Friday, April 28, 2017

David E. Grogan - Sapphire Pavilion - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Steve Stilwell’s former Navy JAG Corps buddy Ric Stokes has been jailed for possession of heroin in Vietnam. He was found in the same room with his traveling companion Ryan Eversall, dead of an overdose and in the company of a prostitute. Steve knows his friend is a straight arrow. Was he set up? If so, for what reason? Steve travels to Ho Chi Minh City in search of the truth. In no time Steve is targeted by the people who framed his friend. A beautiful young American businesswoman insinuates her way into the case. Can she really help, or is she just a dangerous distraction? Ric and Ryan came to Vietnam in search of an Air Force transport plane that disappeared in 1968. The pilot was Ryan’s father. Before the heroin bust, they had located the wreckage. Ryan’s notebook, which Steve manages to obtain, spells out the exact location. Ryan’s widow has given Steve’s associate Casey another piece of valuable evidence, a file labeled “Sapphire Pavilion.” Someone is willing to go to any lengths to steal both the notebook and the file. From Virginia and Texas to DC and Vietnam, powerful, all-seeing forces with unlimited resources are determined to bury the truth about Sapphire Pavilion. But they have grossly underestimated Steve Stilwell and his associate Casey, a former Army pilot who lost her leg in a helo accident. And the ability to inspire loyalty wherever you go can come in handy when danger lurks behind every corner.




My Review

Sometimes an author's profile reads as interesting as the book itself. David E. Grogan is a retired Navy Judge Advocate, just like his main character, Steve Stilwell. However, in this case I really hope that the international intrigue that unfolds in the novel is more a product of the author's imagination, and doesn't have any basis in reality.

It all starts on May 14, 2000, Mother's Day, when Steve's good friend, Ric, is arrested in his hotel room in Vietnam. His business partner is dead in the adjacent bed, and a wad of heroin is found in Ric's suitcase. It's clearly a setup, but in a country where possession is nine tenths of the law, Ric has little chance of avoiding the death penalty.

And the corruption doesn't end there. Ric was in Vietnam investigating an American plane that disappeared mid-flight during the Vietnam War. He actually found the remains, however, no one at the State Department is willing to confirm operation "Sapphire Pavilion" or even the names of the downed crewmen who were onboard that fateful flight in 1968.

As the action transitions from the violent, racketeer culture of Vietnam to the more genteel, colonial-lined streets of Virginia, the duplicity doesn't end there. Because in the back of Steve's mind, he can't help wondering, "What if it's our own government?" And he can't help putting himself in Ric's shoes, the innocent man he left behind, who's unjustly languishing in the bowels of Chi Hoa Prison.

But the scope of the matter goes far beyond one man's desperate plight. Steve learns that the "S" and "P" in Sapphire Pavilion stand for "secret peace," as in a top secret peace mission ordered by President Lyndon B. Johnson that was supposed to bring an early end to the Vietnam War, until the plane carrying the diplomat sent to negotiate peace was mysteriously shot out of the sky—by antiaircraft missiles bearing American-made serial numbers. Does this newly unearthed knowledge free Ric from prison or does it simply embroil Steve in a political scandal that's way over his head?

Their ultimate fate harkens back to the Latin inscription Steve saw above a church in Vietnam: Deo Optimo Maximo. It means: "To God, who is the best and the greatest." Man may try to hide the truth, but it always resurfaces sooner or later, and the old cliché still rings true—the truth will set you free.

***

Sapphire Pavilion can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 280
Release: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603816038
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

David E. Grogan was born in Rome, New York, and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a B.B.A. in Accounting, he began working for the accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., in Houston, Texas, as a Certified Public Accountant. He left Arthur Andersen in 1984 to attend the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, graduating in 1987. He earned his Masters in International Law from The George Washington University Law School and is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Grogan served on active duty in the United States Navy for over 26 years as a Navy Judge Advocate. He is now retired, but during the course of his Navy career, he prosecuted and defended court-martial cases, traveled to capitals around the world, lived abroad in Japan, Cuba and Bahrain, and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf onboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. His experiences abroad and during the course of his career influence every aspect of his writing. Sapphire Pavilion is his second novel. His first was The Siegel Dispositions.

Grogan’s current home is in Savoy, Illinois, where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their dog, Marley. He has three children.

Links to connect with David:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog Tour Site


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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kate Bloom - The Legend of the Dwarf - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Ever Trollkiller is a young dwarf, twenty-three years old, who had lived her entire life in an isolated cave far away from the dwarven kingdom. She lives with twelve other dwarves who have raised her in complete isolation, keeping the surviving dwarves a secret from the rest of the word. They hide form Terrisino, the Great and Evil Sorcerer, who demolished their kingdom a quarter century ago. But when Ever accidentally meets an elf, she decides that she is no longer satisfied with the stories she hears from her clan. She decides to seek out the mysterious elf so that he might show her the world. But it isn’t long before she realizes that the freedom of the world and the future of the races of elves, men, and dragons will soon end like the dwarven race. Orcs run rampant in the land, killing innocents and plundering the villages. Strange creatures are given rise as they bring death to those who dare harbor the dwarf that they seek. Evil men lie in wait till they might strike. And each of them is allied under Terrisino himself. The stories of hope reach Ever. The stories of legends that all center around one strange dwarf who is destined to defeat Terrisino and ensure the freedom to the world. Convinced that she is the dwarf of legend, she unites with the unlikely company of men, sorcerers, elves, and dragons to save the races and discover who she is.




My Review

"Every great history starts with one brave soul."

These inspiring words serve as a rallying cry for the mystical creatures of a land, soon to be plunged into a pitched battle between good and evil. The only problem is, it is a land divided. Elves, dragons, sorcerers, all keep to themselves. No one wants to stick their neck out for anybody who doesn't look or act like them. Until a little dwarf arrives on the scene and changes everything.

A dwarf? Yes, a dwarf. They're not all dead, as commonly believed. Some did, in fact, survive the last massacre of the wicked sorcerer, some twenty-five years ago. And it's curious that now when the sorcerer is believed to be gearing up for another attack, this long lost dwarf suddenly appears among them, seemingly out of the blue.

And she does one thing that no one ever thought possible - she unites them under the banner of a common cause. She tells them what it's like for her race to face extinction, and she doesn't want it to happen to them. Together, she urges, they have a chance to make a difference before it's too late.

However, the enemy they're facing has no known weakness. He's an all powerful sorcerer. The only advantage they have is that he doesn't know who they are, not yet. They may have enough time to warn the right people.

What started off as a whimsical urge of humoring one of the last known dwarves in existence is now no longer a game. This innocent dwarf is willing to place herself in the direct line of fire in order to save them all. They had no idea what they were stumbling upon when they crossed paths with her, but now they have no doubt that by helping her fulfill her destiny, they have a chance to restore the light to their ever-darkening world.

***

The Legend of the Dwarf can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $15.00 ebook, $15.00 paperback
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 260
Release: December 18, 2016
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9781540574176
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Kate Bloom is a tenacious and edgy millennial with a BS in English and history, giving her a knack for story-telling. As a fantasy writer, her mind is constantly running wild in fictional worlds, such as that of her first project, Alice in Dreamland (kindle2016). Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1994, and where she has lived her entire life, Kate found the dry dessert scenery to grow tiresome to look at. She found her escape in the fantastical worlds that played out in her head. She has fallen in love with the idea of putting those worlds in print so that everyone else might see those worlds as well.

Links to connect with Kate:
Web Site
Facebook
Blog
Blog Tour Site


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Friday, February 10, 2017

A. Keith Carreiro - The Penitent - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

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




My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

The Penitent can be purchased at:
Amazon
Lulu

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

***

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bonnie M. Hennessy - Twisted - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

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




My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Twisted can be purchased at:
Amazon

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

***

About the Author

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

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

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

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


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Friday, December 9, 2016

Nancy McCabe - Following Disasters - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

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




My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Following Disasters can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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

***

About the Author

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

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


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