Category Archives: Book Reviews

Foreword Reviews loves Paris, Modigliani & Me!

“A great choice for anyone looking to get swept away in the romance of the city of love, from an author who is an expert in her craft.”

“Eighteen-year-old Julie finds love, mystery, and adventure when she moves to Paris the summer after graduation to take a job as a nanny. Still recovering from her painful rejection from the Art Institute of Chicago, Julie soon becomes enmeshed in the mystery of a new Modigliani painting that is acquired by a Parisian art gallery. Is the heralded painting real or forged, and what can the mystery teach her about her own path?

This charming coming-of-age story follows the heartwarming, sweet tale of a girl on the cusp of finding herself, along the way navigating new romances, old secrets, and a passion for beautiful art. Jacqueline Kolosov takes care with her characters, bringing them to emotional depths and heights as they not only seek to solve a mystery, but to discover the shifting bonds of family that unite them. A great choice for anyone looking to get swept away in the romance of the city of love, from an author who is an expert in her craft.”

~ Foreword Reviews

Buy your copy today!

 

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Interview with Jennifer Walkup Author of THIS ORDINARY LIFE on Brandi Breathes Books

Brandi Kosiner on her blog Brandi Breathes Books recently interviewed Jennifer Walkup.

Here are a couple of questions from the interview. Click here to read learn everything you ever wanted to know about This Ordinary Life and Jennifer Walkup!

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or  less. THIS ORDINARY LIFE is about a teen dreaming of being radio DJ, while holding her dysfunctional family together & healing her broken heart.

Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?

Even though Wes is adorable and would probably have me cracking up with his jokes and antics, I would choose Jasmine if I could. I would love to treat her to a nice dinner and tell her how awesome she is. She deserves to have some fun and relax a little.

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Click here to purchase your copy today!

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More great reviews for This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup – This is a novel you’ll want to read!

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This Ordinary Life is an obvious gem. It’s so well-written and perfectly paced which are both traits that are not as common as one would like. The author made a really adorable and cute story without overdoing the fluffiness. It was a fluffy story with a bit of more serious topics and one of the cutest love interests ever.” ~ Seamless Reader Blog

“The story was really inspiring and heartfelt. It’s about family, friendship, love and reaching your dreams. It’s a light and fun read. Perfect to cuddle with in case you need a book to lighten up your mood!” ~ The Bibliophile Confessions Blog

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Advance reviews on Goodreads for This Ordinary Life ~ 4 and 5 Stars!

This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup publishes on October 1st.

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Goodreads reviews are coming in and they’re great! Sign up for the give-away through August 18th!

“I loved this book! It’s been awhile since I’ve read something that has captivated me enough to keep reading into the night! The characters were interesting and the idea was fresh. Just gave this book to my 16 year old daughter to read.” ~ Julie, Goodreads reader

“A story with a lot of heart, charming characters, humor, and a Jersey girl. What more could you need?” ~ Mrs. Warchol, Goodreads reader

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Entrevoir reviews – a Journey to Enlightenment

“Chris brings us along on a journey with successful artist Jacob.  Many artists see their work as a personal journey, one that is enlightening, and Jacob is no exception.  Except, for Jacob, his journey goes above and beyond what one would expect. Chris does a great job in “Entrevoir” of pulling in his reader and making them feel what Jacob feels.” ~ Rachel Rennie’s Blog Reviews 

“For me, Entrevoir was confusing and made sense all at the same time – it was a delicious read that lit the darkest corners of my mind, had (at least it felt like it) every synapse firing, was overwhelming and serene … all at ONCE.” ~ Marie Kuhlman , my3piecesandcompany Blog Review

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Learn more about Entrevoir at the Luminis website. 

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Foreword Reviews ~ Flesh and Bone can offer Hope to Teens

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Foreword Reviews review of Flesh and Bone by William Alton

“After his parents’ divorce and a tough move to Oregon, teenage Bill turns to drugs and alcohol to calm his nerves as he struggles with his sexual identity in a prejudiced small town. Plagued by nightmares as his addictions grow and his depression deepens, Bill gets the impression from his distant parents and grandparents that “there are things in the world too big to talk about”—namely love. Told in a series of short vignettes, this raw and heart-wrenching novel illuminates how loneliness can exacerbate depression and how while compassion may not always help, it can reveal the start of the path toward healing.”

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Excellent Review of ENTREVOIR by Foreword Reviews

“A work as conceptual as the protagonist’s art…Jacob wrestles with ideas of selfhood amidst luxurious descriptions of transcendental states. He walks the fine line of self-indulgence and conceptual enlightenment, shedding all boundaries between separate selves that he criticizes and grapples with.” ~ Natasha Gilmore, Foreword Reviews

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Visit the Luminis Books website to learn more and buy Entrevoir!

Full Review

Elements present in the protagonist’s artwork shift the focus of the story to a hallucinogenic trip as he attains enlightenment.

A work as conceptual as the protagonist’s art, Entrevoir, by Chris Katsaropoulous, tells the story of an artist who grapples with a recent decision to relocate from New York to the French countryside to make what he considers his masterwork. The book deals with issues of art and its audience, and the artist and his ego.

Jacob toggles through realities: his quotidian existence where he faces the failure of the opening of his latest piece, which was once imbued with all his hopes for artistic success; and the attainment of an unembodied wisdom that shares threads with shamanic paganism, Buddhism, and Christian mysticism (though many traditions flow together in the stream of expanded consciousness Jacob relates). Jacob, in his hallucinogenic states, undergoes a multitude of lives and deaths as he grows closer to an unencumbered sense of ego, or as he experiences a flash of insight: “The soul is just a vessel, I am not even the soul.” As he delves deeper into his new state of awareness, the alternating realities show an artist grappling also with his attachments to others, particularly in his marriage. Through an understanding of the purpose of his art, he learns that painting was an attempt to lift things higher into light.

Early in the novel, Jacob reflects on his place as an artist amidst the state of modern art making: “And this, in his view, is what has distinguished him from other less prominent artists of his day—he leaves the mystery in place, lets each viewer of the piece decide what it means to them. Most of his fellow artists weave long commentaries to be printed in pamphlets the viewers receive at the door of their exhibits … in many cases this conceptual blather is more artfully conceived and compelling than the installation itself.” In the pages that follow, Jacob wrestles with ideas of selfhood amidst luxurious descriptions of transcendental states. He walks the fine line of self-indulgence and conceptual enlightenment, shedding all boundaries between separate selves that he criticizes and grapples with.

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Interview with Chris Katsaropoulos on ANTIPHONY by Wayne G. Boulton

The Right Key by Wayne G. Boulton

Interview with Chris Katsaropoulos, author of Antiphony

View the youtube video of the interview here.

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“He knows.”

So ends Chris Katsaropoulos’s compelling second novel about the precipitous fall of Theodore Reveil – an eminent scientist whose lifelong pursuit of knowing and knowledge was tracking nicely with the Great Commandment (“You shall love the Lord your God…” Jesus said, “with all your mind”) before breaking out into the open in unprotected fashion and at exactly the wrong time.  In a meeting of his peers, Ted chooses to touch the ‘third rail’ of modern physics.

That would be God, or that would be referring to God, or that would be referring to God in a sentence that is not negative.

So the dramatic arc in Antiphony is clear from the outset.  It is the story of a descent.  But the fall of Theodore is only the springboard in this novel, not its heart.  Katsaropoulos – an accomplished writer and poet, and a long-standing member of 2nd Presbyterian Church – has other fish to fry.  He wants to draw us in to the heart and mind and emotions (“the chest,” C. S. Lewis once called it) of a top-tier particle physicist at the summit of his career.

Without dumbing down, Katsaropoulos’s aim is a kind of inner physics, i.e., to get readers to see and feel the world as Ted sees and feels it.  There is no excluding, even for a moment, the herculean drive in and of Ted’s profession to explain the universe in toto.  What if – our author asks – we looked with Ted as he looks two directions at once?  What if the astounding modern discipline of particle physics gets better, not worse, when one looks deeply enough to sense its finitude, its human limits?  What if a second Einstein and the legendary ‘Theory of Everything’ isn’t in the discipline’s future?  Rather, what if simply contributing any and all of the profession’s insights to the waiting world [“the grand theatre of God’s glory” (Calvin)] turns out to be enough?

The main part of Antiphony, though, looks with Ted in the other direction, toward everyday life with the eyes of a physicist.  This is where the title comes in.  It so happens that I’ve always liked the word.  “Antiphony” refers to voices, verses, or songs sung in response to other songs, in answer to them, even in opposition (anti-) to previous voices.  At base, antiphony is a musical term.

Ted, it so happens, loves his music.  Here he is, having just lost his position in a physics research institute, walking alone, descending slowly into what has the aura at least of madness, stumbling upon and then into a church, entering the narthex and seeing a choir – 50 feet away – practicing.

Theodore closes his eyes and lets the sound they [choir voices] emit wash over him.  The voices are filled with joy – two sets of voices it seems, the lower register singing a brief phrase followed by an answering phrase sung by the higher register.  He can feel the sound swelling up within him, the vibration bouncing off the walls and across the taut receptive surfaces of his body…he can feel the sound move back and forth across him, he feels it register in tottering delight in satisfying and shapely stronger confinement across him and through him…”

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So, yes, readers with music in their heart will have an easier time with Antiphony.  The richness of this unusual novel, however, is that with Ted’s help, all are quickly introduced to an antiphonic ‘music of the spheres’ coming virtually from every direction in which the main character happens to turn.  Using a considerable native grasp of the scientific vocation and of the regular bloodletting that marks academic culture (“arguments turn vicious quickly among professors,” an old saying has it, “because the stakes are so low”), Ted meditates throughout on the dissonances and yet surprising harmonies that appear over and over again in the dyads of daily life – between male and female, success and failure, youth and age, dreaming and waking.  Are not the signals we keep getting from accelerators and telescopes, as well as from microscopes, similar…to wit, that our universe is indeed a unity, a uni-verse?

Then there are the grander, slipperier, and usually more difficult antiphonies: energy and velocity, time and what might be beyond time, chaos over against order over against chaos once again, science and religion, sanity in its perpetual war with madness.  Antiphony has them all; and in writing it, Katsaropoulos has given us a book in just the right key.

Wayne G. Boulton ~  M.Div. from McCormick Seminary, Ph.D. in Theological Studies from Duke University,former professor and department chair of religion at Hope College in Michigan, and president of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Author of From Christ to the World: Introductory Readings in Christian Ethics and the forthcoming Playing Favorites.

This article appeared in The Spire monthly magazine from Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN

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Visit the Luminis webpage to order your copy or learn more about Antiphony.

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Great Booklist Review of FLESH AND BONE

Booklist only publishes reviews on books they recommend. Here’s what they have to say about Flesh and Bone by William Alton.F&B-Final 9781941311455

“Alton’s brief, nuanced vignettes set a steady pace… Bill is lonely, sad, shallow, and detached, but his redeeming characteristic is that he refuses to intellectualize his misery. Mature, empathetic readers will cling to the hope that Bill’s salvation might come eventually with self-acceptance.” ~ Booklist

Go to the Luminis page to purchase or learn more about Flesh and Bone.

Here’s the full review ~

Bill’s story begins with the end of his parents’ marriage and his move, with his mother, to his grandparents’ farmhouse in rural Oregon. He falls in with a group of detached and forlorn teens who live from cigarette to cigarette, devoid of purpose and motivation. Sometimes the cigarettes are interspersed with OxyContin, pot, heroin, moonshine, Vicodin, and whatever else is available. Alton’s brief, nuanced vignettes set a steady pace as Bill unemotionally explores his sexuality in a variety of raw, openly depicted trysts, one of which finds him accepting money for a consensual encounter with a friend’s uncle. “Going Nowhere,” the title of one entry, defines Bill’s existence. His only relationship of note is with his mother, who lives trapped within the confines of her own desperation. Bill is lonely, sad, shallow, and detached, but his redeeming characteristic is that he refuses to intellectualize his misery. Mature, empathetic readers will cling to the hope that Bill’s salvation might come eventually with self-acceptance.

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Booklist Review of ENTREVOIR ~ ‘readers will be richly rewarded’

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Entrevoir by Chris Katsaropoulos

Katsaropoulos’ three previous novels have been widely praised for the author’s elegant prose style and forays into rarefied metaphysical territory most fiction writers avoid. Katsaropoulos’ fanciful, mystical story line may not suit everyone’s tastes, but readers with a yen for offbeat spiritual literature will feel richly rewarded here. ~ Booklist

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