Hope in Liverpool follows a dejected young woman who finds renewed hope in a handsome stranger that provides the prospect of a better life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
My Women of Courage series is a set of standalone stories, all of which I try to find a courageous female as the lead. In all my books in this series I would like to inspire or encourage. Hope in Liverpool is about showing that although we can go through extremely sad things in life, if we look towards hope we can be pulled out of the mire.
Each book has a unique place and time in history. I decided on Liverpool in 1958 because my mum has told me of what life was like for her back then. This isn’t her story at all, but the things like the dance hall she went to and meeting boyfriends at the pictures came from her stories.
Hope is an intriguing character that was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
I have suffered from depression in the past, and pulling yourself up out of the black pit (because nobody else can do this for you) was a very hard thing to manage. Desmond Tutu’s quote – ‘hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all the darkness’ means so much to me, and this quote was the inspiration behind this story.
Hope’s character, therefore, needed to go through dark places to be able to appreciate the light when she found it.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The main theme of this book is hope, I touch on forgiveness a tiny bit because I believe unforgiveness can hold us in the dark.
I also don’t think everyone ends up with a fairytale romance marriage, however, that doesn’t mean they are unhappy, so another theme is that not all marriages may be like Cinderella and Prince Charming, however, they can be full of love and kindness.
I try in each of my books to bring the settings to life, I do extensive research on how people lived, what they wore etc before I start any of my books, so besides making sure the characters were believable I always want to ensure the setting is just right, so the last theme would be Liverpool how it was in 1958.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on the last book in this series. Although it is about a very courageous young woman, it is in lots of ways different to the other four, which is why I have given it a different style of book cover and title to the others. It is called Brianna Trefae and is set in England in 1667. Brianna is a woman of such faith that when she prays for people they are healed, unfortunately, this quickly gets her labeled as a witch, and brings her to the attention of the Witch Finder General. This will be the longest book in the series. I have already started researching what life was like after the civil war and other things. I am hoping it will be released in September 2022, but his is the book that has caught my heart the most and I won’t rush it so Sep is only my aim.
The battle to preserve eternity continues …
For Paul Tomenko, relocating trillions upon trillions of life forms on Earth to the Paraverse wasn’t all that difficult. So easy, in fact, he does it in his sleep. After slipping into a coma, Paul uses his latent divine knowledge to create the Paraverse while imagining 50 more years of continued life on Earth. Then he dumps—no pun intended—an incalculable number of souls residing in his lower intestinal tract into the new domain with the simplicity of a bowel movement.
But preserving the promise of eternal existence comes with a cost. Forced to abandon Maggie Mae Monahan, one of his two lovers, and two neo-Neanderthal children (Gronk and Grita) in what becomes known as the Originverse, Paul travels to Neoterica to begin anew with Allie Briarsworth, his other lover.
As default caretaker of the new expanse, Paul discovers he has committed a string of blunders that endanger forevermore. He can’t remember how he structured the Paraverse, and the schematics are deep inside him, retrievable piece by piece only when he makes eye contact with Allie. Unable to summon a heavenly version of Home Advisor to repair his expanse, Paul reassembles the Bioprovidence research team to make the needed modifications. But the crew lacks three of its essential members who are still in the Originverse. Challenged to create duplicates of the trio, he reluctantly does so, worried that a replica of Maggie Mae will re-create the love triangle that tormented him on Earth. And if all that wasn’t enough, the Cassamarians, fire-breathing alien insectoids determined to destroy humanity’s standing as the chosen species, have breached the barrier separating the Originverse and Paraverse.
In this sequel to Damaged Beyond All Recognition, Paul discovers how the cosmos began and who created the first universe. In doing so, he realizes he might have the power to do what untold gods before him did not: eliminate the number one scourge for all life forms.
Most of the supporting cast from the first Infinity’s Trinity novel returns in this book: Cher the Gatekeeper and Katharine Ross the Librarian, figments patterned after two celebrities for whom Paul has lusted; Gronk and Grita, two “resurrected” six-year-old neo-Neanderthals who are the most intelligent humans on Earth; Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an innovative bioengineer named after a Japanese man who survived nuclear bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Dr. Peter Lexington Townshend, the former head of Bioprovidence now forced to assume a job he detests. In addition, some new characters join the ensemble: Dzhambo the Ukrainian Vodka-Drinking Circus Bear, Paul’s self-appointed bodyguard; a sassy Tina Turner-lookalike who patrols the most significant storage unit among the stars; and Rovert, an asylum-seeking Cassamarian who is desperately in need of dietary change.
Buckle up for an existential trip oiled with humor that glides across all that has been on the way to all that we hope will be.
Posted in book trailer
Tags: Alan Felyk, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, book trailer, bookblogger, books, books to read, booktube, booktuber, Damaged And No Longer Under Warranty, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, humor, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, satire, science fiction, scifi, story, trailer, writer, writing
Blood In The Medicine Bowl, by Steven Bryan Clegg, is a book that contains two pivotal stories, and both need to be told. The first is about the importance of awareness of poaching rhino horns for money, and the second is about the alertness of crime against humanity with the kidnapping of children. The story’s main setting is South Africa. A rhino having been poached is unlawfully sent to Vietnam to be prepared for illegal sale. The horn is boiling in a pot at Mr. Bui’s home when his 10-year-old son accidentally cuts his finger, the blood dripping into the boiling pot. Meanwhile, Detective Elizabeth Beyes works feverishly to track down and capture a kidnapper of children. Her search leads her to a magician who also steals rabbits called Magic Pete.
Author Steven Bryan Clegg begins his riveting story with a barrage of scenes and characters to setup his novels theme’s of the crime and consequences of poaching and kidnapping. His setting begins in South Africa, shoots to Vietnam, then to China, and back to Africa where he delves into the second plot involving Detective Liz Beyes and her partner, Detective Zahn Lin. Each scene is captivating, the locations are vivid and seem exotic. At times I found the introduction of so many characters a little overwhelming, but the story does a great job keeping the storylines separate, although I felt that it was hard to tell which storyline took priority. By the end of the novel, the story had come full circle and ends leaving the readers feeling satisfied. The dialogue is paced well and I enjoyed the conversations between characters in the story, which showcases Clegg’s talent of character creation. I found many of the characters to be relatable.
Blood In The Medicine Bowl is an intriguing story that dramatically explores the consequences of poaching and kidnapping in some creative and stirring ways. The combination of dual storylines ensure readers are consistently engaged with the story.
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In Daughter of Pompeii, author Lorraine Blundell envisions what life might have been like in Ancient Rome for a little-known girl from Pompeii, called Poppy in this historical novel, and the notorious Emperor Nero. The story begins while Poppy is just a young girl and Claudius is still emperor. Through a tragic turn of events, Poppy loses her only family and embarks on a life-long quest for vengeance. Her journey to becoming Empress of Rome eventually felt less about revenge and more about straight ambition, to change her own destiny and rise far above her station.
Poppy’s character is written sympathetically while still attempting to convey the horrific things she did. Poppy is relatable and easy to root for, but there are times I felt she was unjustified in her actions, but this spike of emotion the story created in me is the mark of good writing. Her only lasting relationship throughout the book is with a friend she makes as a young girl who journeys through life with her, ever loyal and dependable. Farzana is an intriguing moral character, which made me wish I saw more from her perspective in the book. In addition to these two characters, there is a large collection of interesting characters who flit in and out of the narrative.
The narrative is told from an omniscient perspective, and the story often jumps from character to character, switching points of view or “getting inside their head”. I thought this was a little confusing, as it wasn’t always clear whose thoughts we were following. The story covers a lot of time, making this feel like a very quick read.
This novel was well written and the story was very entertaining. There’s everything one might want from a historical novel: the historically accurate references to real people and recorded facts from their lives, the political intrigue of the time, and a glimpse into ancient life for the differing classes. We get to view major historical events through the eyes of our protagonist, bringing to life tragic events like the murder of Claudius, the burning of Rome, and Nero’s descent into madness.
If you’re a history buff, particularly interested in Ancient Rome, this book is for you. Author Lorraine Blundell provides a riveting fictional story within an already fascinating time in history. All of this is elevated by Lorraine Blundell’s captivating storytelling ability.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07S1S75JV
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Illyia continues to follow Giels as he returns from his adventure and must make a decision about his future. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
Book one was really about introducing a cast of characters and the very different world they inhabited at a moment of lost innocence. In Illyia, we get to experience the aftermath of that—what happens after an ontological shock, and how does each person react?
What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing Giels character?
I think all good characters have strengths and weaknesses that play off of each other. And it’s usually those internal forces that drive them above all else. Giels has a near didactic memory, which is perfect for becomming a great storyteller, not to mention he’s in the right family to have that talent nurtured. Yet, he’s terrified of talking in front of large crowds. Double that with the fact he’s no longer sure if he believes in the stories he recites. And that’s the tip of the iceberg. He wants to preserve his standard of living, marry his girl, prove that he’s not privelaged and on. It’s maddening, but these problems propel him forward. Underneith it all, like all of us, he’s seeking elusive balance. And, as if his normal life isn’t confusing enough, he has a whole other realm that’s tugging at him. Getting his bearings is nearly impossible.
I enjoyed the deep and detailed world you’ve created. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?
Everything. Fiction, for me, is a way to reframe real life. By exaggerating personal experiences, especially those indellable moments and memories, whether bad, good, or just odd, we can take a closer look at them. We can understand them for what they really mean. For me, that process of tranforming life to fiction is usually automatic. For example, I’m pretty sure the Underworld originally came out of my experience of moving to Manhattan from Nevada as a child. Of course, this was a big moment for me, and stories of abandoned subway stations and tunnels where so-called “mole people” lived played on my imagination. Then there was the view out of my bedroom window. Tucked in the spaces between buildings existed a hidden world of pipes and machines and latticework eleven stories below. The imagination goes wild, especially if you’re used to seeing snocapped mountains out of your window. What sort of world existed there? Rumored giant rats and waterbugs and tropics-sized dragonflies I’d see fly around now and again, possibly sustained by the heat of the machinery and the steam? At that age, you even wonder about mythical creatures, too. Could there be beauty and life, an entire ecosystem, in the unnatural ugliness? It was aweful and fascinating all in one. Did people live back there, tucked somewhere? But for storytelling, what is most important is what did those hidden features of the city mean for me, and how did they represent my transformation after the move? I’m sure some of that worked its way into the Entiria stories.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next one is episode 3, The Champions. Things really start taking a turn in this episode, and the bigger picture comes more into focus. When will it be available? Well, I wish I could say next month, but it’s important to me that the writing does the story justice, so we’ll have to follow up with one another. That said, I hope not too long.
Posted in Interviews
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The Rules of a Little Boss shares positive messages to help children gain and improve their self-esteem. What lessons were important for you to share in this book?
The most important thing to me was the being kissed by the suns brightest rays. If I was younger I would’ve taken that very nicely considering I didn’t like the color of my skin so my hope is that children of color take that to heart.
In the book you state that readers ‘must be willing to do the work’. What is one way children can implement what they learned in your book?
By not giving into peer pressure and by consistently telling themselves not to they’ll learn stand apart from the crowd.
The art in the book is wonderful and bright. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Arsalan Khalid?
He really understood what the message that I wanted to share in the illustrations. He went the extra mile to make sure that the art matched to give a good visual representation of my words.
Do you have plans to write more children’s books?
I may create a series out of them under the umbrella of The Rules of a Big Boss: A book of self-love. They will be more fictional if I do.
Posted in Interviews
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The Juju Girl by Nikki Marsh explores the unique magic of Creole identity and history. We are introduced to Gabrielle, a girl reemerging into a new life where everything once familiar to her is now entirely brand new. Her life is engrossed in turmoil as she travels to New Orleans at the request of her family. The fascinating magic of juju ensnares Gabbie and shows her an entire world that she had no previous knowledge of.
Gabbie discovers that she has a gift—among a family that can see signs of death and shadowy figures, Gabbie learns about her connection to the spirit world. This connection is tied to the magic of good juju, and the difference between it and conjure. While conjure is a natural ability that heals the body, juju is a spiritual practice that contains supernatural power. Gabbie’s Maman tells her all about the gift that has been passed from mother to daughter throughout their family for generations, and how Gabbie must make the decision to perform good juju and conjure.
I enjoyed that The Juju Girl introduced its readers to a cultural magic that isn’t often discussed in literature. As Gabbie grows and learns about the world through tutoring and the relationships she builds, we get to learn more about her intricate familial ties and the magic they pass between them. I loved seeing the spirit magic performed throughout the story, and that we experienced a metaphor for grief through the representation of juju.
The lessons that were taught throughout the book with discussions around curses and bad juju were so important. I loved watching Gabbie work through these issues, and I would have liked to see even more of these dark instances of magic explored. I felt that the ball scene took up much more of the book than I had expected it to and wished that we could have seen even more practiced magic among Gabbie and her family members.
The familial connections, lessons, and bonds that were continued along the course of the story were touching and felt relevant and authentic due to sharp writing. I loved seeing Gabbie work through her grief and suffering and turn it into something beautiful with her spiritual magic while continuing to honor her Creole heritage. The Juju Girl by Nikki Marshis the perfect book for someone trying to make peace with their pain, or anyone looking for a compelling young adult fantasy novel that has a well developed lore.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B08Y62KJ2D
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Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern by Eileen Hobbs is an enchanting adventure tale where we are taken into a whimsical land with the main character Addie. B, a bright and imaginative child who with the help of a moonstone ring can translate other languages. Addie and her mother head out to do some shopping, during their adventure Addie spots an opening into another world, which she had visited before. In this world there is a garden of choice which leads them to Ambra, the main part of this other world. Addie enlists the help of her cousins, then they head off on a whirlwind adventure where they solve problems and discover clues that cause them to be riddled with curiosities and ensure many more visits to the garden of choice in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this imaginative adventure novel by author Eileen Hobbs. This is a classic adventure story that took me back to my own childhood and filled with me the same sense of wonder that I had back then. Overall, I found the characters to be charming and a joy to follow through this adventure. I liked the author’s voice and enchanting atmosphere that she effortlessly creates in this novel.
While I heartily enjoyed the story, I felt that the child sometimes felt older than their age, hopping on planes and running off on their own. But how else would you find yourself into and out of these compelling adventures.
Heath Cousins and The Ruby Lantern is a book I can see myself reading as a child, curled up at night with a night light, reading until I fall asleep. This is a well crafted and fun sword and sorcery story that will appeal to anyone looking for a timeless children’s fantasy story.
Pages: 166 | ASIN: B08XTST3MZ
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, children, childrens book, childrens fantasy, ebook, Eileen Hobbs, elementary, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, parent, read, reader, reading, story, sword and sorcery, teacher, The Heath Cousins and the Ruby Lantern, writer, writing