Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend by Elodia Strain




Title:My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
Author:Elodia Strain
Publisher:Cedar Fort Books
Imprint:Bonneville
Pub. Date:08/01/2011
ISBN:1599559056 (ISBN13: 9781599559056)
Pages:224




Jesse is looking for the "right guy." When she bumps into Ethan, a despairing writer who she inspires, she thinks she's found him. But only moments later she meets Troy, a successful advertising executive who makes almost every moment romantic. Both seem perfect, but things are not always what they seem. My Girlfriend's Boyfriend is a fun romance that blends warm sincerity with fresh storytelling.




(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

              **************************************************

Jesse has been unlucky in love, so imagine her surprise when she meets two dream guys in the same day. One is a sweet and sensitive writer. The other is a smart and successful businessman. Now Jesse has to pick which one is for her, but that's proving to be much more difficult than she thought it would be. Can Jesse decide between what her heart and her head want?

I was so in love with this book. Jesse was smart and funny. She was a little kooky, but not so crazy you didn't like her. Her boss was hilarious. Her family was insane (in a good way). I found Troy to be nice, but a little bland perhaps. Ethan was dreamy and everything you look for in an imaginary dream guy. There were interesting plot pieces, especially the parts where Jesse was dealing with her ex-husband. I sped through this book because I was enjoying it so much.

Then I got to the end, and suddenly I was so confused. I had to go back and read a couple times to really figure things out. It wasn't a horrible ending by any means, I just found it to sort of stop the story dead in it's tracks. Once I figured out what was going on, I enjoyed the ending too. I just felt like some of the momentum had been lost for me. Overall though, I still loved this book and enjoyed it greatly. It's a fun, breezy read for when you just want to feel good.

Galley provided for review.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Tour- I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At by Kyle Garret


Welcome to the blog tour for I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At by Kyle Garret!

I have a guest post, review, and giveaway!

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, eighteen-year-old Robert Stuart had a decision to make: keep working at the steel mill in Warren, Ohio, or volunteer to serve his country. Stuart's father had served in the first World War, and service was in his blood, so he enlisted in the Marines.

Anne Davis had a decision of her own to make. The girls in her high school were going to send letters to alumni who were going off to war. She looked at the list of soldiers and saw a familiar name: Robert Stuart.
The letters Anne sent would mark the beginning of a relationship that would span sixty years, two marriages, two children, and three wars.

Over half a century after those first letters were sent, the Stuarts' grandson, Kyle, began chronicling their life together. He would discover pieces of a family history that only he dug deep enough to learn. But in the back of his mind, one concern lingered: the story of a person's life can only have one ending, and his grandfather's health was deteriorating.

I Pray Hardest When I'm Being Shot At is a true story of love and war, of three generations and two romances, one of sixty years, the other of just a few months. Pray deals with one generation trying to connect with another and how it affected them both.

Author Kyle Garret has written a guest post today:

What I Do To Prepare To Write

    Writing is hard.
     I’ve always found that saying to be funny. On one hand, writing is hard. I think that’s something that’s universally accepted. Those who have no desire or affinity for it struggle with it, and those who claim it as one of their life’s passions…well, they pretty much struggle with it, too. It’s amazing to think that the simple act of communicating can be so hard for so many people, but it is.
    When I’m not writing, the only thing in the world that I want to do is write.When I am writing, I want to do anything but. It’s a maddening cycle, but it’s one I’ve come to accept. I know the cycle exists, though, and if I learned anything from GI Joe, it’s that knowing is half the battle.
    So to get myself to write, I have to set the mood. I have to put myself in a headspace where I’ll not only do the work, but stick with it. This is difficult for me, as I have the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel. Even on my best nights, I probably don’t manage to write for more than fifteen minutes at a time without taking a break.
    My formula is strangely romantic, given that I’m writing alone: a single light, sometimes a candle, and always slow, occasionally sad music. The sole purpose of all this is to get my brain to relax, to get it to shut off enough for me to be able to give all my attention to my writing.
    In the past, I would warm up by writing in my journal, but in recent years I’ve warmed up by blogging. Blogs don’t have to be masterpieces of modern literature, so it allows me to ease myself into the writing process. It gets my brain in line with that kind of thinking.
   When I finish writing for the night, I make sure that I end at the beginning of a new section so that I have somewhere to pick up. It is so much easier to go back to something if it’s already been started. Just one sentence of a new section is like a trail of bread crumbs back to that mind set. That first line sets the tone of what’s to come, and being able to just follow what I’ve already started makes it much easier to come back.
   When I was in college, my professors all gave me the same advice: write every day. The theory – and it’s one I agree with – is that only a small percentage of what you write is going to be any good, so you need to write every single day so that you can get to that small percentage sooner rather than later. But that’s easy advice for a professor to give a student; in the real world, we have jobs, jobs that are often frustrating and demoralizing. We have places to go and people to see and writing doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table. Writing every day is a luxury that most of us just don’t have.
   To make up for this, I write in big chunks of time. I set aside three to four hours every few days and lock myself in my office. The major downside to this is that I’m putting all my eggs into one basket. If I don’t accomplish a good amount of work on these days then I feel like I’ve fallen behind – like I wasted that time. Then again, there’s a point, an hour or so into a long writing session, when things just start to gel. You kind of get into “the zone,” as they say in sports, and the writing comes much easier.
   That’s my process. I’m sure there are probably better, more productive ways of writing, but that’s the one that works for me.





Kyle Garret, 

author of I Pray The Hardest When I’m Being Shot At

Kyle Garret is a writer from the Midwest living on the West Coast by way of the South. He was born and raised in Kent, Ohio, and attended Ohio University where he received his Master’s degree in Creative Writing. After a few years in Atlanta, he moved out West. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Nicole, and their two cats. He is currently finishing work on a novel and a young adult book.



Where you can find and follow Kyle Garret:
Buy the BOOK at:
Check out the review and giveaway after the break:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blog Tour- Gabby, God's Little Angel Review and Giveaway


Gabby, God’s Little Angel

This first book in a delightful new series offers a comforting message for young readers-God loves you very much and is always watching over you!

What little girl wouldn't love her very own guardian angel? Parents and children alike will be won over by this humorous tale of Gabby, a guardian angel in training who has much to learn about taking care of God's little ones. Her new assignment is to protect a young girl named Sophie, but Gabby soon realizes that watching after Sophie is a bigger challenge than she had expected! After a close call while riding her pony, Sophie learns what the Bible says about guardian angels: "He will put his angels in charge of you. They will watch over you wherever you go" (Psalm 91:11 ICB).



A Letter From Sheila Walsh...


Angels have always fascinated me. As a young girl, I would gaze in wonder at illustrations of their airy magnificence, soak up each and every story from the Bible about these specifically created beings and would imagine that my very own guardian angel was behind me each step of the way.


Fast forward to 2011 and I am still fascinated by these heavenly creatures. Yet now as a grown woman and mother, I find myself amazed and a little perplexed by what fascinates today’s modern little girl. Monsters, vampires and wizards, oh my! It seems these fictitious other worldly beings are now captivating their young minds and enveloping their young worlds. As a parent, I wanted to create a new children’s book series that would put the spotlight on a subject truly worthy of fascination....angels.


So I set out to develop a new character that young readers would embrace and delight in, and out from my pen and from my heart poured a new series, Gabby, God’s Little Angel. Gabby is an adorable guardian angel in training who finds that she has so much to learn about taking care of God’s children. Introducing your little ones to the very real truth that, “He will put his angels in charge of you...they will watch over you wherever you go.” (Psalm 91:11 ICB); this delightful new series was written to teach this comforting message in a way easy for them to understand.


I am so passionate about teaching the little angels in your own lives just how much God loves them. I pray that through my new little friend, Gabby, they will discover this truth and rest assured that He is always watching over them!


On the wings of angels,


Sheila Walsh


www.sheilawalsh.com


About Sheila: Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God's Little Princess® brand which has sold over 1.5 million units. Sheila is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word.

Author of the best-selling memoir Honestly and the Gold Medallion nominee for The Heartache No One Sees, Sheila's most recent release The Shelter of God's Promises has also been turned into a DVD curriculum and in-depth Bible study. Sheila's first series for girls, The Gigi, God's Little Princess book and video series, won the National Retailer's Choice Award twice and is the most popular Christian brand for young girls in theUnited States.

Sheila co-hosted The 700 Club and her own show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh. She is currently completing her Master's in Theology.www.sheilawalsh.com

Review:

Gabby has a big job! She's a guardian angel who has to watch over a girl who needs lots and lots of attention. This is a big job for one little angel, but Gabby knows she can do it. She's going to make sure that her charge knows that she is watched over and that God loves her. 

This book is adorable! The story is told with wonderful joy and enthusiasm. The illustrations are bright and beautiful. Not only is Gabby a very fun character, but she brings a very important message. This book will definitely appeal to young girls. Not only will they want to keep up with Gabby, but they will also learn that God does love them and watch over them always. This book would be a great gift for young girls. I hope to see more adventures of Gabby. I can tell she's got a lot to teach us all!


Book provided for review.


Buy the book here. Check out the giveaways after the break!

Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz- Guest Post and Giveaway

Daughters of Iraq by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

I've already posted a review, and now I have for you a guest post and giveaway.

This is a Special Day
by Revital Shiri-Horowitz


Recently it was my father’s 80th Birthday. My dad was born in Iraq on the “Shavuot” Holiday. This is what my grandmother used to say, since it was never documented. So they always celebrated my dad’s birthday with traditional dairy Iraqi special dishes.


“Shavuot” is a holiday of the harvest. In Judaism it is a holiday that celebrates the day that the Bible was given to Moses. “Shavuot” is also considered the holiday of visiting. In Arabic “Id al Ziarah.” People would travel from all over to the holy city of Jerusalem, and bring with them “Bikurim,” the very new harvest to the Cohanim, who served at the Holy Temple.


I love celebrating this holiday in Israel, where the kids come to schools wearing white, holding baskets of the very new fruits, summer fruits. Synagogues are open all night for “Tikun,” which has to do with renewal, forgiveness, and learning together. It is indeed a special day that I love so much.


But this day, my father's birthday, is a sad day for me, you see. I lost my dad to lung cancer three years ago, and since my dad was our family’s chef, he would cook all these yummy foods for us. My mom and sister paid my dad a visit in the cemetery today, and my mom even brought him some fresh flowers for his birthday, to put on his grave.


Until the end of July 2011 , I lived in the US for many years, and cooked for “Shavuot.” I'd invite some friends to try those interesting foods. My dad’s picture has been standing on the kitchen counter for the last three years, and today I gave him a big kiss and told him how much I loved him. He is very much alive in my mind, every single day. As I call my mom, and I call her every day, (she lives in Israel), I can still hear his voice telling me that my mom cannot wait to talk to me, and he is passing the phone to her.


Happy Birthday Dad, I love and miss you so much!


Here is my dad's and mom's special recipe for “Kitchri,” a traditional “Shavuot” dish:


PRODUCTS
1. Two cups of long rice
2. One cup of red lentils
3. 2 spoons of tomato paste
4. 2 spoons of vegetable oil
5. 3 spoons of butter
6. 2-3 spoons of ground Cumin
7. 4-5 chopped garlic cloves.
8. Salt


Preparation
1. Wash the rice a few times, and put in a pot. Add a little salt and the oil. Add water up to a little less than an inch, and mix in the tomato paste.


2. Stir a little and boil. When it's boiling add the lentils, let the water soak, and reduce the heat to low.


3. Let it cook for about 20 minutes.


4. In a pan put the butter and the garlic and fry for 2 minutes, and then add the cumin and salt, and let it fry for 2-3 minutes. (The smell is so great…)


5. After the rice is done, add the fried cumin to the rice, blend it in and let it cook on very low for a few minutes.


You can add yogurt when all is done. It is delicious.




Thanks for that very touching post. And that recipe looks yummy. I'm going to have to try it. 

Links for Revital Shiri-Horowitz:
Blog
Site
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon

Now for information about the giveaway!



The Giveaway:
Please comment below about what you like about your favorite holiday meals and enter to win a copy of Daughters of Iraq. In one week, Revital will pick a winner of this ebook next week! Available in any ebook format, in paper copy. Also, available in English or in Hebrew. We will ship you a copy anywhere in the world. And for the Giveaway Grand Prize: Everyone who comments is eligible to win a lovely Mama Nazima's Jewish Iraqi Cuisine . Revital will pick a lucky winner at the end of November 2011 and can ship anywhere in the world. Good luck!


***


Award-winning author, Revital Shiri-Horowitz wrote Daughters of Iraq to honor her family's story that had never been told before.




















ABOUT THE BOOK
Daughters of Iraq is the story of emigration from Iraq to Israel as experienced by two sisters: Violet, whom we learn about through a diary she kept after being diagnosed with a critical illness, and Farida, whose personality unfolds through her relationship with her new surroundings and with herself. And a third character: Noa, Violet’s daughter and a student in her twenties, searching for meaning. Noa embarks on a spiritual quest to the past, so that she can learn how to build her life in the present and the future. While each of the three women is struggling with her own issues, they are all looking for the same thing: happiness. They have a strong sense of family, of their deep roots. They are all inextricably linked to each other. By the book’s end, the author has painted a powerful and moving canvas of the whole family.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Tour for Crossroads by Mary Ting- Review and Guest Post



Welcome to the Crossroads Experience!

Today I have a guest post and a review.

Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia. 

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?

(Cover and summary via Goodreads)


About Crossroads

I started writing Crossroads after my grandmother passed away about 3 years ago.  When these characters came to life in my mind, along with the character Gamma, inspired by my grandmother, it was a way for me to heal.  I decided to start from a dream I had in high school, chapter one.  Chapter two is also based on my dream as well.  I didn’t think I would have much to write about, but when I made Claudia to be more like me, it was easy.  Her first car, her first job, her first experience at camping and her grandmother having a stroke was all part of me.  Too bad Michael wasn’t real…lol!!!
Many people like Davin, which I’m really happy about because his character was inspired by my friend who passed away.  He was very likable and was a best friend to all his friends.  Patty is my friend from church.  She is exactly how I described her, social butterfly who knows everything about her friends and fashion.  I named Claudia after a student I once had many years ago.  I can still picture her face, just like an angel.  When I was much younger, I had a crush on a boy name Michael, but his character is based off my husband, protective, romantic, and silly at times.  No… he doesn’t have wings…lol!!!
Though I was busy with work, being a wife, a mother, and PTA president, I would always find time to write, even if that meant typing while I was cooking or brushing my teeth.    Crossroads was written for a fast, fun reading with likable characters. Many have emailed me to let me know how Crossroads has helped them escaped from their everyday stress.  Also, how they’ve connected to this book because of chapter one, having a loved one passed away. I took on a journey not knowing how rewarding it would be for me. I’ve meet so many wonderful people from all over the world through facebook, goodreads and blog sites.  I’ve made everlasting friendship where friendship knows no boundaries.  And I have to thank my grandmother who continues to watch over me from Heaven. 


For more info about the book, check out the Goodreads page and Facebook page. Learn more about the author at her websiteblog, or follow her on Twitter. Book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Review:


Claudia has been having strange dreams almost all her life. She sees the same place every time, and sometimes she sees and talks to other people there. When a friend of hers with the same name dies, Claudia sees this friend in her dreams. She soon discovers that her dreams are taking her to a special place- the Crossroads. While there she interacts with Michael, who quickly informs her she doesn't belong and is not welcome at the Crossroads. As Claudia learns more about Michael and the Crossroads though, she will begin a completely new journey. The truth changes everything for Claudia. Now she must manage to stay safe and navigate the waters of true love. 


This was a very interesting book. Perhaps the best part for me was the characterizations. The author did a fabulous job of writing people that felt real. They had good points and bad points, but mostly they were just great characters. I found myself wanting to know more and more about them and their world. Even the bad guys. There's also a very sweeping romance. In fact, the romantic aspects of the book do take up a good deal of time. So be prepared for that. There is plenty of action too though. For me one of my favorite parts was when Claudia went to a birthday party with a group of half-angels in tow. They were an awesome group, and that's definitely some people I want to party with!


There were a couple surprises in the book, so that was always fun to come across. This book also had an amazing part dealing with the death of loved ones. You felt the grief, but you also got a great sense of hope. Naturally a book dealing with angels will discuss the afterlife, and this book does a great job of balancing the sadness of passing with the joy of knowing no one ever truly dies. If you want to get lost in a book with some fun characters, daring action scenes, and a lot of smushy romance, then definitely check this book out!


Book provided for review. 


   
Be sure to check out the tour page for the rest of the stops. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Arranger Giveaway Winner



A winner has been chosen and it is:


Yto!!!


Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Tour- Review & Giveaway of This Bird Flew Away by Lynda M. Martin


Welcome to the blog tour for This Bird Flew Away by Lynda M. Martin!

What is real love?
The whole world wants to know…
They should ask Bria Jean, because she has it all figured out. Opinionated, stubborn and full of woe, Bria would tell you real love is having one person you can always count on through thick and thin. For her, that’s Jack. And it doesn’t matter to her that she’s nine and he’s twenty-three — not one bit.
When, at the age of twelve, Bria disappears, Jack and his Aunt Mary search for her,  and  when she surfaces, injured, abused and traumatized, he fights to become her guardian with no idea of the trials ahead of him. By then, Bria is thirteen going on thirty, full of her own ideas on how her life should run and with some very fixed notions about who is in charge.






Buy the BOOK at:



Lynda M. Martin-

Lynda was born in Dunfirmline, Scotland in 1953, emigrated to Canada with her parents as a young girl. She grew up on the vast prairies of Western Canada, and loved the open wide spaces of that wild land. She was educated in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a town in the southeast corner of that province, and spent most of her time riding horses, barrel racing and hanging around rodeos and cowboys.
In 1968, the product of a troubled youth and a dysfunctional family, she found herself on her own at the age of fifteen, two thousand miles from her home, and knows first hand the dangers facing girls on our streets and the predators that prey on them. She was one of the lucky ones. She survived.
Later in life, she went east to Montreal for her education, graduating from the University of Montreal with a degree in Business Administration, which provided a fine income, but little in the way of personal satisfaction. Still in her twenties, she became a volunteer with social services to work with troubled teen-aged girls, and took every course the social agencies offered.
Soon, she became an outreach worker who worked with police, social agencies and charities, becoming a respected front-line worker, often initiating first contact with recovered abused and exploited children. Over the years, and in many different jurisdictions, this second career became the driving force of her life, which often took her into law-enforcement, child welfare agencies, prosecutors offices and the courts.
You can read more  about her career in child protection on her popular and widely read article The Rape of the Innocents. This article is one of many she’s written, posted on her publishing site and accessible here.
The picture you see above is not a true image of Lynda Martin, but the avatar she uses as her alter-personae  in the public world, as to use her true image would perhaps leave the histories of some of ‘her girls’ exposed.
Lynda and her husband Jim make their home in the sunny state of Florida, and in her beloved Alberta. She has two daughters and four grandchildren.
Now retired from child protection work, Lynda is a full-time writer, editor, writing teacher and coach.

Check out the review and giveaway after the page break:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Tour- Love At Absolute Zero Guest Post and Giveaway




Welcome back to the blog tour for Love At Absolute Zero! Today is guest post and giveaway day. Be sure to check out my review here.

Christopher Meeks has been kind enough to write a post on his recent writing inspiration. 


RECENT WRITING INSPIRATION


Thank you, Lisa for inviting me in. You asked for the most recent thing I saw/read/heard that inspired my writing. That would be two things. The first is Project Runway, the Lifetime show where supermodel Heidi Klum gives challenges to fashion designers, and their work is judged by leaders in the fashion industry. This show grabs my whole family. I love this reality show because it parallels my own struggles in writing in so
many ways.


For instance, in an early episode for this season, the ninth, the designers had to go to a pet store and find enough material to create elegant clothing. The losing designer, Joshua Christensen, fell out because what he created had “no imagination,” as one judge said. “It was boring,” said another. “Not innovative or creative,” said the third. These words could be used for so many books.


What the show reminds me again and again is that the highly creative person can, in Heidi’s words, “stand out but be in.” The really wild designers might create odd things, but their work becomes a costume instead of fashion. The designers that crash early are too “safe.” They create stuff that future moms of America can wear to Sears.


Designer Falleen Wells from Denver, tattooed and eccentric, said of her average designs, “Maybe I’m too much of a normal person.”


I feel for every one of the designers. The creative pressure they feel is what all writers experience. In the throws of a first draft, writers can wonder are they writing an average story with mildly interesting people? Too safe? Conversely, if big things are happening, is it too much, too unreal? Is it over-the-top with little connection to life in the hopes that pyrotechnics will move the reader?


One big downfall for many designers as well as writers is a lack of confidence. When you see a creative person dive in and say, “I don’t know if it’ll work, but I’ll use all my craft and follow my gut,” magic often occurs. Other creators, unsure of themselves, design half-heartedly, and it comes off mousy and dull. “It’s very pedestrian,” said Michael Kors to one designer. “It’s something one of my aunts would have worn in the eighties.” Judge Nina Garcia called another designer’s work “confusing…I can’t tell what it’ss upposed to be.”


Heidi said this season, “Always go with your heart.” That’s a mantra for writers, too. Fiction writers have to be both bold and believable. At the heart of what we do must beat a sense of the world, “This is truth.”


In terms of books, Jennifer Egan’s novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, recently shook me to the core. Having written my own first novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century, as a series of connected stories, I found Egan’s book similarly designed, but her stories go back and forth in time, back to the 70s at one point, and jumping perhaps to around 2030. It’s certainly not science fiction but what Margaret Atwood calls her own recent book, The Year of the Flood, speculative fiction.


Each chapter is a story that stands on its own, and each one makes you think and feel. I’ve been outlining Egan’s book just to see the exact structure, which is a marvel, an Eiffel Tower. I counted eight major themes, including the idea that we’re all connected, as these stories are. The book is ambitious, bold, and believable. It’s an inspiration.


Christopher Meeks began as a playwright and has had three plays produced. Who Lives? A Drama is published. His short stories have been published in Rosebud, The Clackamas Literary Review, The Santa Barbara Review, The Southern California Anthology, The Gander Review, and other journals and are available in two collections, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea and Months and Seasons. He has two novels, The Brightest Moon of the Century, a story that Marc Schuster of Small Press Reviews describes as "a great and truly humane novel in the tradition of Charles Dickens and John Irving," and his new comic novel, Love At Absolute Zero.




And now for the giveaway, click the page break...

Blog Tour- Review of Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks

Welcome to the blog tour for Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks!

I have two days of posts for you. Today is a review, and tomorrow is a guest post and giveaway. You'll definitely want to check that out.









Title:Love At Absolute Zero
Author:   Christopher Meeks
Publisher:White Whisker Books
Pub. Date:09/17/2011
ISBN:9780983632917
Pages:311


"Love at Absolute Zero" is about Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old star physicist at the University of Wisconsin. The moment he’s given tenure at the university, he can think of only one thing: finding a wife. His research falters into what happens to matter near absolute zero (−459.67 °F), but he has an instant new plan. To meet his soul mate within three days—that’s what he wants and the time he can carve out—he will use the Scientific Method. Can Gunnar survive his quest?



(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

              **************************************************


Gunnar Gunderson has a lot going for him. His research is exciting, and he's just gotten tenure. He feels like something is missing though- love. Gunnar decides the best way to find a mate is to take a scientific approach. If it's good enough for physics, surely it will work equally well for love too? From Wisconsin to Denmark though, he learns that love isn't as easy to figure out. Even with some major missteps, will Gunnar be able to find love? Can finding love coincide with good research? 

This was a very interesting book. Gunnar was a pretty funny character. Being a somewhat of a scientist myself, I've know lots of guys like Gunnar. Super smart but not so great with social situations. Naturally, once Gunnar decided he needed a wife, he threw himself into the process as readily as he would any experiment. His friends and fellow scientists were also great characters. They seem like they'd be pretty fun to hang around. Gunnar makes rash decisions when it comes to love, but luckily he learns and grows from all his trials. 

I found the scientific approach to love to be hilarious. Gunnar was endearing, and I found myself cheering him on. I definitely wanted him to succeed in his attempts at finding love. The book could read as a bit choppy and clinical at times, but I felt like this fit the atmosphere of the book. It helped me get a real feel for Gunnar's character. This book is very fun, and you get a great sense of how science and love can combine to make magic. 

Book provided for review.





Make sure to come back tomorrow for the guest post and giveaway. Love At Absolute Zero will be on sale for $0.99 for the duration of the tour, so now is a great time to check out the book.
Find it at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


  Also, be sure to check out all the other stops on the tour!

Tour Dates:

Sept. 12th:Raging Bibliomania
Sept. 13th:Alive on the Shelves
Sept. 14th & 15th:Book Briefs
Sept. 16th:Booksie's Blog
Sept. 19th & 20th:A Casual Reader's Blog
Sept. 21st & 22nd:She Treads Softly
Sept. 22nd:This Miss Loves to Read
Sept. 23rd:From the TBR Pile
Sept. 27th:Butterfly-o-meter Books
Sept. 27th:So Many Precious Books, So Little Time!
Sept. 28th & 29th:The Book Addict
Sept. 30th:Lit Endeavors
Oct. 5th:Books and Needlepoint
Oct. 6th & 7th:My Bookshelf
Oct. 7th & 10th:Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Oct. 10th & 11th:Gabriel Reads
Oct. 11th & 12th:Dan's Journal
Oct. 12th:Words I Write Crazy
Oct. 13th & 14th:Ramblings of a Daydreamer
Oct. 14th:Drey's Library

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Silas by Robert J. Duperre


Title:Silas
Author:Robert J. Duperre
Publisher:CreateSpace
Pub. Date:06/14/2011
ISBN:1461111587 (ISBN13: 9781461111580)
Pages:308


Robert J. Duperre, author of The Fall and Dead of Winter, now presents Silas, a contemporary fantasy novel.

Ken Lowery is a man at odds with his life. He hates his job, is disappointed in his marriage, and feels resigned to leading a mundane existence.

That all changes when his wife brings home a rambunctious Black Labrador puppy named Silas, who forges a remarkable connection with Ken and begins to heal his inner turmoil. When some neighborhood children start to go missing, he takes it upon himself to protect those around him and is thrust into a surreal world where monsters roam. Not everything is what it seems to be, he soon discovers, including his new best friend.




(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

              **************************************************


Ken is stuck in a rut. After all of his ambitious dreams in college, he's now stuck in a job he hates. His marriage has also become a shadow of it's former brilliance, and he battles with sometimes crippling depression. When his wife brings home a dog, Ken is furious. He doesn't have time for this. Things begin to change though, and soon Ken finds himself enamored with his new best friend. The dog, Silas, also proves to have the ability to sense danger. When Ken trusts Silas's instincts, he is able to save a family. He becomes reckless however, and ends up in a totally new world. Ken and Silas are soon on an amazing adventure in which they can save not only themselves, but several children as well. If they can survive that is.

This is really two stories in one. The first story takes place in our everyday world. Ken is struggling with his life. It's not what he always dreamed it would be, but shifting priorities in life forced him to do something vastly different than he had imagined. As his wife becomes more successful, the strain on their marriage becomes more apparent. Ken's only solace is found in Silas, a black lab who has become Ken's new best friend. Silas shows some special abilities, which leads Ken and Silas on to story number two. This one takes place in an entirely different world where monsters and feral people abound. Ken discovers he is part of something bigger than himself, and this gives him a new sense of purpose and direction. His life means something, and this shapes the rest of the story.

There were several interesting things in this book. The concept of your pet being like a child was beautifully expressed here. Ken loves Silas as much as a person can love anything. They are friends and companions, but more than that Ken sees Silas as a son. He trusts Silas with his life several times. Silas ends up giving Ken's life meaning in a very literal way. The fantasy aspects of the book were also very unique and interesting. I was often on the edge of my seat getting a real sense of danger for Ken. That's pretty great writing in my book. Overall I enjoyed this book very much.

Book provided for review.



The Arranger Blog Tour- Author Guest Post and Giveaway


Welcome to the blog tour for The Arranger!

The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life.

The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the shooter lurking at the arena and soon after her contest roommate turns up dead. Who is the mysterious assailant and what is motivating him kill? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?









L.J. Sellers has written up a great post

 for us on world building.


World Building: Less Is Better

I’d wanted to write a futuristic thriller for years, but I knew it wouldn’t be dystopian or fantasy-based. I imagined that the future world would be changed, and not for the better, but I didn’t want it to be so different that it distracted from the story.

While writing The Arranger, I read a blog by a sci-fi author about world building, and it struck a chord with me. Essentially, the author said that world building is simply description and that description is boring. The author was making the point that readers want story—characters, events, and emotions—and that spending a lot of page time detailing the alternative world/future is counterproductive. A few brief, vivid sentences, or paragraphs, woven into the narrative are all you need to do the job.

I was relieved to be reminded of this facet of good writing. It saved me the trouble of creating a lot of unnecessary detail that a good editor would have made me cut or most readers would have skipped over.

Still, in the futuristic, sci-fi, and fantasy genres, readers expect a creative and unusual background, and I wanted to give them one. When I first started plotting this story, it never occurred to me that the backdrop would be an endurance competition called the Gauntlet. But characters often dictate the story, and once I decided that Lara Evans from my Jackson series would be the protagonist, I knew I had to give her an opportunity to be as physical as her character demanded. I also wanted to create a competitive environment for the unemployment crisis I foresaw in the future. From there, the Gauntlet was conceived.

Structuring and writing the competition scenes were the most challenging things I’ve ever done as a novelist. For inspiration, I envisioned scenarios from American Gladiator, Wipe Out, and a little Fear Factor thrown in, but I stepped up the intensity and duration and pushed the contestants right to the edge. I also gave the worldwide viewers the ability to alter the contest—to reward or punish contestants with the level of difficulty. That created some surprising moments for the contestants!

It was important to me that the competition have at least one intellectual component, so that the overall contest couldn’t be won by sheer strength or endurance. So I created the Puzzle, a locked-room situation that requires a MacGyver-type solution, with timing counting toward a win. The brainteaser seemed particularly important because in the Gauntlet, men and women compete against each other. Don’t worry, ladies, my protagonist kicks ass.

The contest is only one element of the plot though. There’s also a parallel story told by Paul Madsen, a software technician who’s given access to information that he can’t resist exploiting. In Paul’s world, the federal government is a fraction of its former size and is a lean, mean employer. But again, I made a conscious choice not to bog down the story with extraneous detail about bureaucratic structure.

Admittedly, Lara’s world was more fun to write about, but Paul’s world is the one I fear could come to pass. I hope readers enjoy both scenarios and find the level of detail I’ve included to be just right.


Well if you're not interested now, I don't know 

what will do it! Thanks so much for that 

awesome post!


L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series: The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to DeathPassions of the Dead, and Dying for Justice. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene, Crimespree, and Spinetingler magazines, and the series is on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. L.J. also has three standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief, The Suicide Effect, and The Arranger. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.


Check out the author's web page and blog.


Review:


The future is not so bright for Lara Evans. The ex-homicide detective lives in a world where natural disasters abound and jobs are extremely scarce. Her current job as a paramedic allows her to rescue someone very important right before she goes to compete in the Gauntlet, a competition that will allow her to bring home money and jobs to her home state. However, she soon discovers someone is after her, and they don't just want to congratulate her on a job well done. Lara will be forced to face her past and make some hard decisions to deal with her present. 

This book is action packed, but it never feels rushed or too dense. Lara is very interesting, and she becomes even more interesting as you slowly learn about her past. Mixed into Lara's story is the story of a man named Paul. He has a boring life as a computer programmer, but his new task at works provides him with some interesting new information. As he decides what to do with his new knowledge, Paul begins to make decisions that will change his life for good. Soon Lara and Paul are on a collision course with destiny (and each other of course). I found the world Lara lived in to be scarily believable. The Gauntlet was a very unique concept, and it allowed a chance for Lara to really show her stuff.

I loved reading about such a strong female character. Lara is someone who meant business. She was smart and tough. I found myself drawn into the book, and I did not want to put it down. This book has everything- action, romance, mystery, and intrigue. I definitely recommend this book to people who want a great read, but I will give fair warning that you may not stop reading until you are done!

Book provided for review. 






So we have a great giveaway for you all. I have one e-book copy of The Arranger! That means this giveaway is open internationally. The only requirement to enter is to leave your name and email. Bonus entries for following L.J. Sellers on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, becoming a fan on Goodreads, and tweeting about this giveaway. 


Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on this tour! For more information check out the tour page. Thanks for stopping by and good luck!!


Check out the Rafflecopter entry form by clicking on the page break