Books & Blurbs: The Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather

 

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Hello book lovers!!  Here’s another one of my quirky topical concepts called Books and Blurbs to satisfy my creative needs. It amounts to everything related to books, authors, impressions, trilogies, to be read, or currently reading. So, the first book is….

 

 

THE ATOPIA CHRONICLES (ATOPIA #1) by Matthew Mather

 

 

Atopia

 

 

This is the 4th book I’ve read (still reading) by this author. Cyberstorm, Nomad and Sanctuary were all awesome! Mather is a great author with a vivid imagination who really knows how to put it on the page.

The Atopia Chronicles, the first in the Atopia series, is a stunning read.  The concept, technology, and futuristic use of virtual reality blew my socks off. Mather’s skill in this realm is truly original and unique. I can’t wait to finish and begin the second book, The Dystopia Chronicles (Atopia Series Book 2)

I often toggle between reading and listening so when I’m finished I’ll also do a review of the narrator and audiobook production.

 

 

 

 

“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice.” -Paul Auster

 

 

 

We’ll see you on the next blurb!

 

 

 

Waving bye

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

MOST BEAUTIFUL LIBRARIES IN THE WORLD | Part 1

 

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

 

 

 

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Most Beautiful Libraries in the World Part 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you nominate any other wonderful libraries? Tell me in the comment

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Book Recommendations with Sasha Alsberg

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!!

With Sasha Alsberg

 

 

 

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February Wrap Up & March TBR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you reading any of these books? Tell me in the comments?

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

Book Review: Davenport House Book 1

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Goodreads Description

Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.

Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.

A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.

 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

thoughts

 

 

 

 

Page Turner!

This book was a delight to read! It quickly became a page turner as I got used to the characters and sought for answers.

 

Mystery

I really loved that this was a historical mystery set in the progressive era.  Mary’s father died, or was he murdered? The Family saga begins at this point sending poor Mary on a wild goose chase. Very entertaining!

 

Characters

Loved every character. Family drama and secrets made it even more intriguing. I found myself sucked into the story through Mary’s experience, her servant girl and the household. Marie Silk does a great job this. This was a strong point throughout the book. Character interaction and dialogue was superb.

 

 

Can’t wait to finish the second book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marie Silk

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: White is the Coldest Colour

 

 

DJ with Headphones

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION

 

White is The Coldest Colour by Amazon Bestselling Author John Nicholl

 

 

 

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White Is the Coldest Colour: Dr. David Galbraith, Book 1

 

Listen to a sample: Here

 

Written by: John Nicholl

Narrated by: Jake Urry

Length: 9 hrs and 10 min

Series: Dr. David Galraith, Book 1

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 05-26-16

Publisher: JOHN NICHOLL

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

The chilling, dark psychological suspense thriller from ex police officer and child protection social worker, John Nicholl.

Be careful who you trust…

The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage.
Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters.
Anthony becomes Galbraith’s latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

The novel is entirely fictional, but draws on John Nicholl’s experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker, manager and trainer.
During his career the author was faced with case after case that left him incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality.
The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children.
The book contains material some may find upsetting from the start.
It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

The gripping sequel: ‘When evil calls your name’ is now available on Amazon, or on Audible.

 

 

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MY RATING

 

 

 

 

Awesome Word Rubber Stamp 3D Rating Review Feedback

 

 

 

 

AUDIOBOOK PERFORMANCE

Narrator Performance: 10/10

Story Connection: 10/10

Voice switch over: 10/10

Sound quality: 10/10

Emotional Resonance: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HEAR ME OUT….

 

This story was pretty disturbing to say the least. Of course this was expected given the topic, which is consistent with today’s pedophile problem. Author John Nicholl perfectly captures the mindset of those who carry out such heinous crimes. Dr. David Galbraith was truly a brilliantly devious, sick individual. Who would stop at nothing to satisfy his cravings for young children. Being in his point of view further exemplifies the point.

The story centers around a young boy named Anthony, who’s already been traumatized, and his separated parents on the verge of collapse.

 

 

Narrator Jake Urry

Jake Urry is one of the best narrators I’ve heard on audiobooks. He has a way of drawing you completely into the story through characters and their various points of view.

When I listen to one of his audiobooks; his intimate connection to the story brings everything into life. You’re there. In the moment. You can’t ask for more from a narrator.

He embodies different characters with precision and handles their personalities with skill. When he switches between voices it’s very smooth making for a nice ride. High five Jake!

 

 

John Nicholl: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads | Website

 

Jake Urry:  Audible | Website | Twitter

 

 

 

Got Audiobooks?

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Book Review: The Newsmakers Series by Lis Wiehl

 

 

 

 

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Lis Wiehl is a prolific author of several series. East Salem, Triple Threat, Mia Quinn, and the Newsmakers series starring Erica Sparks. She is a former Federal prosecutor, legal analyst and reporter for Fox news. Lis is also one of authors participating in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week celebration. Don’t miss it! There are so many ways to enjoy this event.

 

 

 

Book One: The Newsmakers

 

 

newsmakers

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

Television reporter Erica Sparks has just landed her dream job at Global News Network. Beautiful, talented, and ambitious, Erica grew up dirt poor, worked her way through Yale, and is carrying a terrible secret. She moves to Manhattan to join GNN, leaving Jenny, her adored 7-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband. Erica’s producer at the network, Greg Underwood, is handsome and compelling. Scarred by her divorce, Erica is wary of romance, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

On one of her first assignments, Erica witnesses a horrific Staten Island ferry crash. Then she lands a coveted interview with presumptive presidential nominee Kay Barrish. During the interview Barrish collapses. Erica valiantly tries to save her with CPR. The footage rivets the world—GNN’s ratings soar and Erica is now a household name.

But she’s troubled. What a strange coincidence that both events should happen on her watch. It’s almost as if they were engineered. Is that possible?

Erica’s relentless pursuit of the truth puts her life and that of her daughter in danger. Her investigation leads her into the heart of darkness—where the future of our democracy is at stake.

 

 

 

MY THOUGHTS

 

 

my-thoughts

 

 

 

Surprisingly I found this to be a page turner in every regard. The motivations and characteristics of Erica Sparks spoke volumes. A die hard journalist who will seek nothing but the truth. Going up against a sadistic power hungry executive, she still shines as a true investigative journalist.

Erica is vulnerable person with a flawed past, yet has a spine of steel when it comes to finding the truth. It’s almost her weakness and strength simultaneously. Her dauntless curiosity gets her into trouble, but it also becomes her strength in the midst of life or death circumstances. You have to get to know Erica!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Two: The Candidate (Newsmakers #2)

 

 

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GOODREADS DESCRIPTION

 

How far would a candidate go to become President of the United States?

In covering the presidential election campaign, star newsmaker Erica Sparks notices that favored candidate Senator Mike Ortiz seems dependent on his wife to an unnatural degree. Celeste Ortiz is a brilliant and glamorous billionaire who—along with her best friend and confidant Lily Lau—has engineered her husband’s meteoric rise. The White House is within their reach. But the more Erica investigates the Ortizes’ strange relationship, the more intrigued she becomes.

Erica begins an investigation. But everyone material to her probe ends up dead. With each death, her foreboding grows. Is she next? And can she find out in time if the country’s beloved candidate is what he seems . . . or a threat to national security?

 

 

 

 

MY THOUGHTS

 

 

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Another well written page turner adventure with Erica Sparks! My favorite journalist who constantly sticks her neck out to unashamedly discover the truth.

This time Erica gets in pretty deep covering the presidential election. The story she’s covering doesn’t get her into trouble, but what she’s uncovers in the process could cost her her life.

At this point in the game she has global recognition with a household name. But in the midst of the fame is her waning personal life with her daughter and fiance.

The Antagonists in this one were much better in my opinion. They were realistic, quirky and actually pretty creepy! Lis does a marvelous job of capturing their personalities with dark motivations. Excellent. Don’t miss this one!

 

 

 

Both of these books are going into the…

 

 

Department of Awesome

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

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Forensic Lenses Series with Author Sherrie W. Frontz

 

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Welcome back to the Forensic Lenses Series!

An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.

 

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Today we have an author of Romance, suspense and mystery novels, Sherrie W. Frontz. She’s the author of When the Morning Comes, and Don’t Look Back from the Land’s End series.  Sherrie is also one our many talented authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week event, beginning Feb.12-22nd! Don’t miss it!!

 

 

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Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were your first memories of reading as a child?

My first memories of reading were my mom reading to me as a toddler.  She worked with me and I was reading by the age of four. I read Gone with the Wind when I was twelve.

Thank God for Moms! 

 

 

 

 

 

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What were your favorite sleuths as a youth?

My favorite sleuth as a child was Trixie Belden.  I had all the books in the series that were available in the 70’s.

Good ol’ Trixie Belden. I hear her name quite a bit. 

 

 

 

 

 

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What else do you enjoy in a story besides solving the crime?

Besides figuring out the “who did it” part of a story, I enjoy the interacting of the main characters.

YES. I love this too. The dynamics amongst characters brings out more depth, dialogue and conflict!

 

 

 

 

 

 

dialogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name your favorite classical and modern sleuths.

I have no classical favorite sleuths; as far as modern sleuths, Lucas Davenport from John Sanford’s prey series.

Eh, I don’t have a favorite classical sleuth either. I’ll have to check out this Lucas Davenport character and see what he’s about. 

 

 

 

How do they solve crimes and what makes them different from one another?

Both classical and modern solve cases by talking to witnesses and listening to their hunches.  Modern sleuths have the advantages of modern technology, dna bases, fbi profiles, gps tracking, cell phone records, etc.

I love seeing how things have progressed over the years. Of course, the main staples don’t change!

 

 

 

 

 

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Name some recent suspense books you’ve read. 

I recently read Triple Six by Erica Spindler and I re-read all of Tess Gerritson’s Rizzoli and Isle series of books over the past couple of months.

Thanks for the recommendations! Gotta love em’.

 

 

 

 

 

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Who are some of the best suspense writers?

Some of my favorite suspense authors are Erica Spindler, John Sanford, Lee Child, Tami Hoag

Lovely.  I’ve never heard of Spindler or Tami Hoag, but that’s never stopped me from finding great authors!

 

 

 

 

 

“The world belongs to those who read.”-Rick Holland

 

 

 

 

 

If you could pick a character as the director of the FBI, who would it be?

I think the best choice for director of the FBI would be Benton Wesley, Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s husband, written by Patricia Cornwell.

Awesome! Great choice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you could marry a fictional character who would it be? 

If I could marry a fictional character it would be Lucas Davenport from the prey series.

Hmm. This Davenport character must’ve really scored some points. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At the scene of the crime…

 

Name 3-5 pet peeves as a reader.

If the print isn’t right I won’t read it. I hate when a story drags too.

I can’t stand dragging stories either. Since I normally finish every book, I end up dragging right along with them. *Sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

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Connect with Sherrie W. Frontz!

 

Amazon | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!!

 

 

 

 

“To a great mind, nothing is little.”-Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Television Tuesday with Sasha Alsberg

WELCOME BACK TO TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

Book Recommendations with Sasha Alsberg

 

 

 

 

 

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What books have you read in January? Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up for a reading challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Anya from Elderhaus by Anne Carmichael

 

 

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Anne Carmichael is also the author of the Magoo series, Darby at the Derby, and Polar Opposites. She’s also one of our wonderful authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week event. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

GOODREADS

Gertrude spent the better part of her adult life scouring Europe for Helmut Klingenfelter, the father who vanished not only from her life and that of her mother but had forsaken everyone in his past.
With midlife looming on the horizon, Gertie made the decision to stop chasing the ghosts of the past and return to her childhood home of Pitch Pine, where she purchased a century-old house at 1211 Castle Lane sight unseen.
Elderhaus, as it came to be known, had a mysterious past of its own, one that would threaten more than Gertrude’s desire for finding happiness.

 

 

 

 

Who is Anyaleise Klingenfelter?

 

 

 

 

*Who is Anyaleise Klingenfelter?

Anyaleise Hoffmann (aka Anya Klingenfelter) is the mother of Gertrude Klingenfelter. Anya was born the daughter of a Jewish farmer named Jacob Hoffmann and his wife, Leah Hoffman.

 

*Does her name mean anything?

Anyaleise is a name of German origin. In German the meaning of the name Anyaleise is: Derived from a compound of Anna (meaning grace) and Liesa, which is a German diminutive of Elizabeth (God is bountiful).

 

*What part of Germany is she from?

from Alsace-Lorraine on the border of France and Germany.

 

 

 

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*How did you come up with the concept for Anya?

Right before I awoke on a Saturday morning, I heard the name Gertrude Klingenfelter in a sort of dream. When I sat up in bed, I knew that this is was the day I was to begin my novel and that Gertrude Klingenfelter was to be my protagonist. I started researching the origin of the surname Klingenfelter, which lead me to a town in Germany in the 1500s. It was called Lingenfelter and since people in that time didn’t really have surnames, they were known by the village where they resided. In my book, all of Gertrude’s father, Helmut’s, family spells their name without the ‘K’ to their name. One of the questions Gertrude has in her quest to find her father is why he added the ‘K’to their name when he came to America. [Helmut had been a very secretive man and had never shared anything about his pasts with his wife or his child. As I continued my research on the family name, I found myself studying Nazi Germany and the back-story of Anya’s family came to life. The back story was eventually removed from ‘Elderhaus’ during editing, as the publisher felt it detracted from the evolution of the story. I’m so glad that I’m able to share some of it with you here, as it was very compelling as I was writing it.

 

 

 

 

 

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*What was her experience like in Nazi Germany?

Jacob Hoffmann secluded his family in the hills outside Alsace-Lorraine. They farmed and lived off the land. Only Jacob ever ventured into town to purchase supplies and he sometimes picked up books for his wife Leah to home school Anya. Because they lived on the border of France and Germany, Leah taught Anya French and English, because she hoped someday her daughter would be able to leave the confines of their mountain sanctuary. One day, a strangely dressed man named Isaac who wore a tattered black hat with long curls down each side of his face appeared at their door and spoke in a foreign language that Anya did not understand. Her father, however, seemed to understand perfectly and hurried the man from the door and into the barn. She learned much later, that man irrevocably change their lives and those of future generations forever.

Anya overheard the following life-altering conversation between her father and mother in August of 1948:

“You and Anya must pack your personal belongings quickly and prepare for a trip via a military cargo ship to America. The American leader has signed a law called the Displaced Person’s Act. 205,000 displaced persons and 17,000 orphans are going to be permitted entry into the country and we will be among those immigrants,” said her Father. “In order to immigrate, a displaced person must have a sponsor who is willing to arrange for housing and employment upon arrival.

Perhaps you remember the man called Isaac, the transient, Hasidic Jew who visited our farm some time ago? It seemed he was traveling throughout Europe, as part of a mission trip to find, free and assist other Jews before they disappear, as so many of our brethren have done. Isaac told me the Nazi regime has been capturing trainloads of Jews and hauling them off to concentration camps where they are treated deplorably and murdered in gas chambers. He urged me to take our family and flee Germany.

Soon, their bags were loaded onto the cargo ship in Bremerhaven. After what seemed an eternity aboard the military cargo ship, they arrived in New York.

They spent two nights at a hostel in New York City before Isaac was able to manage transportation for them to Pennsylvania. He arranged work for Jacob at a small carpentry shop in Milford, near Pitch Pine”

 

 

 

 

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*What impact did this have on her?

Anya had been segregated from the community growing up, so she was very anxious to find new friends in Pitch Pine. That also made her vulnerable to people who befriended her for their own agenda….particularly the mayor’s wife, Dottie Franklin. Anya trusted Dottie with her life and Dottie betrayed her.

After Gertie finished college, she left for Europe to try to find her father and get answers to his disappearance. Anya went to work in Polka Dot’s dress shop, which belonged to Dottie Franklin, the Mayor’s wife . One day Dot came in to find that Anya had apparently hanged herself with several yards of silk brocade, but was it really as it appeared?

 

 

*How did this impact her relationship with her daughter Gertrude?

After her Helmut abandoned Anya and Gertie when she was just five years old, she trusted no one, except her mother. She found that animals were more loyal and loving than people and she ‘collected’ every injured or stray animal she found. Old Doc Myers would patch them up and Gertie would care for them until they were able to go back out on their own (wild animals) or she would find homes for the domestic animals.

In later life, her love for the animals lead her to her one true love and her collection of senior dogs is why she named her home ‘Elderhaus’ (which means ‘old house’ in German).

 

 

 

 

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*Who forced her to have an arranged marriage?

Anyaleise was seventeen when her family arrived in America. home-schooled me. Her father immediately set about finding a matchmaker who would choose a suitor for her. since she was almost eighteen years old and nearing an age when she would be considered an old maid.

As luck, or in Anya’s case fate would have it, there was just such a matchmaker right there in Pitch Pine. Her name was Zelda Baasch. Apparently, he had gone to Zelda with a checklist of the attributes he wished his future son-in- law to possess. Ultimately, Zelda returned to him with what she proclaimed to be the perfect suitor. She told him that the young man known as Helmut Klingenfelter was of German Jewish descent with an advanced degree in architecture and a 2nd major in Business Administration. Zelda was forced to admit that Helmut had not been forthcoming in sharing details of his past; but she knew that for so many refugees of World War II, there were memories which were too painful to recall, much less share.

Helmut told his prospective father-in- law, that he wished to raise his family in Pitch Pine. He said he wanted to become the City Planner of the township. He wanted to restore and develop the land and structures originally built by early settlers.

Anyaleise and Helmut were married in June of 1949 and exactly nine months to the day following our wedding, Gertrude Leah Klingenfelter was born.

 

 

*What are some facts about Anya that are not in the story?

Anya was far stronger than anyone ever gave her credit for and that’s not obvious to anyone who hasn’t been there themselves. She stood up to Helmut when she thought he was cheating on her and made the choice to raise Gertrude alone, rather than accept his philandering. She raised a child alone in a time when to do so was not as prevalent as it is today and she was wise enough to build a sizable inheritance to leave her daughter.

 

 

 

Thanks Anne!!

 

 

 

 

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Anne is the author of the Magoo Who Series, which includes Book 1: ‘MAGOO WHO? LIFE THROUGH MY EYES’ Book 2: ‘MAY I BE FRANK’, Book 3: ‘SILENT VIGIL’ and Book 4: ‘MAGIC & MIRACLES: A HOMECOMING’ and ‘DARBY AT THE DERBY’, whose release coincided with the 2015 Kentucky Derby. 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

Watch “APA Webinar: Blogging About Audiobooks” on YouTube

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS

 

Audio Publishing Association Webinar: Blogging About Audiobooks

 

 

 

 

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Do you blog about audiobooks? Enjoy audiobooks? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com