Sunday, October 19, 2014

Girl Spins A Blade

Girl Spins a Blade is written by Jacques Antoine and is the 4th book in the Emily Kane short story series.  It was originally published under the title: The High Road to the Mountain Gods.  It featured (surprise) Emily Kane, who is looking for spiritual renewal among the Buddhists of Nepal. 

This book was my first introduction to Emily Kane.  I was able to enjoy this book, however I definitely prefer NOT to start in the middle of the series, as there were some passages that talked about previous events that I had no knowledge of .  Otherwise, this book did a great job as stand-alone read.  It started out with great momentum and my biggest confusion was picking up in the middle of the story at the beginning, but it caught me up quickly and I was able to enjoy the rest of the novel. 

This is a short story that I would love to see combined with the other short stories into a complete anthology of Emily Kane.  Jacques definitely has a skill for writing and he does a great job of bringing Emily and the ancillary characters to life.  The scenes are described in detail, when needed, and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the statues and temples at Katmandu. I did find myself craving more detail about the atmosphere within the Buddhist temple.  I am not sure if this was done intentionally to  leave an air of wonder or if it was left off.  Either way it didn't detract from the scene. 

Being that it is a short story, it definitely moved quickly a covered a lot of ground.  It would be awesome to see such a great story expounded upon into a full on novel.  Once you have written multiple short stories about the same character I would love to see it all put together.

Emily definitely stands up as an empowered female character.  I don't really understand where she got her training or mind control (I assume this was explained in previous books), but it is nice to see her take responsibility for Sonam.  She is supposedly possessing goddess-like qualities, and one may even reside in here.  There was some mention of a grandmother (that I think must have come from one of the previous stories).

I loved the detail that was put into cultural aspects as well as dress of the Nepalese culture.  Although it was hard to gauge the amount of time that was spanned throughout the book, it was great to see Emily taken in by the people and even have one of them want to arrange a marriage for her.  Given the way that her violent spirit seemed to find a shared interest, it would have been nice to get to know this new beau better as a character. 
 
Overall I give this book 4/5 stars.  IT was well written and an interesting and unique story.  Although you can still enjoy it on it's own, I would highly suggest getting the blanks filled in by reading the previous 3 short stories.  It was only 47 pages long, so it is great for a quality short story read.  I would love to read the previous stories and any that come after this one as the author has created a character I enjoy reading about.  Great for anyone who enjoys reading Asian, Eastern, Nepalese, fiction, woman empowering, fantasy, martial arts, Buddhism, spirituality, etc books. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orange Brandy Pork

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love pork.  So what is better than to mix some delicious brandy into your pork?  Enjoy this succulent and easy recipe!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter (Unsalted)
3 Pork Loins
Seasoning (Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt, Basil, Thyme)
1 Carrot (Outside peeled off and then peel the rest of the carrot down to the core)
2/3 Cup Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Grand Marnier

Directions:
Add the butter into a heavy bottom skillet. Season the pork generously and add to the butter.  Cook until barely pink in the center (about 4 minutes per side).   Transfer the pork to a plate and cover. 
Add the carrot to the skillet and saute over medium heat until softened (about 4 minutes).  Add the orange juice and liquor and scrape up and remaining bits on the bottom of the pan and cook for 1 minute.
Return the pork and any remaining juices to the skillet until heated all the way through.  Serve the pork with carrot on top and sauce spooned over.  Enjoy.

Add the seasoned pork to the skillet
Saute' the carrot slices
Add the remaining ingredients
Bring the pork back to the sauce
Serve & Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Liar Liar

Liar Liar is written by J. A. Coffey and Julianne Floyd and is the first book in the Sexy Southerners Series.  It is about a fraud examiner named Jessica Barlow...  Jessica also happens to be single and has dabbled in a dating site or two.  On her first solo case, she is tasked with investigating the fraud of the exact same dating site that she is currently registered with.

I just have to say that this was one of the most fun and entertaining reads that I have encountered in a long time.  It is definitely ranking up there as one of my top guilty pleasure books.  The flow of the book was fantastic, the dialogue and descriptions were titillating.  The view point of an outsider looking in as opposed to in-character narration worked superbly for this book. 

The main character Jessica sat very well with me as I could see myself in her many times over as someone having used dating sites with mediocre luck and worse luck with the men that I have dated in the past.  I also loved that the getaway resort was in Montana, as I myself am from Montana.  The headquarters are in Texas and I currently reside in Texas.  There were just so many uncanny similarities that made this book closer to me.  Matteo was definitely a wonderful sexy addition as the supporting character of this book. 

Coffey was very in tune with her writing of any teasing or sex scenes, but there was one in particular that stood out to me.  I must commend her on writing one of the most descriptive, steamiest foreplay scenes that I have ever encountered in my entire adult reading time.  Even had the whole book been crap it would have been worth it just for the picnic scene alone after whitewater rafting.  However, don't let that make you think that this book is ALL about sex.  It is not, it is about finding the ability to trust someone enough to be open enough to them to be able to experience such highs with someone else, and to find the ability to heal after mass destruction of one's heart. 

The characters were well described and personified and it was easy to relate to them as actual people (especially for me).  There may have been a couple of slightly cheesy moments when Matteo (Matt) is pouring it on a little think in his descriptions of Jessica, but the book was so damn good that it was easy to overlook and you didn't even care, you just went with it.  This is the sign of truly amazing writing skill.  Some people just have this ability to make a story flow even if not every little detail is perfect.  That is the TRUE art of story telling.

I give this book and obvious 5/5 stars as it has high re-readability value and is also the first in a series, which I cannot wait to read the next book.  The book that I was gifted had an except from the beginning of the next book and I already read it twice and need to get into it ASAP!  This book is definitely for MATURE audiences and if you are not comfortable with sex scenes than you are first of all missing out, and second of all may want to shy away from this one.  It is a book full of romance, woman empowerment, fiction, sex, and chick lit (I still don't really get what that really pertains to, but it sounds good here, so I am going to go with it.)  Although female readers may be more attracted to this one, my male readers could learn a thing or two from a few parts of the book. 

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Glass Heart Girl

Book Review

The Glass Heart Girl is written by Michelle Diana Low and is a book about statutory rape and the painful recovery process that Alena goes through in order to find a way to open her heart up completely to the man that she loves years later.  

The concept of this book is very exemplary and the base of the story is definitely well done.  Unfortunately I spent a lot of time, especially in the first third of the book wondering why so many common words that could have been used were instead interchanged with weird sounding thesaurus words.  There is a scene in which Alena and Phillip first meet and are kissing and it’s calling their mouths orifices…  I wasn’t sure if I should be picturing myself in a laboratory or in a porno….  I kept thinking back to the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” and how the counselor Miss Perky was trying to write an erotic romance novel and coming up for different names for sexual parts.   

I feel like there is definitely a wonderful story in here, but it is still in need of some major editing.  Alena’s trauma that she is going through when described is very realistic and believable when she is in her mind reliving past memories.  This part of the writing was superbly done.  Also the romance with Philip was a bit over the top and seemed geared for a younger possibly immature mindset, but this could tie into the sexual trauma that can be a result of how many people’s minds in love do not fully progress past the point of sexual trauma without healing, if ever.  

What was the biggest negative for me in this book was the way that Alena would sexualize and describe herself with such confidence one second and then immaturely cry and shut down and refuse to talk to Philip about anything.  I felt that there were two different people here and two different story lines that weren’t completely syncing up in a believable manner.  Then you throw in the in love with my friend vibe from the roommate Becca.  I get that the title of the book is glass heart girl, but there was no need to keep constantly saying that she had a glass heart, it did start to get a little old.

Most positive aspects of the book for me were that the characters are all wonderfully described in that you can see them in your mind as people and they have real human emotions, not just words on a page.  The trauma in Alena’s mind and the flashbacks again were wonderfully written and Michelle obviously has skill in this department.  

Overall I find myself giving this book a 3.5/5 stars.  I wanted to love it so much, but it felt so raw to be still.  The flow was constantly being interrupted for me.  The immature feel of the relationship would have been more believable if this would have been a book about a younger girl in high school as opposed to a college age woman (in my humble opinion).  Throw away the thesaurus and let your own words flow!  This got better as the story progressed, but in the beginning it really was breaking up the natural flow of the writing of the story.  There is no need for constant renaming of regular body parts such as mouths into orifices, it just sounds weird.  I would definitely read more by Michelle in the future and would love to see this book finely polished and to read more from her as she develops as an author.  If you are into romance, young adult, sensitive topics, real-life issues, fiction, this book is for you.






Blurb:

On the surface Alena has a wonderful life – she’s a bubbly, vivacious 20 year old woman enjoying university with bestie, Becca, her quirky Californian housemate and Phillip, her amazing boyfriend. But beneath all that happiness there is pain, a despairing sorrow and a heart cut so deep that it might never heal.   She is a wounded woman, psychologically trapped between two worlds – a realm of darkness and desolation and a life of love, hope and freedom. The man, who controlled, manipulated and mistreated her as a child, is a malignant shadow – a dangerous spectre lurking in the backdrop, who is hell-bent on destroying and consuming her. But now she must find the strength to fight for liberation. Banish the demons forever and embrace true love, before she is devoured by the spirits of yesterday.    This is a powerful and riveting story of one young woman’s courage, bravery and determination to overcome a distressing and traumatic childhood and welcome a new life with the man she truly loves.



Excerpt:

Chapter 3

The Heartthrob

A tall, dark, handsome guy breezes into my dorm room, his long brown  cardigan swooping across the scope of the generous space. I’m sitting on my bed, eyes closed, heart open, feeling the coolness of his sexy ambiance rushing onto my face. It feels refreshing, delightful, satisfying. Slowly, I ease my eyes open halfway, and my glance moves to the doorway, where the presence of an ebony shadow stands proudly, absorbing the light from the corridor. It makes me feel weak in the knees, like a damsel in distress whose superhero has come to rescue her from the tedium of uni life: studying, essays, exams and heavy assignments. My face brightens, and I welcome the distraction.

Quickly, my eyes fully open; my heart races. I know who this sexy 20-year-old guy is. I am so happy he has come. I cannot breathe for a few moments, and I push my hands firmly into the bed, leaving a dent, my imprint of love, in the malleable covers. I lift my body up vertically with these sturdy hands, and swing my bottom, back and forth, using the strength of my body weight to keep me balanced. I stare deep into his eyes, rendering him speechless at the sight of my light acrobatic performance. I’m excited! He knows it. He can see my enthusiasm shining through my eyes.

I am completely stimulated by this luscious visitor, and I can see  his eyes  nearly bursting with fervour. He wants to touch me, I can tell.  But he is much too far away to do more than enjoy my body from a distance. He licks his lips, staring readily at my breasts, nature’s  kind gift to men. I move into his line of vision like an ocean’s soft, iridescent current, and moisten my thin, red lips, desperate for him to come closer. Slowly, teasingly, he ambles towards me, his custom-made jeans with diamond studs at the sides hanging loosely down, sagging at the bottom. The waistband of his blue Calvin Klein boxer shorts is clearly visible, more than adamantly insisting on his sexual prowess.


Buy Links:

Please note: All who want to pre-order need to register first on BNBS – www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk. Once they register, they can make their order. When readers pre-order the book, they can opt to become supporters, by ticking (checking) the relevant box on the pre-order page. If they do this, they will then be listed as a supporter – their name is added to the supporter list, which is visible to all who go on the page.

Britain’s Next Bestseller



About the Author:

I was born in East London and have lived there most of my life. I started writing stories at six and have enjoyed writing ever since. In 2005 I graduated from Roehampton University and it is then that I found my literary voice. I began writing professionally in January 2014, when my novel ‘Heaven Calls For An Angel’, was published by a digital publisher. I wrote this book as a tribute to a friend who sadly died of cancer. My latest novel, The Glass Heart Girl, I published as an indie author at first. But then I got discovered by a publisher and I am on the verge of landing a book deal.

Connect With The Author:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Giveaway:

Enter to win one of five autographed posters of The Glass Heart Girl!  Open internationally. The giveaway will run 10/12/14 – 10/19/14. To enter, simply leave a blog comment on the tour post, and please make sure to include a valid email address! Winners will be randomly selected and contacted by the author after the tour is over for delivery. To increase your chances of winning, simply follow the tour and comment at each stop.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

September 2014 Playlist

Here are some songs that affected me in one way or another during the month of September.  Enjoy my eclectic taste!



1. Requiem for a Dream- Jennifer Thomas: This song came on a lot last month and it stood out to be every time.  I know that this is a remake but I think that she does such a spectacular job.

2. Accidentally in Love-Counting Crows: With the news of the new Counting Crows album, and listening to Disney kids Pandora a lot, I just couldn't leave Counting Crows off.  

3. Fearless-Colbie Calliat: You can just feel the heartbreak in this song.  I just love Colbie.

4. Again-Lenny Kravitz:  I have always had a huge crush on Lenny and his re-emergence into my life through the Hunger Games made me so happy to hear this song, which was always great to begin with.

5. Renegade-Styx: How can you not love this song and want to rock out any time that you hear it.  If you fall into that category than I don't know why you are on my page anyway ;)

6. Shatter Me-Lindsey Stirling feat Lizzie Hale: I love everything about this song, the lyrics, the violin, the music video!  Stands out as such a great one!  "Somebody shine a light, I'm frozen by the fear in me. Somebody make me feel alive, And shatter me"

7. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around-Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty: Such a wondrous collaboration!  Just love their voices together.  Great song.

8. Warrior Concerto-Glitch Mob: I seriously love Glitch Mob, although I feel like they could have shortened the intro of the song, the rest of it is so badass that it makes it work listening to.

9. Feeling Good-Michael Buble': I am seriously in love with Michael Buble', he makes everything in life better and reminds you that hope exists.  Plus this is a great confidence boosting song that makes you saunter across your living room floor.

10. All I Have-Jennifer Lope feat LL Cool J: I have always loved this song.  Sometimes when enough is enough, you just have to walk away.  

11. You Can't Hurry Love-The Supremes: So I went through an old music kick last month, but you can't argue that this isn't an awesome song and still applicable.

12. Waking Dream-Natalie Walker: I just love how haunting this song is.

13. Spectrum-Zedd feat Matthew Koma: This was the first song that I ever heard of Zedd and I was hooked.  I can still remember the first time I saw this video and how weird it is and also how fitting it it's old weird way it is with the song.

14. Maria, Maria-Santana ft Wyclef Jean: Santana is just so talented and awesome!  This song will always be a great one.

15. Shake It Out-Florence and the Machine: The lyrics are always synced up with moments in my life.  I love you FATM!  We all need to spring clean our lives from the past and "shake it out", move on.

16. Give Me Everything-Pitbull feat Ne-Yo & Nayer: This song always makes me feel upbeat and dancey!  Pitbull just has that charisma and swagger in his smile, I love it!  Plus there is also something about a guy that calls your "dahling"

17. Turn Me On-David Guetta feat Nicki Minaj: I so love David Guetta, and this video will always be one of my favorites.  I just love the building of the mannequin that is brought to life and all that it could symbolize. 

18. Sarajavo-Blackmill: Blackmill just dominates every song that they put out.  They always stand out to me no matter what I am doing, I instantly stop and look at my Pandora and it's Blackmill being awesome agian.

19. Cups (When I'm Gone)-Anna Kendrick: Liam freaking loves this song, and it is catchy and I like it now too.  We sing it together at loud volume in the car :)

20. Now We Are Free-Lisa Kelly/Gerard: I LOVE this song, and it is from the grand movie Gladiator.  Such a beautiful Celtic melody.

21. Shimmer-Fuel: This was always my favorite Fuel song!  I love everything about it!

22. Beauty is Her Name-Dru Hill: Great R & B by Dru Hill, makes me miss good music.

23. Years of War-Porter Robinson feat Breanne Duran: Such a great song to listen to.

24. I Choose You-Sara Bareilles: Somehow Sara has taken over one of my stations, and I have gotten to hear a lot of her songs that had never crossed my ears before and I am loving it.  This song is a great representation of a lot of her awesome.  Love the lyrics.

25. Happy-Pharell: You just can't listen to this song and NOT be happy.  Liam and I love it as a pick me up, dance around the house kind of song.

26. Sorrow-Flyleaf: Flyleaf is great at exploring a range of emotions!  I just love Lacey's voice and I am sad to hear the she decided to leave the band, but becoming a mom can change your life priorities for sure.

27. Never Too Late-Three Days Grace: I seriously need to make an entire station dedicated to Three Days Grace!  Always great music.  Always nice to think that you can make new choices and it's never too late.

28. Shake It Off-Mariah Carey:  You really do just need to shake it off sometimes, and move on.

29. You Make Me Feel-CobraStarShip feat Sabi: I love Cobra Starship and this song is fun! "I'm known for taking what I think I deserve, and you're over due"

30. Love Somebody-Maroon5: This song always makes me want to be in love.  It's been so long since anyone make me feel this way.  The older I get I start to wonder if it's even possible anymore.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Spotlight on Jennifer Ott








About the Book:

Quote:



“You and I are now time itself, not just the city,

The whole world is taking part in our decision.

We are more than just the two of us now.

We embody something.

We are sitting in the People’s Square

And it’s full of people with the same dream as ours.

We define the game for all.

I’m ready.”
Wings of Desire

Wim Wenders

Peter Handke

 

Blurb:
From the outside, starlet Olivia Hammond has it all—fame, fortune and a Hollywood hunk boyfriend. No one suspects her rising self-doubts and anxieties. In order to escape the realities of her chaotic world, she dives into an Oscar quality role of a young woman trapped in the horrors of postwar Berlin. It is here that Olivia feels most comfortable.

Her real and fictional lives collide when the director casts Dimitri Malakhov, a Russian porn star, as her costar. She immediately fears her image and reputation will be tainted. Personally and professionally, she must face what frightens her most—exposing herself, her fears, her imperfections and her desires to the world.

The experience of filming the movie with Dimitri and being on location in Berlin destroys her prejudices and judgments. It shatters all her illusions and perceptions. When liberated from her own confines, her life and love truly shine.


Manchmal das Herz muss zerstört werden, um zu heilen.
Sometimes the heart needs to be broken in order to heal.
Excerpt:

Wings of Desire

The theater was surprisingly crowded for a weekday afternoon. Olivia wondered if the patrons were tourists or Berliners. From the voices, she heard they were mostly native. Olivia paid for their tickets. Dimitri bought a round of beers and the two found seats in the darkened theater.

Both were sullen and quiet as other people entered to watch the movie. Olivia listened to the soft German whispers. She glanced at Dimitri, who seemed a mile away. There was no doubt his mind was on Daniella. It had to be the worst feeling, making love to a man knowing he loved another woman. Guilt, shame and overwhelming disappointment shrouded her once liberated mood.

Soon after the movie began, Olivia started to cry, but it wasn’t the movie. She felt as though she was watching her own life. Why am I me?  Why am I not you? Who am I? The questions were so complex, yet so simple. If the questions were so simple, why are they so hard to answer?

She didn’t remember when sadness annexed her life, but she was able to see it in pictures and hear it in her voice. She became crass and blunt. What was it that made me this way? Was it really Trent? I care for him. He is a good man. Is it movies? Is it the fans, the media? There was really no one she could blame her angst on; it just existed inside her. Numbness arose when there was no release. Sex became unfulfilling. The limelight ceased to excite. Designer gowns did not differ from ten-dollar rags. The movies she made no longer inspired.

Wings of Desire character Marion struck her deeply—the winged beauty on the trapeze. She flew so high and with ease for everyone to admire, but inside she was haunted by sadness and fear. No one saw her pain; she never showed it, yet every performance she thought of letting go and falling to her death. Every performance was a near act of suicide. This is my life, Olivia thought.

Buy Links:
Amazon

About the Author:


 
Inspiration comes from watching way too much Monty Python.  The abstract and the absurd way of looking at normal life, not only offers humor, but questions many problems in society in a light-hearted manner. If we can laugh at ourselves, if we can laugh at life, problems do not seem quite so difficult to tackle.  In fact, problems are not as complicated as they seem; everything is very simple. If you can laugh atit, write about it and read about it, most likely one would think about it.

Author Jennifer Ott has written several satire fiction, Wild Horses, The Tourist and two non-fiction books Love and Handicapping and Ooh Baby Compound Me! She recently published, Serenidipidus and Edge of Civilization. She also is the host of the SuperJenius Internet Radio show on Artist First radio Network.


Jennifer Ott lives in Long Beach, California, enjoys the sun, the sand, the surf and lots of Mexican food.


Connect With Jennifer Ott:


Twitter
Pinterest
Website
The Super Jenius Show
Youtube

Giveaway:

There are two giveaways on this tour! Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card through Rafflecopter. Open internationally! Then, enter to win one of two print copies of A Soul To Shine through Goodreads! This giveaway is restricted to residents of the US, UK, Australia and Canada. The giveaways will run the length of the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Soul To Shine by Jennifer Ott

A Soul To Shine

by Jennifer Ott

Giveaway ends October 10, 2014.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, October 6, 2014

No-Bake Cake Balls

Liam and I frequent Starbucks mostly due to his cake pop love.  I keep wanting to make him soemthing similar at home, so my mom found this recipe and sent it to me to play with.  They turned out VERY delicious.  Tasted a lot like cookie dough in chocolate.  In the future I would use a bit less flour since they were a tad bit crumbly and cut the white chocolate with cream or frosting.  It was a humongous sticky mess to coat the balls in JUST white chocolate.  Very yummy though.

Ingredients: (makes about 14-20 balls depending on how you roll them)
1/2 Cup Butter (1 stick, softened)
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Vanilla Cake Mix
1 1/2 Cup Flout (Start with just 1 Cup and add in as you need)
pinch of salt
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 Cup Milk
6-8 oz white chocolate (again you may want to add in some milk or cream or even some frosting (homemade or store bought) to keep it from being quite so sticky)
Sprinkles

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat a wire rack with non-stick spray.

Mix all ingredients except the chocolate and sprinkles and roll into balls that are about 1 inch in diameter.  Set the balls on the cookie sheer and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Melt chocolate and stir until smooth.  Dip each ball into the chocolate, coating completely and set on rack.  Top with sprinkles and chill all balls in the fridge until set. 

Serve and enjoy!  They taste amazing with milk.

Soften the butter
Add in the sugar
Add in the flour
Add all ingredients except for the chocolate and sprinkles
Mix until starting to crumble
Roll into balls and set on cookie sheet to be chilled
Dip the balls into the chocolate
Top with sprinkles and set on drying rack to be chilled

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Universe Builders

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty is written by Steve Lebel and stands out amongst a sea of mediocrity. It features a main character named (surprise) Bernie and he is a God in another Universe that has graduated school with a major in Universe building and is hoping to obtain a job with “the company,” to build universes for a living.

Let me just say that this is one of the best books I have read all year, maybe ever. There are so many phenomenal layers to this book; I feel as though I could reread it over and over again and find something new each time. Steve has created an imaginative world based in possible dimensional trains of thoughts and takes a humorous poke at the idea of not being alone in the universe. He even goes one further and explores the idea of God creating our universe, but not just one God, that there are many Gods in another universe that create countless universes encompassing many life forms.

The Universe Builders provides the reader with a normal guy in our main God named Bernie. He is somewhat of a geek and doesn’t have many friends. He lives in a lesser neighborhood with his mother and is constantly fighting against what seems normal for everyone else. I love his sense of “humanity” in wanting to fight for the most humane treatment of his life forms. When other Gods have no qualms about “blinking” out a life force, Bernie will go out of his way to preserve any life that he can and work around it.

The antagonist of the story is found in Billy. Billy’s life mission has been to bully Bernie throughout school. In an attack on a girl named Suzie, Bernie finally fought back leaving Billy with a permanent scar on his face. When Billy finds himself in the same office as him, he will do anything in his power to ensure that Bernie is fired, and some of his heinous acts break your heart.

I found myself feeling intensely connected to the characters and the situations, especially when it came to some of the life forms. I definitely had a few moments of tearing up and others of wanting to slap Billy in the face haha. This was such a wonderful book, I hated when it ended. I hope to read more about this “universe” created by Mr. Lebel.

Overall I give this book 5/5 stars. I recommend it to anyone. It was so great it should be enjoyed by all. It was well written, detail oriented, well thought-out. I hope to explore more of the worlds within Steve’s mind some day in the future.

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



AUTHOR BIO

Steve LeBel

Steve LeBel - photo

How best to describe an author who writes humorous fantasy?
Do we tell about bookshelves full of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal books, his love of mythology, or the years he spent as dungeon master? Or is it more important to know his favorite player-character was a chaotic-good elven fighter / mage? And what about that stack of old comic books he never seems to get rid of?
There’s a serious side too. The other half of his bookshelf bulges with titles on management, marketing, computer programming, and financial analysis. What about his years as a hospital president, the many businesses he created, or all the time he spent in board rooms? What about his early years counseling drug addicts, or his years as a stock trader?
Is there a pattern to his travels around the world? Why choose places like King Arthur’s Camelot, the Temple of Delphi, Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment, China’s Forbidden City, or the Great Pyramids of Egypt? What is he seeking?
And what does this have to do with writing good fantasy?
Perhaps it’s that dichotomy within Steve that makes The Universe Builders such a delightful story with such serious undertones.
Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Twitter:  SteveLeBel
Facebook:  SteveLeBel.Author
GooglePlus:  +SteveLeBel


The Universe Builders by Steve LeBel 
BOOK INFO
  • Genre:  humorous science fiction / fantasy for young adult and adult
  • Title:  The Universe Builders
  • Author:  Steve LeBel
  • Description:  A young god graduates from God School and gets his dream job of building his first universe.  Plagued by a school rival and aided by his friends, he struggles to create a world he can be proud of.
  • Length:  120k words, approximately 420 pages
  • Book Trailer:  View Book Trailer
  • ISBN-13 (ebook edition):  978-0-9910554-1-8
    • Publication date:  June 1, 2014
    • Price:  $3.99
  • ISBN-13 (print edition):  978-0-9910554-0-1
    • Publication date:  August 1, 2014
    • Price:  $16.95
  • Library of Congress Control Number [LCCN]: 2014900580
  • Publisher:  Argon Press  (www.argonpress.com)
  • Review Copies (free):  Request from Publisher.
Publisher’s Note:  This book was offered as an Advance Review Copy under the title Bernie and the Putty.  The book will be published under the title The Universe Builders.

BOOK REVIEWS
These are some places where you can find book reviews for The Universe Builders:

READ EXCERPTS
You can read excerpts of the book here.

TO PURCHASE BOOK(S)
The book is currently available at Amazon.com:

COMPLETE CONTACT INFORMATION
This is the contact info for Steve LeBel:
Book Site:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com
Book Trailer:  www.TheUniverseBuilders.com/trailer
Email:  Steve@TheUniverseBuilders.com
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SteveLeBel
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SteveLeBel.author
Goodreads:  www.Goodreads.com/SteveLeBel
GooglePlus:  www.Google.com/+SteveLeBel
Pinterest:  www.Pinterest.com/SteveLeBelAutho
Personal:  www.SteveLeBel.com
Publisher:  www.ArgonPress.com
Snail mail:
c/o Argon Press
3442 Pigeon Hill
Muskegon, MI 49441

BLOG TOURS AND GIVEAWAYS
Steve LeBel enjoys participating in blog tours and giveaways.
Author Interviews:
Please contact him for information, including giveaways.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BREW BLAST and Interview with David Estes

I was blessed with the honor of interviewing author David Estes in anticipation of his latest novel which will be based around the witch apocalyspse and starts off with the excitement inducing book Brew.  Already he has released the cover for the second part Boil and a quick synopsis.  This talented man wastes no time in pacifying his reader's desire for more novels from his brilliant mind; however, don't think for a minute that it means that quality of storytelling will suffer.  Once he gets on a roll with a storyline, he just runs with it.  Here is the interview between David and I that will give a little insight into his mind, and don't forget to read on for information about his two new books, ways to learn more about David, as well as FREE STUFF and GIVEAWAYS!  

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ESTES

KB: What made you want to focus your new novel around witches?

DE: Great first question! One thing I pride myself on is bringing something unique to my readers' experience with each new series. After writing a successful but long 7-book dystopian series (The Dwellers/Country Sagas), I really wanted to stick with the genre I love the most, which is dystopian/post-apocalyptic, but I knew I'd have to bring something fresh to the story. In this case, I decided to include a paranormal element. I made a list of all the possibilities, and then started crossing out the ones that I had no interest or inspiration to write about. Every time my pen hovered over witches, I got excited about the possibilities and my mind started writing the story. That's a really good sign for an author. The books that have been the easiest for me to write (and my best books, in my opinion), are the ones that are constantly playing in my head while I'm working on them. Brew was one of those books, and the sequel, Boil, was the same, like a movie in my mind.

Of course, just adding witches to an apocalypse isn't necessarily hugely original in and of itself; so I put a new spin on witches, having them separate into gangs (rather than covens), that were primarily based on magical specialty (rather than familial relationships). What you get are a variety of types of witches, some ultra-violent, some strangely humane, and some downright mystical. I hope it'll make for an awesome story!

KB: What time period of witch lore has stood out to you the most?
DE: I decided not to go that far back, as that made things more realistic for the facts of a current story set during our time. So I basically focused on the Salem Witch Trials, which were a hugely embarrassing series of events leading to the murder of so-called witches. Brew centers on the idea that maybe some (or all) of those so-called witches really were REAL witches and their friends have been plotting widespread revenge against humanity for some time. Stupid human mistakes of the past tend to repeat themselves, so I think using a well-known bit of history adds an element of reality to a story that is otherwise complete fiction.

KB: As a man, what drives you to write for the empowered female character?
DE: Love this question! There's a character introduced partway through Brew who fits the "empowered female" label perfectly. She's a real firecracker. As you know, however, this isn't a new type of character for my books. The majority of my female characters have strength in them, whether it's apparent at the beginning of the book or whether it's developed over the course of the tale. As a male, I'm appalled at the brutality and atrocities committed by my gender against women. I'm equally horrified by the women who continue to take the abuse or even justify it as their fault. Personally, I believe that having strong female role models is extremely important for young women, so they don't let themselves be pushed around in their lives. Women deserve equality in all things, and although men have a greater capability (on average) for physical strength, women seem to have an inner strength and resolve that far exceeds their male counterparts. I believe my portrayal of that to be fairly accurate.

KB: Will you have a warlock/wizard side to Brew?
DE: YES! Brew is not all about witches. Although it's designated as a "witch book", it's more about the collective group of magic-born, which include witches, warlocks, and wizards. The apocalypse is caused by both male and female villains!

KB: What has been your favorite character to write so far?
DE: This used to be a really hard question, and now it's getting even harder! Obviously, the more characters I write, the more competition there is for that number one spot! And yet I still go back to Siena from Fire Country. Her voice was SO STRONG and she never stopped speaking to me, even months before I actually started writing the book. She's become a fan-favorite, too, which makes me love her even more.

KB: If you had to spend the rest of your life in one of your created worlds, which one would it be?
DE: Ugh! That's a hard one because all my created worlds are pretty rough places that cause all kinds of problems for my characters! But if I had to choose just one...I'd say Water & Storm Country (Country Saga #3). I live in Hawaii and both my wife and I love the beach, so despite all the hardships the tribe in the book face, it would be worth it to be near the water and be able to swim.

KB: Do you have any advice for the author starting out?
DE: I get a ton of questions from Indie authors and I have plenty of advice, to the point where I started an Advice page on my blog here: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com/search/label/advice

However, if I had to choose the most important things for an author starting out, I'd go with:

1) Write for the right reasons. If you're just starting out, don't do it because you want to be the next JK Rowling or because you think your first book will be a bestseller. Write because you love writing, words, and telling stories. Write because you're passionate about it, and because you want to improve, and because you're willing to write a million words even if you only sell a few books to your immediate family and friends. I get so many frustrated e-mails from authors who say they spent all this time writing a book and no one is buying it. Being an author is a lifetime pursuit, not a sprint to the finish line. Success has to be earned in stages, so don't give up.

2) Write and read every day. I'd say to write at least 500 words, but if you can't manage that because of a busy schedule, go for 200 words, or whatever works for you. Even if you read your words and think they suck at the end of the day, that's okay. Just ask yourself why they suck, and then focus on improving them the next time. And when you read them back and you realize they're really good, it will help motivate you forward. The crappy writing sessions are sometimes just as important as the really good ones! And read because it's important to never lose the thing that got you into writing in the first place: your love of reading! Plus, you can learn from the pros and be inspired by the authors who you look up to!

3) Don't spam! Once you finish your book and finally decide to publish it, don't be a pusher of your own book! Don't spam sites with "Buy my book!" types of messages. Read the rules of any sites you visit, or bloggers you'd like to review your book, and respect their rules. If they don't accept Indie requests, don't send them a message pleading for them to try it anyway. Only post in places where it's permitted, and even then do it tactfully, respecting your potential future readers.

4) Giveaway free books! This is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give a new author. I know you spent a lot of time on your book and you think you should be compensated for your time, but come on, you're not Stephen King! No one knows who you are, and asking them to spend their hard-earned money, as well as their time, on your book is a big ask. So offer free books as often as possible in the beginning, so readers can try your writing out with no risk. If they love it, you've got a lifelong fan and someone who might tell ten other people about your book who will then PAY to read it.

That's all, I hope this helps some aspiring authors out there! But if anyone has any follow up questions, I'll always respond if you contact me on one of my preferred social networking sites: Goodreads, Facebook, or my blog.

Thanks for having me on your AWESOME blog, Brittany! 
**************END INTERVIEW//START BREW BLAST FUN**************




Brew Synopsis

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved.

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; He has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.



Boil Synopsis(Sequel to Brew)

Revenge. That’s all that’s left for witch hunter Rhett Carter. The magic-born have stripped everything from him - killed his friends, cursed his warlock father, shattered his future - leaving him bare and broken, but not dead. Their mistake.

When Rhett and Laney are suddenly thrust in different directions, Rhett must decide who to trust and who to kill. Backed by his trusty canine sidekick Hex, Rhett will embark on his deadliest mission yet, one that will lead him directly toward those who want him dead, pushing his unique resistance to magic to the edge and back again as he tries to remove his father’s curse.

Separated from Rhett, Laney seeks to understand the strange changes to her sister, Trish, who’s believed to be the last living Clairvoyant, and what role she’s destined to play in the future of humankind.

Wrapped around everything are four major groups: the Necromancers, the Changelings, the witch hunters, and New America, the remnants of humanity. When the major forces are brought together for an epic battle, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.


Get both Brew and its sequel, Boil, the first two books in the Salem's Revenge series, for a special price of $0.99 each for a limited time only (Amazon Kindle exclusive: Brew until October 17th; Boil until October 7th) Click on the above buttons to take advantage of this limited time deal!
Brew:Amazon Buy Link
Boil: Amazon Buy Link
Brew on Goodreads: Check it out
Boil on Goodreads:Check it out

Giveaway
Link:Giveaway on Rafflecopter
HTML: a Rafflecopter giveaway

About David and Links
David Estes on Goodreads
David's Blog
Twitter:
Facebook
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David's Goodreads Fan Group

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

To celebrate the launch of Brew and Boil, David Estes is also giving away FREE Kindle copies of his popular YA dystopian AND adventure book, Fire Country.
Amazon Link (Click for the Free e-book)
Goodreads Link
 Kiribear's Personal Review of Fire Country (which was spectacular by the way, so don't miss out on this freebie!)
Check out the fun that was had with the BREW cover reveal