ENDLESS JOURNEY is the newly released follow up to Author Linda Baer’s wonderful memoir RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN and once afain, she has hit a home run.

Title: ENDLESS JOURNEY

Series: RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN – BOOK TWO

Author: LINDA T. BAER

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 356 PAGES

Publisher: RIVER GROVE BOOKS – GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 24, 2017

ISBN: 9781632991478 (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $16.95 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

At over 350 pages, you would think that you would get bored with reading this memoir, but ENDLESS JOURNEY is so well written and so very interesting, you will find yourself engrossed in it.

This is the second book in Linda Baer’s biography series RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN. The first book chronicles her childhood in Vietnam as well as her life up to the time of the end of the Vietnam War.

ENDLESS JOURNEY picks up where the first book left off – with Linda escaping a crumbling Vietnamese society to the United States with her white American husband.

Imagine arriving in America and discovering the tales of streets paved in gold and of a place so wonderful that no one has to work are all lies. Talk about a rude awakening! Poor Linda. Her fantasies about life in America evaporated in the blink of an eye.

When I read this part I laughed out loud, but upon reflection I see that it isn’t really funny. It is sad that people think America is the answer to all their problems. Perhaps if people knew the truth about life in the U.S.A., there would not be so many people risking their lives just for a chance at arriving in what they think is the ‘Promised Land.”

However, Linda was never one to shy away from hard work, so she shook off her original disappointment and settled into making the best life she could for herself and her family.

I think most people will benefit from reading this book. Linda’s work ethic and dogged determination to make her marriage succeed are nothing less than awe inspiring. Any one of multiple incidents and episodes could have been reason for her to give up on her marriage, but she wasn’t someone who gave up and, instead of divorcing, she fought and made her marriage better.

Not only did she follow her husband to the United States, but she also followed him around the world – wherever his career took him. She was in love with him “…Until death do us part…” and she took her vows seriously.

Children, foreign affairs, discrimination, familial tragedies and more are all detailed in this book and all are part of what makes this such a riveting and utterly fascinating read.

I feel that this book deserves a 5 out of 5 Star rating, especially considering that the author’s first language was not English. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thanks to for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Loan Thi Baer was born Nguyen Thi Loan in 1947, in the small village

where she was raised, Tao Xa, Thai Binh Province, North Vietnam. Her father was killed during a Viet Minh attack on her village in 1951. Her mother married again, to a wealthy practitioner of Chinese medicine, and a war widower himself. Their family relocated to South Vietnam during the mass exodus of 1954, where they were forced to move constantly due to economic, political, and military conditions. They
eventually settled near Vung Tau, south of Saigon.

Loan left home at an early age of thirteen, to seek work at various menial jobs in Saigon to help her family, and to escape the physical abuse of her stepfather. She lived on the street as a dust of life. She grew up and became a club’s dancer, black marked dealer, later met and married to an American Air Force officer in 1968, and follow him to the United States in 1971.

She became an American citizen in 1973, and while raising two sons and a daughter, she obtained her high school GED and attended many college courses.

Linda graduated first in her class from her South Carolina cosmetology school. Later she owns and operate a successful Beauty Salon business name “Elegance by Linda B.”

She is the author of three books, “Edge of survival, Red Blood Yellow Skin, R.B.Y.S-Endless Journey. And the Dust Of life is in progress.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

TWITTER

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor that specializes in the development of independent authors and the growth of small presses. Our publishing model was designed to support the independent author and to make it possible for writers to retain the rights to their work and still compete with the major publishing houses. In addition to the books we publish, we distribute select titles from independent publishers to major trade outlets, including bookstores, libraries, and airports.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

SOLACE by Therin Knite – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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SOLACE

Author: Therin Knite

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Julia Knippen

Length: 11 hours, 1 minute

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Drama

Release Date: May 13, 2015

Publisher: Knite and Day Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Wow! I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Solace.

I’m not sure what I thought this audiobook would be like, but I know that I did not expect to be so completely sucked in to the story, nor did I expect the narration to be so incredibly well done.

If you follow my blog at amiesbookreviews dot wordpress dot com you know that I read A LOT of books and listen to A LOT of audiobooks. That is probably why I do not rate many books or audiobooks as 5 out of 5 stars. If I enjoy a book and like it a lot it gets a 4 star rating from me. To get a 5 star rating, it must be exceptional. The audiobook version of SOLACE is exceptional.

The author has captured the emotions of Corina Marion perfectly.

Corina Marion’s father is dead.

Before she was born, her father left to be Red Cross doctor in the War in Asia. That war has been going on for the entirety of her sixteen year life.

Luther Marion has never been a tangible presence in his daughter’s life. What little she knows about him has come from her mother or from the damaged pictures and letters he has sent home over the years.

But now Luther Marion has returned home at last, but not in the way his family had hoped. Instead of a joyful family reunion, Luther Marion arrives home in a body bag. His wife, Corina’s mother, is devastated and it is up to Corina to pick up the pieces of her mother’s shattered hopes.

The residents of the small town where Corina and her mother live all mourn the loss of Luther Marion and talk about him as if he were a hero. Everyone tells Corina how proud she should be of her father, but it is difficult for her to feel much (other than anger) about the man she sees as a ‘glory hound’ and who chose war over being a real parent to Corina.

But when a mysterious old man confronts Corina at her father’s funeral, she finds herself drawn to his impossible offer: a chance to know the now late Luther Marion. It’s an offer she can’t resist.

What she doesn’t expect is that her choice will send her to the last place she ever expected to go: Her father’s hometown. Six hundred miles south. And 25 years in the past.

You may think this sounds like a story that will be predictable and full of emotional trope, but you would be wrong. Corina is no push-over and she has a bone to pick with her father (and rightly so).

This story kept my interest for the entire 11 hours, which is a feat in itself.

I really liked the character of Corina. She came across as realistic and not just as a one dimensional character in a novel. She is snarky. She is strong and she’s a badass. But, she is also just a girl who missed out on having a father in her life.

I am sure that many readers/listeners will be able to relate to Corina and the things she has gone through in her fictional life.

This audiobook is very engaging and entertaining. Even though this is fiction, it addresses some very real and very socially relevant issues facing people in the real world.

With the “War on Terror” still being fought and with so many American and Canadian military, medical and volunteer personnel being deployed overseas, the media often overlooks or ignores the effect this has on those who are left behind. I cannot (thankfully) imagine what a spouse would go through emotionally knowing that their loved one is facing mortal danger on a daily basis. The stress and worry must be mind-numbing. I also cannot imagine the toll it takes on a child knowing their parent is in danger. It would be very difficult for a child to form any sort of emotional bond with someone that they rarely see.

This audiobook has a great story with terrific narration and interesting subject matter. I rate SOLACE as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DEAD NEW WORLD by Ryan Hill – BOOK REVIEW

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT'S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD IS ZOMBIE FICTION AT IT’S FINEST!

DEAD NEW WORLD

Author: Ryan Hill

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Zombie Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Length: 242 pages

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ambrose and Stanley are best friends. They also happen to be seventeen years old and have been drafted into the army. The army’s goal is to rid the world of zombies. Teenagers are drafted into the army when they come of age and must spend nine years in the army before being released. The catch is that not many people actually survive for their entire nine year tour.

While on their first mission Stanley and Ambrose end up as the only survivors of a coordinated attack by The Reverend, his forces and his zombies. But, neither one of them escape unharmed. Stanley loses his leg and Ambrose was bitten by a zombie.

Taken to the only functioning hospital still in operation, Stanley recuperates and receives a prosthetic leg. Ambrose is put in quarantine to await his death once he turns into a zombie. But something unusual happens. Ambrose does not turn into a full zombie. He becomes a sort-of half man, half zombie hybrid.

As if a world full of zombies weren’t enough, there is a man who calls himself “The Reverend” who plans to take over the country. The Reverend is pure evil. He plans to infect every living person with the zombie virus. Those who survive the bite are deemed worthy of survival and those who become zombies are said to be blessed to be free of suffering and pain. Basically, this guy is NUTS.

I absolutely loved this book. It is the first book in a trilogy by Ryan Hill. What I liked most about this book is that it is different.

Yes, there is the typical guy trying to save his girl storyline, but that is only part of the plot.

I loved the fact that Ryan Hill has decided to include characters who somehow survive being bitten by zombies. You have to think that if zombies ever actually existed, then at least some people would survive a bite. It stretches reality to think that any virus would have a 100% infection rate.

I loved Ambrose’s character. He starts off as the perfect guy. He is young. He is brave. He is loyal and attractive. What more could anyone ask for in either a friend or a lover? I think I had a little bit of a “book boyfriend crush” on him right from the beginning of the book. When he is bitten by the zombie and becomes a hybrid, he is shunned by his fellow soldiers despite the fact that he is still the same guy they had all loved previously. Ambrose handles their rejection with poise and class. He does not allow himself to be drawn into their juvenile behavior which makes readers like and respect him even more.

Ryan Hill has perfected the art of character building and also does an incredible job of world building.

I have read A LOT of zombie books and for that reason it is rare that I rate any of them higher than 4 out of 5 stars. However, DEAD NEW WORLD deserves it’s 5 star rating and I am now a fan of Ryan Hill.

I give this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

THE PITS by Greg Smith – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from www.audible.com

Cover image obtained from http://www.audible.com


THE PITS

Author: Greg Smith

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Kevin M. Connolly

Length: 9 hours, 2 minutes

Genre: Action, Thriller, Mystery

Release Date: January 16, 2015

Publisher: Greg Smith Images

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.*

Kramer is a US Marine. Deployed to Afghanistan he comes across a stray dog that follows him around. Naming him Shadow and training him to go on missions, the two become close companions.

Both man and dog are injured by shrapnel in a Taliban attack and are sent home to the United States to recover from their wounds.

Due to the dog’s (and Kramer’s) extensive scarring from their shared shrapnel wounds, they are mistaken for participants in a local dog fighting ring.

Unaware how popular this despicable “sport” has become, Kramer and Shadow feel compelled to try to do something about it.

Kramer does not realize it at first, but his decision to help will thrust him into danger.

The police and FBI also get involved and Kramer learns just how big the dog fighting business is. He also learns that some people will do just about anything to keep the fights going.

Anyone who has ever had a dog will recognize the genuine emotion and the bond that Kramer and Shadow share. Dog lovers will also understand Kramer’s outrage and horror upon learning about dog fighting.

I wish I could say that this story is pure fiction and that no one in either the US or Canada would be vile enough to participate in, or even watch, such a disgusting event as a dog fight. However, dog fighting actually does happen.

I hope that after reading or listening to this book people become aware of this “sport.” I also hope that if anyone ever hears about something like this happening in their area that they report it immediately to the police and to their local SPCA. Dog fighting is animal abuse – plain and simple, and participants should be thrown in jail. Ok, I will get off my soapbox now, but this issue really bothers me.

The narrator for this book has a wonderfully expressive voice. He speaks mostly in an American accent, but also has a gorgeous Irish accent when needed. The speed at which he narrates is just right and he is skilled at changing the tone of his voice to reflect different emotions and to convey urgency when necessary. The only thing I didn’t like was the voice he sometimes uses for female characters, the high pitched whiny voice was annoying. Fortunately this voice was only used a few times. I rate the narration as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Greg Smith had a successful career as a graphic designer for more than 30 years before trying his hand at writing books.

He is originally from Sydney, Australia, but moved to America in 1999 and now lives with his wife, Trish, two border collies – Shadow and Sydney, and one cat, The General (Bugsy). They live in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. For more information visit him online at: http://gregsmith-writer.weebly.com/

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Kevin M. Connolly is an audiobook narrator as well as a voiceover actor. He is originally from Tucson, Arizona, but now resides in Los Angeles, California where he has a professional in-home recording studio. To learn more about Kevin Connolly visit http://www.315studio.net/

THE KNIFE by Ross Ritchell – BOOK REVIEW

THE KNIFE
By: Ross Ritchell

Genre: Fiction, Military Fiction, Action Thriller

Length: 272 pages

Published by: Blue Rider Press, a division of Penguin Group USA

Publication Date: February 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free paperback ARC of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program.

Dutch Shaw had been raised by his grandparents since toddlerhood. Shaw’s grandfather has been gone for eight years but he still had his grandmother. Unfortunately his last living relative, his beloved grandmother has recently died. She was his sole link to the civilian world; a world not defined by war.

Shaw is the leader of a team of U.S. Special Ops forces. They are deployed to what they refer to as “Afghanipakiraqistan.” A U.S. squadron has just lost two helicopters full of soldiers so Shaw’s team has been sent to replace them.

A new terror threat has emerged. A group calling themselves al-Ayeelaa have been attacking U.S. forces with alarming regularity and with devastating consequences. It is up to Shaw’s team to hunt them down and eliminate this very deadly group of insurgents.

The author of this book, “Ross Ritchell, is a former soldier in a United States Special Operations Command direct action team conducting classified operations in the Middle East.” Because of his unique and very real war experience his writing comes across as terrifyingly realistic and incredibly vivid. This former soldier may have had a gift for war, but as readers will inevitably discover, he also has a gift for storytelling.

In typical modern day war thrillers authors tend to focus on one man who single-handedly is able to save the world. In ‘The Knife’ the author instead focuses on the team. This is much more realistic. Modern day military operations are complex and involve many different people all working together towards a single objective.

This book clearly illustrates how it is that men who have little or nothing in common and who come from different cities and states can become closer than brothers. The bonds these men form are unique and are forged from shared experiences, patriotism and shared objectives that the men would be unable and unwilling to share with their civilian counterparts.

This book brings to life the reality that Special Ops forces have faced in their war on terror. These Special Operations soldiers are considered THE KNIFE of the U.S. Military.

THE KNIFE is a MUST READ for everyone. Not only is it an interesting and thrilling military tale, it is an intriguing look into human nature, both the dark side and the lighter side.

There are incidents that occur in the book that have the distinct ring of authenticity. Incidents that may be portrayed in the media one way are described from the soldier’s viewpoint. This may very well change the perspective of how the reader views and reacts to future media reports.

The glossary included at the back of the book will prove interesting and informative for readers who may not necessarily speak “military”.

The fact that this is Ross Ritchell’s debut novel is surprising due to the novel’s depth and it’s vivid and realistic characters. Readers will find themselves both riveted and invested in Shaw and his team. Readers will root for them even though they are flawed and all too human. The ability to portray characters as flawed yet still have them come across as unique and compelling takes a talented author. Ross Ritchell has done just that.

Readers may find that some of the scenes in this book disturb them. If this were a television show or a movie it would come with the label “Viewer Discretion Advised.” But these scenes are important and will force the reader to question what they thought they knew about the war on terror. They may even change the reader’s perspective. THE KNIFE allows the reader to see military operations from the point of view of the soldiers with their boots on the ground.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars and I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future.

To learn more about this author visit: https://www.facebook.com/BlueRiderPress/posts/689872541134392 or https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8333859.Ross_Ritchell