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  • Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through...
    Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of...
    Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of view in both present action and flashbacks, the story follows Dan, who is conflicted about receiving a medical discharge, and Trevor, who is seething with anger over the incident that forced him to miss his deployment. With nowhere else to go, Dan moves into the home of his friends Nathan and Heather and their young son, James. Meanwhile, Trevor is furious with Nathan, who has managed to volunteer to go to battle in Trevor’s place. But Trevor’s hotheaded temperament has finally caught up to him, and regardless of his skill as a true naval warrior, he’s suddenly been ordered to “stay in.” In Nathan’s absence, Dan is charged with looking after Heather and James as he rebuilds his life, while Trevor struggles with his anger and intimacy issues in his relationship with girlfriend Tara. But before they can move forward, they must both come to terms with the fateful event at sea that changed their lives forever. "In this lyrical debut novel, the lives of two U.S. Navy men take dramatic turns after they’re cut from a submarine mission during the Gulf War… Debut author Durkota writes a remarkable narrative centered on the afflicted mindsets of his Navy men… And while Durkota’s work often feels like a thriller, it’s more of a psychological study in which the characters, like flashes of lightning, are wonderfully alive for a very short time." — Kirkus Reviews
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  • Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota is...
    Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota is one of the most mesmerizing books I have ever read. Without looking up Michael Durkota before I started, I knew straight away that he must have been a...
    Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota is one of the most mesmerizing books I have ever read. Without looking up Michael Durkota before I started, I knew straight away that he must have been a submariner himself. The descriptions inside the submarine are exquisite to the tiniest detail. Without a doubt I felt like I was there, experiencing for myself: the coffee, the films, the banter, the heat, the lack of fresh air. Really, the author does a tremendous job of drawing you in to the life within a submarine, and more importantly… into the minds of the men on board. Focusing on the mindset of four friends, Michael Durkota spins a delicate depiction of men grappling with life and their need to be loved. Once in a Blue Year is therefore, more than a wonderful psychological drama, it is also a love story. Our main man Dan is not enjoying his life (I felt like he’d lost his way) and ends up being honorably discharged on medical grounds. A blessing and a curse. He now has eight months to find ‘himself’ and start a new life. When his lifelong buddy Nathan, goes to war, Dan moves into his house and helps take care of Heather and baby James. For all to see – it’s a disaster waiting to happen. A man lost and lacking love wraps his heart and soul around a woman who is angry, frightened and lonely. My heart also went out to Trevor, a man with a fortress around his emotions who surprises me at the end with his speech of his perfect understanding of human nature. We don’t get to see his life unfold but I sure hope he got a happy ever after. Jags, the fourth friend, made me laugh out loud on several occasions with his one-liners and I enjoyed the light relief. Michael Durkota is a brilliant writer who has created remarkable characters and a thought-provoking, compelling and memorable story which kept me absorbed from start to finish. With polished writing that ebbs and flows with the grace of the tide, Michael Durkota presents us with his début novel with flourishing finesse. Once in a Blue Year is highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews. BOOK AWARDS Top Medalist – Military – New Apple Book Awards Top Medalist – Psychological Suspense – New Apple e-Book Awards Finalist – IAN Book of the Year Awards. 
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  • Michael D. Durkota, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His debut novel, Once in a Blue Year,...
    Michael D. Durkota, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His debut novel, Once in a Blue Year, follows two friends...
    Michael D. Durkota, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the University of Pittsburgh. His debut novel, Once in a Blue Year, follows two friends during the Persian Gulf War as they struggle with their navy service, adulthood, and relationships. Durkota lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his wife. He is currently working on his second novel Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durkota “A bold debut, filled with unforgettable moments and characters.” — Kirkus Reviews
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  • Paul Tanner and Nicky Newman were two of the most highly recruited Point Guards in the country for Division II Basketball. New Coach at the ‘U’ Bob Barrows built his whole program...
    Paul Tanner and Nicky Newman were two of the most highly recruited Point Guards in the country for Division II Basketball. New Coach at the ‘U’ Bob Barrows built his whole program around them....
    Paul Tanner and Nicky Newman were two of the most highly recruited Point Guards in the country for Division II Basketball. New Coach at the ‘U’ Bob Barrows built his whole program around them. Everything was going fine and the team was on track to become one of the greatest ever in the region until Paul let fame and the attention go right to his head. He partied hardy, drank, did drugs and had many women but mostly didn’t remember what happened once he started down that dark path. He and Nicky became brothers that first year and even lectures and pleas from Nicky didn’t help straighten him out. Paul knew Nicky was hurting too—watching him destroy his life like that. Nicky lost his only brother the same way and feared the same would happen to Paul. Nicky felt he just couldn’t bury another brother. Until….Paul met Maggie Sardo. He didn’t want to fall in love with her and knew she would hate his friends and bad habits but he just couldn’t help himself. He knew the only way he could be with her was if he changed his life around and was Nicky ever so happy he had someone to help him save Paul. Somehow your past always finds you as in this story. Paul tried to live a good life but it always seemed to haunt him—even years later. This story is about tragedy, hope, kindness, friendships and most of all love.
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  •   Rachelle Vaughn reacted to this post about 5 days ago
    The Madness of March by Marguerite Nardone Gruen follows two...
    The Madness of March by Marguerite Nardone Gruen follows two lovers’ enduring love. It is a story about learning, growth, and transformation. A unique, one-of-a-kind story that readers will soon...
    The Madness of March by Marguerite Nardone Gruen follows two lovers’ enduring love. It is a story about learning, growth, and transformation. A unique, one-of-a-kind story that readers will soon not forget. After losing his brother to drugs, Nicholas “Nicky” Newman painfully watches as his best friend, Paul Tanner follows a similar path as that of his brother. Being basketball phenomes, the two have scholarships for their university education. However, Paul stands to lose it all due to fast-living characterized by drugs and partying. That is until he meets Maggie Sardo. Maggie, on her part, has always had a crush on Paul. When she is introduced to him at a party, a relationship develops between them. Paul, however, is not ready to change and Maggie does not fit into his lifestyle. Still, Maggie’s love for Paul continues to grow and for Paul, she is like no other woman he has ever met. Will their relationship survive Paul’s habits or will the past prove too alluring? The story opens with a moving scene; of a basketball star close to losing it all if he does not change. Despite Nicky’s warnings, Paul continues to sink further into drugs. Maggie and Paul’s relationship contains many ups and downs which makes it realistic. Maggie is a strong character, having to stand up for herself and other times ignore the naysayers. Her stormy relationship with her father further reflects her strength and selflessness. Supporting characters give the story depth and they broaden the main characters’ lives making them feel authentic. The pace of the story is accommodating, not too fast as to lessen the scenes’ impact but also not slow such that the story becomes dull. The work also does a great job of covering its predominant themes which are: family relationships, friendship, romance, and love. Marguerite Nardone Gruen’s The Madness of March is a compelling romance novel that is entertaining and captivating for its authentic portrayal of relationships, unique narrative and the author’s excellent descriptive style.
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  • Marguerite lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband for the past 38 years. She enjoys cooking, gardening and vacationing at the beach. She is an avid sports fan and...
    Marguerite lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband for the past 38 years. She enjoys cooking, gardening and vacationing at the beach. She is an avid sports fan and from September to...
    Marguerite lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband for the past 38 years. She enjoys cooking, gardening and vacationing at the beach. She is an avid sports fan and from September to February every year her weekends revolve around football. From January to April her focus is on March Madness – College Basketball and enjoys going to games at Madison Square Garden in New York with her brother Frank. Her dream is to travel all over Europe spending months in each country from the United Kingdom to Italy and will be looking for someone to go with her because her husband will not leave the US
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  • Beautifully written, this book has it all:...
    Beautifully written, this book has it all: spirituality, exploration of the physical and spiritual realms, adventure, and self-discovery. It moves the reader along at a rapid pace, never bogging....
    Beautifully written, this book has it all: spirituality, exploration of the physical and spiritual realms, adventure, and self-discovery. It moves the reader along at a rapid pace, never bogging. Its pages pour hope and inspiration. K.C. I absolutely loved Sherrie Dillard’s memoir and I couldn’t stop reading it late into the night. Dillard’s journey takes you to fascinating places that you couldn’t imagine. She shares so much of her life with the reader in a truly relatable way. I’m thankful for books such as “I’ve Never Met A Dead Person I Didn’t Like.” This memoir illustrates how powerful the memoir genre can be when well written. The author’s profound experiences and insights are truly worth sharing with the world. D.H. I could not put this inspirational memoir down. Sherrie Dillard’s story should be heard. She has suffered abuse as well as personal growth. I can’t wait to start reading her previous books. J.L. Sherrie’s story is so compelling. She had hills and valleys in her childhood, and even though she could see and feel spirits from the other side, she tried to push them away because she wanted to be “normal;” she always felt she was on the outside looking in. But whenever things in her life got really bad, she would call on them and they would lead and comfort her. She finally realized they were the one true thing that had been with her all along. This intelligent story explores the often controversial world of the “other side” and the afterlife and one woman’s struggle to accept her gift and then embrace it fully. C. G A life affirming upbeat book, not one I would normally read but one I found I enjoyed. Easy to read and follow and one you don’t want to put down. S.M. GREAT Book!!! A fast read all the way to the end! Through the details of her painful past and through her courage to find her voice and truth, so relatable and so honest! The advice her guides gave to Sherrie and her work at the end was wonderful! Thank you for sharing and being you!!! B. C Chick Lit Cafe highly recommends I’ve Never Met A Dead Person I Didn’t Like: Initiation By Spirits by Sherrie Dillard.
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