The Missing Reindeer is a short, illustrated children’s Christmas storybook about a little boy named Sammy. The story follows Sammy who lives with his tribe in Northern Scandinavia where they herd reindeer. When the Reindeer go missing, things seem dire for Sammy and his tribe, and so he decides to make a winter’s wish to Santa Claus. This is a cute little Christmas story about being thankful for what you have and those around you.
The book is a little less than twenty pages long, and each page has only a few sentences of text one it, making it a quick read. It is a perfect story to read to small children around Christmas time as it explores a little of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, while also being a sweet Christmas story that has hope and thankfulness. The illustrations of the book are pretty and vibrant. I liked the art style of the book which was a little water-color inspired cartoon drawings. I thought that the backgrounds and animals were particularly beautiful. There were a few of the pages where the people in the illustrations seemed a little out of place with the scene or what the text was describing, but overall it worked together nicely.
Christmas stories are always a fun addition to have to read to your children during the winter, and I appreciated that the setting and plot worked together to give this story some originality. Overall The Missing Reindeer by author Zeke Smith is a sweet children’s Christmas tale that shows endearing heart, and lovely illustrations, a perfect combo for a wonderful children’s book.
Pages: 20 | ASIN: B0794V1ZP8
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Keeper of Slaves is Book Two of the Antebellum Struggles series. The lives of the plantation owner, Colonel Trent Winters, his wife, Collette, the slaves, Tabari and Amana, and the myriad of other characters continue in this moving tale of slavery, lust and freedom. The Underground Railroad, Fugitive Slave Act, and their impact on the lives of citizens come to life in the 1850s era set in New Orleans and the Deep South.
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On a frigid winter morning in St. Petersburg, Russia 1917, eighteen year old Olga Von Eggert must leave her country and family. The Bolshevik army is on a mission to destroy all aristocrats. When Olga fails to join her entourage at the designated rendezvous, Prima Ballerina Mathilda Kschessinska notifies the Khan of Kiva, a mutual acquaintance. The Khan’s son, Prince Razek Bek Khadjieff, defies his father’s orders and sends his strongest Cossack soldier to save the young Baroness. Nearly ninety years later, Damian Tolbert, a Frenchman living in Paris bids $100,000 on an antique diary with the initials NV on the leather cover. Once the journal is translated from Russian to French Damian is determined to find the rightful heir to this antique keepsake. Several years later, by coincidence, or perhaps fate, Damian discovers Anastasia Sullivan, the only living descendent to the journal, in an odd town called Lebanon, Ohio. Rather than answers, Damian finds more missing pieces to his puzzle. Will the “Mind Marauders ” finally leave his psyche? And, who is this mysterious artist, Anastasia Sullivan? This historical novel is inspired by true events of the author’s grandmother, Olga Von Eggert Khadjieff.
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A pastor is faced with a dilemma when his twin nephews, sons of his only brother, cry out to him for help. Faced with all kinds of strange happenings and unnatural events in their house due to their parents adherence with the occult; the childrens fears push them to break a pact of silence established by their father regarding the secrets of their household.
How can Ace help his nephews without letting the dark forces that torment their lives affect his own family? The more he struggles to help the twins, the more the Secret Society to which the boys parents belong rage their war of evil upon him. Only a living God could help Ace overcome this war and emerge victorious. But will he; Ace Cadman, have the courage to step into the supernatural realm beyond the curtain of time when his God calls him on the scene?
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Imber follows a young queen on a deadly journey to save her kingdom from an ancient enemy. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
Honestly I’ve always been a huge fan of epic fantasy; huge, sweeping books that pulled you into another world, or games that let you have powers and forge bonds. Larger than life enemies, heroes that don’t always win. I grew up on JRR Tolkien, Garth Nix, Julian May, and JK Rowling. I’ve poured hours and hours into the Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls games, and more still into Dungeons and Dragons sessions. So when I started writing I leaned into that. I followed the magic. And while I still have a lot to learn from those greats, I knew going in that I really wanted Imber to encompass what I love about fantasy–the trials, the adventures, the magic, the friendship.
Natylia is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
With all of my characters I stick very firmly to the ideal “write what you know.” Who was I at 19? I was young, and impulsive, and made mistakes. So what would I have done thrust into a spotlight I wasn’t quite ready for? I would have been young, and impulsive, and made mistakes–mistakes I would later learn great lessons from. I’ve always loved flawed heroes, because they felt more real to me, and I wanted Natylia to feel as close to a living person as one could living inside pages.
The novel has a rich backstory that I hope to see more of. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
I think there’s a lot of conversations that aren’t being had in our real, living world, and I tried to weave some of those into my world building. I’m all for a story with a message, and I tried to throw in a few that were important to me.
Natylia has panic attacks because of crowds, and because that’s what felt natural to me; but mental health isn’t often addressed in fiction and when it is, often it’s in a harmful or inconsistent way.
I also wanted younger readers, since Imber is YA, to be reminded that they will be underestimated, and they will make mistakes, but that they can move forward from them.
I wanted to reinforce the idea that sometimes family isn’t blood, but the people in your life who love and support you. Specifically, Natylia’s relationship with Jyn. They’re really important to me because I think strictly platonic male-female relationships are almost nonexistent in literature, and they shouldn’t hold the strange taboo that society puts on them, but also because when Jyn had no one else he still had Natylia. Those kind of friendships are rare and should be cherished.
This is book one in your Thanatos Trilogy, where will book two pickup and when will it be available?
Book two will pick up two to three weeks after the end of Imber, and it will be available Fall 2019. Right now I’m aiming for a late September/early October release.
The locks are failing
The keys are calling.
The Titans are waking.
Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality–her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and,despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.
An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.
Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power–to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.
Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.
It is often said that those who are best able to prevent youth from being lost in a life of crime are those who have walked that dark path and made it into the light. In Brian Montgomery’s The Hay Patrollers we see the results of characters who have gone through just that. In this second installment we reunite with Degsy Hay and jump straight into the fire, in a manner of speaking. Degsy’s whole world gets tipped upside down, yet he tries to carry on with his passion of giving purpose to those youth who feel like they have none. Degsy’s fight for survival in this book is rooted in passion and desperation. How far will he go?
The book is written in the first person in very relaxed language. As the writer is British, some of the slang might be difficult to make out for those who are unfamiliar with it. It doesn’t detract from the amazing tale that lies within, however. It just means that readers need to allot themselves a proper amount of time as they won’t be able to just blast through this book. It’s not too long but long enough to wrap up any potential loose ends. The series could continue, or it could end right here with this book. Only time will tell.
The human emotion that is displayed in this book is strong enough to evoke the emotions of the reader. The pain, trials and tribulations that Degsy and his crew must face before being able to move forward with their lives are palpable. Children do not choose a life of crime because they want to: they choose it because that is the only avenue left to them. Degsy knows this; he has lived this. He uses his experiences and passion in order to reach out that hand these children so desperately need.
Brian Montgomery hopefully won’t let The Hay Patrollers be the last in his series of juvenile crime-prevention. There is so much more these characters have to give to readers and there are likely more youth who need to read this book and see that there is more to the world than darkness. This book will tug at your heart-strings and leave you wanting more.
Pages: 165 | ASIN: B07MTNX4VB
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Friends of the Tsar, by Jon de Graaff, is a story about the author’s “Aristocratic Grandparent’s harrowing escape from the Russian Revolution of February 1917.” The story starts near Petrograd, Russia in 1916 with Vera and George, with George and his mother, Adelaide, saving Vera from a wolf attack. They are at the country estate of George’s father, Baron Alexander Zuckschwerdt. Adelaide and Alexander are very much aristocrats. Vera and George are not on board with the aristocratic ways of their parents. Vera, who also came from an aristocratic family, started rejecting her parents’ ways after Bloody Sunday when even children were killed during a protest.
Vera has ten sisters. Three of them come to stay with her. Monica is 16. Mary is 15. Natty is 10. Vera often gets strong premonitions when something bad is about to happen. Blue is Alexander’s friend. He is an Australian cattle breeder. He comes to stay as well. Blue saves Natty from choking. He learned how to do it on a chance visit with friends. Vera sees it as meant to be. Blue tells story after story of things that happened that seem to have a lot of coincidences. Vera does not see them as coincidences at all. He dismissed them as being luck in the past. He now thinks differently.
The family finds itself in trouble. The country is in trouble. Their money is not worth as much. The people in the country are starving. The family decides that they need to leave. Blue offers to let them stay with him in Australia. Alexander books passage for himself, George, Blue, Vera and the girls for February 27, 1917. The story goes on from there to cover how they escaped and the challenges they faced as they did.
I felt that the story could not decide on what the book was going to be. As I went from chapter to chapter, I felt like many of the chapters could have been stand-alone chapters and were not connected very well. It lacked continuity. There are different stories being told that don’t seem to reach any conclusions. At first, I thought the book was going to be a love story about Vera and George. After the first chapter or so, they seemed forgotten and the book focused on Blue’s stories. Then it would jump to near misses while trying to escape and spy stories. I found myself confused a few time. The language seemed a bit stilted and formal and did not flow like normal dialogue in places.
There is a good story in the book though it would benefit from a bit more organization. The author writes well. Some of the stories were definitely interesting. Some of the story lines had definite possibility and begged for further development as the characters were intriguing and were usually placed in exotic locations.
Pages: 126 | ASIN: B071ZQ6CG8
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In Jackson, Wyoming, a cache of documents discovered in a deceased resident’s attic confirms a childhood vision journalist Bill Larkin experienced while on a camping trip in Grand Teton National Park. Learning his memories of a mother grizzly, who transforms the lives of those who cross her path, were not imaginary, Bill embarks on a life journey, intertwining his autobiographical Stories of the Mother Bear with current events; foremost, the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
The deceased, Rufus Headrick, and his family were black cowboys. His grandfather, a freed slave, kept a journal from his days as a Texas cattle hand through the family’s ever-westward travels to Teton. Portrayed is a large, engraved brass key, yet to be found, which a Kiowa youth gave Rufus’ father along the Chisholm Trail. Who is the estate’s rightful heir? And what connection does the Headrick Family have with the Mother Bear?
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Brownout – 666 follows Rick in the midst of a struggle to find a way to live a normal life in a dark and unforgiving world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
My inspiration for the setup behind this novel primarily came from my sojourn in the Philippines spread over several years. I always told people that one day I would write a book about the country, its people and its culture and that I would call it “Brownout.” I added the “666” moniker to the title as any search under “Brownout” brought up thousands of books about electricity. As large portions of my novel were based on real events and people I could have written a nonfiction work instead. However, I didn’t want the potential for libel suits hanging over me so I chose fiction. The American and Australian settings of the novel came about as I wished to explore the socio-political ethos of those nations and their relationships to the bases of world power. I introduced the American setting as a subplot that tied up with the central one at the end.
Rick Daly is an interesting character that faces many challenges in life. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Some of the driving ideals behind the central character, Rick Daly, were related to sexuality and its abusive and non-abusive forms. As he matures Rick learns to become less selfish and earns some degree of redemption. Rick has been confused about Right and Wrong and gradually arrives at what he calls “the fair thing principle.” Rick grew up in the seventies and eighties in an Australia with a fairly aggressive sexual culture. An example of looking back at this culture from the standpoint of the present day is the internationally well-known podcast, “The Teacher’s Pet,” by Hedley Thomas of the newspaper, The Australian. Apart from examining a cold case disappearance and probable murder, the podcast looks into alleged teacher/schoolgirl sex rings at several high schools on Sydney’s northern beaches, one of which I taught at (Cromer High School). Rick loathes hypocrisy, the stupidity and gross unfairness of many authorities. Governments and courts often seem overly influenced by cultural and political fashion.
This novel expertly uses history to tell an engrossing story. Was history an important aspect for you in this novel or did this develop organically while writing?
As a former English and History teacher I have always been fascinated by History and its links to the present day. The changing attitudes to sexuality throughout historical and contemporary periods necessarily came to the fore as Rick becomes caught up in them.
I have long been a student of the Holocaust and the Third Reich and, as history is always written by the winners, I appreciate how difficult it is to arrive at even an approximation of the objective truth. While in no way do I condone the many crimes of the Third Reich I find myself bemused at how any attempt to examine this era can so easily be shouted down if it differs ever so little from the official version. The Holocaust was a terrible event but it is no more sacred than are the other mass killings or genocides that occurred before it or since.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
In addition to this novel, I also have a published work of non-fiction about child loss and grief. It is called, “Waiting for a Miracle – Life in the Dead Zone.” As for my next book, I haven’t decided whether to work on another novel or non-fiction piece. In either case it won’t be available until next year at the earliest.
In the land of flaunted sex, money, and flexible rules, an ambitious but lonely Rick Daly faces his demons.
Rick Daly has established a business in the exotic surroundings of the Philippines, while simultaneously discovering Marilyn Delgado, the woman of his dreams.
However, a clash of cultures and his own naiveté lead to disaster. Falsely accused of a sexual crime, Rick loses both his freedom and his business. To add insult to injury, a prison escape merely amounts to switching jails.
In a world where the rich prosper, honest individuals are forced to the wall, and a cynical disregard for all but the dollar is destroying society from within, crime soon follows punishment for Rick. Close to losing his soul, will Rick’s ultimate success in drug and arms dealing finally lead him to face up to reality?
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Kayla is almost at her wits’ end. Her ex-husband is a loser of massive proportions, and it just so happens that she attempted to drown him. Ridding herself of his insanity has left her alone to work the business his family built together and raise her four small children alone. With a more than just supportive family of in-laws who actually favor her over their own son, Kayla is making her way in the world one day at a time. A chance meeting with the officer who cuffed her during that lapse of better judgment turned drowning incident leads Kayla down the path to a life she thought was no longer in the cards for her.
Nikki Mays has done it again. Cuffed by You is the third installment in her romance series, SAPD SWAT, and it actually may be my favorite of the three. Kayla and Marc, the book’s main focus, are lively and easily visualized characters. Kayla is every single mom striving to make a better life for her children and resigned to the fact that she won’t allow her heart to be broken again. She walks the straight and narrow, for the most part, and is a truly likable character.
Marc, like the other male figures in Mays’s series, is a wonder of nature. As Mays churns out one stunning adjective after another to describe his physique, readers are left wondering how this could still be considered a realistic fiction piece–he is almost too good to be true. Mays is a pro at making her male main characters into loving and caring men who still manage to exude a rough exterior–they are dreams come true. This is only one of the many aspects of Mays’s writing that make her books so exceptionally readable and easily favorited.
As with each of the other books in the series, Mays has included a hateful and spite-filled antagonist. Enter the ex-husband. Mays succeeds in making Kayla’s ex a virtual monster, and the loathing is almost palpable page after page. While the entire cast of characters, including his own mother and brothers gang up against him, the reader is swept into the same vortex of hatred and animosity. Mays makes it easy to despise him while simultaneously building a case for Marc to take his place.
Mays is queen of the banter. Her dialogue between characters dominates the pages and makes the book what it is–a masterpiece of romantic comedy. While she includes a good bit of the traditional romance elements in her writing, she is able to make her characters jump off the page as they bicker back and forth, hurl jovial insults, and generally function as one loving unit of friends-turned-family.
Mays’s writes for her books to be enjoyed and for her characters to be remembered well beyond the last page–she achieves that, no doubt.
Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07L6WLS6Y
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