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Abraham’s Tears

Bruce Stein’s novel, Abraham’s Tears, takes readers on an educational and eye-opening journey surrounding the conflict in the Middle East. We learn the values and beliefs of two families- one of Israeli/Jewish decent and the other with a Palestinian/Muslim background. The question of what can be done to bring peace between the religions and the ethnicities is explored through an emotional and exciting tale, supporting Ghandi’s prophecy of “An eye for an eye makes a whole world blind.”

The two protagonists are Jamil Monsour and Jacob Goodman. Proud of their religion and heritage, they have strong views surrounding the reasons for the divided state of the middle East and solutions for peace. Jamil grew up believing he was a Shiite, then learns he was actually born a Sunni that had been adopted as a baby. Jacob grew up believing he was Jewish and was even serving in the IDF, only to learn that he was also adopted and had been born to an Arab/ Muslim family. The revaluation of their previously unknown identities comes as a shock to both young men, making them question their beliefs. This realization brings into question if someone is who they are born as, or who they are raised as. Through horrible loss and tragedy, hope is instilled in the end, as two women from opposing sides are brought together to fight for peace and an end to the senseless fighting and killings. Author Bruce Stein creates rich, believable and empathetic characters in his thought-provoking novel. I really enjoyed the thoughtful character development and the emotional journey the characters embark on.

Abraham’s Tears will appeal to readers looking for an educational novel. This is a thought provoking story that provides readers with different viewpoints and reasons for the events that are happening in the Middle East. This book brought a humanistic aspect to the topic, making it feel close to home. Bruce Stein has created characters that are easy to identify with. Seeing the way this conflict affects everyone involved, no matter where they are living, was an eye-opening realization.

Pages: 185 | ASIN: B009368OLE

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Chad’tu

Chad’tu is a period piece set in the old west, a time when cattleman and Native Americans fought for land. Immersed in the period of gunslingers and cattle ranchers, this narrative follows the accounts of Chad’tu, a man who goes on a quest to save his abducted wife. Separated from his family at a young age, Chad’tu drifted from one person to another, mostly learning the ways of a warrior from his Native American father, Shatika, who had adopted him, and then trained by a master gunsmith named Brett Tishman. Although much of the novel unfolds in retrospect, through a series of flashbacks intermingled with the events that are taking place in Chad’s present life, the story has a surprisingly strong grip on the reader with its unique taste for suspense and thrill.

Set in a forgotten world, this novel encapsulates the nostalgia of the old world gun fighting days. The quintessential style that every gunslinger in town tried to emulate and was thereby worshipped within the scope of Western movies ranging from Clint Eastwood to Eli Wallach, has been skillfully rendered in this story too. Their tradition of measuring opponents from a distance, the typical broad hat, the nonchalant poker face which never gave away any emotions, the indifference with which they carried themselves, their fierce loyalty to their own principles and their heroic struggle to take back what was rightfully theirs, has all been religiously followed and reflected in this riveting novel.

In fact, one can visualize with clarity the scenes where characters in the story are involved in street fights or get bested by their superiors and are left abandoned to fate. It demonstrates the author’s command over the language, not only in the use of different dialects and accents but also in the depth of their knowledge regarding this specific genre. It is one thing to imbibe the structural formulae of a particular narrative style but it is another thing to reconstruct a distinct narrative that follows every genre convention while also adding their own nuances to it. What is surprising to note is that, in spite of being written during the 21st century, much of the character’s thought processes and beliefs are authentic to the time period.

Chad’tu by Kelsie R. Gates is a gripping tale of adventure that will mesmerize readers from all walks of life. Readers will be transported back in time to the old west and relive the excitement and adventures of those that lived by a different code.

Pages: 354 | ASIN: B08XSQC494

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Your Costly Blood Covenant – Book Trailer

Countless Christians have endured strong doses of religious tradition disguised as Christianity. They attend church on Sundays and read their Bibles daily, but they still sense a spiritual void. Nothing seems to fill it, and ultimately they wonder, “Is there anything else? Does a relationship with God offer me more than attending services and memorizing Bible verses?”

The answer is yes! Over two thousand years ago, the most precious blood covenant was created between almighty God and the Lord Jesus. Their unbreakable relationship clearly demonstrates God’s supernatural love for all people. It provides the opportunity for the most intimate fellowship possible with the One who sees our salvation as worth the life of His Son. This holy bond perfectly fulfilled one covenant and established a far better one. In this new covenant, God has guaranteed complete salvation with even greater promises for every part of life. Today anyone can surrender a hard, corrupted life in the world for a glorious life in the kingdom of God. All who believe in and receive Jesus as Savior can freely access this beautiful relationship and then discover the abundant riches of a covenant relationship with God.

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A View From My Bay

Vincent Green is a man that struggles to be heard due to injuries related to 9/11. A View From My Bay is his way of letting his voice be heard. There is often a mystery to men of greatness. A person can be considered great for the battles they win, the lives they save or the life they live. Vincent Green has done all these things in his lifetime. In his intimate memoir A View from My Bay we are exposed to Vincent, or Vinny, the man. Readers experience his humble origins and his journey to the heights of his career and personal life. This book is both inspiring and personal. Part autobiography part memoir, Vinny shares parts of his soul that made him into the man he is today.

Green has climbed from what many would describe as the bottom of the socio-economic ladder to impressive heights. Well respected and regarded through his law enforcement career he has shared his skills and knowledge with leaders from across the world. This illuminating biography shares his skills and his talents in fighting corruption like those heroes we all watched on television when we were young. He is more than an impressive male role model for young men and women. He is a human being with thoughts and feelings. He has granted us his grace in sharing those pieces of himself through this book.

A collection of styles are used by Green to share his emotions, thoughts, and ideals. These are pieces of his past and the incredible experiences he has lived. The first book in a planned trilogy, readers will get to experience the specific moments in time that helped shape Green into the person he became. The praises he attributes to his parents, the respect he gives to his dearly departed sister and the specks of his own soul.

A View from My Bay by Vincent Green is a humble and awe-inspiring glimpse into the world that shaped Vinny into the amazing person he became. These snippets and pieces are not inflated with hot air or selfish praises. These are beautiful portraits of a singular man who has risen from what others would call the depths. He does not deny his humble origins, yet he doesn’t attempt to make a ‘success’ story for himself out of them. He simply exists and shares his soul with his readers. And readers are better for it.

Pages: 278 | ASIN: B074R5FKTX

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in plain sight by Thomas LeBrun, is the action-filled true story detailing a famous executive protection specialist’s life. It takes readers through his childhood, to his approach to weightlifting and martial arts all the way to providing security for entertainers.

LeBrun writes in an engaging way and explains his job in detail, underlining the difference between himself and a bodyguard, as he is an executive protection specialist. His life is intriguing, and the narration provides provocative details, but while there are some specifics about his family that are shared with the reader, the focus remains on sharing experiences of events in his storied life rather than taking a deep emotional dive into them.

I appreciated all the references to pop culture of the time. This does an excellent job of setting the backdrop of the story, making it feel grounded and immersing readers in that time. And these cultural references also serve to focus the story, and the reader, on deeper themes such as the attack on the twin towers or Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

I enjoyed the photos that are included in the book. It made the book feel familiar and personal, so they were deeply appreciated. I enjoyed the book and felt it was an illuminating memoir. It provides an intriguing examination of ‘toxic masculinity’ and shows how persistence and hard work pays off.

Hiding in Plain Sight is a thought-provoking memoir that takes readers through the various personal moments in Thomas Lebrun’s life. The author also includes personal items that help the reader connect with his life; like his reference letters, photos and quotes from real people. This helps the story feel authentic and I think will it appeal to most readers. I would like to end this review with the author’s quote: “Further, I explained that Executive Protection Specialists operate as low-profile chameleon. With me, I called it “hiding in plain sight”.”

Pages: 361 | ASIN: B08YNX6KC5

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A Story Of Its Own

Author Interview
Brant Vickers Author Interview

Fedor is a thought-provoking coming of age story following a young circus performer that travels the world with P.T. Barnum’s Circus in the ‘80s. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I worked for many years as a Special Education teacher and for many of those years with kids with autism. I have a memoir (Chucky’s in Tucson) about my years in this field and how I was a reluctant recruit, but more than thankful and honored to have had that career. Several times I brought up Fedor’s picture on the Internet while investigating different types of disabilities and one of my students with autism was extremely interested in his picture and his life. He asked if we could find out more about him and one thing led to another and I also became interested. I was dismayed there was scant information about him. I began imagining what his life might have possibly been like. This (Fedor’s life) intersected with the timeline of the expansion of the 19th-century American circus and the Black Tent sideshow. It grew, under P.T. Barnum, from a modest endeavor to the enormous spectacle I present in the novel. A story of its own.

Fedor is an interesting character that was deftly created. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

We know Fedor spoke three languages and I supposed he was an articulate, intelligent, thoughtful human being, as I learned many of my students were. During those years teaching students with, sometimes, severe disabilities I learned they were smart (in their own way), genuine, kind, at times challenging, but some of the most exceptional people in the world. In the research I learned how huge and important the sideshow was in the circus. Well into the 20th century people made a living by exhibiting themselves for money. There were no social services, possible medical procedures, or family support for them. It wasn’t a rationale, but a necessity for them to actually live. They developed families, friendships, love, compensations and a much different but still a vocation.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

We still have people born every day with exceptional gifts and disabilities. I wanted to explore what has happened in the past and how we’ve grown as a society and world. We’ve moved on from the Black Tent and sideshow, but to know our past and what passed for entertainment can teach us today how to treat the differences between us, not with horror or revulsion, but to know that people are still human and possibly intelligent and interesting. As Mark Twain, a circus devotee, said to Fedor, “You can’t throw too much style into a miracle and you, my friend, are a miracle.”

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

I’m working on another YA novel set in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s in West Los Angeles. It’s about the friendship between two boys with realistic gritty details of the era and their paranormal experience in abandoned movie studio lots. Hopefully within the next year it will be ready to go. Thanks again for the review and interest in Fedor’s remarkable life, travels, and experiences!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Facebook | Website

“You can’t throw too much style into a miracle, and you, my friend, are a miracle,” Mark Twain says to Fedor Adrianovitch Jefticheff, also known as Jo-Jo The Dog Faced Boy. Fedor lives, travels, works, and loves among the haunting cast of performers in the Black Tent Sideshow of P.T. Barnum’s Circus in the late 1880s. 

Fedor not only survived, but also profited by being a memorable and unforgettable human curiosity. Along with being an intelligent and avid reader of Tolstoy, Twain, Alcott, and Melville, he has remarkable interactions with a myriad of other world-renowned characters, one being Nicholas II the Russian Tsarevich. This proves that more than just being a “sideshow,” there was a lot of individuality and heart to this “dog-faced boy.”

Richly authentic, dramatic, beautifully written, and always thought-provoking, Brant Vickers tells Fedor’s story in an epic account of this young man’s extraordinary life.

The Problem with Poppy (The Sumatran Trilogy) 

The Problem with Poppy (The Sumatran Trilogy) by [Emma Sandford, Olena Osadcha]

It is hard being a porcupine. Poppy is a young porcupine that scares easily due to being mistreated in the past. Now when someone new approaches her she sticks out her quills, stomping her feet, and hissing at them. It makes it very hard to find new friends, and Poppy is very lonely because of this. One day a young tiger tried to make friends with Poppy and she scared him away, instantly feeling bad. Today was going to be different though, today Poppy was going to go find the little tiger and apologize. After finding the young tiger disaster strikes and Poppy must overcome her fears to save her new friend.

I found the development of Poppy’s character appealing. A timid little porcupine that reacts with fear to all new interactions, turns into a character that is strong and loyal. Poppy will be relatable to young children that are often afraid of new people and situations. Poppy shows them that it is okay to be afraid while still doing new things.

When looking for a children’s book that has a meaningful message, captivating illustrations, and a unique story line look no further. Emma Sandford’s picture book The Problem with Poppy hits all the right marks for children and the young at heart. The reading level is ideal for kindergarteners and those that are on an early elementary reading level.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B095XF3RK5

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Dear Barack

Dear Barack: The Extraordinary Partnership of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel by [Claudia Clark]

Human beings can always find common ground if they try hard enough. Being on two sides of disagreeing continents does not necessitate an enmity. Barack Obama and Angela Merkel understood this. It did not start with an obvious affinity for each other. Angela Merkel was adamant to warm up to the incumbent president of the U.S. Barack Obama was desperate to repair the strained relationship between America and Europe as well as get the country through the recession. He had his work cut out for him. It took a while but they finally developed a relationship based on mutual respect and genuine friendship as well as a harmonious effort to serve their people. Author Claudia Clark does a fantastic job of bringing this all together in her illuminating book, Dear Barack.

This is basically a buddy story. Only it is not fiction and the main characters are two of the most powerful people in the world. It is an eye-opening story about the human capacity to overcome the urge to become enemies in the pursuit of the interests that suit their cause. It may have been a difficult time in more ways than one but these two leaders were guiding lights not just for the people in their countries but for the world. It also renews hope that good leaders do exist, especially after the administration that succeeded Obama’s. The story is especially interesting that both of them were outliers – Barack, the first black president, and Angela, a female leader in the free world.

Claudia Clark has narrated history in a way that is engaging and uplifting. You do not need to be a history fanatic to enjoy this book. The author conveys history in a way that is compelling and captivating. She pulls in the reader and puts them in the meetings and private conversations between the two. This is a well-researched account of the inspiring relationship between these two highly admired leaders. Her regard for both of them shines through her words and her tone.

The author even adds a little bit of Obama’s wit and charm to the story. Her narration is nothing short of gripping. It is the kind of book you discuss with your friends and family because there is so much intellectually invigorating content.

You cannot help but shed a tear when Angela does as she watched her friend and fellow leader leave office. You will definitely chuckle when you read about Obama’s sign-off to his friend. Dear Barack is a beautifully written book about a wonderful partnership.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B09HL8VQB1

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