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The House of Spark 

The House of Spark by Luminita LaFlash is the story of Virginia, a university student in 1957 who grew up during the fall of the Romanian monarch. It was a time when many citizens of Romania experienced terror and fear, only to finally find a sense of peace following the fall of an empire. The House of Spark tells the story of struggle, love, and facing injustice. When Virginia begins dating Janica, a passionate and kind man, everything changes when he suddenly vanishes, without any clues or trace of his location.

As Virginia tries to find Jenica’s whereabouts, she grabbles with the possible loss. But, having already suffered through the death of close family members in a very uncertain era, Virginia demonstrates bravery in her fight for her love and finding out what happened to Jenica.

The author does an incredible job of portraying the uncertainty of Romania in the 1950s and how history makes a lasting impact on the lives of many, especially on a deeply personal level. The ripple effect of historical events and tragedy can teach us how to appreciate life and fight for a better day in the present, though it also leaves the scars of loss and trauma.

I found this book an emotional read, with a sense of hope amid despair. Will Virginia find Janica alive and well, or will she need to face yet another loss? If he is alive, how will Virginia and her friends find him, and how does a person continue living with the knowledge they may lose, or have lost, someone they love? The author describes the unsteady political situation, which is raw and bleak, as a backdrop to the beauty of humanity and the power of determination. When I read this book, I didn’t want it to end! The characters are well-developed and interesting.

The House of Spark by Luminita LaFlash is a historical fiction novel with suspense, mystery, and thrills. It has an excellent storyline and one woman’s fight for justice in an uncertain time makes this a must-read for those interested in political fiction of the 1950s.

Pages: 164 | ASIN: B09V3KC214

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The Prodigal Daughter

The Prodigal Daughter by Maria Ereni Dampman is a tale of escape and bravery in a dystopian America. Emma and Declan plan an escape, though their attempts to flee the country get complicated when separated. Emma, and her husband, Declan, are expecting their first child and understand the importance of their unborn child. However, once they are separated, their fate becomes uncertain. Emma is recaptured, and the Purity Patrol is seized and confined.

As Emma and Declan’s future together becomes uncertain, the author takes the reader through the labyrinth of a society that doesn’t tolerate dissent. The reader is taken through the underground bunker where Declan is held and how Emma must face a life that’s not in her hands, nor can she determine how to support her child. The Prodigal Daughter is a sequel to Maria Ereni Dampman’s The Governor’s Daughter.

This story uniquely portrays an alternative world, a dystopia where society has regressed so far that the reality of racial and gender equality has vanished completely. Yet, it’s a glimpse into a world that could become a reality if precautions are not taken sooner. This exciting cautionary tale delves into the intense nature of this world and how each character must either navigate this challenging society with limited prospects or try to escape. It’s an engaging read, with lots of action and personal dilemmas that clash with the dystopian rule.

The Prodigal, Daughter by Maria Ereni Dampman is an exciting and suspenseful political dystopian novel. It’s the triumphant tale of people who are deemed “lower class,” though they find a glimmer of hope in a dark world despite their challenges in facing discrimination. It’s an excellent read for anyone who enjoys futuristic and dystopian themes with a thought-provoking plotline.

Pages: 472 | ASIN: B0B54472HQ

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Bitter Draughts

Bitter Draughts by Yves Fey is book two of the trilogy, The Paris Trilogy, a historical fiction that is quite promising. Paris, France 1898, amidst the Dreyfus affair. Detective Michel Devaux is set to investigate a series of violent crimes occurring all around Paris, seemingly connected to the explosion of hatred and bigotry devouring the city. Of course, Michel has to consider the most probable cause behind these mysterious crimes: the political one, but his expertise will lead him to consider many other possibilities. With diverse characters and an intricate storyline, this book delves into the political climate of France between 1894 and 1906, giving an enjoyable history lesson with many turns and twists.

From the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The plot, the characters, the ambiance, the many details… I was simply amazed at how masterfully crafted everything was. On many occasions, while reading, I couldn’t help but be immediately reminded of Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski. It was that good. The writing style, the story’s pacing, and the various perspectives from different characters presented a carefully and meticulously thought narrative. Because of this, the author created a story based on reality that was tense, mysterious, and compelling.

Each new chapter was as interesting as the previous one. Every unique point of view allowed the reader to see so many unexpected story details from a completely different angle. The plot, including mystery, history, art, and romance, was incredibly well balanced. While reading, one immediately feels immersed in the story, and the epoch described, aided by how the characters speak and conduct themselves, their interests, and their lifestyles. As the story develops, the attachment to the characters inevitably grows, and one gets to see how complex and unexpected they can turn out to be. Like in real life, severe political themes are explored, and the various characters react to them in entirely different ways, making up for a well-rounded description of the period in which the book takes place. By the end, one gets the sense of having read an excellent story that will be worth a few re-reads in the future.

Bitter Draughts by Yves Fey is a hard book to put down. This was a fantastic read that I highly recommend to readers of historical fiction and classic literature. Well thought out and with unexpected beauty and charm, this book made for a gratifying read.

Pages: 407 | ASIN : B09WG99X71

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An Unavoidable Cataclysmic Event

Author Interview
Mike Ross Author Interview

Time’s Up follows the political leaders of Earth as they determine if an alien warning about the apocalypse is real, and if so, who will be saved to carry on mankind? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted an alien presence that was benevolent not bent on destroying us. Using CME’s (which actually exist on the sun) as the humanity killer, allowed the aliens to play a positive role. I wanted to speculate as to how the world leaders might deal with an unavoidable cataclysmic event along with an offer of help from an completely unverified source. I wanted to examine how normal human and especially conventional political forces might affect our behaviors.

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

The primary interactions are between the protagonist (Yaz) and two old friends. Yaz had very close, though never sexual, relations with both men. With one friend she needed his help. With the other he needed her help. And eventually both friends, who were complete strangers, helped each other. I placed all the conflict between Yaz and world leaders who generally could not change their ingrained behaviors even knowing they would be futile. Friends, on the other hand, only helped each other without expectation of reward or benefit.

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

That humans may be their own worst enemy. Politics makes people into monsters who cannot recapture their humanity even in the most dire of situations. That friendships/love last forever and are our only hope of salvation.

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

Working on a sequel to TIME’S UP. It will pick up where TU ends. If it takes as long as TU did (I hope not), maybe 2025 (if I live that long)?

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

TIME’s UP: A Cynical, Misanthropic Look at the End of Life on Earth

An unidentified being makes a prediction to the world. Over a period of several months the sun will experience a series of eruptions that will allow intense solar radiation to reach the earth. This radiation will eventually destroy all life and make the planet uninhabitable. The unidentified entity also offers to save a small group of young people by transporting them to a place that can support human life. However, successful colonization of the new location is not assured. Most people do not believe the prediction or the offer of help. One woman does believe and takes on the task of accepting the rescue offer and preparing the colonists. She must do battle with hostile politicians (‘carpols’), inept bureaucrats and skeptical populations (“genpop’) to save the human race from extinction.

Time’s Up

Time’s Up by Mike Ross is a science fiction novel based on the end of human civilization and the politics behind it all. When a strange flying object appears outside the United Nations Headquarters building, the whole world goes into a panic. Then, voices are suddenly heard, issuing a warning about the approaching danger that will end human life on Earth. From this first contact with aliens, the United Nations leadership finds out that the sun is about to experience a series of very large Coronal Mass Ejections, an event that humans can do nothing about. There’s only one choice: to trust these alien voices and prepare a selected group of human beings that will evacuate the earth and start civilization on a new planet. But, will the political structures of the different countries allow for this evacuation to proceed fairly and peacefully?

There is tension from the beginning of this riveting story, the main point being that politicians’ humanity has been destroyed by their lust for power. The plot is presented so that we are always following the political figures dealing with this apocalyptic event across many countries, which allows the author to showcase the good and the bad that is present in most bureaucratic political organizations. The story’s pacing can feel somewhat slow at times, but this is balanced out by the intrigue and the need to find out how the story resolves. With time, the reader starts to engage with the plot, and the interest in the characters begins to spark.

The way the story is told leaves the reader wondering if what’s happening could be real or if it is just a hoax. Rumors start to spread, and even the most prominent political figures in the world are not sure if the appearance of this alien ship is the result of an elaborate prank or a terrorist act. This sets the plot in motion and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Alongside the story, important aspects of the modern political world are displayed, opening a discussion about the many problems that some abusive, overbearing political powers pose to the world.

This well-crafted story is detailed and illustrates excellently how our current society would react to an apocalyptic event with its varied and complex political structures. The author makes sure to expose everything, from the interactions between different people to the preparations needed to ensure the continuation of human civilization. The result is a holistic book that deals with current human and political affairs as a commentary on how some of these structures have to be fought to avoid the sabotage that they impose on humankind.

Time’s Up is a gripping science fiction and a socio-political novel about how world leaders might handle an apocalypse situation. For those that enjoy a good conspiracy theory story and political maneuvering, this novel will keep them entertained and, perhaps, questioning how real could this be.

Pages: 386 | ISBN : 0578257890

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Honorable Profession

Dan Cahill is a former secret service agent that moves to Nevada to try and repair the relationship with his daughter that was long neglected due to his career. His daughter Meghan wants to help her political science professor Walter Becker win the Nevada presidential primary. Despite wanting nothing to do with politics ever again, Cahill agrees to help his daughter in her goals in order to rebuild a relationship with her. Albeit being retired, Cahill has a lot of experience with the ins and outs of the government and would be a great help to Walter’s quest for the presidency. But, will they achieve their goals?

Honorable Profession: A Novel of American Politics by Andy Kutler is a novel about how a retired Dan Cahill tries to mend his broken relationship with his daughter. To do so, he is aiding her in her desire to help her favorite professor become the president of the United States despite the odds weighing heavily against him. After being forced into retirement for leaking stories about diplomatic misconduct in the government, Cahill had developed a deep hatred for politics and promised himself not to get involved. He, however, ends up developing a liking for the college professor, which motivates him to help him win. More than a story about politics and drama surrounding elections, this is about a father and daughter. The political backdrop is used to bring them together in a way they otherwise would not have. Her ideas and his experience combined to make them a steller team that they never knew they could be.

The award-winning author, Andy Kutler, uses his vast political knowledge, gained while working under two senators, to accurately depict government operations. He is able to use the characters, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses, to paint a vivid picture of what goes on in the electoral system. It is a clear and intriguing look into what happens in the government and how elections are handled.

Honorable Profession: A Novel of American Politics is a riveting book that is perfect for readers who love political dramas that are grounded in reality. This is also a novel about building relationships and family, and readers looking for a modern and contemporary background for this thriller will be captivated from beginning to end.

Pages: 370 | ASIN : B09F3CG9MW

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Taking Very Unethical Actions

Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman Author Interview

Animal Lab follows a group of rats that can suddenly think and act for themselves as they try to build a society in a world that no longer includes humans. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm since I read it as a teenager. It was such an easy read yet conveyed important concepts about society both intellectually and emotionally. I’m concerned about the directions our society is going and always thought back to the warnings of Animal Farm, but these days the issues are somewhat different. I’d been thinking about writing an updated version for a few years, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. During the COVID pandemic, I had more time to think, so I started outlining a book, then filling in the details, and found myself falling in love with it. I don’t know if I can make a difference in the way that Orwell did, but I figured I needed to try.

As the rats grow in intelligence and start building their society, there are some major shifts in their personalities. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I believe that with a few exceptions, most leaders and influential people believe that what they do is for the common good. Or at least they rationalize it that way. It’s too easy in a novel to have an obvious good guy and obvious bad guy. It’s more interesting to see how people evolve and how good people can come to believe that they must achieve their goals by any means necessary, which can include taking very unethical actions.

I wanted all the animals to start out sympathetic. When a baby is born, without any preconceived notions, it is innocent and lovable. In the same way, the animals in the lab were born on a single day and started out innocent. I wanted the reader to see their growth and the decisions they made. This also acts as a warning that good people can do bad things, so we must judge people by their actions, not by their talk and certainly not by their charm.

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

As in my previous novel Good Intentions, I want to show that bad results can come from good people who think they are doing good things. I want to provoke the majority of Americans—moderates of all political, social, and religious beliefs—to not blindly follow extremist leaders and extremist ideologies simply because they appear “fair” and “just.” I want people to recognize that “wokeness” suppresses free speech, that “social justice” attempts to right wrongs by forcing other wrongs, “equity” tries to counter prejudices with different prejudices, and that “even-handedness” is often a way to elevate bad ideologies while demoting good ones. These simplistic concepts are easy to endorse because they don’t require discriminating thought. Doing the right thing actually is hard work, but is absolutely necessary for society to survive and be righteous.

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

I’m working on a nonfiction book about creating and running a successful business. I’ve started about a dozen businesses, several of which have been very successful. I’ve learned some important lessons and want to share them with others.

​Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

One day, the animals at a research lab wake up with the abilities of rational thought and communication. And the humans are gone. They realize they must organize into a society with rules, rights, and responsibilities. They heard about a farm in England where the animals created a socialist society that eventually failed. They are determined to succeed, so they create a democratic republic. But can they keep it?
Animal Lab is an allegorical novel by Bob Zeidman. It is a warning about the possible coming collapse of American society and along with it, American principles, values, and freedoms—torches that have lit the path for the advancement of the human condition for over two centuries and that must not be allowed to be extinguished.

Savage City

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 1932, the Savage City of Detroit has become a microcosm of the subsequent ferocities of the century. Amid the murky politics between the capitalists in control and the Communist-backed Unemployed Council for the worker’s rights, there are Black Legions, Purples, and Sicilians, the criminal organizations with their ridiculous radical views and drugs trade. With the backdrop of the 1932 Ford Hunger March, the four protagonists of this crime thriller encounter, and are stuck in, the political and criminal deluge that irrevocably change their fate forever.

Within the span of eight days before a six-week leap in the story, the narratives of the four main characters in the psychological thriller expose the frustration and helplessness of common people just getting by with their lives in the racially divided, xenophobic, and brutal city of Detroit, where a person’s life is as fragile as an acorn. Detective Clarence Brown’s agitation and utmost efforts while tracking down the killer of a teenage colored boy reveals the general disbelief in the preposterous prejudice against black citizens. On the other hand, Ben, the Jewish victim of racial persecution, and Elizabeth, the member of a communist league, demonstrate the victims of tragic circumstances, emblematic of the society in general.

The author Donald Levin fuses aspects of the historical Ford Hunger March in 1932 with fictional characters and plots that make for an engaging and powerful read. As the story unfolds, the scenes with more than one protagonist offer an extra perspective through the character’s self-narratives. This allows for a clear and precise description of the event and thus enhancing the sense of inclusivity and anticipation. 

This crime thriller features a large number of minor characters to add depth to the plot, which both adds excitement and complexity. It’s ideal for readers who prefer reading novels with numerous and distinctive characters.

Savage City reveals the stark reality of the Great Depression in its most vivid colors, showing the desperation of a city crippled by the consequences of the masses of frustrated men and women, crushed between dirty politics and corrupt authorities. It is answered explicitly by the many characters in the novel as to who transforms a city into a savage beast. This intense book is ideal for readers who want a glimpse into the human psyche of a city affected by a bull-headed and corrupt system, perfectly encapsulated in a brilliant work of fiction.

Pages: 426 | ASIN : B09N6RJCVF

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