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Of All Faiths & None 

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale is a historical fiction novel set during the Great War between 1910 and 1918. This compelling novel begins with Julius Drewe, who hires a famous architect, Edwin Luytens, to design a castle. Drewe’s goal is to establish and preserve his legacy with the construction of Castle Drogo, which later symbolizes the nature of the war, and how the younger generation of the Drewes and Luytens become entangled in the war, which breaks out in 1914. The plot quickly develops when the setting shifts from the families’ residence in London to the various battlefields and their connections to each other and Castle Drogo.

The author explores many essential topics during the early 1900s, including the age of enlightenment, the suffragette movement, and the impact of war. It’s an emotional rendition of the history of western society and how significant changes in the world challenge different religions and belief systems. Tweeddale does a great job developing each character and evolving them throughout the book in well-structured chapters and well-written descriptions of their individual experiences.

Throughout the book, Tweeddale explores the themes of duty, vanity, romance, and spirituality and how they evolve during the war. Readers get a glimpse into the political system of this era, and the consequences of war on all levels of society, from the ordinary people to the elites. The author brilliantly showcases the horrors of war and how it capitalizes on the arrogance and vanity of humans while humanizing war casualties so that they are not merely seen as numbers or statistics but as soldiers who are also brothers, sons, and spouses.

I profoundly enjoyed Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale. I recommend this impassioned historical romance novel for the author’s ability to highlight the tragedies of war and how it is the ultimate equalizer, impacting everyone regardless of faith or lack of it. It is a well-told tale of love, faith, and war, and is perfect for fans of historical fiction. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: 1739612205

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INTO THE STORM

Roger Boggs is a local sheriff in Circlegold county. Haunted by past traumas, Boggs dedicates his life to policing the small town he lives in. When a group of local boys goes missing, it starts him on an investigation that will change him forever. Aided by the mysterious Sears, a major in the Air Force, they must contend with a town hellbent on serving their own kind of justice. And when one of the missing boys shows up claiming that the person they are looking for may not be of human origin, it sends Boggs on a journey into the unknown.

From the start of the first page, I was intrigued by the plot of this book. Author D.J. Adamson immerses the reader into the suspense making this one book I couldn’t put down. Being a fan of sci-fi mysteries, this book had everything from the aliens, and the interesting characters, to wondering what would happen next. I enjoyed that the author didn’t stop describing each character. Instead, throughout the chapters, she provided bits of information about the character as the story progressed. This allowed me to get to know the characters without slowing down the story.

The author seamlessly switches between characters in the chapters without confusing the reader or interrupting the flow of the story. While I kept reading, I was mesmerized and kept in suspense. The author’s descriptions of places, especially when describing the aliens, are so vivid that I was creeped out while reading. The scenes where people start disappearing also kept me in suspense, and I felt like I was alongside the characters hiding from the alien. The icing on the cake is the ending of the story; it was not what I expected, but it was even better than I expected.

I highly recommend the science fiction thriller, INTO THE STORM: Aliens Among Us to readers that enjoy the unknown and want to be on the edge of their seat.

Pages: 319 | ASIN : B092RD6Q7Z

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Ghost Mark

Jane Walker is a tough yet gentle woman trying to live an everyday life despite her paranormal ability. Ethan Bryce is a bartender with a chip on his shoulder that loves his girlfriend, Jane Walker, and is coming to terms with Jane’s ability. Sadie Prescott is Jane Walker’s best friend and might or might not be missing her former hooker life. Jane runs into an old friend, Dylan O’Brien, but he claims to not know her. Jane is surprised by the brush-off but lets it go. However, it’s not long before Dylan becomes an integral part of Riptide, a club Ethan works at, but Dylan is not the sweet and bright friend Jane remembers.

Ghost Mark by JP McLean is a gripping story many urban fantasy lovers will enjoy. The lead character Jane is tenacious and kind, and her dilemma is fascinating and never boring. Ethan, Jane’s boyfriend, is tough, too, but his kindness and compassion are apparent throughout the story. Sadie, Jane’s friend, has a narrative that is interesting and compelling to read about. The character’s development throughout the story is beautifully crafted and well thought out. The way the characters interact with one another is realistic, allowing readers to be drawn into the world created by JP McLean. This makes for excellent reading.

Ghost Mark by JP McLean is a thrilling occult horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The crime constructed throughout the novel is fundamental to the plot and is setup in such a manner that you feel compelled to see where things end up. The action is set at a pace that never lets up. The world-building is expertly done and is commendable. Many moments in the story have you wondering what could possibly happen next, and it delivers at a satisfying pace. The author has provided an intense, riveting, and fast-paced novel.

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B5LK8GZL

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A Cage for the Wind

A Cage for the Wind by [Dave Matthes]

To be fair, the reader has been warned that they will be “helplessly lost in an abyss of muddied and bitter confusion”. Jerry is one of the brave ones. He is brave for letting the reader see into his messy mind. He is brave for not attempting to hide the darkness inside him. He is brave for being exactly who he is, weird and disturbed as he may be. Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone let others see them in their full glory.

Jerry has worn many hats and many masks. He has been the charming diner. He has been the office worker who does not conform or fit in. He has been the ‘jilted’ lover. He has been the unassuming courier enjoying the company of jazz on the lonely road. He has been the man who creates a marriage then goes home to a cat at the end of the day. Through his many faces, he has always been a writer and a murderer. This is the story of Jerry and all his different selves. It is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. Is it his upbringing? Is it his inborn nature?

When a book starts off with an oedipal confession then you know it is going to be a treat. In that moment, you know that Jerry is not going to be an ordinary person. Rarely do people come back from watching the mounds of their mother’s breasts peek out of the bathwater as she cries about something she never talks about.

Even when he does or says something particularly disturbing, Jerry is almost likable. Maybe it is because of the pity he inspires. He has a way of manipulating the reader into rooting for him despite his actions and character. He does nothing to be liked but somehow, he is. The writer does not describe him but a reader will know him. Jerry is the alter ego we all hide from the world and only allow him out in dark empty rooms. The crass narration of events is funny and abhorrent in equal measure.

The book ends just like it begins; in confusion. The writer often misspells the name ‘Agnes’. While it does not happen often, it causes a measure of distraction on the pages it does happen. Considering the type of writing in this book, any other errors will go unnoticed as Jerry keeps the reader gripped and their eyes stuck on the pages.

Ever gone by a gruesome accident with brain matter sprawled on the ground and limbs bent unnaturally as screams of agony fill the air? Ever found yourself staring, almost savoring the smell of hot blood and listening to the lull of fading pulses? That is what this book is. It is a hot but intriguing mess. A Cage for the Wind is daring. It is messy. It is the book you whisper about to everyone. Dave Matthes has executed a beautiful literary tangled web.

Pages: 152 | ASIN: B09D43RBRH

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Heroes of Afflatus: Book 2 The Blue Butterfly

Heroes of Afflatus: Book 2 The Blue Butterfly by [C.R. Endacott]

Avery, the truth wizard, and her friends catch wind of Depravity’s next target: the Faerie World. The insidious being seeks to kill the blue butterfly, the last seal preventing it from returning to full strength. But, while Avery’s and her friends’ mission is clear – stop Depravity again and protect the blue butterfly – it’s far from straightforward.

First, they have to find the entrance to the Faerie World. Unfortunately, things take a terrible turn when Avery is kidnapped by Depravity’s stone minions. In a race against time, Jared, Garon, and Carson, with the help of unlikely allies, must rescue Avery before she’s drained of all her magic and stop Depravity.

The Blue Butterfly is the second entry in C.R Endacott’s Heroes of Afflatus Series. The series centers on a group of regular teenagers who find their way into a magical realm where they become heroes by taking on daring missions.

With fantasy at its core, Endacott’s book is imaginative. But thankfully, the author understands that fantasy doesn’t have to be complicated to be thrilling. Instead, the author delights with simple and well-defined otherworldly elements and characters while relying on the strength of the plot to keep readers engaged.

The prose is also compelling. With a mix of characters brimming with personality, high stakes, and resonating themes, Endacott gets you to believe in his story.

I also enjoyed symbolisms like the depiction of Depravity as the villain and how Endacott argues that Depravity is found in the choices we make. The world’s evil is not conjured by some intangible entity but by man’s choices. Likewise, the existing good stems from our decisions.

Treat me to a delightfully pulsating ending and you’ve won yourself a fan. Safe to say, Endacott’s won a new cheerleader. But even with pom poms in hand, I’ll confess that I had a few head-scratching moments where characters inexplicably acted ignorant about story elements they previously interacted with. I’m still a fan of the fresh and fluid writing though.

The Blue Butterfly is an exciting coming of age adventure story that excellently takes this fantasy story to the next level. I hope the next part in the Heroes of Afflatus series is just as good or even better.

Pages: | ASIN: B099NYG3YV

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VAMPIRE’S DAY: EPICENTER

VAMPIRE’S DAY: EPICENTER: Epic horror full of vampire madness. Walking Dead meets Call of Duty. Vampire sun has risen (VAMPIRE'S DAY Book 1) by [YURI HAMAGANOV]

Book 1 of Yuri Hamaganov’s Vampire’s Day series is a tumultuous and chaotic exploration of a mass vampire attack on both the government and the military, but mostly on the city of Los Angeles. It is a violent, no-holds-barred thrill ride into all the different nuances of the attack, from all possible sides involved. The story begins on an otherwise typical morning in Los Angeles, where at the LAX airport Flight 263 lands, bringing with it violence, shootings, and what most believe to be an organized terrorist attack. The true horror that this attack unveils over the course of the narrative involves no terrorists, and instead the reader learns that this attack has been methodically planned for years as a way for the vampires to assert absolute control over the city.

The reader gets thrown into the action in this faced paced vampire thriller making this an intense read from start to finish. The reader gets to see  different perspectives of the characters in the story making them more relatable. At times I wasn’t sure what new perspective I was reading from because there are a lot of characters in the story but this didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. In a post apocalyptic world fighting for survival you don’t have time to take a deep dive into someone’s life, but maybe book 2 will have more character development.

Hamaganov’s world building and descriptions are deep and detailed and serve to create an immersive atmosphere. The reader is able to clearly visualize what the character’s are doing and what their surroundings look like. I found the gun and armor talk to be interesting as I know nothing about weapons and Hamaganov’s extensive knowledge is impressive—at times it was almost as if I was reading a military artillery manual.

Vampire’s Day is a suspenseful horror with blood and action galore. Fans of fast paced and hard hitting action will have plenty to devour in this sensational apocalyptic adventure.

Pages: 311 | ASIN: B07X1G58PJ

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Strands of Existence 2

Strands of Existence 2: Sea of Shadows by [Aino Lahteva]

Strands of Existence 2: Sea of Shadows by Aino Lahteva follows Istrae, a woman who is a reincarnation of a women who set out to change herself in order to rule properly. Istrae knows some of the past but there is still much more to learn as she figures out who she is in the middle of a war. Sea of Shadows is the second book in the Strands of Existence series and is a unique epic fantasy story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Sea of Shadows is a slow burn type of story, or at least it felt like that to me because it took be a bit to get into, I think because the novel feels different from book one in the Strands of Existence series. Istrae continues to be our main character, and continues to be as compelling and fun to follow as before. I was intrigued by Istrae, at least after she stopped being so apathetic about everything. It is hard to cheer for someone who just does not care, but I think that is the point here and it is executed so well that it had me bubbling, and few books do that.

The city is split into districts, and they are big, and it was interesting to see how war affected them. The world continues to develop in this story and I really enjoyed the detailed world being built in this series.

While I’m not a 100% sure how the magic system works, it is unique and captivating, but still has enough familiarity that I can follow along and get behind it. I loved how grounded it felt, taking this out of the realm of fairy tale fantasy and making it feel much more authentic, or at least as authentic as ‘magic’ can get.

I was intrigued by how the action played out in the fight for the city and was rooting for Istrae and her side. I was disappointed that the book ended where it did. But that is only because I want to see what happens next and how Istrae is going to fix the world.

Strands of Existence 2: Sea of Shadows has unique magic and city districts that make this epic sword and sorcery fantasy story feel distinct and interesting. I highly recommend reading book one in the series first, as there is a lot of great story you will be missing if you don’t.

Pages: 394 | ASIN: B08VLLHXQZ

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Who We Are and Who We Become

PAUL BURGOYNE
Paul Burgoyne Author Interview

Two Seasons relives the two years that shaped the narrators life and explores questions of identity and belonging in a quickly changing world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

One thing we all share is the need to belong, a need which is especially acute in childhood. I have uncomfortable memories of trying to fit in, believing I could make that happen through sports accomplishments. The story grew out of the sense of disappointment when my best efforts failed to produce the desired results.

Boone is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Boone is not simply a sports-obsessed child, he is an observer. He notices when things aren’t going right but he has no outlet. He is a reader, and as an only child, books are his companions. They open his eyes to a bigger world than the small town where he lives. He is also curious and resourceful. When adults won’t provide answers to his questions, he keeps prodding for and assembling the scraps he receives into a coherent version of “the truth”. This question emerged: would Boone become insightful enough to take the steps that would help him cope with his life-situation?

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

The most important theme was identity. How do we develop our sense of who we are and where we fit in the world? Does our sense of identity shape our choices or do our choices shape our sense of identity? By observing the life of a young boy struggling with a confusing family dynamic, I hoped to consider how family, friends, mentors (in person or in print), along with our own mental processes, help shape who we are and who we become.

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

I’m working on another novel this time focused on a young adult. I want to examine the idea of character change. My protagonist will be a fault-filled person beginning to recognize his failures and working hit-and-miss on becoming a better person. He will need a great deal of help along the way! It’s still early but I hope to have the first draft finished by summer 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Is it like father, like son?
His father is growing more erratic every day and 11-year-old Boone Martin wants to know – is it true? Like father like son? As his twisted family breaks apart, Boone clings to baseball, his one foothold in life. But it’s winter when his father moves out.
In summer, his best friend Rocky expects him to pitch Omak Little League to a third straight State championship – no pressure there – and former big-leaguer Lou Debrunes shows Boone a way out, the perfect curveball. His mother becomes more friendly with Coach as each game passes – is it Boone’s job to keep her trust issues from messing up a good thing?
Set in the fruit-growing town of Omak, Washington, Two Seasons is narrated by an adult Boone Martin reliving the two years that most shaped his life. More than a baseball story, Two Seasonsexplores the questions of identity and belonging in a shifting world rocked by the assassinations and anti-war movement of 1968.
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