Audiobook Spotlight: The Mystery Of Martha by Eliza Harrison

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Eliza Harrison’s audiobook The Mystery of Martha.

The Mystery Of Martha


Name: The Mystery of Martha

Author: Eliza Harrison

Narrator: Eliza Harrison

Publisher: Authors’ Republic

Genre: Inspirational Fiction, Spiritual Fiction, Christian Fiction

Length of audiobook: 9 hours 13 minutes

Release date: 02.10.2020


Synopsis

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


About The Author

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

You can find author Eliza here:

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Cover Reveal: The Mystery Of Martha by Eliza Harrison

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Eliza Harrison, for the cover reveal of her upcoming audiobook The Mystery Of Martha.

Presenting the beautiful cover of The Mystery Of Martha by Eliza Harrison

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


About The Author

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at  thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Blazing Chief (The Deschembine #3) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 12th October 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy | Post Apocaliptic Fiction
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 578 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here: Amazon | Goodreads

Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Blazing Chief by Matt Spencer is the third and the last instalment in the Deschembine trilogy. The first book is The Night And The Land and the second one is The Trail Of The Beast.

This book brings this amazing apocalyptic trilogy to an end and what an end it is! I love how the author treated all the characters with an equal amount of respect giving them all (even the ones I did not expect) a well-rounded ending. I was so glad that the book lived up to all the anticipation that was built-up in the first two books and that it ended on a higher note than either fo the first two books!

I loved the ending because it wasn’t exactly how I had predicted it to be. So it did surprise me though not entirely, but that’s understandable because I was able to see the character arcs (which were very nicely done) in the first two books being a writer myself. The thing I loved best about this book (and event he earlier books) is that the author delivered on each and every promise that he had made at the start of the series and that makes it a very well-rounded story on the whole.

I loved the action-packed climax and the tension that was present throughout the book leading to a wonderful climax. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this wonderful trilogy to all dystopian and apocalyptic (and post-apocalyptic fiction. I am sure you all will love this book!

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: Tech-ology: A Digitally New Way To Way To Raise Happy Kids by Angie Rumaldo

Author: Angie Rumaldo
Release Date: 2020
Genre:  Self-Help, Parenting
Series
Format: E-book 
Pages: 276 pages
Publisher: True Pursuit
Blurb:
Tech-ology is a refreshing new look into the digital world and video gaming and its effects on children and teens today. It attempts to help parents, teens, educators and other professional understand the movement towards this new technology in a more culturally appropriate manner. This self-help book directly addresses many of the concerns that have been voiced by parents due to the rapid increase of technology.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tech-ology: A Digitally New Way To Way To Raise Happy Kids by Angie Rumaldo is a very impressive parenting book that even a non-parent like me found useful. In this book, Dr Angie goes into the intricacies of dealing with kids that were born and raised in the “digital age.” I have a teen brother and therefore as someone who is constantly dragged into the war between my mum and brother, I know very well how much friction technology can cause amongst families, especially in which the parents were born in the 19th century.

The book is written well and doesn’t actually feel like a parenting book. The author uses a very friendly tone which feels very light to read. But even though the tone of the book is light, the subject matter is handled with great care by the author and her expertise in the field of handling the behaviour of young children shines through the pages.

I would definitely recommend you read this book even if you are not a parent yet. There are some great tips and advice that will definitely aid you, if not in the present then in the future which I honestly believe will only get worse with the advancements in the field of digital technology.

Remember, you were born in the twentieth century and that alone indicates that you are an immigrant to the new digital culture (new way of being) while our children are natives (born to the digital culture). We have to work toward learning the new ideals, expectations, and potential dangers. With this newfound knowledge and values we can effectively parent with less tension and more harmony within the home.

Angie Rumaldo, Tech-ology: A Digitally New Way To Way To Raise Happy Kids

Author Interview: Matt Spencer

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Matt Spencer, author of The Blazing Chief, the third book in the The Deschembine Trilogy, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Matt Spencer

Matt Spencer is the author of five novels, two collections, and numerous novellas and short stories. He’s been a journalist, New Orleans restaurant cook, factory worker, radio DJ, and a no-good ramblin’ bum. He’s also a song lyricist, playwright, actor, and martial artist. He currently lives in Vermont. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter | Facebook



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

Well, my life has abruptly hit the reset button of late, to put it kindly, not under circumstances I’m happy about, but either way, here I am living on my own again for the first time in years, feeling kind of like a stranger to myself in some ways, like I’m catching up with this version of me. It’s been weird, especially in these Covid days, where getting out around people like I used to isn’t such a thing for the foreseeable future, but I’ve come to realize that ain’t such a bad thing either. I’ve been making the most of it in a lot of ways, eating/exercising/living healthier, to the point where the old saying “40 is the new 30” suddenly makes a lot more sense to me than I’d expected it to. I still work in a restaurant, which is only open to limited capacity, with reduced hours. I assist my best friend in teaching fencing, and we love to sword-fight and martial-arts spar. With a little luck and prudence, I’ll keep the positive things on track, continue to grow and change for the better, do what I can for other people, and keep writing crazy yarns that people get a kick out of reading.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

As the final book in a trilogy, it’s the one where everything boils to a head for a giant blow-out go-for-broke finale, y’know? I’m proud to be able to say that a lot of people have been asking me for years, “So when the hell is the next book coming out?” [more on that later] and now that it’s finally officially on the way, I’m both thrilled and nervous about how it’s going to be received. All of the major characters – Rob, Sally, Sheldon, Janie, Remelea, Jesse, Zane, Puttergong, among others – wind up where they’ve been headed this whole time. Many of them change drastically, some for better, some for worse, some, well, in-between. And yes, some of them die.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

I don’t typically write stories with didactic messages at the heart of my authorial intent/narrative. There are obviously themes I want to explore, regarding the human condition and my complicated feelings and opinions about where we’re all at, have been, and could go as a species. I find I explore those kinds of themes best when I discover them organically as I’m writing the story, through what the characters are going through and what they’re struggling with, which makes me more aware of what we’re all struggling with, so it sort of builds from there. Whenever I’ve tried to write a story with some thematic social-commentary axe to grind as my driving motive, the characters end up feeling like mouth-pieces for my argument or whatever, rather than living, breathing people, with their own perspectives and motivations that drive the story forward to its natural conclusion. If I lose sight of that, then the story starts to feel like a writing-exercise, and I’m too old for that shit, so it dies on me.

If there’s a “moral of the story” to The Blazing Chief, it’s probably “Hang onto your critical thinking skills, and don’t be a bootlicker.” There’s definitely a running theme throughout the entire series about the cycle of violence and cruelty self-perpetuates itself, and my perhaps naively idealistic belief that healing those cycles begins with small human connections of empathy and love, that can eventually snowball out and make a difference, with the ignorant growing and changing through self-education and better exposure. 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

It’s a toss-up between Remelea and Balthazar, both of whom were characters who never honestly got their due in this book ’til the last couple drafts or so. In whipping this book into shape, they were the ones I really got to explore on the most fresh ground, so I pushed myself into new territory, and ultimately surprised myself, in ways that I think will make the overall tapestry of the larger narrative far richer and more rewarding to readers.

Remelea’s a character who’s introduced in the second book. She was a hit with a lot of readers. In a lot of ways, she’s the most morally gray character in a series full of morally gray characters. She starts out as this very formidable warrior woman, with a strong, brazen, irreverent sort of personality that readers get a kick out of, that I certainly got a kick out of writing. She likes to see herself as this outlaw rebel who plays by her own rules, except she ironically comes to realize that she’s always just been sort of going through the motions, living life according to how she’s been trained and conditioned, but hasn’t had a cause she’s felt truly passionate about fighting for, ’til she takes up with Rob, one of our central protagonists. She eventually hits a point where she’s forced to question whether this whole revolutionary rampage she’s gotten swept up into is what she really believes in, or if she’s been lying to herself because of her personal emotional connection to Rob. I think that’s a very relatable thing for a lot of people’s continuous journeys of self-discovery through life. A lot of us form deep emotional bonds with people with strong personalities that fire us up to their tune at the time, to where we fall in love more with the idea of them than who they actually are. Then we eventually come to realize later that the relationship was never a healthy one in the first place, and starting over from that place is scary and full of inner-conflict. Most of us aren’t, y’know, monstrous superhuman blade-wielding fighting-machines like Remelea, but still. In the third book, her path diverges from Rob’s, so she’s back to trying to figure out where she fits into this whole apocalyptic mess she’s caught in the middle of. By the end, she’s forced to make some painful decisions, with dire consequences for the big picture, that ultimately define who she truly is on a new, more solid level, as a truly rounded person. 

Then there’s Balthazar, who’s the new heavy-hitter villain who this book introduces. He’s one of the most broadly over-the-top major characters I’ve ever written, in ways that were a lot of fiendish fun to write. I treated him in earlier drafts like a sort of glorified red herring, but in the later drafts, I realized that I hadn’t explored him properly, or made the reader truly feel the threat he represents. In brainstorming from my editor Garrett Cooke’s suggestions, I found myself delving into Balthazar a lot deeper. He ultimately turned out to be a lot more psychologically interesting than I expected. On the one hand, he’s this grotesque, diabolical genetically crafted monstrosity, with superhuman abilities and a brain crammed since birth with all this strategic and tactical military prowess on how to use those powers to make him and those he commands a major threat to what’s left of civilization, yet he also has this childlike, naïve mentality about it all, because of the people who abused, twisted, and conditioned him from birth to be what he is. He’s sort of a pitiable Frankenstein-monster sort of figure in a way. There’s no redemption for him, and he has to be stopped, and he’s the center of some of the book’s most disgusting, nightmarish moments. Yet it’s ultimately not his fault that he is the way he is. The older I get, the more I’ve come to realize that a lot of the worst harm people are capable of doesn’t come from malice or what have you, but just from what people have been conditioned to see as normal behavior. With Balthazar I just took that to the most grotesque, deranged extreme I could think of within the context of these already extreme hypothetical circumstances. A lot of both Balthazar’s character-development and an up-close view of the destruction he’s causing and the threat he poses, comes from the point of view of this young human man who he’s tortured, mutilated, broken, and basically made his pet…who he now sees and treats with what he views as affection, like people raise livestock to eventually kill and eat, who they treat like a beloved pet right up to when they slit the animal’s throat, and don’t recognize the cognitive dissonance there. 

What inspired you to write this series?

At the time I started writing the first book, there were several ideas of books I wanted to write, then there was the book I started writing. I was playing around with all sorts of concepts, stumped on what to start next. My mind was a pretty big mess over a lot of recent trauma, including the death of a dear friend, and I wasn’t sure where to start processing that whenever I sat down at the keyboard. I felt like writing a straight-up horror novel, in the old-school Stephen King or Robert Bloch vein. I also wanted to write a giant epic adventure story, incorporating all the classical elements of heroic myth…all the intrigue, action, romance, friendship, betrayal, and epic stakes, like in all the great stories my dear departed friend and I used to geek out about…but to somehow make it all my own, to turn all those elements on their heads, say something about my own observations about life, so readers might not even realize that’s what they were reading at first, but by the end still feel something of that sublime rush that my buddy Dave had always gotten out of such tales at their best, hoping to honor his memory that way. I just didn’t know where to start, had to find some way in to make it my own, so I wouldn’t just regurgitate what had already been said in all those masterworks we’d read/watched/loved.

When I started writing The Night and the Land, that’s honestly not the story I thought I was getting myself into. I was more fascinated with the daily minutia of Brattleboro, Vermont, my adopted home town I was living in at the time and have since moved back to and settled in. I started tinkering with writing a quieter, semi-autobiographical magical-realism ensemble novel, about the various quirky characters in the community I was part of. Hell, if I’d continued in that vein, it may well have turned into something publishable under the label Literary Fiction, and wouldn’t that be a hoot? Then I wrote that scene in the bus station in Pittsburgh, where we meet Sally’s family while they’re looking for her, and the whole thing took on a life of its own from there. I sure as shit didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but here we are.

A lot of people these days in the speculative-fiction community will say that the trilogy is a played-out, over-used format. It’s one Tolkien pretty much accidentally invented when he wrote his giant War-and-Peace-sized epic which the publishers decided to split into three parts, but it’s a cool format, in my opinion. When it works, it works, particularly for a long, multibook story with a beginning, middle and end. I was never interested in writing one of those gargantuan 12-books-plus fantasy series that I saw cluttering the bookselves at the time, nor was I interested in making it feel like one continuous book split into three parts, or anything pretentious like that. Once I realized what I’d gotten myself into, it wasn’t long before I had an amorphous, general idea of where everything was headed, and a trilogy just felt like the story’s natural shape. The whole thing should tell a cohesive story, but I always approached each book as its own entity with its own beginning, middle, and end. The first book wound up being on some levels a small-town horror story in that aforementioned King/Bloch mode. There’s a love story driving the central narrative, but I wouldn’t call it a romance novel. The second one expands a great deal on the hidden-world mythos, through the perspective of a lot more characters in lots of different places all over North America. It’s probably the tightest and fasted-paced of the three, basically a chase/road-trip-through-hell story. Which brings us to the third and final book, which starts out like a post-apocalyptic story, then turns into a full-on psychedelic multi-dimensional fantasy tale, with hints of sci-fi, where certain characters, under circumstances I won’t spoil, actually travel through time and space to these other worlds and realities that through most of the series, we’ve only heard spoken of as vague lore and mythology among the people of this hidden society. 

What are your writing ambitions? 

Artistically, to keep stretching myself, to keep working with the various elements of storytelling that I love, keep making them my own in ways I haven’t even thought of yet, and overall to keep spinning good yarns driven by fascinating characters who hopefully more and more readers continue to discover and connect with. Professionally, I’m very proud to have beaten the odds to the point where my writing is legitimately a source of secondary income, so I figure if I keep my shit together and stay on track, five years from now I’d like to have made it my primary source of income…that’s all assuming, the way things are going in real life, that we’re not all fucked and living in a worse dystopian, apocalyptic nightmare than anything I could come up with. But hey, no one ever accomplished jack shit by succumbing to despair and futility, amIright?  

Are you working on any new projects presently? 


I’m in the process of re-writing a new novel set in the far future of the world of these stories, where the world is still in the process of rebuilding itself after an apocalypse or two, and many of the characters readers have come to know in the trilogy and the adjacent works have themselves become the stuff of distant, unreliable mythology. It’s been wild and challenging, in some ways like settling back on familiar ground, while at the same time in many ways building a whole new world, with its own new rules, from scratch, and dropping a whole new set of characters into the middle of it. I’ve also had a hankering of late to dive head-first back into contemporary horror, and I have several ideas kicking around about where I might go with that.  

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you work in multiple genre?

My first love, writing-wise, was really horror fiction, particularly the classic Gothic horror works from the likes of Poe, Stoker, Shelley, and Leroux. I really cut my teeth at a young age trying to emulate those styles, before maturing, reading more broadly, going through more life experiences, etc, and developing my own style. As an oddball, neurologically atypical misfit kid growing up, I was particularly drawn to the kinds of larger-than-life human-monsters who were really just misfit social outcasts at odds with mainstream society. I’ve also always been drawn to stories of high adventure, and there’s a fine line between a lot of the morally gray kinds of heroes from those kinds of stories (such as Indiana Jones, the Man With No Name, Conan the Barbarian, or Long John Silver) and Gothic horror villains/anti-heroes like Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, or the Phantom of the Opera. There’s also a very fine line, I think, between adventure stories and horror stories. Compelling fiction is driven by conflict, and both adventure and horror distill that to a primal level, where it’s about high stakes such as the struggle for survival – the stuff of a ripping good yarn that gets the reader’s blood pumping. I think what continues to fascinate me the most at this point, with those kinds of stories, is exploring the contrasting psychologies of different types of characters caught up in those kinds of situations, how different kinds of people will respond differently in any number of ways, depending on their background, temperament, etc, and how those kinds of experiences change people, for better, worse, or some combination of the two. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

When reading the kind of shit you want to write, take mental notes on what does/doesn’t work when perfecting your craft. Also, get out there and live a life that makes you feel alive. Take risks, make mistakes, get into trouble, get into adventures, whatever that means to you personally (if not on the scale of the kind of “adventure” yarns I write, well, that’s probably for the best 😉 ). Above all, follow your own inner creative voice. You never know where that’ll take you. You’re not so unique in your experiences and feelings as it often seems, but no one can write about it exactly like you can, and you never know whom your voice is exactly what they need. Shoot for the moon, you may or may not make it, but you’re still likely to hit something along the way that those who didn’t dare never would have dreamed of. 

Thank you, Matt, for all your insightful and fun answers!


About The Book

The Blazing Chief

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here:

Amazon | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Seventh Cup by Nitesh Kumar Jain

Author: Nitesh Kumar Jain
Release Date: 9th September 2020
Genre:  Mystery
Series
Format: E-book 
Pages: 311 pages
Publisher: Cyberwit.net
Blurb:
A student of history in Switzerland goes missing; a man drinks exactly seven cups of coffee everyday in the same restaurant and believes in Mind Transportation. Two newly married Swiss detective agents arrive and begin a shocking tale of love, friendship, betrayal and death. From the colorful coasts of Goa, India to the enchanting backdrop of Zurich, Switzerland, the mystery of Verona Schmidt baffles everyone. With shocking twits and turns in every chapter, The Seventh Cup might just have the addictive flavor to stir the readers mind…may be forever !!!

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Seventh Cup by Nitesh Jain is a very unique mystery read that was fun and entertaining to read. I liked this book because the author has weaved a complex mystery tale layered with good characterisation and has taken it all to the next level by making use of the concept of the law of attraction which gave this book a very refreshing feel.

I did had some issues with the dialogues but compared to how much I loved the story, the settings and the writing (other than the dialogues) it was nothing. Also, the overall execution of the plot was very good and therefore I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes reading mystery books.

You can also read this review on

Book Excerpt: The Blazing Chief by Matt Spencer

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author  Matt Spencer for sharing the excerpt from his latest release The Blazing Chief, the 3rd book in The Deschembine Trilogy.

About The Book

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here:

AmazonGoodreads


Excerpt

PROLOGUE:
THREE MONTHS AFTER THE SOLAR STORM

At nineteen, Ronald “Fishhook” Fairbanks figured he’d seen it all. Over the back end of Summer, he’d seen a whole lot more. For one thing, he’d never expected to see a dude get chopped in half with a Goddamn sword. By the end of the early Autumn day, that wouldn’t even be the weirdest thing he witnessed, or the worst.

That morning, he woke up in a ditch, under a blanket of leaves. He couldn’t remember his dreams, but he knew they’d been bad. He sat up, brushed most of the leaves out of his face and hair, blinked his eyes clear, and looked at the sky. He almost panicked, because it wasn’t the same sky anymore. So what if he should be used to it by now? It still freaked him out, whenever he woke up looking at it. It never had gone back to normal after the solar storm, never lost that weird, sickly, purple-orange tinge. 

Fishhook twisted the worst of the snap-crackle-pops out of his body, hoisted his bag over one shoulder, shuffled to the edge of the road, and stopped dead in his tracks. A little kid stood on the other side of the road, staring at him, four or five he guessed by the height, dressed even shabbier than himself, in plain brown shirt and britches with legs and sleeves falling to the knees and elbows, with dirty bare feet. No, wait, hold up. That wasn’t a kid. It was a fully grown, evenly proportioned adult, except only three or four feet tall. 

Fishhook blinked, made sure he was seeing this right. “Hello?” he shouted. “Hey, what’s up!”

The short fucker just kept staring, past Fishhook. When he looked around, another face peered out of the bushes, on the other side of the ditch. It was shaped like a human face, but it sure as shit wasn’t human. It wasn’t staring out of the bushes, either, but rather was made of them. Branches and leaves jutted and twined together, pressing against each other at just-so angles, so they formed a jaw, eyebrows and forehead. Knotty clumps formed the chin and cheeks, with the leaves from two parallel horizontal branches for lips, two budding pods that hung in twin hollows for eyes. The breeze drifted through the bush, fluttering the face so it moved, like it was talking to the short fucker across the road. When the air went still, so did the face.

Fishhook spun back around. The short fucker was gone. When he looked again, the bush still had a face. Plants could play tricks on the eyes at funny angles, sure, but such illusions usually faded once you looked closer. The more Fishhook looked at this one, though, the clearer he saw it. Its gleaming seed-pod eyes looked right back at him. 

He shivered, muttered, “Well, fuck you too, then, you freaky bitch,” turned, and hurried up the road, doing his best not to look off into the woods. He didn’t want to see more plants with faces, or something even freakier.

At sixteen, Fishhook’s birth-family had kicked him out of the house for being queer. Well, kicked out wasn’t technically accurate. More like he’d left on his own, because his piece-of-shit stepdad would have beaten him to death for it otherwise. Since then, he’d found his brothers and sisters of the road and the rails, and he’d been to plenty of their funerals; all in nice, neat funeral parlors, with open caskets displaying serene, well-dressed, made-up mannequin-like young corpses, of boys and girls who’d died of overdoses, stabbings, shootings, beatings, or exposure. Anyone who showed up who’d known the departed—really known them—might think they’d wandered into the wrong place. More than once, Fishhook had wondered, when his time came, how many of his real friends would show up and ask, Who the fuck is Ronald Fairbanks?

Fishhook hadn’t touched any drugs in months, yet ever since the solar storm, it seemed like the whole world had overdosed on bad acid. He hadn’t seen any of the others in a while; Shipwreck, Scags, Skunk, Stonewall, old Boxcar, Abby, any of them. He usually caught up with folks on the rails, and he’d been avoiding trains like the plague lately. Where the trains still ran, folks said, those railroad bulls had cracked down, gotten twice as diligent and four times as mean. They didn’t even bother to arrest you anymore, just beat you to death, lucky if they didn’t pull a train on your ass first, and that’s if the freaky people—the things—didn’t catch you first. 

Who the hell had Fishhook first heard about the things from? Skunk? Yeah, probably. Of course that crazy motherfucker would believe something like that. Except Skunk had never had that much of an imagination. The last time they’d ridden the rails together, though, he wouldn’t shut up about the people from another dimension who you had to watch out for now. Then as the weeks passed, Fishhook heard more folks spouting the same shit…the same strange words and names…

Schomite. Spirelight. Crimbone. And finally, High Natural.

Since the solar storm, cell phone service had come back in some places, but WiFi was a thing of the past. That threw a wrench in anyone keeping up with anyone. The last time Fishhook had seen Abby, she’d mentioned she’d be in Chattanooga in a few weeks, visiting some cousins. If he’d kept track of time right, she should be there by now. So that’s where he was headed.

When the solar storm happened, there’d been a lot of train wrecks, all at once, all over the country, along with plane crashes, prison riots, riots on the streets of major cities…Hell, some people claimed the military had turned on and eaten itself, which was why not even the National Guard had swooped in, to either save everyone or just fuck everything up worse. Nowadays, the back roads were the closest place left to safe. Chattanooga sounded too densely populated for Fishhook’s liking, but if he could just get there and find Abby, maybe he could get his bearings. She’d given him her cousins’ address. If he could just find her—find anyone he trusted who was left—then maybe…

Whenever he heard a vehicle whirring towards his back, he stepped a little further off to the side and stuck his thumb out. A few cars and trucks blasted past him. There were fewer of them these days, and hitching was always a crapshoot, more so in some parts of the country than others. Here in the middle of the damn Bible Belt, you got fewer motorists willing to take a chance on a dude with ratty dreadlocks, with ears and a face full of piercings, including a big septum ring, wearing a beat-up leather jacket covered in radical political buttons. To be fair, they had more reason than usual to be suspicious. Maybe they thought he was one of those others, never mind that he was five-five and weighed a hundred and forty pounds soaking wet, probably less by now.

Something big and clanking slowed to a stop behind him. He turned and saw a long, gray pickup with a rattling U-Haul trailer hooked to the back. Two people sat up front within the truck, which had a backseat in it, to Fishhook’s relief. The U-Haul had a dinosaur painted along the side, advertising some resort out in California that probably didn’t exist anymore. The truck pulled over onto the shoulder. Fishhook hurried up alongside it and yanked on the right rear passenger door. He found it locked. The front passenger window cranked down. 

“Just a moment, son,” crooned the driver. “Before we let you in…do a little dance for us. You know what I mean.”

Until a few months ago, Fishhook would have gone, You gotta be shittin’ me. A year or so back, he’d spent part of his winter on the streets of Manhattan. He was only half black, and usually passed for Caucasian. That hadn’t stopped the NYPD pigs from pulling over to harass him for a laugh, to make him do the chicken-dance. For all the stereotypes about the North and the South, the racist bullshit he’d encountered in Tennessee had nothing on what he’d gotten from the New York pigs. Except he’d heard the driver’s tone, and he knew that wasn’t the issue here. He still froze up.

The driver leaned over towards the glove box. A knob turned and it dropped open. Fishhook heard a pistol cock. “You know what I mean,” the driver repeated.

Fishhook’s extremities tightened. His heart pounded while the edges of his jaw quivered with deer-in-the-headlights dread. He wanted to tell the driver to fuck off, wait for the next ride, but lately, that might still be an invitation to get his head blown off. He let his pack slide off his stinging shoulders, then he hopped like a bunny, waving his arms around like some poor bastard in a stupid costume spinning a sign outside a tax-return office.

“Okay, that’s good enough. Well, go on now, Fran. Let the boy in.”

The front seat passenger twisted around, reached back, and pulled the lock up.

Fishhook hoisted his pack, opened the door, climbed in, and tossed the pack across the other side of the long back seat. It smelled like a thousand years of stale dust and wood chips in there. It reminded him of his dad’s truck when he was a little kid, before his mom had won the custody battle and hooked up with that right-wing scumbag who’d become his stepfather. Fishhook bit back on the urge to break down sobbing. His real dad had always been a kind man, fuck what his mom had told the judge. Would he have still been a kind man if he’d been around long enough to find out his son was a queer? Fishhook liked to think so.

He noticed another smell in here, like old rotten eggs. He fumbled around ’til he found the seatbelt strap, then buckled up. The driver up front looked absurdly small, almost a midget, coming up barely high enough to see over the dash. Fishhook remembered the other weird little fucker from earlier, but no, this guy was just a really short dude. He had big, pale, bespectacled bug eyes, with silky salt-and-pepper hair cascading from beneath a dark blue ball cap, around a narrow, weather-beaten, stubbly face. His jaw and cheeks had that sunken quality, from the bone-deterioration that happened after smoking too much meth. He wore a checkered green and white shirt, with sleeves that were too big around his gnarled, spidery hands. He put the pistol back in the glove box and returned both hands to the wheel. Next to him, there sat a woman with pasty, pillowy arms, beneath a sloping, wrinkly neck, supporting a wobbly head that looked too small for the rest of her, covered in pale, patchy, stringy hair. She smiled at Fishhook, showing off more black gaps and tortured red gums than teeth. Looking at the two of them side by side, Fishhook got the impression of an insomnia-crazed Kermit the Frog and a googly-eyed, lobotomized Miss Piggy.

The truck lurched back onto the lonely highway and sped off through this world that wasn’t the world anymore. Fishhook only just now noticed a tiny ceramic crucifix dangling from the windshield mirror. Great. Jesus freaks. Just my luck.

“Sorry I had to scare you like that, son. I had to make sure. You understand.”

“Make sure of what?” Fishhook got the gist, but he had to make sure too. There were a lot of versions of the story going around. Fishhook still didn’t know what to believe, but someone else’s ideas about it could mean the difference between life and death.

“That you’re a man. That the bones beneath your flesh move the way a man’s skeleton is supposed to move. That you don’t move like one of the abominations.”

“Yeah, I get it. A Crimbone, you mean.”

The old guy nodded, keeping his eyes on the road. “What’s your name, son?”

“Fishhook,” said Fishhook.

“No it ain’t,” hiccupped the old bastard. “That’s not your real name, is it?”

“That’s what everyone who knows me calls me.”

“But that’s not the name your loving parents gave you, is it? It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. My name’s Norm. This is my wife Fran.”

Fran looked back at Fishhook, gave him that infected, gappy smile again, and waved with a hand like a speckled, flesh-colored Mickey Mouse glove. “Hi!”

“Hi.” Fishhook waved back, even though her high-pitched voice made his skin crawl.

“You want some coffee?” said Norm. “You’re shivering like a leaf back there.” He pulled a thermos from a drink holder and held it back.

“Yeah, that’d be great. Man, thank you so much!” He grabbed the thermos and unscrewed the cap. Steam wafted out. The first gulp burned his tongue. He almost gagged, then tilted the thermos, blew on the liquid’s surface, and sipped slower. It tasted like shitty gas-station coffee, but he didn’t care. The warmth flooding his veins reminded him what true relaxation felt like.

“Where are you headed to, son?” said Norm.

“I’m trying to get to Chattanooga. I’ve got a friend waiting for me there. Or at least she said she would be, before…well…all this craziness.”

Norm nodded. “A girlfriend, then?”

Fishhook glanced at the cross dangling from the dashboard mirror. “Yeah.”

“Chattanooga is on our way. The place used to be a good, God-fearing city. These days, though…I still own land up in the north, son. That’s where we’re going, where we hear things are still good. You and your girlfriend could come with us…”

“Maybe. I’ll have to see what she wants to do.”

‘We’ll be stopping in Rock Spring soon. This highway takes us straight through the center of it. Have you been to Rock Spring, son?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Lovely little town. God-fearing people there. At least I hope that’s still the case. We’ll have to stop for gas there. If the Lord is on our side, there will still be a gas station open. Amazing that there are still gas stations open anywhere, when you think about it, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I guess it is.”

“That’s why people don’t realize the end times are already here. They all expected it to happen at once. After the sky let the fire loose on us, you’d think that would be that, but no, it’s still happening slowly. Lots of people still have electricity. They still go out to eat, would still go to the movies if there was anyone out in Hollywood still making them or shipping them to picture houses…act like this big old world keeps spinning on as always. But I take one look at you, boy, and see that you’ve seen it too.”

Fishhook sipped more coffee from the thermos. “Yeah. Yeah, no shit, right?”

“You know, further down south, there is the town where I grew up. I courted and married Fran there.” As if on cue, Fran looked back at Fishhook, smiled and nodded. Thankfully, she didn’t open her mouth this time. Maybe that meant there was a god. “Fran and I here used to have a program, on the local radio station, talking of the word of the Lord. When the Lord unleashed the wrath of the sun, he spared our radio station, so we might continue to preach our ministry to whoever was still out there listening, right when more people needed to hear it than ever. Except the people no longer liked to hear us tell what the good Lord had to say. I was forced off the airwaves, for speaking the truth of our Lord. Even now, while society falls apart, people still find ways to tell themselves that our civilization has not already abandoned us. Soon, only one civilization shall remain…that of our Lord’s making. That will be the Kingdom. It was censorship, plain and simple. People don’t want to give up the evils they think define them. You can’t be one of the drug-addicts, in the Kingdom. You can’t be a fornicator in the Kingdom. You can’t be one of the homosexuals, in the Kingdom.

Fuck, Fishhook couldn’t get out of this truck fast enough. The guy’s being nice. So is his wife. He doesn’t have to know who you are. No one’s making you suck their dick for a hit, or anything like that. Count your blessings. It’ll all be over soon enough.

Fishhook also noticed that he really needed to piss. Damn, he should have done that back on the roadside. He tried to will the contents of his bladder further up through his abdomen, away from his aching dick. “Yeah, I know, right? Say, how far are we from…wait, which town, man?”

“Rock Spring. Just another mile or so.”

Even with the windows up, the closer to Rock Spring they drove, the more something smelled like burning pork. It didn’t exactly cancel out the rotten egg smell, but it made Fishhook pay a lot less attention to it. The truck rounded a bend, and he saw all those little boxes made of ticky-tacky buildings of downtown Rock Spring, Tennessee, nestled in the shadow of the Smoky Mountain ranges. Half the town was on fire, including a red caboose in what used to be the yard of the local historical society.

“Norm?” squeaked Fran. “What’s going on? I don’t like this.”

“I don’t like it either, hon. Just sit tight. Now what in the world…”

“We should turn around.”

“We can’t. This is our route to where we’re going.”

“So we can find another route! Come on, honey, we can find one that doesn’t…”

“Doesn’t what? Make us to look in the eye what the Lord hath placed before us? No, my dear, many are those who would avert their eyes, and look where that’s gotten us.”

“Man, seriously,” said Fishhook, “listen to your wife. This is no good.”

“You’re speaking out of turn, young man. I don’t recall asking—”

The nearer the center of town drew, the louder the screams echoed. Fishhook twisted around against the seatbelt in rising agitation. “Dude, look, I know when I’m in a bad place that it’s time to get clear of, and this—”

“We will be clear of it soon enough. Now hush.” The truck sped up.

Far ahead, a soot-covered woman ran screaming out of a burning municipal building. She tripped, fell, got back up and shambled a little, then sprinted across a big, green common-area lawn. What she ran from came from every doorway, alleyway and corner, converging towards her…bodies that did move with superhuman speed and agility, like they didn’t have real human skeletons under their filthy, scarred skin. They weren’t dressed like Fishhook or any of his old train-hopper buddies. Some of them weren’t wearing clothes at all. They all looked like those others, some with the mottled, swirly skin folks now called Schomite or Crimbone or whatever, others with the gleaming, pearly, whiter-than-white elf-like builds of those called Spirelights. It didn’t matter anymore. Some new master had united them, under a banner of rape, murder and plunder. None of the safeguards of so-called modern civilization were left to do shit about it. 

The fleeing girl must have had a good thirty feet head-start. One of the Schomites stretched out its gnarly clawed hand and grabbed her, like time and space folded between them to close the distance. It tackled her to the ground, ripping her clothes off, its teeth tearing and worrying into the flesh beneath. 

Something hit the side of Norm’s truck. The whole world spun through the air…

~

Blood stung Fishhook’s eyes. When he wiped at it, his arm screamed.

Oh fuck, oh fuck, don’t let it be broken, don’t let it be broken…

Shattered glass blanketed him like sharp snowflakes. Some of it stuck in his face and hands. Someone kept screaming. At first, he thought it was him, then he realized it was Fran. His jaw felt like someone had popped it off and stuck it back on upside down. All that came out of his mouth were huffs and grunts. The whole world screamed, along with every nerve in his body.

One of his eyes still more or less worked. Except every time he opened or closed it, he saw something different. There was Fran up front, shrieking and gyrating. Next to her, Norm stared blankly, over the steering wheel embedded in his chest. Through Norm’s window, Fishhook could see the top of the police car that had broadsided them. The red and blue lights still spun and flashed while smoke rose from the mangled hood. One of the cops moved like a drunk toddler while he tried to pull his partner out of the wreckage. He was gray with ash, except where scarlet streamed from his scalp, down his side. The wrecked cop car wasn’t the only siren blaring. It sounded like there were a lot of them, for miles around.

~

A grumbling whoosh sounded somewhere. Flames licked out of the edges of the twisted hood of the truck, small and pale at first, then dark with smoke, puffing out thicker and thicker. They leaked past the border of the shattered windshield, into the truck. Norm didn’t appear to mind, probably because he was dead. Fran shrieked louder and thrashed furiously. Her seat rocked and banged against Fishhook’s knees.

Fishhook tried to bolt, but his seatbelt held him in place. He tried to unbuckle it, then shrieked because he’d just used his fucked-up arm. Yep, it was definitely broken. Shit! He took a few deep, rapid, whistling breaths to get himself under control. His good hand shook as it found the button. The belt snapped and slithered away. When he tried the door handle, it refused to budge. The whole rig was twisted around him. He rammed the door with his shoulder. Bigger flames were filling the front seat. Fran squalled like a bobcat caught in a trap. Parts of her face turned red, bubbling up with welts full of boiling white pus It smelled a lot worse than the rotting-egg scent from earlier. Fishhook drew up sideways across the seat and mule-kicked the door, once, twice, thrice…

The hinges gave, so the cold air spilled in on him…

~

Concrete pressed against his shoulder, shoving chips of broken glass through his coat so they bit into his arm. Every time he thought he’d gotten the pain under control, it seemed, another part of his body moved funny, so his whole being lit back up with grinding, shrieking raw nerves. He smelled more burning buildings, more burning flesh.

I have to move. I can’t, though. I don’t want to. Why am I even conscious? Can’t I just go back to sleep? Just let all this go away…

~

His eyes opened and closed, opened and closed…

Someone let out a furious howl. At first, Fishhook thought it was one of those things, closing in on him. Then a dark shadow passed overhead. He shifted sideways and tried to crawl under the truck, but the rising fumes sent him scuttling back the other way.

His eyes opened and closed, opened and closed…

~

Everything blurred in and out of focus. His fucked-up arm felt just as bad as before, but it seemed further away now. He got a grip on the next overturned car and pulled himself to his feet.

An echoing clash shook the earth, of metal striking metal…with a chime that reverberated through the concrete, beneath his feet, a sound that pulsed through his whole being. At first, he assumed it was another car accident, but that was wishful thinking. No, it was the clash of otherworldly matter against otherworldly matter…something that shouldn’t even exist in this world, yet there it was.

When his eyes snapped back open, he saw the center of the town lawn. Two of those freaks had just slammed into each other, howling with elemental bloodlust. What the hell was Fishhook watching? This was nuts! It looked almost like a kung-fu fight in some Jet Li movie on TV, but the more his vision cleared, the more it looked like two wild animals ripping each other apart, quicker than the human eye could follow…both of them swinging long, curved blades of black metal, ’til one deflected the other’s downward chop and sidestepped him with a diagonal slice. A meaty crunch sounded. The loser split open and hung in two directions like a blooming flower, his insides gleaming and gushing…because another man had just chopped him in half like a head of cabbage, with a fucking sword. A sword made of unearthly black metal. Fuck!

The winner righted himself, let out a joyous growl, then looked at the split-open body, which was somehow still standing. He gave it a boot to the ass so it fell over, spilling its insides across the grass. That’s when Fishhook noticed the whole lawn alive with a melee from some other reality, an even weirder one than the last few months. Fishhook couldn’t even tell who was on whose side…until the swooping shape descended…

Fishhook’s eyes opened and closed, opened and closed…

~

More meaty crunches sounded, as blades cleaved through bones and organs, everywhere. From where he leaned, Fishhook still heard Fran shrieking. The burning truck wasn’t that far away, still somewhere to his left. He was no badass, that was for sure—and now that he saw all those otherworldly mutant freaks hacking the shit out of each other in the distance, he realized he didn’t want to be—but there was no way was gonna leave someone to burn to death like that, not if he could help it. He lurched, righted himself, hobbled halfway over to the truck. Then the heat of the blaze pulsed in his face, repelling him like a wall of pure, hot energy. Fran stopped screaming. Fishhook’s guts turned to liquid and tried to fall out of his asshole. 

Plenty of other folks kept screaming, people who lived around here, while the otherworldly marauders dragged them out of their homes and jobs, while they laid waste to the infrastructure. Big, greasy rednecks came out brandishing shotguns, pistols, semi-automatics, automatics, you name it. At first, they looked happy as pigs in shit to finally get a chance to act like the local militia against the invaders…until they started shooting, and it didn’t do a squirt of piss worth of good, except to get the things’ attention. Fishhook couldn’t tell if the creatures moved fast enough to dodge bullets, or if the bullets just didn’t hurt them. Either way, they swarmed in on the gunmen. Before Fishhook knew it, the shooting had stopped, replaced by more blood, guts, hair, teeth and eyeballs flying all over the place.

Out on the lawn, a strange sort of circle had formed. Somewhere in the middle of all this, Fishhook had gotten a sense of the two sides fighting each other. The ones who’d attacked the town were made up of both those dirty, animalistic freaks and those…pale, gleaming, whiter-than-white elf-like fuckers…Spirelights; that was the word for them, right? Except weren’t those two sides supposed to be fighting each other? What the hell were they doing, ganging up on this town together? The ones who’d come to fight them all seemed to be the other kind, the beastly ones…Crimbone? It was like they’d swarmed in out of the hills, as though to defend the place…baited into a trap, apparently, one which must have worked, given how few of the latter were left, and by the way the leader strutted back and forth like a rooster in a henhouse.

Fishhook couldn’t make sense of the leader’s appearance. It looked like a cartoon animal version of Axl Rose or Kid Rock or one of those assholes, the cap of its head tied up in a dirty red bandana, but with a jutting, deformed snout like a dog’s face, with big dragon wings fanning out on either side. And it was dripping in blood, from head to toe…blood, and who knew what other fluids.

“Okay,” the creature’s voice boomed, while it rubbed at its crotch, “this is where the Daddy told me to git shit rollin’. Can’t tell why just yet. Place looks like a shithole to me. Still, I gots ta say, not a bad Goddamn start at all. Ain’t that right, bitches? Why, just look at all these bitchass so-called Crimbone we got here to start replenishin’ our ranks with.” The creature cast an eye around, at the last of the gnarly defenders who’d been herded into the circle. “Why, it’s almost like they all swam right up to our fishhook, ain’t it?”

In that moment, it might have been Fishhook’s imagination, but he swore the monster peered across the expanse and looked him right in the eye. That’s when he quit pretending not to be a coward, when he booked it, quick as he could, back behind the nearest wrecked vehicle that wasn’t on fire.

“Not as big a haul as we’d hoped for, but that’s okay. Shit, this won’t do at all. No, wait, let me check.” A crunch split the air, followed by another shriek, along with a wet, ripping noise. “Gah, peh, these here Earth-line bastards an’ bitches get more rancid every stop! Oh well, catch as catch can. Nah, nah, nah, boys, you take ’er easy with the good folks of this cute little town. The meat tastes better when you get it off the bones alive.”


About The Author

Matt Spenser

Matt Spencer is the author of five novels, two collections, and numerous novellas and short stories. He’s been a journalist, New Orleans restaurant cook, factory worker, radio DJ, and a no-good ramblin’ bum. He’s also a song lyricist, playwright, actor, and martial artist. He currently lives in Vermont. 

You can find author Matt here:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: A Thanksgiving Tribute – Ancestors In New World America by Gayle Michelle Fowler

Author: Gayle Michelle Fowler
Release Date: 9th September 2020
Genre:  Holiday Story, Historical
Series
Format: E-book 
Pages: 103 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Through a granddaughter’s narrative, peek into the phenomenal triumphs that led to a “Gratitude Celebration,” a Thanksgiving tradition.
The story centers on William Brewster, ancestor to many, father of the pilgrims and the nation, who perseveres through dividing issues of his era.

Living in an oppressive state that deems him an outlaw, he must hide before indenturing himself to servitude. Knowing the suffering endured by the tiny fraction who lived to tell of the horrific sacrifices it took to survive in the New World, he shepherded his family onto the Mayflower to voyage to undeveloped lands on a foreign continent to make a new home.

This short exposé connects the holiday feast to both of the first victorious American settlements Jamestown and Plymouth, covering Queen Mary and King James; notable sea captains during the pirate era: Newport, Smith, and Argall; First Nations Indians: the Powhatans, the Wampanoag and their chiefs, Powhatan and Massasoit, as well as crucial pilgrim allies Pocahontas, Namontack, and Squanto. Historical pictures provide visual accompaniment to an epic that passes on these early ancestor’s spirit of survival, hope, and actions for an amicable future.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Thanksgiving Tribute by Gayle Michelle Fowler is a beautiful holiday story about one of the most famous holidays in America – Thanksgiving. But even though the book is primarily about the American tradition and the history behind it – the sacrifices and the bravery of the ancestors, it also shows the relevance of the tradition in other countries, such as India.

Hailing from a country and religion where being grateful is one of the ways of life, I was able to relate to the book a lot, on many levels. I enjoyed it as well as got to learn a lot from it. The main theme of knowing and respecting one’s roots strung at the strings in my heart and I felt emotionally satisfied reading this beautiful book.

I’d definitely recommend it to all readers, especially considering that it is a short and sweet read and also the fact that with Diwali and Halloween approaching, the holiday season is just around the corner!

You can also read this review on

Book Spotlight: The Blazing Chief by Matt Spencer

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Matt Spencer novel The Blazing Chief, the 3rd book in the The Deschembine Trilogy.

The Blazing Chief


Synopsis

For untold ages, the refugees from the land of Deschemb have lived secretly beneath the surface of human society. Now modern civilization crumbles as their ancient feud boils to the surface. As chaos and brutality engulf the world, strange alien forces reshape the lands for a new beginning…for whoever survives.

In the frozen Canadian wastes, the United Deschembines take shelter in an abandoned military base, under the leadership of Jesse Karn, Zane Rochester, and Sally Coscan.

In the Louisiana swamps, Rob and Remelea press towards the ruins of New Orleans, for a final confrontation with Talino.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

You can find The Blazing Chief here:

AmazonGoodreads


About The Author

Matt Spenser

Matt Spencer is the author of five novels, two collections, and numerous novellas and short stories. He’s been a journalist, New Orleans restaurant cook, factory worker, radio DJ, and a no-good ramblin’ bum. He’s also a song lyricist, playwright, actor, and martial artist. He currently lives in Vermont. 

You can find author Matt here:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Great American Jew Novel by Michael Kornbluth

Author: Michael Kornbluth
Release Date: 
Genre: Family Life, Humour
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 110 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:

The Great American Jew Novel is a religious based, midlife crisis, reinvention tale, about a 9-year old daughter who becomes her Stay At Home Comedian Dad’s Talent Agent, to ensure he doesn’t give up on making money off his special brand of funny, in his pursuit to make his Do It All Dad Year come true. Along the way, Do it All Dad develops life altering friendships with female members of the Jewy Manhattan Book Club, a Jewish Super Angel, a new age Kosher butcher from Crown Heights and his younger plant based cheese wiz inventor brother, to form the Do It All Dad Hero Kosher Cheesesteak Food Truck, which proves Do It All Dad, isn’t the last self-loving Jewish New Yorker after all.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Great American Jew Novel by Michael Kornbluth is a heart-warming tale of exploring relationships of a father and daughter, who’s plight is also explored in trying to help her Daddy who is seemingly different from the rest and of friendships that get tested and of finding one’s self.

This is my second book by the author and I loved reading his familiar style of writing which has the quality of touching your heart without being too overdramatic and then smoothing out the potentially heavy emotions with undertones of quality humour. The characterisation was good and I loved reading about even the secondary characters. The overall concept was brilliant and enjoyed reading this book a lot.

Would definitely recommend it to everyone, no matter the genre preference. It is about relationships so I am sure most of the readers will be able to relate to this engaging book.

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: Controlling My Kids With Comedy, A Love Story by Michael Kornbluth

Author: Michael Kornbluth
Release Date: 13th June 2019
Genre: Satire, Humour
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 137 pages
Publisher: Stand Up Staffer
Blurb:

Controlling My Kids With Comedy, A Love Story, is a collection of essays and poems about an unplanned father of three falling for fatherhood and working from home as host of the Do It All Dad Year Podcast to score laughs with his shadow banned jokes from Twitter. Teaching us how controlling our kids through comedy, can make our kids great again. His fuss free children are living proof of it.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Controlling My Kids With Comedy, A Love Story by Michael Kornbluth is an endearing compilation of various forms of literature that were presented with an impressive sense of humour.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would and ended up totally loving every bit of it! It is a short book which proved to be a very smooth read with brilliant writing accented with terrific comedy and endearing characters. The story told in pieces was excellent and had a really good sense of pacing and comic timing. I am really looking forward to reading author Kornbluth’s next book (which is already resting on my Kindle.)

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes to read quality humour.

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: The Trail Of The Beast (The Deschembine #2) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 13th May 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 362 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:

Five years ago, Rob and Sally fled Brattleboro, Vermont. Now married, they are hiding out in a Florida backwater, hunted by both sides of the ancient, otherworldly feud between the refugees of the realm of Deschemb. Meanwhile, Sheldon follows a series of disturbing visions back to Brattleboro. Jesse and Zane’s search for the High Natural lands them at the center of a web of secrets and poison magic in New Orleans.
Within the lands, ancient forces rise towards consciousness, threatening to reshape the world on a cataclysmic scale.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Trail Of The Beast by Matt Spencer is the second instalment in the Deschembine trilogy. It is the sequel to The Night And The Land.

This book surpassed my expectations on so many levels! I was not expecting the conflicts to go so completely out of control on such level (in an obviously good way.) I was expecting to see more of the inter-personal and relationship conflicts, but this book has so much more to offer than just that. The characterisation was a really good development too and the new characters as well as the old ones, especially the old ones, were a treat to read about. I guess it won’t be wrong to say that I enjoyed this book even more than the last one! And I love it when this happens in a series.

The book picks up 5 years after the events of the first book and we get a good glimpse into those years, albeit from a distance which felt perfect to me. The larger conflict was the heart of this book and the author did not fail, whatsoever, to execute it well. And on top of that, there were the brilliant gory action scenes which completely knocked me off! Wow, I really, really enjoyed this book.

This book, in fact, the series (so far), would be great for anyone who’d like to explore a new author or a new urban fantasy series (that leans a bit on the dystopian side.)

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: Mainely Power (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery #1) by Matt Cost

Author: Matt Cost
Release Date: 18 September 2020
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery: Book #1
Format: E-book 
Pages: 304 pages
Publisher: Encircle Publications
Blurb:
Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant he was the head of security at?

This is what the widow asks Goff Langdon, private detective, to find out.

Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To compliment his income in small town Maine’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.

Does Langdon stand a chance against corrupt cops, crooked politicians, greedy millionaires, radical environmentalists, and a deadly assassin named Shakespeare?

With the help of Bart, the bear of a cop, Jimmy 4 by Four the hippie lawyer, the immigrants Jewell and Richam, and his desire and employee, Chabal—he sets out to do just that. And then he is framed for not one, but two murders, and events become very complicated.

Follow Langdon and his band of friends as they attempt to untangle the web of intrigue and return Brunswick to ‘the way life should be.’

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mainely Power by Matt Cost is a very laid-back personal investigator mystery that takes the readers on a ride that starts slow but build up as it progresses.

I love reading cosy mysteries because they are a lot better than hard-boiled detective series in a way that they have everything a mystery buff looked for in a book without the unnecessary and many times indulgent (only for the author) details. And this book proved me right yet again! Cosies are far better and also, PIs are much more interesting to read about than a DI.

Anyway, my thought on the matter aside, this book proved to be one hell of a ride! It started slowly introducing the laid-back main character who is a PI but also has a mystery bookstore. And then he gets tangled in a case that sets him, his dear friends and the readers along with them on a very slippery course. What follows is an array of twists and turns that turns the life of Goff, the main character, upside down.

The book gets interesting by the page and really picks up the pace after the halfway point (in the middle of the 2nd act) until the end, gradually getting faster and faster with each and every chapter which translated into the story turning into an un-put-down-able read. The characterization was brilliant and I loved not only the main character but also the secondary characters. The writing was good and the narration had a very nice flow.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, especially considering the fact that this one is my first book by the author, and I would definitely recommend it to all mystery buffs, especially who love reading cosy mysteries.

You can also read this review on 

RMFAO October’20 Buddy Read Book Selection

So we are planning to have a buddy-read over at RMFAO, my Goodreads Book Club.

It will be a month-long buddy read and we have some really great book options to select from. For the month of October, we’ve picked books released in 2020 that’ve been garnering the attention of the online book community. For this list of books, please see below. We have a poll on RMFAO’s homepage and anyone who is a member fo the group can vote there.

We will select the book with maximum votes and in case of a tie, we will have both the books with maximum votes as our BOOK OF THE MONTH and will read it (or them) in the month of October. As it is a month-long buddy read, you can join us anytime throughout October, the only requirement is to finish the book before the end of October.

We will be discussing the Book Of The Month throughout the month of October on a separate dedicated thread in the group itself but will be maintaining a spoiler-free policy till at least we reach the ‘more than half the month’ mark. After that even spoilers would be welcome as most of the readers tend to finish the book by then.

Here are the options to choose from:

  1. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet
  2. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
  3. Sisters by Daisy Johnson
  4. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  5. A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende
  6. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  7. Things In Jars by Jess Kidd
  8. If It Bleeds by Stephen King
  9. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

And here’s the RMFAO Goodreads Poll:

Poll
Which book would you like to read for the month of October?
(Please vote only if you plan to join the Buddy Read. Don’t worry about the book, we’ll be more than happy to provide you the ebook if you really want to participate in the read with us.)
https://www.goodreads.com/poll/widget/207332-which-book-would-you-like-to-read-for-the-month-of-october-please-vot

Everyone is welcome to join and anyone can participate at any time during the month of October.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Marilia, the Warlord (Chrysathamere Trilogy #1) by Morgan Cole

Author: Morgan Cole 
Release Date: March 2020
Genre: YA Fantays, Coming Of Age
Series: The Chrysthamere Trilogy: Book #1
Format: E-book 
Pages: 482 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:

Formerly published under the title “Marilia, the Bastard.”
Born the bastard daughter of a painted lady, Marilia was told she would live out her days within the walls of her mother’s brothel, a companion for the rich men of Tyrace. But after a terrible betrayal, Marilia’s world turns upside down. With the help of her twin brother, Annuweth, she flees the only home she’s ever known in search of the one man who can offer her a chance at a better life–the Emperor of Navessea’s greatest general, a friend of her deceased father.

What follows is a journey spanning years, from the streets of the desert city of Tyracium to the splendor of the emperor’s keep and the wind-swept, wild island of Svartennos. Along the way, Marilia discovers, for the first time, the gift she has for strategy and warfare—a world that is forbidden to girls like her

When the empire is threatened by a foreign invasion, the defense of Navessea is left in the hands of a cruel and arrogant general no match for the empire’s enemy. With the fate of her new home and her family hanging in the balance, Marilia swears to use all her courage and cunning to do whatever she can to help repel the invasion—if she can convince anyone to follow her.

The struggle that follows will test her to her core and lead her back to the past she thought she had escaped. Facing treachery within her own ranks as well as a devious enemy commander, Marilia will need all the help she can get, even if it means doing something her brother may never forgive—making a deal with the man who murdered her father.

Inspired by The Song of Achilles and Ender’s Game, Marilia, the Warlord is a blend of the epic and the personal, a story of romance, envy, the rivalry between brother and sister, and one woman’s painful discovery that her childhood dreams weren’t quite what she imagined.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Marilia: The Warlord by Morgan Cole is the 1st book in the series The Chrysthamere Trilogy and also my first book by author Morgan Cole (pen name.)

The first thing I’d like to mention about this amazing book is that it is full of life, willpower and strength! This book really got me out of my self-pitying reverie (related to some medical issues) and made me feel like myself again. And I am sure it was all possible only because of the main character, Marilia. She is just so full of life, courageous and willing to do anything in order to achieve her goals. Her relationship with her twin brother was not only portrayed well but felt very realistic as the author showed not only the good but also the bad that is an inevitable part of every relationship.

The secondary characters were all good too. But what I liked most after the characterisation was the world-building – it was brilliant! The writing is really good and presents the plot in a really good way, having a great flow to it which made this book an easy read.

If you are a fantasy lover than you must read this book! I highly recommend it to all YA and fantasy lovers.

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: 9th September 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb:
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind. The generation ship Forever has left earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand. The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Shoreless Sea by J. Scott Coatsworth is the 3rd book in the series Liminal Sky and my third book by author J. Scott Coatsworth.

Wow! What a smashing ending to a brilliant series! If I have to sum up this series in a single sentence, I would say that all the time I put into reading this series was well worth it and I am really happy that I read it. For some reason (and a valid one too) I am a little sceptical when I am offered a series to review because more often than not, authors tend to either completely blow it, or fail to keep up with the one best book in the series. Both of which are pretty irritating and sad, to be honest. But I am so, so happy that this series did not turn out to be one of those: the story grew steadily, and the characterisation along with it, as the series progressed further with each book ending in a way that made perfect sense.

I loved this book because it answered all the questions and tied pretty much all loose ends making it a perfect end to such an epic journey. And thankfully, it lived up to my expectations from it based on its prequels as a reader, so I was left very satisfied. The most amazing part is, I could see the improvement and growth, which is only natural, in the entire series, and this book turned out to be the best one. I loved the plot, the action and the politics involved were well structured and executed.

I loved how the author made use of subtle and well-placed indirect metaphors and juxtaposition to get the bigger point across; we, humans, are indeed scared of things and concepts we do not understand or fail to understand for some reason and therefore are very quick to form an opinion against that concept or thing forgetting, very conveniently, that we are, in the end, beings of evolution and thus will have to accept the changes that we as a species and the overall nature has to undergo or experience.

I’d definitely recommend not only this book but the entire series to all sci-fi and fantasy lovers. And if you’re looking for a new series to explore, I highly recommend Liminal Sky series as this series begins on a great note and ends at an even better note. Go for it, it is well worth the time and money!

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: Meatballs & Microphones: A True Story About Small Kitchens and Big Dreams by Gregory Patrick Travers

Author: Gregory Patrick Travers
Release Date: 3rd June 2019
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 183 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Being a cook and a rapper is hard work. Thankfully there are drugs to make it better.
They say out of all the aspiring rappers trying to make it, only 1% will ever find mainstream success. Gregory Patrick Travers pens a fiction-like memoir of the ups and downs of Vancouver rapper, joBlow. One of the 99% who didn’t. Set in the years 2010 to 2014, not only does the book give you a behind-the-scenes look at the world of underground hip hop and the politics of the chain restaurant industry, but it places you in the timeline of notable Canadian milestones like the 2011 Stanley Cup riots, the Occupy Movement, and the 2010 Olympics.
Meatballs & Microphones is a raw look into how one man’s chase for fame led to the destruction of every personal relationship he ever held dear. From bad band breakups to his struggle with addiction, to being homeless in order to pay for his tour expenses, this book lifts the veil of glamour surrounding fame and focuses on the hardships and downfalls that come with it.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Meatballs & Microphones by Gregory Patrick Travers is a touching and extremely relatable tale of someone who did not make it big in the music industry and, therefore, is a very realistic dig at the other side of the coin towards which a lot of people tend to turn a blind eye. This book is very much an eye-opener for anyone who either wants to enter the hip-hop music scene/industry or want to know how things really are behind the scenes.

I loved the writing of the author as it successfully delivered the context in a very relevant way and managed to pull at my heartstrings at the same time. I felt strongly for the author and was enraged in the last third fo the book, though thankfully, I was relieved by the ending as it turned out to be okay, if not great, for the author.

I’d definitely recommend this book to all the non-fic readers, but I’d also urge the fiction readers to check out this book as it reads really well (almost like a fiction novel) and tells a great story.

You can also read this review on 

Author Interview: Morgan Cole

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Morgan Cole , author of Marilia, the Warlord, the first book in the Chrysathamere Trilogy, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Morgan Cole

Bureaucrat by day, fantasy author by night, I began my writing career with several highly questionable life choices, such as a major in history and creative writing that was meant to lead to a glorious career as a fantasy author but instead led to the world of unpaid internships, minimum wage jobs, and a dingy, lightless apartment in small-town Ohio.

I suppose I took all those motivational posters about shooting for the moon and landing among the stars far too seriously. After a rocky relationship with a literary agent that didn’t quite work out, I decided to pursue an alternative career path (that actually allows me to pay rent) and to write my books on the side.

Growing up, my father instilled in me a passion for ancient Greek and Roman history (especially all the battles!), while my brother helped immerse me in the imaginative worlds of Morrowind and Middle Earth. All those influences are very much present in my writing.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website  | Goodreads | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

I grew up in the American Midwest with my brother, where I spent most of my time pretending I was either in space battling stormtroopers or in some fantasy world battling orcs or demons or whatever the monster of the day happened to be. I was the quintessential quiet, shy, anxious kid—I hated school because it involved social interaction and even CROWDS, a more fearsome foe than any demon. All that self-doubt, fear, alienation—I tend to pour it into my characters. It’s a cathartic process. 

I made a number of poor life choices in the intervening years. One winner has to be signing a contract with a literary agent while in a particularly intensive school program. I soon learned that I had absolutely no time, while studying, to make the edits she sought in order to transform the book from an adult fantasy into the more marketable YA genre. I stalled, and the relationship fizzled out. Afterwards, I decided to go it alone, as I kind of preferred the book as an adult fantasy anyway!

Morgan Cole is my pen name. Why the secret identity? I wish it was because I was some kind of secret celebrity, but the truth is that a buried part of me hasn’t totally given up on trying to get “traditionally” published some day when I have more time to devote to agent-hunting (and a book that better fits the market). And I’ve heard it’s easier to do that if the powers that be don’t realize you’ve published books on your own—an act of rebellion many in Big Publishing seem to frown on.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

Though Marilia, the Warlord is a fantasy, it’s written in the structural style of a historical biographical novel, following the protagonist over the course of many years. I love to explore how childhood shapes who we are, so I couldn’t just not have scenes of the characters as children! It’s also possibly one of the only fantasy books I’ve read without any magic. Sure, there’s some weird creatures here and there, and crystal swords and the like, but no powers or spells. I have nothing against magic in principle, though I do truly hate it when the final showdown comes down to a character using some newly-discovered magical ability to just up and destroy the villain (you hear me, Letter for the King on Netflix??). I’ll take a good old-fashioned sword duel any day.

Finally, each book in this series explores a different theme, and one of my main goals with the first novel was to examine the notion of the “strong female character.” For some reason, the media often seems to assume that it’s empowering when a female character beats people up or kills them. Why? Isn’t it interesting that violence—stereotypically a masculine pursuit—is considered strong, while being less martially gifted is considered weak? Marilia swings a sword around, but that’s not what makes her a strong character. 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

Well, that kind of spoils the ending. But one thing I can say—despite this book being about a badass woman warrior, I did not want it to be about the generic kind of tough girl I see in a lot of recent Hollywood movies and bad novels—saucy, witty, always ready with a quip, always the most composed and unflappable person in the room, and strong by the virtue that she beats up/kills men. In fact, that was one of the very notions that I set out to question—that being a strong female character means engaging in the traditionally masculine, and kind of terrible pursuits of violently killing or beating people up. Why is that what is most respected by our society? How far have we really come if being a strong female hero means entirely rejecting traditionally feminine things in favor of violence? 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

I feel like that’s an easy one. Marilia, of course—the protagonist. She’s the most developed character in the story. She’s also probably the character who changed the most from draft-to-draft, going from a religious zealot who actually believed she heard the voices of the gods to the more grounded, level-headed heroine she is today. I also have a soft spot for several side characters who are loosely inspired by real people I know…but to say who or why would spoil the sequels. 

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else? 

The Chrysathamere Trilogy was inspired by a conversation I had with my brother where we discussed the unrealized potential of the three Star Wars prequels (I was a shamelessly obsessed Star wars fan growing up; I had the Jedi hair going and everything) and how they were ripe for a remake with better dialogue. The story shifted and changed over time, and now only very loosely resembles its Clone Wars-in-fantasy-land origins.

There are certainly a lot of other influences. A song of Ice and Fire, obviously (I liked Game of Thrones before it was cool!), but also some lesser-known books and movies like Searching for Bobby Fischer, a rather excellent movie about chess and the harmful effects jealousy and cutthroat competition can have on children. When it comes to battle scenes and tactics, I tend to steal a bit here and there from real history. In this book, it was Alexander the Great’s epic battle at Gaugamela. 

How long did it take you to write this particular book? 

While I’m happy to finally have this book finished, it was a real struggle to get there! I began brainstorming and outlining this novel back when I was scarcely older than Marilia herself. The writing and re-writing took ten long years! At one point, a literary agent advised me to cut the book (which at that time had two protagonists) in half and focus only on Marilia. I did, and the story was stronger for it. 

What are your writing ambitions? Are you working on any new projects presently? 

When it comes to my writing goals, I’m just going to take things one step at a time. I’ll finish editing and fine-tuning the 4 books (The Chrysathamere Trilogy + 1 other adventure novel) I’ve been working on, and then we’ll see…if people respond to them, like them, I’ll probably feel the urge to make more!

As for the good ‘ol “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question…I don’t think I’ve given an accurate answer to that question thus far in my life. Especially with COVID-19 roiling the globe and political turmoil roiling my home city of Washington, DC, I find it best not to plan too far ahead. In 5 years I could be a victim of the coming apocalypse, who knows? I don’t want to jinx it.

Are you working on any new projects presently?

I’m still working on the third book in this trilogy. It’s the longest and the three, and the bloodiest, so it’s quite a bit of work. I ended up re-writing the last 150 pages from scratch because I wasn’t a fan of the climax. I wanted to be sure to get it right—I might have been inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones but I definitely wanted to make the same mistakes that series did when it came to (not) wrapping things up. After that, I have another nearly-finished project that’s sort of like if The Last of Us met the Princess Bride. 

Why have you chosen this genre? 

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with harrowing sword duels and magical worlds. Together, my brother and I killed many imaginary orcs. So it always felt natural to explore that in my writing. Plus, I’d always wanted to read more fantasy books where there was no magic and the main character was just a regular person, so I figured why not write one? 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way? 

I probably decided to “become a writer” around the time I was ten. I wrote my first novel in high school. It wasn’t totally terrible, but it certainly was pretentious, especially the scene where the villain stopped mid-fight to monologue to the hero for four pages straight about how charity and altruism is for the weak because we live in a society and something something laissez faire capitalism. Just as unnecessarily edgy as you’d expect an emo high schooler’s first novel to be, really. 

It wasn’t easy at all. In pursuing the dream of being a writer, I ended up making some foolish choices in college that cost me dearly when it came time to get a job. I feel, in retrospect, that it’s far better to major in something practical like computer science that allows you flexibility in employment (so as to have time to write on the side) then majoring in creative writing itself. For one thing, none of those classes teach you a whit about how to actually write and sell a novel, and the short story market isn’t exactly robust. I also sacrificed a lot of time I could have spent with friends—still a bit sad about that. 

Because I screwed college up so badly, I ended up struggling for a whole to find a long-term job. Eventually, an immigration lawyer was kind enough to take me in as an assistant after we met in the middle-of-nowhere Texas in a family detention center where we were both volunteering—him as a free lawyer for refugees seeking political asylum, me as an interpreter. Because of my experience working with him, I ended up going to law school, which is funny, because I never saw myself as any kind of lawyer (I always hated public speaking). Life takes you in strange directions, I guess!

I labored for a long time under the delusion that writing could pay my bills. It really doesn’t—the cost of a professional editor alone will easily be more than the yearly earnings of most self-published authors. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t value or beauty in the act of writing. 

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it? 

I have no real ritual. I like to do a lot of planning first—sometimes two months of brainstorming before I ever sit down to write. Even then, the story never goes 100% the way I planned. I write when I have time, which is usually on the weekends. Some of my favorite scenes got down on vacation, though. 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Certainly on a laptop. I tend to hold my pencil with a death-grip and my handwriting is terrible. I’m convinced I was born left-handed and raised right-handed by mistake. I tend to do a lot of editing as I go, so the laptop tends to make that easier. 

Your 5 favourite books?

A tough question, as they tend to change as I grow older. But they might be: Dark Age, by Pierce Brown; Circe by Madeline Miller; The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Kay Penman; Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie; and Horns, by Joe Hill (what is it with Joes?) But I also like Gillian Flynn’s books a lot, and there’s this one book by Nick Cutter called the Troop that gave me nightmares and still gives me the shivers when I think about it, if you’re into that sort of thing…I guess maybe a part of me is still the edgy student I was in high school.  

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

By feverishly trying to brainstorm my way around a problem until I fail miserably, then talking to someone else—a friend, or a relative—until finally clarity strikes. Usually the answer to my plot hole is outside the box. For example, I once spent three weeks agonizing about how Marilia could break into a castle and assassinate a certain character. After devising twelve plans, each more preposterous than the last, I jettisoned the assassination plotline completely and completely re-did the ending of that book. But I really struggle with writer’s block sometimes. For reasons unknown to me, so many of my problems seem to revolve around boats/ships. That naval battle in Marilia, the Warlord? An absolute nightmare. Once this series is over, if I keep writing, I’m going to only write books set in landlocked countries. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

They always say to read in your genre, but I feel like I grew as much, if not more, reading outside it, finding new ideas, and then dragging them back into the fantasy genre. “Literary” fiction, historical fiction, horror—I tend to read those the most. Also, don’t do what I did—major in creative writing in college. They taught me nothing about the marketing side of being an author, and, while my professors gave me some useful teachings regarding writing short stories, I gained almost next to no information about writing novels, which are a very different beast. I wish I’d chosen a major that would have made it easier to get a day job to leave lots of time for writing—I learned best through constant practice. 

Thank you, Morgan, for all your honest and helpful (especially to new writers) answers!


About The Book

Marilia: The Warlord

Born the bastard daughter of a painted lady, Marilia was told she would live out her days within the walls of her mother’s brothel, a companion for the rich men of Tyrace. But after a terrible betrayal, Marilia’s world turns upside down. With the help of her twin brother, Annuweth, she flees the only home she’s ever known in search of the one man who can offer her a chance at a better life: one of her deceased father’s friends, the Emperor of Navessea’s greatest general. 

What follows is a journey spanning years, from the streets of the desert city of Tyracium to the splendor of the emperor’s keep and the wind-swept, wild island of Svartennos. Along the way, Marilia discovers, for the first time, the gift she has for strategy and warfare—a world that is forbidden to girls like her.

When the empire is threatened by a foreign invasion, the defense of Navessea is left in the hands of a cruel and arrogant general no match for the empire’s foes. With the fate of her new home and her family hanging in the balance, Marilia swears to use all her courage and cunning to help repel the enemy…if she can convince anyone to follow her.

The struggle that follows will test her to her core and lead her back to the past she thought she had escaped. Facing treachery within her own ranks as well as a devious enemy commander, Marilia will need all the help she can get, even if it means doing something her brother may never forgive—making a pact with the man who murdered her father. 

Inspired by The Song of Achilles and Ender’s GameMarilia, the Warlord is a blend of the epic and the personal, a story of war, romance, envy, the rivalry between brother and sister, and a young woman’s fight to find her place in the world. 

Get your copy of Marilia here:
Amazon | Kobo | B&N | Smashwords | iBooks


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: An Indelible Day by Cairo Marques

Author: Cairo Marques
Release Date: 23 July 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 25 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The story accompanies a single day of John C., a man of about thirty. In this short passage of time he has three dialogues with three different people. These dialogues, certainly, have shaped his day and, likely, will exist within him eternally.

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

An Indelible Day by Cairo Marques is a very unique and fresh take on the various facades we put on for different parts we play in our life. What makes this story even more interesting is that this book tells the story of the main character through a single day.

The writing was good for the most part and the characterisation was good (it had depth and layers) and the story, overall, was very interesting. Given that this book takes less than half an hour to read (a lot less actually,) it would be perfect for anyone looking for a quick engaging read.

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: The Night and the Land (The Deschembine Trilogy Book 1) by Matt Spencer

Author: Matt Spencer
Release Date: 13th May 2019
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Deschembine Trilogy (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 362 pages
Publisher: Back Roads Carnival Books 
Blurb:
Among the local hippies and squatters of Brattleboro, Vermont, Sally Wildfire is on the run, hiding from her cruel, relentless family. She finds unexpected love with Rob, a bristly young man freshly awoken to alien sensations and ancestral memories of a long-forgotten realm…setting them both on a collision course with a brutal rite of passage, as the Wildfire family leaves a trail of mangled corpses on the road to Brattleboro. 

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Night and the Land by Matt Spencer is a brilliant urban fantasy read that hooked me right from the beginning and left me wanting for more in the end! It is a perfect start to a trilogy and I am definitely looking forward to reading the next 2 books in this series.

The best thing about this book, for me, was the world-building. The author has woven an intricate universe that merges seamlessly with ours and leaves you wondering about the story having some truth to it. It is the best kind of fantasy when it makes you question your reality and for me, that is where this book wins!

Other than that, the characterisation was good enough, the narration was superb and the plot was simply out of the world. I loved every bit of it, though I am holding back one start cause I have a feeling the sequel might be better as it will be developing the world and characterisation further (or at least I hope so.)

I’d definitely recommend it to all fantasy readers. It is worth all the time!

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: SUPERBU Homecoming: The emotional story of a family and their dog by Debarshi Kanjilal

Author: Debarshi Kanjilal
Release Date: 15th August 2020
Genre: Contemporary
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 117 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
You cried with Hachiko. You got spooked and then laughed it off with Scooby Doo. And you fell in love with John Grogan’s incorrigible Marley. But you have yet to meet a dog quite like Super Bu ♥. After years of arguments on the matter, the Bera family has finally decided to bring home a dog.✓ Ajay has wanted a dog since he was a child. He has fantasized about every version of his future life around them.
✓ His brother, Arun, would love to get a dog as much but doesn’t mind not having to clean up after one.
✓ Ajit, their father, also wants to get a dog. He just wants to feel the love of a dog again, like he used to when he was a child.
✓ Barnali, Ajit’s wife, loathes the idea of having a dog in the house. She spent her childhood praying for only one thing, that she shouldn’t get married into a family that has dogs. And until now, she got her wish. But now, Ajay has finally worn out his mother’s resilience and the Beras are bringing home a dog. Will this be the homecoming that the dog or the family had anticipated?
Read now and find out.

P.S. This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.
So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together? This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.
★ If you have ever felt like you needed to be loved a little more than you are, I hope that this story tells you exactly how to find that love.
★ Some early readers said, “This is a book about poop, the pooper, and the poop cleaners, but it is about much more.”
★ A significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go toward funding the Buzoland project. The Buzoland project is a personal endeavor of the author of this book to create a home, not a shelter, for stray and abandoned dogs in India. The goal is to give these homeless dogs the same love and care that one would give a purebred dog.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Superbu: Homecoming by Debarshi Kanjilal is a beautiful book about the journey of the main characters as new dog-parents. It not only had a lot to offer to those who’ve gone through similar experiences but also for those who want to have a pet or wish they had one and plan for it someday.

The writing in the book is good which was, of course, why I rated this book so highly. The story had a very nice flow and I am looking forward to reading more books by the author in the future.

Being a cat-mom of over 8 house-cats and another 10 outside-cats, I was able to relate to this book a lot. It managed to tug on my heartstrings and, therefore, I’d definitely recommend it to everyone.

You can also read this review on 

Also check out author Debarshi Lal’s other posts on TRB:

Book Review: The Rising Tide (Liminal Sky #2) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date: 16th October 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, LGBTQ
Series: Liminal Sky (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 388 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb:
Earth is dead. Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.

Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.

Book Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth is the 2nd book in the series Liminal Sky and my second book by the author. In one sentence, I loved it!

This book picks up 5 years after where the first book ended and carries on from there. There is no Earth now and so this book is set in a humungous space-ship which sustains life. I loved the new settings. The world-building was impressive and I enjoyed imagining the life in this one-of-a-kind world throughout the book. Though the best thing about the book is the utopian dream that the villain nurtures. I loved it because whenever in a book, especially in sci-fi-fantasy books, the concept of a seemingly utopian dream is introduced, it invariably leads to the exploration of a lot of interesting as well as important themes. And that is exactly what happened in this book. Therefore, it won’t be wrong if I’d say that I actually liked this one better than the first book!

Even though this book is a part of a series, you can read it as a stand-alone novel (at least, in my opinion,) because even though the events are carried forward, most of the book is based in a new world than the last one and except for a couple of main characters, the rest of the characters are mostly new – and that is kind of the whole point of this story, so you can definitely read it as a stand-alone. Anyway, reading the entire series is definitely recommended.

You can also read this review on 

Guest Post: The Four Secret Ingredients of a Successful Indie Author by Debarshi Kanjilal

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting Debarshi Kanjilal, author of SuperBu: Homecoming, to share some secrets of being a successful independent author.

Note: Read author Debarshi Kanjilal’s interview with TRB here

The Four Secret Ingredients of a Successful Indie Author

I wanted to be a writer since the age of eight but didn’t know the path to becoming one.  At the time, my idea of being an author was being published by Penguin Random House or Bloomsbury. Indie publishing had too much stigma around it.

Years later, when I did end up choosing the path of indie publishing, I was still fighting against similar stigma. But several books, blogs, forums, and courses later, I now know the reason for that stigma as well as the way to avoid it.

A traditionally published author enjoys a few unfair advantages because they’re backed by a big money business. But the unfair advantages created by that money can be offset by the additional effort and time put in by an indie author. So, what are these unfair advantages?

Editing

People often jump to the conclusion that big publishing houses sell more because they have a bigger marketing budget. While not untrue, they don’t just put money into marketing. They invest heavily in their editorial team – professional proofreaders, copy editors, substantial editors, they make sure that every book is editorially perfect. An indie author doesn’t always have the budget for all of that, but most rookie indie authors make the mistake of publishing without any editing whatsoever. I have been there and I still have some books out in the market that suffer due to editorial inferiority. But having learnt from those errors, I now have a formula that works – I try to work with at least three beta readers and at least one copy editor and implement their feedback before publishing anything. This ensures that my books have minimal editorial issues without shooting a hole through my pocket.

Typesetting and Formatting

Books are for readers – a very finite market segment. The truth is not many people who are not readers will buy and read your book. And readers are conditioned to expect a certain way of typesetting and formatting books. A good book will just not capture a reader’s imagination if it is formatted or typeset in a way that distracts them. The good news is that the bulk of indie publishing happens on Amazon, and Amazon has a product called Kindle Create that makes it easier to properly format and typeset both print books and e-books. It is important to utilize these resources efficiently.

Mailing List

While big publishers have access to a vast group of readers who are already waiting for their next book, indie authors do not have such a vast pre-existing audience. They need to cultivate that audience and regularly engage with them. A mailing list is the most effective tool to this end. Yes, you can also cultivate your audience via social media, but email is still the most effective way to connect with them on a personal level. A person who receives an email from you will care more about you and your book than someone who stumbles upon your post about your own book on social media. Social media works best when other people start talking about you and your book.

Digital Marketing

Lastly, big publishers have access to thousands of physical bookstores to display their books and therefore putting their books in front of innumerable eyes. As an indie author, you and I may not have this luxury. However, if your book cannot get any eyeballs then your book isn’t going to sell any copies. This is where digital marketing helps. Amazon ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, etc. democratize advertising to the extent possible. Even an indie author can set aside a small budget to test an online ad, see how it performs, optimize it further, and get in front of thousands of eyeballs. This is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to pass.

Being an indie author can be a rewarding as well as a fulfilling journey. But make no mistake, an indie author needs to work harder and keep toiling alone much longer in order to achieve success. That said, a good story supported by these four secret ingredients can make your journey absolutely worthwhile.

About the author:

Debarshi Kanjilal

Debarshi Kanjilal (DK) is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. His debut novella, Based on Lies, was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.

His latest novella, SuperBu: Homecoming is an emotional journey of a family and their dog. Debarshi ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces.

He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has helped shape adult learning strategy for some of the most well-known organizations globally.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website  | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


ABOUT THE BOOK:

SuperBu: Homecoming

This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.

So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together?

This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.

You can find SuperBu: Homecoming here:

Amazon | Goodreads


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Debarshi Kanjilal

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Debarshi Kanjilal, author of SuperBu: Homecoming, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Debarshi Kanjilal

Debarshi Kanjilal (DK) is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. His debut novella, Based on Lies, was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.

His latest novella, SuperBu: Homecoming is an emotional journey of a family and their dog. Debarshi ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces.

He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has helped shape adult learning strategy for some of the most well-known organizations globally.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website  | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

Hello to the readers of TRB! I am an urban fiction author based out of Bangalore, India. I published my first novella, Based on Lies, in 2017 and now I have a new story to share with the world. When I am not writing, you will find me lecturing people about the way adults learn, spending time with dogs, fiddling with my phone, or begrudgingly cooking a meal in the kitchen. Before the pandemic hit, you’d also have found me planning weekend road trips around the city.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

I don’t think it will come as a surprise, but the story of SUPERBU is inspired by the life of Buzo, who was a part of our family until recently. When I had first started planning the story, it was meant to be a fantasy about a four-legged superhero. But with time, I realized that every dog is already a superhero for its family; I didn’t need to give Bully, the dog who this book is about, any additional superpowers to tell the story I wanted to tell.

As for Buzo, she will always be my superhero. And if this book does well, she will, hopefully, become a superhero for some other dogs. I plan to use most of the proceeds from this book to fund the Buzoland project, which will provide a real home for a few stray dogs. Being able to get the Buzoland project off the ground will mean much more to me than any accolades this book may or may not earn.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

In its essence, SUPERBU Homecoming is the story of a flawed family. I care deeply about each character in that family. Homecoming is the first novella in the SUPERBU series and it focuses heavily on Bully a.k.a. Bu, who the novella is named after and Barnali, the lady of the family. Homecoming is as much Barnali’s story as it is Bully’s.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else? 

I think I kind of answered this question earlier. I wanted to write a book to commemorate my dog, Buzo, who we lost a couple of years ago. This is, among other things, my attempt to do some good in her name.

How long did it take you to write this particular book? 

Homecoming is the first of three novellas in the SUPERBU series. The idea to write a book like this came to me a couple of years ago, conceptualization happened a year ago, the actual writing took a month, perhaps, and editing took another month and a half. I work with a few amazing beta readers in my network who really help me refine my work after the first draft is done. 

What are your writing ambitions? Are you working on any new projects presently? 

I think the goal is to transition into being a full-time writer but right now I just want as many people to read the stories of SUPERBU as possible. I have a few too many projects in the pipeline, to be honest. The immediate focus will be on two of them:

  • The next novella in the SUPERBU series – Becoming
  • And a novelette I have in the works called Government

Why have you chosen this genre? 

I find genres quite limiting. I tell people that I write urban fiction because it allows me to explore a variety of themes within an urban setting. I wrote SUPERBU because I love dogs and to commemorate my dog.

When did you decide to become a writer? 

When I was eight, and every couple of years after that. But I think I have been serious about it for the past couple of years. I like the idea of being an indie author. I feel that it liberates me to write about the things I want to write about and in the manner that I want to write about them. I truly believe that novellas and novelettes are the future of books and yet traditional publishers often push these formats to the sidelines. If we are to capture the imagination of a new generation of readers, we cannot expect them to spend days or even months reading one book. As an indie author, I can cater to that modern reader who is reading on electronic devices and hopping from one interest to another every couple of days.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it? 

A lot of ideation without any actual writing for weeks, followed by panic and a few weeks of 3 or 4-hour writing sprints, and then editing like a madman. Personally, working with chapter outlines or scenes hasn’t really worked out for me. I like to write my stories in sequence. 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I write on my laptop but I am getting more savvy with mobile word processors. In time and with the advent of superior technology, I won’t mind writing books on my cellphone.

Your 5 favourite books?

I love answering this question, thanks.

  1. The book that got me interested in reading as a kid was Moby Dick. 
  2. A favorite of mine in contemporary Indian literature – Ghachar Ghochar. 
  3. Third, I’d say Lord of the Rings. I’d recommend anyone to pick LOTR over Harry Potter books, if you had to choose. 
  4. Four, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Not many people have read this but it is such a fantastic, whimsical book.
  5. Lastly, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. I loved learning about a different side of Mahatma Gandhi.

If I may take the liberty of adding one more to the list, Maneaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett is a blast of a read.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

By procrastinating until an idea hits me. 😊

No, but seriously, the answer is often care. If I care about a story, I am more likely to be able to write about it than if I don’t. I have realized that writer’s block often comes from an attempt to be inauthentic. I often found myself not being able to write something that I have not experienced in any way, shape, or form. Having had those experiences, I try to only tell stories that I can relate with on some level. Also, switching off for a bit of time helps – music, movies, a long drive, they all seem to work for me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Getting your work published is easier than ever now. But that also means that competition is stiffer than ever, post publication. Take your time. Invest in professional editing. Know that writing is 20% of the work but the good news is, no one’s stopping you from acing the other 80% either. Persevere and you will succeed.

Thank you, Debarshi, for all your insightful answers!


About The Book

Superbu: Homecoming

This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.

So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together?

This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.

You can find SuperBu: Homecoming here:

Amazon | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Twins Of Shadow by Abby Arthur

Author: Abby Arthur 
Release Date: 1st January 2020
Genre: High Fantasy, Novella
Series:
Format: E-book
Pages: 104
Publisher:
Blurb:
A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…
…killing for a cause they both despise.
A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…
…killing for a cause they both despise.

Bound to a dragon by a powerful spell, Tarrek and Albree are sent on their deadliest mission yet: Overcome an archangel, capture an innocent snake whisperer and smuggle him across foreign soil, alive. If they fail to comply with the spell’s demand, it will drive them to insanity. Yet a deadlier force commands their attention when an ice-wielding slave trader freezes several civilians in a local village, ensnaring Albree’s love interest in the process. Will the twins choose to complete their near-suicide mission or fight insanity to save innocent lives?

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Twins Of Shadow by Abby Arthur is a fantasy novella about assassin twins. I was sold on the idea of the book as soon as saw the cover and read the sub-title as I am a big lover of assassins and the idea of twin brothers being that totally made me want to read it. And thankfully the book turned out to be good!

I appreciate the fact that it was a novella, which Is pretty rare for the genre where you get only these elaborate series. So you can get a taste fo the author’s writing in a comparatively short piece of work which was damn quick to read. Though obviously, it came with another set of problems – the world-building and the characterisation weren’t able to develop as well as they would have done in a full-length novel (there’s obviously a reason why fantasy books tend to be so long.) So it won’t be wrong to say that I really wished that the author would have explored the world further and given us some more character development making it a lengthier book, but well it is what it is.

Still, for a debut work, the book is pretty good, the writing decent, the characters were not overly relatable but I liked them enough to be happy to follow them on their journey and the plot was really good. So, given the length of the book, I’d definitely recommend it to all fantasy lovers.

Audiobook Review: Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Author: Heather Morris 
Narrated by: Richard Armitage 
Release Date: 11th January 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 8 hours
Publisher: Bolinda/Bonnier Audio
Blurb:
A tale based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov.

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her. 

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris is the real-life story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who was imprisoned in the infamous Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the holocaust. Although the story is mainly about how he met his wife, Gita, and fell in love with her, the details and the insights of the concentration camp were horrifying and agonisingly insightful. The horrors of the camp were told from a very neutral perspective and therefore gave the readers a chance to feel things on their own without clouding their judgement. And for me, that was the best part of the book.

The romantic part was not particularly appealing to me, but the rest of the story was pretty good. I really thought that the character of Gita wasn’t done enough justice in the book, especially considering how the book was actually written for her. Male ended up dominating the story far more and it felt like his tale alone.

Though I did like the epilogue by Lale and Gita’s son as it lent an air of eery realism tot he book. I’d definitely recommend it to all historical fiction lovers and to all holocaust enthusiasts.

“𝑰𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒘𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒖𝒑 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈, 𝒊𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒂 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒅𝒂𝒚.”

H𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝑴𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒊𝒔

Cover Reveal: SuperBu: Homecoming by Debarshi Kanjilal

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Debarshi Kanjilal, for the cover reveal of his upcoming book SuperBu: Homecoming.

Presenting the beautiful cover of SuperBu: Homecoming by Debarshi Kanjilal

This is not a children’s book or a fairy tale. This novella is not all about fun, or that fuzzy feeling you get from stories about dogs. It is a dramatic story of a family who brought home a dog. If you are looking for a book that’ll keep you continuously smiling through the antics of an adorable puppy, this is perhaps not the book for you.

So, now that you know what not to expect, let’s talk about what you can expect from this book. Have you or someone you know ever felt like something is missing in your life and getting a dog could help you fill a void? Did you, or an acquaintance of yours, end up actually getting that dog? Did you and your dog figure out how to navigate through life together?

This is the story of that dog, or a dog like that one. But more importantly, this is the story of that version of you, or that acquaintance of yours, who decided to act and bring home that dog, or of people like you who went through similar experiences in life.

You can find SuperBu: Homecoming here:

Amazon | Goodreads


About The Author

Debarshi Kanjilal

Debarshi Kanjilal (DK) is an urban fiction writer based out of Bangalore, India. His debut novella, Based on Lies, was touted as a gripping psychological thriller by several reputable reviewers.

His latest novella, SuperBu: Homecoming is an emotional journey of a family and their dog. Debarshi ran the ‘God of Absurdity’ blog from 2012 to 2015, which published humorous anecdotes and reflection pieces.

He is also an accomplished learning experience design professional who has helped shape adult learning strategy for some of the most well-known organizations globally.

Author Website  | Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at  thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Abby Arthur

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Abby Arthur, author of Twins of Shadow, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Abby Arthur

Abby Arthur writes young adult fantasy in a fascinating modern world full of magic and adventure that lingers even after the last page. With over 20 years of writing experience, she loves giving readers an escape from reality and is constantly creating new stories. Her magic portal is located in small town Iowa, protected by herself, her husband, and their son. Her first book is Twins of Shadow.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter  | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | YouTube | Goodreads



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. 

Hi beautiful readers! I’m Abby Arthur, a young adult fantasy author. I strive to take you on an adventure in a magical land you can never forget with characters and experiences that linger even after the last page. 

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

TWINS OF SHADOW is the first book I’ve published in a world of magic that’s been living inside me since I was 8 years old. Tarrek and Albree (the twins and the narrators) are some of the first characters I created. They have been with me for almost twenty years. The twins have, therefore, woven themselves into many more books to come. 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

My first reaction: Albree! Because he’s tall, dark, and handsome … (Wait, so is Tarrek. They’re identical!) 

My second reaction: Ok, let’s be serious now … Looking back. Tarrek used to be my favorite (When I was, like, 12) because he was so sensible. However, a friend of mine mentioned how she loved Albree and his “bad-boyness”. She said he had more depth to him because of his rebellious behavior, and something inside me just agreed with her. He’s been my favorite ever since. 

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else? 

I was inspired to write TWINS OF SHADOW for a few reasons:

  1. I wanted people to start falling in love with the characters I’ve lived with for years. 
  2. Books can break through all kinds of barriers. Books reach across the world, helping people connect with each other. (I think of LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER when I say this.)
  3. I dream of creating a reason for people to connect, to form a fantasy loving family around the books I write. TWINS OF SHADOW is my first step towards that goal.  

How long did it take you to write this particular book? 

A week. 

I was on fire. The story idea rushed me like a raging river and sucked me under time and time again. I would lay down for bed and jump back up to write more. Then I’d wake up early and start at it again. I wrote around 5,000 words a day. 

What are your writing ambitions? Are you working on any new projects presently? 

My ambitions are to write until my soul is called home. Stories run thicker than blood in my veins. I’m addicted to writing and can’t imagine life without it.

I’m always working on new projects. I want to see my books spread across the world in multiple languages so the fantasy family can grow. 

Just in the last 6 months, I’ve written 3 novels and finished a short story collection. (It’s faster to write than publish :)) All of the stories I’ve finished take place in the same world as TWINS OF SHADOW, and in many of the stories I completed, the twins make multiple appearances. 

One of the novels I wrote is told by Sheva, Tarrek and Albree’s crazy younger sister. (She makes an appearance in the second half of TWINS OF SHADOW.) Her novel shows us why she’s crazy (and freakishly powerful). It also follows what she was up to while the twins were on their mission in ToS. Sheva’s story also has a mysterious heart throb and his rival, Albree’s best friend. 

Why have you chosen this genre? 

I first chose fantasy as a child around the time HARRY POTTER came out. I’ve never read the books myself. (Dramatic gasp). My parents were a part of the “Anti-Harry Potter fan club” when I was young. But I watched the movies at a friend’s house—the most rebellious thing I ever did, I promise.

That said, the book that got me into fantasy was SHADOWMANCER by G.P. Taylor. Followed by the LORD OF THE RINGS movies. 

My books were originally inspired by Tolkien’s world and featured a 13-year-old boy as the star. (I was 8 and 13 seemed like such an old age to me!) My characters grew up with me, gained technology, and eventually got stuck in their teens. What a way to be, right? 

When did you decide to become a writer? 

When I was 8 and my sister read young adult books to me at night. I thought the stories were awesome and just thought, I can do that! So I started writing, and I’ve never stopped.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it? 

I get to my computer, open my current story, and set to it. 

My writing time has changed over the years as I’ve grown up, moved around, and gained my own family. I now tend to wake up at 5:30 AM to write for a few hours before everyone else is up. My son takes a nap at 9, and I write again. 

I go to work at 12pm and get off at 5pm, so if my husband is home at night, I write some more. I’m obsessed, and my husband feeds the obsession by reading what I write. He’s always up to speed on my character’s lives.

If my husband isn’t home at night, I read books and watch TV shows to feed the stories inside me.

I also always have a notebook with me to brainstorm ideas on the go and during downtime at work. 

Making time to keep my body healthy is crucial as well. If my body isn’t in good health, my writing lags. Therefore, I always tend to do something physical in the 8’oclock hour. Yoga has been my go-to for months! My exact writing formula is to break my stories into 4 parts, brainstorm the overall goals of the book, then write all my scenes in order. I can go on, but I explain more on my writing style in my YouTube videos. The one titled “Short Story Writing Tips for Fantasy| 4 EASY STEPS” is actually the formula I use for everything I write, not just short stories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Computer!

I tried a pen and paper when I was 16. My hand cramped so bad! And I still had to move what I wrote to a computer… I ain’t got time for that!

Your 5 favourite books?

Number one is easy. Cassandra Clare is my idol! So of course CITY OF BONES is number one. Sabaa Tahir has a way of making me shake to the core with her un-conventional plot twists, so her AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is number two. THRONE OF GLASS was just so good, and though I’m not in love with every Sarah J. Maas story, I LOVED that one. Four is the POISON EATERS AND OTHER STORIES by Holly Black, because her short story, COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, is burned to my mind! The fifth is harder to choose, because there’s a lot of good books I’ve read… but right now I’d say KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson.

  1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. 
  2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black
  5. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Ooo, the notorious question! There’s not too often I run into writers block these days, as the muscles in my mind related to book stuff seem to be on overdrive! BUT, in the last year I remember one moment where I stood before the computer unsure as what to write, like my inner writer fell asleep! (How dare she!)

After about a minute of contemplating the little curser blinking at me, I took a step back, grabbed a notebook and pen, and implemented something I learned from the author of WRITING BETTER LYRICS, Pat Pattison. 

Shameless plug* 

WRITING BETTER LYRICS is about the craft of writing itself as much as it is about writing songs. It is the single book I credit to GREATLY improving my writing style, so I highly recommend it!

Anyway… Pat teaches something called Object Writing, where you pick one thing to write about (a phone, paper, etc) and ramble about it. However, the rambles are to use all your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste). This naturally causes me to write with metaphors and similes. I do this exercise quite often (for about 5-10 minutes) in the mornings before I write. It has turned out to be an INSTANT writer’s block conqueror for me.

So that one day when writer’s block thought it could claim me, it was instantly conquered by a 5 minute Object Writing session. My inner writer woke up and my story came rushing to me. The blank page disappeared, and I had 1000 words to show for it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read books in your genera. Read a lot! But also read how-to-write books from people who’ve gone before you. It will accelerate your writing skills and make your books better faster. 

If writing is your dream, and all you can think about is being a writer, you can do it! You will learn to brush off rejection, improve your skills, and never give up. Because you can’t ever give up, even when your fingers cramp from writing 5000 words for three days straight, and you’re rejected too many times to count. 

As in the words of Lisa Nichols, “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.” 

Thank you for sharing your time with me!

-Abby Arthur

Thank you, Abby, for all your enthusiastic and insightful answers! I personally love doing prompt-writing too and object writing sounds fun! Will definitely give it a try.


About The Book

Twins Of Shadow

A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…

…killing for a cause they both despise.

A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…

…killing for a cause they both despise.

Bound to a dragon by a powerful spell, Tarrek and Albree are sent on their deadliest mission yet: Overcome an archangel, capture an innocent snake whisperer and smuggle him across foreign soil, alive. If they fail to comply with the spell’s demand, it will drive them to insanity. Yet a deadlier force commands their attention when an ice-wielding slave trader freezes several civilians in a local village, ensnaring Albree’s love interest in the process. Will the twins choose to complete their near-suicide mission or fight insanity to save innocent lives?

All eBook formats Free at https://abbyarthur.com/
Get the physical copy here: Amazon



To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews

Author: John Mathews
Release Date: 25th January 2015
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 72 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications
Blurb:
Two criminals are responsible for an innocent man getting sentenced to life for murder. An inept defense attorney and a crooked prosecutor are the other players in this case of egregious American corruption. 
The four of them have been lured into a trap in an abandoned warehouse. Someone wants vengeance. This is a story of vigilante justice for the wrongfully convicted. Marked doors lead to four locked rooms, one where each of them will have to pay a price for what they have done. What will they be required to do in order to survive? 
This riveting crime thriller puts the American justice system in public view and will keep you guessing until the very last scene. A dark masked figure watches…waits…and wants revenge.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews is a surprisingly amazing read! I usually don’t expect much from a novella unless of course it is written by authors like Stephen King, but this book turned out to be an absolute delight.

This novella is jam-packed with high tension scenes, mind-boggling manipulative games, fast-paced action and clever twists and turns – all this in just 72 pages! And for me that itself was the best part. This book was an intense yet quick read and kept me on the edge the entire time.

This book was able to accomplish what a lot of lengthy mystery and thriller novels fail to achieve and so I would definitely recommend this book to all thriller lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads & Amazon

Guest Post: The Power of Metaphors and Similes by Abby Arthur PLUS A Mega 17 YA Fantasy Book Giveaway

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting Abby Arthur, YA Fantasy author of TWINS OF SHADOW, to share some insights into her process of writing.

Note: Details on the giveaway running for the month of August 2020 are at the end of the post*

The Power of Metaphors and Similes

Ever read a book that sucks you in, describing the setting like a whirlwind of mystery wrapped in the snuggly arms of a wild grizzly bear? 

Or have you found yourself so deep in the thick of a battle scene, you could feel the blood gush from your own arm?

I have experienced this, my friend. And I’ve come to analyze these stories to understand why I was so captivated. 

To give you real-life examples of stories that have sucked me in, there are:

  • CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi 
  • SORCERY OF THORNS by Margret Rogerson.

From the very start, the books above use words that paint pictures, pictures that make you feel what the character is feeling.

To do this, the authors use METAPHORS and SIMILES.

What is a Metaphor? 

According to author Pat Pattison in his amazing book, WRITING BETTER LYRICS: 

“In its most basic form, a metaphor is a collision between ideas that don’t belong together.”

Here’s an example: The princess is a delicate lily.

With using a metaphor to describe the character, you can’t see the princess without seeing a delicate lily, and therefore, you instantly know the princess is beautiful and fragile. 

Try this: The princess is a vicious wolf.

In this example, you don’t think of a flower or fragileness. You see a powerful woman with strength, determination, and a dangerous drive to survive. 

What is a Simile?

A simile is a lot like a metaphor, but it differentiates by the connecting word “like” or “as”. A metaphor says the subject IS the descriptor (the princess IS a delicate lily). But a simile merely compares the two (the princess is LIKE a delicate lily). 

I’ve noticed more similes in stories than direct metaphors. Both are beautiful, but I feel saying “the princess IS a vicious wolf” has a more substantial impact on the story verses she is LIKE a vicious wolf. The “IS” transforms her before your very eyes. Don’t you agree?

So How Do You Make Great Metaphors and Similes?

Practice. Take 5-10 minutes a day before you start writing your stories and create metaphors and similes. You can describe your characters, your settings, your cup of coffee, your dinner, your dog… 

The more you practice, the faster your brain will be able to call upon them when you’re writing. 

I promise, it works! 

Try the practice exercise for 7 consecutive days and you will be AMAZED at your progress in such a short time!

Implement Metaphors and Similes in Your Story

When you write, start to watch for moments you can implement a metaphor or simile. 

Just knowing to keep your eyes open will bring forth the opportunity to add them. 

For example, maybe you’re writing something like, “The princess was tall and thin.” Now that you know to watch for a chance to insert a metaphor or simile, you will realize you can say instead, “She was tall and thin, a towering tree overlooking the kingdom like a noble guard.” 

The more you implement metaphors and similes, the more your story will come to life and transport your readers into your magical world (fantasy or not)!

The Major 17 YA Fantasy Book Giveaway

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for!

For the month of August 2020, Abby Arthur is giving away a total of 17 YA Fantasy novels and a new eReader from Amazon – the Kindle Fire 7, over the course of the next 4 weeks.

YOU GET 4 CHANCES TO WIN A PRIZE!

The details are as follows, and the link to enter is here: https://abbyarthur.com/giveaways/august2020  

Upon entry, every contestant will also receive a FREE eCopy of Abby’s book, TWINS OF SHADOW.

On August 7

Abby is drawing a winner for the current books in Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES series, which includes:

  • AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
  • A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
  • A REAPER AT THE GATES

These will be HARDCOVER COPIES! With a total value of $60 US Dollars.

On August 14th

Abby is drawing a winner for 3 books from New York Times Best Selling Authors.

  • CHAINS OF GOLD by Cassandra Clare
  • A BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES by Suzanne Collins
  • HOUSE OF EARTH AND BLOOD by Sarah J Maas

These will be HARDCOVER COPIES! With a total value of $80 US Dollars.

On August 16th
I’m drawing a mid-giveaway bonus winner for Starr Z. Davies’ YA Dystopian duology: ORDINARY. 

  • ORDINARY
  • UNIQUE

These will be AUTOGRAPHED TRADE PAPERBACKS! With a total value of $25 US Dollars. 

On August 21st

Abby is drawing a winner for Holly Black’s series: FOLK OF THE AIR.

  • THE CRUEL PRINCE
  • THE WICKED KING
  • THE QUEEN OF NOTHING

These will be HARDCOVER COPIES! With a total value of $80 US Dollars.

On August 28th

Abby is giving away the grand prize, which includes the eReader and 8 eBooks at a $150 value:

Kindle Fire 7

  • 1 A SONG OF WRATHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A Brown
  • 2 THE KINGDOM OF BACK by Marie Lu
  • 3 WICKED SAINTS by Emily A. Duncan
  • 4 THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION by Kiersten White
  • 5 CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
  • 6 THE CURSED CHILD by J.K Rowling
  • 7 SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
  • 8 SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson

Enter NOW for your chance to WIN!

Click here => https://abbyarthur.com/giveaways/august2020

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Go to the link above
  2. Enter your email address
  3. Follow Abby on her social platforms (Gives you 50X more chances to win!)
  4. Share your lucky URL (extra 20X chances to win per friend to enter)

Good Luck, my friend!

About the author:

Abby Arthur

Abby Arthur writes young adult fantasy in a fascinating modern world full of magic and adventure that lingers even after the last page. With over 20 years of writing experience, she loves giving readers an escape from reality and is constantly creating new stories. Her magic portal is located in small town Iowa, protected by herself, her husband, and their son. Her first book is Twins of Shadow.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter  | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | YouTube | Goodreads


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Twins Of Shadow

A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…

…killing for a cause they both despise.

A crown prince and his twin brother are secretly skilled assassins…

…killing for a cause they both despise.

Bound to a dragon by a powerful spell, Tarrek and Albree are sent on their deadliest mission yet: Overcome an archangel, capture an innocent snake whisperer and smuggle him across foreign soil, alive. If they fail to comply with the spell’s demand, it will drive them to insanity. Yet a deadlier force commands their attention when an ice-wielding slave trader freezes several civilians in a local village, ensnaring Albree’s love interest in the process. Will the twins choose to complete their near-suicide mission or fight insanity to save innocent lives?

All eBook formats Free at https://abbyarthur.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Twins-Shadow-Abby-Arthur/dp/1712078585/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com