General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms by David Bush is a fiction story about the five kingdoms of animals: Feline, Canine, Dairy, Equine, and Big Mammal. The lions, rulers of the Feline Kingdom, are cruel overlords of all the other animals. Miaow is chief of the cats, the lowest of the Felines. Although he laments the unjust and savage way of things, he accepts it and does nothing to change it. But after he is wounded by a panther, he is saved by a boy named Jack, who nurses Miaow back to health and encourages him to take action. The four other animal kingdoms join together and work with the cats in secret to overthrow the Feline rulers. What will happen if King Roar learns of this betrayal?
I enjoyed reading David Bush’s riveting novel that follows an ordinary character that does something that he’d believed was impossible. The plot of the story was intriguing and unique, and I liked that the cats became some of the heroes of the story. Scratchy was my favorite character in the story. I liked the pictures of the animals and landscape, especially the black and grey silhouettes of trees and mountains, that were included throughout the story. Most of the pictures were black and white, except for a few that showed black silhouettes against a bright orange sky. There were lots of interesting facts about history, geography, and wildlife in the notes at the end of the book.
I enjoyed the thrilling conflict at the heart of this story, but I didn’t like how Miaow behaved in the beginning of the book, standing by and allowing injustices and atrocities to happen to others. Miaow’s son Scratchy was the only one willing to risk his own life and safety to intervene. Miaow turned a blind eye to the suffering of others out of fear of the consequences to himself. With Jack’s prodding, Miaow finally started organizing the covert warfare against the Feline Overlords. In this part of the book, there was a lot of focus on the battle tactics of the Union Jacks. The descriptions of the successful missions against the lions, tigers, cougars, panthers, and jaguars were very descriptive, if a bit repetitive, but still aided in creating some enthralling battle scenes.
David Bush has created a unique story that blends The Jungle Book with The Lord of the Rings to create an enchanting adventure. General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms is a spellbinding story that will appeal to fans of epic fantasy.
Pages: 163 | ISBN: 979-8667226413
In John Murray’s latest book, Better Than Our Dogs, he uses the interesting lives and behaviors of his and his neighbor’s dogs to impart faith-based life lessons. Not only has he beautifully captured God’s love in his words but he also managed to write in a non-judgemental way that would attract even those outside the faith.
This story follows the lives of five dogs; Socrates, Chloe, Darby, Young Pup, and Old Vet, so deeply explaining their mannerisms and temperaments that you would be forgiven for mistaking them for actual people. Truly, character development doesn’t get better than this.
By drawing parallels between his relationship with his dogs and our relationship with God, he brings life to Biblical principles, clearly laying out lessons that we can all apply in our lives. I also like that the author draws on Greek mythology as well to bring more clarity to his points.
Moreover, the way he manages to draw the same message from different stories and weaves them together is something to behold. He also does the reverse quite efficiently, fetching different lessons from a single story.
I truly appreciate about the simple and whimsical delivery. Needless to say, this is one of the easiest books to read. It’s not too wordy and there aren’t any long paragraphs of meaningless information.
It is captivating and straight to the point, yet still giving you enough to leave a long-lasting impression. It is clear that John really put his heart and soul into this. As this book is written in his voice and is actually about real-life experiences, it feels very personal, as if we are peeking into his innermost musings. Coupled with its gut-wrenching epilogue, it is this that I believe makes this book so relatable. Some of the running themes in this book include the fragility of life and the importance of loyalty and serving others.
Pages: 122 | ASIN: B08FWBRF1L
Tags: animal, author, Better Than Our Dogs, bible study, book, book review, bookblogger, christian, dog, ebook, faith, fantasy, fiction, god, goodreads, John J Murray Jr, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, pet, read, reader, reading, religion, story, writer, writing
How did the idea for Death of a Bully start and change as you wrote?
It started from my previous book the “Disappearance of Marty McRory” which introduces the Polish Dragon P. I. into the story. I thought how it would be a great idea to perhaps do a series with a private investigator and to create different story lines. As I was coming up with the idea I thought how it might feel to investigate the death of an old schoolmate. Especially one who had issues in his younger years and was able to turn his life around. I had to do some research as to how private investigators work so I could make the story as believable as possible. The story line changed at the last minute when I thought how families have a hard time dealing with a member who has dementia.
What was the most interesting scene for you to write in the short story?
For me the most interesting thing was writing about the bullying that went on in the elementary school years of the characters. That I wrote from experience as I remember being bullied somewhat as a child. I could introduce martial arts training as a way to combat bullying and there are many martial arts schools that have such programs, like the Karate Institute of Cleveland. My martial arts training was later in life and I thought how that would have helped me in my younger days to defend myself.
Why did you go with the short story format instead of fleshing this out into a full novel?
It wasn’t intentional to do a short story but as I was writing it seemed like it all went together rather quickly and I enjoyed the way it turned out. There was plenty of information to keep the readers guessing and twist and turns to throw them off. My hope is that as I continue to write the stories get longer. They always seem to be shorter on Kindle then they do in a paperback version and I’m not sure why that is. But there have been some great novellas in the past such as: The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, The Man Who Would be King by Rudyard Kipling, and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. I hope that my readers enjoy the stories and I can continue to write for them and myself.
Do you plan to write more stories about the Polish Dragon P. I.?
Absolutely. I want to make it into a series if I can. I have already started a new story with the Polish Dragon investigating a case of certain women who have disappeared. A lot of my stories take place in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and this one will not be any different. I’m hoping to have it done in time for the holidays.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime fiction, Death of a Bully, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder mystery, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Steve Zimcosky, story, suspense, thriller, whodunit, writer, writing
A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth through four generations of women with a unique relationship to water. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?
It started with one of my short stories: “The Way of Water”. I’d been asked by my publisher in Rome (Mincione Edizioni) to write a speculative socio-political short story about the environment—water, particularly. I wanted something ironic, so I chose water scarcity in Canada, a nation rich in water. The story was about young Hilde—the daughter of the diarist in the novel—who was dying of thirst in Toronto. This is a Toronto under the control of the international giant water utility CanadaCorp—with powers to arrest and detain anyone. A world in which China owns America and America, in turn, owns Canada. I realized that I needed a larger story: on how Canada became this water-scarce nation as indentured state; more on Hilde’s mysterious limnologist mother, Lynna (the diarist in the novel); and more on what happens next (explored through Kyo and her strange world of the future).
Kyo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?
Kyo starts and ends the story in the sacred boreal forest of the far future. she’s a blue-skinned multi-armed human being—essentially a water-being—looking for answers why the world is the way it currently is due to climate change and other things humanity has caused. She frames the gritty diary part of the story. Kyo represents the future. She’s also a young girl, and in some ways, her part of the story is a coming of age, of self-discovery and growing maturity. Given her metaphoric connection to water, the planet and a new humanity of sorts, Kyo’s character serves as a metaphor for humanity and its own coming of age.
The novel expertly captures a post-climate changed world and the changes it effects on society. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?
A Diary in the Age of Water is a cautionary dystopian tale that is based on real events and precedents. This is partly why I wrote some of the book as a diary. The diarist—Lynna—is a limnologist who sees what is going on but because she is right in the middle of it, she lacks the perspective to recognize the gravity of some of the things she is witnessing and doing herself. She exercises a myopic protectionism that backfires on her time and time again. Perhaps the main theme of this book is one of perspective and how that perspective can influence actions and reactions in surprising ways. Information and knowledge isn’t enough—as Lynna demonstrates. Context and understanding, fueled by compassion and kindness must accompany it.
Ultimately, the book carries themes of hope and forgiveness—of ourselves and each other—and compassion for all things, starting with water. Each character carries an aspect of that theme, from the diarist’s activist mother, to the diarist’s own cynical protectionism, her spiritual anarchist daughter, and lastly the innocent storm of the last generation.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently researching and working on the sequel to “A Diary in the Age of Water”—a thriller about four lost and homeless people who find their way when a phenomenon brings them together through a common goal to free the Earth from the manacles of human greed. The story takes place throughout Canada—from Halifax to Vancouver and the Arctic. It takes place mostly during the 2050s, and features a few ghosts, the Halifax 1917 Explosion, experimentation on humans, espionage, murder, and—of course—a plague. I’m calling it my COVID19 novel…
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Diary in the Age of Water, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, climate change, dystopia, dystopian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, global warming, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Nina Munteanu, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, womens fiction, writer, writing
The One Singularity follows a scientist who creates an Artificial General Intelligence that solves the world’s problems, but then cannot be stopped. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
Hundreds of scientists have raised concerns about what we’re building, so that isn’t unique. The unique things about this book are the predictions of AGI from 232 AD, and seeing the world through the eyes of the Amish. Additionally, instead of focusing on just AGI, I attempted to look at the big picture of how technology, in all its facets, affects us. An example is that critical thinking and memorization are reduced because of our increasing reliance on technology to give us the answers.
George Adams is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Part of his character is me. I believe that technology has helped humanity; however, many times, there are unforeseen consequences. Additionally, while most people want to use technology to help the world, there are some who use it to destroy the world.
Also, I wanted to show George under tremendous stress – his work, finances, and marriage. His intention was to create the last invention of humans. Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate the alternative meaning.
I enjoyed the detailed development of the AGI and how it changed over time. What were some sources that informed the development of the AGI in the story?
Well, a lot of AI today is performed with neural networks; however, I wanted to pull in a hybrid configuration with a quantum computer. I graduated from college in the 1970s, and even though we studied quantum mechanics, I didn’t think too much about it in my career. It wasn’t until the development of the quantum computer and then achieving quantum supremacy that I became excited.
Now add to this the philosophical and scientific question of consciousness, as well as the theological propositions of the soul. A conundrum is created, and this turns out to be AGI – The One.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The sequel to The One Singularity is The One. The One was released in 2018 and is available now. The third book in the series will be available in a couple of years.
Tube Survivors follows a group of people who found New Earth but run into problems building their idyllic society. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?
It was fun to ponder how ten-thousand Tube Dwellers would transition from life within a womb-like, totalitarian, agrarian, basically Communist system, then quickly (by necessity) through a spaceship’s command and control system, and then to life as pioneer’s on a new and dangerous planet. Their leaders know Earth’s history, and they believe capitalism ultimately led to many problems. They build on the non-monetary, resource-sharing system they experienced in Tube World. They have to completely model their growing and vastly different economy with a very complex Resource Allocation Plan. In many respects, the leaders function as the Intelligentsia in the Soviet Union, or the Second Foundation in Isaac Azimov’s Foundation series. The Second Foundation works in secret to refine predictions of the future of galactic humanity based on mass-psychology, and targets areas for surgical intervention to improve the outcome. The leaders of New Earth share their economic modelling and elaborate, continuously-updated, computer-based plan with the general population, and hope their involvement will motivate them to help make it all work. In other words, the leaders of New Earth believe most people are good and intelligent, and want to live in an orderly, nurturing society where no one tries to selfishly get ahead. They are naïve, but well-intentioned. In contrast the leaders of the Soviet Union believed peasants and workers were incapable of understanding the running of a country, suppressed and controlled what was made public, and ruled with an iron fist.
The survivors tackle many moral issues when creating their society. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book?
The Tube Survivors believe capital punishment to be abhorrent, but struggle to agree on a humane alternative. They try banishment, similar to what the British tried with Australia, and the French tried with French Guiana. Their first test case is a psychopath named Harvey, and it does not go well. Harvey exploits an indigenous, humanoid tribe with the intent of inflicting revenge on the human society that rejected him. The Tube Survivors also want to remain ‘green’ and eco-friendly. They want to avoid the use of coal, oil and gas, but also know this greatly constrains their economy and quality of life. Like us, they struggle with issues that may not have a simple answer. In other words, I am suggesting that moral issues will never leave us.
What were some questions you kept asking yourself when writing this novel?
How would human beings actually establish a civilization on another planet? Is it as easy as many sci-fi novels and movies suggest using the fantasy of faster-than-light travel? What do pioneers need to take with them to survive and eventually thrive? What are their priorities? How do they best deal with indigenous humanoids? View them as competitors, and wipe them out? Or treat them as equals, and see if they will engage in mutually-beneficial trade?
What can readers expect in book six, Covert Alliance?
New Earth evolves into a parliamentary, monetary-based democracy. The Resource Allocation Plan basically becomes an elaborate budget. Life is good until a benevolent alien race initiates a face-to-face meeting on New Earth’s moon. The aliens ask testing questions to evaluate whether human beings are worth saving. Thankfully, they decide to alert the leaders of New Earth to an imminent threat from a malevolent alien race, one that pursues them relentlessly. The good aliens share some of their advanced technology, and a plan to combat the evil bunch known as the Masters. A fierce battle in space ensues, and then a covert attack on a Master-controlled planet using robotic spaceships and biological warfare. In other words, more traditional sci-fi stuff!
The stepping stones shared by George Vasilca in his book The Diamond Soul will help you change your life for the better. The author highlights the necessary virtues and habits that you can adopt to be the best version of yourself. The text in the book is uncomplicated and convincing for any reader who enjoys reading inspirational and religious books. When reading about heavenly virtues, I got to understand why God wants to be closer to his people and why everyone who believes in him has a personal responsibility to do by his will. The virtue of love spoke to me the most. Human love is beautiful. The author explains that by loving each other unconditionally, human beings get to exalt and exhibit the nature of the Almighty.
Other than improving your character to be Christ-like, George Vasilca will also have the reader ponder life and it’s meaning. While reading through the chapters, one thinks of one’s purpose on earth, their destiny, and why certain things happen. The author also gives clear answers to questions Christians ask about God as a supreme being. Reading this book is fulfilling as the author makes one feel at peace with his words. The text is therapeutic and gives one hope to face the next challenge. George Vasilca also reminds the reader that God’s love is all we need to enjoy life. The Lord has plans for everyone and will not hesitate to step in when the devil tries to overpower you.
Every stepping stone discussed in the book is important. My favorite stepping stones were 2, and 5. The topics under the two were ‘You are a Fighter’, and ‘Polishing Your Character’. The second stepping stone is helpful for someone who feels conflicted about self and is on the verge of giving up. the author reminds everyone that even when the going gets tough, there is someone or somewhere where you can lean on until things get better. The author also speaks to people who are still discovering themselves and explains how change can influence one as a human being. The biggest take I got on polishing one’s character was being a kind and humble servant. Christ loves it when his people serve the church and others. You will receive blessings when you serve your family, perform acts of kindness to strangers, and respect your friends. By putting yourself ahead of others, you are living as God intended.
George Vasilca incorporates his personal stories while giving lessons in the book. I enjoyed stories from his past because they show that human experiences are almost the same. His encounters were interesting and the conversations he had with people fascinating. The stories also added a personal touch to the book which made reading and relating with the author’s words easier. The stepping stones are like guides or tidbits of wisdom that will help you build character. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy inspirational books and are looking to live a righteous life.
Pages: 282 | ASIN: B08FMXTWVR
Don’t Step on the Spider is a charming children’s picture book that educates readers on the importance of life and how every insect benefits mother nature and brings balance to the ecosystem. Kirk Raeber accomplishes this with very easy language and a cute comic art style.
Young Tim is at his grandparent’s house when he decides to go out and play and encounters a spider. He’s about to step on it, like I think most people would do, but is stopped by his grandfather. His grandfather tells him that every creature has a right to live, and to prove his point he takes Tim on a jaunt through the forest to meet many more insect friends.
Every insect they meet along the way is adorable and friendly, and each one explains how they contribute to the ecosystem. There is plenty to learn in this book, even I learned about the importance of ants! This is a great book for early readers or for parents and teachers to read to children. This book provides many opportunities to discuss nature and how everyone has a role. Don’t Step on the Spider skillfully informs and entertains young readers and is one book I can see reading several times.
Pages: 35 | ASIN: B0842DJSWV
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