A Reason to Be: A Novel
by Norman McCombs
As this compelling story begins we find the protagonist Douglas McCombs distraught, having nursed his wife Hope, the love of his life, with Alzheimer’s for the last 5 years, she has died. Grief-stricken he falls into the deepest of despairs and goes to that place only those who have lost love ones will know. Unable to remain in the family home he moves to an apartment and there gives up on everything, his reason to be lost…
Luckily his good friend called Mark calls to see him and is devastated by the shadow of a man Douglas has become. Gently he reminds him that he is an accomplished man with hundreds of patents and inventions to his credit, and reflects of the time when he was at the White House receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation for his inventions and advances in health science technology from the President, reminding Douglas about his own incredulity that he was actually there, and how he asked himself, was it his upbringing, his wife Hope, or his Scottish ancestry?
Finally, Mark wins him over and thus beings his re-emergence into normal life, catapulted forward by a chance incident which is just the catalyst he needs, the meeting of librarian Suzy Hamilton. Encouraged by her love of research, suddenly he finds himself rekindling his need to discover himself through his genealogy, which traces back to Scottish clans with their fierce pride, and loyalty. His journey takes him across the world, places his ancestors at important historical events, and introduces him to the determined and strong men, and women, whose blood flows through his veins.
Coming from Scottish roots, I know first-hand of the deep pride the Scottish feel in their family, its roots, and the glorious country which is their home. No matter where in the world they are, you can’t take Scotland out of a Scot, and I should know, living in France. This feeling and strength grows steadily in Douglas as he begins to understand more, and more, his family and how it has evolved including the sacrifices each generation has made for their children.
With these revelations come other more personal ones, as he slowly begins to permit himself to feel again, he learns anew how to smile, look forward to life, and yes, he even rediscovers his reason to be.
At the beginning of this incredible story there was heartrending sorrow, and then slowly the pages like petals unfurl, and with them so does Douglas. Emotions grow and events unfold until eventually, having feverishly been unable to put it down, I discovered with great sadness that I had reached the end of the most incredible story, I have ever read. Highly recommended!
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The Starlight Club 12: The Golden Spike Casino
by Joe Corso
For those lovers of gangster stories set in the early 1960’s New York, where tough men played for high stakes and the old values still held high, then there doesn’t get better than the Starlight Club series.
Set in Queens, the stories are told by Bobby, who now lives with his daughter Lynn. He may be aging, but the good old days are still clear memories, and she loves to hear his stories. Big Red Fortunato is the owner of the famous Starlight Club and the boss. With his captains Trenchie, and Tarzan, and their loyal employees, this is their territory and only the foolish go up against them.
However, there are always fools who think they can take over, or dupe the boss, and sometimes they have to learn the hard way…
This is the case in this exciting story where a gang of young thugs think they can disrupt the status quo in Queens, and learn very quickly that vandalizing vending and slot machines on Red’s turf is a BAD idea. However Red knows they’re not the brains behind the petty behaviour and, there’s more to it than meets the eye. It doesn’t take much leaning on them to turn them into quivering wrecks who are only too keen to rat on the person whose put them in the situation. However, when they spill the beans, Red quickly realises that their contact is only small fry too, one in a chain. Deeper investigations reveal that there’s a take-over plan is being hatched by someone further afield with grandiose ideas.
Indeed, Haiti is a long way away from Queens, there Bernard Levey is safe, scheming with the islands voodoo dictator Poppa Doc. However when Levey steps onto Red’s home turf he discovers he has not only Red to answer to, but there is also a little matter to be dealt with concerning millions which went missing in his other life, a time when he was known as Ira Goldblum.
It’s action at every turn, and as this story evolves, the plots cascade into each other. The author, Joe Corso’s fans already know the wonderful tales he can tell through Bobby, however, it’s not just the storylines and fantastic plots which make this author’s stories shine out from the crowd, it’s his characters. Through his writing readers get a real insight into the close knit community which is the gangland mobs, their loyalties, their taboos and the mind-set of these men who will take a bullet if necessary for what they believe in.
Whether you read the Starlight Club stories as they are published, or pick them to read randomly, it doesn’t matter. The characters, the settings, and the action make this series one every fan of crime, adventure and gangland dealings will love.
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by Lang Fafa Dampha
This interesting book follows the life of Sainy Kanteh, who the readers met in the author’s previous book ‘Peculiar.’ He is the protagonist in both stories, and through him, and his wife Fatou, we are able to gain very thought-provoking and enlightening insights into how life is in Europe, and Paris in particular for African immigrants.
Before going into more depth, I must stress that it is not necessary to have read ‘Peculiar’ to enjoy reading this book. For those who have not, it tells of Sainy’s arrival in Paris as a young man from his native Gambia. Through his experiences and observations the readers discover his reactions to this new city he is to call his home, and gain insight into the African community there, their customs, and traditions which they continue away from their homeland. In this book he also meets and falls madly in love with Fatou, a divorcee with a young son.
Now this their story continues with Fatou adoring her man, doing everything she can to please him. They have a happy and fulfilled life, and in return he tries to provide for his family, and to do so he gains employment in a restaurant.
The strong bonds of the African community shines through in this book, where we learn about the traditions which are still carried out in Europe as they were in Africa, and their importance. However, it is also clear that life in France with its Child Benefit and other social help changes the thoughts of the African women. These changes in attitudes do affect both sexes, and can and do lead to unrest both in families and amongst the people, the cultures clash sometimes and we see the reasons clearly portrayed within these pages.
As in relationships throughout the world, temptations rise and people are human, and this is the case when Sainy falls for Stephanie a white woman who is deeply attracted to him. As the relationship develops, Sainy like many men before him change, and Fatou as his wife notices. However Fatou has also to deal with comments from the community, other women, and an accident suffered by her son which leads to trouble in the family.
As an English woman moving to France the changes in culture have been different and take adjustment, however I cannot pretend to understand how it must be for someone whose cultures differ so much in their homeland.
The author was himself born in the Gambia, and as a young man migrated to Paris, where he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature, and a Ph.D. in English Studies (Society and Culture). He also taught Legal English (Law and Politics – UK/USA) and Economic English, for two years before returning to Africa and working as a Senior Research and Programme Officer at the African Union office (the African Academy of Languages) in Bamako, Mali, from November 2009 to July 2015, and as Acting Executive Secretary from August 2015 to December 2018, and from then to now as Executive Secretary of the same institution.
This book is openly and skilfully written, and gives the readers an unbiased opportunity to understand the life of Gambian immigrants in Paris and Europe. Highly recommended.
Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Traumata-Lang-Fafa-Dampha-ebook/dp/B08FZR1LY5/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=lang+fafa+dampha&qid=1601378534&s=digital-text&sr=1-2
The Elixirist: A Novel
by Avraham Azrieli
Avraham Azrieli is a graduate of Columbia Law School in New York and an award-winning author. In this incredible tale, he takes his readers back through the centuries into Old Testament times and reveals a story steeped in mystery and intrigue. It stands alone, however, it is the prequel to ‘Deborah Rising,’ the first in the author’s epic historical ‘Deborah’ series, which tells the journey of the biblical prophetess Deborah in her quest to fullfil her destiny.
Traditionally, in many countries, your career is dictated by your family heritage, and this is the case for the protagonist in this story, Sall, who is an apprentice healer, under the instruction of his father, in Edom. Although highly respected, and essential, his career is not a glamorous one, yet, his father assures him, it is his destiny
Sall, on the day this book begins, falls under the spell of the beautiful but unobtainable daughter of the High Priest, and this fires a desire to be so much more in the heart of the young man, but how can this happen?
Well, the answer lies in the advice of a magical dwarf, Sall must leave his home and take a dangerous journey to find the elixir of love. The elixir will not only enable him to win her heart but also achieve greatness as the savior of his people.
So, fired with determination, Sall sets off with his donkey and dog. Advised by a merchant to talk to the dream reader, the merchant shows him the way, and her wise words and the secrets she reveals, open his mind and strengthen his resolve to continue his journey. It is a journey fraught with danger, he suffers terrible injuries, trickery, and deceit, yet he also makes friends and alliances and discovers a lot about himself. Over time, these events change the boy into a man, giving him morals and the kind of wisdom which can only be gained through experiences. Until ultimately, as the story reaches its climax, Sall discovers his true destiny and self.
Throughout the story, the characters each have their own vital part and weave their way through his life. It is a true coming-of-age story and wonderfully illustrates how, whatever century or time we are in, every element and person in our lives impacts us in varying degrees. Yet, it also illustrates how, with determination we can make our dreams come true. Highly Recommended!
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Let’s Talk: …About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional
by Art Rios
Art Rios, the author of this motivating and inspirational self-help book is not only an author, and lawyer, but he also teaches at Stetson Law and enjoys spending time with his wife Sharon and two daughters Maria and Alondra.
You can feel the author’s enthusiasm for life pulsing from the pages as he, through them, fulfills his dream of helping people live exciting, easier, and exceptional lives. The emphasis throughout the book is to live your life to your best and happiest you can now, not to plan for later, but now, because as we all know tomorrow is not guaranteed.
As a trial lawyer, he has had plenty of time over the years to ‘people watch,’ study how they behave in good and bad situations and has used these experiences as a ‘student of humanity,’ to follow his dream, which he believes is his calling, to inspire people in positive ways.
A self-confessed talker he has used this talent to reach into the hearts of his readers. He allows them opportunities to peep fly-on-the-wall into his life and uses examples to encourage others to follow their dreams and be better people.
Cleverly he reveals how everyday life events can be altered to make them special, and how important it is to take time to share our lives with our loved ones. He encourages us all to discover ways to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, and reminds us that whether we are 18 or 80 it is never too late to make the most of your life and make it fun!
Always keen to engage in conversation, we are encouraged to contact him through his website, email, and other forms of social media and tell him what we think. He wants to know, whether the comment is good or bad.
No subject is taboo, and as long as no harm comes to anyone, we are motivated to enjoy all we can, from sex to food, wine, traveling, and much more. However, this book is not all light-hearted, the responsibility we have to do the right thing for ourselves, and to others is clearly emphasized. Written very much in the now, the subjects of racism and COVID 19 are discussed from a humanitarian standpoint, and the emphasis is very much on the need to look after each other, have thought and care for our neighbors and family, and be aware.
In a world where being online is expected he encourages his readers to turn off the screens, and iPhones, take time away from them and reconnect with the outside world, or read, or meditate, just take time for you, because you matter!
The power of this author’s positivity shines through in this life-changing book, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their lives and learn to enjoy every day to its full potential.
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