Review of “Entangled Lives” – Imran Omer

Raza, a poor orphan trapped in the slums of Pakistan, is sent to a strict madrassah where he meets and falls in love with Perveen. They attempt to flee the city to escape their respective fates but fail. Perveen, pregnant, is sent back to her family, and Raza is sent to Afghanistan to fight as a Taliban solider. American journalist, Rachael Brown, travels to Afghanistan to cover the political unrest. When she meets Raza for a brief interview, she sees for the first time the true face of the Taliban: poor and desperate young men with nowhere else to go. As the war unfolds, their paths cross again, and each must decide what they owe the other.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

I want to begin this review by stating that when Imran Omer contacted me to read Entangled Lives I was very upfront about my initial thoughts based off the book summary. I said the following to him…. “It’s not my typical read but I am willing to give it a chance.”

As you read my review below, I think you’ll see I was fair and honest. I may not like the subject matter but he did give more insight into a world I’m not overly familiar with.

 

 

War has always been a part of human existence. People fight for money, for power, or to be the dominant force over mankind. Yes, most individuals join the fight out of their own free will. However, some people are forced to pick up a weapon because they either kill or be killed for their defiance.

In Entangled Lives, Imran Omer (the author) allowed readers to see the harsh reality many men, women, and children face in their war-torn country. They are beaten, maimed, killed, and left without many options. They witness death. They live in constant fear for their lives. No place is safe…. not even their homes.

I live in the United States. While we have violence and mass shootings, we still have many freedoms where the people of Afghanistan seem to have none.

I think Imran Omer’s intent with this book was to make us feel empathy for the people of Afghanistan. I think he wanted us to see not all the soldiers want to fight; that some soldiers do have a merciful heart.

While I can appreciate his effort, it’s hard for me to associate the Taliban with anything but violence, death, and destruction. I did feel compassion for all the innocent people in the line of fire or those affected by the ongoing war.

 

 

Now that I spoke upon the contents of the story, I will address the way it was delivered. At times, Imran transitioned from event to event smoothly. Case in point, the diary entries were integrated nicely. On the other hand, the transitions from Raza’s story to Rachel’s didn’t always blend well. As the story progressed, the flow became choppy and sections felt rushed. I did knock some points off for how the book was laid out but not on the contents. I may not like the subject matter but Imran did a good job relaying how harsh the conditions are over in Afghanistan.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Imran was born in Karachi and studied in Karachi and Chicago. A graduate of the University of Illinois and American College of Education, Imran teaches Art and English as a Second Language (ESL). He has taught in the United States, Oman and Saudi Arabia. He loves teaching but his passion lies in painting and writing. His artwork and some of his articles can be seen at www.imranomerart.com He resides in Homewood, Illinois.

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Author Showcase – Ellie Douglas (Death O Death Horror Collection Vol 2)

Ten Horror Stories

Unimaginable monsters to take your breath away.
What you can’t see will horrify you.
You’ll be squirming in sheer terror.
Real and unseen-evil awaits. Watching. Lurking.
When you least expect, it will pounce and consume you!
Safety warnings: May induce a rise in blood pressure.
Don’t read alone.
Keep the lights on.

The question is: Are you brave enough?

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 ~ Anthology Content ~

Don’t Look Under The Bed
Bogeyman
Can You Imagine
Grounders
Infest
Junkyard
Point Of No Return
Siphon
Trick or Treat
Why Aren’t You Scared


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~ Excerpt from Don’t Look Under The Bed

When Sue tried to wriggle out of its grip, she could feel her hair being pulled from the roots. A surge of pain filled her skull and ran down her spine to the very bottom of her feet. Right at that moment she felt like she had been electrocuted. The creature yanked on a section of her hair so hard and fast, that she’d been left with a large bald patch and more searing hot liquid ran down her back. Sue let out a fox like scream before gritting her teeth in excruciating pain.

Each time the beast pulled and ripped sections of her hair out, she felt like she was the ocean floor being repeatedly pounded by an anchor. The weight she felt pushing her into the floor made her feel as though her ribs were going to be crushed at any moment.

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K.Z., Amazon Customer, 5⭐: Death O Death is definitely not a collection of bed time stories.
Ellie Douglas new anthology can scare the socks off the tin man! You’re not in Kansas any more, Toto! Leave the lights on.
Every story reaches just a little farther into the terrifying world of madness and gore, each tale unique and graphically written to send a new shiver down the spine with every turn of the page.
Any fan of bloody horror stories will love this new collection!

 

Mark, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: This is not simply another collection of horror stories. There is nothing simple about them AT ALL! Ellie’s imagination is unparalleled as she weaves shock upon shock, like an overcharged Electroshock Therapy treatment. Each story doubles the voltage and is liable to cause massive brain seizures!!
Be scared. Be VERY scared.
Five ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for the Mistress of Murder & Mayhem.

 

Andrea, Goodreads Contributor, 4⭐: An impeccable anthology!

I don’t call Ellie Douglas ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason. She is a phenomenal writer. Anthologies might be tricky. There’s always one or another story that you might prefer that weren’t in the book. That’s not the case here. The author presents us ten impeccable short stories that will scare you to death.


In the description of the book, Douglas tells us what to expect. And she defies us – “Are you brave enough?” Believe me when I tell you, and I’m entitled to tell you because I’ve read horror a lot, you must be really brave. From the first story on you can already see that she’s right to warn us. And I dare you not be scratching your head reading ‘Infested’.


For me, what makes Douglas’ stories so good is the fact that she can turn ordinary facts into something so frightening and/or create stories which have already been told so many times into something totally new making us surprised and, of course, terrified.
I loved all ten stories, but, of course, I have my favorites: ‘Junkyard’, ‘Can You Imagine’, and ‘Point Of No Return’. All three of them leave us in ‘tense mode’ and it’s hard to see what is coming. Brilliant!


There is something really cool in this book – ‘Trick Or Treat’ and ‘Junkyard’ were starred by two real life people. And don’t think the author went easy with the characters because of it, because she didn’t.


I’ve already read a few books by this author and will certainly read all of Ellie Douglas’ books. As I said, I don’t call her ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason.

 

Read more Goodreads’ reviews here –> Goodreads Link  <—

 

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Born and raised in New Zealand, a mother and wife who donates what spare time she has into volunteer work with Autistic children.

Ellie Douglas is addicted to horror, everything about it she loves. She enjoys creating strong characters that rise to the top from ordinary lives.

Her love affair with horror has seen her produce three award winning horror books. With many more on the way.

Ellie is creative in all aspects with several adult coloring books and an online casino slot game under her belt. She is constantly striving to do more.

Ellie also makes professional book covers for authors and she makes websites, banners, and logos too.

Ellie’s ultimate aim is to give back, paying it forward and to constantly better herself. To give the audience amazing entertaining stories that she herself would read.

She would love to scare you…

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Review of “The Rebound Effect” – Linda Griffin

In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.

Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.

Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.

And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Warning: Spoilers included!

Frank McAllister was a controlling a-hole!

He proclaimed he didn’t want to push Teresa but that’s exactly what he kept on doing.

Date 1: He asked to meet her son and kept asking even though she said it was too early. He repeatedly brought up her exes despite how uncomfortable she was regarding the topic. He also offered to help her financially because money means nothing to him since he had a lot of it.

Date 2: He paid the babysitter despite Teresa stating firmly “No — that’s my job!” He tried to convince her to have sex with him and again brought up her ex when she repeatedly declined his advances. 

Date 3: He asked to take her and Aiden away from the weekend. She said no. He then said just the two of them could go. As a parent, I would never leave my child with a sitter for the entire weekend. Maybe some single parents would if they were dating a person for a long while but definitely not after only a few dates.

Weekend trip: Again, Frank was a pushy a-hole. She didn’t want a new cell phone. Teresa didn’t want Aiden to have a cell phone since he was only 6 but her protests meant nothing to Frank. He also insulted her best friend Alix and  Alix’s daughter. 


I could’ve expressed my feelings regarding the other dates but it’s obvious I am not a fan of Frank. Really, I can’t fathom why Teresa agreed to a second date or a third date, etcetera, etcetera. 
Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius to realize Frank is unhinged, mentally unstable. However, it did take a lot of willpower to continue reading this book. Sadly to say, I didn’t find it entertaining and I wasn’t surprised by what became of Frank.

The only bright spot of The Rebound Effect was Aiden, Teresa’s son. He was adorable and proved extremely helpful when it mattered most.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤

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Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She retired from a position as the fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including The Binnacle , EclecticaOrbis, and The Nassau Review. The Rebound Effect is her second novel from The Wild Rose Press. Seventeen Days was published in October 2018. She enjoys Scrabble, movies, and travel, as well as the three R’s—reading, writing, and research.

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Review of “Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #3: Two Peas in a Pot!” – Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin

Two Peas in a Pot!
TWO PEAS IN A POT!

The Wrestletopians have enclosed the Earth in a metal cage, holding the planet hostage until upstart “Galactic Champion of the Universe” Rory Landell will meet the challenge of true champion Manifest Destiny. But where is Rory?

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(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique)


I absolutely adored issue #1 Date With Destiny. Issue #2 Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves! was pretty good as well. Issue #3 Two Peas in a Pot! was just okay. The artwork was marvelous. The fight scenes and characters were drawn superbly. Matt Entin and Edward Kuehnel did offer up a few comedic moments. I found the Pay-Per-View negotiations between the aliens and the wrestling promoter quite entertaining. The aliens asked for a 70/30 split. Umm, can our money even be converted to their alien currency? 😛 

I’m looking forward to issue #4 Road Games! I want to see Rory in the ring again. Right now, I’m growing impatient waiting for the final showdown! Damn you, Edward and Matt for building such great suspense. 😀

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤❤❤

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The series was co-created and cowritten by Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel.
They’re on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook as Suspicious Behavior Productions:
Click HERE to purchase the series! 
 
 
 

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Author Showcase – Max Wannow (Kill Tut)

Ancient Egyptians, aliens, Neanderthals. Kill Tut is a historical fiction sci-fi novel. For a secret government operation in the near future, a team of three is sent back in time to kidnap King Tutankhamun.

New York, New York: 2041. The American-Egyptian War continues as more Egyptian battalions invade the USA. With the purpose of bringing the war to an end, Operation Golden Ankh is a top-secret Delta Force mission that consists of sending a team of three back in time. Captain Jackson Martindale, Staff Sergeant Laiklyn Ladore, and CIA Officer Dana Villa have seven days to complete the mission in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. To successfully complete the mission, the three must coerce King Tutankhamun to travel with them to the future. Forcibly kidnapping the pharaoh would lead to a domino-like disruption in the architecture of time. The three are quick to discover the past deviates from what history books provide. The ancient people of Thebes, Egypt resort to panic when their city is invaded by Neanderthal warriors; but when humanoid aliens with skin made of a malleable gold arrive, the Ancient Egyptians welcome them with open arms.

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Dana asks Mayamenti, “The enemies you speak about in your worship, would that be the Neanderthals?”

“All enemies,” Mayamenti clarifies.

“Those Neanderthals, where did they come from?” Dana asks.

Mayamenti attempts an explanation, “We used to be the people of the world, before the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals wiped us out and destroyed civilization. Then, we come from them to become us to restore civilization.”

Mayamenti’s interpretation conflicts with what Dana’s husband explained about Neanderthals. The way Dana understands it is, Neanderthals and humans have a common ancestor from which they evolved separately. What also confuses Dana, is she understands the Neanderthal species became extinct 36,000 years before 1323 BC. Yet, here they are.

Mope adds, “The Neanderthals lack heru.” The neuromorphic implants in neither Dana nor Jackson’s brain translated the last word into English.

Jackson asks, “What is heru?”

Mope says, “Heru is the power within ourselves that fights our animal selves. To be human, we must have heru. Without heru, we would have chaos like uncivilized animals. It is at our core beliefs as Egyptians to find order through chaos.”

“Do you have any water?” Jackson asks.

“Jackson,” Dana scolds, “that was rude.” She speaks to Mope, “In Hatti, we also have our own form of heru. It is important for us to be civil.”

Jackson returns with, “I just have a headache, and I need water.”

Mayamenti responds, “We have cold beer.” The room is silent for a moment. Then Jackson decides to awkwardly laugh. “You want beer?”

“No water?” Jackson questions.

“Water is unclean,” Mayamenti tells him. “Beer will keep you healthy. Don’t be scared, there is no Turkish morphine in it.”

Jackson knows he needs hydration, “Sure, I’ll have a beer.”

“Come with me,” Mayamenti says. “You too, Dana. You deserve a tour.” Mayamenti takes Jackson and Dana out into the hallway. The walls are made from sun-dried brick. She shows them the bedchamber where their bed has a wood frame. The mattress is made of folded linen and the pillows are made of rock. Mayamenti shows them the bathroom, which has a mirror made of polished brass, a bathtub made of copper, and the toilet is a clay pot filled with sand with a limestone seat situated above. The baby’s nursery is located in the second bedchamber of the home. One of the walls is a painted image of the hippo goddess, Taweret, the protector of women in pregnancy. On the opposite wall is the dwarf god, Bes, the protector from evil. The baby sleeps in a bassinet made of sycamore wood. The kitchen is a shed in the backyard without a roof. In it is a clay oven where a servant bakes bread.

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Max Wannow is an independent absurdist novelist, who describes his work to be thought-provoking and discomforting. Simply put, Max Wannow is not for everybody. Aside from being an independent author, he currently lives in Wisconsin and works as an environmental geologist. 

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