PRAISE FOR THE WAKE UP:
Literature at its finest. Sharp, poetic, dark, with glimmers of light here and there … This novel is technically a fantasy but reminds me more of the Iliad than of the repetitive tropes of conventional fantasy. Like the Iliad, descriptions are lush and moving. Instead of the gods and goddesses of the Iliad, this book has angels and demons. Unlike the Iliad, characters in the Wake Up are relatable and nuanced.
Deborah Kaminski, author of Damian’s Workshop
Exceptionally well written with a rich style and leisurely pace suited toward adult readers. The story has a fantastical element – the ability to see others as angels or devils through the use of mirrors – but this ability and its underlying commentary works equally well as a metaphor for the duality within the human heart. The reality of the story will ring familiar with undertones of the hysteria and brutality of Nazi Germany. Except this is the U.S., and hopefully not a vision of a future. There are parallels to modern politics, and in that respect, this book has undertones of a cautionary tale. At the same time, the entire story serves as a metaphor for the painful process of self-discovery —growing up and growing deep.
Diana Peach, author of Catling’s Bane (The Rose Sheild, #1)
Used simile like a master: “The day after Lexi’s graduation had dawned strangely drab after a week of consecutive summery days, like a cough punctuating a soprano’s solo.” And her definition of love—yeah, I’ll let this one ruin the rest of my life. Plus, I love the symbolism—the red coat, the wolves, Grandfather’s house. And one piece of actual wisdom: Angels and demons—which one wins? Whichever one you feed.
Cathleen Townsend, author of Dragon Hoard and Other Tales of Faerie
The story is dreamlike, flitting through time from scene to scene, sometimes skipping months at a time, sometimes going backwards. It often takes place in Lexi’s head, and for me, she became almost more of an emotion than a person, which helped build the world around me as a reader. I also loved the symbolism of the wolves, and the wolves themselves. The real reason to read this story, though, is the prose. It’s a beautifully written book. The perspective changes are skillfully used and the final segment leaves the reader anxious for a sequel, because it appears things didn’t unfold the way I originally thought. I’ll be looking forward to it!
Xela Culletto, author of Girl Vs
The Wake Up by Angela Panayotopulos is familiar in the sense that it’s a paranormal dystopian with a bleak view of the future. But the author gives this tale her own new and refreshing take that makes for a whirlwind of an interesting story … The prose is beautiful and poetic, sometimes so deep that I had to read it twice.
Misty Mount, author of The Shadow Girl
I had to force myself to plug in my phone and go to bed, then I woke up in the morning to finish it. A fantastic book! Very colorful and vivid language throughout the book. Almost lyrical. Each chapter starts with a quote that connects to the theme of the chapter. If you love dytopian novels and vivid descriptive language, this is a must read!
K. T. Munson, author of The Sixth Gate
A modern-day fairytale told with the carefully crafted prose of a professional storyteller hitting her stride, The Wake Up is both a warning and a genuine wake up call for a generation whose self-absorption rarely masks impending narcissistic meltdown. Do we ignore the light inside to follow the dark, and if so, at whose peril? A highly recommended read.
The Wake Up is unique and compelling. This is an epic story of good vs evil in a not-too distant future United States where a mad man, a self-serving despot and liar, is elected President. The story weaves together every-day living with the unthinkable aftermath of preposterous laws and regulations designed to protect and enhance the self-serving President’s power. I found myself charmed by the seamless continuum from realistic to uncanny, and by the unlikely hero, Lexi. This is a story of unmasking. This is a story of regular people whose regular lives become shattered in the wake of unconscionable government actions. And this is a story of regular people who discover inner strength and mystical awareness when they confront evil and stand fast.
Pat Devlin, award-winning author of Wissahakon Souls
An exceptional dystopian fantasy. Panayotopulos writes through various characters showing how the inner moral compass and actions of an individual can reflect as horns or wings. After a paranoid President passes a law concerning mirrors. Lexi tries to move forward, not forgetting the devastating incident that pulled her family apart. Along the way, she finds a dashing doctor and classmate who unveils a secret that helps Lexi feel less alone. The Wake Up takes you into a philosophical journey with Lexi and her long-time companion wolf, Yang. The text in each chapter was rich, centered on our nightmares, and our connections with heaven and hell.
Miriam Yvette, author of The Birth
A perfectly dark and brilliantly bleak book. There is something special about the way that Panayotopulos writes and delivers her story, [using] brilliantly and meticulously crafted descriptions throughout, and by employing a strong use of simile and metaphor, she creates a sort of poetic element to her work. As the plot progresses, Panayotopulos creates some very interesting and very contemporary plot points, centering around (dare I say it) an unhinged president with a bad haircut. I found that the satire around phrases such as ‘building a wall around our perimeters would only serve to keep the horrors within’ was something that really resonated with me. In general, I found the issues that the story raised to be a fantastic bit of satire that did a very good job at holding a mirror to the world around us.
Andrew Gracey, author of The Dust and the Dark Places
This book is an inspiring story about love and loss, trust and betrayal and about determination, bravery, self sacrifice and resilience. Both the characters and the world they inhabit are extremely well developed. The pacing is well done with just the right amount of tension to keep you up at night- to keep turning the pages. And while the themes are familiar the concept is original, engaging and thought provoking.
H. K. Thompson, author of The Inbetween
Angela Panayotopulos’ The Wake Up was a delightful surprise … A finely crafted allegory of the human condition and what is possible in spite of what we are. Good and Evil are ancient considerations for us humans and well-written books about such things are to be cherished. The English language has not been better served. It’s a wonderful book, especially for those who like to think a bit, and who seek to be better tomorrow.
Robert Brown, author of My First Ten Days in Heaven
A fantastical story with luscious lines of descriptive prose, excellent writing, and a concept of a dystopian world that will send shivers up your spine.
Rose Gonsoulin, author of The Perfectly Good Lie
Sometimes we devour a book. Sometimes it devours us. And sometimes, once it spits us back out, we see the world through new eyes. From the very first page, it’s obvious—this book wasn’t written, it was wrought. At times, like any ride worth taking, it almost flies off the rails, so driven and raw it outstrips mere words, fights the constraints of language. It’s this wild spirit, this giddy abandon, that makes it so hard to put down. Thanks to its subversive power, you’ll never glance in a mirror again, not without dreading what you might find there, the other who’s staring back. That’s the magic of any great book. It compels us to see ourselves. If you want a neat and tidy read, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. But if you’re ready to have your eyes torn open, then it’s time for a Wake Up call.
Brian Marshall, author of Choosing the Dark
PRAISE FOR THE ART OF WAR: A NOVEL
Lively and lovely in the telling.
-Alan Cheuse, NPR’s Voice of Books
A mesmerizing tale, weaving ancient and 20th century pasts with the present. In the hellish night of war, the artist heroine and her Greek island community show how long-treasured traditions create a refuge from war’s inhumanity, provide non-lethal weapons in the fight for survival, and offer hope to those suffering unimaginable loss. Deeply detailed scenes of life’s dailyness—dark coffee at the kafenio, steaming spanakopita fresh from ovens, sticky summer figs, sonorous chants sung before icon-rich altars—recreate miracles at every turn.
-Margaret Yocom, Ph.D., American Folklore Society
Extraordinarily compelling … a poignant, warm, amusing, and brutal portrait of history.
-A. F. Stewart, author of Once Upon a Dark and Eerie
Told in heart-wrenching detail … beautiful and captivating.
A story of love and loss that is truly captivating … full of visually striking descriptions, imaginative and crafted metaphors, and dialogue that is short, snappy and funny at the same time. Kallypso and Gabriel’s relationship from an early age is so pure and innocent that it immediately raises the stakes about what they have to lose with the future of war looming over them.
The war is devastating and it’s arrival consumes everything that Kallypso and Gabriel hold dear, but from the travesty, something beautiful rises in Kallypos’s art … Panayotopulos’s affection for her subject matter really shines through in this novel. It is always enthralling to learn about the history of other places, and with such strong main characters, The Art of War is an absolute delight to read.
-Andrew Gracey, author of The Dust and the Dark Places
An exceptional book. I haven’t read a book of this magnitude and exquisite writing since I read “David Copperfield” a few years ago. It takes time and commitment, but before long, you get hooked and soon realize that you are part of a truly stimulating and unforgettable experience. With sentences that flow like enchanting poetry, we follow the intertwined lives of fraternal twins Kalli and Gabe as they struggle to survive the abominations of WWII. Highly recommended.
-Terry Sprouse, author of How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones
In the first part of the book, the plot unfurls at a languid pace in keeping with life on the island. The descriptions are breathtaking and evocative, as much poetry as prose. Then the war arrives, and the plot grabbed me by the throat. I feared for the characters I had come to love. I’ve read a lot about the second world war, but never an account of what happened in Greece. This is about the poignancy of human suffering and the will to survive through it all. It’s about evil and goodness. And it’s about art.
-Deborah Kaminski, author of Damien’s Workshop
Writing a novel such as this is an ‘art’ in and of itself. Hence the title ‘The Art of War’ is quite appropriate. The descriptive quality of the book is outstanding. She pulls you into the story and takes you along for a ride that could only be outdone by having actually lived through the scenes themselves. I was mesmerized time and again by both the beauty and the tragedy alike throughout the pages of this work. I could not recommend this any higher. Brilliant.
-J. P. Willson, author of Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery
This is spectacular. I typically read old horror novels these days. They are warm blankets for me and require little effort. I avoid books like this, not because they aren’t good, but because they rip me apart at the seams like no horror ever could. The Art of War is a superb example of what I am talking about.
The story of twins separated during WWII. That’s a simple sentence but not a simple story. Beautifully written, Panayotopulus deserves so much recognition. A must read.
-Casey Bartsch, author of Behind the Red Curtain
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