Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era #bookreview

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  • Title: Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era
  • Author: Charles E. Murphy
  • Print Length: 119
  • Publication Date: January 15, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction

Events: Prime Ministers During the Alien Era is a mock history text during the period of Roswell crash landing until the “current” space war. The text focuses on politics and personality conflicts, both fiction and non-fiction.

First, let me start off by saying, with the exception of Star Trek, I’m not big on anything alien—that’s not to say I never read or watch alien-type things because after all, I have written reviews on such topics. That said, I found this mock history text quite amusing. It held a slow but steady pace as a real textbook would go. It’s not long at all (just over a hundred pages), so I finished in less than two hours.

The prose held my interest, however, it read more as a cross between a long narrative and a student history paper. As a textbook would have, it held footnotes, which made me want to go back and read what it referred to in the prose.

At the end of the book, Murphy explains which parts of his prose were fiction and which were nonfiction. This was a good way for us to know how he weaved the truths and fiction into an intriguing read.

There were misspells (not a lot, so I’m not dwelling on the issue. Even the greatest of authors have misprints). The quotation marks weren’t very consistent. Sometimes it had a single quotation mark (which would make sense seeing as it is a British text) and others were doubled.

If you’re wanting to read a fast-paced story about aliens, then this won’t be for you. However, if you like aliens, science fiction, and historical texts, then I recommend this. It’s a fun, light read as to what might happen should we ever have to deal with aliens!

Since Amazon and Goodreads only offer whole stars, I’m bumping this story to 4 stars, though my actual rating is 3.5.

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars

September Sky #BookReview

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  • Title: September SkySeptember Sky (American Journey Book 1) by [Heldt, John A.]
  • Author: John Heldt
  • File Size: 1032KB
  • Print Length: 363
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Audible
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance

September Sky begins the American Journey series with Chuck Townsend, an unemployed San Francisco reporter, and his college-dropout son, Justin. During a cruise, they attend a lecture where Professor Geoffery Bell discusses the possibility of time travel. Soon after, he offers the Townsends the chance of a lifetime. Though skeptical, they embark on an incredible journey to 1900.

September Sky has pretty much everything you could want in a book: history, love, adventure and mystery. Although Chuck Townsend and his son were instructed to go to Chicago, they ride the train to Galveston, Texas, in hopes to right a wrong. In doing so, they each fall in love with a duo of librarians, make new friends and ultimately enemies.

Character development was energetic and well-developed. My favorites were Justin and Emily. They seemed most real and I enjoyed getting to know them. Chuck and Justin, who were just beginning to find common ground for their own struggling relationship gradually grew throughout the book.

The era and its customs were also well researched. I felt I was there–however, I do feel the dialogue for the 1900 characters seemed a little too modern. Of course, that wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

The story itself was slow moving but steady. It was predictable from having read books three through five before picking up September Sky, although I did come across a few fun twists. While this isn’t my favorite book of this series, September Sky is well worth the time to read. I had to force myself to put it down.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, visit: Angela Kay’s Book Reviews*

Biography

John A. HeldtJohn A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

 

Hannah’s Moon #Bookreview

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  • Title: Hannah’s Moon51bro8xaiol
  • Author: John A. Heldt
  • File Size: 869KB
  • Print Length: 481
  • Publication Date: February 8, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06X3RKB37
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

I honestly don’t think it gets much better than this. Hannah’s Moon is the fifth book of John Heldt’s American Journey series. I’ve read two other books in the series (Indiana Belle and Class of ’69) and thoroughly enjoyed each. However, if I were to give the prize ribbon to a story-line, Hannah’s Moon would win by a mile.

It tells the story of a young couple in 2017 who wants nothing more than to have a baby. They’ve spent years trying and failing and finally began considering adoption. They soon learn of a way where they can legally adopt a healthy child in a shorter amount of time, but the catch is they have to do it in 1945. After meeting the child of their dreams, their bliss is deferred when they must overcome life-changing obstacles.

I caught a few typos along the way and also found myself overanalyzing the plot (though I did love the idea of it) by wondering about adopting a child born more than seventy years ago and the consequences of such an action. But I found myself drawn into the story within a few pages, having to force myself to set it down and get some sleep.

This has everything: love, friendship, pain, happiness…toward the ending, several moments pulled at my heartstrings and tears began to form from the corners of my eyes. After wanting to hurry and find out what happens next, I finished Hannah’s Moon and was sad to see that I had no more left to read.

I could tell Mr. Heldt did his research. I felt as though I was a fly on the characters’ walls, watching as they fought to come out on top.

If you’re in the mood for light romance and/or time travel where anything can happen–or you’re simply after a good book, then I highly recommend Hannah’s Moon.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*For more reviews, click here: Angela Kay’s Books Reviews*

Biography

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Book Review – The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay

Another amazing review for my debut, “The Murder of Manny Grimes.”

A Whispered Wind

32178256.jpgThe Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay is much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about love, hope and redemption with a paranormal and Christian slant. When three young boys enter the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to report a murder at the Columbia County Elementary School, Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life and those around him will be forever changed. A fifteen-year mystery, the death of Manny Grimes, and a suspected murder/suicide are all tangled together in this thrilling novel.

Manny Grimes had information that linked the murder/suicide and the mystery from fifteen years ago together, and he paid for it with his life. As DeLong, his mentor Russ Calhoun, and the CSI team of Newman and Elliot set out to solve this murder, life becomes complicated for all of them. DeLong is driven by the voice of Manny Grimes to help him and he cannot let him…

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Be A Beta Reader for Poggibonsi

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

poggi-cover-finalReady?

My latest novel Poggibonsi: An Italian Misadventure is almost ready for beta readers.

(Read a sample chapter HERE)

What’s a beta reader?

Well, it’s kind of a big deal. You get to read the whole book before everybody else and then tell me what you think. Also, you get to be one of the first people to post am honest review on Amazon.

I did a few posts on being a beta, so you can read more if you click HERE to learn more, but basically you’ll…

  1. Read the finished story.
  2. Give the author (me) feedback by email
  3. Post a review on Amazon when the book releases.

That’s about it.

You can be as detailed as you want – or as succinct.

How many beta readers do I want?

Twenty. Maybe I’ll let a few more in if they’re friends. Use the Contact Me button right now to request an ARC…

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Spotlight on Indie Author @AngelaKaysBooks. The Murder of Manny Grimes.

I was asked for an interview on another blog I’m affiliated with, pertaining to my debut. Have a peek!

Lit World Interviews

Today’s Spotlight Author is our very own Angela Kay! A new Indie Author as well as one of our busiest book reviewers here at LWI.
angela-kay
1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel the Murder of Manny Grimes?
I started writing it during my final semester of college. I was taking a writing course where we were to write the first thirty pages of a novel. I didn’t really have an inspiration strike…I just started writing and the plot seemed to unfold. My professor and students alike 8-the-murder-of-manny-grimes-coverloved the beginning of the story. Because of my passion of writing, I continued the first draft with the hopes of getting it published one day.

2. For aspiring writers out there, tell us how long it took you from idea to publishing your novel? Tell us about the process of how it all came about.

It took me…

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Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1) #BookReview

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  • Title: Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance #1)51ybqthmpxl
  • Author: Lokesh Sharma
  • File Size: 618KB
  • Print Length: 130
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2017
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N4ULEWY
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Synopsis:

A few hundred people wake up in an auditorium with no memory of their past, scared and confused, struggling to remember who they are and how they got here. A voice draws their attention to the person standing on the podium, impeccably dressed, an air of calm confidence about him that suggests he has the answers to all their questions. As he starts explaining the situation, they slowly begin to realize they are in a futuristic realm called Enigma, where dead humans are reborn and brought to trials for the crimes they committed in their human-lives…

Review:

I have to say good going on this one. I honestly don’t know where to begin. This will be a short review because I can’t really say much about the story…I’d hate to give it away. The characters are basically living in purgatory—a city called Enigma. When the humans die, they’re reborn, so to speak, to be tried for the crimes they committed in their human life.

Halfway was absolutely nothing like I expected. But, then again, I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected. It did take a little bit for me to get into at first, but I soon found myself drawn deep into the story. The characters were three-dimensional, the plot first-rate. I found the idea of the storyline quite intriguing and original.

I recommend this book.

Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars

Biography

Lokesh Sharma

Lokesh Sharma grew up reading books and watching movies—a little too much for his parents’ taste. He spent his childhood in a small town about 150 Kms from New Delhi. Having finished his studies, he moved to The Heart of India in 2010, where he worked for a reputed American-based Bank for about three years, until he came up with the idea for his debut novel and decided to put it into words. Aside from lots of reading and a little bit of writing, he likes travelling, shopping, and listening to music.

Cradle of Crime #Bookreview

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  • Title: Cradle of Crime511xfj2yzjl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
  • Author: Luellen Smiley
  • Print Length: 264
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Paperback, Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Memoir, True Crime, Non Fiction

We all have a past, and we know our parents had a life before us. But what if we come to realize that one of our parents had affiliations with the mob? That’s something hard to imagine, even if you are the daughter of Allen Smiley, a friend of the infamous Bugsy Siegel.

Luellen Smiley grew up in both admiration and fear of her father, Allen. He was an overly protective and a stern man with many, many secrets in his closet. She loved her father but didn’t know him. She feared her father but didn’t know the reason why. Ten years after the death of Allen Smiley, Luellen begins to unravel, feeling severe unease and anxiety about herself and her father until she finally breaks. While many would choose to try and ignore it and move on with their life, Luellen embarks on a quest to understand the reason for her pain. She takes to government surveillance records, newspaper articles, court testimony, classified FBI documents, interviews and conversations with relatives in order to learn all she could possibly know about her father and about her heritage.

I found some of the scenes to be very short and sometimes confusing, so I needed to reread. I could think of a few ways to rewrite it in order to make the tale flow more smoothly, but it’s possible Luellen had her reasoning, unbeknownst to me of why she kept the scenes so brief. The dialogue was engaging, and she’d obviously done her research in bringing the past back to life. She wrote the prose in a way that made you want to turn the next page and find out what happened next. Who was this guy, Allen Smiley? How could he manage to keep all these dark secrets?

My main issue is the reason the story is a four star and not a five (actually, I’d give 3.5 stars for this, but only full stars are allowed, and the story is too intriguing for a measly three). Throughout the prose, there were so many grammatical and punctuation errors as though it hadn’t been edited after written. If I didn’t care to learn about what it was like to be brought up unknowingly in a mobster world, I’d have set it down. However, that wasn’t the case. The story had me too intrigued and I wanted to meet the ending.

If you enjoy all types of gangster-related stories, particularly the true ones, I’d highly recommend Cradle of Crime.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*Read more reviews at: https://angelakaysbooks.com/book-reviews/*

About the Author

Luellen Smiley was the daughter of Allen Smiley—Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s best friend and business partner. Her upbringing within the Mafia family breaks through a long-standing stigma about the organization and its members. She wants the world to know that they started as defenders of their neighborhoods—not trigger-happy murderers.

Ten years after her father’s death, she evolved into a gangster authority through researching thousands of classified FBI and Department of Justice documents and interviews and conversations with relatives, ex–mob guys, and authors.

Luellen is an award-winning newspaper columnist who has written for publications such as the NY Post and MORE Magazine.

Souls to the Polls #BookReview

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  • Title: Souls to the Polls
  • Author: Patricia Murphy
  • Print Length: 394
  • Publication Date: November 19, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance

Synopsis:

Maggie Frew is a demon. Like all demons, she works in US politics – keeping her darkness under control by feeding it a steady diet of malevolence and sin. The problem: Maggie’s candidate in Virginia, older than dirt Peter Cameron, doesn’t have an evil bone in his body. And without a steady source of food, Maggie’s demon could wind up controlling her. The plot thickens: A crime spree heats up in the sleepy town of Leesburg, Virginia, thanks to a rogue demon intent on creating mayhem. And now the creature has set its sights on Maggie. Somehow, Maggie will have to find a new source of food, stop a rogue demon from exposing its existence to the world, and manage a campaign team made up of two seventy year-old Lesbians and Harry the Terrified Intern. It’s high octane politics, comedy, romance, and campaign sabotage in Souls to the Polls.

My Review:

When I began to read Souls to the Polls, I had mixed feelings about it. Mainly because with how people have been reacting during the last few elections, I didn’t know whether I wanted to read a book about demons in politics, be it fiction or not. I tend to be wary of things like that. But in the end, I decided to accept this book and see what I thought.

It did take a little bit for me to get into the story. In fact, I’ve set it down several times until I decided it was finally time to push through. I never did like starting a book and not finish. After reading the first few chapters again, I was pleased to find that Souls to the Polls was actually a fun, easy read. It may be about politics, but it’s so much more than that–you’ll even forget about that aspect.

The characters we meet were very well-rounded and enjoyable to get to know. They really managed to bring the story to light. For me, if not for the quirky characters, both major and minor, I would have decided to give up for good. They really bring the plot alive and you’ll find yourself laughing at the craziest things–in a good, wholehearted way.

Like most any book, there were some things I enjoyed, and there were some things I could have done without. However, either way, Patricia Murphy deserves recognition for her brilliant way of writing Souls to the Polls.

Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars

*Read more reviews at: https://angelakaysbooks.com/book-reviews/*

About the Author

Patricia Murphy is a full-time writer in Washington, DC. She has a lot of years of experience working on campaign politics all throughout the US though, by her own admission, she was a pretty lousy campaign manager. This is due entirely to the fact that she spent most of her time writing about the off-the-wall anecdotes and colorful characters she met along the way instead of actually running the campaign.

Patricia is happily married with two overweight cats and her first child on the way. In her spare time, she enjoys yelling at the television during presidential debates and eating cold pizza for breakfast.

My Book Signing – Guest Blog Post by Angela Kay

Another guest blog on bestselling author Dan Alatorre’s site. So thrilled he wanted me back!

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

head shot your humble host

Angela Kay has been a friend of the blog for a while, and her book The Murder of Manny Grimes came out in September of 2016.

Since then she’s been doing the dreaded M word – Marketing – including learning to do book signings.

Here, she explains how she’s done so far.


Saturday, January 21 was my fourth book signing…

My first was at a library with other local authors in downtown Augusta, GA where I sold five books, mostly to family who came to support me. The second was at a used bookstore, 2nd and Charles, where I sold eleven books. All but one of my sales were from family and friends. The one sale was from someone who picked up my book and thought it looked interesting. The third signing was at another library in Augusta–also with local authors–but no sales there. I honestly wasn’t…

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Poet of the Wrong Generation #BookReview

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  • Title: Poet of the Wrong Generation
  • Author: Lonnie Ostrow
  • Print Length: 455
  • Publication Date: November 10, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

My Review:

I was surprised to find that I loved everything about this book–from the cover to the prose. The storyline was engrossing, the characters extremely well-developed, the dialogue superb…well, Poet of the Wrong Generation is a book you have to read when you have no pressing matters to attend to because it’s that hard to put down.

We open with a prologue to the present. Johnny Elias is staring into a photograph taking himself back into a time when life was good and carefree. He was in love, had friends, he had happiness. And now, because of the things happened since then, he’s feeling regret. Don’t we all when we start feeling that nostalgia?

After we’re through we the prologue, the next time we see Johnny is back in time in 1991. He joins Megan Price, the girl he loves, and their friends at a concert in Central Park. However, soon after, everything changes. Feeling heartbroken and betrayed, he begins doing what a lot of real people do in these kinds of situations: a writes down his feelings. But these aren’t just words. They’re magical poetry from the heart. Johnny ends up turning his writing to music and falls into success and fame.

This was a truly amazing novel. I can see it becoming a summer series or even a mini-series on the Hallmark channel. But at the same time, perhaps they better not touch this story. After all, bringing stories to live, especially on network television, it just may ruin this beautiful creation of Lonnie Ostrow’s.

If you want a book complete with twists and turns, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book with star-crossed lovers, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book that tugs at your heartstrings in every way, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. It’s well worth the time it takes to read. I highly recommend this pleasure of a book.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Lonnie Ostrow
Biography

Lonnie Ostrow has been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With Poet Of The Wrong Generation, he combines all his unique experiences to bring you a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption — a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. It’s been hailed as “the ultimate rock & roll love story.” Since 2001, Mr. Ostrow has been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. He also serves as an editorial and marketing consultant for a collection of first-time authors through The Editorial Department in Tucson, AZ. Previously he served as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors including Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

From 1995 – 2001, Mr. Ostrow was widely credited with inventing the “living celebrity postal phenomenon.” In all, he worked with more than 40 legendary personalities from the Bee Gees to Bob Dylan, Sylvester Stallone to Jackie Chan, creating media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.

Ostrow’s first publication, Titanic, A Postal Collection, was published in 1998.

In the Service of the Boyar #BookReview

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  • Title: In the Service of the BoyarIn the Service of The Boyar by [Graff, Jason]
  • Author: Jason Graff
  • Print Length: 75
  • Publication Date: August 22, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Action/Adventure

Synopsis:

In the land of the Boyar, a boy will fall in love and become much more than a man.

Fleeing with his family from danger, a boy catches a glimpse of Fifika, as their clan travels with haste to the lands of the boyar, a mysterious benefactor. Smitten, the boy becomes her playmate there in the Carpathians where the boyar resides and whose hillsides are filled with enchanted beasts. The boyar assures the clan that the beasts are harmless unless provoked, but some of the members are not so sure.

When tragedy visits Fifika’s family, the boyar invites her and the boy into his castle to learn from his English tutor, a lazy and fearful man. The boy, now almost a man, falls deeply in love under Fifika’s tutelage.

When he finally learns Fifika’s secret, he must choose between his family and the only life he knows and the uncertain dangers of life with her in the mountainous lands of the boyar with a very different kind of family.

My Review:

In the Service of the Boyar is a story about family loyalty, betrayals, love, friendship and respecting the surrounding nature as well as the animals that roam the land. Told in the young boy’s point of view, we follow his nomadic family to a land governed by Count Dracula, who is better known as the Boyar. In this terrain, if the people don’t follow the Boyar’s rules, then you can count on them being severely punished.

The narrative is so descriptive, I could see the scenes play out in my head. When I read stories like that, I know it’s bound to be good. The characters were very well-developed and the exchanges between them were intriguing and helped moved the narrative forward.

In the Service of the Boyar is a short story that draws you into an adventure, that’s bound to steal your attention until the very last word.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars