Sunday, December 31, 2017

MY FAVORITE (AND LEAST FAVORITE) BOOKS OF 2017 -- Part Two

Yesterday I told you about my four least favorite books of 2017. Now it's time for my favorite books of the year. Here they are, in order:

NON-FICTION

#5:  THE WRIGHT BROTHERS - This incredible biography digs deep into the brothers' discovery of the secrets of flight, their failures and successes, and their relationship to each other and to others who were close to them. I learned so much and was completely mesmerized.

#4: SPEAKING MY MIND: RONALD REAGAN - I just love Ronald Reagan. This CD is a collection of excerpts from some of his speeches. Hearing his voice, his sense of humor, and his warmth and compassion reminded me what a great man and leader he was.

#3: WIRED FOR STORY - One of the best books for writers I've ever read. Explains why writers do what they do from the stand point of human psychology. Should become a standard for all novelists.

#2: THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING - The story about Joan Didion's sudden loss of her husband of forty years in the same year her daughter nearly died twice. It is more a reflection of Didion's emotions and reactions to the events of that year than a memoir. Touching and thoughtful.

#1: MILLIONAIRE SUCCESS HABITS - Wow. Powerful book about how to be successful in life. Not only can the author's tips be applied to making money, but this is also about just how to be happy. Can't recommend this highly enough.

FICTION


#5: MR. MONSTER - The sequel to I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells, John Wayne Cleaver is a "good" psychopath who is torn between his lust for killing and his conscience. His battle of wits against a very clever demon pushes him to the boundaries of self-control.



#4: ALL THE  MISSING GIRLS - Megan Miranda tells the story of two missing girls from the end to the beginning. Captivating read with plenty of shocks and plot twists.





#3: DEVIL'S POCKET - The Bram Stoker Award winning story about a physically altered MMA fighter who is sent to a secret location by an even more secret society to fight to the death. Fantastic action-packed mystery.



#4: THE FISHERMEN - Four brothers in Nigeria succumb to the prophesy of a local madman, setting each on a tragic path from which they cannot return. Compelling tale about the power of belief.



#1: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE - Pulitzer Prize winning story about a young blind girl caught up in the dangers of World War II when her French hometown is invaded by the Germans and her grandfather must protect a precious gem. Memorable and heart-wrenching.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

MY FAVORITE (AND LEAST FAVORITE) BOOKS OF 2017 -- Part One

I read 42 books in 2017. Wish I could have read more, but life has been crazy busy. Out of those 42, which books have been disappointing? Which would I highly recommend?

To start with, there were a few books that were...uh...not what I had hoped. The most disappointing book of all I didn't even finish, Scott Westerfield's AFTERWORLDS. It started off great, describing a terrorist attack at an airport, but then it drifted into an odd between life and death sort of thing. But that wasn't what I hated. It was the parallel story about a young adult author about to publish her first novel. She and her fellow YA authors are all women, and they are all two-dimensional caricatures of what female authors might be. Coming from a male YA author, I was both offended and bored beyond tears. I couldn't help but feel like Westerfield had run out of good ideas, so why not write about writing? Blech.

Another book that was beyond terrible, but passable enough for me
to at least finish was MICRO by Michael Crichton. What can I say about it except that this was nothing more than HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS with a little more violence and gore.

Third on my disappointing book list was THE TIME KEEPER by Mitch Albom. I normally love Album's books, but this tale about how the lives of a suicidal teenage girl, a filthy rich man dying of cancer, and a prehistoric man who becomes Father Time intersect was tedious and full of NOT surprises. I found myself wishing the story would hurry up and be over. I think Albom just tried too hard with this one and flopped.


Fourth, I expected good things from CATACOMB by Madeleine Roux, the third book in her Asylum series. I loved the first two books and the collection of short stories, but this volume fell flat. I didn't hate it, like I did the previous books on this list, but it really didn't do much for me. It did have it's moments, but overall I could take it or leave it.

Finally, the last book I read in 2017 was AND THE TREES CREPT IN by Dawn Kurtagich. Honestly, I absolutely loved this book...until the the last chapter...and especially the very last paragraph. This creepy, nightmarish tale hooked me by the first sentence and kept me turning pages. I kept telling my family what a great book this is! Then the story came to its conclusion. There is nothing worse that getting hooked into a great book or movie only for the ending to betray and disappoint. I won't give any spoilers her, but the ending completely sucked. Not only did the author way over-explain everything, but then, let's just say, it all turned out to be completely pointless. I wanted to burn the stupid thing after investing so much time, money and attention into it for nothing.

Sorry for such harsh, bummer complaints. But tomorrow I'll post about my favorite books of the year. See you then!

Friday, December 29, 2017

GIVEAWAY: WOLF OF THE TESSERACT by Christopher Schmitz



Wolf of the Tesseract
by Christopher D. Schmitz
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
227 pages

While investigating a series of strange murders in her neighborhood, college student Claire Jones is kidnapped by a handsome werewolf who claims he’s rescuing her from the clutches of an evil sorcerer. But she can’t run forever and if Claire and her companion can’t reclaim an arcane artifact to end the warlock’s reign of terror, he will unleash the dark god Sh’logath’s cataclysmic power upon the universe, shattering dimensional barriers, and devouring all reality.

**FREE on Amazon Dec 28th- 30th!**


Christopher D. Schmitz is the traditionally published and self-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. When he is not writing or working with teenagers he might be found at comic conventions as a panelist or guest. He has been featured on cable access television broadcasts, metro area podcasts, and runs a blog for indie authors.
Always interested in stories, media such as comic books, movies, 80s cartoons, and books called to him at a young age—especially sci-fi and fantasy. He lives in rural Minnesota with his family where he drinks unsafe amounts of coffee. The caffeine shakes keeps the cold from killing them. His entire family is musically gifted, although he is, sadly, their only bagpiper.
Education: Schmitz also holds a Master’s Degree in Religion and freelances for local newspapers. He is available for speaking engagements, interviews, etc. via the contact form and links on his website or via social media.








GIVEAWAY: GODDESS OF THE WILD THING by Paul DeBlassie



Goddess of the Wild Thing
by Paul DeBlassie III
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Goddess of the Wild Thing is a dramatic tale of one woman’s spiritual journey where magical happenings, unexpected turns of fate, and unseen forces influence her ability to love and be loved. Eve Sanchez, a middle-aged woman and scholar of esoteric studies, encounters a seductive but frightening man who introduces her to a supernatural world in which the wicked powers of a surrogate mother’s twisted affection threaten love and life. In the mystic realm of Aztlan del Sur, Eve and three friends struggle with whether bad love is better than no love and discover that love is a wild thing.



Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, the Depth Psychology Alliance, the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Association for Jungian Studies.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Sunday, December 24, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: THE FISHERMEN by Chigozie Obioma

THE FISHERMEN
Chigozie Obioma
Bay Back Books

Told by nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, THE FISHERMEN is the Cain and Abel-esque story of a childhood in Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they meet a madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of the book's characters and readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, THE FISHERMEN is an essential novel about Africa, seen through the prism of one family's destiny.

MY REVIEW:

Obioma's book has won multiple awards including The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, NAACP Image Award, and Man Booker Prize finalist.

The story of four brothers in 1990s Nigeria is tragic, heart-wrenching, and completely mesmerizing. I was drawn into the story from page one and could not stop turning the pages. The characters are so real, I felt like was I right there among the family, feeling their pain and their fear right alongside them. The author has perfectly captured not only the culture of Nigeria but also the complexities of human emotion and familial relationships. Simply brilliant. I will remember The Fishermen for years to come and look forward to more books from Obioma in the future.



CONTENT REVIEW:

Profanity: Moderate
Sexuality: High
Violence: Moderate




Saturday, December 23, 2017

$25 AMAZON GIVEAWAY: HANDLER by Tish Thawer

Title: Handler
Author: Tish Thawer
Genre: Sci-Fi Dystopian
Publisher: Amber Leaf Publishing
Cover Designer: Emma Michaels
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Our world was perfect––until we broke the law: Don't go out at night.
Utopian by day, dystopian by night; this is the world I recently discovered. I now struggle with the fact that our whole society has been based on a lie. There's only one way to change it––conquer the darkness we've all been raised to fear.
Live the lie; fight to the death; become a Handler. It's the only way.
A sci-fi/dystopian novel
Award Winning Author, Tish Thawer, writes paranormal romances for all ages. From her first paranormal cartoon, Isis, to the Twilight phenomenon, myth, magic, and superpowers have always held a special place in her heart.
Tish is known for her detailed world-building and magic-laced stories. Her work has been compared to Nora Roberts, Sam Cheever, and Charlaine Harris. She has received nominations for multiple RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence), and Author of the Year (Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery), as well as nominations and wins for Best Cover, and a Reader’s Choice Award.
Tish has worked as a computer consultant, photographer, and graphic designer, and is a columnist for Gliterary Girl Media and has bylines in RT Magazine and Literary Lunes Magazine. She resides in Colorado with her husband and three wonderful children and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin, and Fountain Literary Management.

Author Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TishThawer/ | @TishThawer
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2rp0q8A
Buy Links:
May 2069 ... Blood coated bodies littered the ground as the mushroom cloud dissipated in the distance. Horror struck faces stared up at me, frozen forever with tears streaking down soot-covered cheeks. I swallowed hard as I stared into their dead eyes.
“Colizan, would you care to join us for a walk?” Father asked, pulling me from the image in my history book.
I slammed the cover shut and smiled. “Of course, it would be my pleasure.”
The warm sun glinted off the quartz sidewalk as my father, mother, and I strolled from our assigned dwinn in the Northern territory of Atal. Winding our way through the gardens which led to Common Park had always been their preferred route. Picture perfect displays of green grass, sparkling quartz, lush flowers, and elaborate water features dotted the landscape. Mother and Father chatted enthusiastically just ahead of me while I took in the scenery––the same scenery I’d enjoyed every day for eighteen years. I tilted my head back and appreciated the glass and quartz buildings that lined the sky. Some were tall and towering, others round and inviting; I loved them all. I sighed and quickened my pace as we approached my favorite part of the city––the museum. It reminded me of a picture I’d once seen of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, but instead of white and cream concrete, it was all glass. Ever since I was young, I always made it a point to stop and read the plaque outside, and today was no exception.
“ATAL. Est. 2027. Redesigned from the ashes of Atlanta.”
An image of a Genesis machine hovered over the war-struck city in the foreground, and in the background stood the utopian paradise left in its wake. The large spaceship-like device, with its metallic domed body and long tendrils of machinery hanging down, had always fascinated me.

Friday, December 22, 2017

BOOK GIVEAWAY: PHOENIX by Daccari Buchelli


Phoenix
The Peradon Fantasy Series Book 1
by Daccari Buchelli
Genre: YA Fantasy 

No power is greater than the one you’re willing to sacrifice. 


Princess Violetta Flame lives her life according to rule, but those rules require her to pay a heavy price. Haunted by a devastating loss, she longs for freedom. When a handsome ruler takes a special interest in her, she senses greater things lie ahead, but behind the handsome fa├žade lies a dark secret – one that can usurp her efforts and cast her back into the life she detested.

The throne was never promised to Emperor Ryore Frost, but now that he has ultimate power, his world is filled with possibilities. Citizens bow at his feet, but their fleeting adoration is no match for his obsession with the young Flame Princess. As his feelings for the staunchly independent princess grow, a new threat emerges, bent on undermining his efforts and betraying his sensibilities.

When past tragedies, malevolent behaviour, and strong wills collide, which will reign supreme?





Symbiote
The Peradon Fantasy Series Book 2
Releases December 25th, 2017!!

In order to save the ones you love, you must be prepared to risk it all.
Five years have passed since that fateful day at the Frost Estate and Violetta fails to shake the memories of her husband’s demise. Her daughter Elinor cannot know of the part she played, but that is only one of the Flame Queen’s problems.
With a mysterious storm blanketing the whole of Peradon, Violetta, with the help of Lord Jork and Xyhoni, sets out to uncover its source. The last thing she expected was for her only child to vanish and for a troublesome rumour to be circling Peradon.
At her wits end, Violetta must journey through the four realms in search of anyone who can help to find her daughter, but- is she willing to accept the help of a traitor?








Born in 1993, British writer Daccari Buchelli spends his time focusing on his favourite genre, Fantasy. Having developed an early love of literature, he became determined to create his own magical wonderlands for fellow readers to explore. He spent his teenage years working on several Fantasy novellas, which he has yet to release to the general public. 


He has since released the first book in a new Fantasy series, which revolves around young royals and the elemental magic that they possess. As an active member of the LGBT+ community, Mr Buchelli hopes to help reduce intolerance and bullying by promoting acceptance and understanding of those different to ourselves.








Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!