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Book Review: The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

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I was randomly searching on NetGalley one day when I saw The Coordinates of Loss show up in my feed for recommended books. I’m a big fan of Amanda Prowse, but she has so many previous novels that I hadn’t been paying attention to new releases. Since it was on NetGalley, and the publisher had auto-approved me, I downloaded the book and put it in my queue. I wanted an author I could count on this week and began the read assured it would be the perfect choice. It delivered and I’m very happy with Prowse’s latest story.

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Rachel Croft and her husband James are sleeping on their boat in the Caribbean when they discover one morning that their young son, Oscar, isn’t in his bed. They search and search, but he’s gone. No one saw any boats nearby and there’s no sign of any struggle or injury. He had fallen overboard and likely drowned. With no body, how does a family move on? There’s always the question of “what happened” and “could he be somewhere else” and this is what haunts the young couple. Another story about CeCe, their housekeeper, parallels the Croft family pain. CeCe lost a child years ago, too. Through a series of letters, CeCe tries to help Rachel get through the pain. The story chronicles a few years in everyone’s life ultimately culminating in what happens to the family years later after all the pain and struggle seems to come to a head between Rachel and James over who’s at fault.

Prowse is killer when it comes to packing gut-punching emotion. At many points in the story, a rip current tore through me wondering how I’d handle such a situation. While it was powerful and painful, I didn’t feel the normal devastation I’ve previously felt when reading a Prowse novel in the past. It’s not to say say the book isn’t great, as it really is. I devoured it in two days, but parts were less emotional and more matter of fact, and the occasional sense of repetition. At times, Rachel seemed too spoiled and independent, pulling away from James. I got angry with her for not turning to her husband, but then again, it’s a phenomenal author who can make readers angry at good characters for some of their decisions. So truth be told, it’s actually a good thing the way it’s written.

All in all, it’s a prime example of why Prowse’s books always impact me. I will finish them all, but I’m glad to know even her most current ones are still strong contenders for favorite stories each year. A solid 4 stars with a beautiful balance and tone.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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RELEASE DAY: QUINSEY WOLFE’S GLASS VAULT (Giveaway & Excerpt / Rockstar Book Tours)

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You might remember the author, Candace Robinson, from a book review I posted a few weeks ago, but today I’m excited to announce her latest novel is available and I get to share the news. If you haven’t yet heard about QUINSEY WOLFE’S GLASS VAULT by Author Candace Robinson, be sure to check out all the details below. This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Candace Robinson and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Click on the banner to check out more information on the Release Day tour.

QUINSEY WOLFE'S GLASS VAULT

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About The Book:

Title: QUINSEY WOLFE’S GLASS VAULT

Author: Candace Robinson

Pub. Date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: The Parliament House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 242

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

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What’s this book all about — BTW, isn’t that an awesome cover?

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

Book Trailer:

https://youtu.be/HU97b9hpz9s

Excerpt:

Maisie takes Oak Street, which I have always found ironic. The street is lined on both sides with tall trees, each one reaching toward the other as if longing for their touch. For a town called Deer Park, I have seen more trees on a street corner than actual deer. Not. One. Single. Deer.

Suddenly, Maisie slams on the brakes and my chest strikes hard against the seat belt. Then I smash back into the seat just as hard. The only thing I can think is, are my organs still intact? Seriously, they feel like they’re bleeding profusely.

“What the hell?” August and I say at the exact same time. Maisie is staring across the street to the left.

“Look!” she exclaims.

Now I see what Maisie is pointing at. Across from us stands an enormous stone building, unbelievably tall, and its walls are lined with huge rocks all along the base. Among the rocks, it appears there are absolutely no windows of any kind. The entrance has an archway that frames one of the tallest wooden doors I have ever seen. It’s creepily unusual.

“Impossible,” I breathe.

“This has never been here before.” August appears flabbergasted.

He’s right. He’s beyond right. There’s no way this place was just magically built overnight. Even if it were possible, it’s obviously old. It has to be over a hundred years old.

“Maybe we never really noticed it before.” Maisie unbuckles herself and opens the car door, completely taken by the sight of this building.

I throw my hands up hysterically and wave my hands around like a lunatic. “Never noticed it before? This giant stone mansion?”

“Perrie has a point, Maisie.” August stares up at the building in shock.

Hesitantly, I step out of the car and August follows. We walk around to stand beside Maisie, completely speechless as we continue our staring marathon at the place. It’s really an unusual structure to be sitting in the middle of our town. One would think something like this would have drawn major attention from the locals.

“We should investigate!” Maisie is moving before either of us can protest.

“Just a quick look,” I say, falling into step beside her, fingers itching with curiosity.

We walk to the door at a leisurely pace, as if we have all night to see what’s going on. As we inch closer to the arched doorway, where overgrown grass meets a block of cement, two things pop into my line of sight. First, there’s a plaque on the door that reads:

 Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

It’s written in an elegant, yet outdated script. Maisie tilts her head to the side, skeptical of the plaque. “Not sure what a glass vault is.”

I point at a sign to the right of the door. Moving closer to see what it says, I read it aloud:

The illustrious Quinsey Wolfe presents a wonder of the world, a true sight to behold in his infamous glass museum. A forewarning to onlookers and wonderers, beware of your imagination and curiosity. This is not for the faint of heart.

  Candace

About Candace:

My name is Candace Robinson. I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter!

You can also follow me on my review blog Literary Dust

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Giveaway Details: All International

NEXT LEVEL

COVER REVEAL: Entrapped by Claire Ayres

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It’s finally here! I’m super excited to reveal the amazing cover Claire Ayres has chosen for her debut novel in the ‘Musician’s Hope’ contemporary romance series. I read a few versions of this book during the beta reading phase, and I’ve recently finished a version prior to the final proofreading copy. I can’t wait for her to share her book with everyone. For now, you get the privilege of seeing the beautiful cover during today’s first preview, then read on to hear what the story’s all about!

Entrapped

 

My Top 5 Thoughts on the Cover

  1. How lucky did she get finding a cover that captures the entire story all in one haunting image? Oh wait, you haven’t read it, yet… but I have… and I am certain this is perfect! Hopefully this lights a fire for you to get a copy ASAP.
  2. Dark colors are so intriguing. It doesn’t always mean evil… it can be a psychological darkness like depression hovering about one of the characters. How does she get through it all?
  3. Playing an instrument can mean so many things… from the strings of our heart being fiddled with to the angles in which you hold your most beloved things… possessions… people…
  4. What do you suppose that is in the background, a mirror? A reflection of what we want in life versus what we actually get or think that we’ve gotten? Perhaps that’s a key point in the book…
  5. We cannot see her face, only his. I wonder what that might mean… Is she hidden or closed off? Maybe he is, too, but more willing to take a chance. Or is she in control waiting to accept what’s right before her?

 

Book Description

Cellist, Luka, has moved to Bristol to start a new job and recover from the betrayal of finding his best friend and his girlfriend in bed together. He doesn’t plan on the emotional thunderstorm that meeting his next-door neighbour Jess causes.

Jess had everything, a man she loved, friends she adored and then the world crashed around her. Depression came from nowhere and slowly started ripping her life away. Now she lives a lonely, sad life but the music which she keeps hearing next door is waking her up and she doesn’t know why.

Join Luka and Jess as they discover life after heartache, how to forgive and how to live and love again.

*Entrapped is an 18+ Contemporary Romance with several graphic sex scenes*

 

Book Links

Amazon (universal link)

Goodreads

 

About the author

Claire lives in Bristol, UK and has taken her inspiration from the people and the places she has seen over the years. She always has a book close at hand and devours Fantasy and Romance like some devour chocolate! Claire loves a happily ever after followed by lots of bloody sword-fighting and dangerous dragons! But when writing her debut novel Entrapped drew on her childhood ambition to be a musician and one of the instruments she played and still loves as a centre-point.

Claire is also a passionate mental health advocate who lives with bipolar disorder and has done regular radio interviews and even some TV. She is also a huge heavy metal fan and can regularly be found banging her head at a concert or festival.

 

Author Links

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

 

Book Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo

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In the history of titles, has there ever been something more appealing than Bacon Pie? I can only imagine the hilarity and the food consumption that must have occurred when Candace Robinson and Gerardo Delgadillo focused on proposing potential titles. For me, bacon and pie are delicious thoughts… but putting them together? Wow, I’m not sure how that would taste, but it certainly captured my attention. Both the title and the book… now let’s get into the real review.

Let’s start with the basics of how I chose this young adult contemporary fiction novel published just a few short months ago. I’d seen it advertised on many social media platforms and I followed one of the authors blogs, but I didn’t jump on the initial bandwagon only because my backlog of TBRs, ARCs and other book OCDs had to be sorted and cleaned. I finished that grandiose task right before vacation and took this delight with me to Italy. I devoured it in less than 4 hours between a train ride from Amalfi to Tuscany and an afternoon sitting near the Arno river banks in Siena. What a perfect way to enjoy ‘la dolce vita’ while reading a touching, comical, and thoroughly engaging book.

The story is told through the multiple perspectives of a mid-to-late teenage groups of friends in a typical high school setting; however, it’s not your standard ‘jocks versus nerds’ or ‘life is hard as a teenager’ coming-of-age story. It’s much stronger… there’s a ton of family dynamics, old rivalries, crushes, and emotion built into a backdrop full of diversity and wit. Between Spanish translations and conversations with armadillos, I can’t decide which character I love the most… or which love story is the most endearing and reflective. All of the characters are charming, even when they’re misbehaving or doing something foolish. Their relationships with their parents echo beautiful sentiments, but also show a tougher side of why we all ‘loathe our parents’ from time to time in that age range. Kudos to the authors for bringing out both sides of the puzzle it is to be a hormonal teenager with a chip on our shoulder but also a need to be loved.

And let’s talk about that concept: authors… plural. Yes, it’s a co-written book. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be to write one on your own, and while the thought of someone taking on half the work seems easier, I know it’s probably harder than to do it on your own. Merging styles, voices, and patterns. Keeping facts straight. Disagreeing on direction or tone. But never did I see anything in the novel where I thought… ‘hmm, this feels different.’ What a great way to produce a truly a solid book that will entertain all types of readers and bring tons of smiles to their faces.

What I love most about this book is how it’s a finely balanced tale showcasing a few weeks to months in a mixed group of teens without trying to teach huge moral lessons or be more than it needs to be. It’s a beautiful story, leaves you with a lasting impression, shows you the different sides of life with alternative families, and gives you plenty to think about in a subtle manner. I’m really glad I took this book on and can’t wait to read anything else they collaborate on together, or they publish on their own. What’s even more fantastic is that the authors have placed the Kindle version of this book on sale for a limited time… download today via this link on Amazon for only .99 cents! You won’t be disappointed and will probably want to pick it up again soon for another read.

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For those who like to get to know their authors better, be sure to check out their profiles on Goodreads via the links above. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter via @literarydust and @Gero_Delgadillo. They both have great blogs which you can find thru their profiles on these sites. I’ve given them each a dedicated page on my blog, too, so stay tunes for more as I read future books they’ve written independently or together. I highly recommend taking a chance on this one!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Mackenzie’s Distraction by Angie Dokos

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Reading new genres has become part of my routine to find fantastic new authors, understand different writing styles, and explore great stories and content. I found all three with the latest book I read, Mackenzie’s Distraction, written by Angie Dokos in 2016. The book is considered new adult contemporary fiction, but it’s stocked full of romance, emotions, attitude, and possibilities. I bought the book a few weeks before a recent vacation and read it poolside on the Amalfi Coast while in Italy. What a perfect combination of beauty in a book just like the many splendors of my surroundings.

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Mackenzie’s been hurt in the past and steers clear of relationships especially when the man seems too good to be real or true. But in this case, before she even meets him, her life is traumatized when her mother is a car accident and struggles to survive. Though Mackenzie has friends and other family to help her handle the huge blow, it’s not quite as simple as all that. Her mother’s hospitalization leads Mackenzie to learn a few deep-rooted family secrets, meet friends from a parent’s former life, and discover things about herself she never knew existed. That’s when the potential man of her dreams walks into her life, but is she too crushed and shocked to accept it? Let’s not forget the sudden onset of several available and potentially great catches who are very interested in getting to know her. Who will she choose, if any? Now that’s where the plot of this book takes off… weaving readers on a very emotional and manic ride with the unfortunately impacted young woman just looking to heal.

I’m normally a plot, then character guy. In this book, though the plot is important, it’s less about what the secrets and actions are and more about how Mackenzie deals with all the repercussions. It was a great change of pace for me as you had to settle in, listen, and understand why Mackenzie reacted the way she did in each instance. I didn’t always agree, and I sometimes got angry with her for what seemed like an unnecessary or spoiled adolescent attitude; however, I also haven’t suffered through the craziness that hits her in the span of a few days. In that sense, she certainly tries to find a balance, and readers can easily connect with her on the journey. I vividly recall thinking, if she didn’t accept Trevor’s love and attention, I’d certainly volunteer to stand in. (I won’t tell you if she does or doesn’t, but it’s complex!) He was practically perfect in every way, what exactly was stopping her? Well… that’s where psychology and personality truly come into play and drive her responses. It takes a truly analytical, sensitive, and courageous mind to deliver this kind of story. Kudos to Dokos.

Writing style and caliber were strong. Characters were vivid and relatable. Actions and dialog were balanced well, even if at times I was feeling a little frustrated with some of the things people did or said. But that’s the beauty of a good book: sometimes it takes the writer to challenge the reader to engage outside their normal comfort zone, and readers should keep an open mind to fully understand the vision of the author. Then you see why it works… and you have a thrilling escape in someone else’s complicated life. Being a teenager or even in your early 20’s is ridiculously tough in a modern world. Dealing with siblings who have different attitudes, step families with bigger concerns and questions, friends who just want you to be happy but get in your face all too often… wanting to open your heart to love but not knowing how any more… trusting someone who is virtually a stranger despite spending days with him in the first week… people are often secretive and misleading, so I understand Mackenzie’s concerns. But from one particular scene, the girl can take care of herself! Awesome scene, Ms. Dokos. 😊

I really enjoyed the book and will definitely look for more from the author this year, as she has another book published and is hopefully working on a few more already! She’s got a new fan and I’m confident many more as they take a chance on reading her work. I recommend giving it a chance for all readers, but most definitely if you enjoy balanced romance and emotions, journeys, analytical decision-making and learning how to let go and accept change.

I am also a big fan of Angie’s blog. She covers so much beyond just books on her blog, and it’s a welcome distraction every week to see what’s going on in her life. A wonderful writer, blogger and person to know… stop by for yourself!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Booktique: Intro to an Editor

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As a writer, we often think we are in full command of our language and grammar skills. In many of those instances we are probably strong, but at the same time we’re also not experts in everything. Nor should we be… writers and editors require different tool sets and knowledge. Many of the skills overlap, but there are several differences where it’s always important to find an editor who can help you succeed as an even stronger writer. It’s also important to have someone else read your work other than early beta readers, especially if you are self-published or your publisher doesn’t handle editing.

Stay tuned for another post in the future about the different types of editing, but for now, consider editing the generic term for someone assisting you with writing your novel from style / word choice to punctuation, spelling to proofreading, and story consistency to character development. I connected with a fantastic editor about six months ago shortly after she’d read my first novel, Watching Glass Shatter: Nicki Kuzn of Booktique Editing. It’s been such a fantastic experience that I wanted to share a bit about her so others in need of editing assistance can consider a similar route.

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After publishing Watching Glass Shatter, I’d read through it over a hundred times believing I’d caught every possible proofreading, grammar, or spelling issue before it was published. After seeing a few reviews noting some issues (that I couldn’t find!), I asked Nicki to take a look for me as I was getting ready to update the final version with a few minor fixes before a huge marketing campaign. Nicki quickly read through the novel and sent back a ton of feedback. I had ~40 issues with spelling mistakes, words missing, or incorrect formatting. On top of that, she provided suggestions for improving the language and dialog, too. All her feedback was easily categorized so I knew what was a mistake versus potential issue, style option and choice, or general recommendation.

I made nearly ALL the edits and sent it back for a final review. Nicki found a few more items and really helped polish this novel — the way I should have had it when it first launched. Coming away from that process, I’d learned two things: (1) how/where I tend to make my mistakes (thanks to Nicki’s kindness and how easy it is to work with her) and (2) she was definitely getting my second book once I had a final draft for review. Nicki eventually read Father Figure in early January and worked with me through 3 revisions to finalize the version going to my publisher. She went above and beyond what we initially discussed as the focus areas and amount of time for each one. Nicki is fast, reliable, honest, friendly, and very focused. I always knew our schedule and believed we could build a great partnership in adding the finishing touches to my novel. I can’t wait to work with her again on my third book later this year.

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If you’re in the market for an editor, or even just want to talk to one about the different types of editing or approaches she could take, I encourage you to spend some time on her website reviewing her options, testimonials, and portfolio. Then call or email her to discuss pricing… I’m confident you’ll find it fair. She’s easy to work with, but at the same time doesn’t hesitate to push back a second time when you indicate you don’t want to change something. She provides the reasons why and why not, then lets you make the decision as the content owner. I always knew when it was a required change versus a subjective one.

I also learned how to stop using so many commas… I still am heavy with them, but not as much thanks to Nicki’s guidance and basic rules. Two of the best aspects of working with Nicki include (1) an extremely reasonable price given the level of expertise and energy she brings to the table, and (2) incredibly quick turn-around time. In every round, Nicki delivered sooner than she planned — and sometimes when she’d tell me I’d have everything back in 48 hours, it would be in my mailbox after only 24 hours. It was a writer’s dream because of the efficiency and quality included in the package. You can see more on her Facebook page, link to her site or read some details below to help decide if this is the right path for you.

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About Nicki Kuzn

I spend many hours reading. I was thinking one day (after reading a novel which was not proofed very well) that I could do this with excellent results, thus began Booktique Editing. Since I am a perfectionist, there is nothing more frustrating for me while reading to come across typos, incorrect grammar and punctuation, and incomplete sentences. It is too easy to lose your train of thought, and reading slows down for me when I have to figure out what is actually being said. Also, I am sure there is nothing more frustrating for an author to receive negative comments from reader reviews about errors in their publications. I can fix this for both the author and the reader.

I have made it my goal to ensure that any author/client of mine publishes an error-free book. I usually read a book several times before I return it to the author; I will review it again after the author has gone through my suggested changes. I check for spelling, grammar, typos, punctuation, consistency along with suggested changes to content when I feel they are warranted or necessary.

nicki

Book Review: The Private War of Corporal Henson by E. Michael Helms

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Before I get into my review, I wanted to share with everyone that this author is a blogger many of us have interacted with before. He shares writing advice. He is very supportive of other writers. He shares, tweets and re-blogs content to help market books, posts and thoughts from other people. He’s a solid guy and I’m privileged to be part of his online life… that said, I chose to read his book without him even bringing it up. And my review is completely free and clear of impacts from knowing him. He’s genuine and I thank him for the opportunity to read his work and about parts of his life. If you’re interested in reading more about him, check out his blog and other books. He’s also written a mystery series I can’t wait to get my hands on! But that will be another review later this summer… let’s get to the review on the first book of his I’ve read…

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After noticing the author’s name mentioned a few times on various blogs, then seeing some reviews of his books, I downloaded a copy of The Private War of Corporal Henson by E.Michael Helms. I didn’t realize until I started reading the introduction that this is a follow-up to his first book about life in Vietnam, but I don’t think you need to read them in order, as it’s a bit of a mix: fiction and a semi-autobiographical memoir of his experiences during the war and adjusting to life afterward. I’m not a frequent non-fiction reader, and when I do, war isn’t usually the topic I’d want to learn about; however, I had a good feeling about this author’s work from seeing his blog and social media posts, so I chanced it. I’m glad I did and would give this 4.5 stars. Great work, Mr. Helms.

The novel takes place in the mid 1980s about 20 years after the Vietnam War has ended. Nathan Henson is struggling to live a full life without the past continually haunting him. He’s encouraged to meet up with other veterans and forms a group of guys who support one another through the days and nights. Nathan considers dating again, though he’s somewhat avoided it the last two decades. He and his friends decide how to balance the need for medicinal support, alcohol to calm the nerves, and truthful conversations that bring up a lot of pain. Consider it a coming-of-age journey thirty years later than normal, but that’s meant in a very supportive and honorable way. Nathan, like so many other soldiers, have to figure out how to re-formulate who they are in a world that is no longer the same both personally and globally.

I fully admit I was worried about the flashback scenes. It’s not that I can’t handle the violence or gore, actually rather than opposite — I like reading and seeing it when I know it’s fiction. But emotionally, it’s hard to accept this was a reality for many people in the past and even today. What Nathan endured, as well as his friends, and all the people we probably know in real life, including the author, is horrific… and when I see it in a movie or read about it in a book, it’s too much to handle without taking on some of the pain. So I tend to avoid these types of literature or flicks, but Helms provides the right balance of horror, humor, pain, survival, and support to make reading his story much easier than I’d expected. Whether it’s the right place or not, I feel an intense need to say thank you to the author as well as others in his similar position, for all the energy, effort and time they put into protecting people around the world and in my own country. Thank you, Mr. Helms for both your service and this book.

Nathan as a character is great. He’s well-depicted with both charm and old-school anger / attitude that toes the line of being raw and real, but also frustrating and compelling. I’ve never been thru anything like this, so I’ve no right to judge anyone’s behaviors… yet reading this story opens my eyes to how and why people act or react the way they do. You’re changed coming out of war. And Nathan and his friends deserve the right to take whatever time is needed to figure out their post-war life. It seems simple on the outside… you meet a girl, you fall in love and everything goes away. But that’s not how it is — and Helms’ descriptions, detailed emotions, thorough examples and witty commentary help make that plainly clear to someone on the far outside of the experience. Only a strong writer and someone who’s experienced these events could pull off that task. Kudos to him for making me believe what’s happened in the story and for awakening me to a different reality.

Helms shares a good balance of camaraderie between all the men in the group who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Each has an opportunity to reflect back on what happened and how they are dealing with it. Sometimes things go well. Sometimes they do not. Each character is vivid. Nathan although not the leader of the group feels like it because he’s sort of narrating the story (not really, but that’s how it seems). He’s a solid guy, and when he has to cancel plans to support a friend, or debates loaning money to one, or we learn about medicine being sold on the side… you understand the bond these men share. You feel the pain when they reveal their stories and what happened to each of them. Who lost a limb and how did they deal with it? Who can’t allow himself to get close to anyone post war? Who has children but no job and can’t support his family? All the things that happen in reality are covered in this story, and as a reader, your heart aches for them.

That said, I also want to kick their ass a few times. Men talk. Sometimes it ‘vulgar’ but that’s the truth and how it happens especially in the 1980s. Helms provides a little of this side of life, too. He doesn’t hold back, but that’s a good thing. It elicited a bit of anger from me, just as it would from someone doing those things in real life around me. He’s got the dialect and voice down. The setting felt very 1980s to me. All good things in a memoir and a piece of fiction.

I’m not gonna lie and say it’s an easy book to get through. War is difficult. The savagery that happens to people in the army or navy is horrendous. You will hear those stories. You will need to put the book down for a few minutes to let it sink in and then somehow flush out of your system before you take on a new story of pain. But it’s well-written, balanced with positivity and humor, and forces you to accept some harsh (that word doesn’t truly do it justice) experiences many people in today’s world aren’t familiar with. Kudos to Helms for successfully pushing me out of my comfort zone on this one.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.