Book Review: Revimore by Ciel Dexter

Book Details:

Author: Ciel Dexter
Release Date: 
14th September 2022
Series:
Genre: Speculative Fiction, Feminist Literature
Format: E-book 
Pages: 160 pages
Publisher: Pink Narcissus Press
Blurb:
“At Revimore we do not pretend to take away your grief. Death is a natural part of life. But what if you were able to continue to share your life with your loved one? To begin and end each day knowing that you never need to be alone again?”
Told through the voices of women touched by loss, this thought-provoking work examines the nature of grief, and the ethical dilemmas inherent in Revimore, a company that creates artificially intelligent replicants to replace loved ones after death.

“Dexter raises all the standard questions about AI rights, sentience, and ethics, but the close, personal lens on the issue provided by her three captivating heroines adds depth and nuance to these themes. It’s a well-done meditation on humanity, companionship, and grief.”

Publishers Weekly

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Revimore by Ciel Dexter is a work of speculative feminist literature that explores the technological responses to grief by three different women in three different parts of this short story.

I loved reading this book because provided such a unique perspective on technology on the whole and grief as a specific theme. The writing is very smooth and fluid and made reading this book a fantastically quick affair, which I always appreciate. I liked how the author put her ideas and thoughts forward without them being overbearing at any point in the entire story, which is a difficult feat to achieve in feminist literature and I’d like to commend the author on executing the concept in such an interesting yet non-provocative way.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all speculative readers and to feminist ideologists and readers of related literature. Though even if you are not a feminist, this book could simply be enjoyed as a work of speculative fiction alone.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Excerpt Reveal: Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery by Dr. Kathy Martone

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author Kathy Martone who’ll be sharing an excerpt from her latest release Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery.

About the Book

Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery

The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.

You can find Victorian Songlight here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobel

Excerpt

Chapter 1

It is a cool winter evening in mid-January, and the moon is full, casting her alabaster veil over the tiny house nestled among the forest of trees deep within the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas. The three-room cabin is home to Hank and Jane, a newly married couple in their twenties. Where Hank is dark haired, rail thin, and movie-star handsome, his wife is an auburn-haired beauty with big, green eyes. Jane is nine months pregnant with their first child and frequently troubled with the anxiety of a first-time mom.

“O-o-oh I wish this baby would get on with it!” Jane complains to her husband, who is engrossed in the newspaper he holds in front of his face. “Honey, would you hand me my knitting needles?” she asks as she awkwardly deposits her very large bottom into the antique rocking chair. Silently Hank tosses her the pointed plastic tools, letting the ball of yarn unravel across the room behind them. “Ha-a-ank! Can’t you please just hand me the yarn too? I can’t exactly do
much without it, ya know.”

Hank begrudgingly stands up and slaps the newspaper onto the yellow-and-red plaid couch while bending over to retrieve the pesky fabric sphere. Handing Jane the desired object, he ambles over to the record player, a wedding present from his parents, and moves the needle up and over the black plastic disk already in place. As he gently drops the tip of the pin onto the shiny grooves, the silky melody of Frank Sinatra’s voice fills the room with its soothing refrain:

I look at you and suddenly
Something in your eyes I see
Soon begins bewitching me
It’s that old devil moon
That you stole from the skies
It’s that old devil moon in your eyes

Blinds me with love
Blinds me with love

Closing his eyes as he sways to the music, Hank doesn’t notice his wife’s grimace of pain and her back-arching exit from the chair. “Hank!” she yells. “I think this is it! Better call Jessie and get me a towel. I think my water just broke.”

Instantly Hank snaps to attention, his eyes wide open with concern. “Of course, my darling. Of course. Let’s get you into the bedroom first.”

One hour later, Jane is lying drenched in sweat in their double bed, waiting for the midwife to arrive. Tearfully she clenches Hank’s right hand in a viselike grip, causing him to wince in pain. “Honey, stop! You’re hurting me,” he says as he gets up to answer the knock at the front door. “Hope this is Jessie,” he mumbles. “Don’t think I can deal with this much longer.”

Hank hurries into the living room and jerks open the door, relieved to see Jessie standing there with her thirteen-year-old daughter, Winnie. “Black as the Ace of Spades, the both of them,” he mumbles under his breath.

“Sorry, Mistah. What was dat you jus said?” Jessie asks. “I couldna unnerstan a word dat you jes spoke.”

“Never you mind, Jessie. Just please get into that bedroom and take care of Jane, will ya?”

Jessie nods her head and bobbles her round, short body across the living room, pulling her daughter along with her. “Jessie, is that you?” Jane calls from the bowels of the birthing room.

“Yes ma’am,” Jessie replies. “’Tis Jessie fer sure come to hep you, Miss Jane.” Jessie enters the small room and looks around before moving to the bed and taking Jane’s hand in hers. “It’s goin’ to be okay, Missie,” she whispers.

Minutes later, Jane’s high-pitched screech causes Hank to stop dead in his tracks just outside the bedroom door. “Holy shit,” Hank snorts. “This is more than I bargained for.” Taking a deep breath, he cracks open the door and cautiously peeks inside the semi-dark room. Jessie has her back to him as she peers between his wife’s spreadopen legs on the bed. “Everything okay?” Hank whispers.

Jessie turns around slowly and escorts him out of the room, ordering him to boil some water. Once she thinks he is out of sight, she shakes her head and makes the sign of the cross over her forehead. “Poor thang,” she mutters to herself. “This ain’t goin’ to be no easy birth, no way.” Looking out the window at the moon scudded with bluish-colored dark clouds, she brings her hand to her mouth. “Oh my, my!” she utters between her fingers. “We in fer a long night, sure ‘nuf!”

Lying peacefully in their bed the next morning, Hank and Jane can’t stop smiling at their baby daughter sound asleep between them. “She’s such a pretty thing, Hank, isn’t she?” Jane gushes to her husband. Hank nods in silent, blissful agreement. “But, sweetheart, did you notice this ugly, red birthmark on the back of her neck?”

Hank gently turns the infant over onto his arm and there he sees it—a dark red mark in the shape of a crescent moon, of all things. “What the hell?” Hank mouths silently to his wife.

A knock at the front door startles them both, and Hank places his precious child back in her mother’s arms to go see who could be bothering them so early in the day. Hank’s scowl turns to a bright smile when he sees Jessie standing before him. “Oh, goodness, Jessie! I almost forgot about you. Come on in and have a seat. Jane’s resting with the baby and besides, I want to have a chat with you, if you don’t mind.”

“Sure ‘nuf, Hank,” Jessie replies as she sits in the rocking chair. “What name did you give dat little one?” she asks as she sways back and forth.

“Kate,” Hank responds. “We named her Kate, after my mother. She looks like a Kate, don’t you think?”

Jessie smiles and nods her head, clearly enjoying the soothing motion of the rocker. “Kate’s a might purty name, sure ‘nuf, Mistah Hank.”

“Oh, Jessie. I almost forgot. Here’s your money—well earned, I must say!” Hank hands her a wad of dollar bills. “Now then, about our chat.”

Jessie comes to a halting stop in the rocker and takes the payment, placing the money in the front pocket of her red calico dress. Then placing both hands on her knees and staring right at Jane’s husband, she says, “Yessir. What you wanna talk ‘bout?”

Hank clears his throat and stammers. “Well, uh, gosh, Jessie, um, I’m not sure how to bring this up. But well, geesh, I was watching how you reacted to that moon outside the bedroom window last night. Something upset you, didn’t it?” Coughing into his fist, Hank continues. “And on top of that, why Jane and I saw that awful red birthmark on the back of our baby’s neck. We want to know what you make of that too!”

For several long minutes, Jessie sits stone quiet in the chair just staring at Hank. Finally she stands up, never taking her eyes off his, folds her arms, and says, “Thought you didn’t b’lieve in my dealins in dat dere magic, Mistah Hank. I ‘member you tellin’ me lossa times never to bring any o’ dat nonsense into yore house, ‘member? You called it nonsense, ‘member?”

“Yes. Yes, I remember, Jessie,” Hank says, waving his right hand in a gesture of dismissal. “You know me. I’m always spouting off saying things I don’t really mean. Now can we please talk? I really am interested in what you have to say, okay? Please, Jessie. This is my daughter we’re talking about here!”

“Okay, Mistah Hank, if you be sure den.” Jessie speaks slowly, holding her breath as she resumes her seat in the rocking chair and begins to swing back and forth, back and forth, her eyes closed and her hands placed solemnly on her knees. After what seems like an eternity to Hank, she exhales loudly, opens her eyes, and says, “Dat chile o’ yorn, Mistah Hank, is mighty gifted, being she was born on da night o’ da Devil Moon. Dat birthmark, as you call it, is da mark of dat light in da night sky. She goin’ to be quite a magician but her life also goin’ to be harder dan most. Quite distressin’, actually, poor thang.” Jessie looks down at her hands and shakes her head slowly.

“Devil moons, they give an’ they take, Mistah Hank,” she continues. “Tragic.” Jessie’s expression turns even more decidedly downcast. “Mos’ likely she gonna feel like she don’t b’long nowhere. Shapeshifter she be, scarin’ folks as Miss Kate won’t never appear same ways twice.” Taking a deep breath, she finishes, “Now da givin’ part of da lady in da night sky. Da givin’ part is a spirit man, Mistah Hank. A spirit man who goin’ to love Miss Kate like none udder. A spirit man wit’ big ole yeller eyes.”

Standing up and wiping her hands on the front of her dress, the black-skinned sorceress speaks her final words. “And lastly, Mistah Hank, yor preshus chile, she gonna ‘member lots o’ da happenins in her early livin’, mark my words. She even gonna ‘member this here night wit’ dat moon. Oh, she won’t know dat what she ‘members but she’ll ‘member jus da same. Good day to ya and thanks fer the cash,” she says, patting her front dress pocket. “You take good care now, ya hear? You and da missus, you take good care.” And Jessie the shamaness turns on her heel and exits the house, leaving Hank feeling dumbfounded.

“Aw, shit—what a bunch of nonsense!” Hank exclaims quietly.


About The Author

Dr. Kathy Martone

Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Before retiring, and moving from Denver, CO to Eureka Springs, AR in 2015, she was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys. The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  Dr. Martone’s work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

In 2006 Dr. Martone self-published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  Essays and short stories written by Dr. Martone have been published in eMerge, an online magazine published by The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow.  In addition, some of her writings have also appeared in two anthologies titled Dairy Hollow Echo and Not Dead Yet 2.

You can find author Kathy here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

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: Enhanced: Book One of The Terrian Trilogy by Jenny Benjamin

Book Details:

Author: Jenny Benjamin
Release Date: 
1st October 2021
Series: The Terrian Trilogy (Book #1)
Genre: Young-Adult, Science-Fiction Fantasy, High Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 260 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Jesse Woods – drum line maestro, track star, honors student – is a standout as one of the only Black students at a suburban Chicago high school. His well-organized world is thrown into chaos when his school is attacked by an alien species, Terrians, who have been playing gods throughout human history. Jesse and two others from the drumline, Kate and Hayden, are pulled into an epic alien conspiracy and forced on a quest to retrieve an ancient artifact that will help decide the victory in the battle for planet Earth. The three teenagers will face impossible odds and fight the powerful enemies, as well as their own demons, to protect their loved ones and save the world they know.
Yeah, right, what else, locusts? Dragons in the sky? Alien ships? War between worlds? Armageddon? Yes. Maybe. Only Jesse and his friends can stop it.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Enhanced by Jenny Benjamin is the first book in the new young-adult sci-fi-fantasy Terrain trilogy. This book marked an excellent beginning of what could be a potentially amazing trilogy. This book had everything that I had expected and SO MUCH MORE!

The concept is brilliant setting a strong foundation not only for this book but for the next two books as well and the author’s writing kept the flow of the story very fluid and smooth making it a flawless experience. The characters were well-built and the world-building was up to the mark, the creatures/monsters were terrific and the detailing in the book was commendable. Overall this book made for a fantastically engrossing read and had me hooked right from the beginning till the very end, making me want to jump into the next book right away (which, of course, I did!)

I would strongly recommend this book to all science-fiction readers and to high-fantasy enthusiasts who love reading well-developed and realistic young-adult characters.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Author Spotlight: Dr. Kathy Martone

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Kathy Martone on The Reading Bud for her upcoming book Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery.

About The Author

Dr. Kathy Martone

Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.  She and her husband also manage two small BnB’s in their charming turn of the century village.

Before retiring in 2015, Dr. Martone was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys.  Prior to this, she was the director of a small mental health clinic and then she served as company psychologist for Southwestern Bell Telephone.  She taught classes at Colorado Free University, The Jungian Ministries International, Naropa University, and Iliff School of Theology.  For the past 35 years she has studied with Richmond K. Greene, past chair of the New York Jungian Institute. 

The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  As a Jungian psychologist and shamanic practitioner, energy and depth of meaning are very important to her.  So frequently she will accent the tapestries with symbolic objects, such as old pieces of jewelry, the lining from a purse that belonged to her grandmother, or a piece of ribbon she wore as a little girl.  Layering these materials into a meaningful image evokes for her the multi-layered realms of dreams, myth and metaphor.  Like the magical nets of ancient shamans, these colorful tapestries ensnare the features of her dream spirits as they stare back at her from their watery dimensions.  Her work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

In 2006 Dr. Martone self published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  The book chronicles the author’s relentless quest for self understanding and provides a blueprint for other seekers who are looking for spiritual enlightenment while grappling with painful life experiences.  Written in easy to understand language, the book explains how various spiritual and psychological practices were brought together in an alchemical blend to produce a potion of timeless healing.  Weaving its way through such healing practices as psychotherapy, shamanism, Buddhism, Jungian thought and dream work, the reader is given a clear map for psychological and spiritual change.

Essays and short stories written by Dr. Martone have been published in eMerge, an online magazine published by The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow.  In addition, some of her writings have also appeared in two anthologies titled Dairy Hollow Echo and Not Dead Yet 2.

You can connect with author Martone here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email


About the Book

Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery


The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.

You can find Victorian Songlight here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobel


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 Spotlight: Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery by Dr. Kathy Martone

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author Kathy Martone for her latest release Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery.

Victorian Songlight

Book: Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery
Author: Dr. Kathy Martone
Publication Date: 16th October 2019
Page Count: 210
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Magical Realism
Publisher: Dreaming Big Publications


About Victorian Songlight

The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.

You can find Victorian Songlight here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobel


About The Author

Dr. Kathy Martone

Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Before retiring, and moving from Denver, CO to Eureka Springs, AR in 2015, she was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys. The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  Dr. Martone’s work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

In 2006 Dr. Martone self-published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  Essays and short stories written by Dr. Martone have been published in eMerge, an online magazine published by The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow.  In addition, some of her writings have also appeared in two anthologies titled Dairy Hollow Echo and Not Dead Yet 2.

You can find author Kathy here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email


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: Driveway Detailing Warrior: DIY Money-Saving Guide to Sports Car Detailing at Home on a Budget by S.L. Lucas

Book Details:

Author: S.L. Lucas
Release Date: 
11th August 2022
Series:
Genre: How-To Guide, Non-Fiction, Instructional
Format: E-book 
Pages: 260 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Psst, did you know that a filthy car could be a disaster for your love life?
It’s true; a survey revealed that 51% of those polled would end the first date early if their date showed up in a dirty car, and 23% have finished a relationship because of their partner’s filthy ride!
Tragic!
In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, S.L. Lucas serves up ten inspirational in-depth chapters full of sage advice, money-saving DIY detailing projects, the odd heart-warming story and occasional fruity language.
TO HELP YOU:
Understand why you need not pay sky-high pro detailer’s prices to bring out your motor’s beauty and how to keep her in stunning tip-top condition at a fraction of the pro detailer’s cost.

Learn the pro hacks and techniques on a journey of discovery where you’re empowered with the know-how to bring your beast back to her former glory with the power of home detailing on a budget.
Transform your Sports Car back to her former alluring beauty yourself, turning her into the glorious envy of friends and neighbours.
From the book’s beginning you’ll understand why you need to embrace the Driveway Warrior spirit. You’ll learn how to DIY detail your ride Driveway Warrior style and how to use the power of home detailing on a budget to thrive in your endeavour to create the ultimate DIY detailed street weapon…

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Driveway Detailing Warrior: DIY Money-Saving Guide to Sports Car Detailing at Home on a Budget by S.L. Lucas is an amazing book that will provide its readers with an in-depth insight into home detailing on a budget, something that would save you a LOT of money and would provide you with the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

This book talks about the Driveway Warrior spirit which to me seemed like a great concept and almost like an ideology. Through ten chapters, the author takes the readers through a rigorous procedure of how to not only take care of the care but also how to maintain it. This book is every car lover and owner’s dream come true!

I would recommend this book to all car owners, car lovers and enthusiasts.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: The Billionaire’s Conspiracy (Janusz Soltani #3) by M.J. Javani

Book Details:

Author: M.J. Javani
Release Date: 
28th March 2022
Series: Janusz Soltani (Book #3)
Genre: Espionage, Action Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Format: E-book 
Pages: 307 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
TO PROTECT EVERYTHING HE LOVES, HE MUST DEFEND TRUTH
The time is the present. A group of anarchists is planning to attack the White House. They are supported by a rapacious billionaire with a secret agenda. Across the Potomac River, someone is systematically killing members of a private intelligence company. Known as Unit 81, this group is not subject to the debilitating political correctness that shackles the federal bureaucracy.

A trusted liaison points the finger at the Russians. But all is not as it seems. When the Unit’s top operative, Janusz Soltani, discovers the truth about their enemies, his wife is mysteriously kidnapped. Time is running out to rescue her from a horrible end.
Fans of Robert Ludlum, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor will enjoy this action-packed series.

Author MJ Javani has created a compelling conspiracy thriller that becomes more engrossing with each chapter.”

BestThrillers.com

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Murder, mystery, mayhem… this book has it all!

The Billionaire’s Conspiracy by M.J. Javani is the third instalment in the Janusz Soltani series. It is an action-packed thriller that leaves the reader at the edge of their seat for most of the book and throws them completely off-guard right towards the end, reeling them back with a twist in the gut – well, at least that’s how I really felt!

This book is a complete package for espionage thriller lovers and occasional readers of the genre, such as myself, as it has so much to offer right from an elaborate conspiracy to well-built characters walking a tight rope full of tension and suspense. The thrill seeker in me relished the action sequences and the out of the box twists that the author had in store around every bend throughout the novel.

I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly and would recommend it to all thriller, mystery and espionage fiction readers. And also to those readers who are looking for a new series and/or a new author to explore.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Hip Set by Michael Fertik

Book Details:

Author: Michael Fertik
Release Date: 
19th September 2019
Series:
Genre: Noir Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 200 pages
Publisher: Skiddaw Books
Blurb:
Oscar Orleans is a Congolese refugee in Israel. He’s also the only Hebrew-speaking liaison to the African refugee community living in Tel Aviv’s worst slums. When his old friend Inspector Kobi Sambinsky of the Asylum Unit calls him early on Shabbat morning, he knows something is wrong. A young South Sudanese immigrant has been found murdered in the city’s most iconic waterfront building and no-one can quite place his origins.

The only clue is his unusual name, Kinga, which he shared with another refugee from eight years earlier, and a controversial political figure in South Sudan’s most dangerous warring faction. Kobi and Oscar must venture into the heart of Tel Aviv’s Sudanese underground, Israel’s hyper-violent Russian mafia, and a mystery that has been dormant for years near the shores of the Dead Sea.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hip Set by Michael Fertik, the New York Times best-selling author, is a smashing new noir thriller that would take you on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and fast-paced action through the rich settings of Tel Aviv and would leave you wanting more.

I loved this book because the writing flowed so well and had such an amazing literary quality that it did not feel like the author’s first noir thriller but more like a nuanced piece of work by an expert. The characterisation was rich, relatable and realistic – the three Rs that made this book a complete package for me.

Other things that I appreciated in this book are the vivid settings of Tel Aviv that transported me right in the middle of a place I’ve never been to (and would most definitely like to visit someday, especially after having read this book), the African refugee situation that the author has explored in this book and thus provided a very different side of Israel to the readers and, last but not least, the amazing concept of the book (which was totally mind-blowing!)

I would strongly recommend this book to all thriller and mystery readers and to those readers who like reading about different cultures, places and settings. This book delivers on so many fronts that I am sure it will have something or the other to offer to all its readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Love The Dark Days by Ira Mathur

Book Details:

Author: Ira Mathur
Release Date: 
1st September 2022
Series:
Genre: Memoir
Format: E-book 
Pages: 232 pages
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press Ltd.
Blurb:
This frank, fearless and multi-layered debut centres on a privileged but dysfunctional Indian family, with themes of empire, migration, race, and gender. The Victorian India elephant in the room in Ira Mathur’s silk-swathed memoir Love The Dark Days is in chains. By the time calypso replaces the Raj in post-colonial Trinidad, the chains are off three generations of daughters and mothers in a family in their New World exile. But they are still stuck in place and enduring insecurity and threats, seen and unseen.

Set in India, England, Trinidad and a weekend in St Lucia, with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott Love the Dark Days (Peepal Tree Press) follows the story of a girl, Poppet, of mixed middle-class Hindu and Elite Muslim parentage from post-independent India to her family’s migration to post-colonial Trinidad.
Profoundly raw, unflinching, layered, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity, Love the Dark Days reassembles the story of a disintegrating Empire.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love The Dark Days by Ira Mathur is an emotionally gripping, complex, hard-hitting yet beautiful and creatively written memoir exploring familial ties in a dysfunctional setting. In this remarkable book, the author also explores the labyrinthine effects of migration and racism as the main story unfolds making it a remarkably complex, and thus, a very engaging read.

I loved reading this book because it had so much to offer to its reader in terms of emotional depth, varied perspectives on the problems that are faced by many and, in the end, a ray of hope, that we all are unwittingly looking for.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all memoir readers because this book is one of a kind and the writing is absolutely brilliant.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: The Young by Nicholas John Powter

Book Details:

Author: Nicholas John Powter
Release Date: 
28th May 2020
Series:
Genre: Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 128 pages
Publisher: Balboa Press Au 
Blurb:
A father and his son home has been attacked by a mysterious man, an omen a sinister presence has come about the lands of “The Deluge”, the great sun gods know as the Phrazon mur guide and protect the inhabitants who are awake during the day while the evil creatures and man alike come to fruition during the night. For that where the great evil moon gods come up out of hiding. A Religious cult known as the “Spawn” and their most prestigious leader Roland seek to extract the power of the moon gods and destroy the sun gods and plummet the world into but darkness and sorrow. Out two unlikely protagonist must go on a journey to stop them and free their lands from both the gods and the cults grasp. As somewhat reluctant they may be, they will set out on a task of many dangers and one most foreign to them. A journey of family, love loss violence and devastation, divinity and faith.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Young by Nicholas John Powter is a unique fantasy novel that will take you on a rollercoaster of a magical emotional ride.

One of the reasons why I really liked this book is because of the unique and very rarely used concept of the sun and moon gods going against each other. And the second reason for having really liked this book is the tricky and complex relationship between a father and son that the author has explored in this book. Both these things set The Young apart from other fantasy novels. I enjoyed how the plot unfolded and how different sub-plots and side characters and their stories and conflicts kept the momentum of the story building, while the relationship between Sven and Fren sees its fair share of ups and downs and well… we get to see an apt demonstration of a realistic development that can only be experienced as the story unfolds.

I’d recommend this book to all fantasy lovers who want to explore a book on a new concept and to those readers who want to explore a title by a new author, especially about the dynamic between a father and a son.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Author Interview: Tim Aherns

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of The Grand Game (Dark Creatures #2), Tim Aherns, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Tim Ahrens has been writing for more than forty years, and he is especially passionate about character creation. He has worked on a number of short stories and novels and has frequently collaborated with other writers. Dark Creatures: The Grand Game is his third book; his first was The Salvation of Tanlegalle with a foreword by Piers Anthony, followed by Dark Creatures: A Simple Game. Find more at www.thedarkcreatures.com.

You can connect with author Tim Aherns here:
Author Website


Interview

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

Hello, my name is Tim Ahrens and I have been writing or involved with writing since I turned 14 years old. I got started writing short stories and novels mainly because of one of my best friends. His name was Tim Atkinson. He got me hooked on a little-known game at the time called Dungeons & Dragons. As it turned out I would end up game mastering our group more than playing. In fact, the players loved the games I concocted so much that many of them, including Tim, pushed me to start writing my ideas down for future stories. This is how I started down the long path of a writer. I soon began incorporating my fantasy stories with my other passion: horror. I’d been in love with horror since I was ten. I used to sit with my father every Friday and Saturday night and watch horror movies with him. It was one of the tings that brought me closer to him. He started me off with the classic Universal monster movies. Then TV series like Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and One Step Beyond. To this day I still feel a pang of sadness for the Frankenstein monster, or Lawrence Talbot’s curse to become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the moon is full and bright.

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

The Dark Creatures series is a multi-level story. The first level is that of the ancient forgotten Gods that have been cast out of our reality and into a realm where they are forced to wait until the end of creation. In order to alleviate the boredom of eternal life they have been granted the power to play a Game they have dubbed Dark Creatures. In this game two Gods face off against one another in a god versus evil scenario. They are allowed to chose two mortals who have little or no connection with current history and use them as pawns. While they play an amphitheater full of Gods waiting their turn to play cheer, boo or bet on the outcome.

The second level deals with the human pawns chosen for the game. William J. Donovan and Doug Pimpkin have no idea that the events that are unfolding around them will alter their world forever.

The third level is that of the actual living world known to its inhabitants as the world of Dark Creatures. This is a dark world where every nightmare or horrifying creature you can ever dream up lives and roams. Humans also exist in this dark world, but they are in the minority. Into this world William and Doug create their own pawns, bringing to life their own avatars so that an even more complex game can be brought to life for all to enjoy. Dark Creatures: A Simple Game and Dark Creatures: The Grand Game follow these motley entities as they try to stop what was supposed to be a simple game of pawn against pawn from spiraling out of control and threating the very existence of the universe itself.    

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

Stop every once in a while and look up from your busy lives at the world around you. You never know what or who may be watching you as you watch them.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I love all of the characters in my books. All of them have a life and a flavor all their own. But if pressed for an answer I would have to say Llica Travilan. Why? Well, I get to write songs for her to sing. She’s a quick-tempered, good-hearted bard who loves Augury with all of her heart. She faces life with an adventurous gusto yet is never too busy to stop and play with a child or teach a dark-hearted individual manners. She’s just fun to write.

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

Believe it or not, I got the motivation to write the Dark Creatures Series from an anime I was watching at the time called Berserk. It’s about a swordsman who wanders a very dark world in search of his mortal enemy. After listening to the music along with the anime I suddenly began to see my story forming in my mind.  

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

It took about a year to write The Grand Game. I had to keep starting and stopping because I have a full-time job that keeps the roof over my head lol.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

I’d love to say that I’d be a full-time writer with a fan base and enough of a following that I can do this full-time. But until that happens I will continue to create the world of Dark Creatures and hold down my full-time job.  

Are you working on any other stories presently?

Yes, Book Three in the series, called Dark Creatures: Worlds Without End. I hope to have it done sometime near the end of 2023.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I love the fusion of horror and fantasy, or dark fantasy, as it’s called. I can and have written short stories in sci-fi and modern settings, as well as Westerns and Gothic settings. Dark Creatures just happened to be set in a dark fantasy setting.

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

As I said above, I started writing when I was about fourteen. And I have to say, yes, it’s been easy to follow this passion because I can move it at my own pace. As far as sacrifices go, I really didn’t have to make many. I loved to dream and when I wrote I dreamed in 3D. Beside friends pushing me into spending the money to get published as well as giving me their endless goodwill when I flooded them with questions, like Is this any good? What do you think? Do you like this?

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

I sit down and get my bearing after I return home from work for about half an hour. Then I pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on my computer, and put on the soundtrack music that is most appropriate to the scene I am working on. Then I just begin to write, and the world opens up before me in my mind. Sometimes I only write for an hour. Sometimes for half the night. It all depends on how that world flows out before me.

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

I use a computer. Without Word my poor editor might pull their hair out lol.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

Steven King’s Firestarter. Pers Anthony’s The Blue Adept. Elaine Cunningham’s Daughter of the Drow. Robert A. Heinlein’s Friday. And Brian Stableford’s The Werewolves of London.  

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I take long walks. Try to clear my head. Listen to music. Take a nap 🙂

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up. All you need is time to hone your craft. Also, never throw anything away!! You never know when you might need that page!

Thank you, author Tim Aherns, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

The Grand Game

A Grand Game of Dark Creatures has Begun!
Three new Gods join the Janus’s in the madness that has become a Grand Game of Dark Creatures. Circe, Goddess of magic, Apophis, God of chaos, and I Am, Eder God of nightmares, add their human pawns to the game table that has become Millten, Wisconsin. 
In turn two more souls join William J. Donovan and Doug Pimpkin, the Gods’ human pawns, as all are forced to craft slaves of their own with in the very fabric of yet another world. A world of real fantasy and nightmares. The true world of Dark Creatures. 
What role will Augury Pars and Llica Travilan play? What other horrors may they encounter as they strive to survive as they do the bidding of their human masters? Does the town of Millten, it’s people, as well as the whole of creation, still rest on in their hands? Or is there another force at work that may tip the balance of power and doom all the worlds to darkness?


Come read, enjoy, participate in the greatest of all role playing games! Welcome to Dark Creatures: The Grand Game!

You can find The Grand Game 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 featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio 

Book Details:

Author: L.J. Ambrosio
Release Date: 
6th July 2022
Series:
Genre: Coming-Of-Age Fictional Memoir
Format: E-book 
Pages: 238 pages
Publisher: Film Valor
Blurb:
A Reservoir Mancritics have hailed this explosive and timely work as “a must-read coming-of-age story of 2022.” Twists and turns further pull the reader in to Michael’s action-packed tale, with powerful themes, from betrayal and family to secrets and identity. “Be sure not to blink because you just might miss a pivotal moment in Michael’s rousing, larger-than-life story.” –R.C. Gibson, Indiestoday.com. “This book is a dream, a gamble, a utopia, even.” — Kalyan Panja, Bookmarkks.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio is a brilliantly written coming-of-age fictional memoir that is sure to steal your heart and leave you craving for more.

This book had nearly everything that makes it a perfect read – good writing coupled with great plotting and exceptional pacing, strong characterisation, a lot of tension in the right places and a complex yet identifiable and relatable concept. I enjoyed reading this book because of the amazing and realistic characters that were incredibly relatable and made me want to “know more and more” about them, even the secondary characters.

I’d highly recommend this book to all readers of memoir and fictional memoir genres as this book has a lot to offer all its readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Harvey’s Hutch by Phillip Dodd

Book Details:

Author: Philip Dodd
Release Date: 
11th August 2022
Series:
Genre: Memoir
Format: E-book 
Pages: 228 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
‘Many children have terrible childhoods. But in mine there is a hole…”
The gaping rent that four-year-old Philip Dodd found one morning in the wire mesh of the hutch which had housed Harvey, his pet rabbit, became a metaphorical one which, along with Harvey’s disappearance, has haunted his thoughts throughout his life. In this sensitive, beautifully told memoir, Dodd ( ‘ a small boy with more air in my brain than knowledge ‘) finds himself, if not Harvey, and learns to become at peace with the unknowable and the forces of darkness. ‘The horns of Elfland are still blowing, as Alfred Lord Tennyson once heard them, and preserved them in his lines, and somewhere beyond the border stones, through the mist on the moors, strange folk ride, as they ever did, in the shadow of the dark tower,’

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Harvey’s Hutch by Philip Dodd is a beautiful, lyrical, sentimental, philosophical memoir about coming to terms with what life throws your way and making the best of it – the classic lemon and lemonade situation but written with a lot of poise, sophistication and reverence of one’s own surroundings and people.

Harvey’s Hutch is a beautifully written book that takes the readers through the author’s life, step-by-step, year-by-year giving it a very familial coming-of-age feel making it an instantly relatable tale that is hard not to feel a connection to. It is written in very thoughtful and engaging prose that delivers the author’s sentiments in a beautiful litany of introspective thoughts and exposition that I found extremely easy to read, because of the great narrative flow, and was able to connect to.

I would strongly recommend this book to all non-fiction readers and memoir enthusiasts as I am sure there is much to be gleaned for each reader from such an emotionally complex and rich piece of writing.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Spotlight: A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio 

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, we are featuring author L.J. Ambrosio for his latest release A Reservoir Man.

A Reservoir Man

Book: A Reservoir Man
Author: L.J. Ambrosio
Publication Date
Page Count: 340
Genre: Fictional Memoir
Publisher: Film Valor


About A Reservoir Man

A Reservoir Man, critics have hailed this explosive and timely work as “a must-read coming-of-age story of 2022.” Twists and turns further pull the reader into Michael’s action-packed tale, with powerful themes, from betrayal and family to secrets and identity.

“Be sure not to blink because you just might miss a pivotal moment in Michael’s rousing, larger-than-life story.”

-R.C. Gibson, Indiestoday.

“This book is a dream, a gamble, a utopia, even.”

-Kalyan Panja, Bookmarkks.

You can find A Reservoir Man here:
Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub


About The Author

L.J. Ambrosio

Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theatres for eight seasons. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career.

You can find author Ambrosio here:
Instagram | Blog | YouTube Channel


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: Reed Logan Westgate

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of The Infernal Games (Book One of the Baku Trilogy), Reed Logan Westgate, from Atmosphere Press, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.

About The Author

Reed Logan Westgate was born in Sanford, Maine and attended college in Dover, New Hampshire where he studied Accounting and Finance. He currently works for a non-profit social service agency in the finance department. He married his dream girl whom he met in grade school. They have a loving family with two beautiful daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys tabletop gaming, roleplaying games, and fishing. Learn more at .

You can connect with author Reed Logan Westgate here:
Author Website


Interview

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

I was born and raised in Sanford, Maine, where I still reside today. Growing up was tough for me. I was bullied and teased relentlessly because of my weight. High school was a daily exercise in torment for me because I had very few friends and there was a plethora of mean-spirited kids. I had always wanted to be a writer and had planned on going to college for creative writing on graduation. Life didn’t really go as planned. Instead, I got my degree in accounting, settled down, and did what was expected of me. I worked decent jobs, bought a house, had two beautiful children. From all traditional measures I should have been happy. I wasn’t.

Then one day, while giving my oldest daughter a lecture about having the courage to chase her dreams instead of chasing a paycheck, she hit me with the “What about you?” It was a gut punch. Twenty years had passed since I graduated, and I had never truly given any effort to realizing my dream. In a large part, it was self-doubt. If I never tried, then I could never fail. The dream would always exist out there in the nebulous place we call “someday”. That moment was my someday, and I spent the next year working on The Infernal Games. Writing again, with purpose, was like finding that piece of me that was left behind as a child. The wonder and awe, the ability to build a world and share it—I had forgotten how much I truly enjoyed being a storyteller.

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

The Infernal Games is set in our world, where magic has been kept from the world at large by the Grand Enchantment: a powerful spell attributed to the Druids that creates the Mist, a dense fog that clouds the mind and conceals magic. The characters and setting imagine a world where all magic, all the gods, all the religions are real. They have just been concealed. This creates an underground society steeped in magic, from the Brother’s Three who sell information and black-market spell components in the farmer’s market to the nightclub operated by the Fae. Magic lurks everywhere in the world around us, just waiting to be discovered.

The central protagonist, Xlina, is the descendant of the Baku legend. A mythical creature from Japanese lore which consumes dreams. She is cursed to experience nightmares every night, but due to her father being a Druid her body can store nightmare energy giving her powerful magic. She struggles with isolation because of her gifts. In her darkest hour, when she is most vulnerable, a demon chooses her to be used as a weapon against a rival demon. This puts Xlina on a whirlwind collision course with all things supernatural, as she struggles to survive long enough to save her soul. 

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

The central theme of the series is the power of choice. With free will comes the power for each of us to choose, but for there to truly be free will, people must be allowed to make their own choices. Even if that means they make bad choices. Thus enters Oxivius, the lamia necromancer. He is a practitioner of the dark arts, a cannibal, literally everything Xlina was taught is evil in the world. He soon turns her preconceptions of good and evil on their head. Oxivius shows Xlina that despite her being marked by a demon and being condemned, the power to choose is still hers. That intent is everything. Xlina could choose to ignore her dreams and pursue a normal life. Oxivius must choose whether he is the monster everyone thinks he is or the man he knows himself to be. Even Amber comes to see that her life’s direction directly results from choosing between the role she has been expected to play and who she really is.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

This is a tough question because I feel like a proud father. I love all the characters. Each of them grows and changes. Each of them, with the help of the others, realizes their full potential. At the end of the day, Amber Sedgewick is one of my favorite characters. She originally started as an embodiment of the mean girl trope to act as a foil for Xlina on the human side of her life. I wanted to give Xlina conflicts that were more than magic and monsters. The one thing I had a load of experience in was having a school bully, after all. The original intent was for Amber to die pretty early on in the book, a tragic result of the magical world spilling into the mundane and something that would continually haunt Xlina. Emma, my oldest daughter, simply wouldn’t have it. She fell in love with the character and the dynamic between her and Xlina. Thus, Amber went from being a trope to one of the central characters of the series.

Amber’s evolution over the series is fun because she is suddenly thrust into the world of magic. When the illusion of her world shatters, she realizes that she is merely living the life she is expected to live, that much of what she has done and who she is as a person is a result of expectations placed on her by her father. She evolves from the mean girl trope to a complex character, with her own flaws and motivations.

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

In youth, I had always envisioned myself writing fantasy. Sword- and sorcery-type swashbuckling adventures were my favorite reads. When I sat down to write The Infernal Games, I knew I needed to try something different. I had been watching Supernatural and had really loved the magic and monsters in the modern setting. I set out to read as many urban fantasy books as possible in a short time. I found a staggering breadth of styles and genres.

The only things I was certain of was that I wanted to stay away from vampires as the market felt heavily saturated. Instead, I went searching for more obscure lore and legend. That lead me to the Baku. I fell in love with the concept of a character with those abilities and Xlina began to take form.

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

It took just under a year to write The Infernal Games. I spent a lot of time in editing purgatory. Revision after revision, trying to make it perfect. I spent a lot of time kicking things back and forth with the editor until finally I felt it was ready to be shared with the world.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today? 

Writing has been a journey of rediscovery for me. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is what makes me happy. If I could write for a living, then I would never have a day of “work” again in my life. The accountant in me, however, screams practical thoughts and goals.

My plan is to retire from the day-to-day work to be a full-time author by the age of 50 (a statement I have made to my employer as well). That gives me nine more years to build a following. My goal is to publish two books a year continuing with the world I have created. I am not looking to win any awards or be some literary giant, rather I would like to entertain as many people as possible.  

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I am currently working on the Soulstealer Trilogy, which will go back and explore Oxivius’s origin story. The first book, Soulstealer Origins, is scheduled for release on November 1, 2022. It seems like a short window since I just released the final book in the Baku Trilogy on June 1, but I have been working on this backstory for two years. Oxivius has had his origin story fully fleshed out since I started generating the characters for The Infernal Games.

After I finish the Soulstealer trilogy, I plan on returning to the future and doing a subsequent trilogy which will pick up right after the end of the Baku Trilogy. Xlina and Amber have changed the world and I am eager to explore what that means.  

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

There is a certain draw of modern day fused with lore and legend. I love being able to pull apart monsters and magic from long ago and really bring them to life in the modern setting. I think there is a relatable element when mixing modern technology with magic. With that said, I do have story ideas for an immersive fantasy series and a dystopian sci-fi, but for the moment I am content still exploring this urban fantasy world I have created.

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

I have always enjoyed telling stories. My second-grade teacher helped me bind the first story I wrote into a little book, and I remember being so proud of what I had done. I attribute my love of books and reading to my Grandmother Rosie. She was a Polish immigrant, who never got the privilege of going to school or receiving an education. As an adult, it was something she placed so much value on. I never really understood that as a kid. She bought us Hooked on Phonics, and while my siblings were in school; she worked with us every day on reading and writing. At the time, I thought it was so unfair. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized the amazing gift she had given me. I entered kindergarten reading and writing. By the time I was in third grade, I was reading well above my grade level. It culminated in the first time I got in real trouble in school when I refused to read the class-assigned book.

As I got older, the bullying started and I found my escape in the pages of books. A book could take me anywhere. I could be anything. Most importantly, it was an escape from the one thing everyone around me seemed to dislike: me. Soon, reading wasn’t enough. I began crafting my own stories and my own worlds. By the time I entered high school I knew writing was my passion. I knew I wanted to share my worlds with other people, but time has a way of dulling our passions. I remember stopping. I remember the day I quit on the manuscript I was working on that I was certain would be my big break. My college ambitions had fizzled. My parents thought a degree in creative writing was a waste of money. My only friend in the world joined the military and left for boot camp. It was time for me to “grow up” and join the working world. I started at a printing company, in perhaps the most soul-sucking, boring job of my life. Shortly after, I decided factory life wasn’t for me and tried going to college on my own. I was accepted into a two-year school, for the accounting program, and I took my first steps on a road that would leave my passion dormant for the next twenty years of my life.

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

I still have a lot of responsibilities and a full-time job. I can’t complain as I have found more than my fair share of success. This means, however, that my writing is done at night and on weekends. I tend to devote large blocks on either Saturday or Sunday for writing. I turn on some background music and just let the magic happen. I spend a lot of time on my commute thinking about what I want to write or what is happening in the next chapter so that when the weekend comes, I am prepared to bring all those musings to life.

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

I prefer my desktop; it’s just more comfortable for me. I tried a laptop and felt too cramped. I tried dictation, but my Maine accent is brutal for voice recognition. I also find I don’t speak like I write, so anything dictated tends to need serious editing.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

My all-time favorite author is R. A. Salvatore. I think he is the master of cinematic fight scenes. Picking one of his books to stand out as a favorite is near impossible. From his popular Forgotten Realms books to his DemonWars Saga, Salvatore has time and time again shown he can make loveable characters and memorable books that not just last as fond memories, but also change you as a reader.
Following that I really enjoyed Daughter of the Drow by Elaine Cunningham, so much in fact that my second daughter is named after the main character.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I stop writing. I find anything else to do. Go to the mall, go to the beach, anything. Writer’s block for me is a sign that I have spent too much time at the keyboard and not enough time out in the world. After an afternoon out and about, I usually find myself full of ideas. It could be for a character or a simple conversation, but the world around us is our inspiration. So when you are stuck, go immerse yourself in the wider world. Look at the stories playing out around you every day and before you know it, a quirk, a comment, or a moment becomes all the fuel you need.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop. The worst voice of all is the one in our heads telling us we are not good enough. That’s the secret, after all. We really don’t care what some stranger who says mean things to us thinks. After all, we might never even see them again. The reason their words hurt is often because they are affirming something negative we have said about ourselves with that little voice in our head.

When some stranger says “Your writing is terrible,” the pain comes not in the stranger’s words, but in how many times that little voice inside has said the same thing. It affirms our own internal narrative. So, change the narrative. Flip the script. You can do this. You can finish. Your story might not be everyone’s favorite, but it will be someone’s favorite. If you stop now, that someone will never get to experience your world, your characters.

We all need a world to escape to when this one becomes too much. Don’t let self-doubt take that escape away.

Thank you, author Reed Logan Westgate, for your insightful answers!

About the Book

The Infernal Games

The world you know is a lie…
It’s not that you have been duped, rather you are simply asleep. You didn’t ask for it; the forces of heaven and hell have kept you in a slumbering stupor. All around you, the awakened exist. Those individuals who know magic is real.
Xlina’s move to Portland, Maine, was supposed to be the start of a new life. A second chance. One that didn’t involve her magical-duty-obsessed druid father or her own legacy as a descendant of the Baku: an ancient creature that consumes nightmares. But when her court assigned social worker turns out to be a demon, Xlina finds herself drawn into a deadly game of survival with the stakes being her immortal soul.
If she can survive the Infernal Game, maybe she can redeem her enslaved soul. But survival means allying with the enigmatic necromancer Oxivius, who urges her to embrace her power instead of running from it. Steeped in the Dark Arts, Oxivius represents everything she has ever been told about evil. Will he be the key to her salvation or the road to eternal damnation?


You can find The Infernal Games here:
Goodreads | Amazon

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: Tricky by Ron Dakron

Book Details:

Author: Ron Dakron
Release Date: 
12nd March 2022
Series:
Genre: Humour
Format: E-book 
Pages: 152 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
A certain, um, body part runs away from his owner. Wearing a hot-dog toy disguise, he clashes with warrior pigeons, suicidal hummingbirds, and griping squirrels. He is soon imprisoned in Male Re-education Kamp, wars with cynical plums, woos amorous cardiac valves, livers, and cupcakes, joins forces with hyper-testosterone Komodo Dragons, and is shanghaied by a femme pirate crew to help harpoon Mobo, the 90-foot moray eel who is the font of worldwide testosterone. Tricky is a savagely-funny trip into male delusion, sneaky body parts, repression, amorality and – what the hey – gigantor moray eels that stream flaming jizz.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Trial Show: Resistance Rises by Konstantina P. is an engaging and heady dystopian read that will pull you in right from the very beginning and keep you guessing until the end.

This book had so many interesting and unpredictable twists and turns that it kept me engaged the entire time! I loved the story as it was weaved intricately and plotted with an exceptional deftness that is rare to find in books these days. The characterization was very well done and made this book a very complex read. I loved the characters, especially those of Trent and Ava, and wanted to know everything about them and their lives in this amazingly crafted dystopian world.

The writing style of the author was good as it had a very nice flow. It made reading this book both a pleasant as well as a very quick experience for me, as a reader, and I always appreciate it. I would strongly recommend this book to all dystopian readers.


You can also read this review on:

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ARC Review: Kai’s Healing Smiles by Vivi Anne Hunt

Book Details:

Author: Vivi Anne Hunt
Release Date: 
13th September 2022
Series:
Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+
Format: E-book 
Pages: 201 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Silas is mourning the loss of his wife. Every day, he is going through the motions and barely managing to keep the excruciating pain from overtaking his life. There is precisely one ray of sunshine in his days — Kai — the smiley, awkward barista at Starbucks. For some reason, Silas finds comfort being around Kai and soaks up as much light as this sweet boy could give him.

For the short time Kai has worked at Starbucks, he has secretly watched one man from afar, hoping that one day he would notice him back. He looks all mature, business-like, and always sad. One day Kai finally gets the chance to speak to him. And this is where their story begins.
Will Silas be able to let go of the past and start fresh? And will Kai be able to heal the gloomy man with his smiles?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Kai’s Healing Smiles by Vivi Anne Hunt is a heart-warming romantic story that is full of emotional depth as well as character.

I liked this book from the start because, in spite of having started on a glum note, the author’s writing made this book an easy read and the character development kept me engaged. The plot kept developing well and soon I found myself not wanting to be pulled away from the story.

I liked the plot, the basic concept as well as its execution, the simple yet effective writing and the ups and downs the pacing added to the tension in the book. Overall, it is a lovely romance novel that I’d recommend to all romance genre fans especially readers who enjoy reading LGBTQ+ romance stories.


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Guest Post: Cocktail Parties by Nick Gray

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Nick Gray, author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party to share a guest post.

About The Author

Nick Gray

Nick Gray is an entrepreneur and author living in Austin, Texas. He started and sold two successful companies: Flight Display Systems and Museum Hack. Nick is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, a step-by-step handbook that teaches you how to build big relationships by hosting small gatherings. Over 75,000 people have watched his TEDx talk about why he hates most museums. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine called him a host of “culturally significant parties.” 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tiktok



Cocktail Parties by Nick Gray

Most adults haven’t made a new friend in years. I moved to New York City and hardly knew anyone. But then I made new friends, and those friends helped me launch a multi-million dollar company.

How? And can anyone do this?

Instead of going to random bars or meet-ups to try to create new connections, I decided to go a different route. Instead of going to other peoples’ parties, I decided to bring the party to me.

What I discovered, through lots of trial and error, is that there’s a specific way to structure parties to make them easy and successful—a “formula,” if you will, that anyone can follow to make new friends.

Over the last ten years I’ve hosted hundreds of these small parties. Then I’ve spent the past few years writing this book and testing every single aspect of it with different people around the world to make sure it works.

My book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is my formula to “hack” your social life by learning how to throw parties. I’ll show you how to easily host fun events in your own home.

Why parties?

Some people may think a party requires loud music, late nights, and tons of booze. But a party is simply where people get together and have a good time. There can be an explicit purpose such as playing board games, celebrating an event, or meeting new people. But the essence of a party is that you are there to enjoy yourself and to connect with others.

Combining partying and relationship-building may sound counterintuitive. But it works. I’ll show you how throwing small parties in a strategic way can be the easiest method to make new friends and even boost your career.

About the book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party

You know that well-connected friend who only exists in the movies? The one who throws the best parties and can set up any introduction you need?

Everyone wants to know someone magical like this who brings people together. The secret is: you can be that person. You should be that person. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party will show you how.

Discover a simple party-hosting formula with step-by-step instructions that help you meet new people, strengthen your existing relationships, and make you the person everyone wants to know.

You’ll learn which days are the best to throw events (probably not the ones you think!) and what to say to the first people who arrive. Learn how to ensure your invitations get responses and your guests show up excited to mingle. Plus, get helpful pre-party checklists and a breakdown of activities to encourage new connections.

With The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll make new friends, boost your career, and leave everyone asking. “When’s your next party?”


About The Book

About the book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party

You know that well-connected friend who only exists in the movies? The one who throws the best parties and can set up any introduction you need?

Everyone wants to know someone magical like this who brings people together. The secret is: you can be that person. You should be that person. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party will show you how.

Discover a simple formula with step-by-step instructions to host parties that help you meet new people, strengthen your existing relationships, and make you the person everyone wants to know.

You’ll learn which days are the best (probably not the ones you think!) and what to say to the first people who arrive. Read how to ensure your invitations get responses and your guests show up excited to mingle. Plus, get helpful pre-party checklists and a breakdown of activities to encourage new connections.With The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll make new friends, boost your career, and leave everyone asking, “When’s your next party?”

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Book Website | Amazon | Read more


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

ARC Review: Before Dawn by Laura F. Murphy

Book Details:

Author: Laura F. Murphy 
Release Date: 
5th September 2022
Series:
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 271 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Igor Fenenko, a former research scientist, is a scary, scary man. Not only is he a massive bodybuilder with a spider tattooed on his face, he has also been infected with Pestis Manducans — viral cannibalism. Igor tried to resist indulging, but his research specimens smelled so delicious. Who did it hurt, really, to nibble a corpse?
Caught, disgraced, and sent to a ‘rehabilitation’ center, Igor is now forced to live in a government-mandated Containment Center. He spends his days pressing wildflowers, growing blueberries, and doing his best to avoid human meat. More than anything, he wants a cure for the virus
that has ruined his life.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Before Dawn by Laura F. Murphy is a beautifully written contemporary fiction novel about relationships and a person’s journey to come to terms with their own self.

This book had an exceptionally well-written story and was full of emotionally complex as well as mature characters that were multi-layered. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the protagonist, Max’s, journey to find herself through the curve balls that life throws at her. Another thing that I really liked in this book was the cultural background of the main lead and its significance in the story in forming her character’s belief system and decision-making.

Overall I was really impressed with the depth and the emotional maturity that was explored in this book and would strongly recommend it to all women literature and contemporary fiction readers.


You can also read this review on:

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ARC Review: The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting by Dana Hammer

Book Details:

Author: Dana Hammer
Release Date: 
6th September 2022
Series: The Resistance Rises
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 321 pages
Publisher: Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC 
Blurb:
Igor Fenenko, a former research scientist, is a scary, scary man. Not only is he a massive bodybuilder with a spider tattooed on his face, he has also been infected with Pestis Manducans — viral cannibalism. Igor tried to resist indulging, but his research specimens smelled so delicious. Who did it hurt, really, to nibble a corpse?
Caught, disgraced, and sent to a ‘rehabilitation’ center, Igor is now forced to live in a government-mandated Containment Center. He spends his days pressing wildflowers, growing blueberries, and doing his best to avoid human meat. More than anything, he wants a cure for the virus
that has ruined his life.

With Parker and Jay temporarily out of the picture, double-agent Trent Reese is left responsible for leading the Resistance. Trent is willing to adapt his moral code to any situation, but what—or whom—does he believe in? As for innocent Ava, who’s plagued by unsettling visions, it’s becoming clear that everyone she loves is in peril. Given, however, that Parker is concealing a mighty gift of his own, one that could change the entire course of the rebellion, the future of the all-seeing state is on the line too.
When the web of secrets is untangled, who will survive?

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Cannibal’s Guide To Fasting by Dana Hammer is a new sci-fi dystopian suspense novel with high-octane action interlaced with romance and humour.

I loved the characterisation because it was very well-developed and I was able to relate to the character of Igor on such a deep level that it made reading this book an extraordinary experience. I also liked reading about the other characters such as Esteban and Dr Tran. The characterisation in this book was done so well that it took this book to an entirely different level!

I was impressed by the author’s writing. The prose was very well written and the overall concept had a surprising level of moral complexity that I had not expected. In spite of the main theme of the book being dark and ominous, the author has done a great job of interlacing it with sophisticated humour and making light of some of the situations which could have otherwise weighted too heavy on the readers.

I would strongly recommend this book to all dystopian and speculative fiction readers.


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: The Trial Show: The Resistance Rises by Konstantina P.

Book Details:

Author: Konstantina P.
Release Date: 
12nd March 2022
Series: The Resistance Rises
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Suspence
Format: E-book 
Pages: 287 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
Forced into the shadows while waging war on an oppressive regime intent on controlling those born with unnatural powers, the Resistance feels like a family. And although all families harbour secrets, theirs are world-shattering.
When Ava Moore foresees the death of her sister Brooklyn and Resistance leader Parker Quinn is forced to appear in a televised trial accused of murder, the web of lies begins to unravel. For not only is Resistance’s second-in-command, Jay Frazer, fighting a guerrilla battle with deadly consequences, he’s also trying to bury his deep-seated love for Parker.

With Parker and Jay temporarily out of the picture, double-agent Trent Reese is left responsible for leading the Resistance. Trent is willing to adapt his moral code to any situation, but what—or whom—does he believe in? As for innocent Ava, who’s plagued by unsettling visions, it’s becoming clear that everyone she loves is in peril. Given, however, that Parker is concealing a mighty gift of his own, one that could change the entire course of the rebellion, the future of the all-seeing state is on the line too.
When the web of secrets is untangled, who will survive?

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Trial Show: Resistance Rises by Konstantina P. is an engaging and heady dystopian read that will pull you in right from the very beginning and keep you guessing until the end.

This book had so many interesting and unpredictable twists and turns that it kept me engaged the entire time! I loved the story as it was weaved intricately and plotted with an exceptional deftness that is rare to find in books these days. The characterization was very well done and made this book a very complex read. I loved the characters, especially those of Trent and Ava, and wanted to know everything about them and their lives in this amazingly crafted dystopian world.

The writing style of the author was good as it had a very nice flow. It made reading this book both a pleasant as well as a very quick experience for me, as a reader, and I always appreciate it. I would strongly recommend this book to all dystopian readers.


You can also read this review on:

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Book Review: Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy

Book Details:

Author: Kevin Patrick Kenealy
Release Date: 
10th March 2022
Series:
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 415 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When the Caseys move into affluent Ridgeport, Ill, searching for a better life for their newborn Scott, they are surprised to find a book entitled Ridgeport Welcomes You: Procedures and Guidelines for Happy Living. The book contains rules and ordinances that citizens must abide by to live in happy neighborhoods. Although mom Loretta Casey is hesitant to live by Ridgeport’s strict rules, all that changes when she meets her neighbor Sue Ellen Norris.
Sue Ellen serves on the Neighborhood Watch Committee, overseeing the town’s safety, and Loretta becomes engrossed in Sue Ellen’s addictive personality. But as Loretta’s son Scott and Sue Ellen’s son Matt grow, they discover that Ridgeport is not as perfect as their moms make it out to be. As Scott and Matt form their band of friends, their journeys into the neighborhood woods prove to be much more than just a place of refuge.

Kevin Patrick Kenealy is in his eighth year teaching AP Literature, English, and journalism high school students. Before that, he wrote for Chicagoland newspapers, where he had the privilege to interview several famous people, including Barack Obama, former Illinois governors Jim Edgar, Rod Blagojevich, and Pat Quinn. He has also published two poetry books, 20 Something and Faith Journey, and the horror novel Life and Death.

“Superb characters headline this chilling, slow-burn crime tale.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Thoroughly enjoyable with just the right amount of suspense.”
Readers Favorite

“This gripping story of a sinister small-town secret will keep you on the edge of your seat! It’s completely unforgettable.”
Reedsy

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy is a thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful new read that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page!

I loved reading this book because it had so many dark and delicious twists and turns that it kept me guessing the entire time. the writing was good and flowed very smoothly throughout the book making it a surprisingly quick read (especially given the length of the novel.) The characterization was good too and very well developed and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary and secondary alike.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all suspense and thriller fiction fans as it has a lot to offer to its readers.


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Book Review: H2LiftShips: Bosons Wave by Bob Freeman

Book Details:

Author: Bob Freeman
Release Date: 
3rd August 2022
Series: H2LiftShips (Book #3)
Genre: Science-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 326 pages
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House, LLC
Blurb:
We’ve tried to make a nice, friendly Space Opera.
Sure it has passive-aggressive families, gambling, cheating, and double-dealing, but nice. Still, watch your back.
SolarSail Cargo ships travel between the populated asteroids and Goldilocks Core.
And now HiveMother at the Heliopause and the HiveSisters in the Heliotail are fighting.
It may turn into a full-fledged bioGel War.

The Solar Sail crew of BosonsWave and Captain Herb, an Eastern mountain gorilla in the Heliospheric Navy, are fighting the algae rocket ships for control of the bioGels.
On one side, we have tools and weapons invented by the sentients after eons of development: bioGel laser rifles, HAM radios, ship-to-ship bolas, nuclear bombs, biological weapons, and a tomato surprise.
On the other side, accumulations of brainless algae have joined with angry bioGel computers calling the shots.
Captain Graciela, her crew, and the Heliospheric Navy have a battle on their hands.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

H2LiftShip: Bosons Wave by Bob Freeman is the third book in the H2LiftShip series and a sequel to H2LiftShips: A Back Story. In this part, the last part of the trilogy, most of everything comes together providing the readers with a coherent and a much-needed respite-full ending.

The writing was much better in this book and the world-building went up a notch as did the characterisation as well as pretty much every other aspect. I am now really looking forward to exploring other titles by the author in the near future.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and this series, on the whole too, and would definitely recommend it to all science-fiction readers and to sci-fi-fantasy readers too.


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Coffee Conversations with Author Heena – TRB’s Podcast

Ep.16: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Author Bruce Overby Coffee Conversations With Author Heena Pardeshi

Listen to this fun and insightful episode of my podcast, Coffee Conversations with Author Heena, where I talk to author Bruce Overby about his debut novel, The Clyclone Release.Bruce Overby is a fiction writer with particular interest in issues of loss and belonging, family and relationships, the human condition in a technology-driven world, and addiction. His fiction has appeared in Storyglossia, the Green Mountains Review, the Evening Street Review, and the anthology Home of the Brave: Stories in Uniform from Press53. “Bookmarks,” the story of a brother’s struggle with alcoholism, his love of poetry, and the sometimes disturbing mix of the two, won first prize in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. Bruce is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Northern California with his wife Caroline.NOTE: The Cyclone Release, was a finalist in the Blue Moon Novel Competition and is available now from Madville Publishing.BONUS: Author Overby shares his meticulous method of plotting a novel using an MS Excel Spreadsheet and how the workshop that he attended at the beginning of his writing career helped him become a better writer along with many other anecdotes! You can connect with author Overby on his Website, Blog, Instagram or TwitterYou can find his novel The Cyclone Release here: https://www.bruceoverby.com/book__________________________________________________________________________________________For more, you can follow me on Instagram at @CrazyCatWriter, find out more about me, my books and my developmental editing services on my website: http://www.heenarathorep.com Support the showFollow me on: Instagram: @CrazyCatWriter Author Website: http://www.heenarathorep.com Book Blog: The Reading Bud YouTube Channel: @Crazy Cat Writer Twitter: @CrazyCatWriter Facebook: @CrazyCatWriter
  1. Ep.16: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Author Bruce Overby
  2. Ep.15: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Author Bowen Blair
  3. Ep.14: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Author Kirsten Pursell
  4. Ep.13: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Poet Umar Siddiqui
  5. Ep.12: Coffee Conversations with Author Heena with Guest Author J. Robert Keating

Available on:

If you wish to get interviewed on our Podcast: Coffee Conversations then fill out this form or email us at thereadingbud@gmail.com.

Book Review: Iberian Claim by Vincent Casciani

Book Details:

Author: Vincent Casciani 
Release Date: 
23rd August 2021
Series:
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Critique, Spanish Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 196 pages
Publisher: New Degree Press
Blurb:
“I put down the pen and set aside the paper. I have served my time.”
The Spanish Empire’s conquest is marked by blood and gold. Alvar Núñez, soldier-turned-administrator, knows little else, and finds himself dissatisfied by the trappings of an ordinary life. When the opportunity comes to seek gold and glory in the New World, he jumps at the chance to revive his old passions.
It’s a shame, then, that his eight-year journey through the Gulf Region reduces him to a meager shell of a man. He must adapt and find compassion for the natives around him or die.
Iberian Claim, Vincent Casciani’s breakout novel, details the grueling account of Alvar Núñez’ interaction with the various Native American tribes inhabiting La Florida. His conviction is degraded, his worldview is overturned, and his belief in Spanish superiority is tested at every turn.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Iberian Claim by Vincent Casciani is a historical fiction critique of Spanish colonialism. This book was impressively educational and provided a (much-needed) fresh perspective on Spanish colonialism, a subject that, in my opinion, is not much discussed, at least in the British colonised countries like India as we spend an awful lot of time only studying and educating ourselves and the future generations about the British colonisation and that’s it! Most of our history books are only full of the valors of the British and the ones who supported them but not about any other colonies or how they came to be and what happened to them.

So reading about Spanish colonisation has always been a subject of interest to me and this book came as a breath of fresh air with its unique perspective and a comprehensive narrative on the subject. Reading The Iberian Claim has clarified many doubts I’ve harboured over the years and many questions I’ve carried in my mind regarding Spanish colonialism and the Spanish Empire’s way of conduct on the whole.

The prose in the book is very neat, crisp and smooth and had a nice flow that made reading it a very smooth experience making it a very quick and enjoyable read. I’d strongly recommend this book to all history buffs, especially to readers who take an interest in Spanish colonialism.


You can also read this review on:

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Book Review: A Council Of Ghosts by Ryan Harper Jones

Book Details:

Author: Ryan Harper Jones
Release Date: 
1st November 2021
Series:
Genre: Children’s Fantasy, Adventure Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery
Format: E-book 
Pages: 222 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When a sorcerer arrives in Edgings Burrow, Saul, Ruby, and Henry don’t realise the turmoil their lives are about to encounter. Transported into a strange world of sorcerers, vampires, and ghosts, the three children endure a desperate race to return home which takes them to the edge of war, through the clutches of slave traders and kidnappers, before they discover a deep dark secret.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Council Of Ghosts by Ryan Harper Jones is a brilliant new fantasy adventure book full of fast-paced twists and turns that’ll keep the reader on the edge of their seats from the beginning of the book right down to the very end. This book was an emotional philosophical rollercoaster ride that left me wanting more!

I absolutely loved the writing as it had a great flow and, at times, showcased a beautiful lyrical quality, especially in the descriptions that helped elevate the narrative to an entirely different level. The characterisation was the best part of the book and I was able to relate to not only the main characters of Saul, Ruby and Henry but also to the secondary characters.

I would strongly recommend this book to all fantasy readers, especially children’s fantasy and adventure lovers because it has a lot to offer to everyone.


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: H2LiftShips: A Back Story by Bob Freeman

Book Details:

Author: Bob Freeman
Release Date: 
21st February 2021
Series: H2LiftShips (Book #2)
Genre: Science-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 325 pages
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House
Blurb:
Trading and dealing for a living is just what the LunaCola’s crew is doing to get by. But everybody (or octopus) has a backstory, and the members of the crew have more than enough to reminisce. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to play cards, celebrating a job well done, and recollecting the past but there’s still plenty that still has to come to light.
The big questions, such as how in the galaxy did the born-and-bred asteroid citizen learn to drive sports cars on Earth? Are the bioGels Sentient? The even bigger question is, are they plotting against their owners? And what dark secrets is Jack harboring behind his fears of prison? Those answers and more. Plus: Do octopuses really think that they are better than the terrestrials? (spoiler, yes they do, and there’s a story there as well.)

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

H2LiftShip: A Back Story by Bob Freeman is the second book in the series and a sequel to Beyond Luna. After the first book, which was written in a very unique was more like a technical manual than a straight story, this book had a more coherent storyline that was easier to follow making this book a tad better than the first one (though I did like the first one too, it’s just the flow that I am referring to here in terms of being better.)

This book had a lot of interesting insights, more side-plots and character development and helped the overall world-building for the entire series to a great extent so I really liked this book too. Now I am looking forward to finishing the last book in this series (which I have already started!)

Again, I’d recommend this book to anyone who has read the first book in this series and anyone wanting to explore a new sci-fi series or a sci-fi author.


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon


Book Review: Beyond Luna (H2LiftShips #1) by Bob Freeman

Book Details:

Author: Bob Freeman
Release Date: 
24th March 2021
Series: H2LiftShips (Book #1)
Genre: Science-Fiction
Format: E-book 
Pages: 338 pages
Publisher: Indies United Publishing House
Blurb:
H2LiftShips, a tech manual for a futureImagine a world, exactly like ours, but differentPart Road-Trip, part solar sailing, always with food, gambling, jail, and pirates, not necessarily in that order No: Aliens, Monsters, blasters, pyrotechnic computers, or Anti-Grav powered rockets. Yes: Lasers, Primates, Canines, Octopus, Space Travel via Solar Sails, and the rare Rocket Ship.No violence, except for the spinning meat bolas and asteroid pebbles coming to the defense of their home rock.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beyond Luna is the first book in the H2LiftShip science-fiction series by author Bob Freeman. This book was so wildly adventurous that I could not stop myself from starting to read the next book in the series right after I was done reading this book. But first things first, this book had an amazing plot, excellent execution of that plot, good writing to bring it to life and well-built characters to bring it all together.

It was an immensely immersive read and the world-building was simply out of the world (pud definitely intended 😉
I liked the authors writing and the new creatures in the book were definitely created with a lot of careful consideration. I enjoyed reading about them and cared enough about their character development to read the entire book and was left wanting to read more.

I would definitely suggest this book to all science-fiction readers who are looking for a new series to start.


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Amazon


Book Review: Mahatmas and Monsters by Kim Idynne

Book Details:

Author: Kim Idynne
Release Date: 
15th February 2022
Series:
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Format: E-book 
Pages: 180 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When nineteen-year-old vampire Elias Hellström reunites with Aarya, his childhood love, she sets him on a strange and terrifying path to becoming human again. Confronting his own demons is challenging enough, but Elias must also contend with the monsters he has gathered around him: monsters who prey on humans, and who respond to his transformation with varying degrees of hunger, envy, and wrath.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mahatmas and Monsters by Kim Idynne is a new adult paranormal fantasy read that proved to be a fast-paced emotional rollercoaster ride. This book started out on a high note and pulled me in right from the beginning. For the length of the book, I was impressed with the number of details it packed and the profiling of the characters.

The writing was good and made this book an even quicker read, which is always a big plus for me. I liked the characters and cared for them enough to know what would happen to them throughout the book. I am looking forward to reading more books by the author.

This book would be a perfect fit for paranormal and new adult genre readers.


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Amazon


Book Review: The Study of Sentient Things by Trevor McCall

Book Details:

Author: Trevor McCall
Release Date: 
30th May 2022
Series:
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Horror, Short Stories
Format: E-book 
Pages: 367 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
The first four stories in this collection are adapted straight from works by EDGAR ALLAN POE. You will read updated and expanded versions of The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe’s poem The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Black Cat. They’ve each been given new twists that will intrigue your imagination while maintaining the spirit of the originals. The final story in this collection, Broken Vessels, when reviewed as a standalone novel by Kirkus, received a STARRED review:

“Powered by razor-focused writing, relentless pacing, and a masterfully intricate storyline that includes references to Freud, Descartes, and Edvard Munch, this tightly woven novel reads like a Ray Bradbury short story—especially the brass knuckle thematic impact of the conclusion.
While somewhat uncategorizable, this dark gem of a novel is supremely gratifying.”

– Kirkus Starred Review
All five stories are connected by their dark and powerful imagery, and each features an immurement motif. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of Poe’s stories, you will love these five tales.

Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Study Of Sentient Things And Other Stories by Trevor McCall is a collection of short stories that will definitely keep you up at night. I loved reading this book because, a) I am a Poe fan and, b) these stories were indeed very well written! I thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every story and was impressed by the author’s take on some of Poe’s legendary tales. Although I love the original, these adapted stories were great too.

The writing of the author is quite impressive and I did feel like I was reading Edgar Allen Poe’s work itself. It wasn’t an imitation of writing style though, the originality of the author’s style did not fail to shine through, especially in gritty scenes. The flow of the stories was really lucid and smooth and I was able to read this book in just one sitting – I simply could not put it down!

I’d highly recommend this book to all horror readers and fans of surreal fiction. I strongly believe this book has a lot to offer to readers of dark fiction in general.


You can also read this review on:

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Amazon