had a decision to make; claim the only woman he’d ever loved, or deny his soul’s deepest craving and grant Keely a chance at a peaceful life without the dangers that populated his world. For five years, Lugos had chosen the latter with the hope that the fates might overlook them this time. That was still his plan when the goddess Rhiannon called seeking his help. Lugos should have known better.
Posted in Interviews
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