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Quando Dormo

Quando Dormo (When I Sleep) by Edward Izzi is a suspenseful thriller about Dr. David Fazio, a pro-life obstetrician, divorced twice, and as handsome as he is philanderous. Dr. Fazio is not shy of flaws, personal and otherwise, with an army of scorned women in his past and severe insomnia while also being known as a sleepwalker. At a time where multiple family planning clinics are being burned to the ground, Dr. Fazio’s pro-life views and unknown night-time sleepwalks catches up to him as authorities are determined to find this “Abortion Arsonist”. It especially does not help when he wakes up with burns on his hands one morning. Quando Dormo is a well-written and enticing novel with in-depth characters and intertwining relationships.

One of the most interesting parts in this novel was the relationships between the myriad of characters that appear throughout the novel. At least fifteen characters are introduced and even though that may sound overwhelming, Izzi masterfully crafts these delicate intertwining relationships between each one of them.  These relationships that have been created at first seem disconnected but as the novel moves on, it is revealed how everyone relates to each other in some way or the other. This ultimately leads to the mystery aspect of the story and gives readers a satisfying feeling once everything is understood.

Quando Dormo is set in modern-day Chicago, there is not a lot of setting description which can be considered a downside, but Izzi finds a way to compensate for this. Mainly, through his characters, the way they speak to each other, and the few different cultures that appear throughout which is true to real world Chicago. Speaking of which, Italian culture is explored authentically and amusingly through the main character, Dr. Fazio’s heavily Italian family. Dr. David Fazio may not be an extremely likable character as he is a known womanizer and the story delves into some of his previous girlfriend’s lives and their, not so favorable, feelings toward him. However, we do see his positive traits and fascinating character growth throughout the novel.

A fair warning should be given before people go into this compelling novel. There are many contrasting and controversial opinions on pro-life and pro-choice from different characters. And the actions that some of these characters take are extreme which can be unpleasant to some readers. But if this doesn’t bother you then you are in for an entertainingly provocative tale.

Pages: 394 | ASIN: B085XQY8XX

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MIRRORS OF LIFE: What is your life in the mirror?

MIRRORS OF LIFE: What is your life in the mirror? by [Neal Owens]

Mirrors of Life vividly explores contemporary experiences of black people in America through the emotional tale of a mother and her children. Yvonne is a single mother who is stuck between tragedy and poverty. She finds a release for her pain through her religion and focus on her children. Yvonne’s children are all motivated individuals, though each in their own direction. Each blaze their own path in life, but Derrick is the one that seeks economic equality for his community and finds opposition coming from surprising places. Can Derrick overcome these challenges and change the social and economic fabric of a community set in their ways?

What I found most striking about this novel was the unique way in which it broached sadly common economic and educational deficiencies in minority groups and their communities. Derrick seeks substantial change to address racial inequalities and social justice and does so through his own drive and faith. In a time where black men are killed regularly at the hands of law enforcement, and vigilantes, this novel speaks volumes in its ability to keep the conversation on these topics civil and focused on human experiences.

Derrick, I think, is the main focus of this story. He’s a character that was slow to build but was well developed and stirring. The challenges he faces, they are numerous and varied, and the way he handles them, propels this novel forward at a delightful pace. His mother, Yvonne, is an equally captivating character that I wanted to learn more about. She could have easily had her own novel.

This is a thought-provoking novel that uses compelling characters to bring life to an otherwise familiar story. Mirrors of Life explores themes of family, faith, and love while waxing philosophical, occasionally, on a few topics. If your looking for an intriguing contemporary urban fiction story that addresses many societal issues in a heart-felt yet engaging way then Neal Owens has a novel for you. Mirrors of Life: What is your life in the mirror? is an inspirational novel that made me smarter, if not more aware.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07VGLQKTS

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A Gangland Problem

Gerry Mullins Author Interview

Gerry Mullins Author Interview

Testosterone Dublin 8 follows a man that uses testosterone to escape his unhappy life and in the process gets caught up with Dublin’s criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

A doctor suggested I start taking testosterone, and that prompted my interest in the hormone. As I observed changes in my own mind and body, and read more about it, I realized it could provide the foundation for a very interesting book.

Most people associate the hormone with sex and athletics, but it influences so much more, particularly mood, ambition, drive and confidence. That makes it a very interesting issue to write about, but I could find no other novel about it.

There was a time when only elite athletes took anabolic steroids (which means testosterone), but now millions of ordinary men (and some women) around the world are juicing. There are myriad advantages and dangers to this.

In addition, I live in a part of the Irish capital called Dublin 8, which is going through the gentrification process – just like other cities throughout the world such as San Francisco where I used to live.

Gentrification provides a very interesting energy in a place as ‘old’ and ‘new’ residents live side-by-side, usually together, but separate. Occasionally hostile. I wanted to comment on this in a book. A law-abiding man who suddenly becomes a drug dealer was the vehicle to do this. He had felt a little superior to his new neighborhood, but as time goes by, it’s clear he isn’t that much different from the people he lives among.

Jimmy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove his character development?

He is disappointed in his life. He was from a middle-class family and middle-class community, but didn’t achieve this in his adult life. Losing his job is confirmation of this. Frequently he feels the judgement of his late father, who reminds him of his failings during his lowest points. He is ashamed, angry and suicidal.

Jimmy’s enhanced manliness leads to a drug-dealing business, and his pride is gradually restored. But when the money starts rolling in, what is his ambition for it? To move to a middle-class area; to finally be the person his late father wanted him to be.

The story takes place in Dublin. Why was this time and place important to your story?

Dublin has a gangland problem and there have been many murders in the Dublin 8 area that is described in the book.

In addition, this area is changing as new people who have middle-class aspirations arrive, displacing lower-class families who have been there for generations.

So the time and the place are important because they generate a natural environment for stories like mine to emerge. The reason Jimmy is living there is because of gentrification. The reason he can get involved in the drugs business is because that business is all around him.

More generally, Dublin is celebrated in many novels, and is most famously linked to works that were published 100 years ago. Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to describe the Dublin of here and now.

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

I am not working any but have several in mind involving the characters of Testosterone, Dublin 8.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Testosterone, Dublin 8 by [Gerry Mulins]

TV producer Jimmy Fyffe starts taking anabolic steroids to restore the ‘manliness’ he has lost in a high-pressure career and unhappy marriage. His plan works – a little too well. Soon he is a cocaine dealer, carving out a market in Dublin’s more affluent suburbs. This draws him into conflict with two established drugs gangs. He is kidnapped, beaten and terrorised, and is linked to the killing of a drugs-lord and two Gardaí.

Is Jimmy next to die, or will the same newfound machismo that landed him in trouble also help him escape it? Things get worse before they get better. The extra testosterone in his system hardens him both mentally and physically, but he also becomes reckless and arrogant. Ultimately, redemption is found during an ayahuasca ceremony in the Wicklow mountains, when Jimmy confronts his past through a conversation with his dead father.

Testosterone, Dublin 8 describes the effect of the ‘male hormone’ on an individual, and on wider society. It is told against the backdrop of a gentrifying Dublin, where the two main tribes – locals and blow-ins – live side by side. It is a moral tale wrapped in a classic thriller that gets to the heart – and veins – of modern Ireland.

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Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg (Enhanced) by [Longoria Wolfe, Laura Kincaid]

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg follows a young girl who must contend with bullies while being haunted by disturbing visions. She slowly uncovers a connection she has with an ancient tribe of people who were exterminated. She must find out why she’s been chosen, overcome the strange phenomena plaguing her life and take control of her destiny.

Longoria Wolfe has written a compelling science fiction story that is supported by a curious mystery which unravels through a thrilling adventure. When the book started I thought Evah was a fairly straightforward character, but I was pleasantly surprised when her character quickly gained complexity as her connection to the supernatural tribe was revealed and events are set in motion which provide compelling obstacles for her to overcome.

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg is an immersive story that efficiently handles backstory so that we can focus on character development as well as the eerie mystery at the heart of this riveting novel. I admit that I had to stretch my imagination a bit because some of the things, and places, Evah encounters along the way superbly capture a fantastical surrealism that I wasn’t prepared for.

What I enjoyed the most was how everything is kept grounded by motivations I could understand. Even the strange aliens had desires I think readers can relate to, and with that I was reeled into a fast paced story that I heartily enjoyed.

Exceptional storytelling elevates this odd story line into a novel that is unique and hard to put down. I hope there’s a sequel in the works as this story left me wanting more of this world. Longoria Wolfe is able to twist common story tropes and prose into something that strangely intriguing. This is a thrilling science fiction story that I would recommend to readers seeking an adventure unlike any other.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07ZDLZP9V

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Saul of Tarsus

Lin Wilder Author Interview

Lin Wilder Author Interview

My Name Is Saul follows the life of the apostle Paul and expands his character. What was the inspiration that motivated you to write this compelling story?

I had planned to return to my Lindsey McCall mystery series after publishing, I, Claudia A Novel of the Ancient World, but then Saul-quite literally- showed up in my head.

Saul of Tarsus is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some themes that guided his character development?

It took me a while to recover from the implanted idea of writing a book about the Apostle of the Apostles. I wrote this in the afterword of the book: Upon completing my last novel, I was stunned to “hear” that my next book would be about St. Paul … Apostle of the Apostles. On more than one occasion, I complained to my husband that this was one of the most foolhardy efforts I had ever taken on. I could only console myself with the fact that it was not my idea but Someone Else’s. As I sat reeling from the implanted idea and began to research Saul of Tarsus, I grew more and more enthusiastic …excited, even. Perhaps I could penetrate the obscurity with which the early life of St. Paul is shrouded. How could I manage such a task? Because, as I continued to study, search, think, I realized that Saul of Tarsus is a man I get. Get as in, AHA! I know what certainty tastes like, and Saul of Tarsus was a man of certainty.

I enjoyed the well researched content in this book. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the books accuracy?

In two words, a lot. But very quickly I realized that no one knew about the early life of Saul other than the barest of details. Most scholars did not even attempt to guess. That left me a vast open field of conjecture. There were a few books which were enormously helpful, particularly on the prayers of the time, Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin. I reference those at the end of the book.

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

Plausible Liars– A Dr. Lindsey McCall medical mystery, available late this year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

My Name Is Saul: A Novel of the Ancient World by [Lin Wilder]

St. Paul the Apostle is a towering biblical figure, but almost nothing is known about his early life as Saul of Tarsus.

As death loomed over him at Mamertine Prison in Rome, under the watchful eye of his jailer and final follower Aurelius, he wrote:

I will die tomorrow. In the morning, around sunrise.

There are two things for which I am eminently grateful: That I have been permitted to have fought the good fight and finished the race marked out for me; and that I will not have to endure another winter in this place.

Starting from that pivotal moment, blending historical fact with audacious creativity, the author of the award-winning I, Claudia propels us back through the life of the man who would become St. Paul. Her vividly imagined, well-founded tale of loss, transformation, and divine intervention will captivate believers and non-believers alike who yearn for the human truth and drama behind the scriptures.

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Sinner’s Cross

Sinner's Cross: A Novel of the Second World War by [Miles Watson]

Sinners Cross, by Miles Watson, is a deeply captivating historical fiction novel of the Second World War. This is an action packed story detailing the horrors of war and the people that must endure them.

This is not a watered down version of war, the battles are chaotic and gritty. I appreciated Mile Watson’s ability to place me in the field with the soldiers. The story focuses on a collection of well developed characters, each with their own issues not completely unique but well drawn and expertly unraveled before the reader. Having such well defined characters made me appreciate the terrible way in which war changes people.

The book is set in Germany during the Second World War and told from the point of view of soldier on the ground. We get to know what they fear, their motivation, how it feels to take the impact of a sniper bullet to the head only for it to be stopped by a M1 Helmet. How one would survive the cold in a fox hole knowing the chance of living to see the following day comes down to an unhealthy probability. To how your ears ring when you are accidentally within the range of an explosion. Sinner’s Cross is full of these types of details only soldiers can tell you.

The book begins with two characters, Duffy and Halleck, who have been fighting Germans for a while now. Each lost in their own thoughts, they engage in a sporadic and thinly worded conversation. Whenever Halleck’s drifts back to his thoughts, they give the reader a glimpse into the hopelessness of their predicament when he refers to their reinforcement as mere replacements. As a veteran I can appreciate the clarity with which the author paints the picture of war and how a soldiers mind might race.

This book was exceptional in it’s ability to make me question, not necessarily the motives of war, but the motives of those in charge of the battles in war. How human ineptness is either waned or magnified under such monstrously strenuous conditions.

I’m surprised Sinner’s Cross is a historical fiction novel. It’s full of historical details and military jargon that, I felt, were spot on, if not believable. This is an exceptional novel that is consistently entertaining, although dark it fits with the tone of what is a dark time in history. Any armchair historian will love this book.

Pages: 284 | ASIN:  B07YS4T3TB

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Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End by [Hugo V. Negron]

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is the fifth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s “Forging of a Knight” series.  The book series takes place in a magical, mythical world drawing heavily upon folklore and where numerous societies with feudal systems reside in the greater universe. The series follows the journeys of Qualtan, a knight who wields the powerful and coveted Goldenflame blade, Glaive, his half-orcne best friend and trusted partner, and many other rulers, knights, and creatures with whom they interact in the ongoing fight against the heinous agenda of the Evil Order.  The “Knighthood’s End” installment guides readers on an arguably more personal battle involving Qualtan – the events that transpire as he finds his true love in Vanessa, a Mah-Zakim, and the journey of Qualtan and Vanessa in securing their freedom to love.

This book features many different types of characters and creatures, some common fixtures and other illustrations pulled from the depths of Negron’s vast imagination. The author does a fantastic job at creating the imagery needed for the reader to conjure in mind each of these magical characters and creatures. He displays the same talent for expressing imagery in his illustrations of the different worlds that Qualtan, Glaive, Vanessa, and other characters in the story traverse. The Great Forest, for instance, with its idyllic scenery and woodland creatures roaming about, contrasts greatly with the dark, terrible, and grotesque world of the Mah-Zakim.

The development of the story is done in such a way that, even if the reader was not already familiar with the series, they not left in the dark in regard to former battles or happenings from previous installments and how they play into the current plot. My only comment is that the author could have elicited more emotion and dimension in each character; I found that the characters at times fell too deeply into their respective tropes (ex. Qualtan as the hero, Glaive as the disgruntled but loyal sidekick, and Vanessa as the hopeless lover fighting against herself). The interactions between the characters, along with references to past struggles they have mutually faced, still adequately depict the strong ties that bind the characters to each other; a great example of this bond is the brother-like companionship between Qualtan and Glaive that remains steadfast even during the moments when they have their differences.

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is overall a great read for anyone who has an interest in a well-written and carefully crafted story where knights, kingdoms, gods, magic, and other elements of folklore rule, with some seeking the greater good and some seeking no benefit outside themselves. The plot of the story is rich and enjoyable, and it should spark reader’s interest in delving into the rest of the series.

Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5

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Seeing is Believing

Dr. Qooz Author Interview

Dr. Qooz Author Interview

What do you find is a common misconception kids have about problems with their vision?

The MOST common misconception kids have about their vision is they don’t believe they have a vision problem. This is because they have nothing to compare bad vision to.

I thought the scenes with Tode at the optometrist were very cute. Do you have a favorite scene from the book, Sight to See: Seeing is Believing ?

My favorite scene of Tode at the optometrist is when Dr. Kitty asks Tode to come into his office and Tode thinks he is in trouble and explains, “I didn’t pull Krissy’s tail, I just held on and she drug me in here!”

This is book two in your Fargone series, what can readers expect from book three, Where Are We?: A field Trip to Paradise?

Book 3 of the Fargone Series, “Where Are We?: A field Trip to Paradise” defines a common state of boredom, where everyone wants to be on the greener side of life, a place more exciting than where they are. This historical history lesson, takes the entire class on a field trip that is only 10 feet from where they started from but 151 million years…

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Sight to See: Seeing is Believing (Fargone Book 2) by [Dr. Qooz, Irena Urosevic]A children’s book with a message to parents and young readers. Tode the Turtle is one out of every five children that will have a learning disability because of a correctable handicap, that he nor his parents know that he has. Discover the ease of correcting this universal plague in minutes as this beautifully illustrated story comes to life.

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