Tuesday, January 19, 2016

School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

This review is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christopher Mannino will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other reviews.

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who enslave a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn't an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she's been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

My Thoughts:

When Suzie finds herself suddenly snatched from her life to enroll in a School of Deaths, she's a bit out of her league. But the bullying and schooling she encounters forces her to draw deep within herself and find a strength she didn't know she possesses.

This is a good book for the middle age crowd. I think the girls can identify with Suzie and will be able to really empathize with some of the experiences she has.

My only complaint is that the book had more of a telling feel to it--it was like watching a TV show. I would have liked to have been drawn in a bit more into the characters. But, the book is well written and the story line itself is very interesting.

There are a few similarities with another popular kids book that shall not be named, but the plot itself is different enough that the book does not feel derivative. I am glad there's going to be a sequel--I look forward to seeing what new adventures are in store for Suzie and her friends.

3.5 stars.

Read an excerpt:

You ready?” asked Billy. He wore a mask over his face, showing only his eyes. He had insisted on covering his face to help the soul feel at ease. If they were transporters, they didn’t want to frighten their passenger.

“You can do this,” said Frank. His calm manner reassured her. He looked at her with his deep brown eyes and freckled face. She nodded and straightened the sleeves of her black robe.

She walked to Hann who stood in the center of the class. He handed her a long scythe, even taller than she was. It was light in her hand; the handle danced with energy. The blade slid through the air like sunlight through water. Life flowed down from the blade, coursing through the handle, sending tingles into her arm. Sweat beaded in her palms and trickled from her forehead.

“Let the scythe do the work,” reminded Hann, “and you’ll be fine.”

She nodded and walked back to her group. She tied herself to Frank and Billy using a tether. Then she held the scythe in her hands and paused.

This was ridiculous. She was a thirteen-year-old girl, a kid from Maryland, holding a scythe. Not some costume piece, but an actual, working scythe. Now she, Suzie, was supposed to Reap a soul. Even her mysteries with Sindril and the Dragon Key suddenly seemed trivial.

“Good luck,” said Frank.

She adjusted her grip and adjusted again. The tingles in the scythe grew stronger, itching her hands and arms. It’s ready. It wants to swing; to do its job. She moved her hands a third time and Frank glanced at Billy. Billy adjusted his mask.

“What’s the matter,” taunted Luc behind her. “Is the little girl scared?”

She clutched the handle and let the blade fall. She hardly moved, but the blade shot downward, slicing air, light, heat, even thought. For an instant, her arm was on fire and the world vanished into darkness.

The smell of strawberries exploded around her as color, form, and details blurred into a single, unending stream of confusion. She heard the sound of screams in the distance, and tears. The scythe pulled her down, down, down between the worlds. She slipped past the twin suns of the In-Between and watched the Mortal World approaching. On the edge of her vision, she glimpsed two bright pools of green fire.

“You grow stronger every day,” said the eyes. “But the greatest challenge is yet to come.”

She tried to turn, but the scythe pulled her onward. She coursed through stars and space, beyond time and emotion. Lighter than a daydream, she slipped through a crevice: the gap between light and shadow. The blade twisted, finding its way.

A face appeared before her: an elderly man she didn’t recognize. Somehow, she sensed a name: Elias Stoneridge.

She landed hard, stumbling as her feet hit a tiled floor. Beads of white light trickled off the blade.

For a moment, she couldn’t tell where she was. She heard beeps and the slow intake of air.

Frank patted her on the shoulder. “You okay?” he asked.


“Remember, don’t let anyone else see us,” said Frank, looking around the hospital room. Certified Deaths received special robes to help avoid mortal eyes. Ironically, the Deaths who’d inspired tales of the Grim Reaper throughout the ages had been students like her. Students and ones who didn’t make it back. She shuddered, remembering her skeletal appearance. It seemed long ago.

A man lay in a bed, connected to an array of tubes and machines. Suzie walked to the foot of his bed and read the name on his chart. “Elias Stoneridge.” The scythe quivered in her hand. The handle pulsed like a beating heart, or was that only her own heartbeat? No, the blade felt the soul, it was hungry.

“It’s his time,” said Frank, patting her on the shoulder. “Quickly, before someone comes.”

Elias’s eyes stared at her, but he seemed to look through her. He gasped for air and the machines behind the bed beeped.

“A nurse is coming,” said Billy, glancing into the hallway. “She’s only a few doors down.”

Suzie didn’t have time to think, but in a way, she didn’t have to. She didn’t even swing; she relaxed her muscles and stopped fighting the scythe. The blade leapt downward, straight through Elias Stoneridge. As it struck the weak stranger, she felt a strange sensation as the blade swam through the soul. For an instant, she swore she heard chewing, not from Elias, but from the blade itself. The scythe continued down through the floor, before swinging around. It pulled on her, jerking her into a stumble.

Elias sat up, his eyes wide with fear. His body lay on the bed and the machine let out a long, droll beep.

The scythe tingled again.

About the Author:
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance and production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life. His wife, Rachel Mannino, is a romance author at www.RachelMannino.com

Mannino is currently completing The Scythe Wielder's Secret series and is working on several adult novels.

website: http://www.christophermannino.com/
blog: http://poetsfire.blogspot.com/
goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8108129.Christopher_Mannino
twitter: https://twitter.com/Ctmannino
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CTMannino
amazon author pg: http://www.amazon.com/ChristopherMannino/e/B00K2XOP88/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1


main: http://www.christophermannino.com/school-of-deaths.html#.ViqjMPmrTIU
publisher: https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/print-books/school-of-deaths-834-detail
amazon: http://getbook.at/SchoolofDeaths
barnes and noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/school-of-deaths-christopher-mannino/1119059176?ean=2940045799010
books a million: http://www.booksamillion.com/search?type=author&query=Christopher%20Mannino&id=6317074296178

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The X Factor: Confessions of a Naive Fashion Model by Ivan Sivec FREE BOOK

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ivan will be awarding a free e-copy of the X Factor or a signed greeting card from Slovenia (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. DOWNLOAD THE BOOK FOR ***FREE*** FROM AMAZON!!

MediaKit_BookCover_TheXFactorIt takes three mistakes to be swallowed up and spat out by the fashion industry.

You trust the wrong people.

You think you know everything there is to know about life.

You abuse drugs.

The almost 18-year-old Maja is a regular high-school kid, who at the threshold of adulthood thinks she knows everything there is to know about life. As she enters the world of fashion modelling she gets completely enchanted.

However, the more her career thrives she’s less able to see the danger lurking around fashion industry. Maja starts falling in a downward spiral of drug addiction and is torn between the tempting dream of becoming a world famous model and the horrendous thought of destroying her body beyond the point of no salvation.

At a yacht party Maja gets drugged, assaulted and tossed overboard. She’s found the next day. Barely alive. Only a shade of her former self, in a gray space between life and death, she realises the fashion industry sucked everything out of her – except one thing – the will to live. Maja wants to be her old self again.

Ironically, it means losing the only thing that made her special. She has to give up on her hidden X Factor.

The X Factor:Confession of a Naïve Fashion Model is a psychological YA novel showing the glamorous fashion world behind its less glamorous scenes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Please, Klemen, stop talking about fashion agencies and such!”

“And us?” he held her hand. He was surprised to see she was wearing the bracelet he had given her for Valentines.

“What do you mean, have you forgotten everything?” she smiled at him.


An element of an art work that revives memories of past events.

The memory of Bled.

“It’s all in your, my, our hands. Don’t fake ignorance and use Mr. Egon as an excuse!”

“Just say what you want!”

“I want things between us to stay exactly the same as they are right now. I want us to always tell each other the honest truth, even if I ever become as famous as… Claudia Schiffer.”

“Okay,” they shook hands. “Whoever breaks the promise shall be damned, a hundred times!”

“A thousand times! Damned for life! Okay?”

“Are you thinking of the curse that will strike the one who breaks the promise?” he looked at her from the side.

“Yes, exactly that one!”

“But will you be able to accept me back after all the bad things I’ve done to you? I feel like a hustler of the worst kind.”

They were quiet for a long time, staring through the window.

Two turtledoves were sitting on a branch, showing affection to each other.

“I’m sorry,” Klemen said, absorbed in thoughts. “I’m asking you to forgive me if you can.”

“I’m asking you to forgive me as well. It’s all up to you, Klemen,” Maja said softly.

He squeezed her hand strongly, as if he wanted to say that everything was back to normal.

That they were back to where they had started before Valentine’s Day 2004.

Now they could finally feel free, independent, free from evil people.

They were able to find anchor in their haven because their love was above all the filth.

And the end is always the beginning of something new.

About the Author:[caption id="attachment_42816" align="alignleft" width="300"]16.3.2008 Ljubljana, Slovenija. Ivan Sivec, slovenski pisatelj.FOTO:JURE ERŽEN/Delo 16.3.2008 Ljubljana, Slovenija. Ivan Sivec, slovenski pisatelj.FOTO:JURE ERŽEN/Delo[/caption]Ivan Sivec is a writer, poet and publicist from Slovenia, Europe. People say he is ‘a man with a hundred stories’ and he has been sharing them with his audience, both young and mature, for over four decades now. He is listed under the top five Slovenian bestselling authors.

In his rich and thriving career he has written in many genres. As a poet he has written more than 2,500 lyrics for ethnic and entertaining music for which he received several awards. His broad prosaic ‘repertoire’ includes biographies, historical, psychological and adventure novels, travelogues, youth book series, picture books as well as humorous stories. To this date he published over 130 books and is considered to be one of the most popular Slovenian authors.

His particular interest goes to psychological novels on issues teenagers face today, especially topics like suicide, drug addiction, adoption, AIDS... He shares true stories to let the young reader know they’re not alone.

Sivec devotes his free time to his wife of 44 years, their two children and three grandchildren. Since his retirement a decade ago he enjoys his days hiking the Alpine peaks (he is especially proud to have conquered the tallest mountain in Europe, the French Mont Blanc (4,810 m/ 15,771 ft), together with his daughter-in-law Tina). When he is not gathering inspiration from the mountains he is soaking in the tranquility of the Mediterranean Sea with his wife. Nature is his source of creativity. It allows Ivan to gather his thoughts and pour them onto paper.

WEBSITE: http://ivan.sivec.net/en
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/ivan.sivec.en
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/the.X.factor.the.book
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Ivan_Sivec
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/ISivec
Buy the book at Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Q&A with Annette Oppenlander

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks so much for stopping by Books in the Hall. Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?

I love a teen’s raw from your heart, often unfiltered approach to life and challenges. Maybe I never quite got over adolescence myself, but I find this age hugely entertaining, tough and funny at the same time. My characters get to do things and act in a way I would’ve only dreamed of. Of course, this is fiction and we need heroic acts which may not always be realistic.

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

From an early age I’ve been a chocoholic. I don’t remember too many days I haven’t eaten some form of chocolate. Not cookies or pudding or other sweets. No, it’s got to be chocolate. I particularly love European chocolates because I grew up in Germany. There are hundreds of choices in a German grocery store and it took me a long time to get used to the smallish candy aisles in the U.S.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

To relax and not worry so much about stuff. Life happens and no matter how we plan, there’ll be changes we can’t foresee. Most of what we worry about and blow out of proportion never happens anyway. I spent a lot of time planning and look where it got me. Had anybody told me I’d be living in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, I’d have considered it utterly ridiculous.

Coal or candy in your Christmas stocking? Why?

That depends on the year. I was quite a handful during by early teens so it would’ve been coal for sure.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I’m reading “Fire in the Water” by James Alexander Thom and “Wool” by Hugh Howey. I typically read two or three books at the same time.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

I’ve got to go with Hunger Games. Twilight while fascinating and love by many is not nearly as well written as the Hunger Games. Also I love a theme that affects many people and has huge stakes. I think the stakes in the Hunger Games are huge and the plot is clever. I admit I only read an occasional romance and several in a series are too many for me. Though it must be amazing to have a guy be so smitten with you that he overcomes all manners of opposition.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Nerdy gamer tries out an experimental computer game and time-travels to medieval Germany where he must survive and find a way home.

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

It used to be coffee. I LOVE coffee, the smell, the taste, everything about it. Add some real cream and I’m in heaven. But my husband got sick and I gave up coffee with him. Now my favorite hot drink is tea. Luckily there are many flavors and other than black teas I like them all. At night we drink sleepy-time tea. It’s a great custom for fall and winter.

Ideal summer vacation.

You’re talking to a travel nut. I love traveling and until recently my time was quite restricted by the vacation time my husband and I received from our jobs. Now that he’s retired and I’m a fulltime author we get to travel a lot more. My ideal summer trip combines a week at a beautiful warm beach, a few days bike riding along a river in Germany, drinking wine and enjoying fabulous dishes and some time with my aging father.

Favorite pizza toppings.

I’m a vegetarian so I love all veggies and all kinds of cheese. My top choices are mushrooms, feta cheese, spinach and artichokes. Just the thought of that makes me hungry. Will take a break now and order a pizza.

Thank you very much for having me!


When fifteen-year old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been secretly chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: To return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever.

Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornet’s nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I heard more rustling. Louder now. Not from the men, but from the woods behind me. My knees buckled and I was vaguely aware of the thudding sound I’d made. I had to figure out what had just happened, retrace my steps. Where was my room? My mind churned as I scanned the ground for some sign of home, something familiar.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the bearded thug turn his head. Ducking behind a hazelnut bush, I squinted through the leaves. The thug had raised his sword and stepped toward my hiding place.

I crouched lower, my ears filled with the pounding of my own heartbeat. Rough laughter came from the other two riders. Despite my panic I caught a glimpse of them poking their swords at the injured man’s shoulder. I smelled their stench—and the wounded man’s fear.

The bearded thug continued in my direction. Sunlight bounced off the edge of his blade. He took another step, scanning, listening. I forced my shaking body to be absolutely still. This had to be some kind of challenge in the game.

The man kept coming. Twenty feet. Everything about him looked menacing: his eyes the color of mud, his razor-sharp sword wide as a hand. Fifteen feet. I held my breath.

A scream rang out.

“Have mercy, My Lords,” the bleeding man cried. He was kneeling now, waiving his good arm in a pleading gesture. “I beg you,” he wailed.

I lowered my gaze. Somewhere I’d read that the white of a man’s eyes could give you away. Keeping my lids half-closed, I peeked through the leaves once more. The thug was ten feet away. Close up he looked worse, a brute with arms the size of my thighs, his chest covered in leather and wide as a barrel. Despite his size he had the soundless walk of a stalking animal. I watched with paralyzed fascination. Any second I’d be discovered, but all I managed was to shove my hands into my jeans pockets to keep them from trembling. It’s a computer game, my brain screamed. It’s real, my gut argued.

About the Author:
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Website: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25322486-escape-from-the-past?from_search=true&search_version=service
Twitter: @aoppenlander
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN8EjprQZLU

Buy Links: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Past-Dukes-Annette-Oppenlander/dp/1846949734/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434917583&sr=8-1&keywords=escape+from+the+past
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-from-the-past-annette-oppenlander/1121795814?ean=9781846949739
IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781846949739

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Average Joe and the Extraordinaires by Belart Wright


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Belart Wright will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?
School books and maybe a picture of his girlfriend Kate and her brother Mod.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I liked the Hardy Boys books, Goosebumps, Roald Dahl books like Charlie and the Chocolate factory, and of course Harry Potter. All of these books had a sense of wonder to them and were easy to immerse myself in.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

In many ways, I feel like I still haven’t grown up. I’m 26 and still want to be a full fledged full time author. I also want to dedicate myself to martial arts mastery and video game design. I suppose I want to be a modern day renaissance man. See, I still haven’t grown up yet.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

I would tell him to focus more and to seek a path of mastery in what he really desired. I feel too much of my teen years were lacking in focus.

What superpower would you love to have? Why?

For me, I’d have to say teleportation. It would save me so much time and I could use that time to read more and write more.

Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?

Hunger Games. Of course, because it has a stronger female lead and a cooler premise to me.

Favorite TV show from your childhood?

I would have to say it’s a three way tie between Batman the animated series, Dragon Ball Z, and Digimon season 1. I had a great childhood.

Sum up your book for Twitter: 140 characters or less.

Average meets extraordinary as Joe Black tries to escape a hairy situation with his life intact and find his greatness within. #urbanfantasy

Favorite hot beverage. Why?

Hot tea. Because it’s easy to make and calms me. The perfect writing beverage.

What four literary characters would you most like to have over for dinner?

I’m thinking Tyrion Lannister, Albus Dumbledore, Hagrid, and Liandra from my own book would have some interesting conversations. They’d also enjoy each other’s company, the curious minds that they are. I wouldn’t say too much as I sipped on a butterbeer and listened to their banter.

You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?

I would want to share the island with Liandra. First off because the best way to spend your time on an island is with a beautiful member of whatever sex you’re attracted to and secondly, she has magical abilities which would make our stay there an enjoyable experience. It would be more like a resort than a castaway situation.

You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on?

Would I have to blow it all at once? If not then I’d just live off of it and write books until it ran out. You need to experience some great adventures to write great books so I’d spend a lot of it on travel too. If I had to blow it on one thing then I’d buy a house for my mother and make sure all her bills were paid for a long time.

Favorite class in high school. Why?

My favorite class in high school had to be my creative writing class. I had an awesome teacher in Ms. Jean and she gave me assignments that ignited my love of writing. Without her class, I might not have chosen the path I have.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00011]
On a dark and balmy Floridian night, a strange and mysterious dark haired woman stalks the shadows of the local college football stadium, on the prowl for secrets buried deep beneath the Earth. These secrets, she knows, may change everything including this small town.

While knocking back illegal drinks with his friends at the hallowed Orangetown Pickers' college football stadium, average kid Joe Black finds himself desperately trying to save the life of a beautiful dark haired woman after a deadly explosion violently interrupts his fun and games. While trying to fathom why he would even do something so reckless he soon finds himself entangled in a dangerous game of terrorist plots, mistaken identities, hard boiled detectives, the criminal underworld, and of all things magic as he tries to escape with his life and make sense of it all.

Joe faces many challenges from all new enemies, assassins, and even his own friends. Can Joe navigate all this danger, escape with his life, and handle his biggest challenge to date, finding something about himself that is truly extraordinary? Find out within the pages of Average Joe and the Extraordinaires.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She rode off, down the street on her motorbike that was now a sky blue color to match the highlights in her hair, her ponytail, and her full face helmet. As she drove, she thought of her next move. She had a long list of places she wanted to visit, mostly associated with Grabas and the secrets he held beneath the stadium. But now her focus was on getting Joe out of trouble. She needed to figure out who has gunning for him...or better yet, she had to convince the man who hired this assassin to call off his killer. That man was definitely Robert Grabas.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_AverageJoeBelart Wright was born and raised in Detroit Michigan with a short but adventurous stint in St. Ignace during his childhood. Always poor, Belart had to learn to use his imagination to fuel the fun he had. Whether it was drawing cool and dangerous looking heroes to creating fully fledged storylines with his action figures to writing stories about kids similar to himself with fantastic abilities and destinies, Belart was always an expert in delving into other worlds that were not his own.

Always naturally talented at writing, it took the advice of his brother, and a little creative boost from his high school creative writing teacher to get him to realize that writing was something he could do really well and pursue as a career. To this day he revels in building worlds and characters from the ground up such as the worlds of Hell Warriors, Story of K, Cyborgs and Deadmen, and Pannam which are all working titles.

In his spare time Belart tries to update his two blogs whenever he can, but mostly just ends up writing or editing. As a huge gamer he plays a lot of games online and off with his favorites at the time being Borderlands 2, Phantasy Star Online, X-Men Legends, and Dark Souls. He just wishes he had more time to whittle his impossibly long gaming list down which goes all the way back to PS1 and Sega Genesis classics. He and his buddies at FlubberKnuckle Studios are also working on several new game IPs. He is also patiently waiting for the next installment of the superb Legacy of Kain series.

Personal Blog: http://www.belartscorner.blogspot.com
Story Blog: http://www.belartsstories.blogspot.com
Google+: http://www.belartsstories.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11327592.Belart_Wright

Buy the book for $0.99 at Amazon.

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Friday, January 1, 2016

The Lost Town by Avrom Bendavid-Val

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Avrom Bendavid-Val will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Trochenbrod was a bustling commercial center of more than 5,000 people, all Jews, hidden deep in the forest in Northwest Ukraine. It thrived as a tiny Jewish kingdom unnoticed and unknown to most people, even though it was “the big city” for surrounding Ukrainian and Polish villages. The people of Trochenbrod vanished in the Holocaust, and soon nothing remained of this vibrant 130-year-old town but a mysterious double row of trees and bushes in a clearing in the forest.

In this new book, Avrom Bendavid-Val makes Trochenbrod’s true story accessible, enjoyable, and memorable for young readers. The Lost Town follows his adventures while uncovering the lost history of the magical place where his father was born and raised. An imagined Trochenbrod was the setting for Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Everything is Illuminated, and the movie by the same name.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As I was growing up, my father did not often mention the town Trochenbrod (pronounced Trawkhenbrawd) in Eastern Poland where he was born and raised. But when he did, his longing and affection for it were unmistakable. After my father passed away, I realized I knew nothing about his beloved hometown. He had never volunteered information about it, and I had never asked. Although none of my relatives knew where Trochenbrod had been located, other than “in Poland someplace,” they were certain nothing was there anymore. I was told that after the Nazis murdered all Trochenbrod’s Jews, they destroyed all its buildings, and the memory of it was lost.

How could that be? I wondered. How could all traces of a town and its people vanish? If the town was destroyed in the Holocaust, wouldn’t something—derelict buildings, house foundations, low stone walls—still be found there? And what happened to Christian neighbors of the Jews who lived in Trochenbrod? They weren’t destroyed by the Nazis; maybe their descendants were still there and could tell me something about Trochenbrod in the days when Jews also lived there. I had to find out. I had to see for myself.

About the Author:
Avrom Bendavid-Val was working as an environmental consultant in Poland in 1997 when he decided to cross the Ukrainian border and visit the place his father came from, the town of Trochenbrod. Finding nothing there, he was determined to uncover the history and spirit of the vanished town. Avrom continues to this day to research, write and make films about the town, and serve as the anchor for the American community of Trochenbrod descendants. Avrom Bendavid-Val lives in Washington, D.C.

The Lost Town

Documentary based on the book – 7th Arts

Bacon Press Books

Avrom Bendavid-Val

Bacon Press Books


Bacon Press Books

Purchase Links

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Ebook

Barnes and Nobel paperback


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