J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

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Boo Blitz – Art of Self-Maximization

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Do you look forward to wake up each morning ready to face a new day and new challenges? Or does the fear of failure keep you from reaching your true potential? Do you feel you are stuck in life and not progressing? Do you want to leave your comfort zone, but are not sure how to do it? Only when you are clear about what you want to achieve in your life and your goals can you work toward it.

In his book, “ART OF SELF-MAXIMIZATION” the author, Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna, gives you the recipe to live a fulfilling life. This book will help you identify the areas in your life where you need to make a change to realize your true potential.

Reading this book will help you…

Discover what you are passionate about

Visualize your life goals

Overcome fear of failure

Live a balanced and full life

Get back the joy of living

Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna, a renowned Ikigai, Life, Relationship & Leadership Coach, has provided the blueprint to successful living in this book. It is sure to help anyone looking to maximize their life experiences and come out of the daily rut. Read this book to learn the important hacks to manifest your desires and attain success.

Book Links:

Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Art of Self-Maximization

“We are kept away from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”- Robert Brault. 

The universe controls our actions. Have you ever been told this? Have you not heard people talking about the sheer significance of luck in one’s life? 

The answer is categorically affirmative. You often come across people blaming their luck for not getting a job or a good score or for being yelled at by a superior, and the list goes on and on. Why don’t you take a minute and ponder upon the concept of luck? Think about Rajesh, a young man, who is just out of college and is looking for a job. A year passes by, and Rajesh has miserably failed in his attempts to secure a job. 

Now, whenever he is asked about being unemployed, he blames his luck. The truth is, Rajesh only applied for the jobs that his connections referred him to. Although this is a good way of job hunting, Rajesh had neither updated his resume nor enhanced his professional skills. He assumed his luck would put things in place somehow. Let me tell you this. The recipe for success is 99 percent hard work and 1 percent luck. Look around you. The world is brimming with opportunities. 

The ones who have succeeded grabbed those chances and worked really hard to accomplish their goals. This is the story of all successful people. 

“Opportunity does not knock; it presents itself when you beat down the door.”- Kyle Chandler 

We all want to succeed, and we all know that it is easier said than done. One can dream, but turning your dreams into reality is the actual task at hand. We are aware of many rags to riches real-life stories. Consider Narayan Murthy, Indira Nooyi, Karsanbhai Patel, Shah Rukh Khan, Rajnikanth, or even late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; none of them were born with a golden spoon. How did they reach their current stature? 

Well, simple. All of them were open to opportunities, and they worked hard. They explored the path to board a purpose-driven life. Go ahead and look up a few stories yourself. And then, ask yourself this: What makes them who they are? How are they so ahead of the pack? 

You need some crucial elements to fill your life with a purpose. Have you heard of consistent behavior? A consistent behavior motivates you, lets you overcome hurdles, and helps you move closer to your focus. 

As you adhere to consistent behavior, you dig an option to change the conditions in the surrounding environment. Anyone who lives a life filled with purpose instills consistent behavior in their outer and inner circles. 

The next crucial element is to be psychologically resilient. You need to be flexible and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet your goal, no matter what obstacles and demands you might face. 

By avoiding adversities and managing the environment dynamically, both physical and psychological, you can reduce your problems, especially if your life does not have a purpose. 

Additionally, having a purpose in life enables you to effectively allocate available resources like energy and time. These resources allow you to pursue the purpose. Other actions with zero worth are kept to the least. Besides, the resources they could have used up are redirected to purpose-driven actions. Such components are deemed important elements to pursue a life filled with purpose. In their absence, it’s almost impossible to find and achieve one’s life purpose. 

About the Author:

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Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna is  India’s 1st Licensed IKIGAI coach and also he is ICF & NLP Certified Life Coach. Dr. Sanjeevv Khanna  is also Founder & CEO of Academy for Self Maximization, Director – CBO, Startup Lanes Strategic Partner & Executive Director –  Noble Manhattan Ltd., U.K. Global Leader – Artemes, Mentor of Change -ATAL, Niti Aayog. He is also the author of Ikigai is Ikigai & Art of Self-Maximisation.

Author on the Web:

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Happy Halloween!

As you might know, Halloween was invented by the Irish. Originally called Samhain, which means summer’s end, the ancient Celts also invented pumpkin carving. They carved turnips and other root vegetables and inserted candles inside to scare away evil spirits. They also invented bonfires, which were originally called bone fires. This is because the Celts sacrificed animals and burned their bones in fires to also scare off evil spirits. Just a few interesting facts about how the holiday started.

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Rebel Among Us, which is the third book in the Renegade Series. I hope you enjoy it. Stay safe this Halloween!

On October 31, Patrick arrived with a bottle of whiskey and invited David to partake with him. They stood shivering at the back door, passing the bottle between them. 

“‘Tis Samhain tonight, lad. All Hallow’s Eve. Were ye aware of it?” 

David nodded. “Where’d you git this whiskey?” he asked. 

“Aye, ‘tis a grand thing the Meyers provide me with allowance for such an indulgence,” he replied. He pulled a pipe from his coat pocket and lit it. Puffing away, he shook his head and remarked, “Sure’n ‘tis a far cry from real tobacco.” 

A thought crossed David’s mind. “I’ll be right back,” he said. 

He went upstairs to his room, grabbed the pouch of tobacco, and brought it back down to his friend. 

Patrick peeked inside before taking a deep whiff. “Ah!” he sighed, relishing the pungent aroma. “Might this be the Southern tobacco I’ve heard tell about?” 

David grinned. “Jake brought it along for tradin’, and this here’s what’s left.” 

Patrick loaded his pipe, relit it, and puffed euphorically, smiling all the while. “‘Tis a wee bit o’ Heaven, indeed.” He glanced at his friend. “Now, have ye any scary tales from the Southland that might have me skin crawlin’?” 

David thought for a moment, “There’s a story from north Alabama about a place called the Red Bank.” 

Raising his eyebrows, Patrick said, “Let’s see if ye might be tellin’ it frightfully enough to send a shiver up me spine!” He happily puffed away. 

David grinned. He lowered his voice so it was a threatening grumble and delved into his story. Once he had completed the tale of an Indian maiden who had killed herself after losing her baby and had promptly turned into a ghost, he paused. 

Patrick puffed silently on his pipe. “Well, now, I have a scarier one.” He puffed again, took a swig from the whiskey bottle, handed it to David, and said, “Tis an old tale from the  motherland.” 

The wind blew past them, whistling off through the barren fields. Both young men shivered, suddenly aware of the ominous darkness surrounding them. 

David forced a nervous laugh before taking a swallow. “All right, Patrick. Let’s hear it.” 

He took a puff and slowly exhaled. “There once lived a wealthy lady who was courted by two lords. One of the lords grew so jealous of the other that he plotted to kill his rival. So one night, he snuck into the unsuspectin’ lad’s bedchamber. But instead of choppin’ off his head—” 

He said this with so much exhuberance David jumped. 

“He accidentally chopped off his legs instead.” 

A dog howled in the distance, adding to the nuance of Patrick’s eerie Irish story. 

“His torso received a proper burial, but his legs were tossed into a hole in the castle garden and covered with dirt. The murderin’ lord deceived the lady by tellin’ her the other suitor had abandoned his proposal to her. She agreed to marriage. But on their weddin’ night, in walked the two bodyless legs.” 

An owl hooted from somewhere off in the empty trees. 

“The legs followed the bridegroom relentlessly until the day he died. It’s said the legs can still be seen walkin’ round by themselves. ‘Tis a true phuca.” Upon this conclusion, Patrick puffed on the pipe. Smoke billowed around his head like an apparition. 

“What’s a phuca?” asked David. 

“A ghost,” Patrick responded. 

Raising a skeptical eyebrow, David snorted. “I reckon that’s the dumbest spook story I ever heard.” 

A gate near the barn caught in the wind and slammed loudly against the fencepost. The two men jumped. They chuckled at their reaction, but immediately felt the terrible chill. Reasoning they would be more comfortable inside, they entered the kitchen, consumed the remainder of the whiskey, and bid each other goodnight. Patrick returned home, and David retired quietly upstairs, careful not to wake the others. Relieved the fireplace had been lit for him, he undressed. 

Climbing into bed, he snickered at the thought of two legs unattached to a body, chasing after a rival. Once he’d fallen asleep, however, the thought invaded his dreams. The legs ran toward him. Right behind them rode the headless Union horseman. The torso raised its saber and swung it where its head should have been. Just as the blade came down, David jolted awake. He gasped to catch his breath, realizing, once again, his imagination had gotten the best of him. Slowly, he lay back. Unable to sleep, he listened to the wind rattle the shutters and shake through the skeleton-like tree limbs from outside the frosty, lace-covered windows. 

Release Day Blitz – The Prince and the Runaway Bride

Faced with a loveless marriage, Ananya Rajput does what she always does when faced with a tough situation – she runs away!
Except, this time she runs right into the arms of the man she’s dreamed about for years – okay, fantasised about, to be completely honest.
His Highness Yashvardhan Rathore, Yuvarajkumar of Bannor, is so going to burn in hell.
Not only did he help his dead friend’s sister run away from her wedding mandap, he now has terribly inappropriate feelings for her.
All his life he’s lived by one truth – no one has ever loved him enough to stay. And he doesn’t think a known flight risk like Ananya will be the first.
As her restless feet get calmer, the walls around his heart get higher.
Will Yash ever come to trust in love?
And will Ananya let her reluctant Prince Charming claim a runaway bride?

To find out read the third book in the Devgarh Royal series.

Book Links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.in


Read an Excerpt from The Prince and the Runaway Bride

I braced myself for the explosion that was sure to follow once Ananya caught sight of my plane. She got out of the vehicle and stared around her in confusion.

      “Where’s your aircraft?”

      I pointed to the plane in question.

      “That one, right there.”

      She took one look at it and rolled her eyes.

      “Oh, please! That rust bucket is not a jet,” she pointed out.

      “I’m going to ignore the slur on my beautiful plane, and just point out that I never said I had a private jet. I said ‘plane’, and you assumed it was a jet. That’s not my fault.”

      “Yashvardhan Rathore, do you seriously expect me to believe that you fly all over the world in that little tinpot? It looks like it will fall apart if you sneeze too loudly!”

      “First of all, my plane is a she, not it. Secondly, can you please stop calling her names? She’s very sensitive,” I snapped.

      “Fine! But she looks like she’s made of Lego and is held together with duct tape, and if you think I’m risking my neck in that toy plane, you’re crazier than I thought,” Ananya snapped back.

      “Stop calling her names! She’s not a tinpot or a rust bucket. She’s a piece of art!”

      She was. My Cessna 162 was in mint condition, with nary a scratch or dent. I couldn’t see why Ananya was calling her such nasty names.

      She stomped up to the plane and walked around her slowly.

      “Umm, Yash… There are only two seats.”

      I sighed. I knew this was going to be a problem.

      “I know.”

      “Where do you propose to stow me? In the cargo hold?”

      “That’s very tempting right now, but you will sit next to me.”

      “And where will the pilot sit?”

      “In the pilot’s lounge, back there,” I said, pointing to the building that we had just exited.

      Ananya stared at me, denial and fear clouding her big brown eyes. A man could drown in those expressive eyes, I thought. Not right now, though. Any attempt to dive into those beauties would burn me to a crisp because her glare was hot enough to set me on fire.”

  “Don’t fuck with me, Your Highness. If the pilot sits in the lounge, who’s going to fly the bloody plane?” she asked through gritted teeth.

      It was so much fun to mess with her. I wondered if she’d spit at me when she found out.

      “That would be me.”

      “What?”

      “I’m going to fly the plane,” I clarified, and she turned white.”

About the Author:

Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.

The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.

Alisha on the Web:
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Is it Really Necessary?

It was announced last week that over 1,000 military installations will have their names changed. This is because the current defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, believes the names “honor” the Confederacy. Austin has concurred with all of the naming commission’s recommendations “and is committed to implementing them as soon as possible.” Once implemented, the commission’s plan “will give proud new names that are rooted in their local communities and that honor American heroes whose valor, courage, and patriotism exemplify the very best of the United States military,” Austin wrote. Proud new names? What does that even mean? And here’s the kicker: it will cost the Pentagon an estimated $62.5 million to implement the recommendations from the final report, according to the commission. So is that taxpayers’ money implementing the name changes? If so, then why aren’t we allowed to vote on this?

It seems Austin has taken this political correctness thing way too far. Changes will include new names for two Navy ships and several streets and buildings on bases. Congress has mandated that the defense secretary implement the changes by Jan. 1, 2024. One thing they fail to remember: erasing history only guarantees that it will be repeated.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/congressional-commission-releases-recommendations-renaming-military-ba-rcna30354

Release Day – All Kinds of Wrong

What does a lifestyle guru do when her life starts to fall apart?

Alia Dubey is being stalked. The problem is no one believes her. Not the cops, not her family…and well, she doesn’t really have any friends.

Until the day her sister calls in a favour and asks her friend from the Intelligence Bureau to check on Alia and the gifts she’s been receiving.

Officer Avinash Rathore has better things to do than babysit a spoilt socialite with delusions of danger. Until he walks in to find her home broken into and an innocuous bouquet of red roses placed there. While everything points to an obsessed lover, Avinash’s instincts are screaming that there is more at play.

The gifts keep arriving, escalating from roses to far more sinister things…each with an intimate note hinting at a personal agenda. But whose?

The police have a primary suspect – Alia herself. They’re convinced she’s mentally ill and the one planting the evidence that points to a stalker.

But Avinash knows there is more. Far from mentally ill, the ditzy socialite he’d expected to meet is incisively intelligent, staggeringly attractive and devastatingly dangerous to his otherwise sensible mind.

They find themselves in a race against an unknown opponent who has only one thing in their mind – to destroy Alia’s life and leave her standing in the ruins.

And then Alia goes missing. And Avinash realizes that he stands to lose not just the race but, everything. For the ditzy socialite, the one who is All Kinds of Wrong for him is suddenly the only one who can make his world Right again.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from All Kinds of Wrong

Red roses. There were twelve long stemmed, perfectly budded red roses in her drawing room. Inside her locked drawing room. The lock to which only she had the key. 

Alia Dubey’s heart raced as she considered the quiet, empty space around her. This home was her haven. Until now. Her hand fumbled for the switch to the lights flooding the room with more light than necessary at this early part of the evening. 

She couldn’t see anyone but that didn’t mean anything. She more than anyone else knew the truth of that. She moved as silently as possible towards her hall cupboard and looked for anything that could be used as a weapon. Her enviable shoe collection looked back at her. They were very sexy but that didn’t help her right now. Except…

Hoisting her knee-high stiletto boot over one shoulder, Alia slowly moved around her flat. She moved from room to room, switching on the lights and being met with only silence and empty spaces. She opened cupboards, looked under beds, followed every tip she’d imbibed from every horror movie she’d watched and nothing. Whoever had left those flowers behind was gone. Leaving only this sickly fear behind. 

“Excuse me?” 

Alia shrieked and turned, flinging the boot in her hand on instinct. It hit the head of the man standing in the middle of her drawing room with a satisfying crunch. 

“Bloody hell,” he exploded, holding one hand to his forehead and glaring at her.

“I’m calling the cops,” she screeched. “Right now.” 

He held his hands out in a gesture of surrender, a trickle of blood making its way from his forehead to his eye. 

“I’m Avinash Rathore, your sister Aria’s friend.” 

The name rang a dim bell. One of her sister’s boyfriend Karan’s colleagues and friends. 

“What are you doing in my living room?” she asked him suspiciously. 

“I’m in Mumbai on holiday for the next month. Aria asked me to check in on you. She said you’ve been having some issues?”

She stared at him, looking unconvinced. 

“Look,” he said, completely stone faced. “If you promise not to throw another shoe at me, I’ll show you some ID and maybe you can call your sister and check?” 

Alia nodded slowly, still more than a little freaked out at this man’s sudden appearance in her home. 

He handed her his driver’s license which had his name and the worst photo she’d ever seen of any human being. He looked like a chimp that had lost its way in the evolution path. 

She dialed her sister, one eye still on the strange man standing in the middle of her cream shag carpet. She eyed his dusty sports shoes doubtfully. 

“Would you mind standing to the side?” she asked, politely, as the phone rang in her ear. She didn’t want to be removing his brown footprints from her gorgeous carpet. 

He looked down and then back at her. A small twist of his lips and he moved off the carpet to the marbled flooring. 

She heaved a sigh of relief just as Aria picked up. 

“You sent someone by the name of Avinash Rathore to my house?” she asked without preamble even as the man’s eyebrows rose in response to her brusque tone. 

“That someone is one of the most respected agents in the Intelligence Agency and one of my closest friends,” Aria’s dry voice came through. “Behave yourself Als. I’ll come there and throttle you if you’re rude to him.” 

Good thing Alia wasn’t scared of her big sister, she thought as she watched the blood still trickling down his temple. 

“Why did you send him here?” 

“I told him about your stalker problem which the cops aren’t taking seriously and asked if he could help me out as a favour.” Aria’s voice had gone very quiet. “I’m worried about you okay? And there is no one I trust more than Avinash to help. Please let him.” 

 Alia murmured something in agreement and disconnected. The strange guy was still standing in the middle of her drawing room, hands shoved in his jeans pockets, blood trickling down his face, looking completely out of place. 

“Maybe,” Alia cleared her throat. “we should start over. I’m Alia Dubey, Aria’s sister.” 

“Avinash Rathore, Karan and Aria’s friend,” he smiled. 

And her breath caught. That slow, small smile transformed the man’s otherwise ordinary face. 

Alia ruthlessly squashed that softening in her heart. 

“How did you get into my house?” she asked, her tone bordering on rude.

His smile disappeared, a lone eyebrow rose. “You left the front door open. I called out but I guess you didn’t hear me.”

No. No, she hadn’t. She’d been too busy pretending she was a ninja warrior. Alia’s gaze went back to the roses. 

God, she was in trouble. 

Across from her, the man watched her carefully. 

Big Trouble.

About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.Contact the Author:
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How to Buy a Backyard Studio Shed

I’d like to share this guest post, which discusses purchasing and and building a backyard shed. If you’re thinking about building a she shed or a he shed, this article is for you! Thank you, Lucerin Saldana, for your contribution.

How to Buy a Backyard Studio Shed

The backyard studio shed’s popularity is rising. For many Americans, “work from home” is here to stay, and they’re seeking for a peaceful space to do it, but not in their own house. Working in a studio shed has proven to be a great substitute for hiding out at the neighborhood coffee shop.

A backyard studio shed is a significant investment that you’ll have to make and live with for at least fifteen years. Here are some crucial factors to consider while looking for the shed that will function the best for you.

  • Landscaping

Think about how you’ll incorporate your studio shed into the landscape of your yard. Perennial or annual plants and garden beds will enable your outdoor shed merge into your yard. If your shed has wooden siding, placing trellises up against the walls will look fantastic with vines climbing up them.

  • Design

The studio shed should match your house’s design. For instance, a shed with a classic customized steel building design will go well with a home with a rural theme, and a shed with arched doors or window frames will match a home with such elements perfectly.

  • Foundation

Whatever the material of your backyard studio shed, it’s best to have it put on a foundation that holds it off the ground or any soggy areas. Concrete blocks, pressure-treated wood beams, or a gravelly bed can all be used as foundation materials. The rusting or rotting of the materials used in sheds can be avoided with a raised, well-draining base.

  • Siding and Wall Materials

Wooden, metal, and plastic are your three main siding and wall material choices.

Wooden sheds normally have plywood covering stud-framed walls, while more upmarket wooden sheds could have plywood sheathing over the studs and conventional lap siding over the plywood. On this kind of shed, asphalt shingles are frequently employed.

For the walls and top of metal sheds, a straightforward metal framework is commonly covered in factory- or vinyl-coated metal. Remember that if the protective covering or paint is scratched or destroyed, metal sheds may corrode.

PVC plastic sheds don’t require a coating or paint because the color is already there in the material. Additionally, they require relatively little upkeep.

  • Laws of Zoning and Rules of HOA

Find out if your city or municipality has zoning law restrictions forbidding backyard sheds before purchasing a studio shed. Some places permit sheds but have limits on their location and size requirements.

If you are a member of a homeowner’s association, be sure you are in compliance by reading the HOA regulations regarding sheds. For instance, you might have to build your shed a certain amount of distance from your property line.

  • Decorative Niceties

French doors and cupolas, which are distinctive features, can make a significant difference in whether or not your studio shed attracts attention. To give your shed some personality, you may also add items like window boxes, weathervanes, or shutters.

Five-Star Review for Double-Edged Sword from Readers’ Favorite

I received another five-star review for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. This is the fourth book in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Readers’ Favorite, for the wonderful review!

Reviewed by: Romuald Dzemo

Review Rating: 5 Stars – Congratulations on your 5-star review!


Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

Double-Edged Sword: A Novel of Reconstruction by J.D.R. Hawkins is a mesmerizing historical novel set against the backdrop of the years following the Civil War in Alabama. The protagonist is a Confederate cavalryman, David Summers, who returned home to Alabama after the war as a broken man. While his past and the horrors of the war still haunt him, he also has a broken land before him. As he struggles to fit into the new reality, he quickly understands that he still has many enemies to face. A confrontation between David and his long-time arch enemy, Stephen Montgomery, leads to David’s arrest. When he faces the jury, will he find favor with them or will they hang him?

J.D.R. Hawkins’ evocative writing and a strong sense of imagery are two elements in this narrative that help to paint a fascinating, credible picture of Alabama following the Civil War. The author shows readers compelling glimpses of the effects of the war, writing beautifully about the relationships and family dynamics. Characters like Kit are appealing and the author uses Kit to redefine friendship. I loved the beautifully crafted dialogue and Hawkins’ deft handling of conflict. Another character who will instantly gain the interest of readers is Anna, who accompanies David to Alabama. While they are in love, she is conflicted as she is from the north and her apprehension shines through the narrative. Double-Edged Sword is a brilliantly conceived novel that examines the challenges during the reconstruction period after the war. It is a formidable tour de force and a gem for fans of historical novels set around the time of the Civil War.

Another Five-Star Review for Double-Edged Sword

I recently received another five-star review for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series. Thank you so much, Ivan, for your review!

Ivan

5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up

Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2022

Verified Purchase

Cavalryman David Summers is coming back to Alabama after fighting the Civil War. Haunted by nightmares, he is ready to go back to a simple life with his brand-new wife beside him. But his journey is far away from over because he still needs to adapt to the new reality, trying to resolve the traumas of his past. After a confrontation with one of his biggest nemeses, he is arrested and thrown into jail, and now his biggest issue is to convince the jury of his innocence.

Double-Edged Sword is the fourth book of the Renegade series, written by J.D.R Hawkins. The story brings up the past, and the dilemmas people had to face during and after the war. The writing transports the reader to the old times, and the characters and the plot make this book interesting till the end.

New Review for A Rebel Among Us

I recently received another amazing review for my novel, A Rebel Among Us. This is the third book in the Renegade Series. Thank you, US Review of Books, for your fantastic review!

A Rebel Among Us: A Novel of the Civil War (The Renegade Series Book 3)
by J. D. R. Hawkins
Westwood Books Publishing
book review by Mihir Shah


“The anguish in her eyes broke David’s heart. He gazed down at her and, as reassurance, gave her a sorrowful smile.”


How one acts in the face of adversity is often a true reflection of one’s character. This is no different for the protagonist, Anna Brady, a teenager who harbors a soldier from the Confederate Army as the Civil War is reaching its most pivotal point. Despite fears of being labeled complicit in a crime, Anna finds herself mesmerized by Alabama native David Summers. More than that, though, she recognizes that he is near certain death after being wounded at Gettysburg, and if she doesn’t help, his blood will be on her. As the story unfolds, Hawkins does a masterful job of using the Civil War as a stage to highlight the torturous choices faced by those who lived through these times.


Centered around the dichotomy between love and war, the entirety of the premise revolves around a forbidden love story that clashes head-on with the throes of war and egos. Using strong character development to showcase the instant bonds that Anna and her two younger sisters, Abigail and Maggie, form with Summers’ horse, Renegade, the author does a commendable job of keeping the plot flowing with energy. The work is largely driven by the developing relationship betwwen Anna and David (a teenager blossoming into a woman and a perceived traitor to his country) and the inevitable chaos that will ensue when the truth comes out.

The antagonist of the story, Stephen Montgomery, ironically a Union sergeant, is a thorn in the side of Anna and David’s love story. But in reality, the thematic question that the author tests to its limit is at what point and at what cost can love still reign supreme? That internal battle pits Anna and David against their individual duties. For David, the burden of filling the void left behind by his father and supporting his family weigh heavily against his desire to be with Anna, while Anna is mired in caring for her sisters after the loss of her father.


With one obstacle after another continually in their way, the couple’s resolve is almost endlessly tested, whether it is by Anna’s aunt, Sarah, who encourages David to understand the ramifications of his and Anna’s union, or Maggie, the sister who refuses to accept David. In the story, readers are exposed to the perspective of the Confederacy, how they would have viewed President Lincoln, and the ruthlessness of Union soldiers toward captive soldiers. As historical fiction, Hawkins’ work is especially intriguing because of the raw, authentic settings and tension that is being created. Conjuring the palpable feeling of a nation divided amongst itself is downright harrowing, and the contentious dynamic between Stephen Montgomery and David Summer is simply the epitome of that.


While Anna and David are front and center, numerous other storylines are simultaneously heartwarming and gut-wrenching, such as Claudia and Abigail’s expression of childhood innocence and exuberance and the genuine friendship formed between David and Patrick, a neighbor in whom Anna confided wholeheartedly. Above all else, what makes this story so intriguing is the purity of a love story grounded in the faith of the human spirit and unwavering resolve, come what may. Acceptance, or the lack thereof, is a strong theme that resonates universally in Hawkins’ work. Against the backdrop of the Civil War, the duality of war and love create a riveting environment that holds the reader’s attention from cover to cover.


RECOMMENDED by the US Review
©2022 All Rights Reserved • The US Review of Books

New Book Trailer

Here is the book trailer for my new novel, Double-Edged Sword. This book is the fourth one in the Renegade Series, and describes what a family goes through during Reconstruction following the Civil War. I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know what you think.

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