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Love, Loss, Long Beach

Love, Loss, Long Beach by [Pasquale, Christiaan A.]

4 Stars

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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After Midnight: A Short Story Collection – Trailer

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

www.petersonwriter.com

 

Four Years of Despair

Four Years of Despair by [Morrison, Jalesa]

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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An Ambition To Belong

An Ambition to Belong (Leaving Home Trilogy Book 2) by [Sniechowski, James]

Young Jim has reached adolescence and is struggling with where he fits in life. Mostly because he doesn’t know himself well enough at this point to figure out where he feels most at home. He doesn’t fit in school. He joins a gang where he can only hope to belong, but never really does. His home is more house than home with both his parents living almost separate lives. Will the relationships he fosters be meaningful enough to withstand the tumult of adolescent existence?

Jim’s story is quite representative of what teens go through. The author has woven an almost poignant tale of Jim’s struggle to find a home. The story is thoughtfully narrated with an evocative plot and colored with insightful observations. Most of all, it is candid. All has been bared for the reader to see and experience. The reader is pulled into this abyss of raw emotion and overwhelming teenage confusion from the minute Jim celebrates his entrance into the Lancers (the gang) to the point where he loses his friend.

The book makes sparing use of dialogue and utilizes mostly internal dialogues between Jim and the ‘Voice’. The reader gets in depth peeks into Jim’s mind. This helps carry the story and paints a clearer picture of what Jim must have been going through. It is actually easy to lose oneself in Jim’s mind as it is a web of unanswered questions, self-doubt and all-around uncertainty. This is brilliantly executed and is well suited to the plot.

The book is written in plain language that is easy to understand, utilizing simple language to create striking imagery. Keeping the focus on the intriguing characters rather than on some grand literary design. Each character represents some form of human insecurity or peculiarity. Almost every reader will recognize themselves in one or more of the characters. Thereby enhancing the bond between the reader and characters for a more fulfilling experience.

This book left me feeling… haunted (I suppose that’s the right word). Although in the end Jim seems to be settling down, I felt that his questions of where he really belongs and his purpose have not been fully covered. This begs the question; will human beings always carry a degree of uncertainty with them?

This is an exceptional installment in the Leaving Home Trilogy. The first one was an absolute delight, the second one is undeniably beautiful and I am positively giddy for the third.

Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07CPDY81Y

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Worship of Hollow Gods

Worship of Hollow Gods (Leaving Home Trilogy Book 1) by [Sniechowski, James]

Young Jim takes us through a Friday night hangout with his Polish Catholic family. He takes note of the things only spoken of in silence and bowed heads. Things like alcoholism and the expectations that come with the position each person holds in the family. Though only a boy, he has a unique perception of his family. His view not yet colored with the urge to show a facade. With the innocence of a child, he offers the reader an honest view of every occurrence and lets the reader into even the darkest recesses of his family. This book will have readers looking at long standing family traditions and unique bonds that inadvertently dictate behaviors and personality traits.

James Sniechowski writing is pleasantly colorful, evocatively poignant and expressive. His talent brings forth a clear and strong image in the mind of the reader. He has an extraordinary ability to weave language into a beautiful piece of art that draws the reader deep into the plot. This book reveals family secrets that are secrets to only people outside the family. There is an unwritten rule in every family that some things are to remain unspoken. No one dares to talk about those things. No one but the children, of course.

This has been described as “unputdownable” and I would agree with that. I found myself reading way to long into the night. The reader is invited into the middle of a 1950’s working class family in Detroit. Character development is vital in the reader’s relationship with this story. You will see the slight and gradual change in how the people relate through the night as more Seven Crown is poured. You can almost hear the words slur and eyelids grow heavy.

If nothing else, this book will help you take a good look at your own life and help you take stock of the ‘hollow gods’ in your own life. This is an empowering book that will help you consider the steps required to ‘leave home’ if need be. This is the kind of book that stirs the pot and brings deep seated emotions to the surface. The title holds just the right amount of tenacity for this material.

Pages: 223 | ASIN: B07CNWV4CH

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Heart of a Warrior Angel – Trailer

Available August 2019

A heart-wrenching and gripping tale of a family’s rise from poverty, oppression and abuse. Spanning two continents and three generations, this inspirational novel portrays the best and worst of humanity and shows how the “tiniest spark of light can overcome darkness of any magnitude,” through forgiveness, compassion, and the most powerful force in the universe – Love.

 

We All Have A Story

Georgina Lucy Kemm Author Interview

Georgina Lucy Kemm Author Interview

The Spell is a captivating memoir about your life, the obstacles you faced, and your perseverance. What was the inspiration that made you want to put your story into a book?

It’s not that I wanted to put my story into a book; I was compelled as you will find out at the end of Book III. I see my journey as archetypal and no longer my personal story. I have had many people connect with me about how one thing or another from the story affected them—something similar that they faced in their life. When I wrote it, I had no idea why I need to share this story.

You retrace your steps through some painful years in your life. Was there anything that you see different now that you have reflected on it?

Back then, I was another person. I often look at how ridiculous and childish I was. Many times I wanted to chop out the parts in the story that were embarrassing and what seems to me now, as ridiculous! But the character arc, my arc changes across the span of the three books. The thing I remind myself to do is to hold me, the person I was back then and the character of the story with tremendous tenderness. I can not discount how my life shaped me and the challenges I’ve overcome. Like a migrating Sandhill Crane, I have a perspective from a higher vantage point that spans across space and time.

I felt that you did a fantastic job of revealing the truth, no matter how painful. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Thank you! There is no point in hiding behind your shame and your fears. And, no one has the right to judge another’s life and their choices. You don’t know what they’ve been through. You don’t know how much courage it takes to face themselves each day. We all have a story. That is what links humanity together. We all have our role to play and the only thing I can do, you can do, is make sure your life is an Oscar-winning performance.

This is book one in the The Shaman’s Lover Trilogy. Where will book two pickup and when will it be available?

The Shattering, Book II is gestating as I write this. It will be out this year. Here is a blurb from The Shattering.

Author Links: Amazon | Website | Twitter | Facebook

What are you willing to risk to become who you really are?

As Georgina’s life faces a disastrous implosion, her best friend Sandy invites her to a healing center deep in the Peruvian Amazon where she naively enters into the mysterious world of ayahuasca-a potent visionary plant medicine also known as the “vine of the soul”. Magical journeys and other-worldly adventures submerge her into the shadow world where she discovers her demons and uncovers the lie she has been living. Just as she begins to reconnect with the Divine, Georgina meets with an unexpected twist of fate, when the healing center’s shaman casts a powerful enchantment on her. In order to unbind herself, she must face her past and strip away an imprisonment that is not only hers but shared by women world-wide.

Travel with Georgina as she takes you into an extraordinary reality. The Spell, Book One of The Shaman’s Lover Trilogy is a mesmerizing memoir about healing the Wounded Feminine and embodying the Divine Feminine. This personal account will inspire women to free themselves from the patriarchal program of shame, guilt and low self-worth and awaken to their power, radiance and beauty. Join Georgina and an unforgettable cast of characters as she takes you on a journey of magic and paradoxically, what it means to be ordinarily human.

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My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict

My Name is Erin, and my Mom’s an Addict by Amy Voltaire is the story of Erin Whitaker, a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is a heroin addict. Erin went to live with her grandparents when she was five, after her mother left. When Erin got home from school one day, her mother was gone and never came back. Ten years later Erin’s mother has reentered her life. She’s finally gotten clean and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. Though reluctant, Erin allows her mother back into her life. But when she relapses, will Erin’s anger cause her to lose all the other people in her life as well?

This story focuses on the effects of drug addiction, not just on the addict, but on the other people in their life, children especially but also siblings and friends and even parents-in-law.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the dark theme of substance abuse and drug addiction, there were bits of humor in the story. The author had an engaging writing style. And I really liked the main character, Erin. The whole book was written from her point of view, so I always knew what she was thinking and feeling and why she acted out at times. I didn’t like that Erin kept getting angry about the situation with her mother and taking it out on other people, who were not the source of her anger. But the author offered compelling motivation for her actions, and Erin worked to improve her anger-management issues.

I liked the relationships portrayed in this story, especially between Erin and her best friend, Grace, and Erin and her boyfriend, George, who also acted as a good friend to her. And Erin’s grandparents did not just see caring for her as a duty. Even when she was difficult, they loved her, and they enjoyed having her living with them. Their interactions were funny and sweet. I loved the way Erin acted with Sweetie, a chihuahua poodle mix.

Although the story did not have a conclusive ending, it was hopeful. I believe this story is a realistic portrayal of the realities of life for children affected by drug addiction, and even though it is a work of fiction, this book will resonate with people who are going through a similar situation.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1939696496

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A Lot to Explore

Mallory O'Connor Author Interview

Mallory O’Connor Author Interview

American River: Currents continues the intriguing intertwined stories of three families. Did you want this book to be an extension of book one in the series, or did you want to explore new ideas in this book?

While Currents is a continuation of the story of three California families, I did want to explore some new directions in the book. First, I wanted to let Marian’s story expand, and to have her mature and grow as she faces the problems of trying to break into the New York art scene. So, the early days of the feminist movement emerge in this book. Also, the book spans the time period from 1963 to 1970, a period of enormous change and tumult that included the escalation of the Vietnam War, campus riots, political volatility and the rest of “the sixties” events from the growth of the civil rights movement to the murders of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy and the Kent State massacre. There was a lot to explore in that period.

I enjoyed the deeply emotional relationships the characters had. Is there anything from your own life that you put into your story?

In many ways, the entire trilogy is shaped by my experiences during that time period. I was in graduate school during 1965-69 and getting involved in the women’s liberation movement and joining the Women’s Caucus for Art and writing about women’s art and why it was so important. I also wanted to write about Mexico where I had spent time and came to love and appreciate very much. So, I took Nick and Marian to Valle de Bravo so I could write about the adventures I had there. I also wanted to write about Stefan Molnar whose character was based on a friend of mine and to explore Kate’s problems of trying to find a balance between a romantic and a platonic relationship. And, I was also interested in exploring California politics and the problems between the land owners and the (usually) Mexican workers on whom they relied yet didn’t want to fully recognize.

You continue to impress me with the exceptional depth of your characters. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I have to confess that I love all of my characters. They’re like my children in that I created them, and I want to care for them and help them grow and flourish, but I can’t always save them from either the obstacles that they face or from themselves. I love Carl even though he can be a real jerk, but he was a fascinating character to write and I enjoyed doing the research into his musical training ad his career. I took classes in conducting and music theory. I interviewed orchestra conductors and tried to understand both Carl’s ambitions and his insecurities. I also had a wonderful time exploring Tommy’s attempt to understand his Japanese heritage by immersing himself in Japanese culture and marrying a Japanese woman. Even though this ultimately led to tragedy, it was an extremely fulfilling experience. I also loved to write about Alex and her profoundly narcissistic view of the world. And Owen’s growth from old style conservative to a more enlightened view was fun to explore.

Where will book three in the American River trilogy take readers and when will it be available?

Book three allows all of the characters to finally come to grips with who they are and what’s most important to them. They all have to grow up and face the consequences of the decisions they’ve made and the relationships they’ve forged. I hope that my readers will themselves learn something about how we can be blinded by our own world view and how we have to take off our blinders and try to learn from our mistakes and seek a wider understanding of ourselves and what we truly can accomplish.

Book three, American River: Confluence, is available on Amazon, from Archway Publishing, on Mallory’s website: mallorymoconnor.com. and in some regional bookstores.

Author Links: GoodReadsFacebookWebsite | Amazon

American River: Currents: Book Two of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]

In the second book of the American River trilogy, a cavalcade of disastersboth personal and publicthreatens to overwhelm the scattered members of the McPhalan, Ashida, and Morales clans during the tumultuous 1960s.

Katestill mourning the death of her brother, Julianfinds herself torn between her love for Carl, now a celebrated conductor who is looking for career opportunities on the East Coast, and her devotion to the West and especially the family ranch at Mockingbird. Also, while attending a music festival in Venice, Italy, she meets Stefan Molnar, a renowned concert pianist, who has become her sister Alexs mentor (and lover). As Kate and Stefans unintentional relationship grows, complications multiply.

Meanwhile, Tommy Ashida, now studying in Japan, falls in love with Emiko Namura, the beautiful, sheltered daughter of a Tokyo businessman. He hopes she holds the key to understanding his Japanese heritage, but will that knowledge lead to happiness or something darker?

Determined to make her mark in the male-dominated art world, Kates mother, Marian, decides to move to New York while Kates father, Owen, becomes involved in local politics. When he is elected to the California Assembly, he finds himself in direct opposition to Jorge Morales, Carls father.

Alliances fray, relationships dissolve, divisive secrets are revealed, and promises are broken as the members of three California families struggle to salvage their shattered dreams.

Set against the natural beauty of Northern California, OConnor weaves a complex tapestry of interrelationships and betrayals that captures the mood and resonance of a decade that began in innocence and ended in despair.

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The Aristocrat – Trailer

The Aristocrat by Regine Dubono is a short story about a girl named Marianne Maywee, who lives with her family (including her younger sister, Paula) in Nice, France. One day an older man appeared in their lives and introduced himself as their godfather, Mr. Giles. Marianne and Paula go on many outings with Mr. Giles, until the day he does not come to their house as expected. Marianne learns that he’s in the hospital and she goes to visit him. Will this be the end of their enjoyable outings together?

www.regine-du-bono.com

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