Book Review: Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

 

Keep Forever
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction

“Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ”
GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”

 

 

Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.

Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school. At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight. The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother. Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.

A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul. Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.

After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul. In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD, Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.

Inspired By A True Story

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

ALEXA KINGAARD, a California native, currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.

October 13, 2011, was the day that changed her life forever when her ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran, took his life during a PTSD flashback episode. Inspired to share this tragedy that continues to rob husbands and wives of their spouses, children of their parents, mothers of their children, brothers and sisters of their siblings, and comrades of their friends, Kingaard relied on her own experiences to shed light on this crisis. The burden brought home is not partial to Vietnam, but is an insidious aftershock endured by combat veterans of all conflicts.

Kingaard continues to pursue her literary career, writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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My Thoughts:

Keep Forever is a story that will take the rider on a roller coaster of emotions. It follows the lives of Paul and Sam as they navigate their way through being Marines and their short experience with War in Vietnam. We also follow Elizabeth, Sam’s sister as she tries to hold on to her emotions and childhood while dealing with the loss of her parents and the responsibility of her younger siblings. A very well-written story, Keep Forever will pull the reader in and make up experience everything along with the main characters. The happiness, the turmoil, the heart-wrenching sadness and the flicker of hope.

Considering that this story is inspired by a true story, it is all that more eye opening. The reader is exposed to the concept of PTSD, the possible causes and the effects it may have on the person experiencing it as well as the people around. If a person is suffering from it, their pain and sorrow is difficult to relate to, but for the family, it is even more difficult to handle. The author brings in a lot of perspective on the topic and handles the concept with delicate ease. The main characters are well rounded and very well thought out. I enjoyed reading about their lives, and it was a humbling experience. We are also given a glimpse into the circumstances that shaped the characters and made them who they are, the reasons behind their decisions and finally the consequences of these decisions. These form the crux of the plot.

I particularly enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and how she grows into a strong woman. She takes control of her life, takes care of her family and builds a new one with the man she loves. Even in the end, she manages to give him distance while maintaining normalcy to ensure that he never feels useless. Her delicate handling of things and her ability to understand or make and effort to understand her husband’s pain is what makes her a wonderful person.

This story is a must read for everyone, a way to try and understand the nightmares of war and how it affects us human beings!

Book Tour – Excerpt of A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

~ Blog Tour ~ 

A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

– 20th to 25th April –
About the Book:

An abandoned half-human child.

An immortal warrior whose villainous past keeps him in hiding.

Two monsters in need of a family.

 

 

 

 

A Stolen Heart transports science fiction fans to the fantastic Tarthian Empire in the distant future; a wealthy but deliciously seedy corner of the galaxy. Here, powerful immortals comingle with genetically-enhanced humans and animals, aliens and androids, and secret societies are commonplace.

After rescuing a half-alien / half-human child who’s running for his life on the planet Kelthia, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur named Luc Saint-Cyr stumbles onto a conspiracy at the highest levels of the powerful Thieves’ Guild.

Complicating matters, the king–Luc’s immortal ex–might be involved.

As if that’s not enough, an unseen enemy is undoing every good thing Luc accomplishes.

But, when it comes time to give up the child to a family who can care for him, how will Luc bear to part with the adorable little boy who has stolen his heart?

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from A Stolen Heart

At lunch, Luc finished a sandwich and pulled out his mobile while the boy gobbled up his own sandwich, crunched all his carrot sticks and drank all his milk. But then Senthys stuffed his mouth with apple slices as if he thought someone would take away whatever he didn’t eat. Perhaps at the Academy, they had.”Take those out of your mouth.” Luc held the plate for him. “One bite at a time, please.”Head down, Senthys obeyed. “Can I still eat them?”

“You may.” Luc wiped the boy’s mouth. “In this house, no one will take away your food. Not ever.” He had never disciplined his Deshai by denying them meals. How could anyone do such a thing to a child?

When imprisoned, Pietas had been chained in the dark and starved for over a year. If Luc couldn’t bear the thought of his king going hungry, how could he tolerate it for a boy?

Once Senthys finished his apple, he pointed to a small bowl. “What’s that?”

Luc tipped it toward himself. “Raisins.”

The boy wrinkled up his nose. “They look scary.”

“Raisins?” He tilted the bowl again. How did one convince a child raisins weren’t scary? How had he convinced recruits to try things they balked at? Familiarity. He’d made them carry unloaded weapons for days before training them on the devices. Luc picked one up. “Smell.” He pulled his hand back before the boy could.

Senthys blinked and looked up at him.

“Remember,” Luc told him. “Smell. Don’t eat it yet.”

“Okay.” As Luc held it for him, Senthys leaned closer, sniffing. “It’s sweet.”

“That’s because there’s magic inside them.”

The boy’s eyes widened. “There is? Can I see the magic?”

Stifling a smile, Luc chose one and offered it. “You try. Squeeze it. Like this.” He pressed it between first finger and thumb.

Senthys pressed, frowning in concentration. “Ew! Brown stuff came out.” He dropped it and wiped that hand on his shirt.

“The squishy part is the magic coming out.”

“It is?” Senthys picked the raisin back up, peering at it.

Now came the part Luc liked. Showing recruits the benefits and seeing them embrace the challenge. “Raisins give you magic energy to run and hit a ball. They help you play hide and seek.”

“Can they help me get magic coins out of my hair?”

“Hmm.” The sleight of hand had been Luc’s attempt to distract him from crying. “If you eat them long enough and study how to do it.”

“Can I have a raisin?”

“I don’t know.” Luc pretended to consider it. “You’d have to eat the whole bowl to get enough magic. I don’t know if you can eat that many.”

“Oh, I can!” Senthys clapped, bouncing in his seat. “I can eat them!”

“I squished this one, so I’ll eat it. Okay with you?” Luc held it up to his mouth.

Senthys opened his.

“You want it?” Luc offered it.

The boy nodded.

“Okay, here we go.” Using slow motions, Luc reached toward him as Senthys leaned forward. At the last second, Luc yanked it back and popped the raisin in his own mouth. He opened his eyes wide, teasing the boy. “Mine.”

With a peal of laughter, Senthys grabbed a raisin and offered it to Luc, but yanked it back and made the same face.

Luc clacked his teeth together, pretending to bite the air.

Senthys stuck the raisin in his own mouth and threw out his arms toward Luc.

When Luc hugged him, the boy kissed his cheek and put his head on Luc’s shoulder. “I love you, Sen’dai.”

He hugged the boy tight. How could vows be right if they forced him to say good-bye?

Senthys lifted his head. “Why are you sad?”

Luc brushed back the boy’s hair. “Because I never want you to grow up. I want you to stay little like you are right now, forever.”

Senthys wrinkled his nose. “That’s silly.”

He tapped the boy on the nose. “It is indeed.”

A Stolen Heart, sci fi from Kayelle Allen

Want to know when this book is available? Like to have a free read before it’s out? Join one of Kayelle’s reader groups. You’ll also get free starter books right away. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

 

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She’s also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured.

Book Tour: Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

~ Book Tour ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

10th to 30th April

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

Alisha was dreaming about tiny babies crawling all over her when a tinny, buzzing noise filled the room. Struggling awake, she located her phone on the side table and squinted at the display. Vivaan. At this hour? It was close to two in the morning.
Heart pounding, she answered the phone. “Are you okay?”
Silence was her only reply. Checking the phone’s display to see if the call had been cut off, she frowned when she realized he was still on the line.
“Vivaan?”
“I get it now.”
The quiet words had her flopping back against her pillows in relief. He didn’t sound like he was hurt or in pain.
“Get what now?” she asked, staring into the darkness of her room. There was something frighteningly intimate about lying in bed, enveloped in darkness with only his voice on the other end of the phone anchoring her to the moment.
“Everything you said. About the way people think. About the way they behave.” He sounded sad. Alisha wanted to soothe and comfort but didn’t know exactly where this was going. Instead, she waited.
“I want you to know,” he stopped for a minute and then continued, “No, I need you to know that you’re incredible. That you can smile, you can laugh, God, the fact that you can love and live in the face of the incredible assholes who make up huge chunks of our society is beyond incredible.”
A single tear rolled down Alisha’s face as she let his words wash over her. They soothed her in places she hadn’t known were still hurting.
“Are you there, Alisha?” His voice reached out to her again bringing her back to the moment.
“Yes.” She could never let him know it but for him, she would always be there.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“I don’t remember you doing anything that needs apologizing for,” she answered.
“For not taking what you said seriously. About people and society. For dismissing it the way I did.”
His words had pain knifing through her. If he finally understood, he also understood there was no future for them. A sense of loss swept through her at the thought of Vivaan no longer wanting her. It was what she’d wanted, what she’d pushed for and still….it was devastating.
“Alisha,” he whispered her name, recalling her to their conversation. “I’ve never wanted you more.”

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Book Review: The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski

About the Book:

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

About the Author:

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1572945986&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Bowery-Slugger-Alex-Cohen-Book-ebook/dp/B07X7HC4L2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+bowery+slugger&qid=1572946119&sr=8-1

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7L2vDwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bowery-slugger-leopold-borstinski/1133282419

My Thoughts:

The Bowery Slugger follows the life of Alex as he steps off a boat and onto American soil. This is a well-written story set during the onset of World War I, bringing the reader to a small part of the world and it’s inhabitants. Alex, in his teenage years, is smart and ruthless, grabbing opportunities and finding his way forward. We are introduced to the Jewish New York mob and how it is run. We meet some very interesting people who add different views and dimensions to this story.

The story is fast paced and at some points is quite graphic and gruesome. However, the author handles the plot quite well and the reader is pulled in the midst of family drama, power struggles, trust and status. The characters are well crafted and fit into the historical setting of this first book. The period and setting is so well described that it is easy for us as the readers to imagine it all in our minds.

Though slow at the beginning, the story picks up speed and pushes forward to an interesting climax. There is indeed some romance brought into the mix, but it takes a back seat most of the time. This story arc shows the reader a contrast in character thinking and brings into focus the skills of the main protagonist. As Alex starts to consider a move from his profession for the sake of love, he starts to wonder at his skill set and whether he is cut out for a world away from crime and the mob.

The plot is elaborately crafted and the reader takes a journey through the hierarchy of people and how the system works. There is a weird sense of justice about the job Alex holds inspite of the violence. there is a sense of honor.

The Bowery Slugger, an apt title for Alex in my opinion, is well worth a read!

Book Review: Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Book Details:

Book Title: Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann
Category: YA Fiction, 277 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Matt Dallmann
Release date: July 2017
Tour dates: August 6 to 24, 2018
Content Rating: G (No bad language or sex)

Book Description:

Dahlia, a centuries-old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

To follow the tour and read reviews, please visit Matt Dallmann’s page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Sept 5, 2018
Prizes: Win one of 100 Kindle copies (open to USA only)

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Tribal Affairs

by Matt Dallmann

Giveaway ends September 05, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/281737

 

My Thoughts:

Tribal Affairs is a YA novel that revolves around the lives of Dahlia, a centuries old genie, trapped in an ankle bracelet, and a sixteen year old girl, Liana. Liana wears the bracelet for the first time on the opening night of her father’s performance. Little does Liana know that this small act will have much bigger consequences.

The story is written in two different points of view, one telling Dahlia’s story through dreams that Liana has, the other are Liana’s version of the events that unfold. Matt paints a pretty informative picture of the genie world, how they live, the extent of their powers and the various tribes that exist. We also come to know of their differences in personalities and how they look upon humans.

At first it was a little difficult to catch on to the changes in narration and the sequence of events, but as the story progressed, the characters became familiar and slowly the plot started to make sense. Through all this, Liana discovers her ancestral connection to the genie’s and embarks on a journey with Taffi, a genie who turns up at her house and who claims to want to help her. It is only later that she discovers the connection between Taffi and Stefan, the person who is solely responsible for the event that set the rest in motion : the trapping of Dahlia. Additionally, Liana works to find within herself her powers and strength with the help of Taffi and her great great great great…. something grandfather, Amon.

The story is simple and a fast read. It flows easy and there isn’t anything complicated that we need to focus hard to understand. It is an interesting read and though I did not connect with some characters, Liana and Dahlia truly left an impression on me for their strength and ability to love so deeply as well as their compassion.

I would like to thank Laura Fabiani and the iRead Book Tours team for giving me this opportunity to read and enjoy this book! If you are a fan of YA fiction and genie’s and wishes being granted, do pick up this book!

Fun Facts: Grow Up Messy! by Paromita Goswami

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Grow Up Messy!

(A Hilarious Coming of Age Series Book1)

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Author  : Paromita Goswami
Genre :  Middle School, Teen and YA
Publisher :  Ficus India

The Blurb :  

Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old?
Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids. But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang?
Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.

Buying Links

Amazon kindle

 Nook  

Kobo

About the author

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Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction, Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Grow Up Messy! is her second book. She debuted in 2015 with Shamsuddin’s Grave, a literary fiction. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

Follow Author

Facebook ; Twitter ; Goodreads ; WordPress

Fun facts about the book & the author’s thoughts about the writing journey

  1. Misry’s character in the book Grow Up Messy! is that of an innocent child who depends more on her mother for her smaller needs. The best part is she expects her mother to be know everything just like the superwoman. She believes there is nothing which her Ma cannot do or hasn’t seen. So when she requests her mother to make Pinjiri, something which she had tasted for the first time elsewhere, it never occurred to her that Ma might not know about its preparation.

This particular scene from the book is very close to my heart. Although the entire episode is very funny but it actually depicts the trust of a child in the mother. Something which no one can ever challenge. I see my son in this episode sometimes.

  1. Children enjoy being dirty. We have done it so many times in our days yet as a parent if we see our child playing in the soil we try to stop him immediately. The same thing our mothers might have also done with us while we enjoyed. Isn’t it strange, when we grow up we follow our mothers so blindly.

There is an episode in the book where Misry plays in the muddy pool and ruins her fresh clothes. No doubt her mother is mad at her.

  1. Children have a very special place for animals in their heart. Whether they have pets at home or not but whenever they get a chance to pet an animal they will never stop themselves. I wish as we grow up we shouldn’t lose this emotion within us. It actually makes us more humane.

      In the book, Misry befriends a sacrificial  animal as her pet what follows next is very       heart wrenching.

  1. As kids, our relationship with our first cousins is very interesting. Once in a year, during the school vacation we go to visit them. Whatever, time we spent together is always fun. We use to share things, study together, fight with each other and even share our little secrets. These moments are recreated when Misry visits her Dadu’s house. It is so much fun to have so many family members living under the same roof. Have you ever lived in a joint family or visited one?
  1. It will be a lie if I say I never had any difficulties in learning or rather mugging up the multiplication tables. This was one part that I always hated in Mathematics and the fact is no one said before that this multiplication table I will be using throughout my life. Yet when it comes to our kids we never fail to tell them how easy it is to learn the multiplication table. Was it really???

      The book has a chapter for that too. Seriously dedicated to the Multiplication Tables. How Misry and her family copes with it is something to watch out for.