Tuesday, September 6, 2016

About: Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Balson

 Book Description
Lena Woodward, an elderly woman, enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

“Readers who crave more books like Balson’s Once We Were Brothers (2013) and Kristin Hannah’s bestselling The Nightingale (2015) will be enthralled by Karolina’s Twins.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A heartbreaking tale of a mother’s love, friendship, and family in the face of increasingly brutal conditions and the constant threat of imminent death in Nazi-occupied Poland…reminiscent of the author’s first novel Once We Were Brothers…compelling.” —Library Journal

“The third in Balson’s promising series about a husband-and-wife investigation team specializing in Holocaust cases. [Lena Woodward’s] survivor account becomes the main source of suspense, since she is reluctant to reveal the full horror of what she experienced until the end…and [it] does not disappoint.” —Kirkus

"Balson kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what the next chapter would reveal. He did an excellent job in staying true to the historical facts of those years of the Holocaust and what Lena, the main character and survivor, had to go through. Balson keeps the suspense so riveting that it was difficult to put the book down. I would say most will read it in one night sitting—kudos to Ronald Balson." —Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute

“Secrets, friendships, survival, and the Holocaust are woven together in Ronald H. Balson’s haunting Karolina's Twins.” —Family Circle

Author Bio
RONALD H. BALSON is a Chicago trial attorney, an educator, and writer. His practice has taken him to several international venues. He is also the author of Saving Sophie and the international bestseller Once We Were Brothers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Against All Silence by E. C. Myers

Title: Against All Silence
Author: E.C. Myers
Series: An SOS Thriller
Publisher: Adaptive Books
Publication date: February 21, 2017
Pages: 368
Stars: 4
Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble exclusive August 23, 2016

Summary: After being a key figure in the exposing of government corruption, Max Stein has spent a quiet semester abroad in Paris, studying, staying off the Internet, and looking for his long-lost mother. But just as he is about to fly back to the United States for the holidays, trouble manages to find him once again.

Max receives a call from Penny, his on-again-off-again girlfriend who is part of the expert hacking duo DoubleThink. She wants him to meet with Ada Kiesler, a high-profile whistleblower hiding out at a foreign embassy in Berlin. Max has no interest in getting drawn into another corporate conspiracy. But when airport security suddenly detains him on suspicion of cyber-terrorism, he has little choice but to get involved. Soon Max and Penny are tangling with a new group of shadowy figures who are determined to control how the world shares its information. And some figures from Max s past resurface, including his own mother, whose life has mirrored his own in more ways than he’d realized.
In this action-packed follow up to "The Silence of Six," Max and his hacker friends must fight to expose a corrupt corporation that has been systematically taking control of the Internet."

Review: I liked this book. I feel like I may have started the first book when that came out but I was unable to find it. I liked this book, oh wait I already said that! It took me a little bit to get through it. It was not a book that had me holding on to the edge of my seat the entire time. However, the ending did have me trying not to fast read through to see how it ended. Once you get past the first two hundred pages you kind of question why you had such a hard time in the first place. The only thing I can compare it to would be when I went to the Smoky Mountains this last week. On the first day there I walked up Rainbow falls trail. It was exhausting but once you got there it was worth the view and the walk down was very enjoyable. At the end you are happy you had that experience. That perfectly describes this book for me. I was really worried about Penny for a long time. Not for her, my concern was always for Max. I loved Risse, I would love to hear more about her. Maybe her own adventures. I like Risse over Penny. It’s hard not too! There are something’s in this book I question. Bits of it even remind me of George Orwell’s 1984. I would recommend you check this book out for yourself!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

About: Last Chance by L.P. Dover

Last Chance: A Second Chances Novel 
by L.P. Dover
Genre - Romantic Suspense

Cover Designed by - Regina Wamba with Mae I Design


Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2bw2Xmk


One last chance.

That's all Luke Collins, local bad boy and motocross champion, has to not only find his redemption, but win back the girl he lost. He'll stop at nothing to make her his, even if it means playing dirty.

Lara Jacobs doesn't want her heart broken again and refuses to give Luke a second chance. After he left her after their one night stand, she ran right into the arms of her close friend, Grayson Moore. He's always loved her, and he's determined to make her see he's what she needs.

However, in life nothing goes as planned and tragedy strikes. After a fatal accident nearly claims Lara's life, she's left inside a world she can't remember. Her memories are gone, including those of the men vying for her heart. Grayson sees her loss as a possibility to forget her love for Luke, but Luke sees it as an opportunity to start over. All he wants is one last chance to show her that she's the one he's been in love with all along.

*** An updated version of One Taste (prequel to Last Chance) has been included at the beginning of the book with all new scenes. ***


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, the Society X series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

Presented by

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Girl Underwater

Title: Girl Underwater
Author: Claire Kells
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: 03/31/2015
Stars: 5
Where to buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleIndie Bound

Summary: An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness. 

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.
That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.
In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

Review: This book... so many things I want to say. From the beginning it's an extremely gripping tale. The book jumped around a bit. Which I normally hate. However, in the first half of this book it's perfect! I love that it does that. It gives you glimpses of what had happened and what is happening. At the end of the book I do not like it so much. It feels a little sloppy and can be a bit confusing. I really had a hard time following those parts. Like when they were drinking and things started to happen or the part near the end in which I cannot describe because I don't want to ruin it. I feel the beginning of the book was perfect. But once you got to the end it just seemed to fall apart. The story still worked but I had to re-read pages more than a couple times. I loved that she got back on the plane. I feel like she should have said something to the lady that laughed at her for saying something about a plane crash though. I loved this book so much that I do not know how to rate it based off of that. However, I was extremely satisfied with the epilogue. That is how I had hoped the book would go the whole way. It's a perfect fit. Colin I loved Colin. He is such a strong character. You love him from the very beginning. Well at least I did. Even when Avery tries to avoid him like the plague. I didn't like Lee so much. I didn't even know Avery had a boyfriend in the beginning of the book. She was talking about how hot Phil was. Lee as a person, he was a good guy. But I didn't like him because I didn't want them to be together. Those little boys were so strong and continued to be strong especially Tim. Then there was Avery although I am not a big fan of her name and I connected with Colin before I connected with her. She was amazing. When she wasn't strong Colin was. They were an amazing team getting through those 5 days together. She put too much on herself and she didn't want help at first after they were rescued. It took her a long time to heal. But she did, she finally accepted help. I would recommend this book based on that just be weary of the end.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview: Piers Anthony


Tell us about your latest book.
            Hair Power is a novella about a girl with terminal brain cancer who helps an alien hairball, who rewards her with hair that not only replaces her own lost hair, but cures her cancer and makes her something of a super woman. In time that hair is six feet long and she wears it like a cloak. That’s only the beginning.
Tell us a little about some of the others who contributed to your book, such as cover designer or editor.
            I have to default on that, as I don’t know them.
Who are your favorite authors?
            If I lost my memory and had my choice of reading matter, I hope my favorite would be Piers Anthony. I try to write what I would like to read. As for other authors, I have admired many in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, from Robert A Heinlein on down. I am also an admirer of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and not just because he was a vegetarian.
What advice do you have for other writers?
            Publishing is changing so much now that much of what I might say would become dated about ten minutes after I wrote it. So I’ll just say read and study the genre you are in, keep writing and improving, and may the world go well with thee.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
            For me the best thing is getting to exercise my imagination and being independent. I can’t be fired for someone else’s mistakes.
What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?
            It used to be dealing with publishers, who were like insensitive robots interested only in money, regardless what they claimed. But the old order is passing and the new publishers I am dealing with are generally more compatible. Some of them even like good fiction. So now the hardest thing is facing the prospect of my declining ability with advancing age. I’m not capable of simply letting it go and retiring. So when I no longer write well, I hope I am the first, not the last to know it.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
            My web site is www.hipiers.com where I have a monthly column, commenting on whatever is on my mind, and background information on my titles. I have also written two autobiographical books: Bio of an Ogre and How Precious Was That While.
How long did it take you to write your book?

            Three Weeks for this 35,000 word novella. It moved well, and I am an efficient writer.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

            I don’t think so. I had worked it out pretty well before I started writing. I’ve always loved long hair on a woman, so this was easy imagination.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

            From wherever the publisher puts it.
What are you doing to market the book? 

            Precious little. I’m a writer, not a marketer.

Who inspires you?

            The world inspires me.

How do you research your books?

            There wasn’t any real research for Hair Power. I generally try to stay within the boundaries of what I know. When I do need to research, I buy books on the subject.

Do you have another work in progress? Tell us about it.

            I am working on the sequel, Hair Suite, wherein there is competition with Cyborg aliens in very attractive human form. Until the two cultures have to unite against a third.

Have you written other books? Where can readers purchase them?

            I have written about 175 other books. Readers can find many of them listed on Amazon. Many readers like my Xanth fantasy series, which now number 42 novels, not all in print yet.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

            I approve of self publishing. In the old days only about one aspiring writer in a hundred could ever get anything published. That led to bigger sales for the one percent, and tough luck for the 99%. I prefer that every writer have a chance. That’s why I have worked to make self publishing possible for anyone, notably by my early investment in Xlibris – I am no longer connected – and my ongoing survey of electronic publishers. The playing field will probably never be level, but it’s better than it was. Traditional publishers had dictatorial power for over a century. Now it’s the writers’ turn.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

            I needed to decide on my college major. I pondered a day and a night, and it came to me: I wanted to be a writer. It was like a light turning on and it has guided me ever since.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

            My wife supported me. She went to work so I could stay home and try to be a writer. That was when I broke through with my first story sale – for $20.00. But it led to greater things, in time.

What are you currently reading?

            I am usually reading something, often a novel for review or blurbing. At the moment I’m between books.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

            Writing is my passion and my life. All else feels like dross. But I do make the meals and wash the dishes, as my wife is infirm. I also like to play cards on the computer, mainly Free Cell, which I believe is the best card game ever.

What is your favorite line from a movie?

            Great lines in movies are myriad, but it’s the quiet personal ones that get to me the most that others may not even notice. There was one whose title I don’t remember, where a man, a widower, got a girlfriend he was considering marrying. His early teen daughter lived with him. When the woman made them a meal, the man told the teen to do the dishes. The girlfriend intervened. “No, she doesn’t have to do that. I’ll do it.” Why?  “She’s your daughter and I want her to like me.” That disarming candor surely ensured that the girl would like the woman.

What do you like to snack on while you write?

            I maintain my college weight, and I exercise seriously. I don’t eat between meals. I’m pretty fit for my age, pushing 82, and mean to stay that way.

When you walk into a book store, where is the first place you go?

            The last local book store closed down.

What is the funniest thing that you’ve been asked during an interview?

            At the moment I’m not thinking of anything funny in an interview. But I was amused by a sentence in my fan mail: “Ha! Caught you reading fan mail!”
            Sometimes I do learn things from my fan mail .
            I had a suicidally depressive girl in one of my novels (Virtual Mode, if you must know) who regularly cut her wrists so that they bled. So she wore red bands on her wrists to conceal the blood. A reader wrote that I had it wrong: blood dries black, so she needed black wristlets. I suspect she spoke from experience.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

            My biggest peeve is critics who come across like the Republicans with respect to President Obama: Anything he does is wrong. It seems similar for critics with me. I have a mock review of a trilogy such a critic would do with me. The first novel is inferior. The second novel is not up to the standard of the first. And readers of the first two novels will be sadly disappointed by the third.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Guest Post: Britt’s 10 Rules for Writing Good Fiction

Britt’s 10 Rules for Writing Good Fiction

On the wall where I write, I taped my writing “rules” as a constant reminder. It keeps me focused on the familiar traps that I tend to fall into. About half of these were pointed out to me during the initial round of edits to my first book, Schism, while the others I’ve learned along the way. I still violate these rules from time to time, but at least I now know what to watch out for, and I hope this list will help other writers out there as well.

1.      Drafts are not meant to be perfect. Just get it down. Fix later.

I often become paralyzed while writing because I want to make everything perfect with the first draft, minor typos and grammar errors excluded. Unfortunately, what ends of happening is very little, at least until I tell myself to knock it off and just type, even if the words are only 80 or 90% of what I’m looking for. The 100% is reached with editing. Sounds simple, but I still struggle with this.

2.      Keep your eye on your POV.

He thinks this. Two sentences later, she thinks that. Then let’s go back to what he thinks…and feels. Wait, what?
I was completely guilty of overly-shifting the “Point of View” of my characters in my first draft of Schism, which I originally published under a different title. This was one of the more difficult lessons for me to learn as a writer. I still haven’t perfected it, but I’m at least much more aware of how to use POV effectively. I’ve found that there’s no hard and fast rule of writing POV correctly, but there’s definitely a way of doing it incorrectly. And a good editor will quickly point it out.

3.      No Insta-love. Just don't do it.

Insta-lust? Sure. Insta-hate? Indeed. Instra-I-think-I-might-like-you? Okay. But not Insta-love. It’s not real and no one wants to see two characters meet on page 5, and then be making out on page 15 unless this is an erotica book or some kind of one-night-stand situation.
4.      Keep dialogue character-consistent.

Reader should be able to know which character is talking through dialogue alone and without too many reminders, usually due to their circumstances but also because of the words and phrases each character tends to use. And if they have a distinct accent—either regional or foreign—I try to include the cadence of their way of speaking English. Admittedly, this continues to be a challenge for me.

5.      Show it. Don’t tell it.

Readers want to SEE the action. They don’t want to read what happened off-page. Sometimes telling is fine if you need to move the story along. But not for the meat of the plot. Readers want the full-course, not an appetizer.

6.      Focus on your main characters but give your supporting ones enough attention to keep them real and relevant.

There’s a reason the Best Supporting Actor/Actress category at the Oscars exists. Most movies can’t survive one or two characters alone. Books are similar. Keeping the supporting characters in the game gives the plot more gravity and the readers more characters to root for and against.

7.      Don't give away too much too soon. This is a series, not a comic strip.

I read many reviews of many books in order to understand what readers like and dislike about a book. The one complaint that continues to perplex me is when a reader feels that a novel spent too long revealing the complete nature of a character or a situation. When I read a book, I don’t want to know what’s happening within the first chapter. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I personally try to write in a style that I’d also like to read. And as a reader, I like surprises and discovery that continue until the very end.

8.      Villains behave badly FOR A REASON.

Antagonists who are evil for no apparent reason are boring. Why are they evil, and is there any chance for redemption? Readers love to root for the protagonists, and that’s easier to do when they understand what the heroes are up against.

9.      Write every day, even if it's only one word. Try.

Fairly self-explanatory. I have good writing days and not so good writing days. But I know that I will never reach the good days if I don’t push through the bad ones as well.

10.  Remember why you started writing in the first place: because you had a story to tell.

And I did start with just a simple story: about a girl and a boy living in horrible circumstances and how they must learn to overcome these circumstances. Details come later, but the initial spark writers have about a new story that swirls inside their minds for years is what drives them to begin putting words on a page in the first place. And that spark is what produces the most interesting part of any story.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Title: Faithful
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: November 2016
Stars: 5

Summary: Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way,Faithful is a roadmap.

Review: I started this book because a friend of mine had been killed recently. I am having a hard time dealing with that. So I thought maybe this might help me. I will say I absolutely love the story. I love Shelby. I love who she becomes and that she is slowly learning to love things even though she doesn’t realize it at first. She is slowly releasing herself to be able to be happy once more. What I don’t like is how the time is set up in this story. Like at one point it goes we’ve been dating for 4 years. Wait, how like three chapters previously you were 18 and just started dating. I wish that the time had been placed a little better. I would like to be able to associate her age with the events that are happening at the time. That is the one thing I don’t like about this story. I love her love of dogs. Her need to rescue them. To shelter them. Then her mother. She is lucky to have such a supportive loving force in her life. Honestly this is a really great story! I am happy I chose to read it! Best decision of my life. I am torn between wanting to see how it ends and to not let it end! Back to the point of the time frame. The upside to that is we are getting a large part of her life after the accident. I love that. In a lot of books you get that where you feel unsatisfied. Where you want to know what happens in their life. You don't need to want you get it. All the heart ache she continues to go through. All of the things that continue to make her a stronger woman. 

Popular Posts