short story

Book Review: Thirsty for Water by N. N. Light

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Thirsty for WaterThirsty for Water by N.N. Light
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thirsty for Water is a short story by N. N. Light that was published in 2014. I’ve read other non-fiction books by the author, but this was my first fiction piece. It will not be my last. From the beginning, the story captivates your heart. Juliet is in class, disinterested in hearing about a village in Africa, yet her teacher groans on about it. While trying to ignore everything, Juliet is stunned when a 7-year-old boy appears on her desk. He’s tiny, almost magical, and wants to know why she doesn’t care about his village. It’s time for the heartstrings to be pulled… as in this tale, Juliet learns why it’s so important to help others who are in trouble and need your support.

N. N. Light achieves a lot in this quick read. Without being pushy or direct, the author shows readers how they can help when so many people around us are in need. Juliet is your stereotypical teenager (not everyone is like her, but we definitely know the type) yet she grows on you with each line. Learning a valuable lesson is an important part of life, and I’m glad there are stories like this one to help make it even easier. I do enjoy Light’s writing style — simple, effective, descriptive, personal. Kudos for a well-written and memorable story.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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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Book Review: Restless Souls and Shallow Graves by Rebecca McNutt

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Today I am sharing a review of a short story by a fellow blogger, Rebecca McNutt. Check out her blog @ https://rebeccamcnuttcobwebs.blogspot.com/

Restless Souls and Shallow Graves: A Short StoryRestless Souls and Shallow Graves: A Short Story by Rebecca McNutt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this short story by Rebecca McNutt, we are treated to a few scenes between gravediggers during a rainy day; can you already feel the suspense, thrills, and drama? Restless Souls and Shallow Graves is one of many stories Rebecca has written, but it’s the first I’ve selected to read. There will be more in the future, and if this is a hint at what’s to come, she will have a wonderful writing career.

I enjoyed the imagery and foreshadowing in the story. The plot, not lengthy nor complex, is just enough to whet your appetite. You know they’re digging graves. You get some backstory. You feel a bit of tension but perhaps some respect. There’s something else going on, yet we can’t quite tell what might be happening.

The story is dark but not morbid. It provides great character insight between dialog and descriptions, but it also allows for you to decide for yourself what you think of each protagonist. I like the similes when comparing who someone looks like, but the drops of rain are the most effectively described. I could almost feel them. Looking forward to more.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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: Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

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Legacy of the TropicsLegacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in a while, you come across an author who can write across multiple genres and make it seem like an incredibly easy task. Mary Deal is one of those not-so-frequent-few who can deliver romance, mystery, thriller, historical, and contemporary all throughout a wide variety of settings. Legacy of the Tropics is my fifth read from her growing literary works, and while I’m not sure if it’s my favorite yet, it is definitely in the top two or three of what she’s produced. At a 50-foot glance, it’s a collection of three short novellas (~90 pages each) revolving around weather impacts in those lush and beautiful (not always serene) beach locations many of us adore. While each of the stories are stand-alone, and the first two are completely separate, there is a connection between the characters in the third story which was a beautiful surprise.

One of the facets of Deal’s work I’ve grown quite fond of is her ability to incorporate detailed histories of her characters all throughout the text without overwhelming the reader. Sometimes it’s a few pages, others it’s just a line here and there. By the end, you’re fully immersed in someone’s struggle or plight, rooting for him or her like no one before. In all three stories, weather plays a huge and dramatic role. At first, it’s a freak storm impacting a boat at sea off the cost of Puerto Rico, then it’s an unexpected rip tide on a beach in Hawaii. I’ve been to both places and she instantly brought me back there. By the third, a powerful hurricane wrecks havoc on an already burdened set of inhabitants and characters we’ve come to know. Deal knows how to toy with your emotions… whether it’s making you want to reach thru the pages to save the victim yourself, cry when someone unexpectedly takes a turn for the worse, or shout with strength when it appears a reward might finally happen. But it’s never over when Deal’s at the helm. Just when you think things are looking brighter, she drops the truly big one on you! Every possible conflict appears among these stories.

Deal’s knowledge of these places and various water-related incidents is vast and descriptive. You will feel (1) stuck in the middle of an ocean with little hope for survival, (2) as if you’re being lifted by 100 mph winds into the air as a roof is ripped off your house, or (3) the jitters when a sea creature begins attacking your legs just because it wants to toy with you. Between the ocean-life and real-life in between the words of these 3 stories, be prepared for emotion, knowledge, and shock. I expected to read one story for the next 3 days. Instead, I read 1 last night and 2 first thing this morning… and I still want more. What a fantastic way to share a common theme and experience. Awesome work, Deal!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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: The Curse by Jina S. Bazzar

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Last fall, I connected with a writer who was ‘putting the finishing touches’ on her debut novel just as I was at the time. Jina S. Bazzar was writing a new fantasy series and trying to decide how many books, where to split the plot lines, at what point to release each one. We chatted a few times, helped each other through some marketing plans and provided an ear whenever it was needed. She was really fun and engaging to talk with and I’m glad we connected.

Jina is also a mom, a writer at a fantastic magazine, Conscious Talk, and the author of a blog where she shares advice, life musings, reviews, book updates, and other fun content. She’s from Brazil, lives in the Middle East, and often has battles between different bugs! I say this with humor because of a few posts she’s shared about how she lets one bug stick around to help control another one. Spiders are involved, and it’s just scary to me! (Yes, I’m a baby apparently). Anyway, I digress…

Jina’s launched both her prequel short story, The Curse, and her first book in the series, Heir of Ashes. I will be reading Heir of Ashes this summer, but I took on the short story this week to immerse myself in the story… what a great thing to have something like this to introduce me to a new world… and if you read thru the review all the way to the end, you’ll find a way to get a copy for FREE! Let’s dive in…

Short Story Review

If you’ve read my book reviews before, you probably know that they tend to be mysteries, thrillers, historical or contemporary fiction; however, you also know I’m branching out to try a few different genres, including romance, fantasy and science fiction. An opportunity popped up to read a new book by debut author, Jina S. Bazzar, who has both a book and a prequel short story, The Curse, currently available. What a great opportunity to explore a new author and genre by reading her short story to get the ‘lay of the land’ before I dive into the details of a new fantasy series she’s currently writing.

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I read the prequel eBook, The Curse, in less than an hour earlier this week via my iPad. With a title like this, and my interest in mysteries and suspense thrillers, who wouldn’t be intrigued! I’m normally not a reader in this genre because I prefer a clear understanding of all the rules and structure within the setting or world I’m reading about, and fantasy books often leave a lot to the imagination or surprise. Bazzar does a fantastic job providing details without over-building the background — just enough to wet your appetite to want to continue reading the series.

As I’m reading through the first half, I’m getting to know the characters, the background of the drama, the different types of creatures and/or humans… then suddenly, I see the emotional side of the The Curse beginning to form. I became invested quickly and as I finished the last few pages, I vividly remember thinking… “I may not get thoroughly excited by other worldly creatures, but wow, I’m definitely drawn in right now.” The impact of a decision the main character had to make and the loss of a connection (s)he suffers was enough to extract tons of emotion and hope for what could or might change to in the future to help find their way back together, save the family, or solve the battles between species. (Is that even the right word, species, when there are different types of humans, creatures, clans? I think I’m gonna learn something when I read the next book).

So… from a non-fantasy reader, this was the type of story that appealed across other genres and pulled this reader in. From secrets to mysterious plagues, future war to (un?)requited love, and family drama to trust, there’s a little bit of everything in this story. It excites me to keep reading, and that I plan to do in the next month when I take on the actual first book in the series, Heir of Ashes.

If you’re interested, you can download a copy of this short story for FREE via Smashwords. I hope you will, as this will give you a really intricate and eye-opening view into another world in a book with a strong writing style and a wonderful debut author. Kudos to Bazzar for tempting a non-reader in this genre to want to continue reading more.

 

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: Spectrum Collection of Short Stories by S. C. Jensen

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Why This Book 
One of the authors in this short story collection, Spectrum: A Colorful Collection of SmartyPants’ Best, is someone I’ve met, so I had to read the whole book coordinated by another author, S.C. Jensen. I was heading out of town for a few days and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to digest a few stories each day.

spectrum

Approach & Style 
This book is a collection of about 25 to 30 short stories, organized by various colors on the wheel, a kaleidoscope of fiction, hence the term Spectrum. I found the approach quite interesting, and read a color each day from the Kindle Reader version in my iPad. The book has about 250 pages with each story ranging from 5 to 15 in length. The genres run the gamut of fantasy and science fiction to romance, mystery and contemporary fiction. It has something for everyone.

Overall Thoughts 
Of all the stories, a few spoke to me the most and deserve 5 stars:

Sweet Pea by Cammie Adams is at the top. It’s a charming and cozy story about another side of life, one many of us are not familiar with: a homeless person who needs help, and gets an opportunity in an unexpected way. The characters are vivid; they tug at your emotions, especially the relationship between 1 person and 1 animal. The ability to see another perspective is also quite strong — you’ll think differently about someone you see on the street who needs a helping hand. It can turn out positive if you do the right thing sometimes. The voice is clear, the plot hums along and the book delivers a heartwarming ending. I look forward to more from this author.

Skipping Rocks by M.D. Pitman was another wonderful tale about a child’s view of the world, including how to deal with unexpected consequences. I almost wanted to cry for the poor father only trying to do something fun for his daughter, stuck with an impact he couldn’t have expected. It will make your heart hurt a little — in a good way, to know what parents go through.

Over by Kerry E.B. Black was another fantastic story about parents and children. I seem to gravitate to these types of connections and relationships, but you’ll see what an ordinary family goes through every day. Life’s not easy, but this one will teach you the value of a good mother who knows how to care for her children at bedtime!

And of course, Hunger, by the collaborator and main author, S.C. Jensen, wrote a wonderful thriller. I was definitely intrigued enough to want to read more from Jensen in the future – great way to gain our interest!

Many of the rest were quite good. A few pushed the boundaries of what I enjoy reading, but none were bad — they simply didn’t appeal to me due to my preferences as a reader. All were well-written and had strong voices.

Final Thoughts 
If you enjoy short stories and want to take on different authors and genres, this is a great opportunity to become acquainted with diversity and a diverse range of reads. Many of the stories were outstanding, a few missed the boat for me, but overall, it was a very strong read. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something unique and fun — different the ordinary voice.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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: Twelve Tales of Christmas by Cathleen Townsend

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Book Review: Twelve Tales of Christmas by Cathleen Townsend

Twelve Tales of Christmas cover copy copy

Why This Book 
The author and I connected via our WordPress blogs, which led to us developing an e-friendship. As it progressed, I realized how prolific she’s been, which made me curious to read a few pieces of her work. Given she writes in the fantasy realm, it was an opportunity for me to read more in this genre, as I normally don’t, as well as enjoy something by an author I’ve chatted with many times. I was also very interested as the holiday season is arriving and there are 12 short stories, so I could read it in small amounts without worrying about getting too overwhelmed by a new genre (but that didn’t work out, as it was so good, I read it ALL in one sitting)!

Approach & Style 
I read this collection on my iPad through Kindle Reader. It has 126 pages spread across 12 individual and separate short stories, some of which are a few pages, while others are about 25 pages long. It took me about 90 minutes to read the entire collection, stopping only once to make a cup of hot cocoa. It’s that kind of book!

Key Thoughts 
As a collection, this is fantastic and charming in its individuality and its entirety. The focus runs the gamut of angels, dragons, Santa, magic, romance, spirits, family traditions, elves, and much more. The imagination and inspiration within each of the stories are plentiful, especially in the way Cathleen Townsend weaves traditional with modern values. In the first story called The Gift, you are treated to a beautiful gesture based on something that happened in real-life (and she’ll reveal that connection in an upcoming post!). In another story, a father working as a mall Santa, is hoping to find enough money and time to buy presents for his children, as no one else is around to help. In a third, a treetop angel is dying and needs someone to help her maintain her tree — the family who she lives with is no picnic at first! The beauty in the basic elements of the story, the language and words crafted along the path, and the message readers take away is breathtaking on multiple levels.

Generally when you read 12 different stories, there will be a few you love, a few you think are okay and a few you don’t particularly care for. That’s not the case here; you will love or like them all. For the most part, I really enjoyed the shorter ones, as they had a bit less fantasy and a stronger message that connected with my own emotions or views on life. These are the types of stories you could read on a bus/train ride to work, at the coffee shop, waiting in a doctor’s office or standing in a line at a cash register — all the while improving your mood and giving you something fun and enjoyable to do. Or you could read them allowed as a family, maybe at a hospital to children around the holidays… so many options and types of content that will appeal to a variety of masses.

My two favorites: The Gift and Department Store Santa

Summary 
Cathleen is a remarkable author and blogger. I’m very glad to meet her and would recommend her collection of short stories to most any reader. You’ll walk away inspired and energized about humanity, and some of the characters aren’t all that nice! Please stop by my blog on Fri 12/22/17 for an author spotlight I’m doing specifically on her. You’ll be able to read one of her stories for free, as well as find out how buy/download her books in time for the holiday for free as well right now!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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.

Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour BONUS News & Winners

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The Watching Glass Shatter book blog tour came to an end yesterday. It was an amazing 16-Day blogging phenomena, and I’m grateful to everyone who participated. A few updates from this week to announce:

Favorite Character Poll

Blog Tour Posts

Giveaway Winner

  • Jina @ Author Inspirations hosted a GIVEAWAY for a free e-copy of the book on 11/20. The winner is Ann Marie Palladino. Both Jina and I have sent her a copy of the book. Congratulations and thank you to everyone for entering.

Book Club Mom Interview

Bonus Blog Tour Special Post

  • Rae from Powerful Women Readers was our bonus stop on the blog tour. Check out one of my favorite person’s thoughts on the book, then spend some time on her site to see all the great content she and a group of fantastic ladies have posted.
  • WATCHING GLASS SHATTER by James J. Cudney: A Review