Discovering Twins by Stella ter Hart is a memoir, a biography and a short fictional stories all-in-one. It blurs the line between memory and imagination, and that’s what sets it apart. It takes us through the life of ter Hart’s family. With more than 20 short stories exploring different characters and their lives, Discovering Twins is a magnificent debut by Stella ter Hart. It talks about the life of a Jewish family under an oppressive regime; it celebrates life and explores motherhood, childhood, and families in fascinating ways.
The book explores various themes and has something to interest everyone. It talks about the small celebrations of life, taking us through incidents like childbirth, the discomforts and joys of pregnancies, a girl becoming a woman and the fear of the unknown that strikes when you menstruate for the first time. It later talks about Stella’s ageing mother, who suffers from mental illness in the later stages of life. It truly represents life and its various color and shades.
Divided into unconnected short stories about several people in no particular order, one would expect the book to be rather chaotic. However, the author surprises us by making the book feel coherent and rather beautifully connected from one story to another. The stories themselves do not follow the standard format of a story with an introduction, climax or ending. Instead, they narrate instances, some monumental, some mundane, but each brilliantly described. It feels like a window into Stella’s family that we peak into from time to time.
The book also gives us rare insight into the Holocaust and its horrors. How sometimes, parents were even forced to choose between their children. It talks about how her mother and their generation were forced to lie because the truth could get them killed. Stella brings out the horrors of war and genocide without letting the story become a book about the Holocaust, but rather how the scars have a ripple effect.
Discovering Twins is a must-read for anyone looking to get an intriguing and insightful look into the life and struggles of Jews during times of war contrasted with the warm, happy, bright life of ter Hart’s family.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B094F8WYDT
Tags: author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Discovering Twins: no secret is safe forever, ebook, family saga, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Stella Ter Hart, story, true story, urban fantasy, writer, writing
The Correction, by John Hazen, is the fascinating tale of a supernatural gift passed on from generation to generation, following the course of history and the characters’ life up to the narrator’s life. Joseph Vance, the narrator’s voice, leads us through his ancestors’ good and bad corrections and takes us through his life, where many obstacles will be placed on his way, but he’s not completely alone in overcoming them.
Hazen writes beautifully with vivid descriptions and insights on the characters’ feelings and thoughts. He manages to keep a fast pace all the way through the story. While time travel stories can get fanciful, I appreciated how grounded this supernatural thriller was which ensures that the story, and the characters, are relatable.
If you’re a reader that appreciates the details in a story, then you can certainly appreciate all the effort put in to fully flesh out these complex characters. Each has an important role to play in the story, and the dialogue and interactions with each one or subtle yet compelling. I was surprised to find to some impassioned commentary on social issues woven throughout the story. Issues like racism are addressed and provide an opportunity to really understand who are characters are and test them in some morally intriguing ways.
While I heartily enjoyed this science fiction drama, I had to get a few chapters into the novel before I felt I was sure I knew where this story was going. But diving into Joseph Vance’s life felt authentic and compelling and was something I eventually looked forward to.
The Correction, by John Hazen is a supernatural thriller that feels like it was written by Stephen King. With fully realized characters and a well-conceived and engaging plot, this was a historical thriller that kept surprising me. If you enjoy a good dramatic thriller, then I highly recommend this stimulating book.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B094SRYXMV
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, John Hazen, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, supernatural, suspense, The Correction, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Loved by Night by Mildred Osei-Diko, is a fast-paced sensual fantasy novel about a forever war between vampires and werewolves, told through the eyes of Rebeka, an orphan girl, and her connection with four very different brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah. Each of them is forced to make terrible sacrifices to protect their family and the people they have come to love.
The engaging character-driven plot locks us into an intriguing world where vampires and werewolves are at war. Their savage war was sparked by the brother’s actions, and the dilemmas these characters face to survive.
I really enjoyed how Osei-Diko beautifully captures the frustration felt by orphaned Rebeka as she dreams of moving far away from the drudgery of her village life. In contrast, the four brothers, Stan, Nicholas, Antoli and Rikah are portrayed as living a care-free life growing up, practicing the combat skills their father had taught them. The brothers were born 1000 years ago, which gives this novel a vague but interesting historical aspect. The brother’s lives are changed forever in one traumatic night when the horror of their true natures is revealed. These invigorating twists and revelations come without warning and certainly keep readers on their edge of their seats. In the same way, there is a shocking revelation about Rebeka’s identity in the final battle, but I don’t want to ruin the ending, so I’ll just say the book has some wild twists.
The existence of these two warring is woven into the storyline slowly and makes really comes to fruition later in the novel. I did enjoy the backstory scenes which describe the terrible dilemmas that the four brothers face as they try and balance respect for human life, sexual attraction, and their need to feed. When Rebeka meets Stan, Nicholas and Antoli in a modern-day restaurant, the author cleverly contrasts her old life with their world of fierce fighting, luxury, and sexual power battles.
Rebeka falls almost instantly in love with Nicholas which will appeal to ardent romance fans that enjoy the genres tropes. The vampires are portrayed as sexually voracious and Rebeka is a willing ingenue and their is an alluring intimacy, but I wanted to explore it deeper and see their mutual desire for each other be drawn out. Why would Nicholas and Rebeka be so attracted to another at first sight if they come from opposite factions? What’s given is captivating, which makes me want to know more about their backstory.
I’m not sure if this is a warning or an invite, but I will say there are some erotic scenes and violence that will appeal to readers who enjoy provocative storytelling. Loved by Night is a fast-paced paranormal romance novel, with a page-turning plot that will appeal to readers of erotic romance and mainstream vampire and werewolf fantasy readers.
Pages: 103 | ASIN: B08LH6VCL6
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, erotica, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, Loved by Night: Trapped in the Triangle of Love, Mildred Osei-Diko, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, romance, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Still recovering from jat lag as a result of his last case, Tom Sipowicz, the Polish Dragon P.I., is needed yet again. This time he is asked to go undercover at MaGed Material Handling to get to the bottom of a couple of mysterious deaths, with suspicions of theft and drugs just to make things a little more interesting. As Tom makes his way around the warehouse, trying his best to blend in, his well trained eye is quick to pick out a few suspects and odd happenings among his new peers. With the help of some friends as well as his own set of skills, Tom soon finds just how deep the problem goes!
In The Polish Dragon P.I. (Midnight Cranes) by Steve Zimcosky, we again get to follow the intriguing exploits of Tom Sipowicz as he seeks to solve all manner of enthralling mysteries. This time he’s asked to help solve a couple of deaths at an international company that specializes in building hardwares. The president isn’t satisfied with the official report by the authorities, and Tom is recommended to him. Instead of his usual methods, Tom is asked to go undercover so he can better assess and observe those at the warehouse, knowing that at least one of them is potentially responsible for the deaths. This provides for an entertaining narrative twist that puts the P.I. in different situations. Along the way, Zimcosky does an excellent job of fully immersing the reader in the environment Tom is living and working in. The plot moves fast even with lots of details given to the reader throughout the story.
Like the other books in this series, Midnight Cranes is a fun and quick read. Tom is the kind of character that is instantly likeable and seems to be capable of just about anything; a trait that provides him with his many adventures. The quick references to past books makes everyone seem more relatable and familiar, which makes the book even more enjoyable.
Midnight Cranes is the perfect book for some light and fun reading that delivers intrigue and entertainment on par with a full length novel but Zimcosky does it in under 90 pages. This is a book that will excite long time fans of the series as they’ll find the tried and true protagonist in new situations, but new readers will enjoy the easy story and alluring mystery.
Pages: 213 | ASIN: B093MX47QX
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, police procedural, Polish Dragon P. I. (Midnight Cranes), read, reader, reading, short story, Steve Zimcosky, story, suspense, urban fantasy, whodunit, writer, writing, young adult
When the mysterious new boy in town shows up at Jasmine’s baseball game, she is immediately intrigued. Dylan is kind and handsome, and he drives a gorgeous car. But there’s something strange about his relationship with his brothers, Kevin and Kyle. Witnessing a violent altercation between Dylan and Kevin is Jasmine’s first clue that something is very wrong. As she gets to know the brothers, she discovers that the family is hiding a dark secret: criminal charges of horrible crimes that occurred in their old town. The question is, whose crimes are they—Kevin’s or Dylan’s? Is Jasmine’s boyfriend who he says he is? The Cooper Brothers: In the
Beginning is a young adult suspense novel about a first romance gone wrong.
Posted in book trailer
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, book trailer, bookblogger, books, books to read, booktube, booktuber, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, In the Beginning, jodi royer, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, The Cooper Brothers, thriller, trailer, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Mann in the Middle is Malcolm Boyd’s second book in the A Mann Walker Adventure crime fiction trilogy. Follow the wild and fast-paced life of Mann Walker and his gang. Dangerous and street-smart, Mann Walker involves himself in a series of dramatic events that will leave readers on edge. The characters that we meet are intriguing but far from perfect; corrupt cops and government officials, manipulative teenagers and drug dealers. All of them do the craziest of things just to get what they want or to get to the top of one of the country’s most dangerous professions. All of this ensures the action and risk remain high throughout this thrilling novel.
Among the set of criminals that are described in this book, Mann Walker immediately sticks out and gains the reader’s support. Despite the fact that everything that they do is outside of the law, Walker’s loyalty for his group of friends and his capacity to maintain his morality and integrity makes him a very likable and relatable character. Each of the characters feel very real, and even the antagonists are entertaining to read about.
The best thing that this book has to offer is the action and intrigue that punctuates this story. From the very first page the plot is gripping, and the readers will want to immediately find out what’s about to come next. Every gang has different rules and limits, and each of their characters have different personalities and moral compasses. Some of them are more dangerous than others. Some are deadlier. And many of them will see their entire world fall because of their greediness. Where does Mann Walker’s group belong? That’s a question that even he might not know the answer to.
The book is long, but this gives the characters and scenes room to breathe and develop, and it helps that the story is easy to read. Many things happen, the characters get to travel and move through different locations, pursuing criminals or running away from them, but I appreciated how this all flowed well and was easy to follow.
This is a story with a lot of movement and twists, everything keeps building up and the book ends up being as enjoyable as a Guy Ritchie action movie. Mann in the Middle by Malcolm Boyd is a gripping crime thriller with a riveting storyline that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Pages: 512 | ISBN: 0998616435
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, crime fiction, crime thriller, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Malcolm Boyd, Mann In The Middle: A Mann Walker Adventure, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Chapter Thirteen follows a woman who tries to reclaim the life that was taken from her and the young journalist who holds the key to her success or failure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your thrilling story?
I grew up in a very religious environment, so I was always curious about the afterlife. My mother was also extremely superstitious, which I found to be quite diverting. When I was young, I would oftentimes stay up late into the night watching her “read” cards to see what our future would hold. About five years ago, I took a tour of the purportedly haunted Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California. The moment I laid eyes on the sprawling stately Victorian, I knew it had to become the backdrop of my novel, thereby transforming it into “The Brewer Mansion.”
Katy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Katy, as well as Evelyn, basically lived in a bubble when they were young. They were both quite spoiled and had doting parents. When their mothers died, each had a strong father figure to support them along the way. Katy drew from her bond with her widowed father to become the equally strong single parent for her own daughter. The driving ideal is that every child needs at least one person in their lives to provide them the strength needed to overcome whatever obstacles life might throw at them. I guess, the moral to the story is that love conquers all.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As I grew older and began to ponder my own mortality, I became very interested in the possibility of reincarnation. In my research for Chapter Thirteen, the more I learned, the more fascinating it became, which led me to explore mediums, hypnotism, past lives, etc. It just evolved from there.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I don’t want to give too much away, but my next novel is a mystery which takes place on a cruise ship. I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of the year.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Chapter Thirteen, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, maria palace, mystery, nook, novel, occult, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
The Devil Pulls the Strings follows a young man with uncontrollable panic attacks and time travelling abilities that send him on a race through time to capture a cursed melody. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
1) Honor the hero’s journey and infuse Slavic mythology and Baba Yaga in a modern day epic fantasy adventure.
2) Paganini’s association with the Devil.
3) The Rule of Three.
4) David Henry Sterry and Bonnie Solomon.
I wrote Chapter One Promise Me, because David Henry Sterry with The Book Doctors, read my first twenty-five pages, and said “You have to show the inciting incident, the joust, before Boone and Sapphire meet outside Stone’s brownstone.”
I wrote The Prologue, because Bonnie Solomon, Producer of Dreamworks’ SHREK and Walden’s THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, read my story and said “You have to show both secret societies before the joust occurs.”
For awareness purposes, there wasn’t a prologue in the first draft. However, without Bonnie’s suggestion, I never would created the prophecy scroll, or incorporated the domovoi into this story, or shown upfront the centuries old war between two opposing secret societies, or revealed why the horn gets blown at the joust, or created Pep, the runt domovoi, or Laureus the Scottish Warrior Laureus, or Lahash and Zakun, the steampunk vampire assassins.
Boone is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
1) Failure is not an option for Boone because all he’s ever known his entire life is failure and setback.
Boone’s development throughout the story shows he turns moments of failure into the catalyst for his success.
2) Boone discovers as the story unfolds it’s possible to work with, power through and overcome a circumstance, a condition, a disease or disorder.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
1) You can overcome insurmountable obstacles.
2) No one is defined by their circumstances, condition, disease, or disorder.
3) The power of a promise.
4) Everyone has a choice.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book Flynn’s Folly is a heist job gone wrong and its availability is TBD.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, jw zarek, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, steampunk, story, supernatural, suspense, The Devil Pulls the Strings, urban fantasy, vbook recommendations, writer, writing