Fiction

INFINITE STRANGER

Wendy Skorupski (Wendy Skorupski)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

Infinite Stranger by Wendy Skorupski is a poignant exploration of love, longing, and the intricate dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship. It begins on a snowy February morning in 1978, following eighteen-year-old Leah Cavanagh as she embarks on a transformative journey during a retreat at Greystones Abbey. Here, she meets Brother Matthew Haddon, and a connection that resonates deeply with Leah and her single mother, Molly, is ignited. Her mother is still haunted by the tragedy of her past and a loss that is etched deeply in her heart. Leah...

Indies Inferno

Edward Hochsmann (Haldago Bay Studio)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

Indies Inferno by Edward Hochsmann takes readers on an exhilarating journey into the heart of maritime security, blending action-packed suspense with compelling character dynamics. Set against the backdrop of escalating environmental extremism and a volcanic eruption, this novel delivers a riveting narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is immersive. The story kicks off with a gripping portrayal of the Coast Guard Cutter Kauai's encounter with eco-terrorists plotting a deadly attack on an oil tanker. Hochsmann examines the stakes of terro...

A Normal Boy: Living in an Asylum

Jan Keating (Independently Published)

| Reviewed by Matthew Novak

A Normal Boy: Living in an Asylum by Jan Keating is a poignant exploration of a young boy's harrowing journey through abuse, abandonment, and the disturbing realities of the Dirty Thirties in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. It is the story of Donald, an eight-year-old boy, who tragically loses his father, setting off a chain of events that leads to his placement in a mental hospital. Donald’s father has been a symbol of hope in his life and the strength of the family, but after his death, Donald’s mother decides to marry Frank, the hired hand to save th...

DOGMATIC

Gerry Burke (iUniverse)

| Reviewed by Cristina Prescott

Dogmatic by Gerry Burke is a delightful collection of humorous and heartwarming short stories that will captivate both dog lovers and those who appreciate clever storytelling. In this charming collection, Burke takes readers on a whimsical journey into the lives of various canine companions and their human counterparts. The stories are infused with humor and imagination, offering an entertaining exploration of the extraordinary adventures of dogs with unique personalities. Each tale is brimming with witty narratives and unexpected twists that k...

The Reluctant Criminal

Jan Jongstra (JanJongstraBooks)

| Reviewed by Bertin Drizller

Frank is a seemingly unassuming data entry clerk in a Toronto import/export company. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is promoted and relocated to Amsterdam, where he becomes the company's agent responsible for clearing containers. He is committed to his job and loves it. But as days go by, Frank becomes suspicious about the company's activities. He is torn between the allure of his dream job in Amsterdam, complete with a generous salary, a free apartment, and the chance to explore Europe, and his growing awareness that he has unwittin...

Specks of Dust

Will Duncan (Will Duncan)

| Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo

Specks of Dust by Will Duncan is a powerful and emotionally rich novel that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the life of Umaru Moses, a young man from Uganda who seeks a new life in the USA. The book is a coming-of-age story that examines themes of identity, faith, resilience, and one man’s struggle to overcome adversity. Umaru's story begins with a traumatic event—the death of his father—and his subsequent descent into a life on the streets of Kampala. Duncan's writing is raw and unflinching as he portrays the harsh realities...

Hope Always Rises

Kathie Giorgio (Black Rose Writing)

| Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo

Hope Always Rises by Kathie Giorgio takes readers on a remarkable journey through an afterlife like no other. In this thought-provoking novel, Heaven is not a place of angels and harps but a gated community for those who chose to end their lives—a surprising revelation for the 43-year-old protagonist, Hope. She has always grappled with deep sadness, seeking answers and solutions throughout her life, but to no avail. When she arrives in Heaven, God holds the key to the root of her sadness, promising answers but withholding them for now, adding a...

Harvest

Richard Scharine (Atmosphere Press)

| Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo

Harvest by Richard Scharine is a gripping collection of short stories that offers a diverse array of narratives, each rich in depth, engaging prose, and deeply immersive settings. Scharine’s unique talent for encapsulating profound themes in concise, vivid scenes stands out in this memorable and emotionally resonant collection of stories. Set across different times and locations, from the picturesque Wisconsin farms to the vivid landscapes of Utah, the stories within Harvest capture the essence of growing up amid precarious, often unpredictable...

Muskets & Masquerades

Lindsey S. Fera (Pompkin Press)

| Reviewed by Cristina Prescott

Muskets & Masquerades by Lindsey S. Fera is an enthralling tale of love, war, and separation. Jack and Annalisa, a newly married couple, are torn apart by a shipwreck en route to France. Both believe the other has perished, sending each on a divergent path of despair. When Annalisa discovers Jack's survival, she returns to America, only to find her world drastically altered. In the wake of a betrayal, she assumes the identity of Benjamin Cavendish, seeking refuge in the Continental Army. Meanwhile, Jack, also a part of the Continentals, hid...

Forgetting Me

Katherine Tirado-Ryen (Meadow Lake Press)

| Reviewed by Franklin Bauer

Can a forgotten life be fixed? Anne Strafford wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory. She is startled by the handsome movie star, Jack Post, who sleeps by her bedside. Who is she and what has her life been like before the events that brought her here? She has many unanswered questions, and as she begins to piece together the details of her life, it only gets more complicated — her twin sister won't talk to her and her husband has filed for divorce. It seems like there is more that has been shattered than Anne's once beautiful face. Forgettin...

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