Friday, February 10, 2017

A. Keith Carreiro - The Penitent - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

A baby is born and placed in his dead mother's arms. When the funeral shroud is cast over her, his father decides to name his son Pall. It will soon become a name that strikes a shiver into the hearts of those who hear it in combat. A lone survivor on a battlefield many years later, Pall dazedly recovers from the wounds of war. Despite the dead cast about him, everything he looks upon is unfamiliar to him. Wandering away from this scene of carnage, he encounters John Savage, a giant of a man who puts Pall within the sight of Savage's seven–foot, nocked longbow. What ensues from this deadly encounter is an elusive journey for truth. Yet, it is haunted not just by a ravening demon that is out to destroy Pall and John, but by the vision of a startling beautiful young woman protecting Pall from afar.




My Review

Evil has spread throughout the world, a dark, unforgiving evil, eager to decimate everything in its path. In a grim portrayal of life in the twenty-second century, the earth is a desolate wasteland where corpses float down rivers, running red with blood. Packs of merciless men ravage the land, pillaging and plundering the innocent and defenseless, in a futile attempt to stay one step ahead of their own demise.

Since man is not the only one hunting man, not when demons from hell, itself, have been unleashed.

Fear is running rampant—in all but one place. The sacred Wood of the Royal Guard. Here nature remains in its original, untouched state, providing a refuge for tired, forsaken souls to revive their shattered spirits. Despite the tragedy and chaos going on around them, here joy is still felt in creation.

The feeling is beautifully captured in the image of the Sentinel Tree, a copper beech, hundreds of years old, standing tall and proud as the guardian of all that is good. Shining like a beacon of hope, its light is poetically likened to "God's candles." But it's not just impressive to look at, it also exudes a source of power and strength, a divine love, that's ready to protect mankind from the all-pervading sense of evil surrounding it.

A "beauty rarely seen in this life," the tree serves as a reminder of the eternal promise made to man: no matter what, the creator will never abandon creation. Pray for peace and the right order of things will be restored. Yet many do not turn to this oasis of revival, in fact, only a few are able to find rest under the protection of its branches.

THE PENITENT is a remarkable allegorical tale about where humanity may be headed in the next hundred years. If we continue to ignore our roots, our true identity, we're doing so at our own peril. Nature is calling out to us, begging us, pleading with us, that it's never too late to turn back. There's still time to rediscover our origins, be the people we were created to be.

***

The Penitent can be purchased at:
Amazon
Lulu

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 254
Release: November 1, 2016
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9781365287077
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

A. Keith Carreiro earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with the sequential help and guidance of three advisors, Dr. Vernon A. Howard, Dr. Donald Oliver and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Israel Scheffler. Keith’s academic focus, including his ongoing research agenda, centers upon philosophically examining how creativity and critical thinking are acquired, learned, utilized and practiced in the performing arts. He has taken his findings and applied them to the professional development of educational practitioners.

Earlier in his teaching career he was a professor of educational foundations, teaching graduate students of education at universities in Vermont, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. He currently teaches as an adjunct professor of English at Bridgewater State University, as well as teaching English, philosophy, humanities and public speaking courses at Bristol Community College.

He lives in Swansea, Massachusetts with his wife Carolyn. They have six children and 13 grandchildren. They belong to an eighty–five–pound golden retriever, an eight–pound Maltese, and an impish Calico cat.

Due to his love of family, he has seen his fervor for history, as well as his passion for wondering about the future, deepen dramatically.

Starting on May 23rd until October 9th of 2014, he sat down at his computer on a daily basis and began writing the first book of a science fiction/fantasy thriller in a beginning series about the quest for human immortality.

Links to connect with A. Keith:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bonnie M. Hennessy - Twisted - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

An old tale tells the story of how a little man named Rumpelstiltskin spun straw into gold and tricked a desperate girl into trading away her baby. But that’s not exactly how it happened. The real story began with a drunken father who kept throwing money away on alcohol and women, while his daughter, Aoife, ran the family farm on her own. When he gambled away everything they owned to the Duke, it was up to her to spin straw into gold to win it all back. With her wits and the help of a magical guardian, she outsmarted the Duke and saved the day. Well almost… Her guardian suddenly turned on Aoife and sent her on a quest to find his name, the clues to which were hidden deep in the woods, a moldy dungeon, and a dead woman’s chamber. This is not the tale of a damsel in distress, but a tenacious, young woman who solved a mystery so great that not even the enchanted man who spun straw into gold could figure it out. Not until Aoife came along.




My Review

The gift of sight. What we observe vs. what we ignore. Life is full of distractions, and plenty of details get missed. But what if we decided to pay more attention to the world around us. What if we were magically cured of our apparent blindness. What would we see?

In a nutshell, that's what this story chooses to examine. Told under the guise of a Rumpelstiltskin-spun narrative, a young woman is gifted with the ability to peer beneath the facade people hide behind and uncover the truth of life.

It's a heady thing, discovering so much untapped potential, "finding worth in that which makes others turn away." Some embrace her for it, while others feel threatened by her. She's not scared of the darkness she sees in the hearts of men. She's able to look beyond it, and love them anyway. The innate ability to piece together a person's true identity, is a power that's both craved and feared.

But it's also able to bring peace between two brothers who have been pitted against each other all of their lives. Both want to win her favor, and openly admit they yearn to be better men for her sake. However, when they both end up falling in love with her, she can only choose one, and that's where the trouble sets in.

One feels unworthy of her because his body is crooked and malformed, while the other knows his heart is in desperate need of being resuscitated from its torpid state. They both vie for her hand, wanting to bask in the glow of her affections. But by doing so, they wind up taking her away from who she really is.

She begins to lose what they admire about her: her strength and purity of heart. If they refuse to let go of their stupid rivalry and make amends, she's in danger of becoming corrupted like they were before they met her. All she wants is to love them both, even if they won't let her.

With her prophet's eye, can she look inside and mend their broken hearts, and finally bring peace to their family before it's too late?

***

Twisted can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Mythological, Fairy Tale
Pages: 306
Release: November 11, 2016
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9781539753421
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Bonnie grew up a shy, quiet girl who the teachers always seated next to the noisy boys because they knew she was too afraid to talk to anyone. She always had a lot she wanted to say but was too afraid to share it for fear she might die of embarrassment if people actually noticed her. Somewhere along the line, perhaps after she surprised her eighth grade class by standing up to a teacher who was belittling a fellow student, she realized that she had a voice and she didn’t burst into flames when her classmates stared at her in surprise.

Not long after that, she began spinning tales, some of which got her into trouble with her mom. Whether persuading her father to take her to the candy store as a little girl or convincing her parents to let her move from Los Angeles to Manhattan to pursue a career at eighteen as a ballet dancer with only $200 in her pocket, Bonnie has proven that she knows how to tell a compelling story.

Now she spends her time reading and making up stories for her two children at night. By day she is an English teacher who never puts the quiet girls next to the noisy boys and works hard to persuade her students that stories, whether they are the ones she teaches in class or the ones she tells to keep them from daydreaming, are better escapes than computers, phones, and social media.

Links to connect with Bonnie:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Goodreads


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nancy McCabe - Following Disasters - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

On her twenty-first birthday, Maggie Owen receives an unusual birthday gift: a house. That same day, the house’s owner, her aunt, dies. For three years, Maggie has been fleeing her childhood demons: the deaths of her parents, estrangement from her terminally-ill aunt, and a betrayal by her best friend. But now her career on the road, following natural disasters in temporary insurance claims offices, ends abruptly as Maggie returns home to face her past. But why does the house hold a mysterious spell over her? Why does she have the persistent feeling that her aunt is haunting her? Why did her aunt lie to her about the circumstances of her parents’ deaths? Who is the ghost child that may be hanging around the house? And what’s with the guy next door who seems so hostile toward her? FOLLOWING DISASTERS is tightly woven ghost story that raises questions about legacies and their influence on our choices.




My Review

Perception is in the eye of the beholder. How one sees oneself can vastly differ from how others view you. Maggie Owen is a young woman, who has been misunderstood most of her life. Friends tell her that it takes a lot of work to get to know her. Why is that? Apparently, she gives the impression that she's self-sufficient, that she doesn't need anybody. Not only that, but she comes off as cynical about love, expressing high expectations that nobody can possibly meet.

But for Maggie that assessment of who she is couldn't be further from the truth. She just doesn't trust her own judgment since she's been burned so many times in the past. Mainly because she finds it incredibly difficult to figure people out. It handicaps her ability to open up. In light of her weakness, she prefers to be alone rather than risk getting hurt, again and again and again.

To her, it's comical that people think that she's difficult and complicated, because in her mind she sees herself as really quite simple. She knows who she is, but has a hard time, expressing that to others. And it's understandable why. Her father dies in a house fire when she's a little girl. Years later, when her mother dies unexpectedly, she can't bring herself to go to the funeral. While shortly thereafter, her aunt passes away without their estrangement ever being reconciled. It's clear Maggie is carrying around some pretty heavy baggage for someone so young.

To protect herself from having to share the details about her past, she's learned to make adjustments to her personality in order to survive. It's not her fault, but it also limits her ability to move forward. She literally hems herself in by moving into her aunt's house, sheltering herself within the same four walls where she once felt loved and cherished as a child, hoping to bring a semblance of that feeling back into her life again.

The book casts an interesting glance at the idea of self awareness. Maggie wants to resuscitate her heart, but she knows she can't do it alone, no matter how much she insists that she can. Despite her ardent refusal not to depend on others, deep down she realizes that she's going to need someone to get her broken heart beating again, no matter how much she hates to admit it.

She's not delusional. She knows what's going on with her. Something's wrong. Something that needs to be fixed. And maybe, just maybe, someone out there will be able to understand her without her having to explain every single detail of her life to them. They'll like her simply for the person she is.

***

Following Disasters can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $9.99 ebook, $16.00 paperback
Genre: Gothic, Horror, Ghosts
Pages: 234
Release: October 1, 2016
Publisher: Outpost19
ISBN: 9781944853037
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Following Disasters is Nancy McCabe's first novel. She has also published four books of creative nonfiction, including Meeting Sophie: A Memoir or Adoption; Crossing the Blue Willow Bridge: A Journey to My Daughter's Birthplace in China; and From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood. She is a regular blogger for Ploughshares and has published work in Newsweek, Writers' Digest, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Fourth Genre, and other magazines and anthologies. Her work has received a Pushcart and six times made notable lists in Houghton Mifflin Best American anthologies.

Links to connect with Nancy:
Web Site
Facebook
YouTube
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tricia Dower - Stony River - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

It wasn’t all poodle skirts and rock ‘n’ roll. From its deceptively innocent beginning—two young teens exploring the riverbank and spying on “Crazy Haggerty’s” dilapidated house—through the intertwining story lines of paganism, murder and sexual violence, Stony River shows how perilous life was for some girls in the 1950s. Absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenage longing and small-town pretense abound. The threat of violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighborhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl and another gone missing.

The central mystery, inspired by the crimes of Robert Zarinsky as documented by Robin Gaby Fisher and Judith Lucas in Deadly Secrets (Newark Star–Ledger 2008), keeps the reader guessing until almost the very end, when the frightening truth is revealed. In this coming-of-age mystery, three girls learn who they are and what they’re capable of surviving—and forgiving.




My Review

It's sad when religion gets distorted because it can really mess a person up. In STONY RIVER, the spiritual views of three different characters are shaped based on what they experience in their lives and the varying influences of the people around them. Who is God? Teresa, Miranda and Linda are all searching for an immediate truth to what is, in fact, a lifelong quest.

For irreverent, provocative Tereza, God is a "Peeping Tom," who spies on everyone, but doesn't do squat to help them. Admittedly, she doesn't think about God much, probably because her mentally ill husband is always referencing the devil. Tereza doesn't take his claims seriously, when he says sometimes Satan takes over his body, as he stands outside of it, watching himself do terrible things. Even though he's had violent outbursts at home, Tereza has no faith whatsoever in what he believes, until something tragic happens.

Miranda, on the other hand, is shockingly impregnated by her father during a pagan ritual in the basement of their home. She doesn't know what to believe when she goes from total seclusion into the care of the nuns of St. Bernadette's orphanage. There, it's discovered that she has a gift of clairvoyance, seeing things others can't. She doesn't know if her deepened spiritual sense is a result of her father's ancient gods and goddesses or if she's on the verge of becoming the latest in a long line of saints the good sisters urge her to pray to.

Linda is perhaps like most people, her God is the god of guilt. She thinks she has to be perfect in order to get to heaven, and it's up to her to save the souls of every hoodlum boy who comes her way. When something terrible happens to her, she wonders what happened to God's divine justice. Why didn't he avenge her? Why did he let it happen? Her faith, weak to begin with, shatters. Trying to piece together the lessons she memorized in Sunday School into some kind of meaning, she valiantly attempts to sort out the misinterpretations from the half-truths.

Religion is a difficult subject to tackle for any author. Challenging anyone's beliefs is bound to get a writer into hot water. But Tricia Dower doesn't back away from addressing several controversial topics. She brings them out into the light in order to examine them for what they are. She's not out to claim that one religion is better than the other. She's just out to make the point that when misapplied, any one of them can be made to look ridiculous.

***

Stony River can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes

Prices/Formats: $10.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Crime, Historical, Coming of Age
Pages: 320
Release: October 6, 2016
Publisher: Leapfrog Press
ISBN: 9781935248866
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Tricia Dower confesses to smoking a river punk or two in Rahway, New Jersey, where she was born and raised by perfectly fine parents who did not keep her hidden in a spooky house. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was first published in Canada (Penguin, 2012). Her novel, Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press), was released in Canada in 2016. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.

Links to connect with Tricia:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rich Zahradnik - A Black Sail - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

On the eve of the U.S. Bicentennial, newsman Coleridge Taylor is covering Operation Sail. New York Harbor is teeming with tall ships from all over the world. While enjoying the spectacle, Taylor is still a police reporter. He wants to cover real stories, not fluff, and gritty New York City still has plenty of those in July of 1976. One surfaces right in front of him when a housewife is fished out of the harbor wearing bricks of heroin, inferior stuff users have been rejecting for China White, peddled by the Chinatown gangs.

Convinced he’s stumbled upon a drug war between the Italian Mafia and a Chinese tong, Taylor is on fire once more. But as he blazes forward, flanked by his new girlfriend, ex-cop Samantha Callahan, his precious story grows ever more twisted and deadly. In his reckless search for the truth, he rattles New York’s major drug cartels. If he solves the mystery, he may end up like his victim—in a watery grave.




My Review

Doing the right thing. Does anyone ever do that anymore? Apparently, not in 1976. Yet, there's a dichotomy to this book that rings true even today. In America, there's a group of people who are powerless to fight the system. They're either too poor, too uneducated, too unconnected to stand up for their rights. While there exists another sort, those who know how to manipulate those in charge until they get what they want. They're either rich, involved in criminal activity or both, and they're not about to take no for an answer.

Taylor is a seasoned New York City reporter. He's seen a lot. He knows how the game is played, and yet he refuses to play it. He sticks to his own personal code of honor. If a young woman turns up dead, he wants to know why and who did it, and nobody is going to silence him.

Yet, his chivalrous attitude isn't all about the greater good. Taylor's looking to move up the ladder, possibly catch the attention of an editor at the Post or the Daily News. He's a guy with a high school education who started off as a copy boy. He wants to do something important with his life, something that'll make an impact. He's ambitious, but at the same time, he's out to help what he calls the "strays" of society, the people who fall through the cracks, be it a child drug addict, a college student going down the wrong path, or even his dog.

However, by doing so, he realizes that in many ways, he's just as helpless as they are. When threatened for sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, the wrath of the federal government descends upon him. For daring to cross them, they make it clear that they can destroy his entire life in an instant by taking away his job, dragging him to court, you name it. They have all the power, and he has none.

Is that how any freedom-loving American likes to think of themselves, being at the mercy of those in positions of authority? I don't think so. But is that the way it is? Unfortunately, yes. Taylor is coerced into backing down and shelving his story, if only to continue to keep fighting another day for those without a voice, including himself.

***

A Black Sail can be pre-ordered at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 264
Release: October 1, 2016
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812115
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).



The second installment, Drop Dead Punk, won the gold medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). It was also named a finalist in the mystery category of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.



"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.



Zahradnik was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.



In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York's Center for Fiction.



Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where writes fiction and teaches kids how to publish newspapers.

Links to connect with Rich:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway