The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birth of a Hero by author Dawnette N. Brenner is about a 12-year-old boy named Joshua who finds himself thrust into a magical land full of danger.
This book made me really emotional. Not only does the book cover a tough but important topic, how kids deal with divorce, but the quotes from anonymous children talking about divorce were heartbreaking. It really is important to remember that kids can be affected in different ways and often see more than people think, and like Joshua, often feel guilt. And on top of that, the book is also dealing with mental illness as Joshua is a pre-teen dealing with bipolar disorder. Having a book that deals with subjects like this is very important, and I feel that Brenner handled the subjects really well. This is the kind of book that readers can definitely connect to, both in how you deal with struggles and watching the struggles of others.
Brenner has done a fantastic job of entering into the mind of a child. The imaginative world that Joshua finds himself in is a great representation of the kind of imaginary places children make up to escape to. I loved how the land of Ice Plants and Norkels has not just a dreamlike quality but really captures how imaginary worlds are distorted versions of what we see and know. Things like Thragons that seem close to familiar but are a magic of their own. The imagery she uses really brings the fantastical world to life. The back and forth switch from the magical realm to the real world is disorienting, but it is clear that this was intentional as we watch Joshua dealing with the world around him.
Joshua is an incredible character who is dealing with a great deal both internally and externally. This book is a magical way of showing and handling tough subjects for your adult readers. I found this book to be enchanting to read, even when it made me want to cry, and I would highly recommend it. I would definitely give this book 5 stars for its unique creativity, and the extraordinary way it deals with its subject matter. I look forward to reading book two!
Pages: 186 | ASIN: B074PK4GHW
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Kelsey Rae Barthel’s Beyond the Code features Aurora, known to a few as Luna. As her alter ego Luna, she is a skilled knight and utterly devoted to her master, Cole. During an attempt to expose and ultimately destroy Damon Lexus, a master of ill repute, Luna and Cole find themselves facing the battle of their lives. When the inconceivable happens during a confrontation with Damon’s assassin, Luna makes it her mission to avenge her master’s death and finally bring an end to Damon’s madness. The hunter quickly becomes the hunted when Luna is stalked, threatened, and subsequently saved by the very man sent to kill her.
One of the most striking aspects of Barthel’s plotline is the attention to detail during the numerous action sequences. Beyond the Code is an urban tale of knights, masters, and fascinating skills and features intense and well-drawn scenes filled with sword battles and otherworldly abilities. Readers desiring action will not be disappointed with the frequency of the battle scenes as they permeate the reading.
Ranger’s appearance in the plot was a welcome one. I tend to find some of the more benign moments in fantasies to be the most compelling. For instance, I am sure most readers will find Luna’s heartbreak over Cole to be the most poignant part of the story line, but I see Ranger’s change of heart as the turning point of the book and the most gripping element of the plot involving him and Luna. I felt a much deeper connection between Luna and Ranger than I did between any others. The scene in which Ranger is unable to make himself fulfill his mission to destroy Luna is a touching one in which the author allows the reader a thorough glimpse inside Ranger’s mind. The fact that he questions Luna’s reactions and the intensity of her emotions is moving. As he gives in to his own questions, the reader is offered a much different side of Ranger.
The haunting of Luna by Venom, the assassin she kills, and the flashbacks Luna endures are heart-wrenching. These are some of the most poignant scenes in the entire book and are much of the reason I continued to remain attached to Luna’s character and her ongoing trauma. I was not as compelled by the lengthy battle scenes as I was the deep and moving exchanges between Luna and Ranger.
The toggling between identifying Aurora as Luna did seem to get in the way of my reading just a bit in the first chapters. I found myself rereading in order to make sure I had, indeed, read correctly. Her hidden identity plays a major role in the plot, but does tend to interfere at times with the flow of the text.
Beyond the Code by Kelsey Rae Barthel is brimming with action and focused upon characters who are hellbent on keeping themselves on the right side of things, this piece is sure to appeal to fans of urban fantasies.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B078V4LC48
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Life Sliding follows Gavin, the popular kid in school, as he is sent to camp Lift Me Up to help special needs children. What served as your inspiration while you were writing this book?
Like myself, lots of teenagers experience alienation in their high school life, which is a challenging time of self discovery while navigating one’s way to adulthood. My inspiration is those in the trenches now and those who survived those years. Within the walls of education, there is so much more learning going on than just algebra. At times, high school life is a tornado. I believe most adults have forgotten what was at times, a nightmare. Trying to understand my experience as an outsider, I explored the story from the popular kid’s prospective, peeling back the layers to discover who he is underneath his vamped up exterior. Much later after my school years, I became friends with someone who was in the “in crowd” at my school. I discovered this person was not who I had imagined they were. As we find with Gavin, one never really knows what’s going on inside someone, the real person. How do people end up where they are positioned on the social ladder? Jacob expresses his thoughts on the matter to Gavin in a deep conversation at camp; Jacob understands.
What I found most interesting about Gavin was the slow emotional change he undergoes throughout the novel. What were some morals you wanted to capture while writing his character?
We live in a society that is highly judgmental and most are quick to come to a conclusion about someone without ever getting to know them. You can’t judge a book by its cover and you will certainly fall short trying to make a summation of someone by their looks, they way they dress or zip code they come from. If anything, we need more understanding.
Was there anything from your own life, in high school, that you put into this novel?
I was an outsider who experienced some of the issues mentioned in the story and simply observed others going through their own trials. Between algebra and biology, it’s all there – self-harm, bullying, relationships, sexuality, eating disorders, angst and so on, but mostly life happening.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My ya novel Always Here was just released in September 2017. I have an adult fiction novel tentatively titled Kudzu, which is in editing with no set release date and I am writing a New Adult novel titled Somebody Else.
As Gavin’s junior year comes to a close, he faces an inner conflict with his status as the most popular kid in high school. It’s not lost on his father, who sensed for some time that his overly indulged son needs redirection. Making matters worse for Gavin, his dad sends him away for the summer to assist at a camp for children with special needs.
Arriving at camp Life Me Up, Gavin is suddenly forced to dabble in a world less familiar. After his first uncomfortable encounter with a strange girl with multi-colored fingernails, who refuses to waiver his arrogant behavior, Gavin comes face to face with a person from the past, which leaves him uneasy.
Inevitably, three people clash and collide, but when tragedy strikes, they come to an understanding regarding their differences. Becoming a young adult, Gavin faces a summer of harsh lessons in reality. Once he crosses the bridge from a self-inflicted prison to the road to freedom, Gavin and his new friends implement a strategy to stir up the social order when they return to school in the fall.
Because of one jaded person jumping to conclusions, the plan backfires. Will they be able to survive the fallout of what they’ve put into motion?
Posted in Interviews
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A wave of crime grasped center stage at the beginning of the volcanic summer. The often abused by police, misused by society, shunned, and stereotyped patrons of the “hood” decided that their reparations would no longer be paid by the normal “Smash and grab”. Gun laws had changed. Stiffer penalties and mandatory time was a constant reminder whenever, The Felony Lane Gang clocked in. Blue collar crime was now at an all time low. White collar crime was their new way of life. Three siblings stormed into a world of destruction when the youngest known as Crackaboi decided to part ways with his modest upbringing. For the love of her baby brother Glory unknowingly stepped into a web of drugs and exotic entertainment. Tjohnnie, the oldest and the coldest felt a need to protect his siblings. After losing their parents to unfortunate circumstances, TJohnnie secretly led two lives. A college football player by day. A counterfeiter and money launderer for the Infamous Seminole Indian Tribe by night. Tired of the gruesome torture for hire jobs, Crackaboi teams up with a longtime friend and brutal killer Lil Turk. Together they mastermind the greatest heist in United States history. Surpassing Al Capone and Jon Gotti, the ruthless duo targeted every financial institution that was federally insured. Their lavish lifestyle enticed other potential members. Dodging the Feds, ducking the local authorities and slaughtering anyone who wandered down their path, they notoriously became known as, ” The Felony Lane Gang”. With crooked cops on their trail, the street rogues decide to take on one last heist. Crackaboi and Lil Turk burglarize a century old abandoned warehouse, in search of a quarter of million dollars supposedly stashed inside an old safe. They embark on a journey that leads to their beloved Glory, on life support fighting to stay alive. A bloody street-war against the Mexican Cartel Assassins and a trail of bodies that lead down a sea of destruction. With ties to the Illuminati and a billionaire oil tycoon, the double steel door safe tightly held secrets that would send chills through a psychopath’s spine.
Posted in book trailer
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Like Peaches and Pickles follows Georgia as she fights to maintain her position in a work place that is quickly changing. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Throughout my long career in journalism and communication, I never worked anywhere that did not have politics. I never understood politics or learned to play the game. I was always horrified to see workers caught up in politics and crushed alive. I always thought that if I did the best job I could do, if I always tried to exceed my boss’s expectations, and if I stayed as far away from office politics as I could, then I would be fine. However, I soon learned that was not true. I wrote this book for all women who have ever been caught up in office politics, but especially for those women whose lives were forever scarred by despicable, ruthless bosses.
What I liked about Georgia’s character was that she continued to develop throughout the story. What was your inspiration for her character?
I was inspired by the strong women I met over the years whose lives became ensnared in office politics. Women who fought back against wage discrimination and sexual harassment. Women who were vilified for trying to bring about positive changes in the work place.
I really liked how I could relate to the office politics in the story. What experiences from your own life did you bring into the story?
Like all authors, I draw from my own experiences. It was my naivety when it came to back-stabbing office politics that often got me into trouble. I worked 10 years at a major Southern research university, so I definitely had experiences of my own to weave into LIKE PEACHES AND PICKLES, like political hires, wage discrimination, sexual harassment, fraternity hazing, arrested athletes, and campus scandals. I mixed my personal experiences with stories I heard from faculty and staff members at universities and colleges across the United States and Canada.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on the third book in my “fruity” series–tentatively titled ROTTEN BANANAS. It is about a recently retired university professor who moves to a retirement complex for a safe, no-stress life full of Bridge games, yoga, water aerobics, music concerts, art classes, afternoon tea, and shopping trips to the Mall and Walmart. But one morning as she looks at her Bridge partner and counts up 40 points in her hand, she decides she wants more than that. So she signs up for a Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Dream, where she meets a stowaway, tangles with drug smugglers, gets kidnapped, and becomes involved with a “hottie” secret agent. What could be better than this?
The university’s selection committee nominates Georgia Davis to become their first woman vice president — a job she’s coveted for more than a quarter century. But the university’s new president, Paul Van Horne, sours her plans by ignoring the committee and hiring Carl Overstreet, his old college buddy instead. In spite of her outrage and better judgment, Georgia begins having romantic feelings for the despicable scoundrel who is now her boss — at least until he fires her. But Van Horne and Overstreet soon learn that a Southern peach like Georgia does not go quietly into the compost bin. And Georgia discovers that revenge can taste as sweet as romance. Like Peaches and Pickles — a deliciously wicked story — will make you laugh, love and cheer for one Southern peach with a pit of steel.
Posted in Interviews
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Icarus, by David K. Hulegaard, is the first book in the Noble Trilogy and is the captivating account of Miller Brinkman’s investigation into the disappearance of one Jane Emmett. When MIller, a former deputy-turned-private investigator is approached by young Jessie Fryman, Jane’s best friend and confidante, he reluctantly, and unknowingly, involves himself in an age-old conspiracy rooted in the U.S. government and spanning the continents. Brinkman, a writer himself, is reunited with his true love, Charissa Burke, after a 15-year separation and is able to easily pick up where they left off a decade and half ago while working together to find Jane, identify the men in black, and discover a truth neither of them could have imagined exists.
Set in December of 1947 in Ashley Falls, West Virginia, Icarus, has all the makings of the tale of a wayward P.I.–at first glance. Random mysterious notes appear for Miller, gradually revealing bits of information hinting at Jane Emmett’s true fate. From the greasy spoon diner to the crooked small-town sheriff, Hulegaard has managed to include it all. Don’t jump to conclusions, though. Hulegaard has knocked it out of the park with this first in a series. Even with its little homages to the private detective pieces of old, he has fashioned a unique take on the mystery and has crafted a plot like no other.
Miller Brinkman is one in a long list of memorable characters, and the author paints exceptional pictures of each and every one. Beginning with Jane Emmett, herself, Hulegaard draws the most tangible sketches of his cast. Alyssa Noble, the seemingly small cog in what becomes a much larger wheel of inconceivable circumstances, is drawn so effectively in the narrative she seems to almost stand upright on the pages before the reader’s very eyes.
Hulegaard is phenomenal with the English language–truly. I don’t often find a book of this genre I feel compelled to complete in a single sitting, but Icarus, without a doubt, takes this title. There is much to be said for an author who can rope readers in within the first paragraphs–Hulegaard does just that.
One of the most compelling elements of Hulegaard’s work is his finesse with the flashback. Placed at intentionally strategic points throughout the book, they give insight–but not too much–into Jane’s whereabouts and the seriousness of her predicament. Each perfectly-timed detail in the backstory revolving around Jane’s disappearance sets the stage for a thrilling read. In addition, the author creates a beautiful blanket of emotion around Miller and Charissa with snippets of their conversations from years gone by.
Without a second’s hesitation, I am giving Icarus 5 out of 5 stars. Any mystery fan, fan of science fiction, or lover of the private detective style of writing of the 40s will lose him or herself quickly in this piece. There is no doubt in my mind Hulegaard is going to see a huge return on the investment of time he has placed in his Alyssa Noble series. Icarus is simply stunning–a must-read.
Pages: 233 | ASIN: B01MTZZVZA
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Some time ago my friends and I were sitting in a small restaurant near our office in Amsterdam. Food was great, the conversation was flowing, and even though I don’t exactly remember what we were talking about, a spontaneous and intriguing thought popped up in my head.
Are my books bored?
Of course, I love all my books, and every time I bought one I always treated it with the upmost respect but, was that enough? How boring must it be to sit on a bookshelf…. forever?
Some of them, like ‘The Courts of Chaos’, I keep re-reading every month, but most of them I just read once and it is over.
I thought a bit more about the reason why. I feel like it is related to latest data-driven optimizations and profiling trends in all entertainment. Movies, Video games, Anime and Books, big studios/companies/mangakas are producing so much, and so much of it looks good-ish, but turns out to be just exploitation of the market. Very few want to put themselves out there and push the boundary so they can make me re-live their story over and over again. Kind of depressing when you think about it. I am not saying that great work is less than before, it is just harder (for me) to find.
Anyway, this was a bit off topic. After I thought about my books sitting on that lonely bookshelf at home, I thought, how cool it will be if I could just share them with my neighbors?
First I would meet someone who reads things that I read, and, for purely selfish reasons, I could ask this person to recommend me some books that I might like, or at least books that I would want to get from his re-reading book list.
That seemed really awesome!
I shared the idea with my friends, and they also loved it, so we decided to build a platform to facilitate borrowing and lending books. We launched https://www.booknomads.com.
Shortly after, I shared my first book ‘The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System’ (https://www.booknomads.com/browse/book/165/1) and it felt great. I learned so much from it, it was a shame for it to sit all day long, bored and ignored on a bookshelf. Now it is on an adventure by being a booknomad 🙂
BookNomads is still quite young and you can help us improve it by giving us feedback, or adding your books.
Any feedback is invaluable.
Thanks in advance!
PS: My daughter(6 yo) also loves it, and now she is waiting for someone to borrow her books so she can make new friends.
PPS: I wonder if there is a name for that feeling you get after you finish a book, the more the book resonates with me the stronger it is. It feels like emptiness and completeness at the same time, as if I am stretched into the abyss. I want to get the books that made you feel like that!
Borrow books around you
because books deserve to travel
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Choose: Snakes or Ladders follows Mitty who comes up against sexism and classism and must challenge others’ prejudices while fighting her inner demons. What was your inspiration for this provocative novel?
I didn’t have any articulated inspiration for the novel. It started as a short piece and grew seemingly by itself. I thought it was about an innocent young girl in the 50’s. I actually didn’t know that I felt so strongly about class issues and sexism. Nor about sexual safety of young people. My main conscious focus was on her struggle to find a way through the internal and external restrictions. As a former therapist, it has always saddened me that many women, particularly in the 50’s, were denied natural pleasures because of a culture of ignorance and shame around female sexual activity. As well of course, of career advancement.
What I really enjoyed about Mitty’s character is how well developed she was but continued to transform throughout the novel. What were some obstacles you felt were important for Mitty’s character development?
Her main obstacle was the extreme shaming and ignorance of the fictional sect in the novel. Another strong obstacle was Mitty’s lack of anyone who could help her come to some knowledge and understanding. I loved Violet’s attempts to inform her. The struggle is linked to the development, through ups and downs, of her self-worth – another essential ingredient in a life of achievement, pleasure and love.
I think you did a great job of illustrating that female beauty and sexuality can often be a poisoned chalice. Why do you think this is an important, especially with today’s #metoo movement?
I was amused by Mitty’s character as a woman who was beautiful and sexually arousing without her knowing it. And heartened by her innate sensuality. Perhaps if young women were educated properly and allowed to have awareness and acceptance of these factors, they would be less vulnerable in the face of male assertion of power in all ways. A lot of work needs to be done to educate men, particularly in self-awareness.
In the sequel all these themes continue to build strong plot threads, together with some surprising twists in Mitty’s life path.
What life experiences of your own did you put into the novel, if any?
That’s a tricky question. A life experience of teacher and counselor helps to build a wide understanding. Personally, none of the events as depicted happened to me, although fragments of similar occurrences have been combined to build a different fictional history. For example, my much loved grandmother had overcome a restrictive religious background, while still quoting many homilies to me, with a wry smile. Otherwise, sometimes just a few words overheard will trigger a scene. So there is a basic truth in it all.
This is “a well-plotted tale of human growth, sexuality, and self-discovery which will be enjoyed by readers of women’s fiction and literary fiction alike.”
Mitty is a young girl brought up in a punitive sect who escapes to a typist job in the city – a step to fulfilling her dreams of being a lady. She is hampered by deep fears of hell and punishment, and utter ignorance of the facts of life.
The 1950’s – sex, drugs and rock and roll, but not in the small towns of Australia. There were lots of jobs, clothes and wealth in the cities but this threatened the values of the past – a culture where men desire and decide, while women love and serve.
Miss Mitty Bedford knew the outside world through Hollywood movies at the local Pictures, only to find in real life that there can be nasties behind smiling, beautiful faces.
A stalker’s attack clashes with her newfound joy in sensual self-discovery inspired by a crush on her boss, and her love for decent, loving, traditional Col. She writhes between shame, repentance and joy.
Mitty wants a career and respect, but what path must she choose? She needs love, but does she want freedom more?
This emotional and dramatic journey to win trust, love and independence, will keep readers turning the pages, as well as provoking questions that still apply today.
Posted in Interviews
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The Immortality Trigger is, what I consider to be, a large scale thriller. There is a lot going on and it feels like so little time for the characters to do it in. How did you set about writing this novel and what did you want to achieve?
The book was to be a standalone with immortality at its core. But as I thrashed a first draft, I realised there were subtle elements in The Apocalypse Trigger, which could be fleshed out very nicely into a sequel. And then the title of the book clicked and I thought, that sounds good. It began as a simple revenge thriller, picking up with Fortesque and Wei Ling, then grew into a more complex story of redemption, unfinished business, the danger of immortality. I’m quite happy with the finished product even in terms of the story construct. I’ve experimented with flashbacks, revelations, suspense, a twist – new for me. I’m still learning the craft.
The characters in this novel are interesting, well developed, and varied. What character did you enjoy writing?
I enjoyed what I did with the protagonist, Luc Fortesque. Readers of The Apocalypse Trigger (the prequel), will be surprised I selected Fortesque to continue the series. He’s basically a guy who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, and believes life has been unfair to him. That has set him on a path that the world would frown upon. In this book, I want Fortesque to discover his old self – the glimmer of good in him, and wanted the readers to also feel sympathy for him.
The different factions in this story were an interesting mix. What were some themes you tried to capture while creating the different groups in your novel?
For Luc Fortesque, the anti-hero, I wanted the theme to centre around self-discovery and redemption. I’m fascinated by this aspect of human nature. For the villain, I wanted to debunk the grandeur of immortality. Personally, I think it will be a mess if we discover immortality. For the Nazi hunters, I wanted to portray the guilt of false accomplishment. And finally for my masked drug lord and vigilante, I called upon our pop culture of masked heroes and villains. I’ve tried to reduce the prominence of the US in the whole book – there are too many thrillers with an American hero.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The next book introduces a new character, and a new series. I’ve selected a very unlikely nationality for my character because I felt the people of that nation are heroes in their own way. The book is tentatively titled, “LION”, and is due 2018. After that, is the third book in the Ingram series (Haunted, Diablo). That is due 2019.
The Vesuvius Group is destroyed. But not all secrets perished… and none as desirable as the Secret of Immortality. The key to the enigma was unwittingly killed in an Allied raid on a Nazi stronghold in 1945… officially.
Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise.
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett.
In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation.
After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him.
Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity.
Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.
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Follow Me Down is a thrilling novel that follows Lucas as he seeks justice for his family while uncovering corruption in the city’s largest real estate development company. What was your inspiration for this novel and the setup to the story?
The never-used subway beneath Cincinnati is real—built during the Depression but abandoned and sealed up. I lived for years near Cincinnati, both scared and intrigued by ghosts beneath my feet. When I later learned about the “urban explorer” subculture, I HAD to write the story.
One thing I really appreciated in this story was the authenticity of the relationships. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?
Observant readers will notice one consistent theme for the four main characters: the plight of the underdog. Lucas, suppressed by corporate corruption. Alfred Blumenfeld, put down by cruel social mores, and Tricia Blumenfeld too, unwilling to play the part of the “good girl.” And Reuben, victimized for being short and Jewish. These characters deserved a voice and a shot at justice.
Lucas explores Cincinnati’s underground in this novel and the scenes were detailed and well developed. Why did you choose this setting for the novel?
In the story, protagonist Lucas reflects on a childhood experience descending voluntarily into a well on his grandfather’s farm. That scene resembles my own childhood “adventure.” What urban explorers do is just damn cool, risking capture and physical dangers in very cool places. Also, the noblest among these modern-day adventurers respect and revere the places they infiltrate. I admire them.
I find a problem in well-written novels, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?
Thank you! While I’m finished with Lucas for now, two new stories are underway. The first fictionalizes a true 1980’s battle between an auto manufacturer and an underdog labor union. The second, set in small-town USA, explores the plight of another underdog, a young woman unjustly blamed for a deadly accident.
Urban explorer Lucas Tremaine should buckle down and complete his Masters in Architecture, but the past torments him. Six years earlier, Drax Enterprises’ negligence killed his father and left his mother strung out on Valium. Lucas longs to punish the corrupt behemoth of Cincinnati real estate development, but what can one man do?
“Plenty,” says old Mr. Blumenfeld, Lucas’s boss and a former photojournalist with too many secrets. Evidence to bury Drax exists, he claims, but to find it, Lucas must breach the city’s welded-shut subway system. Lucas takes the plunge, aided by his best friend and moral compass, Reuben Klein.
The deeper the duo infiltrates the dangerous underground, the further back they turn the clock. They learn that Drax’s corruption intertwined with fascism’s rise in Germany. That campfire tales of a subway crypt were true. That no one can be trusted, not even Lucas’s boss.
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