Shannon A. Thompson




My Book Story: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

Shannon A. Thompson


Picking one story that has affected my life is nearly impossible. Although I love the idea of sharing impactful stories, I found myself so riddled with options that I was afraid to pick one in fear that it wouldn’t be the “right” one to share. That being said, I could talk about this subject forever, but I knew I had to talk about one story, and I wanted to pick one story that I feel – personally – doesn’t get enough attention from various communities of readers despite the wide amount of attention it has received from nonfiction readers.

43015I found A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah in a Hastings in Lawrence, KS. I thought I was having a rough day, so I skipped class to disappear into the bookshelves of a store off-campus. I said “I thought I was having a rough day” because A Long Way Gone is a memoir about a child solider in Africa, and the issues explored in Ishmael’s story shattered any notion that my problems mattered at all. For instance, right when I was following the rhythm of the horrors scattered throughout this story, Ishmael would remind me of his age, by stating, “That was my fifteenth birthday”, and all of my “rhythm” was disrupted. All my worries were disrupted, and I was filled with so many emotions about Ishmael’s life and all the lives like his.

As a writer of YA fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, I often find myself reading all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, but memoirs often go untouched by the masses, and memoirs have so much to teach us about the world and about the people who affect this world. Ishmael Beah stayed with me because he went beyond this world with one of my favorite literary quotes to this day: “We must strive to be like the moon.”

But – perhaps – the most important quote that summed up my emotions for this striking and memorable life story was this: “…children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.”


A Long Way Gone on Goodreads:



SATShannon A. Thompson is an author, poet, blogger, and coffee enthusiast. She is also an editor and social media marketer. Her Timely Death Trilogy  will be released by Clean Teen Publishing this summer.

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day. Today we celebrate the soldiers who gave their lives while serving our country.  The holiday was once called Decoration Day because soldiers graves were decorated with flowers. Today volunteers place flags on graves in national cemeteries. The history of Memorial Day goes back to the Civil War. That’s the only thing that anyone agrees on. Where it actually originated remains a mystery.

We don’t have a traditional post for you today. Instead we would like to remind you that some of our favorite authors contributed to our Book Stories series so if you are looking for something fun to read you can get caught up. We would also like to suggest a few Civil War related gems.


The Civil War: A Film by Kens Burns

According to The Civil War PBS site the film is being remastered and will be available on PBS in September.  The original is free on Amazon for Prime members. What I enjoy about Ken Burns films is that they are even handed. He shows people as people and isn’t afraid to show us that historical figures were human.



The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead by Meg Thompson. This book isn’t out yet at the time I’m writing this post but I’ve added it to my ‘to read’ list. It comes out May 19th just in time for Memorial Day and it looks amazing. I’m really looking forward to reading  it.



Strange and Obscure Stories of the Civil War by Tim Rowland is fantastic. I really enjoyed this. I listened to the audio book read by Fred Sanders. I can tell you that it lives up to its name.


Dulcem Melodies

If you’re looking for traditional Civil War era music I suggest  2nd South Carolina String Band. Their rendition of Amazing Grace is beautiful and soul stirring. When you listen to one of their songs you feel as though you’ve been transported back in time and are listening to the real thing. It’s powerful stuff.




Finally, if you would like more of a mix of modern and traditional Civil War songs I suggest Divided and United: The Songs of the Civil War.  This album is full of big names and beautiful songs.  My favorite song is Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel by Chris Thile and Michael Daves. I also loved Take Your Gun And Go, John by Loretta Lynn. Two Brothers by Chris Stapleton sounds like it belongs in a movie. These are new interpretations of old songs and, while most of them lack that campfire quality, I think they are more accessible. 


Enjoy your day!

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Background Image: Cemetery by jimp200962


Shannon A. Thompson: Cover Reveal of Death Before Daylight


Letter from author, Shannon A. Thompson


It’s here! It’s here! The final cover of The Timely Death Trilogy has finally been released. A special thank you goes out to Clean Teen Publishing and this lovely Member of the Dark who is helping share this message today. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, re-releases on July 28 – with an all new interior and exterior – and both are beautiful. Seconds Before Sunrise follows on August 25, and Death Before Daylight (the only novel of the trilogy to never see the shelves before) is finally getting it’s day . . . hehehe . . . Well, it’s releasing September 15. Even more exciting? You can win prizes throughout all of these events and more by becoming a Member of the Dark . . . or a Member of the Light. Check out the details below! I look forward to speaking with you!

Shannon A. Thompson (a.k.a. SAT)





Two eternities. One ending.


“Harmony would only come with destruction.”


The moment Eric and Jessica are reunited, they are torn apart. After the appearance of a new breed of shades and lights, the powers shift for the worse, and all three descendants find themselves face-to-face in the Light realm. When Darthon is in control, the last thing everyone expects is to finally hear the truth.


While Jessica learns the reason of her creation, Darthon’s identity is exposed to Eric—and only Eric—and Eric can no longer defend himself. With the eternities of the Light and the Dark resting on Jessica’s shoulders, she must choose who she will be—a light or a shade.


In the end, someone must die, and the end is near.


Dark Activities:


Become a Member of the Dark (or Light) by emailing Your email will never be given out, and you are not required to do anything, but you will win more prizes the more you participate.


Win a paperback of Minutes Before Sunset via Goodreads!


Pre-order Minutes Before Sunset:


Stay Updated via The Timely Death Trilogy FB page:


Visit the Extras Page:


Pin your favorite photos from The Timely Death Trilogy Pinterest board:


But most of all . . .


Stay Dark,




Howard Shapiro


 My Book Story: The High Cost Of Living by Neil Gaiman

Howard Shapiro

I was doing an elementary school visit back in 2010 and as I was leaving the librarian said to me that I should check out this genre of books called Graphic Novels.  “We can’t keep them on the shelves, the kids, mainly the boys, will take them out no matter what the subject.”  So, I did check out their collection and I was pretty intrigued.  I had grown up on mostly Marvel Comics (Spiderman, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four etc) so I thought of these graphic novels as being expanded comic books.
Oh how wrong I was!
I found out when I did some more research at our local library (they have a killer collection of GN’s) that the subjects tackled in the books can range from the obscure to super heroic and everything in between.  I didn’t take any out, instead deciding to stop at Barnes and Noble to buy one and take it home and read it.
DTHCOLI came across one that looked very interesting at the B&N, it was called “Death:The High Cost of Living” written by Neil Gaiman with art by Chris Bachalo and Mark Buckingham.  I had heard about Neil Gaiman but not not read any of his work but figured I’d take a chance on it and to this day I’m so glad that I madethe purchase!  I read it all in one sitting and that very day I was inspired to try and take a chance and write my own graphic novel.  I knew that it would never be as good as “Death” but the goal was to try and make it as great as possible.  The bar was set so high and it still is, that book literally changed my life that day!
So, I’m still trying to write a story as great as “Death: The High Cost of Lving” with characters as rich and wonderful as the ones Neil created, I may never fully succeed, but thanks to that book, I will always keep trying!
Howard Shapiro
howardshapiroI live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife and two sons. I am the Controller for the Pittsburgh-based Visual Effects firm, Animal Inc., and I have written four children’s books and “The Stereotypical Freaks” will be my debut Graphic Novel.My 2008 book, “Hockey Player for Life”, has been the #1 downloaded children’s hockey e-book on Amazon’s Kindle chart since its arrival as an e-book in November of 2011.My “Hockey Days” book was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. Through a corporate
sponsorship program I set up (and maintain), since the 2010-11 season, both of my children’s hockey books have been given to NHL teams (over 2,500 copies to date) for use in their community and educational initiatives.Since 2006 my annual charity raffle, which he matches dollar for dollar donated, has raised funds for several hockey-related charities including the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Keith and Lisa Primeau Scholarship Fund.

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Read our review of The Hockey Saint:



The Curious Tale of Gabrielle by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

23561884The Curious Tale of Gabrielle

by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Book Summary:

A young Gabrielle is driven by her will to explore and see new things. She cannot stop or rest until all within her reach has been experienced and explored. Driven by an astounding will and lack of common fear, she finds herself able to face things most adults might fall before. Yet has there been a journey that has been meant specifically for her all along? Is there a path that has been created just for her to travel?

Follow Gabrielle as she ventures through the lives of many with the experience of only her own. What will happen as she discovers the lives—and tragedies—of the souls who choose her to see their story? It’s a journey through history, life, and love unlike anything that could be imagined—except perhaps by a young girl.

*I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review*

My Review:

Let’s start with Gabrielle herself.  She is a curiosity ridden 13 year old who is intelligent and when she should be scared shows how bold she can be.  Since her mother works late nights and her father has passed she is pretty much taking care of herself and for any thirteen year old that can be hard. When she wanders into Alexandria’s shop on her birthday her whole world changes.  Gabrielle is given a bracelet that will transporter her through the lives of the previous owners.

This is a well developed story that draws you in and the characters compliment each other well and it’s perfect for the targeted age range. Which is middle grade, young adult.

I will admit that at first I had a little trouble with the writing and some of the sentences felt like they were run-ons, but once you get into the flow it’s a really good story. This is the first in the series so be prepared for a cliffhanger at the end.  Remember I did say we were going thru the lives of the previous owners of the bracelets, so there are definitely more tales to tell. temp-4










Original background image by x posid at






Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

We first posted Finding Cinderella in November of 2013.  It’s a great Novella Thursday and I hope you enjoy reading this again.

Finding CinderellaFinding Cinderella

By Colleen Hoover

Book Summary:

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love has conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

My Review:

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. But Daniel soon realizes that fairytales don’t exist, and unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

This is not your typical fairy tale.  Boy meets girls in janitor closet at school.  Girl doesn’t have a great reputation and is tired of boys treating her badly, so what does she do.  She has sex with a boy that she can’t even see his face and pretends with him that it is love. He calls her his Cinderella in his attempt to be romantic. She tells him she doesn’t want to know how he is because she is moving away and this is there one special moment.

Fast forward to the future and it’s a year later.  Six is back in her home town after a year of study in Italy, but things over there were not all they should have been.  She left behind the most important boy in her life, but how does she let anyone know, especially when she meets Daniel.  He is a boy just like her and who she feels an instant connection with. They seem perfect for each other in every way. But her secret could tare them apart (sorry I won’t give that little secret away).

This book was well written and I did enjoy the characters.  Six is not your typical prissy girl.  She has four brothers and isn’t afraid to get dirty. Daniel is quirky and says what he is thinking.  He has been trying to find his Cinderella ever since there encounter in the closet. While I feel the very beginning (Janitors closet, need I say more) is not how you picture meeting the love of your life, the rest of the book makes up for it. It was funny and sad and enjoyable. I for one would definitely read more books about these two characters.temp-4








Original background image by Ian Bunyan at


Nancy Warren



My Book Story: Georgette Heyer & Susan Elizabeth Phillips
by Nancy Warren
There’s comfort food, there are the comfort clothes, the old baggie things that are perfect for curling up in, and there are comfort reads. For me, when I’m stressed, sick, having a bad day or simply want that feel of visiting an old friend that a well-loved book gives you, I have two main go-to authors. Georgette Heyer and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Georgette_HeyerGeorgette Heyer wrote her delicious, funny regency romances back in the 1920s to 1950s, mainly. I can practically recite parts of the books but I don’t care. I read them anyway over and over. Thank goodness for ebooks because my GHVenetiaprint ones are falling apart. When Harlequin was reissuing some of the Heyer books I was thrilled and honored to be asked to write the forward for Venetia, which is, coincidentally, my absolute favorite of Ms. Heyer’s books.
SEPMy other comfort read is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I think she does romantic comedy like no one else. What I love about her books is that her stories aren’t all sunshine and butterflies. There are dark moments that make the light parts so much brighter.  My all time favorites are: It Had to Be You, Dream a Little Dream and Glitter Baby. But they’re all good. I’ve recently discovered that she is aIHTBY Georgette Heyer fan too, which sort of brings it full circle. Of course, there are all kinds of other amazing authors I love. Reading is the greatest hobby in the world, but on those dark days when the rain is falling and I just need a break, reading one of these wonderful books is like a visit with a dear friend.

nancy-warrenNancy Warren is a USA Today bestselling Harlequin and Kensington author who got her big break when she won Harlequin’s 2000 Blaze Contest. Her sensuous, humorous romances have won numerous awards and appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list.

Awards and lists are great, but nothing beats the thrill of hearing from readers. Most have commented on how much they enjoy the mixture of humor and sexuality in Nancy’s books—which is good, because she works darned hard to put them in there.

Nancy holds an honors degree in English literature and lives in the Pacific Northwest. She spends her days sensibly employed inventing men who combine amazing sexual prowess with sensitivity to a woman’s needs, and women who aren’t afraid to fight for their dreams.

Nancy Warren
USA Today Bestselling Author
Try our review of Kiss a Girl in the Rain:
kiss a girl in the rain

The Girl Who Went Missing by Ace Varkey

The Girl Who Went Missing 

Ace-Original-Coverby Ace Varkey

Book Summary:

When June Warner arrives in India to visit her sister Thalia, a trip to take her mind off her jilted engagement, she is greeted by the bright hot chaos of Mumbai but not her sister. She goes to the YMCA where Thalia is staying, only to find that she is not there.

Convinced that Thalia’s no-show is a sign that she is in danger, June begins a desperate search for her younger sister.

Police Commissioner Oscar D’Costa, scarred by the tragedies of his past, swears he will never again ignore his gut instinct when it comes to a missing girl. And with more and more dead foreign women being found in his precinct, he becomes convinced a conspiracy is at play.

Through the two worlds of American naiveté and Indian chaos, they must find the girl who went missing.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review*

My Review:

Set in the world of Mumbai, India this is a fast paced story.  June has been left by her fiance and has traveled to India per her sisters insistence.  Thalia is there doing her dissertation on the temples of India.  So when June gets there and Thalia is no where around she isn’t sure if she should panic or if Thalia has just gone off to do some work.  It quickly becomes clear that something more is wrong and with the help of Commissioner D’Costa they set out to find Thalia.

The world of Mambai is portrayed in a very real way. From the crazy traffic, to the people, to the very real world of sex trafficking.  You feel like you are there with June going thru everything. We are introduced to a variety of different characters but this doesn’t make it confusing.  The writing is very well done and for a debut  novel it’s really good.

Ace Varkey takes you on a rollercoaster ride in this thrilling new novel and I can’t wait for another novel from this new author. temp-4











Original background image by Piotr Wojtkowski at