Blog Archives

Christmas with Snowman Paul

Christmas with Snowman Paul by [Lapid, Yossi]

All Paul wants is to enjoy Christmas with his friend. He watches from the window as his friend eats and plays and sings with his family all winter long. Paul is a snowman, so he can’t go inside, or he will melt. This doesn’t stop him from longing for the companionship of others though. Paul’s friend takes his unhappiness seriously and with the help of his family, they work to come up with a plan to help Paul out.

Yossi Lapid has written an endearing children’s book and Joanna Pasek’s illustrations bring the story to life in a way that will capture the hearts of kids young and old. Christmas with Snowman Paul takes the idea of a snowman coming to life and gives it a different twist from the traditional stories we are used to. While Paul he can play with the kids and family outside in the day, it is not enough for him. He feels lonely and left out. Paul’s friend acts right away to do something to make him feel included. This is a great lesson for kids of all ages. It teaches about people being different, having different needs, and being compassionate. Such a simple story with many great life lessons on how to be a good person.

This would be a great book to kick off the winter season, while it focuses on Christmas it is a good book that could apply to any of the winter holidays.

Pages: 26 | ASIN: B076BX4KNQ

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Ice Factory

The Ice Factory by [Phillips, Jason Roger]

The Ice Factory is an entertaining book by author Jason Phillips. It tells the story of hurricane Edna which hit the Caribbean Islands in 1954. The book is written with multiple perspectives focusing on Joy, who lived in Grenada which was decimated by the hurricane, and Audrey, who lives in Trinidad, which was less affected. Joy, the owner of an ice factory, was killed during the storm. Audrey is her niece and closest living relative.

“And when my soul got to the front gates I took my place in the queue. I think I recognized some faces, it’s true. Just in front of me, I saw some people looking very excited, very happy to be here and I even overheard someone talking about someone named Joy … talking about what happened, how it happened, and what then came to pass. This is what I heard them say…”

The entire first chapter, particularly this paragraph, captured my interest in the book. The first chapter did an exceptional job of peeking my interest in the story to come with its beautiful language and its unique character perspective. Having one of your characters speaking from beyond the grave, giving their perspective on the living world is an interesting and fun way to approach a story.

I loved reading the differences and similarities between the way Joy and Audrey viewed the world. They were both strong characters in their own way and met the balance between uniquely interesting and relatable. Both deal with struggles on different levels and approach the way they deal with those difficulties differently but maintain their strength throughout. I found switching back and forth between them to work really well with the story being told. I also liked the focus the book puts on family and the close connections families can have, along with their struggles.

The book kept a good pace as the reader is taken through the characters lives. It balances the dramatic events of the book, like the hurricane, and its effect on the characters’ lives, as well as the smaller struggles of daily life. The book did a great job of making you care about the characters, as the driving force of the plot. Phillips did a masterful job with the entire book of creating distinctive voices in his characters, setting a scene, and grasping a tone for the whole book that placed you in a place, time, and culture.

From beginning to end The Ice Factory is a fun, engaging, interesting, and uplifting story that kept me invested in the story throughout. The characters were well written and fleshed out, keeping me rooting for them the whole time. I enjoyed this book very much and am excited to see what else this author puts forth. I would definitely recommend this book.

Pages: 270 | ASIN: B01MEBVXVY

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Romance, Travel, and Turmoils

Z. Vally Author Interview

Z. Vally Author Interview

The Green Line Divide is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, travelogue, and humor as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Yes, I entered a Commonwealth competition in my younger days and in my mature years i expanded it. So, i already had a skeleton, and this is why romance comes late as the hero was not in my competition story. Truthfully, i did not think much about romance at that time in my youth.

I found Alexis to be a very well written and in depth character. What was your inspiration for her and her emotional turmoil through the story?

She is what i was when i was in my twenties, and perhaps what i would have like to be. And, some turmoils, both inner and external are true.

This novel does a fantastic job of exploring the culture of the places that Alexis visits? Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?

Yes, a lot of research had gone into it. eg for skiing i contacted the ski club in Cyprus; researched on fruits and vegs for the seasons; timings for boat travel between the two islands; vintage cars and perfumes; it took me 3 days to find something on Russia and i came up with the Russian watch anthem; i phoned around to ask for Cyprus beverages; I contacted the Cyprus and Swedish embassies in the UK who provided me with correct information, eg on Swedish wedding traditions, and Cyprus on the boundary greenline between the north and the south. And since i have lived in Cyprus and visited Rhodes Island, it was not difficult to visualise and write about it.

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

I have started one which i have put aside as i am concentrating on hospital training as a clinical coder. The next book will be romantic again but more of a serious nature. It has started off on a comical political footing though.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookAmazon.uk | Amazon

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils by [Vally, Z]

Romance, humour, and drama abound in this fast-paced, playful novel–and so, too, do questions and surprises. The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils encounters readers with people from various parts of the world, including exotic destinations like Cyprus and the Greek island of Rhodes. And follow a young woman named Alexis as she struggles with gamophobia and tries to come to terms with her independence, relationships, and the future.

Smitten with a handsome Swede named Sven, a United Nations officer, Alexis plans to marry him, but has a lot of issues to confront if she’s to make it down the aisle–and, as she confronts them, The Green Line Divide is sure to touch your heart, educate you, tickle your funny bone, and put a smile on your face.

Will Alexis ever marry? Or will she find an excuse to run away from it all–again? Step into this book for answers. Along the way, you’ll also learn new travel, leisure, and entertainment ideas.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils by [Vally, Z]

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel and Turmoils, written by Z. Vally, is about Alexis Theodorou, a 24-year-old woman from Britain. Alexis is visiting the dreamy location of Cyprus to attend college. Her charming and witty persona mixed with her good looks helps her to live in the new country, and soon she finds work as a housekeeper- even if that occasionally comes with its own set of troubles. Soon, after a few mishaps with work, she meets a handsome Swede by the name of Sven where she begins a whirlwind romance. But this romance soon comes with its own turmoils, and Alexis soon learns that the biggest obstacles in life are often the ones within ourselves. Will she be able to overcome her inner battles to marry the man of her dreams?

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel and Turmoils is a romance novel guaranteed to warm your heart and put a smile on your face. Filled with quirky nuances, questionable intentions and breathtaking moments, this story will be your perfect summer fling.

The romance between Sven and Alexis is slow to start; however, it gives the story time to build on Alexis, her personality and the exciting characters within her work and personal life. I loved the character Molly and her carefree spirit. Her ability to hitchhike and find fun was impressive and I could easily imagine her as the perfect friend to travel overseas with.

The language is beautiful, and the magical landscapes are easily envisioned with the rich description of the sights and sounds. At times the novel goes into depth about the history of the city, adding to the vivid imagery. You can feel the sun on your face, taste the delightful food prepared and smell the salty tang of the crisp blue sea. It is easy to get caught up in your thoughts as you imagine a holiday where you can experience such serenity and beauty. At times the story was a little slow, but this was overturned through comedic moments and important lessons learned by the characters.

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel and Turmoils also gives the reader a taste of life as a student abroad, as they battle the ups and downs of college, finding work and meeting new faces. There are also the barriers that come with being overseas; from not understanding parts of the language or being questioned by the law for seemingly innocent activities. The characters struggle to find suitable work and come across problems such as dodgy roommates, unsavoury bosses and misleading men.

Many readers will be able to relate to the sorts of lessons that Alexis experiences. From learning to stand up for yourself and being able to leave a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, to making foreign friends in new countries, The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel and Turmoils will be relatable to all those who have travelled or lived in a new destination or country. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a light and romantic novel, set in a dreamy holiday destination.

Pages: 195 | ASIN: B00SF5I61M

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Peeks Their Curiosity

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Rolynda Tassan Author Interview

Lucy’s First Christmas is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. There is so many directions to take a holiday story, how did you settle on this story line?

Having a new pet during the holiday season can be stressful for them, the established pets, and the family. The family dynamic changes with the additional family member. I wanted to show that there is plenty of room and love to go around.

I felt like there was a lot of love and truth in this story. Did you take anything from your own life and put it in this story?

Oh yes! Lucy’s antics all happened. From playing with the Christmas tree decorations, to “helping” me wrap Christmas presents, to playing in the snow. She did it all! But in the end her favorite place to be is curled up on our laps or snuggling with one of our other pets 🙂

Do you find that pets are usually extra curious around the holidays when humans are decorating?

Absolutely, the sights, scents, and sounds that go along with the holiday season are very enticing to pets. The constant activity peeks their curiosity even more. That’s why it’s so important to take extra safety precautions for your pets during the holiday season.

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

The fourth book in the Lucy’s Tale series, Lucy goes to the Vet, will be available spring 2018.

Author Links: Website | Facebook

Tomorrow is Lucy’s first Christmas. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Lucy wants to help. But when she tries to help Mom wrap presents, she makes a mess. When she tries to help Dad decorate the tree, she tangles the lights. When she tries to help Ben build a snowman, she gets stuck in a snowdrift. Surely there must be a way for an eager kitten to help!

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Lucy’s First Christmas

Lucy's First Christmas (Lucy's Tale #3)

Lucy’s First Christmas, written by Rolynda Tassan and illustrated by Ruby Wheeler, is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. Like any other cat, her curiosity wins out, and she becomes entangled, literally, in the preparations for the coming holiday. From present-wrapping to light-stringing, Lucy is allowed to be a part of it all. Lucy is even afforded her first trip into the snowy outdoors and is a part of the family’s Christmas read-aloud. This particular book is the third in a series of stories written about Lucy and her adventures.

Tassan has written a much-needed tale with Lucy’s First Christmas. As a mother, teacher, and adoptive parent of three rescue pets, I don’t see enough of these books on the shelves. There is a joy like no other in watching a shelter pet bloom in a loving home. The author captures this feeling quite well with Lucy’s Christmas experiences. She describes each family member’s patience with the curious cat and demonstrates the various ways in which the family involves the pets in their routines. The love between the family and Lucy is mutual and communicated well throughout the book.

Any parent or teacher choosing this book to read with children will find it touching and true-to-life. The author has included a fair amount of “awwww” moments and lots of snuggling and loving. The pets themselves are no strangers to snuggling. This is an all-around sweet story to share with children who have pets, are wanting pets of their own, or who are in a family who has adopted a pet from a shelter.

Generally a realistic fiction piece, Tassan has managed to work in a bit of fantasy with the pets talking to one another. For the most part, these sections serve to explain some of the things that drive Lucy’s curiosity and, in the conclusion, add to the dearness of the overall plot.

Lucy’s First Christmas is a touching story that hits home for readers of all ages and features delicate illustrations of the pets and their family. Tassan and Wheeler’s precious Christmas story is a must-read for any family with rescue pets. Lucy’s first Christmas with her family will bring a smile to the reader’s face and touch the soul of any animal lover.

ISBN: 0998331848

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Lucy’s First Christmas Book Trailer

Tomorrow is Lucy’s first Christmas. Everyone is busy getting ready for the big day. Lucy wants to help. But when she tries to help Mom wrap presents, she makes a mess. When she tries to help Dad decorate the tree, she tangles the lights. When she tries to help Ben build a snowman, she gets stuck in a snowdrift. Surely there must be a way for an eager kitten to help!

Buy Now From Amazon.com

One Demented Family Christmas

Dave Matthes Author Interview

Dave Matthes Author Interview

Lockless Doors weaves a brutally honest and incredibly unique story of a family in all its ugly and painful moments. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

Initially, the entirety of the story was just going to revolve around one demented family Christmas, but as it always seems to happen… the plot thickened and I couldn’t exactly control what happened. And then, while exploring the backstory of Jean, I saw an opportunity to expand upon a favorite character of mine from another older book I wrote back in 2013-2014. And now I’ve pretty much got 2 to 3 books in the making to continue with the chaos that is the Ponces.

Lockless Doors subtly examines complicated relationships and skillfully reveals insights into the siblings’ connection to each other. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

I wanted to establish a sense of foundation for the three main characters, so that the reader could sense that there was in fact a very complicated past. Little by little, I offered little tidbits as to just what that past entails, and each of which would (at least for this book) center around the death of their mother. Their own childhood, while growing up, was riddled with seeds that would eventually force them all to spiral out of control. And so the death of their mother, at least according to their mother, would hopefully begin to bring them back together again. If I could narrow it all down to one single word, I’d say this book is about forgiveness, and not just the simple “on-the-surface” kind. Self-forgiveness is probably the most important type out there.

Lockless Doors is both hilarious and heartbreaking, soul-searching and sarcastic. Was there anything from yourself that you put into the novel, and did you have fun writing it?

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I really took from real life experiences that would inspire the book. I just started writing it one day and it just kind of became what it is. As I’ve said to others who’ve asked, I never really plan out a novel’s plot, at least I can’t think of a time during which I actually sat down and outlined a story. Maybe dabble a few ideas here and there, jot down some quotes for characters to use at some point in the story. The Ponce siblings, Edgar, Jean, and Charlotte are far and beyond my favorite characters I’ve thus far shat out out my brain. And yes, I can say I had the most fun writing this book compared to my others, and I am currently having loads more fun writing the second book.

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

I’m actually working on the sequel to “Lockless Doors…” at the moment and have written about two to three chapters. I wouldn’t expect it to be finished until next year sometime, but I can say that the story and the characters will explode in a way that makes “Lockless Doors…” seem like an ABC Family special. If all goes according to how it feels it’s going, “Lockless Doors…” may end up being the first in a long and chaotic series that may or may not have a definitive ending.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter 

It’s Christmas time, again. Family gatherings. Company parties. Yule logs. Screaming fits of dysfunctional requiem. But for the three Ponce siblings, they’ll be burying their mother. Edgar Ponce, the family exile. His brother Jean, the west coast porn star. And their younger sister Charlotte, mother to four kids and wife to the richest orthopedic surgeon in Western Pennsylvania. Reuniting them for the first time in over a decade, the funeral of their mother will only serve as the mere whisper that starts the avalanche of the next month, entangling them in their own webs of insanity for a holiday season none of them will ever forget. ‘Lockless Doors in the Land of Harsh Angels’, a crossover/sequel to 2014’s ‘Sleepeth Not, the Bastard’, is at its core a story about family. Beyond that, it’s an examination on forgiveness, the relationship between Christmas trees and caskets; bliss with a little bit of chaos thrown in for good measure, and learning the importance of one of the holiday’s most heartfelt lessons: appreciating those loved ones around you while doing one’s utmost best at tolerating the rest of the family without murdering them.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Days Gone By

Days Gone By

Days Gone By is a heartfelt tale of loss, memory, and acceptance. Jerry Veit writes a heartwarming and wholesome tale that is startlingly intimate.

We follow the main character, Caleb, four years after a car accident that occurred three days after Christmas and left him partially handicapped and terrified of leaving his house. The accident also took the life of his five-year-old nephew. The fallout of the event is not only Caleb’s physical and psychological difficulties, but the spiritual burden of guilt for being the cause of his nephew’s death. We find him now, four years later, unwilling to leave his house, even for his brother’s wedding. It is only after the mysterious arrival of past friends and deceased relatives, who give him messages that help him out of this fog of phobia and grief.

At first glance, Days Gone By may seem to echo some of the beats of A Christmas Carol, but in some ways, it brings us back to the classic fable in a nostalgic glance. Veit chose to write this story in play format, but considering the story and themes it allows the reader to enjoy the dialogue and characters even further. The reader can feel a part of the action this way and considering that the story bespeaks more fabel qualities, than a usual novel, Veit gets away with it.

The story has an almost Lifetime channel or Hallmark qualities, considering the history and cause of Caleb’s problems. What should not be left out is how Veit chooses to tackle these issues and instead seeks to bring his hero through these tribulations. It calls on the long tradition of other Christmas story classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life.

Once the reader gets used to the format of the story, it reads quite easily and fairly quickly. It is perfect for the short winter days and may be a perfect thing to pick up around the holidays. As Caleb struggles with agoraphobia readers will find it easy to connect with the sense of loss and how memory often haunts us. We all long to speak with loved ones who have since passed and Caleb is lucky enough to experience this for a short time. Hopefully, we can cherish that gift and not take our time for granted.

Pages: 106 | ASIN: B0175A7258

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Lockless Doors in the Land of Harsh Angels

Lockless Doors in the Land of Harsh Angels

Dave Matthes’ vision of the holiday season is a beautiful thing: estranged and dying (or already dead) relatives, a Baby Jesus/eggplant switcheroo, and alarm clocks blasting out “Feliz Navidad” at ungodly hours of the morning. Lockless Doors in the Land of Harsh Angels spans just a few weeks in the lives of the Ponce siblings, primarily focusing on the black sheep, oldest brother Edgar, but, in reality, it covers a lifetime. Brought together by their mother’s not-completely-unexpected and not-really-saddening death, Edgar, porn-star celebrity brother Jean, and foulmouthed but well-intentioned little sister Charlotte learn to embrace what it means to be a family. As Matthes himself puts it, family is just “[being] together, through the shit and the worse shit.”

A worthy five-star examination of a truly modern family (though the Ponces and Matthes would likely chime in that they are not a modern family in the ABC Family sense), Lockless Doors is both hilarious and heartbreaking, soul-searching and sarcastic. The plot summary could read as clichéd: alienated brother is forced to reunite with his estranged family and ends up enjoying it. But Lockless Doors is far subtler and more complicated in its examination of relationships. Matthes skillfully reveals insights into the siblings’ relationships with each other, their parents, and significant others gradually, enabling highly interesting and thoughtful character development of all the main characters. Though it spans just one eventful holiday season, Lockless Doors examines life in all its stages, from open-eyed youth to rebellious teens, from mid-life crises to acceptance of death.

In addition to its fascinating story line and characters, Lockless Doors is impeccably well-written. Matthes fills the novel to the brim with clever plays on words and puns that could be overlooked by some readers, but are greatly appreciated by attentive ones. Admittedly, he also fills the novel with a plethora of creative curse words that may offend some neophyte eyes, but the obscenities fit naturally within the world of the Ponces that Matthes has created, and once you get past the first few hundred F-bombs, you hardly notice them. In Lockless Doors, Matthes also takes the time to create intriguing and frequently hilarious supporting characters and events. From the smirking funeral director in his bright pink tie or the super fit and hyper healthy dad in his skin-tight bike shorts, Lockless Doors creates a rollercoaster of emotions for readers, being at one moment laugh-out-loud and in the next a tearjerker.

But what readers will enjoy the most about Lockless Doors is just how fun it is to read. As you explore the world that Matthes had created, it’s both easy and amusing to see your own friends and family in the characters he creates (though hopefully your family is not quite as dysfunctional as that of the Ponce’s). Taken at a first glance, none of the characters seems like anyone you’d want to spend your Christmas with; but by the end, you’re cheering for their success in the New Year. Self-aware and self-deprecating, Lockless Doors weaves a brutally honest and incredibly unique story of a family, in all its ugly and painful moments as well as beautiful and loving ones.

Pages: 169 | ASIN: B073MP2QJ8

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: