The Milk Wagon

I was hooked when I read this book by Michael Hewes and I find it to be an unsung gem! One of my goals with this blog is to help newer or lesser known authors (and self published authors) promote their work to others who might not otherwise see it. This fantastic book swept me right back into the 1980’s, when I was a teenager, and it was a great ride. See my review below:

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The Milk Wagon is a fantastic thriller set in the 80’s, much of it revolving around a group of high school boys. As an 80’s high schooler myself, this was a wonderful walk down memory lane. This book has the 80’s high school mentality exactly right, and transported me back there as the movies we watched, the cars we drove, and the way we thought were so accurately described. 

This novel was perfectly woven together as both an 80’s book and a crime/murder thriller. There were many twists and turns, and although I am usually pretty good at guessing the “bad guy,” i was totally wrong this time. The fact that this book was not predictable impressed me. 

The characters are so well done, especially the 80s high school kids, that I was sad when it ended. That’s how you tell a great book. You don’t want it to end.

If you love crime thrillers, if you loved the 80s, or if you just love a well written book, check this one out.

I received a free copy of this book from Michael Hewes and BooksGoSocial via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to the book on Amazon:

Link to other work by Michael Hewes:

Link to my Goodreads review (Like and Follow if you are so inclined):

Leviathan

Leviathan is a fascinating ride with a young pilot through the British skies during World War I. The thoughts of the pilot flash back and forth from his BE2 single engine biplane, to his mission, to events from his past. He’s chasing a Zeppelin, the Leviathan that has come to invade his country and attack its people.

The author’s description of flying the World War I era biplane was so meticulous and detailed that I felt like I was in the cockpit of the plane, learning to fly. At the same time it was filled with emotion. The pilot’s thoughts flashing back and forth from his plane and his surroundings to events from his life seemed so real to me. 

I was completely impressed by the author’s ability to transport us into this plane and into this pilot’s emotions and experiences. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in World War I historical fiction or aviation, or anyone who just wants to read a great story. 

I downloaded a copy of this novella on Kindle Unlimited, where members can read it for free.

Visit Warbird Aviation to see pictures of a BE2

Visit Military-History.org to see pictures of a German Zeppelin

Malcolm Havard is an Indie author who has written a hidden gem in my opinion. I highly recommend you check out his work.

Link to Leviathan by Malcolm Havard on Amazon

Link to Malcolm Havard’s Website

Link to My Goodreads Review

Link to my Amazon Review (Helpful Votes Appreciated if you are so inclined)

Note: Indie authors work very hard to get exposure and to get reviews for their books. If you read this novella and love it, please post an Amazon review and tell others about it.

Juche Series: Books 1 and 2

WEEKEND SPOTLIGHT

Great Books Available on Kindle Unlimited: Juche: Books 1 and 2

Our Spotlight falls on two Dystopian Gems from an Indie author, The Juche Series by Adria Carmichael, Books 1 and 2. The Author is working on three more. These books are available to borrow and read on Kindle Unlimited at no additional charge to KU members. For those wanting to purchase them, the digital copies are also going on sale on Amazon worldwide from tomorrow, December 28th, to January 1st. During this time, Book 1, The Demon of Yodok, will be free, and Book 2, the Sufferings of the Strayed, will be just .99

These books are not standalone and both of them end in cliffhangers, so they need to be read in order and as a continuing series. They will be followed by book 3 on February 28, 2021. Books 4 and 5 and will follow later. You will find this series very addictive! See my 5-star reviews below:

Areum lives with her parents and her twin sister Nari in the Kingdom of Choson in the Year 83. This kingdom is ruled by the Great General, who is the wise, omniscient, and immortal leader of their free and fair nation, the most successful nation in all the world. Areum is immersed in preparing for gymnastics tryouts for the Great General’s National Olympic Team. She is greatly devoted to her god, The Great General, and refuses to think about the fact that her father has disappeared and her twin sister is ailing. Then the day comes that changes her life for good.

This is a great combination of both dystopian and historical fiction, as it is really 1994 and the Kingdom of Choson is, of course, North Korea, and the Great General is their leader at the time, Kim Il Sung. This is not just about an evil Communist dictatorship, although much is exposed. It is about the great resentment Areum feels towards her parents and sister and the fact that she doesn’t feel a part of her own family. Her resentment is shocking at times and is so well described. The descriptions of the horrible treatment of the citizens of the “Kingdom of Choson” and the way that evil actions are described as good things is heartbreaking. The story is riveting from start to finish. This is a great debut novel from Adria Carmichael. My review of the second book in the series is below.

I received a free copy of this book, but also picked one up on Kindle Unlimited. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

In this second book of the Juche series, the circumstances of Areum and her family in the Great Kingdom of Choson have changed, but her resentment of her parents and sister lives on. She is also clinging almost desperately to her beliefs, although reality does not seem to match what she has been taught. As Areum and her family become part of “The Strayed,” they undergo extreme circumstances and witness horrific acts. Areum is still very naive and selfish, but she grows stronger and begins to use her talents to survive.

Again, I was riveted as this part-dystopian, part-historical fiction saga continues. Adria Carmichael paints a vivid picture of a society filled with fear, and leaders who look on those in their charge as less than nothing. Through it all runs the concept of Juche, a North Korean version of communism/totalitarianism as invented by Kim Il Sung. Carmichael takes us to a society that tells its people how great it is while they starve and murder them. Her idea to present North Korea as the setting of a dystopian novel is a good one, because it really is a dystopian society right here on Earth. Any fans of dystopian or historical fiction will be captivated by this novel.

I received a free copy of this book, but also picked one up on Kindle Unlimited. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Juche Part 3, The Weeping Masses, will be available on Amazon on February 28, 2021. Preorder below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adria Carmichael is a writer of dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or bingeing a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

Link to Book 1 on Amazon:

Link to Book 2 on Amazon:

Preorder Book 3 on Amazon:

The Top 7 Books I Read in 2020

Here are my favorite books of this year. Everyone else is doing a Top 5 or a Top 10. I’m doing a Top 7, mostly because I couldn’t narrow it down to five. Although I have them numbered, those numbers could change on any given day and I just couldn’t leave any of them out. These are all books I read in 2020. Since I’ve been doing reviews for the Historical Novel Society, I’ve found some great historical fiction. I also found an Indie book that I really loved. Below is a list of my favorites with their Amazon links and Amazon book descriptions. Three of them were read for the February issue of Historical Novels Review, so I can’t post my reviews for them until they are published in the magazine. Look for my reviews of those three books in February.

7. Set the Stars Alight

This is riveting dual timeline historical fiction. My Review

6. Doing Time

Jodi Taylor is probably my favorite author. She writes the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, a popular time travel series, and Doing Time is the first in a new spinoff series, The Time Police. My Review

5. The Milk Wagon

This is a great book from an Indie author who wrote a fantastic 80’s thriller, mostly revolving around a group of high school boys. This book has not gotten the attention it deserves and is a hidden gem, in my opinion. My review

4. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

I can’t post my review for this title until it is published in Historical Novels Review magazine. For a book description on Amazon, click on the cover.

3. The Edge of Belonging

This is a moving story about adoption and family.

My Review

2. Things We Didn’t Say

I cannot post my review until February, but I will say this is an epistolary historical novel, done solely in letters and written communication. You can check out a description on Amazon by clicking on the cover.

  1. No Ordinary Thing

Again I cannot post my review until February, but this is a Middle Grade Time Travel Fantasy revolving around a snow globe! Click on the cover for the Amazon link and description.

Duffy the Christmassy Dragon

by Kate Noble

This book is adorable! This cute, captivating, illustrated children’s book tells the delightful story of how Duffy the Dragon helped Santa and his reindeer save Christmas. The illustrations are so colorful and well done, and the story is written as a fun kid’s poem. 

Here is one of the colorful and imaginative illustrations of Duffy the Dragon.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to read it to my five-year-old grandson. You can’t get any higher praise than that.  The book can be obtained on Amazon Canada or on the Author’s website. Both links are below. I live in the US, but still had the option of purchasing it on Amazon Canada. Instead, I ordered the book from the author’s website, where she offers personalized dedications. She is also working on more Duffy books.

I received a free digital copy via Netgalley. I loved it so much I purchased a hard copy. My review is voluntary.

Link to The Author’s Duffy the Dragon website

Link to the book on Amazon Canada

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind

(Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness)

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind: Spatial Strategy to Success and Happiness by Alex Neumann is a motivational book about throwing away old misconceptions and using a new strategy in order to move forward. This book successfully uses many examples and interesting anecdotal stories to make its point.

There are ten chapters in this book. I identified more with some of them than others. One of the main lessons that impacted me in this book is Ride Your Adversity. I would interpret it as Do Not Fear or Wallow in Adversity. Extreme fear of failure can result in stagnation, cowering in fear, or refusing to move forward. Basically, fear of failure can lead to failure. Wallowing in adversity can lead to an unhappy, stagnant life. Learning from your adversity can give you success in the future.

Another strong message I got from this book is, basically, Don’t Be Afraid To Try. Among the anecdotal examples are the following: Michael Jordan missed 9000 shots while having one of the most, if not the most, successful basketball careers in history. Einstein and Beethoven were deemed failures before they achieved greatness. JK Rowling came from poverty and was living on public assistance.

This book gives many other interesting and compelling anecdotes to make its points in a very successful way.

There are also lessons that I enjoyed on learning to say no and what happens when you try to control everything.

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind contains some Buddhist principles, and I am a Christian, but there are still some helpful strategies that anyone of any faith can use to overcome setbacks and move on to a happy and successful life right now.

I found this book, and its anecdotal stories, to be interesting and helpful. I would recommend it to everyone, but especially those who are feeling hurt and discouraged.

Bottom Line: If you are discouraged, read this book!

If you are feeling discouraged, wishing you love and happiness!

I received a free copy of this book from Alex Neumann via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to the Book on Amazon

Link to Alex Neumann’s Amazon Page

Link to my review on Goodreads