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Second Chance -The Adventures of Gianni & Pepina

Dr. Gianni Pisano, a once up-and-coming medical doctor, finds himself in South France years later, succumbing to his vices. Embracing a life full of drugs and alcohol, he is adamant in making sure that his troubles are always out of his mind, particularly his wife’s tragic death a few years past. During his isolation, he meets Pepina Soler, a Catalonian woman that may just be his saving grace. As the two bond over what the south of France has to offer — food, nature, and art — they also learn a thing or two about life, love, and the second chances they offer.

Second Chance – The Adventures of Gianni & Pepina, by Giuseppe Scarpine, is a captivating story that will leave you longing for a summer getaway in rural France, all while contemplating universal questions we have asked ourselves for a long time. Combined with humorous lines and scenes here and there, this book keeps the feeling of its readers light as they look forward to the two characters’ next adventures in the coming pages.

For a person living in the city, a book set in an entirely different place was something I eagerly welcomed, and the author’s detailed explanation of the surroundings helped build my imagination. In a way, South France’s comfort to its citizens and tourists extended to its audience. Furthermore, the large number of characters was given an equal place in the story, for each contributed in one way or another. While some scenes are more memorable than others, the flow of the story made sense in such a way that despite the beauty and comedy of the book, its thought-provoking aspects will surely leave a reader’s mind creating questions and answers simultaneously. By the end of the story, not everything was answered, opening the events up for another book, but it still felt as if the events had a full-circle moment, leaving me with a smile on my face as I finally turned the last page.

This is highly recommended for anyone interested in reading about soul searching, travel, and lifestyle. The comedic approach will also serve as a great pull to potential readers since reading books about the said categories can sometimes be too focused on giving tips and advice. Second Chance – The Adventures of Gianni & Pepina can also be read by those in their 50s or older, for the characters will resonate with them and might give these readers inspiration to take on new adventures without the hindrance of age.

Pages: 264 | ASIN : B09952D5FJ

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Giant Banana Over Texas

Giant Banana Over Texas by Mark Nutter is a collection of short stories that will make you stop in your track and reread it. With straightforward and short stories, the author has tried to capture the absurdity of human life in weird circumstances. All these instances that are mentioned in the book are plausible situations. They have the full potential to be true, but this is something that is generally not heard of. It might sound confusing, but this is exactly what the stories are: confusing and chaotic.

The author’s writing style is the common thread that binds these 31 stories together in this book. All of them are weirdly thought-provoking and will leave you with a deep sense of discomfort. Of course, I knew that stories are simply stories, but there is something in those stories that make them very near to reality despite being in the vein of impossibility.

The stories have sensible beginnings, a possible flow of action, but an unsettling end. These endings are connected to the problems at the beginning. The weird endings suddenly turn the flow of the stories and take them away from the realistic relatability that we feel with the stories. It is weird, but curiosity makes it interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed being stumped by this Giant Banana over Texas.

The author uses absurdity to bring out the problems of the contemporary world. Even though the endings are not what lies in the wake of realistic action, it brings out discomfort in the readers. The readers feel relatable yet away from the characters. The discomfort of the stories seeps within the reader’s conscience and itches at the mind.

Giant Banana Over Texas is a collection of short dark-humor stories. The language used is very easy to read and understand. Anyone will enjoy the Absurd twists and turns that the stories take while the characters are left hanging on the edge of uncertainty.

Pages: 237 | ASIN : B09S6T5FM4

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Ruby Roy and The Murder in the Falls

Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls follows Dr. Ruby Roy through her first real-life murder mystery. Ruby is a twenty-nine-year-old college professor at Baron University. She’s absent-minded, has an overactive imagination, and is a lover of mystery. As a junior professor, she wants to make sure she doesn’t rock the boat so she can make tenure, but when she finds her Chair dead, she fears for her life.

Author Rima Ray has given readers a female sleuth that they are sure to fall in love with. She’s sharp, quirky, absent-minded, and has an imagination that gets away from her. Ruby is the type of protagonist you root for and believe in, even when she is afraid of nearly everything. All of this makes her feel a little less heroic but she is so much more authentic and relatable because of it. She is someone you can imagine exists in real life, rather than someone who is larger than life. She doesn’t want to rock the boat so it takes her a while to start investigating the mystery, but whether delving into the mystery or living her life she is a character that is oh so charming and fun to follow.

The story moves quickly, as the author knows how to balance exposition and action, giving readers the right amount information in the beginning of the novel to keep us engaged and get to know Ruby before we begin our descent into the depths of this intriguing cozy-mystery.

I enjoyed how well developed the characters in the story were, especially the organic way they are introduced. Reading about Ruby’s character was so fascinating to me as she is so different from the usual protagonists we find in murder mystery stories. I love her quirkiness! I felt like I was a friend of Ruby’s alongside her on this scary but fascinating experience.

Rima Ray has created a memorable character that readers will love to follow as they descend into the depths of this puzzling mystery. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a light and refreshing book that will make you smile while reading it.

Pages: 244 | ASIN: B09YCPX979

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Fore Play

Linda Sheehan’s Fore Play is a book that explores the beauty of golf and the intricate lives of those who play it. Set in a fictional Los Angeles sports club called Bellstone, the book’s storyline revolves around three main characters – Jody, Mandy, and Newt. It particularly focuses on the life of Jody – the granddaughter of the club’s founder – Forrest Wheeler.

Traumatized after the death of her grandfather, Jody stops playing golf. But her husband convinces her to try out the sport by joining the Bellstone club. Here, they cross paths with Mandy, Newt, and a host of other characters that significantly affect the couple’s life trajectory.

As Jody gets more involved in golfing and her work as a scientist, she becomes closer and closer to Jackson – a reserved caddy. Moreover, she begins to notice some of her husband’s unpleasant qualities. Ultimately, she, like the reader, comes to realize that all that glitters is not gold.

If there’s one thing that this book does well it’s that it highlights how far some people will go to gain social acceptance and praise. Using the lives of characters like Mandy, the author highlights how important it is for some people to appear rich, beautiful, and successful, regardless of who they hurt to achieve that. On the other hand, characters like Jackson remind us of how society overlooks anyone who seems different, poor, and unwilling to participate in posturing.

Another theme that is deeply explored in this book is the propensity of victims to become oppressors down the road. For instance, Mandy is bullied as a child and grows up to be a bully herself. On the other hand, Father Norm is abused as a child and grows up to manipulate people and the system to do his bidding. Ultimately, their stories parallel so many real-life ones, making them believable and relatable.

The author creates characters that are layered and interesting, making it easy to believe that this book could be inspired by real events. Even the way that the different golf games are described seems so real. It also helps that the book is written in simple language and even includes verses to popular songs that the characters listen to in different scenes.

Fore Play provides a unique and captivating look at life through some intriguing characters. This is a riveting and easy to read sports fiction novel that uses humor to assuage the darker moments of the human drama unfolding in this absorbing story.

Pages: 273 | ASIN: B09WCT3VHV

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My Work is Inspired By My Love of Animals

Author Interview
Author Interview Anil

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a book of not just poetry but fascinating facts about animals. What was the inspiration for this children’s book?

It’s my second book of Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories. Both were inspired by my love of animals, being a retired zoologist, coupled with my love of word play and constrained writing. The restraint here is the use of terse single rhymes per poem, which I call universes. I then enjoy adding silly stories and nonsense, plus some biology, to the poems.

I don’t specialise in children’s books. My other three books are not for kids, too difficult or too ‘adult’.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Kalpart?

Kalpa Joshi, the head artist for Kalpart, lives in Mumbai. All the artwork was provided by email, in response to my written descriptions of the ideas I visualized. She was very cooperative and allowed me to seek revisions of her initial sketches, which she then had her team convert to the final coloured images, again generously allowing me revisions. Although mostly all my own ideas, she often made good suggestions.

I really liked the poems Racial Harmony and Wake up, Sleepyhead. What is your favorite poem in this collection?

My favourite is Ape and Wolf in Concert. That’s not for literary reason but because I’m an avid supporter of Friends of Bonobos, the orphan bonobo sanctuary and rehabilitation and release sites in DRCongo.

Their social media sites presented a longer version of this poem a few years ago. It’s also my favourite illustration in the book.

Judged purely on literary grounds I don’t really have a favourite but am especially pleased with ANOLE, BORZOI, CANARY, MONKEYS and the 1st PLOVER.

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

I have another book of silly animal rhymes (without added stories) in production at Olympia Publishers (UK), my first book to be accepted by a traditional publisher. It’s entitled 101 Animal Universes and includes 25 repeats from the two kids’ book. It also contains a few adult rhymes so is not a kids’ book except with parental discretion. It should be out later this year, I’d guess within three months.

The next book I am working on (basically finished and awaiting some b&w illustrations from Kalpart) is another exercise in constrained writing. This time it uses Spoonerisms around which to weave silly to serious stories and essays, many for adults only. It’s entitled Haywire Way Higher: Spoonerism Couplets, Stories, Essays. If I cannot find a traditional publisher I’ll again self-publish with SBPRA, the publishers of my other four recent books. I hope to see it published later this year or in 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Here are just a few of the Animal Rhyme stories inside:
ANOLE LIZARD becomes a Pig.
BORZOI Puppy is a riot.
CHINCHILLA has a Pet GORILLA.
GNUS steal shoes!
MOA didn’t make it to Noah’s Ark.
TORTOISE dreams of being a Ninja athlete.
WHALE ‘drops out’ and regrets it.
ZINGEL FISH meets Santa in my dreams.

Non-human Species Deserve To Live Their Lives Free of Exploit

Chuck Augello Author Interview

A Better Heart follows a filmmaker that reconnects with his father in an unusual way and causes him to question what matters in life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve had an interest in animal rights for most of my adult life and wanted to write about it in an engaging way that would entertain readers, but also inform them and perhaps challenge them to explore their own beliefs.  After my first novel, The Revolving Heart, was published, I started writing the opening chapters of a new novel, with an animal rights theme, that was nothing at all like A Better Heart.  After three chapters that novel stalled, and I put it aside for several months.  I then began hearing the first-person voice of Kevin, the novel’s narrator, and a character took shape.  I didn’t know that Henry, the capuchin monkey, and Kevin’s estranged father Brian would be critical characters until they literally walked into the opening scene.  Once that happened, the story fell into place, and I wrote the first draft in ten months, which for me is quite fast.   

Kevin thought his life was going great till he encounters Henry and reconnects with his father, causing him to rethink his personal values. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?  

Kevin feels responsible for the death of his mother and that guilt drives him toward a feeling of responsibility for Henry.  He’s someone who has always been self-focused.  As a filmmaker, he’s constantly drawing in his friends to help him with his projects.  He’s never really thought about the world beyond movies and his own ambitions, but as he learns about Henry’s experiences, he knows that he has a choice to help Henry reach freedom or to let him return to what can only be described as a primate prison.  

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

Primarily, the idea that non-human species deserve to live their lives free of exploitation and pain. The way that most animals are treated is unforgivable, and a stain on the human character.   Another theme is one of forgiveness.  Kevin struggles to forgive his father for what he perceives as abandonment, and he struggles to forgive himself for his unintended role in his mother’s death.   

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

I’m currently under contract for a book about the author Kurt Vonnegut.  It’s a mix of essays and interviews that I’ve done over the years with scholars and artists about their Vonnegut-themed works.  That should be available in 2023.  I’m also working on a novel set in the Bicentennial year of 1976.  The main characters are a college student and her uncle, who has returned home after living in Canada for ten years to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.   

Author Links: Twitter | Website

For aspiring indie filmmaker Kevin Stacey, it’s another day on the set of his first film, but when his estranged father, a failed Hollywood actor, arrives unexpectedly with a bundle of cash, a gun, and a stolen capuchin monkey, he’s propelled toward the journey that will change his life.
The monkey, Henry, has been liberated from a research lab by animal rights activists. Inspired by his friend Veronica to reevaluate his relationship with other species, Kevin learns about the pain and suffering inflicted on lab animals as he forges a bond with the capuchin. When father and son embark on a road trip with Henry, Kevin is caught between the egocentric father who abandoned him and the temperamental monkey whose fate is in his hands. With both the FBI and his mother’s ghost watching, will Kevin risk his career and his father’s freedom to bring the stolen monkey to safety? Meanwhile, Veronica’s encounter with an eccentric Catholic priest triggers her own journey toward change.
A heartbreaking yet comic family drama, A Better Heart examines the human-animal bond and the bonds between fathers and sons, challenging readers to explore their beliefs about the treatment of non-human species.

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a collection of animal-themed rhymes aimed at children. With a diverse vocabulary and introducing animals that are popular, as well as those who are hardly known to any, Anil conveys a message that is bound to raise nature lovers and animal protectors. In this enchanting book, young readers will meet Ross the Albatross, a love triangle between species, ants that face a grim demise, and other unexpected companions.

Two personal favorites of mine were Racial Harmony, and Wake Up, Sleepyhead. Racial Harmony features a cow and a sow that share their meals in the Taoist communion concept of ‘Tao.’ Wake Up, Sleepyhead, is about a sea snail Periwinkle, constantly tired and sleepy, is warned by the author not to let sloth get the better of them, lest they face the same fear as Rip Van Winkle.

Anil beautifully mixes child-friendly themes with more in-depth zoological knowledge which students from elementary to high school can enjoy. This approach transcends the narrow audience of most children’s books. Examples of concepts introduced in this book are those of metazoa, protozoa, and extinct animals. The author starts out each section with a cute poem, with only one rhyming sound per poem. After the poem, there is detailed biological information that is fascinating and not the kind of information you expect to find in a children’s book. This is a wonderful book for opening discussions with children and encouraging the desire to dive into the sciences. Combined with the brilliant and detailed illustrations by Kalpart, this magical book will entertain the entire family.

Silly Animal Rhymes and Stories: Zoo Two is a poetry picture book written for children but can be loved by all. This children’s book is not just poetry, but fun science facts and information that will appeal to older readers making this a book that can be loved and read for many years.

Pages: 95 | ASIN : B09NJP9XV3

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Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective 

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is an intriguing novel about a blind detective and a near-future world of enhanced dogs, chimps, and flying cars. The story primarily takes place in northern Alaska and Canada and follows Peter Shaw and his assistant, Watson, an intelligently-augmented talking golden retriever. With the help of the Canadian Mounties, they investigated a series of gruesome crimes committed against the native Inuit people of the region. Intertwined with this story are the happenings of the Integrated North American Space Force, where a seemingly unconnected tragedy has a far-reaching impact on the Inuit people and the world itself.

Author Shawn Adair Johnston uses shifting points of view as he flows through his narrative. We experience this new futuristic world through the eyes of many characters, including the naive and innocent Watson, the truly detestable Lt. Colonel Rex Trantor, and the slow-rolling existential crisis that is Sergeant Aristotle Jones (an intelligent chimp who works for the Mounties). We see them through shifting inner monologues and consciousnesses, where many characters explore what it is to “be,” including their ideas of right from wrong and even their pondering on whether on not they have a soul.

I feel that this narrative structure is a bit jarring at first. The point of view changes abruptly from man to man, dog, chimp, antagonist, and possible new antagonist. However, seeing the points of view of particular characters really enhances the suspense at times and providers some much-needed information to follow the clues of the mystery.

Much of the story is told and not shown, as actions and events are expressed to the reader through the characters listing a series of things that happened or will happen. I feel that more dialog between characters would have enhanced the storyline more than reading their own thoughts on what they were experiencing and what that meant to them. However, the internal dialog of the characters did provide a unique perspective given the diversity of the characters in this story.

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is a captivating story that is not too overpowered by the technological marvels of the sci-fi setting while incorporating humor from the characters. In addition, the fantasy elements brought in add an intriguing aspect to the plot that blends the two genres into a fantastic read.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B09QD6SVNG

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