Cleon’s by author’s April Pulliam and Amy Grantham is a feel-good read that will give you a nostalgic feeling. The book follows a little girl and her story of growing up in her historic house. The images that accompany the descriptions are captivating and bring the short story to life. As I read this heartfelt book I began to think about the house I grew up in as a child, although not nearly as historic or important, it reminded me of all the small things that you recall about your house, not the grand things everyone hears about, the minor things that effect you personally. I appreciated that the pictures were in black and white and had a rustic touch to it as it shows the age of the house and how time has passed as the little girl grew up. There’s little details to the pictures that tell a story all on their own. I felt as though I was looking through the family’s scrapbook. The descriptions, as brief as they are, are so powerful that you are taken back in time and you can imagine the smells and sounds in Cleon’s house. You can feel the love, happiness, and safety that the little girl felt growing up in her home and how she hoped those same feelings would be passed on to the next generation.
In just thirty six pages the reader is taken on an emotional and reminiscent journey to Cleon’s house. Cleon’s is a short and sweet mini-family-saga, mini-memoir, mini-tribute to something that has affected an entire family, and generations past, and Amy shares her personal story in an evocative and charming way.
Pages: 36 | ASIN: B099BYLKWQ
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The Correction, by John Hazen, is the fascinating tale of a supernatural gift passed on from generation to generation, following the course of history and the characters’ life up to the narrator’s life. Joseph Vance, the narrator’s voice, leads us through his ancestors’ good and bad corrections and takes us through his life, where many obstacles will be placed on his way, but he’s not completely alone in overcoming them.
Hazen writes beautifully with vivid descriptions and insights on the characters’ feelings and thoughts. He manages to keep a fast pace all the way through the story. While time travel stories can get fanciful, I appreciated how grounded this supernatural thriller was which ensures that the story, and the characters, are relatable.
If you’re a reader that appreciates the details in a story, then you can certainly appreciate all the effort put in to fully flesh out these complex characters. Each has an important role to play in the story, and the dialogue and interactions with each one or subtle yet compelling. I was surprised to find to some impassioned commentary on social issues woven throughout the story. Issues like racism are addressed and provide an opportunity to really understand who are characters are and test them in some morally intriguing ways.
While I heartily enjoyed this science fiction drama, I had to get a few chapters into the novel before I felt I was sure I knew where this story was going. But diving into Joseph Vance’s life felt authentic and compelling and was something I eventually looked forward to.
The Correction, by John Hazen is a supernatural thriller that feels like it was written by Stephen King. With fully realized characters and a well-conceived and engaging plot, this was a historical thriller that kept surprising me. If you enjoy a good dramatic thriller, then I highly recommend this stimulating book.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B094SRYXMV
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The Seventh Circle follows a university student in Nazi Germany who is persecuted for his sexuality and faces the perils of a concentration camp. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I was inspired reading a memoir of a camp survivor entitled The Men with the Pink Triangles by Heinz Heger.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I was disturbed by the present climate of hate and division in our country and across the globe and felt a lesson in man’s inhumanity to man was needed to remind us all of potential results of extremism.
I appreciated how historically accurate your novel is. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the story was accurate?
Although the literature on the subject is scant, I read every primary source I could get my hands on. Most survivors have been reluctant to recount their struggles. I depended a great deal on Heger’s memoir and information I found about the two concentration camps most of the story takes place in.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have just published Sundays at Simone’s, a satirical look at Los Angeles aristocracy as well as a tale of a young musician’s loves and struggles to find his niche in the musical world.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, LBGT, lbgtq, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, The Seventh Circle, Thomas Bauer, writer, writing
It’s always intriguing to find that you only need a few tricks blended with the effects of time to erode and modify people’s memory and appraisal of events or individuals. With a couple of white lies, cover-ups, and take backsies; you can make anyone see what’s not there or ignore what’s in plain sight. But John O’Connor isn’t an easy prey for deception.
In White Lies Matter: Decoding American Deceptionalism, artist and art professor John A. O’Connor points out the historical and contemporary inconsistencies plaguing American society. From issues on social justice to political matters, tainted historical accounts to double-mouthed American sweethearts, our author leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to set the records straight. He aims to uncover the long queue of American hypocrisy on display. To do this, he digs into both American systems and notable figures across several historical points.
O’Connor’s book will prompt you to question your knowledge of the world’s greatest country. The book – created as a set of digital art plates paired with explanatory text – is as visually stimulating as it’s mentally arousing. The author casts a wide net, and you’ll find many issues caught in it. He begins by punching holes in the claims that Columbus discovered America. Then he slowly works his way up to more sensitive matters. For instance, he contests America’s validity as a Christian nation since evidence from the earliest historical documents negates this notion. Past leaders aren’t spared, too, as O’Connor challenges their sainthood by revealing situations where they displayed conflicting values. You might be shocked at what you’ll learn about your favorite American heroes.
O’Connor’s concerns aren’t only with the past, though. He touches on contemporary issues that aren’t discussed enough, like the adverse effects of drilling for oil. He then shows that the public’s rating of the United States’ performance in critical areas like healthcare and law enforcement is inflated. You can be sure that the media gets a good beat down, too, for the recent flurry of fake news or “yellow journalism”. You’d expect a professor to write well, but O’Connor’s writing isn’t merely academic; it’s creative and engaging. He argues using metaphors and other storytelling elements that make his work very appealing yet easy to grasp.
This book’s arguments are unlike typical claims usually steeped in bogus conspiracy theories. O’Connor presents actual names of people, places, events, and dates, which anyone can quickly lookup. At other times, he simply helps us to connect dots that have always laid around. While there are speculations one might deem to be a stretch, his work is credible enough to provide a reasonable starting point on our quest to find the truth. Based on the research that went into it and the author’s delivery, I found the book to be a great read. O’Connor’s work might send you burrowing furiously down the holes of history to sate your curiosity. So, brace yourself.
Pages: 138 | ISBN: 1663210950
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Janet has a promise ring, and Will is her one true love. Both of them work hard, have plans for a beautiful future, and look forward to the day they are reunited. But Will has a dream. He will do anything to be among the first to board the famed Titanic. When news of the tragic event reaches Janet, she has no reason to believe Will is among the victims–or does she?
A Ring of Promises, by Marie Gage, is a love story like no other. Based on actual historical events, Gage’s story is gripping and encompasses all the horror loved ones must have felt following the sinking of the Titantic. The author manages to portray every emotion while drawing readers into every harrowing second of the characters’ experiences. Janet and Will, both living their separate horrors, are relatable and fascinating. Gage does a wonderful job of capturing the various dialects in her writing along with the tone of both their love and fear.
I have always found the story of the Titanic riveting. Gage’s account of that fateful night told through the relationship between Janet and Will, is no less gripping. There is an intense amount of pain and heartbreak surrounding the tragedy, and Gage’s work captures every aspect of it. Janet and Will have my heart. Their hearts are pure, and their love makes this story truly enchanting.
A Ring of Promises is a romance novel that transcends genres and offers readers much more depth and emotion than your typical love story. Time and distance play an integral role in Gage’s work. The author keeps romance alive with Janet and Will. Not many books maintain the integrity of the characters’ love and dedication like this one. Being able to weave this throughout the story of a tragic historical event like the sinking of the Titanic is a true accomplishment.
I highly recommend A Ring of Promise to any fan of historical romances that are steeped in emotion and focused on true love conquering all. Gage’s work is genuine and serves as an example of what tenderness and courage can accomplish together. A Ring of Promises certainly surpasses my expectations of a historical fiction romance.
Pages: 449 | ASIN: B089DN4GFQ
Tags: a ring of promises, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fantasy, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, marie gage, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, true story, writer, writing
Imelda’s Secret written by Liza Gino is a book based on true stories and events. It is a book that tells a story about two women, cousins Gloria and Imelda, both survivors of World War Two. Through the war, they were people known as, ‘comfort women’. Although they are now living in San Francisco, they both struggle with the trauma. Gloria is the one who steps forward and tells her story, but with some hard and painful consequences for her two sons. But Imelda was keeping it a secret to protect her family. What happens when they find the courage and the strength to gather all different women and stories about their suffering? Together this becomes a story of the survivors and women’s rights.
As we know, Liza Gino is not only an author. She is also an advocate and change agent, as we may recognize in her writing. The story written here is more than just a passionate testimony. It is a powerful testament that war is dangerous and deadly for everyone. It tells a different kind of story, one that is often hidden. Years ago – it was taboo for those survivors to take a stand. But, Imelda’s Secret is an illuminating book that speaks volumes to those that were blind to these situations and those seeking justice.
I enjoyed this book immensely, and the straightforward chronology helped keep me on track. But I felt that the dialogue was sometimes sensationalistic in a book that otherwise feels grounded. As we see in the book, it is hard to speak up, but raising your voice can help you and others. Imelda’s Secret is a candid story about ordinary but giant women whose secrets should be heard by the world. As a true believer in a passionate fight, and taboo uncovering, I highly recommend this book thought-provoking book by author Liza Gino.
Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08LB5XG64
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fiction, historical romance, Imelda's Secret, kindle, kobo, literature, Liza Gino, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, war, womens rights, writer, writing
Reagan didn’t know what to expect when she accepted a job as governess to a pair of mischievous 8 year olds. As a Christian employed by an esteemed Jewish family, she was doubly unsure of how the summer might pass. Any misgivings she had, however, were greatly reduced by the splendid beauty of the Thousand Islands… and the easy charm of Daniel, another employee of the Bernheim family. As Reagan struggles to become accustomed to her new charges and downplaying her own faith in front of the Bernheims, she also has to deal with her growing feelings for Daniel, complicated by their own difference in religion.
Set in the summer of 1912, Reagan’s Reward, by Susan Mathis, is a heartfelt story about apprehension in the face of new experiences, and the struggles that so often occur between the heart and the head. While Reagan is sure of where she stands in her beliefs, finding out how those fit in the lives of the people around her becomes a challenge she isn’t used to facing. Her growing attraction to Daniel, and his obvious attraction toward her, brings about the jealous animosity from another staff member, which is yet again a new experience. Set in the picturesque region of the Thousand Islands, an area that straddles the US-Canada border, Mathis makes the scenery and atmosphere come alive as it must have been at the height of its popularity as a destination for the wealthy. Because of the novella length, there isn’t much time for heavy character development, and because of that, Reagan, Daniel, the twins, and each of the other characters are basic and the story seems rushed. However, the glorious depictions of the life and sights in the area make up for that fact, and the Thousand Islands are very nearly the main character themselves.
Faith is definitely the most prevalent theme in Reagan’s Reward, as it colors every thought and action in Reagan’s life. She relies on it when searching for patience with the twins, Jacob and Joseph, and understanding of her new circumstances. It is also the reason she is reluctant to initially admit her feelings for Daniel, as he proclaims he is Jewish, despite not actively practicing. Ultimately, too, it is a leap of faith that brings about the eventual resolution.
I enjoyed this book and Mathis skillfully crafted that time and place in such a way that it truly came alive. I wish the book was longer so that we could explore ideas and characters more. I liked Reagan and Daniel’s relationship, but I definitely wanted to see it explored in more depth. Reagan’s Reward is a compelling historical fiction romance novel that tells an emotional and heartfelt story that readers will enjoy.
Pages: 189 | ASIN: B08MDNM82L
Tags: alt history, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Reagan's Reward, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
NINU: A Saga of the Valorous Wanchos by Mady Menon is a historical and military fiction story about a real tribe (the Wanchos) in North East India, told by a fictional character. Peter Atamkhung Shawang is a student studying at Trinity College in London, but he plans to return to India to work on his thesis. Peter’s family is part of a tribe of headhunters who live in the village of Ninu. He shares the region’s history with fellow classmates and tells the story of his father’s childhood and career. Will the young man be able to hold on to his tribe’s traditions while living in an increasingly modern world?
Mady Menon has added a touch of authenticity to the story by including real historical events. The map at the beginning of the book helped me to better picture the region. You learn a lot about the history of North East India, from the constant struggles to maintain the Ahom kingdom for 600 years, to the native tribes living under British rule, to India becoming an independent republic and the many improvements made to the infrastructure in the area. I had little previous knowledge of the native people of this country, and it was interesting to read about the tribal structure and daily life in the villages. The author provided good descriptions of the setting, especially the village layout, the Naga Army headquarters, and Shawang’s mission school.
The historical information that was conveyed in the first part of the book, where Peter was relaying the history of the region reads a little like a professor giving a lecture. This slowed the pace of the story but it is all worth it in the end. There were portions where some of the historical details were repeated from previous chapters. The pace picks up when Peter was retelling his father’s life experiences and an overview of historical events was given while Shawang was visiting significant sites during his class trips and while working as a Circle Officer. I found the vocabulary definitions at the end of the book very helpful to clarify Indian terms used in the story. Ninu is an insightful and beautiful read that I highly recommend to readers looking to be immersed in an exotic and intriguing culture.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08GQYZ8BY
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, culture, ebook, goodreads, historical, historical fiction, kindle, kobo, literature, Mady Menon, memoir, NINU: A Saga of the Valorous Wanchos, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing