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Where the Lilacs Bloom Once Again

Where the Lilacs Bloom Once Again is based on the true historical experiences of generations of a Jewish Romanian family and their acquaintances before World War II. The novel focuses on Friddie, a young woman of Romanian descent who dreams of living freely. At eighteen, Friddie rebelliously cancels her marriage and, against her family’s wishes, marries Freddy. Their union is short-lived however, leading to years of adversity for Friddie. Her story is told alongside that of her family members, like Aunt Rosa, Uncle David and her Cousins who are victims of the dictatorial and communist rule that plagued Romania for years.

It is clear from the author’s narration that Friddie’s story is an important landmark in the family’s history, passed down from generation to generation. Although I felt the stories were disconnected at the beginning, they slowly came together with different perspectives. It is a tragic story of a large family that was scattered abroad due to anti-Semitism. It is sadly ironic that Freddie, who dreams of living as a free woman, spends the better part of her youth locked up under the worst circumstances.

This thought-provoking and impassioned novel showcases the gruesome loss of lives, grief and the inhumanity during one of the most difficult times in human history. Some of the scenes are graphic, featuring explicit descriptions of maiming, slavery, genocide, and infanticide. Despite these, a love story is forged in the most unlikely place, reestablishing the theme of keeping hope alive when things seem hopeless.

The author’s writing style is easy to follow and how she tells the story keeps the reader engaged throughout. There are heartbreaking moments, but the book also shares wisdom and great life lessons. Where the Lilacs Bloom Once Again by Roni Rosenthal is a tragic but beautiful story that is evocative and heart wrenching but ultimately uplifting.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B0BC5LF1KQ

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Death’s Cheat

Jed Cullen Author Interview

Zaven follows a group of high school friends who are in the middle of a Zombie pandemic and must rely on each other for survival.  What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Funnily enough, being bored with my friends during high school gave me the ideas for the book. A lot of characters in the book are based off my school mates. When they read it, I hope they don’t find themselves too difficult to stomach.

How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?

I start with the ending in mind. Zaven is the first book in a sequel and I have the final conclusion being the key aspect that I strive towards. With an ending developed first, the story balance and twists are quite simple to implement.

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

My main theme was the definition of a Zombie. Ultimately, Tyler is the true zombie throughout the book as he blindly follows other’s advice without any contextual knowledge. Since Zaven is written in first person from Tyler’s perspective, the reader get’s the story through his eyes… This makes the reader as blindsided as Tyler. Overall, poor decisions result from poor observation.

The other main theme is Death’s cheat. It is symbolised time and time again throughout the book, though, readers will have to look deeper to find the meaning.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to Zaven. It will likely not be available for a while due to my commitment to work. Nonetheless, the story is mapped out and there will be no loose ends. It will come full circle and answer all possible questions.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Detention on your first day of High School is one thing, but your teacher trying to eat you is a bit over the top… Set in Florida, America, Tyler Graham and his friends must band together and survive a zombie pandemic where lawlessness and violence becomes a new means of morality.

The Hamster Wheel of American-style Modernity

Kevin Howard Author Interview

Onward, At Last looks at the reasons why the American Dream is not what it once was, what people are led to believe it can be, and what can be done to fix things. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Onward, At Last is a clarion call to those of us who are grinding on the hamster wheel of American-style modernity to stop, quiet the external noise of our busy lives, and reconnect with the inner voice of our true selves. Some people may refer to this inner voice as conscience, but regardless of the label, this quiet voice reflects the steeped wisdom of our lived experience. For far too long, we have been influenced by external interests to defer our sense of truth to social expectations & norms (virtues), public figures & leaders, credentialed experts, and social narratives. The book reminds us the truth we have come to know has been far more a function of the wisdom of our lived experiences than the reasons provided by external sources.

Did you do a lot of research to maintain the accuracy of the subject?

In the preparation of the book, I did no specific research. Outside of the book project, and over the course of a 30-year career in banking, I have done deep reading and research on American history, economics, politics, climate science, philosophy, Christianity, spirituality, music, and a variety of topics. See the Starting Points of Reference section of the book for a sample list. Yet, I do not ask the reader to trust my recounting of these topics. The value of my recounting is whether the commentaries resonate with the lived experience of the reader.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Nothing in nature lives independently.

We are each far more than these uniforms we wear.

Truth is found by looking inward not outward.

Sustainability is symbiotic not competitive.

The economy exists within the ecology.

Utopia has always been the next stage of our social evolution.

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

I have no plans for a next book. Onward, At Last is my opus. The conversation continues with new commentaries which can be found on the blog tab at https://onwardatlast.com.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

America…was it all a dream? Home of the free. The place where everything is possible. This is how I was raised. Yet as I grew into adulthood and embarked on my journey to earn my piece of the American dream, I slowly realized that something was terribly wrong. But what?
 
I work hard, built a successful career, possess all the trappings of an American middle class success story, and yet I feel deeply disillusioned. As I look around, I realize most everyone I meet shares my disquieting sense of dread from experiencing our society and nation in decline. Where is this all heading?
 
Onward, At Last provides a deep exploration into the virtues that define our lives…freedom, independence, self-interest and competition, and asks the foundational question: What if our own defining virtues are actually the root cause of all that afflicts our society and ourselves? Onward, At Last presents a series of social commentaries that utilizes our shared experiences to examine what has gone so terribly wrong and what each of us can do to make it right.

Broken Chains

Life was boring, monotonous, and ultimately lonely for Elizabeth Finley. So when she finds her life can become more dynamic and fun after one massively failed stakeout outside the headquarters of the largest secret service in the UK, the MI5, Liz is confident a career change was much needed. Now she wouldn’t have to worry about keeping publishers or writing a sensational book. Life was beginning to have a flavor for Liz. Or so she thought. As she begins her unforeseeable job as a secret agent, betrayal, bondage, and chaos are about to become the new order in Liz’s life. Will she be able to handle the unexpected turn in events, or will the mountain of trouble she’s about to face be too great for her to overcome?

Broken Chains by Karina Kantas tells the story of an aspiring writer, Elizabeth Finley, who’s had it hard with life. Losing her mother at a very tender age and having her father disappear right after meant Liz was left with no other choice but to fend for herself. However, instead of getting better, her life transforms from bad to worse when she begins working undercover for the MI5. However, the rigorous mind-blowing training she would be subjected to at the MI5 will be nothing compared to the hell she will face after she receives a coded email that only she could decipher.

Karina Kantas has done a great job creating a unique storyline filled with twists and suspense. The extreme depiction of the reality of the underworld was incredibly mind-blowing, and the story had me on edge from the turn of the first page. However, I found the book a little rushed. The loopholes in the story made some of the characters’ emotions too intense and sometimes confusing. But the Eccentricity of this book kept me on my toes.

Broken chains by Karina Kantas is a thrilling crime romance filled with suspense and action. With crime rings, kidnapping and abuse, readers will never be at a loss for action. The novel has graphic and mature scenes, so it is intended for a mature audience.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1912996502

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The Facets of Death

The Facets of Death by James Rondinone explores many questions people have about death. The author jumps into the topic of death by studying God’s involvement in death. James Rondinone looks at whether God prevents some people from dying and why God allows others to die. The author talks about his experience with a death in his family and shares his questions after the bereavement. This sets the book up well as it shows the reader that the author is another person on an investigatory journey.

The author looks at the death of Abel from the Bible. He discusses why God did not prevent his brother, Cain, from murdering Abel. James Rondinone then uses this example to look at the topic of free will. However, the author does not stop there. The author discusses complex issues like God’s role in allowing masses of people to die and uses the example of Noah and the flood. These situations are hard to grapple with, yet James Rondinone’s thoughts on the issues are well explained.

One of the most interesting things about the book is that although it was written from a Christian perspective, the author wrote it so that anyone grappling with the topic of death could read it and gain nuggets along the way.

Before picking up the book, I decided it would be a challenging and depressing read. On the contrary, the author wrote the book from a compelling point of view. He tackled a topic from an intellectual level instead of purely an emotional level. This allows the reader to look at death from a broader point of view and gain a bigger perspective. Even though the chapters are short, parts of the book felt slow, making me want to move on to the next section.

The Facets of Death is a thought-provoking book written for people from various walks of life. It contains numerous references from the Bible and deals with a tricky topic well. Even with the Christian references, the intellectual look at the topic makes this book a great resource for anyone looking for a different take on death and grief.

Pages: 130 | ASIN : B09TQ61M37

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Guardian

Guardian: Into the Light of Day, by J L Meredith, is about an alien who takes a human’s body to bring her back to life. In this new body, this alien took on the human’s name, Elizabeth, and energy, but since she isn’t genuinely human, she lives on. Over eight centuries, she has worked to save lives without revealing her identity. This changes when an asteroid is about to hit Earth. Elizabeth stops it, but the explosion sends her crashing back down with meteorites. Caught on video, Elizabeth loses her anonymity. In the turmoil of this and the meteorites, meta-humans emerge, there’s a media frenzy, and one politician seeks to take advantage. Among this, a more significant threat emerges, one that wants to use Elizabeth to destroy Earth.

I enjoyed that it wasn’t just a superhero comic book. While Elizabeth wasn’t truly human, she was relatable. As a doctor, she wanted to keep people safe and save their lives, but she didn’t want to be in the spotlight.

Meredith did a great job of making Elizabeth strong and courageous. But he also gave her a couple of enemies that weren’t easy for her to overcome. However, her heart and willingness to help really brought her to life.

Guardian into the Light of Day, by J L Meredith, provides readers with a great story, a great protagonist, and some nail-biting moments. This action and adventure superhero novel will keep readers engaged from the start and even give them a bit of romance without going over the top.

Pages: 522 | ASIN : B09ML7V944

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Justice Was A Struggle To Achieve

William Auman Author Interview

If Trees Could Testify follows a defense attorney who is investigating and trying a double homicide that has more questions than answers. What inspired you to write a fictional novel based on this real case?

The actual case upon which my book is based generated a significant amount of publicity, particularly in the Asheville area of the western NC mountains. As is noted, I was the principal defense attorney and therefore privy to information that would be subject to varying degrees of privacy concerns. Those factors, combined with a need to protect both the innocent as well as the potentially guilty, gave me no choice but to fictionalize the account to some degree.

How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?

The plot twists really weren’t planned or sensationalized as they were based largely upon an accurate rendition of how the case transpired, although I did take the liberty of injecting some degree of diversion with regard to characters such as the draft-dodging son of the snake-handling minister.

What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

The “mystery” was not overly difficult to recount in that it was based on events that had essential components of an intriguing story already built in. Many rabbits were chased in the form of biker gangs, organized crime, etc., but the essential and unfortunate message was that justice was a struggle to achieve for both defendants and victims. Human impacts can be lingering and strong when our system fails to fulfill its purpose.

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

My next book will likely be a sequel to my first, that being “Pioneer Paddling Colonial Carolina.” I am an avid kayaker with a data base of over 350 bodies of water, but also a history buff with a passion for paddling in historical areas wherever they are found. I hope to expand and update the Carolinas, but also include much of Florida together with parts of Virgina, Georgia and Tennessee. Thank you for asking.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

IF TREES COULD TESTIFY… is a historical mystery novel based on the true story of Madison County’s infamous Gahagan murders. The homicides occurred near the Appalachian mountain town of Marshall, North Carolina, known by some as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge,” but known by locals to be “a block wide, a mile long, sky high and hell deep.” The French Broad River bisects the town, which harbors both ghosts from Civil War events and the lore of mermaids.

On a quiet summer night in 1983, two elderly siblings were tragically murdered in their colonial, Georgian-style home across from Big Laurel Creek. Known for their distrust of banks and having a collection of antiques, gold, and silver coins, it was naturally assumed that robbery was the principal motive for the double homicide. The murders captivated a close-knit rural community for nearly two decades, as the local family roots of the victims dated all the way back to the early 1800s.

During the years that followed the senseless tragedy, a time during which the home was boarded up and abandoned, local folks rumored that they had occasionally seen the house lit up like a Christmas tree at night. There were also stories where the ghost of an elderly woman, walking and swinging a lantern, was reportedly seen along the highway which runs adjacent to the property. Some county residents have further claimed to have seen this apparition standing in a window on the second floor of the home during the time that it was vacant.

Suspects came and went as the case investigation spanned three different sheriff administrations. “Who done it” rumors abounded, with theories of involvement ranging from organized crime to outlaw biker gangs to even local family members. Finally, almost eighteen years after the murders, warrants were issued charging a father and two of his sons with having committed the crimes. The defendants maintained their innocence throughout the course of the legal proceedings, which blazed a trail of intrigue with numerous twists and turns along the way.

According to Fred Hughes, at the time the publisher and editor of the Madison News-Record and Sentinel, a Hollywood film crew was interested in producing a major motion picture based on the case. As noted in a subsequent editorial, Hughes was “reasonably certain” that the story could have made the silver screen, as it was full of “stranger than life events.”

This book should be categorized as a fictional mystery novel which is based on the true story of the murders and subsequent prosecution of those accused. Names have been changed to protect the innocent (as well as the potentially guilty), and a haunting tale is told with a focus on the search for justice for both victims and defendants. Colorful characters, including the draft-dodging son of a snake-handling minister, intertwine with more serious undertones as a surprise ending eventually unfolds. The author, William Auman, was the principal defense attorney in the actual case, and provides the reader with a dramatic and informative account of what was otherwise a tragedy to many.

They Stole the Packers! Film at Six!

Rookie reporter Terry Lawton joins Channel 3 fresh out of college and immediately plunges into the fast-paced world of old-fashioned news reporting. As he dashes around Green Bay and neighboring towns, sometimes at neck-breaking speed for his next scoop, he soon catches wind of a rumor that could shake Green Bay to its very foundations — The Packers, the town’s storied football team, could be sold.

The Packers have won five championships in seven years, earning Green Bay the nickname “Titletown,” but whispers suggest a sale is around the corner even though there are structures in place to prevent it. Terry’s new focus is to investigate these rumors and find out if Green Bay could lose the only thing that gives it relevance.

Jeremy Robertsen’s They Stole the Packers! Film at Six! is a historical fiction that delves into the worlds of professional football and journalism. Robertsen crafts an intriguing story rife with details that would undoubtedly entertain football fans. But he also simultaneously thrusts readers into the reality of journalism in the 70s before the advent of advanced reporting equipment and social media.

While the thrill of reading about reporters racing to capture their next story is definitely something to look forward to in Robertsen’s book, you also have the timeless lessons on journalism ethics and due process that pop up all through the story. They are a refreshing reminder of the rigors of ethical news reporting and the standards that ensure journalism can play its role in preserving and presenting the truth.

Far from being a drab refresher on journalism and football fandom, Robertsen’s work applies witty dialogue, intriguing characters, and the occasional humor to entertain readers while weaving a compelling plot. The writing is tight and free-flowing, and Robertsen clearly excels at creating an immersive reading experience with well-placed imagery.

They Stole the Packers is a captivating work of historical and political fiction. With humor and well-developed characters, readers will be drawn into the story even if they are not into football because this novel is much more than another sports story.

Pages: 215 | ASIN : B0B94VNNLX

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