Review: Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero

About the Book:

Broken Angels

A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.

Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.

Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.

Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.

While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.

My thoughts:

How would you feel to be imprisoned in a Ghetto with the bare minimum amount of food and clothing provided? How would you feel to be on the other side which is inflicting all this pain and horror?

How does one hurt people in the name of science and research? How did it feel to be a Jew or a German at the time of the Holocaust?

The above are just a few of the questions that the author has chosen to address in her book Broken angels. The story has 3 main protagonists and it is divided into chapters from each of their points of view. This heart-wrenching story, filled with raw emotions, touches on the topic of the lives of Jews and Germans alike, set in the time of the Holocaust. The three protagonists are brought together through various circumstances which alters their lives forever. The various people we meet along the way add some color to the plot and complement the setting.

A riveting story, this tells a tale of love, loss, heartbreak, sacrifice, death and cruelty among various other emotions.

The heinous acts by German doctors, justified as medical experimentation on women in Auschwitz was difficult to read about. The vivid and graphic descriptions of the reality of the situations and the kind of life people led, made the story darker and all the more chilling.

To be honest, I had to put up a fight with my sane self (or conscience) to read the book and at times I had to pause for a while to let go of the emotions that were building up while reading. Sometimes the plot sows down, but the author does justice in the way she has described each scene and the setting of the story.

I enjoyed this book immensely in-spite of  everything it portrays and I strongly urge you all to give this book a chance. It will be worth spending time on this book, it is truly about Broken Angels!

In conversation with Roy M. Griffis

We have had the pleasure of talking to Roy Griffis, author of the series ‘By the Hand of Men’ among others. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for taking time out for the same. Read on to know what he has to say.

Griff Biking Author Photo

So, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an American writer, currently living in California.   Born in Texas City, TX, the son of a career Air Force meteorologist. Attended a variety of schools at all of the hot spots of the nation, such as Abilene, Texas and Bellevue, Nebraska.  I was the new kid at something like ten different schools while I was growing up.

I’ve written poems, short stories (twice runner-up in the Playboy college fiction contest), plays (winning some regional awards back East and a collegiate Historical Play-writing Award), and screenplays. I’m a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, West, with one unproduced screenplay sold to Fox Television. Along the way, I’ve done the usual starving artist jobs. Been a janitor, a waiter, a clerk in a bookstore. I was the 61st Aviation Rescue Swimmer in the Coast Guard (all that Tarzan reading wasn’t wasted). I’m also not a bad cook, come to think of it. Currently, I’m a husband, father, and cat-owner. I’m an avid bicyclist and former EMT.

I live in Southern California with my lovely wife. My friends call me “Griff,” my parents call me “Roy,” and my college-age son calls me “Dadman.” It’s a good life.   By the Hands of Men, Book Three: “The Wrath of a Righteous Man” will be released in May, 2016.

What prompted you to start writing?

When I was ten, I was sent to my grandparent’s house in Tucson, Arizona when things were tough at home. I was pretty damn lost, as my grandparents were largely strangers to me. My older brother, a more taciturn type, refused to discuss what was going on. Fortunately, like so many kids before me, I was rescued by literature. Or, at least, by fiction.

In a tiny used bookstore that was just one block up from a dirt road, I discovered that some good soul had unloaded his entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series in Ballantine Paperback. Moved by some impulse, I spent my RC Cola money on the first book, “A Princess of Mars.”

           I think what struck me was how these books were possessed of magic: they were able to transport me far from this dusty land of relatives who I didn’t know and relatives pretended not to know me to another dusty land of adventure, heroism, nobility, and even love. It was the first magic I’d encountered that wasn’t a patent fraud, and when I closed the stiff paperback with the lurid images on the cover, I decided it was the kind of magic I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to mastering. And, thus, I was saved.

Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Tell us about the books you have written so far.

First professionally published novel: “The Big Bang, Volume One of The Lonesome George Chronicles

In this page-turning post-apocalyptic thriller, Roy M. Griffis explores an alternate timeline in which America falls victim to a coordinated attack by Islamic jihadists and Chinese Communists. It’s 2008 and George W. Bush is still president. Three years later, the man called “Lonesome George” is in hiding, leading the resistance from a secret location. Multiple plot lines skillfully braid the tales of resistance fighters in various parts of the country. Whistler is the hard-bitten commander of a military unit in Texas. Karen, a former congressional aide, stumbles through the radioactive rubble of Washington DC. Griffis also entertainingly works in real-life liberal celebrities and pundits whose eyes are finally opened to threats they once discounted as obsessions of the right. “Molly,” a left-wing columnist in San Francisco, finally puts her talents to good use on the underground radio as the voice of the resistance. “Alec,” a famous actor and liberal gadfly, loses his wife and daughter in the nuclear attack on Los Angeles and becomes a legendary fighter, inventing the gun that bears his name. A vivid imagining of an America gone horribly wrong, written in gripping detail.


The first two books in a four-volume Historical Fiction series (Book Three coming out in May), called “By the Hands of Men.”  The series begins in the trenches of France during The Great War, and will conclude in California in the mid-thirties.

 Book One: The Old World

Lieutenant Robert Fitzgerald has managed to retain his sanity, his humanity, and his honor during the hell of WWI’s trench warfare. Charlotte Braninov fled the shifting storm of the impending Russian Revolution for the less-threatening world of field camp medicine, serving as a nurse in the most hopeless of fronts. Their friendship creates a sanctuary both could cling to in the most desperate of times. Historical fiction about life, loss, and love, By the Hands of Men explores the power that lies within each of us to harm – or to heal – all those we touch.

 Book Two:  Into the Flames

Charlotte Braninov, traumatized by loss and her service as a frontline nurse, returns to war-torn Russia to find her family. Captured by the Red Army, she exchanges one hell for another. Her still-loyal Lieutenant, Robert Fitzgerald, believing the woman he loves is dead, struggles to recover from the ravages of combat and typhus. In a desperate bid to rediscover himself, he commits to serve his country as a pawn in distant Shanghai. Forging their destinies in a world reeling after The Great War, Charlotte and Robert will learn anew the horror and the beauty the hands of men can create when they descend into the flames.

How much does your day to day life contribute to the stories you write? How much of what you write is inspired by people you have encountered along the way?

Day to day events form part of what one creates, even if it’s only an interesting clay that contributes to the final qualities of the fired pot. Since I’m writing historical fiction, or “a history of events that have not yet taken place,” there is a little one-to-one cause/effect to what appears on the page. However, larger parallels can make themselves known, and those will appear in in what I write.

            People who know me and my history well might be able to pick out one or two characters clearly inspired by individuals known to me, but for the most part, very little of the characters are consciously designed.

            This is going to sound fatuous – or moderately deranged – but once a story makes itself known to me (almost like a religious vision, typically I can both see and hear some important moment of the story), at a certain point, I’m merely recording the story I hear and see in my head. Characters are not planned, they show up. “Orlando Pyle,” in By the Hands of Men, is a prime example of this…in fact, most of the characters in that book are. So I am often as surprised by what they do and say as I hope the reader is. It very often feels as if I am writing a true story that no one has ever heard before.

Would you describe a perfect writing day for your readers?

Up early (4am – 6am or so), quick check of email while the coffee is brewing. Then get started on original creative work, picking up where I left off the day before.   Write for about two hours, get breakfast. Refill the coffee work until about lunch time. That leaves a good portion of the day left for chores (like editing or marketing), housework, play with the cats, bike ride. I like it because it balances the writing/creative life with the ordinary “stuff that’s got to be done” parts of life.

If you had to pick a career that was not writing, what would you choose and why?

Probably something helping animals. I find cruelty to children and animals abhorrent, as they are innocents who cannot make other choices for themselves. The individual who abuses either is the worst kind of scum.

Which author (other than yourself of course) is your favourite? Who would you say inspires you?

Wow, that almost depends on genre or the work itself. In fiction, either Richard Adams or Harper Lee. Both took us to fictional worlds, made them rich and full and enveloping (which is one of my goals), but since much of Ms. Lee’s work was based on her own young life, I’d have to give the hat tip to Richards Adams. Anyone who suggested it was possible to write a thrilling, timeless, and ultimately moving novel about rabbits would have sounded insane. But he pulled it off in a tremendous act of imagination. I hope someday to write something as good.

How much field work do you do as research, since your novels are historically inclined and set?

Most of my research has been book-based, although I did visit London, France, and Brussels before beginning By the Hands of Men. Some of my contemporary novels used bits of my own hands-on experience. I will be doing some on-scene research for BTHOM4, as it is set in Central California in the 1930s.

Finally, what message do you want to share with us readers?

Personally, I am weary of books with the theme “Life is awful and people are horrible.”  I might write books about people going through trials, but I, and the novels, am ultimately hopeful because of the actions of individuals.

We can always make a choice, if we are willing to pay what it will cost us. Everything has a cost (even Salvation: Somebody had to pay for that). As in my books, I believe it is up to each of us to make God real. We are His hands and feet. Our actions every day are how God manifests in the world. And every day, we can make a choice for good or evil.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me. As I note above, By the Hands of Men, Book Three: The Wrath of a Righteous Man will be out in November, with a Lonesome George sequel shortly after that.

Book Review: The Legend of the Blue Eyes by B. Kristin McMichael

About the Book:


Arianna Grace liked her boring, Midwestern, teenage life where she ignored the many unanswered questions of her childhood. Why were her parents dead? Why did she not have family? Where was she raised until she was five? When someone offers to explain it all, Arianna thinks she’s just getting answers. Instead, she is thrown into a world of night humans who drink blood.

On Arianna’s sixteenth birthday, her world is thrown upside down when she changes into a vampire. Night humans, or demons, as some call them, live in normal society. Learning all of the new rules of a world she didn’t know existed might be hard enough, but it’s further complicated by two former-friends that now want to help her take her role as the successor to her grandfather.

There is a war going on between the night humans. Sides have been taken and lines are not crossed. Four main clans of night humans are struggling for control of the night. Divided into two sides, clans Baku and Tengu have been at war for centuries with the clans Dearg-dul and Lycan. That is, until Arianna Grace finds out the truth; she’s the bridge of peace between the two sides. But not everyone wants peace. With the night humans divided, Arianna is now a pawn in the war between them. She must choose a side—her mother’s family or her father’s—and for once in her life, decide her own fate.

My Thoughts:

This is a fast paced, rather fun filled adventure of self-discovery. The story is interesting and frankly it kept me hooked until the end. With a simple plot, the story ends with a cliff-hanger ensuring that the reader is left wanting more.

The protagonist Arianna finds herself in between the two sides of her family once she turns sixteen, those of her father’s and those of her mother’s. Where a few moments may come across as cliché, they add  to the mystery and bring an edge to the story. At the end it seems as though it was required all along. Torn between her uncle and her grandfather, she has to find a way to find peace between the two sides. The characters are fun and bring the story to life. Though the story seems to be of the type aimed at a younger audience, the overall message applies to everyone.

The author makes good use of her plot to convey various morals and makes the entire story quite enjoyable with quite a few twists and turns. Throw in two great guys and some wonderful family along with someone who has to be the villain and we have a wonderful mix.

Overall it is a great book to read and as I read more in the series, I shall post my reviews!

Find the book on Amazon at (click the image):

Review: The Extraordinary Concert by Lynne Pickering

About the Book:


Get ready for an extraordinary concert where you can join in singing the symphony of sounds.

One day a turtle was walking along and humming a tune when he came across a green frog humming the same tune. They collaborated and sang together. A brown bullfrog liked the tune, as did a spotted tree frog, and they joined the choir.

It was not long before four fishes heard the song and asked if they could sing as well but had to audition. The green frog took the role as a conductor and asked a nearby crow to join their symphony because he had a special sound. Now they were ready for a concert at full moon.

This is a great, fun book for a classroom or group of children to role-play the characters, and a lot of skill is required for a memory game and fun-singing sounds.


My Thoughts:

This is a great book for children to learn the sounds made by some water animals like fish, turtles and frogs. The author has brought out the difference in sounds made by each animal in a way that can be easily understood. There is also a fun element to the story which will keep the children entertained. They can also sing along trying to replicate the tunes and try to re-create the symphony as the author has shown in the book.

All in all this is a great book to use as a teaching aid while teaching children about the sounds made by animals. the illustrations compliment the story and are wonderful to look at.

Book Review: Jesper Jinx and the Sneezing Season by Marko Kitti

About the Book:


Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

It’s Spring time in Puffington Hill, and the most unforgettable Sneezing Season ever for Jesper! In this book, packed full of new wonderfully wicked adventures, you’re going to get to know Chloe, Jesper’s long time future-girlfriend, and meet a Purple Buzzard from the tropical island of Buzzupurplu. Also, there’s Rosie, the grinning Squirrel with an attitude and the infamous Diary Wars.

WARNING: This book causes uncontrollable laughter!



My Thoughts:

I am back with yet another review of a book in the Jesper Jinx series. I had reviewed the first book titled Jesper Jinx earlier.

Jesper Jinx and the Sneezing Season packs quite a number of laughs. Jesper is his usual mischievous self and his adventures and experiences are even funnier. As usual Marko warns the reader not to divulge the secret of the existance of the book or to discuss it in case Jesper finds out about it. This story is all about how a squirrel gets her revenge on the boy who hurt her husband (mind you it was an accident on Jesper’s part)! Jesper is also interested in a girl and Marko describes how he goes about trying to get her attention! There is some sibling fights as usual between Jesper and his sister and the most interesting is Jesper’s top secret bucket list!

The story is well written and Marko sticks to his usual humour throughout the book. His style of writing as though directly talking to the reader and narrating an incident is wonderful. Frankly I would love to meet Jesper in person and get to know him! This is definitely worth a read for all Jesper fans out there!

Careful, just as Marko warned us about not telling anyone about the story, don’t let Jesper know about this review either! ^_^

Sun Stealers by Claire Bridgeman

This is the second book in the Spellweaver Chronicles. This book is extremely special as I have had the honor of providing feedback to Claire as she wrote the book. I am grateful to her for giving me this opportunity and a special mention in the book was the icing on the cake!

About the book:


It’s tough when you’ve just found out that the weight of not one world but two is hanging on your shoulders.

This is the life of Felicity Lucas.

Her mother was the Spellweaver, the most powerful magic user of both worlds. Now that she’s gone, the title and the power have passed to her only daughter, a fourteen-year-old student at Greenfields High School. She has no choice but to learn the skills that her mother had, to weave magic like she did; she has to keep the mysterious ‘others’ at bay and stop a strange group of cultists bent on bringing down the sun.

All of this – and she has exams coming up.

At least she has her two best friends at her side and things seem to be getting better with her dad.

But still, when an old foe makes his return and the school bully won’t leave her alone, Felicity soon starts to realise the limits to her new found power – as well as its consequences.

My Thoughts:

A thrilling sequel to the first part, this story will take the reader on a fantasy rollercoaster. The author dives deeper into the plot bringing in a lot of twists and some interesting new ideas. As the story progresses we see that Felicity has accepted her new found identity, that of being the spellweaver and is working on improving her skills. Her teacher Mr. Oakley works with Felicity teaching her how to control her powers and use them. The most appealing thing about this story are Felicity’s friends and the faith they have in her. They stand by her side through all the things she faces and are her strength throughout.

With Oliver’s return in this story we are left wondering whether he is a friend or a foe in spite of his previous actions. Felicity is forced to work with Oliver for a while to save Earth and her magic skills are tested to the maximum. Friendship and loyalties are also put to test as a result of the various decisions each character has to take.The plot of the second book revolves largely around saving the Earth and restoring the Sun to its place in the universe.

Claire’s talent for crafting such a wonderful story is evident in this sequel. The author uses simple language and a whole lot of creativity. It takes great skill to create a world of magic and Claire pulls it off brilliantly. This is worth a read for all those who love the genre and who enjoyed reading Harry Potter and other such books. Fans of the first book are in for a treat in the second. By the time you finish reading this book, you cannot wait to read the next.

Cover Reveal: Cursed by Fire by Danielle Annett

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 11.36.01 AM

Title: Cursed by Fire

Series: Blood & Magic #1

Author: Danielle Annett

Designer: Mae I Design

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: January 2015

Book Description:

It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

GoodReads Link:


About the Author:

Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.

Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website found at or follow on on facebook at and on twitter @Danielle_Annett


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“Mike you and I both know that that isn’t going to happen so why don’t you just tell me what fur ball they’re going to saddle me with.” I said as I collected my stack of papers and organized them into a semi-neat pile.

Mike noisily cleared his voice, “Uh hey Ari…”

“God I hope that whoever it is that he isn’t a complete moron. If I’m going to be stuck with a pack partner, the least they can do is send me someone competent.” Mike noisily cleared his throat again.

“What?” I asked, looking up from my desk.

I was greeted by a tall man standing just inside the office, casually leaning against the doorframe. He had tousled brown hair and steely grey colored eyes. High cheekbones and a strong jaw formed his masculine face and a hint of stubble dusted his jaw line, not enough to appear unkempt but just enough to give a roguish impression. Dressed in black jeans, a black T, and a black leather jacket, he oozed tall, dark and handsome with deadly intent.

“That would be this fur ball right here.” He said, an arrogant grin lifting the corner of his mouth. I let my head fall to the surface of my desk, then for good measure I gently knocked my forehead on its smooth surface, one, two, three times. Dammit I couldn’t believe I had just called him a freaking fur ball! I could feel my cheeks warm in embarrassment and did my best to hide it.

“You all done with the show?” He asked as I lifted my head from the desk. I glared at him for good measure and then allowed my head to connect with the desk’s surface once more before sitting up. rubbing the slight sting away “Yea, I’m done.” I told him. Well, at least this wouldn’t be as bad as I had thought. James was the only shifter that I actually personally knew and was one of the few individuals I considered a friend. I met James about six months ago at a shifter bar downtown, though at the time I didn’t actually know that it was a shifter bar.

A group of coyotes had decided I was easy prey and were giving me a pretty hard time. James had intervened before things got out of hand which basically meant that he stopped me from wiping the floor with their coyote asses and burning the entire building to ash. It was probably a good thing that he had stepped in but I remember being furious with him at the time, I had really wanted to give those bastards a piece of my mind and show them that I wasn’t just some naive little girl. That was back when I was still cocky over my abilities. Things had changed since then and the thought was sobering. Now being a pyrokinetic was something I had to hide and honestly, that just plain sucked.

“So, you’re my partner?”

James nodded, his face going serious, “Yea I’m you’re partner, ready to do something reckless?”

I smiled at that, James knew me all to well.


Grabbing my messenger bag I followed James out of the office, aware of Mike’s unapproving gaze on my every step.

One Broke Girl by Rhonda Helms

one broke girl


Anna Parker’s life disintegrates with one phone call. Her dad’s selling their ritzy New York City condo because her Wall Street banker mom emptied their bank account and ran off with another man. Which means Anna has to drop out of her elite college and move with Dad back to their small Ohio hometown. Anna’s determined to reclaim her life ASAP, so she’ll use the next few months to save money, help Dad get back on his feet, and find and confront her mom.

But Anna doesn’t anticipate things going so wrong. The only job she can get is working as a lunch lady in an elementary school. Their money-pit duplex is falling apart around their feet. And her dad is depressed without her mom, who’s proving hard to find.

One bright spot in the chaos is Gavin Metcalf, a kindergarten teacher she dated when they were young teens. With his easy wit and sexy smiles, he makes her forget her stresses—and the fact that her boyfriend Steven back in New York doesn’t know the truth yet about her dire circumstances. When past and present collide, Anna has to decide where her future lies…

About the author:

rhonda helms

Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.

When she isn’t writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.

Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.

Connect with the author:



Anna, a New-Yorker at heart, is forced to leave the city. Her mother, the sole earning member of their family has walked out on Anna and her father, wiping out their bank accounts. She is saddened to leave her Richie-rich boyfriend Steven, best friend Fiona, her school, high rise apartment and the happening city life behind as they could no longer afford it but resolves to come back soon. They move to Edgewood falls, Ohio, where Anna grew up as a child.

The story revolves around Anna’s life changing stay at Edgewood falls where she reconnects with her old friend Natalie who supports her in all her endeavors to stay afloat. It paints the picture of a true friendship and makes you realize that if you don’t have the love and support that you get from friends and family, you don’t have much at all.

She meets Gavin, her boyfriend in fourth grade. Attracted to the sexuality pouring off him, she keeps reminding herself that she has a boyfriend. She feels ashamed of being attracted to Gavin as it was being disloyal to Steven. A girl who was adamant to go back to the city is now having thoughts about staying here longer. Will she go back to have the life she always wanted in the vibrant city? The twist in the story makes you flip through the pages quickly.

A beautiful narration of how the life of a city girl changes from riches to rags. How she does not give up, unleashes her confidence and meets her real self. Sometimes it’s moments like that, real complicated moments, absorbing moments, that make you realize that even hard times have things in them that make you feel alive. The story conveys a beautiful message that something good can happen to you only when you take the initiative of going after what you want.