Audio Review: Primo: a stageplay by Ed Davidson

In 1987, Primo Levi, the Italian writer renowned for his autobiographical Survival in Auschwitz and other writings about the Holocaust, died after falling down the stairwell of his apartment house.

The stage play Primo is a fictional account of Levi’s last day. In it, he questions the relevance of his writings to the new generation while journeying into the dreamscape of his memory to a day in Auschwitz. Each step forward draws him further into his memories, blurring the distinction between past and present. He moves into the mist of timelessness, drifting through its shadows and currents, sensing the faint whisperings of distant voices, beckoning.

The play emerges as a timeless depiction of Auschwitz driven by the prisoner’s experience, defined by the survivor’s memory. Primo creates an innovative way of staging a theatrical production by combining dialogue with choreographic movement. This brings a new realism to the performance by enhancing the unimaginable reality of the concentration camp environment, while displaying its devastating impact and illuminating the darkness that lingers in the human soul.

My Review

I chose to listen to this audioplay after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I’ve never listened to a play before, so the experience was a little different. The narrator explains the scene and the set up on the stage so that the reader can visualize it. It is then mostly the characters speaking with the narrator explaining movements. It works well. I’ve been to a few plays, and I could imagine being there.

I’ve always been interested in and horrified by the Holocaust, especially since it happened just a few years before I was born. I think that my grandmother being best friends with my “Aunt” Sally made it more real for me. When I did learn about the concentration camps, I couldn’t believe it.

Primo not only describes the horrors that people went through, but the devastating effects it had on the survivors. Even though the characters in the concentration camp weren’t fully developed, it brought tears to my eyes several times, which means to me it’s effective and worth a listen. And now I must add Primo Levi’s autobiography to my TBR list.

Book Review: A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley

Monterey, 1851. Ever since her husband was killed in a bar fight, Eliza Ripple has been working in a brothel. It seems like a better life, at least at first. The madam, Mrs. Parks, is kind, the men are (relatively) well behaved, and Eliza has attained what few women have: financial security. But when the dead bodies of young women start appearing outside of town, a darkness descends that she can’t resist confronting. Side by side with her friend Jean, and inspired by her reading, especially by Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Dupin, Eliza pieces together an array of clues to try to catch the killer, all the while juggling clients who begin to seem more and more suspicious.

Eliza and Jean are determined not just to survive, but to find their way in a lawless town on the fringes of the Wild West—a bewitching combination of beauty and danger—as what will become the Civil War looms on the horizon. As Mrs. Parks says, “Everyone knows that this is a dangerous business, but between you and me, being a woman is a dangerous business, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise …”

My Book Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the first book I’ve read by Jane Smiley, but it won’t be the last. A Dangerous Business is about Eliza who is working in a brothel since her husband was killed in a bar fight. She actually likes working there better than when she was with her husband because he treated her horribly. The men she services are all different, but most are harmless. If there’s a man she’s concerned about, she can leave her door cracked so that Carlos (their protector) can keep an eye out.

When someone starts murdering girls who work in Eliza’s profession, she and her friend, Jean, decide to investigate because the law doesn’t seem to care about the girls. Poor Eliza becomes suspicious of most men, but that’s understandable. The identity of the murderer has a twist, and I thought it had a good ending.

Like good historical fiction, A Dangerous Business has a good story, but it also has true historical facts. I’ve always been interested in American history, and that along with a murder mystery makes a great read.

About the Author

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University. Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans chick lit.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

http://www.therealjanesmiley.com/

New Releases: Chattering at School and The Renegade

Chattering at School

The poems in this collection include fun narratives on the surface, while containing learning and teaching moments as the poems unfold. The book has lovely illustrations and is full of moral lessons.

The introduction to Chattering at School: Nature poems for children explains that these poems were written by a schoolboy aged 11 to 18 (1951-58) during his annual summer holiday visits to his grandmother on her small farm in Ireland. She had been his carer and guardian from the time of the German Blitz of London where he was born, and lived with her until the war ended in 1945. He then returned to his unknown parents, who had been unable to visit him in Ireland from the UK during the war.

Over 60 years later, the author of these poems – Edward Forde Hickey – discovered them (his own schoolboy attempts at writing poetry) lying in the attic and felt they were worth recording publicly.

About the Author

Edward Forde Hickey is a retired Headteacher and has written eight books to date, each with an element of folk culture.

Edward lives in Kent with his wife. They have three sons. During the years 1962 until 1998, he taught in inner city primary schools (laterally as a headteacher for 18 years). In early life, he was a pop star with Decca records (see ‘Eddie Hickey/Lady May’) and later sang with the Glenside Ceilidhe Band in The Galtymore Dancehall, Cricklewood (1965/1975).

Born of Irish parents during the Blitz of London, he spent his first five years of life nurtured and moulded by his grandmother in the foothills above Dolla, near Nenagh in County Tipperary. His grandmother is and always was his inspiration; she had a natural gift with words.

Edward has always been interested in folklore and the Irish past (its music, dance and literature). He was a champion Irish step-dancer. He taught and adjudicated it, even as far afield as in Australia, before dedicating himself to research into hillside communities in north Tipperary, from where he brought back tapes of original songs for The English Folk Dance and Song Society.

He keeps a small farm in the foothills of north Tipperary and visits it often.

Reviews

“This collection of poems about the natural world will stimulate children’s imagination and hopefully inspire them to get to know more about their environment and protect it. It should have wide general appeal for children of all ages; both for parents to read to young children and for older children to read themselves.” – Darin & Aimee Jewell

“Edward has a lovely style where he effortlessly combines the world of history, folklore and fiction. He manages to switch from humour to sadness and takes the reader willingly along with him.” – M. G. Darmody, Tipperary Studies Centre

“Chattering at School” by Edward Forde Hickey is currently available in paperback from Amazon at:

This poetry collection is also available to download in e-book format from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 0208 339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

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Book Review: Brothers Three by C.W. James

Orphaned and left to fend for themselves, three teen brothers must learn how work together to survive in the American Old West.

Allen, Paul, and Chet never knew an easy life. Orphaned two years ago, their uncle Barnaby was appointed guardian until each is old enough to claim his share of the cattle ranch willed to them by their father. But the lure of gold and riches is too powerful for Barnaby to ignore. He soon departs, leaving the trio to fend for themselves as he hopes to strike it rich.

Others, who have long coveted the ranch, eagerly swoop in. They will stop at nothing either to have the land given to them or take it by force. The brothers are soon entangled in a web of rustlers, greed, and robbers trying to steal everything from them. With their uncle gone and no other family, their land is the only thing they have left. Allen, Paul, and Chet learn what it means to become a man, stand their ground and work as one to save their ranch – and each other.

Failure isn’t an option. Time is running out and the wolves are closing in.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Reedsy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Allen, Paul, and Chet are teenage brothers whose parents have died, and their Uncle Barnaby is their guardian. The boys, however, are usually on their own because their uncle is looking for gold. Since Allen is the oldest, he feels responsible for his brothers as well as running the ranch. It’s a huge burden for a teenager to bear, and it weighs on him heavily.

One day when Allen is out, Chet and Paul’s horses are stolen. This is just the first in a chain of events that have the brothers reeling. It seems that not only is Captain Grady after their ranch, but there is a gang looking for their uncle. Allen finally decides that he needs to track down their uncle before they lose everything or before they lose their uncle.

The boys’ characters are realistic and well developed. Allen’s serious demeanor is understandable since he feels that he is responsible for everyone and the ranch. His younger brothers are more carefree, but they help run the ranch without complaint. When their ranch and then even their lives are threatened, they keep their cool and do what needs to be done. These boys have truly grown to be men, and even Allen realizes it.  

The other characters in the story include Ike Watson, an old man who helps them and is a unique individual. Captain Grady, on the other hand, is evil and shows no redeeming qualities at all.

This story is a page turner with the different journeys the boys have to take looking for horses, horse thieves, and their uncle. There were times that it was tense such as when Chet and Paul went through a place called Demon Hollow in the middle of the night. The descriptions were enough to make me tense reading it! There were also some horrific moments that made me cringe.

Brothers Three is a young adult historical fiction novel that I recommend although it does need proofreading.

My review on Reedsy Discovery.

About the Author

C.W. James is the pen name of an author who lives in rural Northern Nevada with two rescue cats. He enjoys hiking and movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. He has traditionally published juvenile nonfiction books from Carolrhoda Books and Capstone Press, and about two dozen magazine articles.

PROFILE URL

https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/nickcook1261

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Belinda by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  Belinda (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book Three) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  276 pages
Genre: Literary / Legal Thriller 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  June 2022
Content Rating:  PG13+M because it involves mature themes, occasional mild profanities, non-explicit sex scenes and mild violence.

Set in the conference rooms of a white-shoe Houston law firm and the stunning coastline of Baja California, Belinda is the story of a woman’s bravery and resourcefulness at the end of her brilliant career. Her decision to fight her firm’s men in suits who demand her retirement is called into question when a man once her lover appears after a long unexplained absence.

Against a backdrop of romance and legal drama, the novel explores questions about love, the law, and the anxious precipice of life change. Is it ever too late to be swept away by romance? Can true justice ever be attained when the law’s practitioners are corrupt? And when your work is what defines you, what’s left after retirement?

​During a week of surprises and abstruse events, Belinda sees the once presumed greatness of her life flicker as she forces the moment for her decision to a crisis. 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Indiebound~ Bookshop
BookBub
add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Belinda is the third book in the Raymond Hatcher series and my favorite so far. All three books are standalone.

Belinda is a lawyer at the end of her career, but she has no idea what she’ll do once she retires. She hears from Jay Jackson out of the blue after his silence for two years. He had left after the murder of Raymond Hatcher. What Belinda doesn’t know is that Jay was a spy like Raymond, who was his mentor. She decides to give him a second chance.

There are many other characters in this story, mostly lawyers working on a big deal. The different egos of the lawyers were interesting and probably realistic.

The narrator did well with pace and timing. She also performed the voices effectively, so I always knew who was talking.

The pace of the story is okay until the end when things heat up. It seems that Jay may never be able to retire as a spy. I liked the ending, but I hope there will be one more book to tie up an important loose end.

About the Author

Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. Finn and Cooper. He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City. He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas and New York.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub goodreads

Giveaway

Win signed set of The Raymond Hatcher Stories (one winner / USA only) (ends Oct 28)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

Sep 26 – The Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – Novels Alive – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – My Reading Getaway – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – The Obsessed Reader – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 28 – fundinmental – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Sep 29 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Sep 30 – Faith and Books – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 5 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 5 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of BELINDA
Oct 7 – Novels Alive – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 7 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of BELINDA / giveaway

Oct 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Literary Flits – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 12 – My Reading Getaway – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Literary Flits – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 13 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Novels Alive – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books and Zebras – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 17 – Literary Flits – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 18 – @onecreativeartist – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 18 – Books and Zebras – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 19 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Oct 19 – Books and Zebras – book review of BELINDA
Oct 20 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 20 – @onecreativeartist – book review of THE NARROWS
​Oct 20 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 21 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – @onecreativeartist – book review of BELINDA
Oct 21 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – My Reading Getaway – book review of BELINDA / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Books for Books – book series spotlight

Book Review: The Melon Seed by A.T. Grant

Stephen’s comfortable but empty existence is transformed by an unexpected visitor from his past. Forced to face up to the consequences of a love long suppressed, he is drawn back to his time teaching in Beijing, China during the Spring of 1989. There he toyed with the people and events of the pro-democracy movement, only in search of youthful adventure. Despite his naivety, he was drawn inexorably towards both. Though travel took him from the Great Wall to the plains of Inner Mongolia, there was no escaping the pull of Tiananmen Square on the night of 4th June.

My Review

The Melon Seed is narrated by Stephen during a time when Chinese students wanted a change in their lives. They wanted the freedom of the people in the West. Having it narrated by a Westerner shows a view from someone from a democracy who didn’t quite understand what was happening.

I’m old enough to remember the events that happened in Tiananmen Square and remember it starting as a polite protest, but I didn’t realize it lasted as long as it did. A good description from the book: “It was all very Chinese: very polite, excessively civilised and surprisingly low key; how to hold a revolution without actually offending anyone; that was the Chinese dilemma, or so it seemed at the time.”

Stephen’s personal life intertwined with what was going on in China at the time is done well. He even became involved with a woman during this time. Mai Lin was a strong young woman, and she and Stephen had one of those romances that was never meant to be. It was sweet and sad and an important part of Stephen’s story.

There is some interesting Chinese history about previous protests and about the Chinese/Japanese conflicts. The descriptions of inner Mongolia are also good.

The way the Chinese treated the Westerners was interesting. They were so polite until Gorbachev was coming. The students wanted the English to get involved in their protests, and it’s obvious the government wanted the English out of there. Sadly, the students didn’t really know what they wanted other than change.

If you like historical fiction, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

Excerpt from “The Melon Seed”

“I summoned up the courage to help at the barricade. Rounding the bus, I stared into the distance. The smoke had thinned but the loud cracks and whistles had increased. There was a flash and then another bang and it finally dawned on me: the army had opened fire. Courage deserted me. I had retreated and jumped into the bus before I had any time to think. I stood in the aisle, panting, pressed against a cold metal screen, scanning for Mai Lin. Most of the seats had been removed, boards and tables set up in their place. From these, people were gathering up maps and papers and hurrying outside. Mai Lin was carrying a cardboard box. Seeing me, she pushed the box into my chest.

“They’re firing,” I blurted out.

“Yes,” she said. “The unarmed soldiers. That was a trick. The retreat is a tactic, too. People lost their heads and burned the trucks. Now the army has its reason to use force.”

“Plastic bullets and tear gas,” someone added, snatching the box from me. “Don’t worry, Richie, just keep your distance.”

It was Lee Dang, beaming at me as though we were in the Happy Days diner. By the time I recognised him, he was gone, his motorbike weaving through the debris towards Tiananmen Square.

The bus was set alight, but we did not stay to watch. People in the crowd were pointing and shouting. Some had now engaged. They were rushing out to help block the road. Further up, from amongst the smoke, sections of truck and armoured personnel carrier slipped in and out of view. Fire from the barricades licked at their wheels. People were running ahead of them, the braver ones stopping to throw whatever they could get hold of. The gunfire was becoming more intense. A Molotov cocktail lit up the asphalt in front of an APC. The vehicle dove straight through the flames.”

About the Author

Dr A. T. Grant is married with two children and lives outside Bath in England. Widely experienced in teaching both at home and abroad, he has led student expeditions to remote locations across the globe. As an avid traveller, he has published three novels including The Jaguar: a tale of Gods, Ghosts and Gangsters (2015) which takes place on the US-Mexican border, an historical adventure in the remote Uluguru Mountains of eastern Tanzania called Leopard Skies (2016), and a contemporary ghost story set in Scotland entitled Feather (2017).

“The Melon Seed” is currently available in paperback from Amazon UK at:

This novel is also available to download in e-book format from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
darin@theinspiragroup.com

tel. 0208 292 5163

Book Review & Giveaway: The Narrows by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  The Narrows (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book Two) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  306 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  November 2020
Content Rating:  PG13: The book has a couple of non-explicit sex scenes and very mild violence.

A harrowing extraction of members of a religious cult goes awry.

Junior high teacher Larry Brown teams up with experienced extractor nicknamed Black Lightning to rescue his cousin from a cult. But the mission is complicated by Larry’s unfaithful girlfriend and the drowning of another cult member in the Charles River. And then Larry’s cousin isn’t as willing as Larry hoped. These events work together on a day in a family vacation home on Cape Cod to turn Larry’s world upside down.

Spanning a ten-day period, The Narrows chronicles the personal and social challenges that took place during the cultural transformation of the 1970s.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
 Indiebound  ~  Bookshop 
BookBub
add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Larry Brown is a teacher in the 1970s. He is related to the characters in the first book in the series, A Lion in the Grass, but this book doesn’t really fit into The Raymond Hatcher Stories. In fact, I would recommend reading books number one and three, then going back to read The Narrows as a standalone.

Although the description describes the extraction of members of a cult, that’s only at the very end of the book. It is more about Larry’s relationships, thoughts and memories. There is also a lot of useless conversation, especially at cocktails parties. Larry is funny at times in his own way. For example, when they were on their way to The Narrows, he told the driver there were no landmarks but to count to 30 then turn left. Of course, she questioned how fast to drive and how fast to count. He said to close her eyes and just count to 30. But she’s driving! And then he saw a landmark and told her to turn. That tickled me.

The Narrows is mostly character development until the excitement and a surprise at the end. I recommend it if you like general fiction but not if you’re looking for a page turner.

About the Author

Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. Finn and Cooper. He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City. He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas and New York.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub goodreads

Giveaway

Win signed set of The Raymond Hatcher Stories (one winner / USA only) (ends Oct 28)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

Sep 26 – The Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – Novels Alive – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – My Reading Getaway – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – The Obsessed Reader – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 28 – fundinmental – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Sep 29 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Sep 30 – Faith and Books – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 5 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 5 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of BELINDA
Oct 7 – Novels Alive – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 7 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of BELINDA / giveaway

Oct 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Literary Flits – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 12 – My Reading Getaway – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Literary Flits – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 13 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Novels Alive – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books and Zebras – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 17 – Literary Flits – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 18 – @onecreativeartist – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 18 – Books and Zebras – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 19 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Oct 19 – Books and Zebras – book review of BELINDA
Oct 20 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 20 – @onecreativeartist – book review of THE NARROWS
​Oct 20 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 21 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – @onecreativeartist – book review of BELINDA
Oct 21 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – My Reading Getaway – book review of BELINDA / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Books for Books – book series spotlight

Book Review & Giveaway: A Lion in the Grass by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  A Lion in the Grass (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book One) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  333 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  August 2020
Content Rating:  PG13+M: The book has mature themes associated with wartime violence and not-explicit sex scenes.

Set over the course of six decades, A Lion in the Grass documents the despair and hope of a spy who suffers the murder of friends and enjoys the success of mentoring protégés.

​The story is told through alternative viewpoints of Raymond, his protégés, and the French villain. The novel digs deeply into questions of love, self-doubt and hatred, all foisted upon Raymond during a career from which, he discovers, it is impossible to retire.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
 Indiebound  ~  Bookshop 
BookBub
add to goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

A Lion in the Grass spans 60 years of the life of a spy named Raymond. I wanted to connect with Raymond, but most of the time I was just reading summaries of what had happened, and it was difficult to feel for him. I was still able to enjoy the story, just not nearly as much as I would have liked to.

Although Raymond is the main character, the story is told through the viewpoint of several characters which did enrich the story. There are many deaths of friends, loved ones, and colleagues that Raymond has to deal with through the years, and he is determined to find revenge for those he loses.

There were times when it was a little confusing because there are a lot of characters, and they could be hard to keep up with. It would be helpful to have a cast of characters listed at the beginning of the book.

This was a pretty good read, I liked the ending, and will be reading The Narrows by Mark Zvonkovic soon.

About the Author

Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. Finn and Cooper. He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City. He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas and New York.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub goodreads

Giveaway

Win signed set of The Raymond Hatcher Stories (one winner / USA only) (ends Oct 28)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

Sep 26 – The Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – Novels Alive – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – My Reading Getaway – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – The Obsessed Reader – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 28 – fundinmental – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Sep 29 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Sep 30 – Faith and Books – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 5 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 5 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of BELINDA
Oct 7 – Novels Alive – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 7 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of BELINDA / giveaway

Oct 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Literary Flits – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 12 – My Reading Getaway – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Literary Flits – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 13 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Novels Alive – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books and Zebras – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 17 – Literary Flits – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 18 – @onecreativeartist – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 18 – Books and Zebras – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 19 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Oct 19 – Books and Zebras – book review of BELINDA
Oct 20 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 20 – @onecreativeartist – book review of THE NARROWS
​Oct 20 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 21 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – @onecreativeartist – book review of BELINDA
Oct 21 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – My Reading Getaway – book review of BELINDA / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Books for Books – book series spotlight

Book Review & Giveaway: All the Rivers Flow into the Sea & Other Stories by Khanh Ha

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha
All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

Publisher:  Eastover Press LLC (June 7, 2022)
Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Vietnam
Tour dates: July 25-August 31, 2022
ISBN:  978-1958094020
Available in Print and ebook, 208 pages

 All the Rivers Flow into the Sea

Description

From Vietnam to America, this story collection, jewel-like, evocative, and layered, brings to readers a unique sense of love and passion alongside tragedy and darker themes of peril. The titular story features a love affair between an unlikely duo pushing against barely surmountable cultural barriers. In “The Yin-Yang Market,” magical realism and the beauty of innocence abounds in deep dark places, teeming with life and danger. “A Mute Girl’s Yarn” tells a magical coming-of-age story like sketches in a child’s fairy book.

Bringing together the damned, the unfit, the brave who succumb to the call of fate, All the Rivers Flow Into the Sea is a great journey where redemption and human goodness arise out of violence and beauty to become part of an essential mercy.

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea was selected as a winner of the 2021 EastOver Prize for Fiction and has received much advanced praise.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
IndieBound

Guest Review by Sal

‘All the Rivers Flow Into the Sea,’ is not just a collection of short stories, but a look into the lives of average Vietnamese people during a very turbulent time.

Vietnam is a beautiful country, filled with hardworking and generous people, and no one is better at representing that in story form than author Khanh Ha. Between the beautiful, lush landscape of the country and the wonderful people, this book show Vietnam in a different light than many Americans are used to.

In the story, ‘All the Pretty Horses,’ the narrator talks about the relationship between their father and young Vietnamese language teacher, both of them living in Washington D.C. Although the father is married to the narrator’s mother, it seems like things maybe developing romantically between the teacher and the father, that is until a devastating turn of events changes things forever.

In the title story, ‘All the Rivers Flow into the Sea,’ two young people, a Vietnamese woman and an American solider, fall in love during the war. Although circumstances persist in trying to keep them apart, the young couple faces these trials together, always certain that their love can conquer all. Though a long journey on foot back to the woman’s home and a tense boat ride where they are in danger of being found by the Viet Cong, the couple stays together. But will they be able to find happiness? You’ll have to read the story yourself to find out.

Ha’s writing is absolutely remarkable. The atmosphere of this book is pure magic and I felt myself being wrapped up in it as I read along. As a reader, I felt as though I was there with the young couple on the dark river, or in the car with the father and the teacher in Washington.

This is a five-star read that must be experienced for yourself!

About Khanh HaAll the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

Multi award winning author, Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, The Orison Anthology Award for Fiction, The James Knudsen Prize for Fiction, The C&R Press Fiction Prize, and The EastOver Fiction Prize.

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner. All the Rivers Flow into the Sea & Other Stories has already won the EastOver Fiction Prize.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KhanhHa69784776
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on Aug 27, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Praise

“These stories draw close connections between disparate cultures, Vietnam’s changing environments, and the American and Vietnamese people who engage on a different playing field than the war which brought them together in the past.”– Midwest Book Review

Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway: Inseparable by David Kruth

Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure by David Kruh

Publisher: DX Varos Publishing (June 21, 2022)
Category: Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure
ISBN: 978-1955065504
Available in Print and ebook, 325 pages

 Inseparable

Tommy knew the right thing to do was turn them in to the cops. But that wasn’t the adventurous thing to do!

What happened to the three men who escaped from Alcatraz prison in June, 1962? Did they meet the same watery fate as dozens who preceded them into the cold San Francisco Bay? There is credible evidence two of them – brothers John and Clarence Anglin – not only survived but lived for years in South America. Inseparable is a fictional account of how a 13-year-old boy named Tommy helped them to freedom.

Tommy O’Conner was an only child whose mother, a widow of the Korean Conflict, had been left to make it on her own. She passed her independent, sometimes lonely spirit, to her son. But Tommy was also, in many ways, no different than other boys his age who dreamed of adventure. Then, one June day in 1962, his daydreams were interrupted by the real thing when he came face to face with John and Clarence Anglin – two of the Alcatraz escapees – and made the decision which would change all their lives.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble

Book Review by Sal

A brilliant historical fiction from a terrific storyteller! ‘Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure,’ by David Kruh is based off of the real-life escape of three prisoners from Alcatraz in 1961.

In real life, no definitive traces of prisoners, Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin were ever found after their daring late-night escape, but in this novel, Kruh examines how the escape might have gone and what might have become of the men afterward.

After planning their escape for months, the three prisoners set out to cross the bay to San Francisco under cover of nightfall one fateful June night. But before long, the raft that they had fashioned out of sewed together raincoats gets a hole, and the men are cast into the freezing waters of the bay. Struggling to swim, the three men wash up in very different areas than they had intended to escape to.

The plan was to make it to Angel Island, the closest island to Alcatraz. Instead, the two Anglin brothers wash up on a beach in Sausalito, miles away from their intended destination. Waterlogged and wounded from their swim, the men are soon found by a young boy named Tommy O’Conner, who agrees to help them get to a disused local fort. However, Tommy soon faces trouble from his mother and the local police, and will have to find a way to help the men with the limited resources at his disposal.

Meanwhile, Frank Morris is on his own, making his way west through empty military bases in the effort to get to a town where he can steal a car. All three men face hunger, cold and other dangers in their quest to escape their prison and get away from San Francisco altogether without getting caught again.

This is an incredibly immersive novel by Kruh, and one well worth the read! A definite must read for historical fiction and adventure lovers!

About the Author

David is the published author of several books on Boston history and the co-author, with his father Louis, on a book about presidential homes and landmarks.

A frequent contributor to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and History Magazine, David is also a published and produced playwright, and a popular lecturer on a variety of historical subjects. ‘Inseparable’ is his debut novel.

Website: http://https//inseparablealcatraznovel.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.kruh

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 1 print copy and 2 eBook copies open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on July 27, 2022, midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus July 6 Kickoff & Interview

Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings July 8 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads July 11 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books July 12 Review & Excerpt

Denise Amazon July 13 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews July 14 Review & Guest Post

Gracie Goodreads July 15 Review

Nora S. Storeybook Reviews July 18 Guest Review & Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape July 19 Guest Review

Bee Book Pleasures July 21 Review & Interview

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews July 25 Guest Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus July 26 Review