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Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Phoebe's Light (Nantucket Legacy #1)Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Typically Fisher is an author that can be depended upon to deliver the complete package in her novels. I found the scenery descriptions to be so well written I could close my eyes and envision them. I enjoyed the diary entries and the lead male character. I wasn’t sold on Phoebe, however. I’m not completely set on feeling that she wasn’t fully developed, just that she didn’t come across as a full character. Instead, she felt rather immature and difficult to relate to. This took away a chunk of enjoyment for me and thus only earning three stars. Otherwise, this is an enjoyable story and definitely clean and well-told. Overall, if you can just take Phoebe as she is, it’s a worthwhile read. I received an ARC through Revell in exchange for my honest opinion.

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Missing IsaacMissing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a good choice if you are looking for a clean, slow, light, and easy read. The Christian elements are not overly thick and there’s no preaching to the reader. The writing and content is clean with no curses or fade-to-black scenes. The overall read is very slow and light. Things seem to mosey along with no hurry or urgency to find anything out. I found the characters, while developed initially, to lose their charm along the way. This is related to a lack of depth in their relationships and reasons for their choices. This is fine for a light slow read but it can become boring for some readers. I found the wrap-up and ending a bit too convenient and felt there was a lack of content related to the historical aspects and setting. Even so, there is promise in the writing for future books and I feel there is a place for this book on the shelf of those who enjoy Christian Fiction. Overall, this is a decent read. I received an ARC through Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review. This is my opinion and it belongs to me.

Author Interview ~ Robert Eggleton

Welcome to my little corner of the vast web. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the reviews, interviews, and giveaways. Please take a moment to read a bit about Robert and his new book.

roberteggleton

Author Interview

Hi Robert, thank you for being here.

Hi, Thanks for the opportunity to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my debut novel.

You’re welcome. Please start off by telling us a little bit about your latest book, Rarity from the Hollow.

Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary novel with a social science fiction backdrop that was published by a traditional small press. Sensitizing readers to victimization, early tragedy in the story feeds and amplifies subsequent comedy and satire.

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. She assembles a zany team: her more healthful parents, a pot-smoking neighbor with Bipolar Disorder, the ghost of her best friend, and the family mutt. In the spaceship which has been hidden in a cave up the hollow behind her house in the hills of West Virginia, the team takes of to planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop) to analyze the menace that threatens to end life as we know it.

My novel was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power — parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, consumerism, domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment, complicated tax codes…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp , a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, easily identifiable as Trump Tower. This book review nailed the political parody in my story: http://amzn.to/2xTqKqP

What inspired you to write Rarity from the Hollow?

I have worked for over forty years in the field of child advocacy. I probably would have put off my dream of becoming an author even longer than I did, maybe forever, if I didn’t feel so strongly that something more needed to be done to help maltreated children.

Do you realize that the United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations in protecting kids – losing on an average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect/ http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/#1
Another embarrassment for the greatest country to have ever existed, twenty-six years ago, 190 members of United Nations passed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the U.S., along with Somalia, still hasn’t joined by signing it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/11/21/why-wont-the-u-s-ratify-the-u-n-s-child-rights-treaty/ Weird, huh?

Personally, I think that these realities are too embarrassing to tolerate. Now retired, I last worked as children’s psychotherapist for an intensive mental health, day treatment program. Many of the kids in the program had been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. Here’s why and how I became an author:

One day at work in 2006 during a group therapy session, I was sitting around a table used for written therapeutic exercises, and a little girl with stringy, brown hair sat a few feet away. Instead of just disclosing the horrors of her abuse at the hands of the meanest daddy on Earth, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future: finding a loving family who would protect her.

This girl was inspiring. She got me thinking again about my own hopes and dreams of writing fiction, an aspiration that I’d held in since I was twelve years old. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn. I began to write fiction in the evenings and sometimes went to work the next day without enough sleep. Every time that I would feel discouraged, when I felt like giving up, I would imagine Lacy Dawn speaking honestly about the barriers that she faced in pursuit of her dream of finding a permanent and loving home.

Writing came easy, but finding a publisher and promotions has been difficult. At one point I needed more to sustain my drive. My wife and I talked it over. That’s when the idea of donating author proceeds to the prevention of child abuse became a commitment that has sustained me to this day. Three short Lacy Dawn Adventures were subsequently published in magazines. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel.

Going back to the beginning, what is it that got you into writing?

I started writing short stories as a child. I’m the oldest child from an impoverished family. My father was an alcoholic Vet suffering for WWII related PTSD with night terrors and anger outbursts. My mother was downtrodden but very protective of her children. Since there was no money for toys or recreation, not even a television, perhaps to help us all escape this harsh reality, I started writing and sharing short stories to entertain my family, peers, and others in the neighborhood. In the eighth grade, one of my stories won the school’s short story competition. I continued to write until college when I just couldn’t find the time or energy. Then, after I finished graduate school all of my jobs including writing nonfiction related to child welfare: service manuals; policy; investigative reports about systems, institutions, and programs; research and statistical reports…. When I accepted the job as a psychotherapist for our local mental health center in 2002, that was my first professional job that didn’t include the production of written materials – my need to write was unmet and began to gnaw at me. I returned to writing fiction in 2006 to satisfy this need.

Do you always have a full story mapped out from beginning to end before you start writing?

Once I decided to write Rarity from the Hollow, I started out with a general outline that I modified as the story progressed. Since it is my debut novel, I’m not sure if I have an actual formula, but the next novel, Ivy, is almost reading for its first professional edit and somewhere along the way I had misplaced its outline. So……..

Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

As I mentioned before, I wrote Rarity from the Hollow when working full-time at a very draining job. Now that I’m retired, I will sometimes get out of bed at odd hours because a scene or the closure of a scene has come to me and I want to get it recorded. In contrast, I will sometimes just sit down with the intention of writing and that works, as well. I think that I’m still adjusting to retirement.

Do you ever base your characters in your books on real people? If so, when/how have you done this?

In some respects, all my characters are based on real people with accentuated traits. They tend to be people that I’ve met – the homeless, victims, the empowered, persons with mental illnesses or addictions, judges and other professionals…– hundreds of people involved with child welfare systems.

What type of books do you like to read yourself?

I like to read anything with a literary element – not necessarily something high brow or fancy – but I’m not into pure escapist stories. I love science fiction, such as David Brin, but I’ll read a romance novel that delves into the depths of human relationships. I prefer to read books by unknown authors thinking that I might discover a hidden masterpiece, and I usually will give a book fifty pages to hit a literary them even when it has been promoted as genre fiction. I don’t read much nonfiction anymore, perhaps because I’ve read so much of it for work, and I’m not impressed by autobiographies because I feel that art, personal achievement, courage…is more than that which comes from an individual.

If you had to pick three books that were the only ones you could ever read again, what would you pick? 

The Grapes of Wrath, The Color Purple, and 1984.

Do you have any advice for those budding writers out there?

Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of advice from other writers. Most of it has been conflicting.

Thank you very much for coming to my blog! Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for inviting me to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. The only thing that I want to add is that even if you don’t think that my novel would be your cup of tea, please consider the huge social problem of child welfare and how you could help needful kids. After the 2017 Christmas sales are tallied, the publisher is going to make the next deposit of author proceeds from the Rarity from the Hollow project into the nonprofit agency’s account for the prevention of child maltreatment. Millions of American children spent this holiday in temporary shelters. A lot more world-wide likely spent their respective “holidays” in worse conditions. Having once been the director of emergency children’s shelters in West Virginia, it is still heartbreaking to think about children not having a “real” family during Christmas. I remember the faces, the smiles and thank yous for the presents from staff, but…. There are a lot of ways that you can help if you sensitize yourself to the cause.

 

Book Blurb
1 Rarity Front Cover WEB (2).jpg
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

 

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

Editorial Reviews

“A fun, sometimes cleverly-gonzo, and even inspiring tale about an undaunted girl’s close encounter of the weird kind.” – David Brin, Award Winning SciFi Author

“Amusing at times, shocking at others, a touching and somehow wonderful SFF read.” Amazing Stories Magazine

“Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s Animal Farm. I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.”  –Marcha Fox, Retired NASA Engineer and SciFi Author

“…utterly compelling…a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot…. In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn.” – Electric Review / Midwest Book Review

Excerpts of Two Book Reviews – Gold Medal Awards

Awesome Indies:

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.”

 

http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

 

 

 

Readers’ Favorite:

 

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”

 

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow
 

Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/

 

 

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah HollenbeckThe Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an ‘ok’ read. Being Christian Fiction, there’s nothing graphic or shocking in terms of the relationship between Sarah and Ben or the language used in the book. It was cleanly written and well edited but it felt preachy, both about writing Christian Fiction and relationships. There were a lot of plot gaps that left so much unexplained or just left it feeling too pieced together in order for the story to fit. While it did have a few funny moments, it wasn’t enough to bring the book up from an ok read. I did like that although the characters have that insta-love that I dislike, they didn’t immediately head to the bedroom. Still, I feel less picky readers, or those who prefer to avoid serious relationship reads, may enough the lighter read. I received an ARC through Revell in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion, which is my own and belongs to me.

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor #1)Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hannon definitely has a way with writing intriguing novels that feel authentic and provide the reader with an exciting read. Her characters are very well fleshed out, complete with flaws and a realistic dependance on others to succeed. Colin is an excellent example of a realistic character, the type I prefer to find in my mystery, crime, drama, police, romance, type books. The plot is so well weaved that I wasn’t spending time trying to sort things out, instead I was enjoying the ride and excited to turn the page to find out more. Of all the Hannon books I’ve read, this one is my favorite. I highly recommend this one to read and would also recommend checking out Hannon’s other books such as the Men of Valor series. I received an ARC through Revell in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion, which is my own and belongs to me.

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Lady Jayne DisappearsLady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a pleasant surprise and as such, is easily recommended for all readers. The Christian Fiction elements are light with no preaching; the character makes mention of God’s plans or her writing being between her and God and says a few prayers. The romance elements are also light; no instant-love, fade-to-black, or heavy petting. I absolutely loved the mystery and historical fiction elements and feel this made the read unique and fresh. The characters all feel unique and well fleshed out, complete with their little flaws. It’s not easy to write a book in first person but Joanna did a fine job with this one. The reader sees and feels everything the character does through a well-crafted and presented story. I was drawn in from the first chapter, loved the little plot threads weaved throughout the story, and feel you will enjoy it as well. I received an ARC through Revell in exchange for an honest review. This in no way has influenced my opinion or recommendation.

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Newcomer (Amish Beginnings #2)The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fisher has created an endearing series, each with their own standing and touching memories. The Newcomer is the second of three and just as well-crafted as the first and third. The characters are expertly fleshed out and develop naturally through their stories. I felt I had come to know them on a personal level, they were that well crafted and their emotional journey that well conveyed. Of all the Revell authors I’ve read, Fisher has become my favorite. I feel I can pick up anything she’s written and know it will be an enjoyable journey and I’ll experience the story with my senses and emotions, as if I were there to experience it. A tiny little issue was the repetitive switching between a title and the name of a character, but it wasn’t enough to dampen my enjoyment. Thank you Fisher for gifting your readers with an amazing journey and your writing skills. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review without expectation of a positive or highly rated review. These are my opinions and they are provided without expectation of compensation.

A Primary Decision by Kevin Leman

A Primary Decision (The Worthington Destiny, #3)A Primary Decision by Kevin Leman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, I would highly recommend reading the first two books in the series before reading this one if only to understand the history of the characters and previous decisions and events that have shaped them into the way they are in this book. This is a decent blend of political, Christian Fiction, and the psychology of birth order. Having three of my own children I found that the later aspect was a bit too rigid although it helped to provide the logic for decisions and actions. The writing is well crafted and well edited with no glaring grammatical issues that stood out to me. The plot is intriguing with enough to keep the reader engaged, even through the slower parts of the novel. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This opinion is my own, it may differ from yours, and it was provided without expectation of compensation.

Storm by Bonnie S. Calhoun

Storm (Stone Braide Chronicles, #3)Storm by Bonnie S. Calhoun

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aside from scattered grammatical issues I noticed, the overall read was good. There are a few stretches of logic that bugged me but nothing significant enough to ruin the read. I don’t feel the characters are as well-fleshed out as they could be but for a YA book that’s acceptable. Younger readers will likely thoroughly enjoy this series, as have many of the library’s readers. Aside from those points, Calhoun has created an intriguing plot with enough between the threads to captivate most readers. Overall, I feel this was an entertaining read and one worthy of a spot on the library shelves. I received an ARC through the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I have provided this review with no expectation of compensation or high rating.

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

Fool's Assassin (The Fitz and the Fool, #1)Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In between books I’m asked to review and what I have to read for other reasons, I like to find time to read books I WANT to read. As I was asked to read and review the third book in this series, I decided I needed to sit down and read the first (and eventually the second) book. I was a bit skeptical going in, as I often am with fantasy reads and books pushed heavily by publishers or publicists. I’m pleasantly surprised and quite pleased overall with Fool’s Assassin. I’m keenly aware of how many series will begin with a grand stage setting, character introducing, plot reasoning, and element explaining (think- magic lore) with varying amounts of success. It’s not an easy task and certainly not something I’d suggest for a new author. Hobb, I feel, was successful in this endeavor and provided a significant amount of potential for the forthcoming story and plot threads. I enjoyed meeting the various characters and picking up on hints. Having not read Hobb’s previous books, my opinion is not set as to the overall quality of writing to be expected, but if this read is any indication then I’m to be in for quite the enjoyable experience.