Review: These Thy Gifts By Vincent Panettiere

Synopsis

These Thy Gifts is a forbidden love story spanning 50 years between a priest and the widow of a mobster. It encompasses history, mystery, comedy, gangsters, beautiful women, war, and religion.

2006 is a tumultuous year for the Catholic Church. Reports of horrific sexual abuse are becoming widespread. Monsignor Steven Trimboli is troubled. He worries for the future of the church—and rightly so. A new crime will soon reverberate throughout his church and hit closer to home than he ever imagined.

As Trimboli examines his faith, he must also examine his past. This poignant new novel takes readers back fifty years to meet Trimboli as a young and passionate priest, ready to tackle the world. The church, however, has other plans and exiles him to a small town in New York State. It is there that he meets the intriguing and beguiling Rosalie LaMarca. The two will form a connection that will have lasting consequences for both their lives.

Trimboli’s adventures will take him to the front lines of Vietnam and back. He will encounter abuse in his time serving the Catholic Church, but he will also bear witness to moments of unimaginable grace. Follow Trimboli as he confronts his past, his choices, and what it means to be a man of God.

Praise For These Thy Gifts

Review

Never did I expect the explosive and emotional nature of this book to leap from its pages and punch me right between the eyes!

Now before I follow that rather bold statement let me just say that this book has some Adult themes which may upset some readers but I have to say the author tackles some of the most horrendous events of modern times with such grace and skill that it is hard not to be swept away with the story and the graphic nature of some chapters doesn’t detract from that.

The story follows the life of Trimboli as he trys to reconcile what happens in the world around him to his Catholic faith.  From the mob, corruption,  immigration and his vow of celibacy to the Vietnam war and an epidemic of Child Abuse within the Catholic church this book has got it all!

Trimboli isn’t your average priest and this isn’t your average story, bubbling below all the turmoil is a story of unconventional love between Trimboli and a Mobster’s widow which stands the test of time in what are swiftly changing times!

The author moves between characters and eras effortlessly  and there is no fear of getting lost in the melee of emotion and evocative topics such is this authors story telling ability and the way he moves back and forward through the fifty years reminds me of someone flipping through old photos and reminiscing.

The author isn’t afraid to seek out and highlight the bad in the church and his provocative no holes barred story highlights some parts of religion that many people wish to ignore!

I cannot fault this thought provoking book and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to read it! 

Disclosure:  The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own.

 

 

 

Review: Former.ly by Dane Cobain

Synopsis

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences. 

But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

Review

Overall, I found this book to be a nice easy read once I got into it.  The premise is strong and I love the idea of Former.ly a social network dedicated to the dead! 

I really struggled to relate to Dan the main character, partly because he came across as a bit of an arse, a bit of a lazy so and so and just not really all that nice;  That led me to struggle to read it at times and so found it easy to put down and difficult to pick up again.

Dan is a complex character and the author has taken time to build him throughout the story and it was interesting to read how he fits in and deals with the shady business going on with the company founders

However, I love the plot twists and turns which is the sign for me of a well written story and the author excels at building suspense. 

I did feel the ending was a bit rushed after such a long build up of Dan’s character and it all got tied up rather tidily

However, it is an edgy read with a few jibes at modern society thrown in that really gets you thinking…especially, for me, that this social media isn’t already out there! 



The Ghost of Christmas Past by Michael Hebler

Synopsis

The Ghost of Christmas Past has had its flame extinguished. Lost souls cannot find their way to redemption without the Spirit’s fire illuminating their shadowed memories. Guided by the Christmas Angel, the Ghost of Christmas Past must search for its missing flame within a mortal life it had long forgotten and brave witness to the troubled child it once had been.
Review

The author has taken a Christmas Classic and turned it on it’s head! 
Instead of looking at the souls the spirits of Christmas try to save, this novella tells the story of how the spirits themselves are saved when they are unable to save others!
A fascinating twist and one of great imaginative skill, as well as a brave move taking on such a classic story!
The novella is well written and the author does well to keep the tone and essence of mystery that we see in the much loved Christmas classic! 
I found it captivating to look at the lives behind the spirits, something that has never really crossed my mind when reading a Christmas Carol.

The author’s skill is clear when he can make you relate to the characters in this story.  He brings them to life with careful background building as well as brilliant story lines! 

If you love the Classic then you will enjoy this to an I encourage you to pick it up!

I really hope the Author goes on to look at the other spirits to!




Author

Life wasn’t always about the written page for Hebler. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Hebler had a career as an international film publicist, working on multiple titles for Walt Disney, Pixar, Lionsgate, Lakeshore Entertainment, Warner Bros., Summit Entertainment, as well as the 2013 Academy Award® Best Foreign Language film, “La grande bellezza” (The Great Beauty). In his spare time, Hebler enjoys volunteering in his local community. Organizations he has supported include Meals on Wheels, Get On The Bus, as well as helping to control our animal population by aiding in the capture/spay/neuter/release feral program. To date, Hebler’s publications include the first four (of six) books in his Chupacabra Series: NIGHT OF THE CHUPACABRA, CURSE OF THE CHUPACABRA, LEGEND OF THE CHUPACABRA, and DAWN OF THE CHUPACABRA, three short stories, as well as his first publication, THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS, a holiday picture book for believers of any age

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my honest review.  All my opinions are my own

Review: If I Forget You by T. C Greene

Love like this is far closer to insanity than it is to reality”


Synopsis

Two former lovers reconnect in this beautiful and haunting tale of great lost love from the critically acclaimed author of The Headmaster’s Wife
Deeply affecting and compulsively readable, The Headmaster’s Wife was a breakout book for Thomas Christopher Greene. Now, Greene returns with a beautifully written, emotional new novel perfect for his growing audience.
Twenty-one years after they were driven apart by circumstances beyond their control, two former lovers have a chance encounter on a Manhattan street. What follows is a tense, suspenseful exploration of the many facets of enduring love. Told from altering points of view through time, If I Forget You tells the story of Henry Gold, a poet whose rise from poverty embodies the American dream, and Margot Fuller, the daughter of a prominent, wealthy family, and their unlikely, star-crossed love affair, complete with the secrets they carry when they find each other for the second time.
Written in lyrical prose, If I Forget You is at once a great love story, a novel of marriage, manners, and family, a meditation on the nature of art, a moving elegy to what it means to love and to lose, and how the choices we make can change our lives forever

Review

A book that follows the usual star crossed lovers theme…..but….with the intriguing twist of loving, losing and finding what you lost!
The author brilliantly captures that initial infatuation stage of love…that can’t leave you alone, can’t sleep with out you, can’t stop thinking about you stage before moving on to look at it from another angle….the what happens after the losing part! 
What do I mean by that?
Who hasn’t daydreamed about what an ex you were totally in lust with is doing now or imagining what would happen if you bumped into them again!  In If I forget you, T.C Greene allows you to explore all that from the safety of your daydreams!
I enjoyed reading this story especially the twist on the star crossed lovers plot line.  
The unexpected twist in the plot line at the end of the book pulled it away from the usual boy meets girl, boy can’t have girl story line and gave it an extra bit of electricity for me.
All in all I found it to be an enjoyable, easy read even with the author switching from character to character.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are my own

Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Synopsis

A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.
As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.
By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won’t soon forget, Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.
It’s been a long time since I’ve come across a book than can make me lose all sense of time!
This book captivated me and it completely took over my life until I had finished it.
It’s the type of story that makes you question how you see the world and what a fine line there is between right and wrong, moral and immoral.
I had to keep reminding myself that essentially this is a story of paedophilia but the Author cleverly draws you in to see the love story behind the scandal…the intentions, the love and the way it can destroy lives.
This powerful novel has a touch of Romeo and Juliet about it but rather than just a story of starcrossed lovers it contains scandal, sex and criminality as well as a good dose of perspective
I thoroughly enjoyed the authors writing style, he cuts the reader no breaks and tells it like it is and his descriptions are raw and sometimes close to the bone.  It challenged my views and left me reeling in places, it is not perverse or seedy so don’t be put off by the topic.
It’s a brave book to write and I think the author excelled with what is a very emotive topic
I cannot rave about this book enough and I was sad it came to an end.  I thoroughly recommend it!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge in return for my honest feedback.  

Meet The Author: Travelling Left Of Center by Nancy Christie

D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursTraveling Left of Centertravelingleft.jpg


1. What inspired you to write this book?
I had been writing stories for years, and had the idea of pulling a selection of them together for a collection almost 15 years ago. But it wasn’t until I connected with Pixel Hall Press that the project really came to life. In the meantime, however, I had several of the stories published in literary journals, which convinced me that the work was good.

2. What was the hardest part of writing these stories?
I love writing short stories so the writing itself wasn’t difficult. But often I would become so emotionally involved in what was happening to the characters that I would find it difficult to edit the work. Even now, after all this time, there are certain stories that make me want to cry.

3. Can you describe the book in 10 words?
People who can’t or won’t get their life on track.

4. What did you want people to take away from this book? Did you have a message you were trying to get across

To have sympathy for those people who are struggling or suffering from bad choices. Not everyone has the strength or stability to choose the right path — or the upbringing they needed to help them grow into balanced, healthy people.

5. Out of the stories in the book do you have a favourite?
It would have to be “Annabelle.” It took decades to get it finished—a lot of starts and stops. But each time I worked on it, it was as if she was telling me a little more about her life. It’s hard for me to believe she isn’t a real person.

6. What’s your favourite book of all time?
Alice in Wonderland. I have a very old copy that is falling apart and every now and then I will re-read it. It wasn’t until I read it as an adult that I realized she was a bloodthirsty little girl! But I love the idea of there being a place that isn’t this place— a reality that isn’t this reality. I suppose that’s why I write: to explore other realities.

About the Book

D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursTraveling Left of CenterChristie--Traveling Left of Center-print.jpgTitle: Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories
Author: Nancy Christie
Genre: Literary Fiction / Short Story Collection
There are some people who, whether by accident or design, find themselves traveling left of center. Unable or unwilling to seize control over their lives, they allow fate to dictate the path they take—often with disastrous results.
TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES details characters in life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared. Their methods of coping range from the passive (“The Healer”) and the aggressive (“The Clock”) to the humorous (“Traveling Left of Center”) and hopeful (“Skating on Thin Ice”).
The eighteen stories in TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES depict those types of situations, from the close calls to the disastrous. Not all the stories have happy endings—like life, sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.
In these stories, the characters’ choices—or non-choices—are their own. But the outcomes may not be what they anticipated or desired.
Will they have time to correct their course or will they crash?


D:DocumentsEnchanted Book PromotionsBook ToursUpcoming ToursTraveling Left of CenterNancy Christie-2.jpgAbout Nancy Christie
Nancy Christie is the author of the fiction collection, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and two short story e-books, Annabelle and Alice in Wonderland (all published by Pixel Hall Press).
She is also the author of The Gifts of Change (Atria/Beyond Words), an inspirational book that encourages readers to take a closer look at how they deal with the inevitability of change and ways in which they can use change to gain a new perspective, re-evaluate their goals and reconsider their options. Since its publication in 2004, The Gifts of Change has been released in three foreign editions.
Currently Christie is working on several book projects, including a second collection, a novel and a book for writers. The founder of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG), Christie hosts the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, OH.
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Links

Your Father Sends his Love by Stuart Evers

Your Father sends his love is a collection of twelve short stories about parental (or in one case Grandparental) relationships.  It’s not all rosy stories of happy endings but the gritty highs and lows that people experience in relationships.  From a fathers loss to a fathers defense of his child and more, Evers seeks the best and worst, the most emotive and personal elements these relationships bring.
I found that something in this collection was missing for me. I wanted more…..I didn’t feel like the author gave me enough to go on, which might sound vague but it’s hard to describe the feeling I felt when coming to the end of each story.
Some, I felt were nearly there, they were pulling me in and I could feel the story beginning to wrap around me but just before it really got hold it would end and then I’d be off on the next one.
The pace of the stories is slow as short stories go, I felt that with more pace I would’ve been there, I would’ve got what the author was trying to get across more 
But, one story called “There are Days” really excited me. I loved the way the author left you thinking about who Ben was really writing those letters for knowing they’d be seen or is he just being a Grandparent to his Grandchild! This is what I felt was missing in the other stories.  I didn’t ask questions I didn’t feel the suspense with the other stories that I felt with this one.  I didn’t feel the other stories were as open to interpretation.
And I know it may seem here that I wouldn’t, but based on that one story I’d read other works by this author because although this collection didn’t do it for me I feel he is talented and if he can connect with me in one short story then I’d love to see what he could do with more.
Disclosure: I received this book free of charge from netgalley in return for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.