Check out this awesome BLOG TOUR, VIDEO, and REVIEW of the One of a Kind Memoir TILTING by Nicole Harkin” It is a 5 Star Read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: TILTING: A MEMOIR

Author: NICOLE HARKIN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS

Length: 200 PAGES

Publisher: BLACK ROSE PUBLISHING

Received From: BLOG TOUR HOSTED BY: RACHEL’S RANDOM RESOURCES

ISBN: 9781612968926

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

We only learned about our father’s girlfriend after he became deathly ill and lay in a coma 120 miles from our home.

Overhearing the nurse tell Linda–since I was nine I had called my mom by her first name–about the girlfriend who came in almost every day to visit him when we weren’t there confirmed that the last moment of normal had passed us by without our realizing it. Up to then our family had unhappily coexisted with Dad flying jumbo jets to Asia while we lived in Montana. We finally came together to see Dad through his illness, but he was once again absent from a major family event–unable to join us from his comatose state. This is the moment when our normal existence tilted.
Dad recovered, but the marriage ailed, as did Linda, with cancer. Our family began to move down an entirely different path with silver linings we wouldn’t see for many years.

In this candid and compassionate memoir which recently won a Gold Award in The Wishing Shelf Book Award, Nicole Harkin describes with an Impressionist’s fine eye the evolution of a family that is quirky, independent, uniquely supportive, peculiarly loving and, most of all, marvelously human.

Purchase Links:

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View the Book Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO1niSUWsuA

MY REVIEW:

This candidly written memoir will draw you in and have you feeling like you grew up alongside the author. It will alternately tug at your heartstrings and make you so angry you could just explode.

Author Nicole Harkin has a knack for uncovering and relating her family’s life and history in a humorous way, yet, even through the humor you can sense the deep hurt she felt both as a child and as a young adult. Quotes, such as the one below demonstrate a frank openness that is startling in its honesty.

“I didn’t feel like I was part of my family. We were a group of individuals who lived together under one roof.”

With the shocking revelations she uncovers and the benefit of hindsight, author Nicole Harkin invites readers to examine alongside her every aspect of her life.

Readers would easily forgive her for condemning both of her parents for the way in which Nicole and her siblings were raised, and would especially forgive her for any ill will toward her philander father. Yet Nicole Harkin rises above and tells her story in such a way that those people she could have easily portrayed as villainous, seem less hateful and more just as hopelessly flawed human beings.

I applaud the fact that the author waited until both her parents passed away before releasing this memoir. It shows that no matter how screwed up her family was, she still somehow learned empathy, compassion and integrity.

This is a terrific read which just might make you reexamine your own family’s dysfunctions and begin to see them in a more positive light. This exceptional memoir also reminds readers that no individual, and indeed, no family unit is perfect – no matter how it appears from the outside.

I rate TILTING as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and will be adding This book to my list of recommended reads.

*** Thank you to RACHEL’S RANDOM RESOURCES for providing me with a free softcover copy of this book.***

EXCERPT:

One of the most telling parts of the book is the following excerpt:

“We sat around and retold funny family stories, like the time years earlier when Dad had forgotten Montana [the author’s youngest sibling] at the store.

Don’t all parents forget their children in stores sometimes?

No.

Oh. Interesting.

That day, Jenny [a friend] and I had just gotten out of the hot tub in the old house. Linda [the author’s Mother] kept yelling for Montana to come and get lunch. We sat down to a sandwich in our swimming suits. Uncle Frankie, Dad’s brother, was there too.

‘Frankie, have you seen Montana?’ Linda asked.

‘No.’

‘Jack, have you seen Montana?’ she asked.

Just then the look of recognition ran across Dad’s face. A millisecond later he was headed towards the front door yelling,’ Call the hardware store’.

Unfortunately, even in our small town, there was more than one hardware store.

Dad found Montana crying hysterically. Dad told Montana he could get any toy he wanted. ”

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QUOTES

“My family operated like six little planets occasionally intersecting and interacting with one another.” (Page 93)

“This crisis stripped everything to its absolute essence. We were a family trying to survive a crisis of physical, financial, and emotional proportions.” (Page 94)

“I’ve read that women either pick ‘dicks’ or ‘dads’. The dicks are the fun guys who aren’t ready to settle down and parent. The dads are men who are natural caregivers and helpers, who are ready to be parents. The women in my family are drawn to the dicks, but the dicks – even when they become dads – cause the most trouble.” (Page 106)

“We sat around and retold funny family stories, like the time years earlier when Dad had forgotten Montana [the author’s youngest sibling] at the store.
Don’t all parents forget their children in stores sometimes?
No.
Oh. Interesting. ”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nicole Harkin currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two small children. She works as a writer and family photographer.

As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism.

Her work can be found in
She works as a writer and family photographer.

As a Fulbright Scholar during law school, Nicole lived in Berlin, Germany where she studied German environmentalism.

Her work can be found in Thought Collection and you are here: The Journal of Creative Geography.

She is currently working on mystery set in Berlin.

Her photography can be seen on her website. To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

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THE PICTURE by ROGER BRAY – BOOK REVIEW and EXCLUSIVE VIDEO CONTENT

Title: THE PICTURE

Author: ROGER BRAY

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Bio – I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.
Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.
So here we are, two books published and another on track.
Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

22nd April

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GHOST BOYS by Multi-Award Winning Author JEWELL PARKER RHODES takes on the issue of unarmed children being shot by the police. A 5 Star Book and one of the best Middle-grade Fiction stories I have ever read.

Title: GHOST BOYS

Author: JEWELL PARKER RHODES

Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 224 PAGES

Publisher: LITTLE BROWN PUBLISHING

Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018

ISBN: 9780316262286

Price: $9.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.

MY REVIEW:

With the current social and political climate in the United States, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the growing list of young, black men being killed in confrontations with police, this book is a timely one. This book was in part based on the police shooting of 12 year old TAMIR RICE.

Jerome, a twelve year old African American boy is shot in the back by a white police officer. Sound familiar? It should. This horrifying situation occurs all-too-often in modern day America.

This book is not only engaging and compelling, it is also necessary. I wish there was no reason for a book like this to be written, but sadly wishing does not make change.

Action makes change.

Knowledge leads to change.

When Jerome (as a ghost) realizes that even though he had always lived in Chicago, he didn’t know much about his city and it’s offerings and opportunities, he thinks: “Wish I’d known the world was so much bigger and better than my neighborhood.” I found this both very telling, and very sad. This may seem a trivial quote from the book and one that is non-essential. I do not see it that way. I see it as just another part of the dysfunctional whole.

Knowledge leads to change.

The first step to changing the fact that young black men are being murdered (yes, murdered – it is murder when a person is shot with no provocation) is to make people aware of what is happening. When people are aware, they can choose to do something about it, even if that something is just making sure to pass the word on to more and more people.

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes has crafted a tale that, while written by a black woman, will resonate with both white and black readers. She has taken her story straight from the headlines of National News agencies. This book is important NOW.

When Jerome dies, his ghost stays in the city he was murdered in. The only living person who can see him is a white girl who is the same age as Jerome. Her name is Sarah. This white girl, however, just happens to be the daughter of the man who shot him.

How is that for a twist in the story?

Jerome should hate her and her whole family right? But, wait a minute.
She is NOT responsible for her father’s actions. She is only twelve years old and she really wants to help Jerome in any way she can.

Both Jerome and Sarah can see other ghosts. One ghost in particular decides to talk to them and to help them with their quest for justice. That lonely spirit is none other than the ghost of Emmett Till. Together maybe they can make a difference.

Adding actual historical figures to this story makes it even more impactful.

Reading this book is also the perfect way for parents to start discussions with their children about what is currently happening to young black boys (and a few girls) in today’s society.

It is sad that this topic is still an issue, and it is also completely unacceptable.

It was 1955 when Emmett Till was abducted, beaten, and murdered by two adult white men. His supposed crime? Whistling at a white woman. In 2017, fifty-two years after Emmett was murdered, the woman in question, admitted she lied about Emmett whistling at her. She tried to justify her actions by saying that it was just the way things were back then. Bull Spit.

I applaud Jewell Parker Rhodes for tackling such an emotional topic and writing about it from multiple perspectives. This could not have been an easy book to write.

I rate GHOST BOYS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE WHO CARES ABOUT OUR SOCIETY, as well as to everyone who cares about Human Rights. Black, White or Brown; it doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is. All that matters is that you are a living, breathing human. It is EVERYONE’S moral obligation to do whatever is within their power to eradicate racism and discrimination in our society. This may seem like a monumental challenge, but as it says in GHOST BOYS:

“Can’t undo wrong. Can only do our best to make things right.”

To learn more about shootings in the United States, visit FATAL ENCOUNTERS – A website

FATAL ENCOUNTERS is creating an impartial, comprehensive, and searchable national database of people killed during interactions with law enforcement.

QUOTES:

“Uproar. Panic. Stomping. Cameras flashing. ‘No photos,’ asserts the clerk. Reporters are shouting questions. Community action are demanding justice. Ma, Pop, and Gramma huddle, cling and cry.”

“Sarah already sees me. Better than her Dad ever did.”

“When truth’s a feeling, can it be both?Both true and untrue?”

“People tell the dead, ‘Rest in peace.’ I haven’t any. Rest or peace.”

“Wish I’d known the world was so much bigger and better than my neighborhood.”

“Can’t undo wrong. Can only do our best to make things right.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adults, two writing guides, and a memoir, but writing for children remained her dream.

Now Jewell has published four children’s books: Ninth Ward, Sugar, Bayou Magic, and Towers Falling. Her fifth, Ghost Boys, will be released in spring of 2018. She’s also published six adult novels, two writing guides, and a memoir. When she’s not writing, she’s visiting schools to talk about her books with the kids who read them, or teaching writing at Arizona State University, where she is the Piper Endowed Chair and Founding Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. She has won multiple awards for her writing.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

BARNES AND NOBLE

INDIEBOUND BOOKS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

iTUNES

MORE BOOKS BY JEWELL PARKER RHODES:

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GHOST BOYS was partly inspired by the death of TAMIR RICE.

Who was Tamir Rice? And, what happened to him?

Tamir was at Cudell by midmorning on the Saturday he got shot. Usually he’d play basketball or Ping-Pong or games on an old phone that could connect to the rec-center Wi-Fi. But his friend had an Airsoft pellet gun his dad bought him at Walmart, a replica of a Colt 1911 semi-automatic. It was supposed to have an orange tip on the barrel, except it stopped working once and Tamir’s friend took it apart and fixed it but couldn’t get the orange part back on. They traded, Tamir and his friend, a cell phone for the pellet gun, but only for the day: Tamir knew he’d catch hell if his mom found out he was playing with a toy gun.

He shot BBs at a few car tires in the parking lot, showed his friend how they didn’t go straight. He knew enough to put the gun in his backpack when he went inside the rec center, though. He was there almost every day, never caused a problem and wasn’t going to start.

Samaria gave Tamir and his sister turkey sandwiches and fruit when they came home for lunch, and a few dollars to get chips and juice from the corner store. Then they went back to Cudell. Tamir was inside the rec center for a while, then outside, back and forth for more than an hour. On the sidewalk out front, he played with the pellet gun, drawing and pointing at pretend people and, sometimes, real people. No one seemed alarmed, though. Everyone knew Tamir, knew he was a kid, knew he was playing. Even if they didn’t, Tamir didn’t appear menacing: A man named Joe who was 81 and came to practice with an old-timers’ basketball league saw Tamir pointing his gun at the ground only a few feet away and just ignored him.

A little after three o’clock, a guy with a tall-boy showed up in the park to wait for a 3:30 bus downtown. He didn’t know Tamir. He saw a baby-faced guy, five feet seven, almost 200 pounds—Tamir was a big kid—pulling a gun in and out of his pants. Acting all gangsta, he thought. The man called 911 at 3:22. He was a little slurry, but not frantic. He politely asked the operator how she was, then told her he was sitting in a park. “There’s a guy in here with a pistol,” he said, “and, you know, it’s probably fake, but he’s, like, pointing it at everybody.” The operator asked him where he was, exactly, and the caller repeated what he said the first time: “The guy keeps pulling it in and out of his pants—it’s probably fake, but you know what? He’s scaring the shit out of me.” He described Tamir’s clothes and then reported the guy with the pistol had moved to one of the swings on the playground. “Probably a juvenile, you know?” Finally: “He’s right nearby the, you know, the youth center or whatever, and he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants. I don’t know if it’s real or not.”

The 911 operator’s notes were passed to a dispatcher, who requested a squad car respond to Cudell park. She said there was a black male sitting on the swings, and she described his clothing. “So he keeps pulling a gun out of his pants and pointing it at people,” she said.

Another dispatcher cut in. “How many calls are we getting for that?”

“Nah, just the one so far.”

She left out the words probably fake and probably a juvenile, and categorized it as a Code 1 call, the highest priority.


At a church a mile south of Cudell, officer Frank Garmback was finishing up a false-alarm call with his partner, Timothy Loehmann, a probationary rookie who’d been on the force for about nine months and only patrolling the streets for about three. Garmback, in fact, was Loehmann’s field-training officer, responsible for teaching him how to become a proper police officer.

That was something at which Loehmann had failed multiple times. Almost two years earlier, he’d resigned from the police department in suburban Independence, which was going to fire him if he didn’t. In less than five months—most of which he’d spent at the academy—he’d been caught twice lying to his superiors, and he’d had his weapon taken away after a weepy breakdown on the shooting range. That was about a woman.

Being unable to separate his personal problems from the job, Deputy Chief Jim Polak wrote, “leads one to believe that he would not be able to substantially cope, or make good decisions, during or resulting from any other stressful situation.”

Emotional immaturity is the phrase Polak used in a five-page memo listing all the reasons Loehmann shouldn’t be a cop. “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies,” he wrote.

But Loehmann kept at it. He applied to four other departments but got no offers. In September 2013, he failed the written exam for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. Three months later, the Cleveland Division of Police gave him a conditional appointment. On March 3, 2014, he was hired as a patrolman.

Garmback drove. Cudell was a straight shot north on West Boulevard, across Madison, and into a parking lot separated from the playground by knee-high wooden posts. But Garmback took a different route, to a narrow block that dead-ends at the park. There were no posts there, only a few spindly trees.

The squad car bumped over the curb. The swings were empty. The only person anywhere nearby, in fact, was sitting at a concrete picnic table under a gazebo a few yards beyond the swings. He was not fiddling with a gun. He wasn’t doing anything at all.

Garmback did not stop.

Tamir stood up, took a few casual steps around the table.

Garmback braked. The squad car slid on wet grass dusted with snow. When it was even with Tamir, before it had stopped, Loehmann got out and fired. The muzzle of his gun was less than seven feet away.

Tamir collapsed.

Garmback radioed that shots had been fired. Black male down. Send an ambulance.

He and Loehmann did not help the boy on his back on a slab of cement, his small intestine spilling out of the hole in his abdomen. For four minutes, Tamir lay bleeding alone.


Survillance cameras recorded the entire encounter. Had Garmback and Loehmann been a couple of local gangbangers in a Toyota, that video would have been enough to convince a grand jury that there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, most likely aggravated murder. It happened so quickly, and with the shooter approaching the victim, that a claim of self-defense would have been laughable.

But police officers are not held to the same standards as civilians, nor should they be. They are expected to insert themselves into potentially volatile situations, to confront bad guys with weapons, to stand between chaos and public order. They will at times, even if only for a heartbeat, genuinely fear for their lives or the lives of others. There is a library of case law giving officers wide leeway on the use of deadly force. But these two guys drove up and shot a kid. And it’s on video. “What we have is objective evidence that they summarily executed this child as fast as humanly possible,” says Jonathan S. Abady, one of the attorneys representing Tamir’s estate, mother, and sister. “There is nothing Tamir could have done to not get shot that day.”

“It was almost like they were trying to blame me,” Samaria Rice said. “They were talking to me like I was a bad mother, like I gave him that BB gun.”

Maybe a jury would never convict them, and maybe McGinty would somehow believe the shooting was justified. But the major evidence to make that initial decision—whether to seek an indictment or not—was plainly visible. Weeks passed and McGinty did not make a determination one way or the other. Winter came and went and then most of spring. In early June, the sheriff’s department gave McGinty’s office a 211-page summary of its investigation. A week later, a sitting judge, ruling on a petition from eight perturbed citizens, issued a non-binding opinion that there was probable cause to charge both officers with crimes, including murder (Loehmann) and negligent homicide (Garmback). “After viewing [the video] several times,” Judge Ronald B. Adrine wrote, “this court is still thunderstruck by how quickly this event turned deadly.”

Still, no decision from McGinty.

Finally, at a meeting in the beginning of summer, almost seven months after Tamir was killed, Abady and his colleagues asked what was taking so long. An assistant prosecutor, according to Abady, said McGinty was trying to be “fair and thorough.” He also said he was trying to find experts who could tell a grand jury whether the shooting was justified.

That is highly irregular. For one, experts rarely testify before grand jurors. The bar for an indictment is so low that any prosecutor with a functional ability to speak in complete sentences can clear it. Two, if an expert believes killing Tamir was legally permissible, what’s the point? If the prosecutor agrees, why waste the grand jury’s time?

But set all that aside. Stipulate that fairness and thoroughness require experts to testify. There are many well-credentialed and prominent scholars who study police procedure; credible ones are not difficult to find. Who, Abady wanted to know, are those experts upon whom McGinty would be relying?

“People,” Abady was told, “who you’ve never heard of.”


The first two experts McGinty hired were a prosecutor from Colorado and a former FBI agent wh ko now an associate professor.

S. Lamar Sims, the prosecutor, was familiar to McGinty already: He’d spoken at a March 12, 2015, forum on deadly force hosted by McGinty’s office, focusing specifically on how difficult it is, legally, to indict officers. Two months after that, in May, Sims had explained on a local Denver TV channel how he believed killings by police should be evaluated. “Often we will learn things, facts, after the incident that a reasonable officer did not know, or could not have known, at the time,” he said. “The community may react to facts learned later. For example, looking around the nation, say you have a 12- or 13-year-old boy with a toy gun. We learn that later. The question is, what did the officer know at the time? What should a reasonable peace officer have known at the time when he or she took the steps that led to the use of physical force or deadly physical force?” That, he said, “is a difficult thing for a lot of people to understand.”

Kimberly A. Crawford, the professor, was a supervisory special agent in the legal instruction unit at the FBI academy for 18 years. In that role, she co-authored a report that defended a sniper in the shooting of a fleeing woman during the Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992, which a Department of Justice task force later criticized in part for interpreting legal standards on deadly force in a manner too favorable to law enforcement.

Both Sims and Crawford focused only on the instant immediately before Loehmann fired, which, in their view, was the only legally relevant issue. Neither spoke to Loehmann or Garmback, but how was either officer supposed to know Tamir was a kid and the gun he might have had was a toy? Of course, stopping a few feet from Tamir gave them no time to learn either of those facts. But since they did, Crawford reasoned, “it becomes apparent that not only was Officer Loehmann required to make a split-second decision, but also that his response was a reasonable one.” Meanwhile, to question that tactical decision, Sims argued, “is to engage in exactly the kind of ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ the case law exhorts us to avoid.” (Crawford called it “armchair quarterbacking.” In her analysis, “Whether the officers’ actions were courageous or foolhardy is not relevant to a constitutional review of the subsequent use of force.”)

McGinty released both of those reports to the public by posting them on his office’s website at eight o’clock on the Saturday night of Columbus Day weekend. Zoe Salzman, an attorney who works with Abady, remembers the time because she got her first phone call from a reporter at 8:01. That would suggest the reports were shared with the media before they were posted. They were not, however, shared with Samaria Rice or her attorneys. “They gave us no heads-up that those reports were coming,” Salzman says. And by the time they returned from the holiday weekend and began to adequately critique the reports, the news cycle had moved on.

A third report, from a former Florida sheriff and consultant named W. Ken Katsaris—whom McGinty had hired to testify against a police officer in a previous case—was released on a Thursday in November. He, too, found the shooting justified. That perspective was not shared with Samaria Rice or her attorneys before it was posted. McGinty, in a statement released with the Katsaris report, said that he was being open and transparent and most definitely wasn’t drawing any conclusions but rather laying off that responsibility on the grand jurors. “I have faith in the people of this county,” he said, “to fulfill their sworn duty to make a correct and honorable decision.”


By the middle of November 2015, almost a year after Tamir was killed, McGinty still wouldn’t say whether he thought either officer should be charged with a crime. But he had presented to the grand jury—and released to the public—the opinions of three experts that, in clear and confident language, absolved Garmback and Loehmann.

At a political forum on November 5, McGinty had also introduced another element into the public narrative his office was crafting: Samaria Rice was trying to make a buck off her dead boy. When he was asked about criticisms Abady and others had made of the Sims and Crawford reports (Katsaris wouldn’t be released for another week), he answered, “Well, isn’t that interesting. They waited until they didn’t like the reports they received. They’re very interesting people, let me just leave it at that. They have their own economic motives.” He later tried to walk that back, saying he’d meant Samaria’s representatives were gold diggers. In a way, that was even worse, as it implied she was too stupid to realize she was being manipulated by greedy lawyers.

At that same forum, McGinty also invoked the sacred secrecy of the grand-jury process. “We want to encourage people to come in, be able to tell the truth, without intimidation, in the search for the truth,” he said. That would seem in obvious conflict with his vows of transparency, but no matter. As part of that search, he’d invited Samaria’s attorneys to go find their own experts on police shootings.

That’s how Roger Clark, the retired cop who got the toy gun stuck in his face, became involved. If a prosecutor presenting his own experts to a grand jury is uncommon, bringing in experts hired by the victim of a shooting is unprecedented. “It puts the victim in the unusual position of having to be the advocate,” says Earl Ward, one of the lawyers for Tamir’s family. “No, unusual is too light: I’ve never heard of it. In my 30 years of experience, this is the first time.”

In more than 20 years, Clark had testified once as an expert before a grand jury, but never as one retained by the dead person’s family. And Jeffrey J. Noble, another consultant hired on behalf of Tamir, had never done so at all. He was a cop for 28 years, retiring as deputy chief of the Irvine, California, police department in 2012. He wrote chapters for police textbooks on tactical recklessness and the notorious code of silence among officers; co-wrote a book on internal-affairs investigations; and, as a consultant, has reviewed hundreds of use-of-force cases. As a cop, he also used deadly force.

Noble knew Clark only by professional reputation and in fact had disagreed with him in another use-of-force case. But he agreed that the shooting of Tamir was unjustified, and for the same reasons. McGinty’s experts focused only on the fraction of a second when Loehmann fired: a police officer only a few feet from a five-foot-seven 195-pound person who matched the description of a man reported to have a gun who was reaching into his waistband. If all of that were true—though the part about where Tamir’s hands were and what they were doing is in legitimate dispute—it was reasonable for Loehmann to fear for his life, according to Sims, Crawford, and Katsaris.

But the few seconds before that, Noble argued, were just as important, both legally and practically. Under accepted police standards, Loehmann never should have been that close to Tamir that quickly. When they entered the park, the officers saw, or should have seen, one person, alone, not threatening anyone. There was no need for Garmback to rush him. “Reasonable police officers responding to a man-with-a-gun call,” Noble wrote in his report, “would have stopped their vehicle prior to entering the park to visually survey the area to avoid driving upon a subject who may be armed. This serves not only to protect the officers, but also serves to protect others who may be in the area and provides both time and distance for the officers to evaluate the situation and develop a plan.”

Noble’s function, admittedly unusual, was simply to give the grand jurors another learned perspective. Neither his opinion nor those of Clark, Sims, and the others could be used to convict or acquit anyone. “As an expert,” Noble says, “my job is to educate.” A grand jury is not contentious. Witnesses are almost never cross-examined, and normally there’s no time, anyway. A typical grand jury in Cuyahoga County churns through 50 cases a day, mostly on little more than the word of a police officer. Noble expected to present his findings, answer a question or two, and be done.

Noble was retrieved by assistant prosecutor James Gutierrez and led to the grand-jury room, where 14 jurors sat in comfortable chairs around tables arranged in a U. Gutierrez took a seat in the center. Matt Meyer sat on Noble’s right. Noble was sworn in. Then, he says, “it devolved pretty quickly. It was an attack from the minute I walked into the room.” Noble says Gutierrez and Meyer tag-teamed him with questions, talking over each other and him. Early on, one of them declared more than asked, “You’re getting paid to be here, right?”

“Hey, wait, your experts are getting paid, too,” Noble said.

“You don’t know that.”

He says he was asked if it “would be in the family’s best interest if there was an indictment.” He was reminded, as if he were a simpleton, that the grand jury had to be exceedingly conscientious. “Justice is about proving that some are not guilty,” Meyer said. “These officers have rights, too.”

Well, yes, but it’s not the prosecutors’ job to prove that to a grand jury. “I’ve never had to fight so hard to defend myself in the midst of a presentation,” Noble told me. “And I’ve definitely never seen two prosecutors play defense attorney so well.”

The hostility toward Noble, he realized, was part of a piece, reducing him to a character—hired gun for vengeful family and greedy lawyers trying to ruin brave cops—in a story that had already been laid out for the grand jurors. Tamir, as would later happen with Clark, repeatedly was referred to as an active shooter. Sandy Hook and San Bernardino (which had happened five days earlier) were both invoked. Video was projected of Tamir playing with the pellet gun earlier in the day, juxtaposed with video of kids playing basketball inside the rec center. For Loehmann and Garmback, only what they knew in a single blink of time was relevant. But for the dead kid, his entire day was fair game, as was what other people were doing inside a nearby building.

It was not difficult to figure out the prosecution’s theory of the case, which was really a defense theory. Near the end of Noble’s testimony, one of the grand jurors, a white lady he guessed was in her late 50s, had a question. “You’re from California, and maybe they do things differently out there,” she began. “But I’m a mom, and I would have wanted the police to protect my kid if he was playing in the rec center that day. He could have gone in there and killed all those people playing basketball.”

The woman was very sincere. “She was not being mean-spirited at all,” Noble said. “What I got out of that was the emotional level they’d been brought to.”

That Tamir could not possibly have killed anyone seemed beside the point.


Loehmann and Garmback were not required to testify or answer any questions from prosecutors. No target of a grand jury can be forced to do so. Even if he was ordered to appear, he could still invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at any time. As a practical matter, then, a prosecutor won’t invite a grand-jury target to appear. Why allow him to make a self-serving statement if the prosecutor can’t cross-examine, can’t poke holes in his story, can’t point out contradictions and inconsistencies, can’t pick at his credibility? How could the grand jurors realistically judge the veracity of those statements? On the other hand, a target has no real incentive to appear, either: Why risk saying something stupid that can be used against him later?

But at the beginning of December, both Loehmann and Garmback agreed to testify—sort of. Each man brought with him a written statement dated November 30, 2015, more than a year after Tamir was shot dead. Each officer read his statement to the grand jury.

Garmback’s was self-serving, Loehmann’s was self-aggrandizing, and both raised serious questions. For instance, both said they did not see Tamir seated at the picnic table until they were at least even with the swing set—that is, until they were a few yards away from the supposedly armed suspect they’d been sent to investigate. Were they always so lax in their visual surveillance? Both also agreed Garmback said, “Watch him, he’s going to run,” and that they were afraid Tamir was going to run toward the rec center. What, exactly, made them think Tamir would run? And if they believed that, why did Garmback approach from an angle that would almost force Tamir to bolt in that direction? Why not position the cruiser between Tamir and the rec center? Why stop next to him at all, instead of driving away from what might be a mortal threat?

Loehmann, meanwhile, testified that in his few months on the job, he’d already been “involved in many active-shooter situations.” Really? How loosely does Loehmann define “active-shooter situation”? Do shots actually need to be fired? By the common definition, the last active shooter in Cuyahoga County was a man who shot his wife and daughters in a Cracker Barrel in 2012.

Loehmann said he and Garmback repeatedly yelled “Show me your hands” as they approached Tamir. (Garmback acknowledged the windows were up, which would have made shouting orders pointless.) “As car is slid [sic], I started to open the door and yelled continuously ‘show me your hands’ as loud as I could,” he said. “The suspect lifted his shirt reached [sic] down into his waistband. We continued to yell ‘show me your hands.’ I was focused on the suspect. Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn’t fire. I still was yelling the command ‘show me your hands.’ ”

Loehmann said he’d been trained to leap out of the car “because ‘the cruiser is a coffin.’ ” He said he tried to get to the back of the cruiser. He said he and Garmback “were still yelling ‘show me your hands.’ With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out. I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active.”

That’s when he fired twice.

The most obvious of the many questions Loehmann’s testimony raised was: How does that version square with a video showing that Loehmann pulled the trigger almost immediately after opening the car door? How fast can he yell “Show me your hands,” and how much time will he give a suspect to comply?

There may be plausible, even credible, answers to those questions. But none of them were asked. Instead, after reading his statement, each officer invoked his Fifth Amendment rights.

That could not possibly have been unexpected.


Thanksgiving Weekend 2015, Earl Ward was told by Meyer that McGinty’s office had hired a video expert to enhance and analyze footage from cameras around Cudell park, and that his report was going to be released—once again, the Saturday of a holiday weekend. But there was nothing new in the analysis, Meyer said, nothing of any consequence revealed in the enhancements.

That appeared to be true. The two videos weren’t so much enhanced as synced and broken down into stills. The images were still grainy. They did not show Tamir pointing anything at the police, or even getting anything out of his trousers. But to McGinty’s expert, who specializes in the software used to record video and in teasing out information hidden in the small variances between pixels, they clearly showed Tamir reaching into his waistband an instant before Loehmann shot him.

To Jesse Wobrock, an expert in biomechanics hired by Abady’s firm, they showed that Tamir had his hands in his pockets when Loehmann fired, and that the upward movement of the boy’s arms was a reaction to getting hit with a bullet, not a prelude to it.

To a layman, they are Rorschach blots. Stare at a still image long enough—as opposed to watching it flash past in a half a second as part of a moving series—and the brain can be convinced either way. But McGinty’s version requires believing that a 12-year-old child rushed by two police officers reflexively reached for his toy gun. Wobrock’s version requires only accepting that a body will jerk when it gets shot.

And there was, to Wobrock, one new thing in the enhancement. When others had reviewed the raw video, they’d calculated that 1.7 seconds elapsed between Loehmann getting out of the cruiser and firing. After seeing the individual images, Wobrock cut that to less than one second.

Wobrock appeared before the grand jury after Abady publicly complained about the way Noble and Clark had been treated. “My experience was probably more gentle than the others’,” Wobrock says. “But they were acting in a way like they were defense attorneys for the cops. Their line of questioning had to do with attacking me professionally.”

Meyer asked the questions. He showed images from the shooting, and videos that demonstrated that a person can pull a gun and shoot in less than half a second. He controlled those with a remote he’d stuck in his pants. “Today I have a remote in my waistband,” he joked with the grand jurors, “and not a gun.”

Mostly, Wobrock says, he was asked about his background in deciphering video code. He does not have any. Wobrock is an expert in forensic biomechanical engineering and kinematic analysis—how the body moves and reacts, particularly when it is being shot, beaten, or otherwise traumatized. “But if you have two eyes,” he says, “you can see what was going on in the video.”

Meyer brought up the civil suit pending in federal court—“Basically,” Wobrock says, “that the mom was looking for money out of this thing”—which cast Wobrock as just another hired gun for the money-grubbers. Who could trust his opinion, this academic who didn’t understand video-compression coding?

On the Monday after Christmas, McGinty announced that the grand jury had declined to indict either officer and that he had recommended no charges be brought.

The key evidence, both McGinty and Meyer said, was the enhanced video.

“You could actually see him draw his gun on this film,” McGinty said.

Meyer, meanwhile, focused on a gray dot on the gazebo floor after Tamir had collapsed. That was the gun, he said. “For it to have fallen on the ground, it would have had to have been in Tamir’s hand,” he said. “Which means he would have had to have pulled that gun out.”

Those are both extremely debatable assertions. And neither, curiously, was mentioned when Meyer contacted Earl Ward a month earlier. Back then, there was nothing of any significance at all in that enhanced video.

Samaria Rice was the last witness to appear before the grand jury. She waited in the hallway of the courthouse while her daughter answered questions. Samaria didn’t want to tell me what her daughter was asked or how she answered, only that she was shaking when she came out. Her daughter had been there that day. Look at the video: Garmback and Loehmann watching a boy bleed to death, and she enters from the left. There’s no sound, but she’s screaming. “They killed my baby brother,” she shrieks. Garmback grabs her, takes her to the ground, handcuffs her, puts her in the back of the cruiser that’s next to her dying brother.

Samaria was still at home then. She was putting groceries away when two kids from the neighborhood banged on her door. “The police just shot your boy in the stomach,” they told her. She ran to the park, and the police told her she could stay with her daughter or go to the hospital with her son.

What could she do? She rode in the passenger seat of the ambulance.

The last time she saw Tamir alive, he had tubes stuck in his arms and his tongue lolled out of his mouth. And then he was dead. He was wrapped up like a tamale, she remembers, only his face showing, and she wailed and she sobbed and she tried to kiss him good-bye, but a police officer held her back. Her boy’s body was evidence and couldn’t be contaminated.

She sat before the grand jurors as a character in a script already written: Tamir had been acting all gangsta that day, Tamir had pulled a gun on the cops, Tamir could have killed everyone in the rec center. Any mom would have wanted the police to protect the children playing in the rec center and the park. Three experts said the police had no choice, said killing Tamir was a reasonable thing to do.

And Samaria? She was suing the city for wrongful death. Samaria wanted money. Samaria had a record: The day the police killed her son, she was on probation for selling weed. It didn’t matter that Samaria refused to ever live in the projects, that she’d moved to a white suburb so her kids could go to better schools and only moved back so her kids wouldn’t be the only black ones in class. It didn’t matter that she worried so much about her youngest two that she’d only recently let them off the porch to play.

The prosecutor asked her if she knew Tamir had a toy gun that day.

He asked her where he got that toy.

“The look he had on his face, it was almost like they were trying to blame me,” she said. “I’m saying in my head, Why are they talking to me like that? They were talking to me like I was a bad mother, like I gave him that BB gun.”

One of the grand jurors asked her what Tamir had been like. It was not an insincere question. But what does a mother say about the boy the police thought needed shooting? That he liked to draw and paint and make pottery at the rec center? That he helped his mother sweep and mop? That he liked the ice cream and French fries at McDonald’s and Cool Ranch Doritos and cereal, even if Samaria wouldn’t buy him the sugary ones?

Or that he wasn’t allowed to play with toy guns? Not even that cheap bright plastic one at the Dollar General?

What does any of it matter now?

Samaria wasn’t surprised that Garmback and Loehmann weren’t indicted. A prosecutor doesn’t spend a year laying the groundwork only to screw it up at the end. Maybe it wouldn’t sting as badly if McGinty had been forthright about it, if he’d made a decision and owned up to it and explained it, instead of dribbling out some parts and burying the rest in legal secrecy and ducking behind anonymous citizens, muddying rather than clarifying. But maybe not. No one was indicted, and no one would be.

Samaria knew the settlement was coming, and she wished it wouldn’t be public, thought maybe she should move away, to Charlotte or Lexington, another city where people won’t bother her at the gas station, at the store, on the street. People—strangers, a Cleveland police dispatcher—want to take selfies with her. “Once they recognize my face, it’s ‘Oh, let me give you a hug,’ ” she says. “Throwing themselves on my body, getting all in my personal space.”

They mean well. But still. Sometimes they say, “Oh, you’re that boy’s mom.”

Sometimes they say, “Oh, you’re Rice’s mom.” And sometimes, because enough time has passed and memories have gotten foggy and all the stories begin to blur together, people stop and stare and try to remember. “Oh,” they’ll say, certain but not really, “you’re Trayvon Martin’s mom.”

THE PICTURE – COVER REVEAL

THE PICTURE

SYNOPSIS:

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

MY THOUGHTS:

I think the cover of this book is perfect. It captures a snapshot of time and anyone who sees it will immediately be drawn to finding out what the story is about.

After reading the synopsis, it is impossible to not want to read this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Roger Bray on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.

My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may find ourselves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.
Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.
Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.
So here we are, two books published and another on track.
Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK

DROP BY DROP is a fantastic work of Speculative Fiction by Award Winning Author Morgan Llewellyn – A true 5 Star Book

Title: DROP BY DROP

Subtitle: A NOVEL OF TOMORROW

Series: STEP BY STEP – BOOK ONE

Author: MORGAN LLWELYN

Genre: SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: TOR BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7653-8866-7 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-7653-8868-1 (eBook)

Price: $25.99 USD (Hardcover)
Price: $12.99 USD (ebook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

From Morgan Llywelyn, the bestselling author of Lion of Ireland and the Irish Century series, comes Drop By Drop her first near-future science fiction thriller where technology fails and a small town struggles to survive global catastrophe.

In this first book in the Step By Step trilogy, global catastrophe occurs as all plastic mysteriously liquefies. All the small components making many technologies possible—navigation systems, communications, medical equipment—fail.

In Sycamore River, citizens find their lives disrupted as everything they’ve depended on melts around them, with sometimes fatal results. All they can rely upon is themselves.

And this is only the beginning . . .
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MY REVIEW:

“Drop by drop, the change came to Sycamore River. Slowly and quietly in the beginning, not enough to cause a ripple on the placid surface of the town. Few people noticed at first. Change can be like that.

This Speculative Fiction novel is a completely unique idea of how change can begin without most people noticing.

This is the first book in the “Step By Step” series which promises to be not only one of a kind, but also one that will challenge the idea that we need technology to survive.

The small town of Sycamore River and its inhabitants will get under your skin and readers will find themselves actually caring about what happens to them.

Set in the not too distant future, Drop By Drop is a unique look at one possible future … And a scary one at that.

Morgan Llywelyn has an amazing ability to create people who are so realistic they could be your next door neighbors. She also describes the many different ways people react in a crisis. Some step up and others fall apart. Her writing will grab your attention and you will be unable to stop reading… literally. I read the entire book in less than twenty four hours and I was wishing the next book in the series was already available. I predict that DROP BY DROP will be on many Bestseller Lists and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:

“Every life’s a highway with a certain number of doors in it. When you go through one you can either leave it open or close it behind you.”

“To the average American male, whose automobile was emblematic not only of his financial status but also of his manhood, the situation was personal.”

“The threat of personal extinction was enough to make a man grab what happiness he could while there was still time.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan Llywelyn was born in New York City on December 3, 1937 which makes her 80 years old now.

Morgan Llywelyn is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

AZ QUOTES

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

AUDIBLE (Audiobooks)

FANTASTIC FICTION (Complete List of All Morgan’s Books)

WIKIPEDIA

ISFDB (INTERNET SPECULATIVE FICTION DATABASE)

INDIEBOUND

BARNES AND NOBLE

POWELL’S

BOOKS-A-MILLION

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REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE by Anna Mainwaring RELEASES TODAY

TODAY is the day YA readers have been waiting for.

REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE by Anna Mainwaring comes out today.

Check out my 5 STAR REVIEW of this book by clicking HERE.

When you go to the review page, you will also be able to read the book’s synopsis and find out all about the author.

Come back to this page and let me know what you think about this book.

WAITING FOR AEGINA AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Author: Effie Kammenou

Narrators: Emily Lawrence

Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Series: The Gift Saga, Book 2

Publisher: Effie Kammenou

Released: Feb. 16, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book two in the Gift Saga: the continuation of Evanthia’s Gift….

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the Honey Hill Girls, named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers, they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than 30 years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.

Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina, the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their 50th year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy, and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends.
Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 Readers Favorite Awards finalist in the women’s fiction category. Waiting for Aegina: Book Two in The Gift Saga is Kammenou’s latest release. For updates on the release of Book Three, the conclusion of The Gift Saga, follow Effie on Twitter, Facebook or Amazon.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsInstagramPinterest
Narrator Bio

Emily is an actor and writer passionate about bringing stories to life. Her greatest strength as a performer is her ability to bring herself to the role, creating a wide range of emotionally resonant performances that leap off the page, stage, or screen. Her favorite characters are complicated, conflicted, and still searching for their inner truths. Emily’s passion for her work is complimented by her persistence, resilience, and inexhaustible work ethic. She’s narrated more than 160 audiobooks, half of which were USA Today or New York Times bestsellers, and has also worked in film, television, and theater. Born and raised in New York, Emily moved to Los Angeles shortly after receiving her BFA in drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also had the privilege of living in London while studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
Emily’s greatest loves are acting and reading, so narrating audiobooks is a dream come true. Her other passions include traveling, LARPing, aerial circus, and chocolate.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

This book is the second in a series, however, it can easily be read as a standalone novel (which is exactly what I did.)

The author, Effie Kammenou, has created a story that is compelling, believable, and entertaining.

The character building is terrific and the storyline will hold a reader’s attention with ease.

Narrator Emily Lawrence proves that she is a professional Narrator with her flawless voice and her impeccable timing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Audiobook and I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Effie Kammenou. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**

Giveaway

Waiting For Aegina Giveaway: 3-month Audible Membership

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REVOLVER by Michael Patrick Hicks AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – This is one of the most terrifyingly eerily plausible future scenarios I Have EVER Read. 5 Massive Stars!

Title: REVOLVER

Author: MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS

Narrator: PATRICIA SANTOMASSO

Genre: FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 1 HOUR, 14 MINUTES

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Release Date: 2016

Price: $1.99 on AUDIBLE.COM

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Cara Stone is a broken woman: penniless, homeless, and hopeless. When given the chance to appear on television, she jumps at the opportunity to win a minimum of $5,000 for her family.

The state-run, crowdfunded series, Revolver, has been established by the nation’s moneyed elite to combat the increasing plight of class warfare.

There’s never been a Revolver contestant quite like Cara before. The corporate states of America are hungry for blood, and she promises to deliver.

MY REVIEW:

Although this Audiobook is not long in the length of time it will take a reader to listen to, it’s storyline and content will remain on a person’s mind for a very long time.

The thing that struck me most about this story was it’s terrifying plausibility.

The story is set in the future United States where it is law to carry a gun openly. It is illegal to not carry a gun. Some people may scoff at this notion, but you only have to turn on the news to realize that this type of thing may come about all too soon.

Although this story was written in 2016, it seems like it was written this past month. Within the last few weeks there have been TWO school shootings and when discussing solutions, President Trump actually offered up the idea that maybe teachers should carry guns.

It is a short step from this to the dissolution of the United States, as happened in the book. They become instead, the Corporate States of America. Scary!

In the audiobook, Cara, who has struggled with depression is labeled “lower class.” These citizens have no rights and horrible things can be done to them without fear of retribution.

The television show REVOLVER offered desperate people a way to help their families and would earn each participant a minimum of $5000. What do they have to do on the show? You need to listen to this audiobook to find out. I will say that it is Reality TV taken to the extreme.

From the very first minute, listeners will be drawn into the story. This book is so enthralling that you will find yourself tuning out the rest of the world and becoming completely immersed in this terrifying tale.

In an audiobook whose length is just over one hour, I did not expect much in the way of world-building. I was WRONG. The world-building in REVOLVER is top-notch. In fact, I am hoping that author Michael Patrick Hicks has since written a full length novel, or at least more short stories about this same dystopian future.

I am rating this audiobook as highly as possible. The narration was quite simply PERFECTION. Narrator PATRICIA SANTOMASSO’s voice and the emotion she is somehow able to instill in that voice, make the story seem even more realistic. Listeners will feel as if they are living in the story itself. I admit to being extremely impressed by both the author and the narrator.

I rate REVOLVER as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.

He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.

In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR
(COPIED FROM HER WEBSITE):

I grew up in CT, a child obsessed with scary stories. I was so horrified by Camilla by Sheridan Le Fanu that I slept with garlic on my windowsills for a year when I was 10. I’m mostly over it now, but I order a New Haven clam pie light on the garlic. You may think that incident would have stopped me from reading every Stephen King novel I could get my hands on. Spoiler: it didn’t.

I got my BA in English Lit because I love reading, and then moved to NY because I love the MTA. Who doesn’t? After graduating from acting conservatory, I spent a number of years traveling across the country doing plays, until I realized I could make a living talking to myself in a padded room – and here we are!
When I’m not reading, I’m baking, organizing things (I’m sick, I know), riding around on my razor scooter, and finding any excuse at all not to go to the gym.

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BLUE MOON LUCK by Linda Collison AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Title: BLUE MOON LUCK

Author: LINDA COLLISON

Narrator: JOSEPH JOHN RAYMOND ROCCA

Genre: FICTION

Length: 4 HOURS, 26 MINUTES

Publisher: FICTION HOUSE, LTD.

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

For his entire life, twenty-two-year-old Chance Lee has been dreaming of greatness — something far beyond getting high in his mother’s old farmhouse, and much more prestigious than playing in a twangy West Virginia country band on the weekends. Unlike many other small-town boys with lofty dreams, Chance see his future of musical greatness, with his best friend Tollie by his side, as an undeniable fact. And when a reading from a local fortune-teller seems to affirm his unstoppable luck, it’s not long before he’s ready to break out of Falling Waters and put his plans in motion. But when creative differences and the undeniable pull of home begin to get in the way, Chance is finally given reason to doubt his lucky star — at least, until he finally hits the road alongside an unexpected companion.

MY REVIEW:

Sometime in the 1980s, Chance and his best friend and band mate, Tully, visit a fortune teller on the night of the full moon. That night changes everything. Of course, they were unaware of the changes at the time.

Young men, a bit of weed, raging hormones, a lot of music, women, sex, rock’n’roll, friendship and a desire for something more all come together in the mish-mash of indecision which faces all youth.

Witty and engaging, this fictional memoir will have readers reminiscing about their own youth.

The narrator for this audiobook may be new to the profession, but he did an commendable job and his accent made the scenes come alive. The only issue with the narration was that at one point you hear him grunt which actually provided a bit of comic relief. Also, the pauses between chapters are a bit too long for my taste.

I rate the book itself as 5 out of 5 Stars, but the Audiobook as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Collison’s fiction, nonfiction, and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. Her debut novel, “Star-Crossed,” was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age-and her writing has received awards from the “Literary Fiction Review,” “Foreword Reviews,” “Honolulu Magazine,” and more.

In addition to her career as an author and freelance writer, Collison has worn many other hats-including mother, registered nurse, volunteer firefighter, skydiving instructor, and restauranteur.

Born and raised in Maryland, she lived in Hawaii for many years with her husband Bob Russell. Currently, the couple resides in Colorado.

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