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Quando Dormo

Quando Dormo (When I Sleep) by Edward Izzi is a suspenseful thriller about Dr. David Fazio, a pro-life obstetrician, divorced twice, and as handsome as he is philanderous. Dr. Fazio is not shy of flaws, personal and otherwise, with an army of scorned women in his past and severe insomnia while also being known as a sleepwalker. At a time where multiple family planning clinics are being burned to the ground, Dr. Fazio’s pro-life views and unknown night-time sleepwalks catches up to him as authorities are determined to find this “Abortion Arsonist”. It especially does not help when he wakes up with burns on his hands one morning. Quando Dormo is a well-written and enticing novel with in-depth characters and intertwining relationships.

One of the most interesting parts in this novel was the relationships between the myriad of characters that appear throughout the novel. At least fifteen characters are introduced and even though that may sound overwhelming, Izzi masterfully crafts these delicate intertwining relationships between each one of them.  These relationships that have been created at first seem disconnected but as the novel moves on, it is revealed how everyone relates to each other in some way or the other. This ultimately leads to the mystery aspect of the story and gives readers a satisfying feeling once everything is understood.

Quando Dormo is set in modern-day Chicago, there is not a lot of setting description which can be considered a downside, but Izzi finds a way to compensate for this. Mainly, through his characters, the way they speak to each other, and the few different cultures that appear throughout which is true to real world Chicago. Speaking of which, Italian culture is explored authentically and amusingly through the main character, Dr. Fazio’s heavily Italian family. Dr. David Fazio may not be an extremely likable character as he is a known womanizer and the story delves into some of his previous girlfriend’s lives and their, not so favorable, feelings toward him. However, we do see his positive traits and fascinating character growth throughout the novel.

A fair warning should be given before people go into this compelling novel. There are many contrasting and controversial opinions on pro-life and pro-choice from different characters. And the actions that some of these characters take are extreme which can be unpleasant to some readers. But if this doesn’t bother you then you are in for an entertainingly provocative tale.

Pages: 394 | ASIN: B085XQY8XX

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A Gangland Problem

Gerry Mullins Author Interview

Gerry Mullins Author Interview

Testosterone Dublin 8 follows a man that uses testosterone to escape his unhappy life and in the process gets caught up with Dublin’s criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

A doctor suggested I start taking testosterone, and that prompted my interest in the hormone. As I observed changes in my own mind and body, and read more about it, I realized it could provide the foundation for a very interesting book.

Most people associate the hormone with sex and athletics, but it influences so much more, particularly mood, ambition, drive and confidence. That makes it a very interesting issue to write about, but I could find no other novel about it.

There was a time when only elite athletes took anabolic steroids (which means testosterone), but now millions of ordinary men (and some women) around the world are juicing. There are myriad advantages and dangers to this.

In addition, I live in a part of the Irish capital called Dublin 8, which is going through the gentrification process – just like other cities throughout the world such as San Francisco where I used to live.

Gentrification provides a very interesting energy in a place as ‘old’ and ‘new’ residents live side-by-side, usually together, but separate. Occasionally hostile. I wanted to comment on this in a book. A law-abiding man who suddenly becomes a drug dealer was the vehicle to do this. He had felt a little superior to his new neighborhood, but as time goes by, it’s clear he isn’t that much different from the people he lives among.

Jimmy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove his character development?

He is disappointed in his life. He was from a middle-class family and middle-class community, but didn’t achieve this in his adult life. Losing his job is confirmation of this. Frequently he feels the judgement of his late father, who reminds him of his failings during his lowest points. He is ashamed, angry and suicidal.

Jimmy’s enhanced manliness leads to a drug-dealing business, and his pride is gradually restored. But when the money starts rolling in, what is his ambition for it? To move to a middle-class area; to finally be the person his late father wanted him to be.

The story takes place in Dublin. Why was this time and place important to your story?

Dublin has a gangland problem and there have been many murders in the Dublin 8 area that is described in the book.

In addition, this area is changing as new people who have middle-class aspirations arrive, displacing lower-class families who have been there for generations.

So the time and the place are important because they generate a natural environment for stories like mine to emerge. The reason Jimmy is living there is because of gentrification. The reason he can get involved in the drugs business is because that business is all around him.

More generally, Dublin is celebrated in many novels, and is most famously linked to works that were published 100 years ago. Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to describe the Dublin of here and now.

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

I am not working any but have several in mind involving the characters of Testosterone, Dublin 8.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Testosterone, Dublin 8 by [Gerry Mulins]

TV producer Jimmy Fyffe starts taking anabolic steroids to restore the ‘manliness’ he has lost in a high-pressure career and unhappy marriage. His plan works – a little too well. Soon he is a cocaine dealer, carving out a market in Dublin’s more affluent suburbs. This draws him into conflict with two established drugs gangs. He is kidnapped, beaten and terrorised, and is linked to the killing of a drugs-lord and two Gardaí.

Is Jimmy next to die, or will the same newfound machismo that landed him in trouble also help him escape it? Things get worse before they get better. The extra testosterone in his system hardens him both mentally and physically, but he also becomes reckless and arrogant. Ultimately, redemption is found during an ayahuasca ceremony in the Wicklow mountains, when Jimmy confronts his past through a conversation with his dead father.

Testosterone, Dublin 8 describes the effect of the ‘male hormone’ on an individual, and on wider society. It is told against the backdrop of a gentrifying Dublin, where the two main tribes – locals and blow-ins – live side by side. It is a moral tale wrapped in a classic thriller that gets to the heart – and veins – of modern Ireland.

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Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg (Enhanced) by [Longoria Wolfe, Laura Kincaid]

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg follows a young girl who must contend with bullies while being haunted by disturbing visions. She slowly uncovers a connection she has with an ancient tribe of people who were exterminated. She must find out why she’s been chosen, overcome the strange phenomena plaguing her life and take control of her destiny.

Longoria Wolfe has written a compelling science fiction story that is supported by a curious mystery which unravels through a thrilling adventure. When the book started I thought Evah was a fairly straightforward character, but I was pleasantly surprised when her character quickly gained complexity as her connection to the supernatural tribe was revealed and events are set in motion which provide compelling obstacles for her to overcome.

Evah & the Unscrupulous Thwargg is an immersive story that efficiently handles backstory so that we can focus on character development as well as the eerie mystery at the heart of this riveting novel. I admit that I had to stretch my imagination a bit because some of the things, and places, Evah encounters along the way superbly capture a fantastical surrealism that I wasn’t prepared for.

What I enjoyed the most was how everything is kept grounded by motivations I could understand. Even the strange aliens had desires I think readers can relate to, and with that I was reeled into a fast paced story that I heartily enjoyed.

Exceptional storytelling elevates this odd story line into a novel that is unique and hard to put down. I hope there’s a sequel in the works as this story left me wanting more of this world. Longoria Wolfe is able to twist common story tropes and prose into something that strangely intriguing. This is a thrilling science fiction story that I would recommend to readers seeking an adventure unlike any other.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07ZDLZP9V

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Sinner’s Cross

Sinner's Cross: A Novel of the Second World War by [Miles Watson]

Sinners Cross, by Miles Watson, is a deeply captivating historical fiction novel of the Second World War. This is an action packed story detailing the horrors of war and the people that must endure them.

This is not a watered down version of war, the battles are chaotic and gritty. I appreciated Mile Watson’s ability to place me in the field with the soldiers. The story focuses on a collection of well developed characters, each with their own issues not completely unique but well drawn and expertly unraveled before the reader. Having such well defined characters made me appreciate the terrible way in which war changes people.

The book is set in Germany during the Second World War and told from the point of view of soldier on the ground. We get to know what they fear, their motivation, how it feels to take the impact of a sniper bullet to the head only for it to be stopped by a M1 Helmet. How one would survive the cold in a fox hole knowing the chance of living to see the following day comes down to an unhealthy probability. To how your ears ring when you are accidentally within the range of an explosion. Sinner’s Cross is full of these types of details only soldiers can tell you.

The book begins with two characters, Duffy and Halleck, who have been fighting Germans for a while now. Each lost in their own thoughts, they engage in a sporadic and thinly worded conversation. Whenever Halleck’s drifts back to his thoughts, they give the reader a glimpse into the hopelessness of their predicament when he refers to their reinforcement as mere replacements. As a veteran I can appreciate the clarity with which the author paints the picture of war and how a soldiers mind might race.

This book was exceptional in it’s ability to make me question, not necessarily the motives of war, but the motives of those in charge of the battles in war. How human ineptness is either waned or magnified under such monstrously strenuous conditions.

I’m surprised Sinner’s Cross is a historical fiction novel. It’s full of historical details and military jargon that, I felt, were spot on, if not believable. This is an exceptional novel that is consistently entertaining, although dark it fits with the tone of what is a dark time in history. Any armchair historian will love this book.

Pages: 284 | ASIN:  B07YS4T3TB

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Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End by [Hugo V. Negron]

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is the fifth installment in Hugo V. Negron’s “Forging of a Knight” series.  The book series takes place in a magical, mythical world drawing heavily upon folklore and where numerous societies with feudal systems reside in the greater universe. The series follows the journeys of Qualtan, a knight who wields the powerful and coveted Goldenflame blade, Glaive, his half-orcne best friend and trusted partner, and many other rulers, knights, and creatures with whom they interact in the ongoing fight against the heinous agenda of the Evil Order.  The “Knighthood’s End” installment guides readers on an arguably more personal battle involving Qualtan – the events that transpire as he finds his true love in Vanessa, a Mah-Zakim, and the journey of Qualtan and Vanessa in securing their freedom to love.

This book features many different types of characters and creatures, some common fixtures and other illustrations pulled from the depths of Negron’s vast imagination. The author does a fantastic job at creating the imagery needed for the reader to conjure in mind each of these magical characters and creatures. He displays the same talent for expressing imagery in his illustrations of the different worlds that Qualtan, Glaive, Vanessa, and other characters in the story traverse. The Great Forest, for instance, with its idyllic scenery and woodland creatures roaming about, contrasts greatly with the dark, terrible, and grotesque world of the Mah-Zakim.

The development of the story is done in such a way that, even if the reader was not already familiar with the series, they not left in the dark in regard to former battles or happenings from previous installments and how they play into the current plot. My only comment is that the author could have elicited more emotion and dimension in each character; I found that the characters at times fell too deeply into their respective tropes (ex. Qualtan as the hero, Glaive as the disgruntled but loyal sidekick, and Vanessa as the hopeless lover fighting against herself). The interactions between the characters, along with references to past struggles they have mutually faced, still adequately depict the strong ties that bind the characters to each other; a great example of this bond is the brother-like companionship between Qualtan and Glaive that remains steadfast even during the moments when they have their differences.

Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End is overall a great read for anyone who has an interest in a well-written and carefully crafted story where knights, kingdoms, gods, magic, and other elements of folklore rule, with some seeking the greater good and some seeking no benefit outside themselves. The plot of the story is rich and enjoyable, and it should spark reader’s interest in delving into the rest of the series.

Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07DFPM1Q5

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Democracy is Not Possible Without a Free Press

William Hanna Author Interview

William Hanna Author Interview

The Grim Reaper follows Mike who’s reporting on the crimes of security companies when he goes too far and becomes the target. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

On 16 October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia — a Maltese journalist, writer, and anti-corruption activist — was killed when bomb placed in her car exploded. Daphne was one of those few courageous journalists who despite repeated threats against her life, refused to be silenced.

Mike is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

The organisation Reporters Without Borders revealed that in 2017 two journalists were missing, 54 were being held hostage, 65 were killed, and 326 were detained. Democracy is not possible without a free press.

This novel has a focus on private security companies operating in war zones and third world countries. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the accuracy of the subject matter?

Apart form information available on the internet, I obtained further details on PMSCs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under The Freedom of Information Act; spent a week in Hereford — the hub for UK PMSCs — interviewing former and current PMSC personnel: and covered the International Conference Confronting the Privatisation of War and Security which was held in Barcelona on November 22-23, 2018.

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

I am currently working on a nonfiction book about the causes responsible for the current turmoil in the Middle East with publication due early next year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | FacebookWebsite

THE GRIM REAPER by [William  Hanna]

The mad dogs of war are on the loose and out of control …

Freelance correspondent, Mike Walker, has made it his mission to condemn ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the West’s complicity in senseless wars of attrition in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere in the world.

Wars in which Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) provide assistance – legitimized, packaged, and presented by PR consultancy companies as “risk management” and “security solutions” – to governments and corporate interests operating in high-risk, complex environments for the purpose of extracting national resources.

In short, he’s playing with fire and he knows it. But he won’t be intimidated.

He won’t stop reporting the true facts that these “security solutions” which cost billions of dollars every year result in gung-ho mercenaries committing heinous crimes and premeditated femicide. Or the corruption, cruelty, and crimes against humanity which happen everywhere on a daily basis.

When a British PMSC begins paying him close attention, however, and MI5 get involved, has he finally gone one report too far?

Will he and his girlfriend escape the intrusive surveillance?

Or will he be silenced forever?

Find out in this fast-paced, exciting, gripping page-turner of a political thriller.

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The Sterling Wood Series

Charlene Johnson Author Interview

Charlene Johnson Author Interview

Homecoming follow Lily as she goes back to her small hometown where she discovers that someone is out to kill her. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Pennsylvania and had relatives and friends that worked in the coal mines. Everyone knew each other , and it was a nice place to grow up. When I decided to write a Romantic Suspense, I thought it would be fun to create a small town and a storyline located in that area.

Lily was an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I drew very loosely from my own life for Lily’s character. The town where I grew up was predominantly white. There was a small group of black families living in town, and I was related to most of them in one way or another. In the local cemetery, blacks were buried separately from whites for the most part. After attending college and working for a few years in town, I wanted to see more of the country and advance in my career. There wasn’t much opportunity for upward mobility in my field of study. I took a job with the federal government, moved to California, and thirty-six years later, I still live there.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was it planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

I’m a plotter, not pantser. I had the main storyline before I started writing. I planned to write a standalone, but as I developed some secondary characters, I thought they had stories of their own. Thus, why I decided to write a series. I’m planning five books in the series, but who knows? I created two other local towns while writing Homecoming that will play a role in the other books in the series.

This is book one in your Sterling Woods series. What can readers expect in book two?

I’m currently finishing up the 5th book in my paranormal romance series, Circle of the Red Scorpion. I will immediately start working on Changing the Rules, Book 2 in the Sterling Wood Series, and hope to have it done in the late 3rd quarter of this year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookFacebook GroupFacebook PageInstagramWebsite | Sterling Woods Series

Lily Sommers reluctantly returns to Sterling Wood to attend her Uncle Jimmy’s funeral – a town she left years ago.

Sterling Wood holds painful memories she’s tried to forget.  One, in particular, is still raw and every time she returns pulls the scab off a wound that will not heal – Luc Pearson, the handsome high school sweetheart who betrayed her.

Seeing Luc again isn’t the only problem she has to face in Sterling Wood.  Someone is trying to kill her, and she doesn’t know why. 

She soon learns shocking revelations that could change the course of her life as a ruthless killer stalks her. Will the people closest to her be able to save her?

Things like that aren’t supposed to happen in Sterling Wood.

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The Poseidon Network

The Poseidon Network by [Kathryn Gauci]

The year is 1942 and the world is knee-deep in the Second World War. The world is split with countries taking sides to either fight from the Axis Powers or the Allied Powers. The Allied Powers had risen up to ward off and halt the growing plague of Germans, Italians and Japanese- the Axis Powers- who decided that their countries’ original boundaries were too small. The latter, led by Mussolini, Hitler and the Emperor, had gone on a rampage annexing countries through bloody and violent take-overs. It is within this orchestra of madness we find ourselves in a hot, sunny and sandy city of Cairo in Egypt in Kathryn Gauci’s The Poseidon Network.

The Poseidon Network throws readers into a scintillating world of love, betrayal, murder and war. In this fast-paced and intricately written novel, we see the world from the point of view of Hadley, a British spy working for the Special Operations Executive, commissioned by Churchill, and holding a cover as a newspaper correspondent. His cover is essential to keep him alive in these dangerous times where Egypt is teaming with Greeks, Germans, Italians, Arabs and Britons- all with different vested interests in the ongoing war. It was a dangerous time for sleuths. The Greeks were rooting for the victory of their countrymen against the Nazi back in Greece with a few undesirable characters supporting the enemy of their people. The British were, on the other hand, preventing the imminent occupation of Egypt by the Italians. It is during this time, in his usual foregoing, that Hadley chances upon a creature of mesmerizing beauty, dark haired and enshrouded in attractive mystery. At this point the book picks up a quick pace that kept me on edge with suspense. Would he get to talk to her? Does she eventually fall in love with our ‘good ol’ boy’, Mr. Hadley? Then suddenly a girl is found dead on the banks of the Nile. Is it our mystery girl?

The cover, with sepia pictures of a lady, a sleuth and soldiers, done in a minimalistic style, I think accurately represents the style and period in which this engaging story is told. Once you are a few pages in, you come across Kathryn Gauci’s foreword informing you that the book is a fictional account of real events that occurred during the World War II. True to her word, the book is pin point accurate on the dates and times, events and certain people that were significantly involved in the war. The author has done impeccable research and uses it to colorize and energize this historical romance novel that invites readers into a globe-trotting mystery that is easy to grasp but hard to crack.

Pages: 360 | ASIN: B07ZJJ1NG8

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