Cover of Mario: Coming of age
George Hatcher
Ambulance Chaser
Casa Hatcher Press
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Hatcher has a style all his own. In this book, Mario Coming Of Age, the author introduces us to ten year old Mario and his life in East Los Angeles. The story is a slow build, taking us to all the ins and outs of Mario and his everyday struggles to survive in his hard-beaten neighborhood.

Mario’s life is no bed of roses; he and his friends scrap for every morsel, and only the love of his aunt keeps him going. I found the journey a bit tedious at times, but in the end I had to conclude, the way the author approached the story gave me an opportunity to get to know Mario and his immediate circle of friends, almost intimately.

This is a story of love, responsibility, jealousy and finally, revenge that unfolds as the years fly by. We see the times change irrevocably, as do Mario’s good fortunes. Yet one thing stays the same—Mario’s determination to better his aunt’s lot in life. Everything he does is to provide for his aunt. He is obsessed with making her life better. The author’s style is as conversational as barber parlor gossip. His main characters ring true in their environment, and while one is empathetically human, the others may be hard to like, impossible to put down, impossible to forget.

Kat Martin
Book Nine of The Raines of Wind Canyon
Harlequin MIRA/Harlequin Digital
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Against the Mark by Kat Martin, book nine of The Raines of Wind Canyon series, is the romance between Ty Brodie and his client Haley Warren who suspects that her father died under suspicious circumstances. Ty is a private investigator, and a good ol' Alpha former Marine, long legs and movie-star handsome, survivor of previous novels in this series. Haley is a former socialite from Chicago, the daughter of an artistic mother and Haley's athletic father James. At the beginning of the story, Hayley is still stinging from her parent's divorce, and the marriage of her father to his second wife, pudgy, warm-hearted Betty Jean; and she's also aching from the pain of being estranged from her father at the time of his death.

I have read Kat Martin before, but not this series. I can vouch for the story standing on its own feet; I did not feel the need to read other stories to fill out the gaps in the story. That said, maybe someone who had been reading the series would have gotten into it faster or would have cared more about the characters. Perhaps I had a harder time getting interested in the story than someone who had a vested interest in Ty and his cousins. It just seemed to take a long time to get past the set-up. I was hooked by neither by the characters nor their investigation as much as I should have been. The set up had a lot of information linking back to secondary characters I assume were elsewhere in the series, none of whom do I have the inclination to pursue.

The characters seem drawn well, if somewhat stereotypical. Initially, the mystery-suspense is the search to discover if Hayley's father was murdered by his second wife Betty Jean. Ty's investigation uncovers that James had been looking into an art theft, so the question turns to a query into whether Jimmy's investigation uncovered too much about the art theft, or if he was actually involved. Ty's interest in his client seems kind of smarmy to me, and Haley comes across as shallow; but if you like the genre and Kat Martin in particular, this book might still be your cup of tea. It wasn't mine.

Surviving the Angel of Death book cover
Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri


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Daily, we are all watching the caliber of the American Dream lessen, learning to hobble our dreams with lead shoes instead lifting them to the sky with wings. As our economy tanks, and politicians are only making it worse, people are losing their jobs, companies folding left and right, it is frightening to think that when these same things happened in Germany, it set the stage for Hitler's political party to launch a scapegoat campaign. How, we wonder, could people have let it happen? How is it possible for a society to turn on its own? It is just too awful to believe that mankind is capable of such inhumanity, that not only could it happen but that it did happen—a terrible facet of history that can not be swept under the rug. This history must be taught. We assure children that horror stories are not real. So how does one tell a child about the Holocaust?

Perhaps it is best told by books like Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri's Surviving the Angel of Death. It is autobiographical, Eva's own story about herself and her twin Miriam, about how they came from the small town of Protz Romania, to be subjected to the horrors of Dr. Joseph Mengele in Auschwitz. The Mozes were a farm family in their obscure little village, a family that had no reason to leave the safety of their comfortable farm until it was too late. In this book, we are able to wear Eva's shoes, and see firsthand what it was like for the twin sisters as society slowly turned against them, until the Nazi's finally came for them, relocated them in a Simleul Silvanei ghetto, put them in a cattle car, destroyed the rest of their family, and turned them over to the experimental ministrations of the Doctor of Death himself.

The story is hard to take because of what it is. What stands out is the fortitude and strength, the drive to survive that got them through their impossible ordeal. And yet, the story is gently told, with understandable language and the simple perceptions of a ten year old child. It is paced in such a way that we understand why the Mozes stayed until it was too late, expressed in undramatic language. Where some words may be unfamiliar to the young reader, context clues and sometimes an appositive definition is seamlessly woven into the writing. There is no austere voice pontificating, no flag-waving, no patronization, and no condescension talking down to the young reader. There is simply the one-on-one storytelling, a matter of fact presentation of what happened. But what you will most take from this book is a sense of the fortitude of the human spirit in the face of the most ghastly circumstance.

I could say it was a gripping, or touching or riveting, or tell you about how I read it in one sitting. Maybe it is more of a testament to this book that the night that I finished reading it, I dreamed I heard my long dead father's voice talking to me (as Eva dreamed her family spoke to her) from an inanimate object the size of a bar of soap.

This matter-of-fact memoir written for the children's ear is a personal history because we so clearly hear the voice of the survivor. Thumbs may give us dexterity, and our mammal brains give us complex thoughts unavailable to the rest of the animal kingdom, but what truly makes us human is compassion—that trait of sympathy born of the ability to wear someone else's shoes. It is a good thing that there are books like Surviving the Angel of Death that enable us to embrace that compassion, and learn from survivors like Eva not only what lies in our history, but also what forgiveness is.

I’m writing to invite you(authors) to participate in the blog tour I’m organizing for Dylan Asher, author of award-winning Strike a Poser.

The perfect book for a spring break getaway, Strike a Poser pokes good-hearted fun at all that makes Florida a one of a kind place: theme parks, fun in the sun, crazy tourists and a friendly con artist, or two!

Jack Strong bookcover
Walter Mosley
Open Road Integrated Media


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Dating back from when I was in college and had to read Devil in a Blue Dress to compare it to the movie of the same name, I have been a Walter Mosley fan; that’s been a long time I’ve had to read a lot of the Easy Williams series. The curious novella,Jack Strong,is the first work of Mosley’s that I’ve read that was speculative fiction. The point of view character, Jack Strong, is no ordinary man, but is not only physically compiled of the bits and pieces of a number of people, but mentally composed of their unbearable intimacies, the things they knew (while they were alive), the secrets of the dead, and sometimes their hidden impulses. With this chaos in Jack’s head, he wakes in a Vegas Hotel room. We find later he had been taken there by a doctor and nurse.

Reading the character of Jack Strong is an experience that must be like living as Tara, in the United States of Tara, or inside the head of Shirley Ardell Mason, the woman about whom the book Sybil was written. Jack Strong is, as he puts it, “schizophrenic with side orders of multiple personality and delusions,” except that the memories he has are also reflected in his patchwork body. The book is written in first person, but that first person fluctuates between Jack and whichever of the personalities needs to be on stage.

The premise is an ambitious one, and plays out a somewhat obtuse pulp fiction plot. If I had a criticism, it would be that the story begins “in media res” to the point that it is a struggle to figure out what—and who—is going on. The questions come in cascades: whose memories are these? why is he going to the casino? Why did he kill these thugs? Why is this character made up of other people? The answers are in trickles. Tom Grog, representative of the Convocation, could provide explanations, but he says only that Jack is “the phoenix” and Grog is only there to witness Jack’s “rebirth and transformation,” and only leads to more madding questions. While Jack Strong lacks the ring of meticulous truth of Easy William’s voice, he is a character who is strong and in control, almost the template of a dissociative X-Man lead woven of strange twists. Mr. Mosley, I feel compelled to ask, where is the rest of the story?

I am tickled to be able to say that Blackstone/Downpour is offering an introductory, special price of $5 to digitally rent my book “Dangerous Lies” at Hear a free sample, read by Nicol Zanzarella, at…/id/181055. Click on "Listen" under the cover photo. The MP3 CD is available there for $29.95.

Read the Press Release that accompanied the audio CD's sent to editors and reviewers around the country.
CONTACT: Lauren Maturo
Senior Publicist
Blackstone Audio 832/741-0688
Dangerous Lies
A Novel
By Lisa April Smith
Read by Nicol Zanzarella
“Laced with suspense, humor, emotion, and lots of twists and turns.”
—Palm Beach Post
“Fast-paced and full of intriguing characters”.
—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
Blackstone Audio proudly announces the audiobook release of DANGEROUS LIES: A NOVEL [Blackstone Audio; January 2016; unabridged; 11.3 hours], by Lisa April Smith, narrated by Nicol Zanzarella. Dangerous Lies follows the lives of Jake Stern and Tina Davis. After losing his parents and sister in a fire, Jake is raised by his grandparents. As he transforms from a traumatized boy to an exceptional student athlete and finally to an ambitious assistant DA, he learns to hide a crippling fear behind a stony mask.
Until she turns thirteen, Bettina (Tina) Berenson is a shy, bookish girl rejected by both parents. But her life radically changes when her father starts taking her to the places he frequents: racetracks, prizefights, nightclubs, and the occasional company of gangsters he admires. Reveling in the attention Tina’s striking beauty generates, he’s oblivious to the potential danger to his impressionable daughter. And when he dies two years later, the distraught and lonely fifteen-year-old girl is easy prey for a charismatic crime lord.
When a vicious mobster goes on trial, fate brings Jake and Tina together. Tina, former mob mistress, is the key witness, and Jake, the prosecuting attorney, is repelled by her past but obsessed with her physical presence. But someone wants Tina dead, and in order for her to testify, Jake has to keep her alive.
LISA APRIL SMITH is Lisa April Smith is the highly praised author of Dangerous Lies, Exceeding Expectations, and Paradise Misplaced, all in the genre she playfully calls “suspense with sizzle for discerning readers.” She is also the author of the historical fiction novel Forgotten Tales of China, an epic set in ancient China.
NICOL ZANZARELLA is an audiobook narrator and a theater and television actress. She has appeared in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Cousin Bette, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and many others. She is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater in New York.
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2016
RUNTIME: 11.3 Hours
FORMATS: TRADE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD; 978-1-5046-8025-7; $19.95
TRADE CD; 978-1-5046-8028-8; $34.95
MP3 CD; 978-1-5046-8027-1; $29.95

The Neoverse Short Story Writing Competition received several thousand original entries!

We are humbled and excited about getting the Competition off to such a strong start. Such a broad and diverse set of entries gives us an opportunity to acknowledge truly fantastic short stories and their creators—building the foundation for an impactful, long-term award system.

This Year's Costa Short Story Award

Congratulations to the winner and two runners-up who were announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony on Tuesday 26th January! They are:

Winner: Danny Murphy for Rogey
Second place: Erin Soros for Fallen
Third place: Annalisa Crawford for Watching the Storms Roll In

Embracing what we do not like, because we know God has allowed it for our good, our refining, and our growth isn’t as tidy as it sounds.

It involves late nights of staring at the blackened ceiling, of deliberately not picking up that welcoming and distracting gadget that beckons from bedside, of trying to form prayers that can barely be spoken as they poke up from our hidden recesses of thought. . .

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About Finch Books:

Finch Books delivers enlightening, influential and refreshing storylines that are designed to inspire the Young Adult audience of today. The Young Adult genre has become instrumental in shaping the minds and impacting the aspirations of our future generations. Finch Books are honoured to be contributing to this significant wave of literature by providing a dedicated platform for authors and readers.