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Killer Clones

CIA Tech Manager Getty Pokem is a separated father of four kids, and while he doesn’t mind his job, he wishes he could spend more time with his family. Getty’s life is suddenly turned upside down, however, when one of his daughters dies in a mass shooting during a protest at a mall. No longer allowed to visit his kids, and while dealing with his grief, Getty is thrust into a world of death and danger as he tries to live in a world where death seems inevitable.

Killer Clones by WLVE is a futuristic and almost satirical novel that deals with politics, murder, pandemics, and everything in between that hits a little too close to home. Many prior and even current political figures are scattered throughout this book—some mentioned by name, and others not. Some of these figures act just as the reader may expect, while others’ stories play out with a twist.

The political side of this book is apparent from chapter one, and if you disagree with Getty’s point of view, you might have a difficult time reading this book. It is a graphic story that wastes no words, describing every death and value in great detail. It forces you to look at what’s happening in America, really forces you to look, and if you’re queasy about these sorts of things or have had traumatic experiences, then this book may not be for you. The characters that we get to meet along the way are diverse and full of personalities, but there are times when I wonder if they knew what they were thinking.

Killer Clones is a thought-provoking political and science fiction work that stems from our current reality. With a unique and honest look at topics on people’s minds and a warning about mass complacency, this story will stay on readers’ minds long after the book is finished. This novel is for you if you love a good conspiracy theory and science fiction action story.

Pages: 262 | ASIN : B0BJD5DZFS

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The Difficulty of Escaping the Rat Race

The Lay-Off House follows a group of people who wind up living together due to circumstances beyond their control and create a supportive community. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The very first inkling was an article I read on the BBC News website about a genre of Japanese novels, heroic tales of career triumphs and adversity. Office lit, I guess you can call it. And I thought, Americans are workaholics, this country is organized around business and work life, why don’t we have this genre over here?

Then I realized, oh yeah, it’s because Americans hate their jobs. So, I decided to write an anti-work book, about the difficulty of escaping the rat race.

It’s also a bit of a kitchen sink book, a conglomeration of lots of thoughts and experiences I’ve had the past decade or so. Many of the details are based on real people and stories. Just a bit here and there; only they would recognize themselves.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Individualism. Take people as they are, as they actually act. Don’t just look at their social identity or position, whatever that may be.

Another moral would be, not self-reliance as such, though that is a virtue, but its related virtue of surviving together. Build a community and give help and be open to accepting help. The people at the top of this heap we call society don’t care about us, so it’s up to us to care for one another.

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

The one-word key to the book is “dignity.” I wanted to show the difficulty of living with a sense of dignity in our society, which has become so stratified. Dignity is reserved for a few at the top. So, we have to provide it to ourselves, and gift it to others.

 “Adulthood” is another theme. When does someone become an adult? If you define adulthood as having the knowledge and power to sustain oneself and have full agency, are you really an adult if you can be laid off from your job any time for reasons beyond your control? How about if an HOA can seize your property that you paid for and have equity in, if your fence is ¼” too tall? Where’s the control over your own life? And there are many powers that are trying to keep their control over you, because that’s how they define themselves—how many peoples’ lives they can command. That means a perpetual childhood for most of us.

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

The theme of the next book will be “communication.” It’s still percolating in my subconscious, and I’ve only written a few pages, just to try and feel things out. As far as I know it will be a combination of The Razor’s Edge by Maugham, Hesse’s Siddhartha and the old TV show Convoy. This will be interesting. It’s going to take a couple years to write and perfect, I think.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Losing a job is never fun.

Doug knew this from three previous lay-offs and now he had to deal with the familiar disaster for the fourth time. He did what he always did when the pink slip was handed to him; he went home, he drank, and he brooded alone. But this time, acquaintances and strangers come to Doug’s door, seeking shelter from the same economic calamity. Together they make a community, a home, and a way out of the rat-race. But there are those in the wider world, some close and some far, who don’t think there should be an escape and that the rat-race is all there is and ever will be.

A story about the challenge of making one’s own life in a society that tries to say ‘no’, The Lay-off House by David Rogers portrays how many of us live now, in the real economy, and suggests a way to try and live a little better.

They Stole the Packers! Film at Six!

Rookie reporter Terry Lawton joins Channel 3 fresh out of college and immediately plunges into the fast-paced world of old-fashioned news reporting. As he dashes around Green Bay and neighboring towns, sometimes at neck-breaking speed for his next scoop, he soon catches wind of a rumor that could shake Green Bay to its very foundations — The Packers, the town’s storied football team, could be sold.

The Packers have won five championships in seven years, earning Green Bay the nickname “Titletown,” but whispers suggest a sale is around the corner even though there are structures in place to prevent it. Terry’s new focus is to investigate these rumors and find out if Green Bay could lose the only thing that gives it relevance.

Jeremy Robertsen’s They Stole the Packers! Film at Six! is a historical fiction that delves into the worlds of professional football and journalism. Robertsen crafts an intriguing story rife with details that would undoubtedly entertain football fans. But he also simultaneously thrusts readers into the reality of journalism in the 70s before the advent of advanced reporting equipment and social media.

While the thrill of reading about reporters racing to capture their next story is definitely something to look forward to in Robertsen’s book, you also have the timeless lessons on journalism ethics and due process that pop up all through the story. They are a refreshing reminder of the rigors of ethical news reporting and the standards that ensure journalism can play its role in preserving and presenting the truth.

Far from being a drab refresher on journalism and football fandom, Robertsen’s work applies witty dialogue, intriguing characters, and the occasional humor to entertain readers while weaving a compelling plot. The writing is tight and free-flowing, and Robertsen clearly excels at creating an immersive reading experience with well-placed imagery.

They Stole the Packers is a captivating work of historical and political fiction. With humor and well-developed characters, readers will be drawn into the story even if they are not into football because this novel is much more than another sports story.

Pages: 215 | ASIN : B0B94VNNLX

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NAILS

Nails is a haunting piece of political fiction based on what would happen if viewpoints of certain political factions were to be driven to the extreme. We follow three different protagonists, who all consider themselves to be the hammers that strike down the nails; the weak people, and guide them toward the way they need to be going or bend them and discard them for being useless to the cause. They represent the three levels of involvement and control they have within the organizations they serve: the foot soldier, the propagandist, and the boss.

This is not a dystopian book in itself, I think it’s more of an introduction into a dystopia. This book does a fantastic job of increasing your anxiety concerning politics or potential dystopias with how well it utilizes contemporary worries to ground the story and create an authentic atmosphere. The ending to this riveting novel is fantastically distressing with how probable it could be… or maybe the author just does a great job of making it all feel possible?

I enjoyed the well-conceived narrative driving this story forward. The plot is fast paced and intriguing. There are time skips that keep the reader guessing, but instead of feeling like a fault, they feel like a feature, as they happen more often when the characters start dissociating from the work they were once so interested in. The characters are compelling and unique. I felt like the characters come off as undecided about whether they are against the big plan or for it, and that adds a layer of intrigue to the story. I would have enjoyed a bit more worldbuilding to the story, because what is given is so fascinating and I wanted to know more about the overall world.

Nails is a a thrilling read that is immensely entertaining. This captivating psychological thriller is for anyone interested in how political regimes may develop and how they ensnare different people into believing what they want them to believe. If you’re a reader looking for a political thriller with a unique cast then this is a novel that you’ll certainly enjoy.

Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0BDXRTCPB

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Voicing Their Protests

Luminita LaFlash Author Interview

The House of Spark follows a young woman who is living in communist Romania, who undergoes tragedy and finds romance, only to have him disappear; she must find out what happened to her love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The House of Spark though a work of fiction, is inspired by people and events from my family background. In 1997 when I moved from Romania to the United States, it became important to me to tell my family story in an effort for young readers to learn about my country. Mainly about the blackest chapter in Romania’s history—the Communist regime. My story follows a group of university students and young adults, part of a larger segment who fought for their people by voicing their protests and sharing anti-communist ideas, often to their personal detriment, harm, and even death. Under the Russian occupation, which started after the fall of the Romanian monarch, the Romanian students were not silenced.

Virginia is a resilient and resourceful woman who will stop at nothing to find her love. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Most of the characters in my story are inspired by real people who were part of my life growing up. My mother influenced my main character Virginia. She was an intelligent and powerful woman. Despite everything she endured in her life, she never gave up. Her friend Viorica portrayed in my story by the character Doina was a long-time friend of my mother. Like my characters in the story, they were very different but very close and supportive throughout their lives. Maria and Ionita, other significant characters in my story, were inspired by my natural grandparents. Their actual story is very similar to the one that I portrayed in my story. While Maria is the type of caring, compassionate, and kind mother, Ionita is the opposite, selfish, uncompassionate, and indifferent about the way other people feel. A broken man who turned to alcohol for comfort. One of the controversial characters in my story Luca was also inspired by a real character. He represents the corrupt and lazy guy who tried to make a name for himself using lies and manipulation. A Securitate snitch. An individual who was interested in personal gain and nothing more. A shame to society. On the other side, Jenica is the symbol of courage, the student who fought, among others, against the soviet occupation and the Securitate.

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

While telling my family story, I wanted young adults to learn about Romania’s cuisine, literature, architecture, and history. I wanted to highlight Romania’s important historical and cultural inheritance. I describe Bucharest’s most beautiful recreational places, the Cismigiu Garden and Herastrau Park. Places that played an important part in my life growing up.

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

I am working on a different version of the book dedicated to adults and also on the second book, The House of Spark II. I dedicated this first version of The House of Spark mainly to young adults. It highlights the bravery of the Romanian students who fought against the Soviet Communist occupation and regime. The adult version shows more of the dark side of the period. I want it to be released sometime next year.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

It’s the 1950s in Romania, after the fall of the Romanian monarch, a time of terror for its citizens. Stalin’s communist regime influenced the creation of the Securitate, a police agency used as an instrument of manipulation and control over the country and its economics, education, and even its very culture.
Young Virginia is a university student whose life of tragedy–including her father’s death and her brother succumbing to polio prevaccine days–has given her a strength beyond her years. For the first time since their deaths, she had started feeling a sense of fulfillment and inner peace much due to her chance meeting of Jenica, a young “bright and full of energy and passion” who has captivated her heart. But now, Jenica has vanished, and Virginia has enlisted their friends to gather information taking serious risks in doing so, causing them to jeopardize their safety with the Securitate and others through exposure and asking questions. When there is a report of a homicide, Virginia fears the worst, but attempts at surreptitiously getting identification or a police report are met with suspicious dead ends. It’s too dangerous to get the officials involved, and it’s difficult to know whom to trust–identifying who are members of the communist party or who would be sympathetic to her efforts. She is desperate to find out where Jenica is or what happened to him. And they will do whatever it takes to find out. An unexpected phone call reveals information that once again turns Virginia’s world upside down. But will it help her find Jenica?

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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