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Nothing But Echoes by Anne Montgomery

NOTHING BUT ECHOES Cover ArtI do not normally re-post too many reviews, but sometimes one must just make an exception. In this case the closure of a publisher is a good reason to re-post a review. Author Anne Montgomery had such a problem and her book, The Magician, has found a new home and a new publisher in Sarah Book Publishing;. The book also has found itself renamed and is now titled, Nothing but Echoes. The book is still intact from its form I originally reviewed and due to this I am re-posting the review to bring attention to its new name. I do this as no matter what the book is called it is a great read.

The one thing any reporter loves is a mystery. The ability to cover secrets others have not been able to find will bring a reporter to the edge when it comes to getting the story. It’s what entices Kate Butler to her current assignment of uncovering information about the magician.  This mysterious man was found with more than your common funerary items around him when found in 1939. He was also found to be taller than most for the period, which raised questions about his heritage. The Hopi tribe that was helping with the dig almost knew immediately how important this man must have been when the Moochiwimi sticks were found.  Those sticks meant only one thing; this man had been a magician. This is the story that will be uncovered in author Anne Montgomery’s book aptly titled, Nothing but Echoes.

Who was the magician? Where did he come from? Why was he so important?

These are questions Kate will try to uncover as she searches into the man’s past. Her only problem is her main source of information, Dr. Perkins, suddenly will not work with her. Dr. Perkins had been a great asset on her story of the Native American ball courts but now he was nowhere to be found. There had been requests for a DNA source have been routinely turned down by those who wish to protect Native American remains. The Hopi tribe had refused her request as they wished to protect the remains not see any part destroyed for a DNA test. It is possible Dr. Perkins had received pressure not to help Kate, and thus she had to find other sources.

Her friend Jack Cooper had come along with her on this trip and it’s possible his skills as a police officer would come in handy.  She will also be assisted on her quest by Dr. Jerrod Crane and colleagues of his that will help point her in other directions. There is one problem, as Kate visits the museum for the first time another takes interest in her, and her quest to find out about the magician. This man may be up to something and able to get information she cannot.

Along with the quest to find out who the magician was, there are other elements weaved into the book. These elements take us back to the life of the magician. The way the people of the era lived is explained, and they actually come to life.  We will also get to see who this magician was and his impact on the people of that area.

Names such as Woodrat, Deer Runner, Mul, and others will be discovered to belong to those who are central characters in that second feature of the book. The book will intertwine the two stories in such a way that they will complement each story contained within the book.  Montgomery uses as much realistic facts and content as she can during the writing of the book that helps bring the story to greater life.

There is drama, secretive plans, and subterfuge in both stories in the book.  The book reads in such a manner that you will not find yourself confused over the facts in the story. You will instead find yourself holding your breath at periods as the story switches from one period to another. You wonder should I skip a chapter and read a head. The answer is simply NO! Nothing but Echoes is a book meant to be read and enjoyed by those who are fans of History and I have to add Mystery. The elements add up to a great book that tells not one but two great stories. As a bonus the article that Kate is writing even toward the end of the book. So you will see Kate gets her story, but the events to get there are not easy as most reporters will tell you.

Where to find Anne Montgomery Online

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2016 in Reviews

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author Anne Montgomery

Anne MontgomeryBelow you will find the Ten +1 Questons from author Anne Montgomery. As I was loading the links into this post I found out about her Wikipedia page. I did some quick reading and I must her name may seem familiar to people. Why? Well you will see that she was at one time an anchor on SportsCenter on ESPN. So, without giving to much more away check out Anne’s responses to the questions below.

 

 

 

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

The thought never occurred to me until I was in my late 30s. I didn’t read well when I was younger, as I’m a bit dyslexic, so I didn’t gravitate toward either reading or writing. In fact, I remember getting letters returned from my mother covered with way too much red ink, highlighting my spelling and composition errors when I was in college. No one ever mentioned my writing skills until I asked John Walsh, who was my boss at ESPN, why he hired me. He said it was because I was a good writer. I was shocked, but a seed was planted.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

I did not have any children when I started the first book. As I’d been a TV reporter and anchor for much of my marriage my husband at the time was used to me be gone a lot. I now have three foster sons, all of whom came into my life as teenagers. They, I think, are not quite as needy as perhaps small children. So, I don’t think anyone feels neglected. The boys are probably glad that Mom has a distraction.

Question 3: What inspired you to write A Light in the Desert?

The dedication in my book reads as follows: This book was inspired by and is dedicated to my dear friend Sergeant Don Clarkson, a Green Beret who served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry ARVN Soldiers from December 1968 to November 1970. Don died in 2010 from complications of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Agent Orange poisoning.

Don and I umpired amateur baseball together for five years. This was a time during which I was bemoaning the fact that I could no longer get a job in TV. After working at five stations, I was now too old to be in front of a camera. I was also going through a divorce and I couldn’t even get a job bartending. I was feeling pretty sorry for me. Then I met Don, a wounded Vietnam veteran with a wife and eight children. Despite his struggles with PTSD and Agent Orange poisoning, he rarely complained. Amateur umpires spend a lot of time before and after games talking. Don shared his stories with me and gradually I began to realize the triviality of my complaints and what a gift his friendship was. I wrote the book to help his children understand why their father sometimes behaved the way he did.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

The sabotage of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, which remains a cold-case crime, occurred shortly after the Oklahoma City Bombing and, like that event, is considered to be an act of domestic terrorism. Since the crime occurred roughly 65 miles from Phoenix, the story was huge here and I became engrossed in the coverage.

As I explained in the previous question, Don was my inspiration for Jason Ramm, though he was not a sniper during his time in Vietnam. Most of the flashbacks in A Light in the Desert were actual events in his life. Jack Cooper is based on Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff Dave Woolley, a first responder to the wreck site of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, who graciously allowed me to interview him about the experience. It’s probably obvious that the too old, TV news reporter, Kate Butler, is me, though unlike Kate, I do not have a shelf full of Emmys. Still a girl can dream. The Children of Light are real people who allowed me into their enclave. Elect Sun is based on one of the women I met there.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?

I did not read as a child. I hated books because I struggled with reading. (I still sometimes can’t tell the difference between a d and a b, but I digress.) My dearest friend growing up was a complete bookworm. When she found out I was an author, her first response was, “How the hell did you become a writer?” She has a point. Life can be odd. In the even stranger department, while I’m primarily a journalism teacher, I’m also a reading specialist. I taught reading to high school kids – some of whom read below the third-grade level – for five years.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

I have never had any biological children, but I’m guessing the feeling is a bit like childbirth, without the inherent mess.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

I wrote Nothing But Echoes, which is historical fiction based in Flagstaff, Arizona, in which both Kate Butler and Jack Cooper play prominent roles. (The book was previously titled The Magician, and will soon be rereleased by Sarah Book Publishing.) I also have a novel called The Scent of Rain, which tells the story of a young girl who lives in the polygamous community of Colorado City, Arizona. My agent is currently shopping that one around. My books don’t fit neatly into a specific genre. What they have in common is that they are based on real people or events. Can’t take the reporter out of the girl.

Question 8: Whom do you imagine being the people reading your book?

I have worked hard to ensure the facts concerning the crime are as they occurred, as are the military bits. The characters – some of whom who you can root for, while others you might like to run over with a truck – are realistic and relatable. And the setting in the Arizona, desert and the plot are both intriguing, so I think A Light in the Desert should have broad appeal.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Make time to write. Be patient. Revel in small steps forward. Have another job to pay the bills. Ask people who don’t already love you to critique your work and then thank them for their time. Have a thick skin. Criticism is your friend: learn from it. Have a sense of humor. And, mostly, enjoy the process. If you don’t, find another hobby.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a journalism/multimedia communications teacher at South Mountain High School, a Title I school in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m extremely fortunate that I love my job and, with a few exceptions, look forward to going to work everyday. I also have quite a few hobbies that brighten my world. I’m an avid rock and mineral collector. (All of my books contain some rock references.) I am also a scuba diver, just the thought of which drops my blood pressure 20 points. I have a desert vegetable garden with which I constantly do battle and which I refer to as my Moriarty. I have been an amateur sports official since 1979. I have officiated football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball games at various levels over the years. Today, I’m an Arizona Interscholastic Association high school football referee and crew chief. And, after thirty-five years, I finally picked up my old guitar.

The + 1 Question

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

I do have a screenplay for A Light in the Desert. Originally, I thought I’d like Ed Harris to play Jason Ramm. Glenn Close would be perfect as Elect Sun. Alas; I am too old to play Kate Butler. (Story of my life.) Everyone else would have to be unknown, because now the budget is blown.

 

Where to find Anne Montgomery Online

Find A Light in the Desert:

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Light in the Desert by Anne Montgomery

NightI have to admit when I saw the title to author Anne Montgomery’s newest book I had a flashback to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Why? In the movie Brad and Janet go toward a light to find help after a flat tire and a song plays. The song has a lyric of, “In the velvet darkness of the blackest night, burning bright, there’s a guiding star, no matter what or who you are.” I of course started humming the rest of the song but after reading, A Light in the Desert, I found this lyric to be quite fitting.

I write this as such a light has numerous connotations available to why it may be seen. A religious person would think of the light that led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born. Those not of a religious background may think alien, car light, train, or just a plain old light with nothing special to it. The book will introduce the reader to a few potential options but in its core is a story that takes the reader into the lives of many people that are as diverse as the wild of the Arizona Desert they all call home.

A Light in the Desert will introduce the reader to former Vietnam veteran Jason Ramm who has moved into town. He’s been able to settle in and found he’s been welcomed by the locals. As a person reads the book they will get to find much more of his background, including potential mental problems. These problems did not appear till he had a “mission” in Jerusalem and you may wonder what was he doing there. You will of course need to read the book to find out why. They will also find that he finds a dog, near death, and helps bring it back to life.

There are other characters like young teenager, Kelly Garcia, who is very pregnant and living with The Children of Light. The children are a group of Pentecostal zealots who try to live the way of the bible. They try and grow all their own food and help take care of those who cannot help themselves like Kelly. She has found her way to their home after a jealous mother decided she could not live with Kelly in the house any longer. Kelly does have a birth defect in her face, but it appears some man still found her beautiful.

There are other characters within the book such as a malicious gas station owner who has no problem beating his own son. The man’s problem is that the son has reached an age where he is not afraid of his father and is himself quite ruthless. The local store owner is the man all should talk to if they want to find out about their neighbors as he is the local gossip. He hears so much and sees so much as he does operate the only store around. There then is a smart and edgy news reporter who according to her bosses is a bit “past her prime”. She has won several Emmy’s but her age has caught up to her and in the world of TV News that is deadly.

The book will take the reader into a very complex plot filled with many plot lines. Ramm seems to be just another man escaping the big bad world but there is so much more to him. He helps the Children of Light and even takes a liking to Kelly. She needs help and someone to watch over her as she is under educated and the world has not been kind to her.  Ramm even may believe that she may help him with the madness he struggles with all the time.

There then is the gas station owner’s son, Billy, who stole so much from his father before running away. In truth Billy had left a nice package for his father in the bathroom of the gas station but it was found before it could do any damage. Billy has missed that opportunity but for those riding the train that goes through the area will find out, he is not done yet.

The book does have several different plot lines, but there is one thing that runs throughout the book. This is how one should never give up and fight for what they feel is right. Yes, there are those within the pages of, A Light in the Desert, that are misguided but the story unfolds nicely thanks to Montgomery’s writing. People will find some characters larger than life, and others you cannot help but sympathize with. There are even moments when one may feel terrible for Billy, and the next want to him hurt. The one character that caught my eye was that of the “retired” TV Reporter Kate. I felt there may be a bit of Montgomery in this character when one considers her back ground in TV. The simple truth is that each character is well developed and the story eventually will find a point where all the plot lines seem to join and converge on the right track. I have one final note and that is be sure to read the Dedication as the struggles Ramm has may be more real for the reader.

The book is published by Sarah Book Publishing.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Reviews

 

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What’s coming in 2015 and Thank You 2014

ThankYouThe year of 2014 has been an exciting one as I was able to read over twenty books and post reviews on the blog.  The greatest thing is that often an author, or publisher, has reached out to me regarding their book. This to me is exciting and helps to show that I am reaching the right audience with the reviews.  The audience I refer to is those people who look for authors, publishers and books that often fly under the mainstream market place. My eyes, and then fingers, help put out a forum for their books and draw attention to their works through my reviews. The word reviews is used as I don’t just put them on my blog but cross post to Amazon and just recently all went up on Goodreads as well.

These individuals produce books that are just as engaging as a Stephen King,  Stephanie Myer, Suzanne Collins and other well-known authors.  They bring imagination to life which is what I believe many authors endeavor to do with their readers. The pages can be digital, or physical, but have the same effect no matter how you read. It is why I write this post as I want to thank those that helped my imagination over the past year. I hope my review helped other readers find their books and enjoy them as much as I have. This is the main reason on why I never say NO to a review request.

Before I start with listing and thanking those who gave me the great opportunity of discovering a new world through their prose let me share with you what I have coming for 2015.  As you will see the list is growing and it’s how I want it to be.

Upcoming in 2015 in no particular order:

 

  • Playback Effect by Karen A Wyle
  • Glimpses of the Undead by Julianne Snow
  • The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer by Andy Peloquin
  • Thunder Bay by Robert Reynolds
  • Why 319 by Mark Love
  • Counting Churches The Malta Stories by Rosanne Dingli

 

 

Now it’s time to thank those authors, and publishers, for the books I enjoyed over 2014. The list is in order of reviews from most recent to beginning of the year. If I missed anyone it was not on purpose but a MAJOR oversite on my part.

 THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A GREAT 2014

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Audio Interview with Authors Anne Montgomery and Randi Zohr

AudioWelcome to what is going to be a new feature here on the blog. It is the inaugural voice interview with authors who had their books featured. This first audio interview features authors Anne Montgomery and Randi Zohr. The original interview was about 30 minutes but to help those checking it out I have cut it down to the 6 pieces you see below. Take a listen to what you want to hear as we discuss several topics.

If you have feedback on this feature you want to share please do not hesitate to contact me.

Email me at Knightmist72@gmail.com

 

 

Things such as:

  • Their books The Magician and Confessions of a Cyber Slut
  • The importance of characters and experience.
  • Amtrack
  • Allure of fiction and writing tips.
  • Teachers
  • What a bubbler is and is it pop or soda.

 

Part One

Meet the authors and learn about their books, and put a voice to a name.

 

Part Two

Characters and importance of more than one and allure of Fiction.

Part Three

Writer suggestions and getting out there.

Part Four

Teachers and a gaining of understanding the things you did not know, and finding time.

Part Five

Reading and dyslexia each have an impact, along with how mothers like to spell check.

Part Six

A goodbye but first question about their bucket list.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Interview

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author Anne Montgomery

Anne MontgomeryIf the name Anne Montgomery seems familiar to anyone it could be that she has had quite the career.  The place many might remember her name from is her time on ESPN’s Sportscenter being one of the first woman anchors. She has worked for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns as a studio host as well.

She now has turned to writing and is also a teacher. Another interesting fact is that she has a thing for zebra stripes. What do I mean, well she referees High School Football games.  So now that you have a brief background here are those questions on her book The Magician from Musa Publishing.

 

Question 1: What inspired you to write The Magician?

I was commissioned to write a magazine article about ancient ballcourts. People in Central and South America were playing a ballgame when Columbus arrived, and he was fascinated by the contest, which resembled modern-day ice hockey or basketball. While visiting a northern Arizona ruinthat had a ballcourt, the archeologist I was interviewing pointed up the hillside and said, “That’s where The Magician was buried.” I later wrote a magazine article about the man they call The Magician, in which I was tasked with uncovering where he might have come from, since he was different from the people who buried him in a fabulous tomb 900 years ago. The research entailed learning about pottery and weapons and trade routes and textiles, the ancestors of the Hopi, the art of pueblo building, ancient farming practices, and – believe it or not – sword swallowing. The reporter in me loved the research.

 

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

Kate Butler is my alter ego. My surname is Butler. (A TV station made me change my name because I anchored with another woman who had the last name Butler, which, of course, wasn’t her real name either.) My first name comes from Latin and means “grace,” and this is one of those cosmic ironies. I have bad feet, and while I’ve done pretty well at sports where I don’t have to run – swimming, skiing, ice skating – I have a tendency to trip and fall over cracks in the sidewalk. In my early years, this resulted in a lot of family eye rolling. My mother was often heard to remark that she wished she’d called me Kate instead of Anne.

 

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

The present day story of The Magician is pretty much true. Kate struggles to get the story done in exactly the same way I did. Kate learned and grew along the way, and so did I.

 

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I hated to read when I was a kid. I now know that I am a bit dyslexic, which made school and reading difficult. Back then I was called stupid and lazy, which made me resent most anything with words. Even when I was in college, my mother would correct any letters I wrote home – yes, way back when we put actual stamps on mail – and she would return them with all of my mistakes marked in red pen. Books held no allure.

I recently got an e-mail from a woman who was my best friend when I was growing up which said, “Who would have ever thought you would be a writer.” She read constantly. I didn’t read a book for pleasure until I was 18. It was The Once and Future King by T.H. White. It remains one of my favorites.

 

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

            The Magician has only been out a couple of months, so I’m still waiting. Patiently.

 

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

Um…it’s an e-book. So I have nothing to feel accept the screen of my Kindle.

 

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

I am working on a novel based on the polygamous towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, which together are called Short Creek. Warren Jeffs is still running the community from prison. I have visited the area – pretending that I had no idea where I was – and interviewed people that have been involved with the cult members. It’s all pretty awful. I have to put the book away sometimes, because what’s happening up there is so depressing. I’m telling the story through the eyes of a young girl and doing my best to give the child and the readers hope.

 

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

First, I want the readers to understand that human beings haven’t changed all that much over the centuries. We all want to be accepted for who we are. We want love and security.

I also want the readers to realize that we need to put an end to archeological looting all over the world. I’ll let the archeologist in my story, Dr. Jerrod Crane, explain: “Once you’ve moved an artifact from its setting, you’ve destroyed its sense of time and place, something you can never get back. Dig up a pot and drop it on the surface, and we’ve lost any perspective of its significance historically. So what you have is a pretty piece with no meaning.”

Finally, I’d like historians to admit that our beliefs about the way man populated the earth need to be updated. Let’s look into those gaps in the historical record and the apparent anomalies with open minds.

 

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

Kate will become comfortable without being on television. The girl has a massive ego. (I should know.) She will learn that a job is what we do, not who we are.

 

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

Ryan Pickard is my boyfriend. (Yes, a really silly word, for someone my age.) We have been together 20 years. As it says in the dedication, he loves history as much as I do and we often do verbal battle in regard to historical issues, making never to be paid dollar bets on the outcome. We are polar opposites in some things – like religion and politics – still we laugh and argue and never get bored with each other. He has also been a great sport about accompanying me on my research trips. He is adored by dogs and little children and is an exemplary chef. And we both love football and scuba diving. What more could a girl ask for?

 

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

This one is tough. I have been fortunate in that I have traveled extensively. That said, I especially love Australia. Ryan and I attended the Australian Mineral Symposium in Perth in 2005. I’m a rock collector, so we went mining with a group of Aussi “rockers” and brought back about 75 pounds of rocks in our suitcases. It was fabulous. They made us feel like family. So, I think I’d like to go back.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Interview

 

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The Magician by Anne Montgomery

MagicianThe one thing any reporter loves is a mystery. The ability to cover secrets others have not been able to find will bring a reporter to the edge when it comes to getting the story. It’s what entices Kate Butler to her current assignment of uncovering information about the magician.  This mysterious man was found with more than your common funerary items around him when found in 1939. He was also found to be taller than most for the period, which raised questions about his heritage. The Hopi tribe that was helping with the dig almost knew immediately how important this man must have been when the Moochiwimi sticks were found.  Those sticks meant only one thing; this man had been a magician. This is the story that will be uncovered in author Anne Montgomery’s book aptly titled, The Magician.

Who was the magician? Where did he come from? Why was he so important?

These are questions Kate will try to uncover as she searches into the man’s past. Her only problem is her main source of information, Dr. Perkins, suddenly will not work with her. Dr. Perkins had been a great asset on her story of the Native American ball courts but now he was nowhere to be found. There had been requests for a DNA source have been routinely turned down by those who wish to protect Native American remains. The Hopi tribe had refused her request as they wished to protect the remains not see any part destroyed for a DNA test. It is possible Dr. Perkins had received pressure not to help Kate, and thus she had to find other sources.

Her friend Jack Cooper had come along with her on this trip and it’s possible his skills as a police officer would come in handy.  She will also be assisted on her quest by Dr. Jerrod Crane and colleagues of his that will help point her in other directions. There is one problem, as Kate visits the museum for the first time another takes interest in her, and her quest to find out about the magician. This man may be up to something and able to get information she cannot.

Along with the quest to find out who the magician was, there are other elements weaved into the book. These elements take us back to the life of the magician. The way the people of the era lived is explained, and they actually come to life.  We will also get to see who this magician was and his impact on the people of that area.

Names such as Woodrat, Deer Runner, Mul, and others will be discovered to belong to those who are central characters in that second feature of the book. The book will intertwine the two stories in such a way that they will complement each story contained within the book.  Montgomery uses as much realistic facts and content as she can during the writing of the book that helps bring the story to greater life.

There is drama, secretive plans, and subterfuge in both stories in the book.  The book reads in such a manner that you will not find yourself confused over the facts in the story. You will instead find yourself holding your breath at periods as the story switches from one period to another. You wonder should I skip a chapter and read a head. The answer is simply NO! The Magician is a book meant to be read and enjoyed by those who are fans of History and I have to add Mystery. The elements add up to a great book that tells not one but two great stories. As a bonus the article that Kate is writing even toward the end of the book. So you will see Kate gets her story, but the events to get there are not easy as most reporters will tell you.

As an additional note on this great book it was selected as an Editor’s Top Pick by Musa Publishing.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Reviews

 

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