Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Wings of Dragons (The Dragoon Saga) by @JoshVanBrakle #AmReading #Fantasy #YA

Grasping the rock Balear had thrown at him, Iren whipped around and launched it, not bothering to aim or even care what he hit.

In truth, he could damage little. His chamber had little adornment: a hard bed with three discarded blankets and a dresser with the few outfits he’d fished from the trash. The only object of merit was a large painting hung on the wall beside the dresser. As if guided by fate, the rock struck its frame, and the artwork clattered to the floor.

The harsh sound yanked Iren from his temper. He knelt and retrieved both the stone and the fallen painting. They were his finest treasures. The stone, little more than a black pebble, had come from the ocean. The surf had tossed it until it had worn perfectly smooth. Years ago, one of the castle children had brought it home, but his mother had commanded him to get rid of it. Iren swiped it that night, his only possession that had ever touched the sea.

As for the painting, while he couldn’t truly claim to own it, he still considered it his. It had hung in this tower since long before he arrived, yet it apparently held such low value that no one bothered to remove it when he took up residence. Still, he couldn’t help feeling a deep attachment to it, the only thing in his room he hadn’t stolen or pulled from the garbage.

Iren surveyed it closely. “No harm done,” he whispered with relief.

Returning the painting to the wall, Iren stepped back and took in its splendid image: a serpentine dragon. Though unsigned, the painting’s remarkable realism made the great beast almost come alive. Blue streaks and hairs off its spine accentuated its gleaming white body. Its wings stretched beyond the painting’s borders, so that they appeared to extend forever to the heavens. Though its mouth opened wide in a silent roar, its expression invoked not terror but majesty.

The painting’s frame held a small plaque that read, “Divinion, the Holy Dragon.” Iren smiled, proud of his unshared knowledge. It gave him a small satisfaction, knowing something the vast majority of the populace did not. Though everyone called Haldessa’s tallest spire the Tower of Divinion, few understood the name’s origin. Growing up, Iren overheard mothers tell their children that long ago, the tower served as a temple to worship dragons, sacred creatures that brought balance to the world.
Of course, no one used it for that purpose now. Nobody believed in the dragons anymore. Most had forgotten that they even had names, let alone what those names were.

As Iren looked at the dragon’s face in the artwork, though, for a moment he saw more than a painting. The creature stared out at the room with sky blue eyes, eyes that eerily matched Iren’s. Their gaze bored through his body, and a sudden hopelessness washed over him. Barely conscious of his actions, Iren backed away from the painting and collapsed on his bed, burying his head in his hands.

The Wings of Dragons

From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.

Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom's only known Left, that's meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It's harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia's charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It's a suicide mission, and Iren's chances aren't helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon's spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.

Adding to his problems, someone on Iren's team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who - and how - to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.

"A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going." - ForeWord Reviews

Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Josh VanBrakle on Twitter

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SUPERHUMAN NATURE #Excerpt by Brandon Overall #SciFi #AmReading

The guard behind him tried to hit Neil in the back of the head with the butt of his rifle, but he felt nothing from the blow.  Anger consumed him.  The guard had shot Sung in cold blood.  There was no arrest, no trial, and no judge.  He didn’t deserve any mercy, and Neil wasn’t going to give him any.
Neil lifted the guard off of the ground several feet and slammed him hard onto the pavement.  The distinct sound of snapping bones would have made anyone cringe, but Neil did not have enough humanity left to care.  The guard behind Neil yelled something, but he wasn’t paying any attention.  The guard was raised into the air again, and slammed down once more.  Every time Neil slammed the guard down, the bones disintegrated under the immense force.  The guard screamed in agony.
The guard behind Neil fired several shots from his AK-47 into Neil’s back, but his body reacted automatically to the threat.  The bullets bounced off of his back like nerf darts.  Neil was still too focused on the guard that he was repeatedly slamming into the ground to worry about the crushed projectiles falling to the ground behind him.
As the guard lay bleeding and broken on the ground, Neil walked up to him slowly.  He could see the fear and pain in his eyes.  He cried, knowing what was going to happen to him.  The guard behind Neil was still firing, but it didn’t distract Neil from what he was about to do.  He raised his foot above the guard’s head, and brought it down, again and again.  He was gurgling and blood poured out of his mouth.  He stopped crying.
Neil turned around to focus his attention on the guard that had been shooting him in the back.  At the sight of the gruesome execution before him, the guard dropped his rifle and sprinted away, trying to escape.  He didn’t get far.  Neil severed his Achilles tendon, and he tumbled face first into the ground.  He screamed as the tendon shot up into his body like a rubber band.  He was completely helpless, as his calf muscles were no longer attached to his foot.
The man desperately tried crawling away.  He was crying as he chanted something while inching forward, pulling his body along the road with his hands.  Neil didn’t have to speak Korean to know what a prayer sounded like.  As he approached the man, Neil’s shadow loomed over him, blocking the last sunlight he would ever feel.
Neil slowly and deliberately pulled on each limb of his body.  The muscles stretched, the tendons began to tear, and a soft pop could be heard as the joints at the shoulders and hips separated.  He shrieked with pain, but his suffering wasn’t over.  The skin connecting each limb stretched several inches without giving way.
Pools of blood began to form inside his body where the internal arteries were severed.  Finally, the skin couldn’t stretch any more, and it tore.  The pooled blood spilled out onto the ground.  With each beat of his struggling heart, a line of crimson shot out of each severed artery where a limb was supposed to be connected.  The beats became slower as the life drained from his body.  The screams turned into soft moans.  Finally, the noise stopped, and the blood stopped pouring.
Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Brandon Overall on Facebook

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sarah Nicholson's Thoughts on Freedom by Jonathan Franzen @EvolutionWoman #NonFiction #BookClub

Footsteps I Follow: Authors I Admire --- Jonathan Franzen - Freedom

While I've been primarily focused on writing non-fiction over the last decade, I am a very big fiction fan. I love to be drawn into a richly imagined narrative world. Jonathan Franzen’s deeply engaging novel Freedom is  one of these. It is an exploration of the disappointments of adult life and of what depth may emerge, through complication and pain, when the glow and bloom of youthful certainty, hedonism and adventure burn away.  Set inside the questions of this age, Franzen’s principle characters stare into the void of a classic existential crisis of meaning: Who am I? What is all of this about? What is it to be good? How can I be good when I’ve never been me? What is virtue? What has value?
Franzen's reflection on behalf of his character Walter exemplifies this: “He didn’t know what to do, he didn’t know how to live. Each new thing he encountered in life impelled him in a direction that fully convinced him of its rightness, but then the next new thing loomed up and impelled him in the opposite direction, which also felt right. There was no controlling narrative: he seemed to himself a purely reactive pinball in a game whose only object was to stay alive for staying alive’s sake.” Life in Freedom is not without hurt, pain and loss; but, neither is it without joy, awe, connection and celebration. Growth is found through grappling with the complexity of the resolution of the cost of the sorrows with the joys; the costs of living and the costs of not living. 

In the end Freedom’s characters seem to have found a way to love each other and the world; they have perhaps experienced love and forgiveness in its right measure. In this Freedom verges on a celebration of the tragedy of life in Nietzsche’s sense: “saying Yes to life even in its strangest and most painful episodes, the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustible vitality even as it witnesses the destruction of its greatest heroes … Not in order to be liberated from terror and pity, not in order to purge oneself of a dangerous affect by its vehement discharge… but in order to celebrate oneself the eternal joy of becoming, beyond all terror and pity — that tragic joy included even joy in destruction.”
I once heard Franzen speak at the Sydney Opera House. He said that he fell in love with his characters –  “full of contradiction and possibility” – and felt empathy with their life challenges. It was perhaps most compelling for me to hear him admit that he took “no moral position” on them. I think Franzen offers his reader a great gift in doing this. If you identify, as I did, with the struggle of Freedom’s characters to find their way inside this beautiful and difficult world, with the struggle to be good to one other and to themselves, with the struggle to love and to confront its costs,  then Franzen’s loving gaze and his empathic, non-judgmental curiosity become transmissions that flow through the river of the text and into you: that truly is a great gift.


The story of human evolution that we've been commonly told is one built on the shoulders of male heroism, competition and dominance; but, what if it isn't the whole story? This book tells the lost story of women in evolution.

The Evolutionary Journey of Woman: From the Goddess to Integral Feminism looks towards a future that brings together and reintegrates women's wisdom traditions through establishing a spiritual lineage for women that is traced all the way back to ancient Sumer with the goddess Inanna. Marrying the ancient wisdom traditions with adult developmental theory, this book charts a pathway towards the full spectrum of possibilities for women's self-actualisation in the coming Integral age. The Evolutionary Journey of Woman is academically rigorous, historical, philosophical and spiritual, but, most fundamentally, it is a narrative that will change the way you think about woman as a heroine of history.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Non fiction, Women's Spirituality
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Sarah Nicholson on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Craig Staufenberg on Books, Reading & Life Experience @YouMakeArtDumb #AmWriting #MiddleGrade

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I’ve done a good job creating a life that lets me create without giving everything else up for it. I wouldn’t say I’m “proud” of that, but I am happy I’ve made that a priority and made it happen. I know a lot of people totally off the deep end in one direction or the other.

What books did you love growing up?
The BFG by Roald Dahl. That was my all-time favorite. I re-read that book so many times growing up, and named my main character in The Girl Who Came Back to Life after the main character in The BFG. Roald Dahl is the best children’s writer ever. He may be tied with Bill Watterson of Calvin & Hobbes. Those guys got it.

I also read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and The Hobbit many times. (I could never get into The Fellowship of the Ring no matter how many times I tried.) Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen was a favorite. As were Bruce Coville’s books. I best remember Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, Goblins in the Castle, and the magic shop book with the ring that turned the boy into monsters around Halloween.

I would also be lying if I omitted the Quest for Glory adventure games by Lori & Cory Cole. Those games—their characters, narratives, and worlds—have the same quality as a cherished childhood book, and returning to them as an adult they still contain that magic.

Who is your favorite author?
I don’t read much fiction anymore. At the moment my favorite author is Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The Black Swan and Antifragile have impacted my thinking and my life more than anything else in recent memory. One of his stated purposes is figuring out how to live happily in an uncertain world—I think “living in an uncertain world” is the perfect way to describe the creative life. So even though he draws from his experience as a trader, everything he writes is enormously applicative to any sort of risk-taker who wants to live a good life.

What book genre of books do you adore?
I adore a good Middle Grade book. Because I exist outside of the publishing world I was unaware of this genre classification until last winter. I was trying to find a good genre classification for the book I was writing, so I walked into McNally Jackson on Prince St. in NYC and just started investigating the shelves. Suddenly I stumbled on all the books I loved, whose character I was hoping to evoke in the book I was writing. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Wrinkle in Time, Peter Pan, the Harry Potter books, the His Dark Materials series, and so many more—all the best books. And they were all sitting under a sign that said Middle Grade.

What book should everybody read at least once?
That depends a lot on the person. We all have different personalities, interests, and themes in our lives. But a great, universally applicable book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. It’s Aurelius’ private journal. He wrote it to himself while he was ruling the Roman Empire. In the book he talks to himself about how to live a good life, how to act with principle, and how to live well while having to make difficult decisions. I’m not the ruler of any empire, and I’ll assume you aren’t either, but any thought process that helped Aurelius rule the known world can certainly help you deal with the challenges of work, relationships, and following your inner compass.

I think about two passages from it the most. In the first, he talks himself out of staying in bed all day. He says to himself, paraphrased: “The bed is comfortable, but were you really born to lounge about in comfort all the time, or were you born to do something bigger?”

In the second passage—he talks about forgiving himself for not having a very productive day. He basically says “Oh, you didn’t get anything you wanted to get done today? Congratulations—you’re human. Everyone has those days.” These are good examples that even though he was ruler of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius was dealing with, and finding solutions for, the most basic human problems we all run into.

Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Why would I read a book I don’t enjoy? And if I didn’t read it, then I have nothing to say about it.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
I’ll be gone by the time it’s printed so it isn’t of huge concern to me what it says. Obituaries, like funerals and weddings, are for everyone but the subject.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in upstate NY, and have lived a few places. Mostly stayed in the Northeast, though have done some exploring elsewhere. Right now I live in New York City.

How did you develop your writing?
By writing. By thinking. And by learning to not control everything I put on the page. I’ve been daydreaming stories, characters and worlds since I was five, and I think daydreaming is the most important part of the writing process. That and taking long walks—something else I’ve done since my youth.

As far as the technical side of writing—I developed that by writing a lot. I stumbled into a career as a freelance writer, and my assignments forced me to write a lot every day. Ten to twenty thousand words a day at first. Then down to about ten thousand words a day. Then a few thousands of words a day. I’m not saying those words were great, but they paid the bills and the process of putting down a large amount of print every single day was more helpful than any textbook or instructor. It also forced me to write without self-censoring. To not fear the blank page, and to not be afraid of my words once they were on the page. (Which is even more challenging and frightening than facing the blank page.)

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have no clue where it comes from. (And I don’t care to know.)

The Girl Who Came Back to Life

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Craig Staufenberg through Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Beautiful American #Excerpt by Marilyn Holdsworth #BookClub #Women @M_Holdsworth

from my novel, THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN, by Marilyn Holdsworth.

“Oh, no,” she wailed the moment the door opened revealing the two guards. “The guillotine,” she cried. “It is to be today. Dear God, dear God, have pity on my soul.”
“Oh my dear, my dear,” Elizabeth Monroe soothed, pushing past the two guards and rushing to Madame LaFayette’s side. She stooped down, took the trembling woman’s hands in hers, and knelt down beside her. “No, no; it is nothing like that. I am Elizabeth Monroe. My husband, James, is the United States minister to France and a longtime friend of your husband. They fought together in our revolution,” she explained. “I have come to visit you, assure you how very concerned for you my husband is. We are going to do all we can to help you.” She placed her arms around the sobbing, frightened woman’s shoulders, continuing her reassuring words in soft, flowing French.
I stood watching from the doorway as Mistress Monroe calmed and comforted Adrienne LaFayette. Disregarding the filthy surroundings, Mistress Monroe continued to crouch down before the distraught woman, holding her hands as she spoke. When at last she rose, she drew Madame LaFayette to her feet and embraced her.
“Merci beaucoup, thank you for coming,” Adrienne LaFayette whispered, wiping her eyes. “I was sure they had come to take me to the guillotine. I was so very frightened. My family is all gone. I thought for sure they had come for me too,” she said, fighting back the tears.
“Of course you did, my dear, but have courage. Be assured that James will do all he can for you,” Mistress Elizabeth promised, patting her gently on the shoulder before joining me at the door. “We must go now, Jasmine, get back to the Folie as soon as possible. We must tell James of this poor woman’s deplorable state.”
She glided gracefully back down the long dingy, hall, past the guards to the prison door, where Michael was waiting to escort us safely back to the carriage.
You can read more about The Beautiful American, by Marilyn Holdsworth at:

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries a wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View, where generations of Randalls have lived for years. Outwardly, Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View’s stifling social structure, but inwardly, she yearns for her artistic work. 

An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer, offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime, and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes, Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the people she loves.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Women’s fiction
Rating – PG-13
“Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time.

When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies.

From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence—and inspire—a woman of today’s world.”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical fiction
Rating – G
Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. 

Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, August 8, 2014

@MarcADiGiacomo on Being a #NewYork Detective & More #Thriller #GoodReads

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Marc A. DiGiacomo
1)      I am a real New York Police Detective (retired) who worked for a small town.
2)      In A Small Town was my first published work but it isn’t my first story.
3)      I am a huge fan of the band Pearl Jam, In A Small Town, is a shortened title of one of their songs.
4)      I have saved someone’s life.
5)      I have a dog named Lola, she’s really sweet, sometimes.
6)      My favorite time of year is the fall.
7)      My favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins.
8)      Unlike Matt Longo, I can never remember any of my dreams.
9)      I married my high school sweetheart.
10)   I can eat an entire watermelon, as long as it’s perfectly sweet.

The shotgun blast catches Detective Matthew Longo by surprise. His world unravels into a nightmare that seemingly won’t end. Murder, rapes, pedophiles, the small town of Hutchville, N.Y. is changing. It is up to him to make a difference.
While partner Donny Mello is in Italy attending a funeral for a family member who is connected, to say the least, a beautiful F.B.I. agent waits to question him about his family business. Can Matt keep from answering the Agent’s questions? More importantly, can he hide a potentially career-ending secret from his community, his brother, and most especially Agent Cynthia Shyler?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Marc A. DiGiacomo on Facebook & Twitter

Erick Galindo Shares His Thoughts on a Good Book Cover by @ErickGEEE #AmWriting #BookMarketing

Why Book Covers are So Important
The landscape is so competitive and every little advantage can be the difference in getting your book into a readers hands. But that isn’t really the main reason a book cover is very important. A book cover is a representation of you and an extension of your work. That’s the main reason you should put as much effort into what goes on the outside of that book as to what’s on the inside.
First, let’s examine the capitalistic incentives.A book cover is like an album cover. If it’s cool enough you might get someone to buy it just based on the cover. More importantly, it could be cool enough to get put on a shelf somewhere as a form of decoration or a humble brag. Go down to any random block in Silver Lake, here in Los Angeles, and you will find at least a few apartments with Andy Warhol’s bruised banana cover for The Velvet Revolver & Nico cover. Since word of mouth is the best way to push your book, a great cover can really help get you noticed and recommended.
A book cover is a first impression and it’s also a lasting impression. The Great Gatsby (the novel not the film) is remembered for its poignant portrayal of reckless youth and wealth and for having some of the best closing lines in literature as it is for its iconic book cover. I can still see those eyes, as indelible as Fitzgerald’s description of St. Paul and as vividly as I can hear Daisy Buchanan’s voice. Even more recent books have left impressions. The Perks of Being a Wallflower immediately comes to mind.  That book cover almost looks like an album cover. It’s so bright and simple and still gets the through-line of the book across. And that brings me to the final and most important point.
This is all about you. How do you want to be perceived? What is your through-line? Stephen Chbosky’s almost secretive cover tells me that he’s got something of a secret. There’s something about him that makes him interesting. And that’s the through-line of Perks and of Chobsky. He’s cool. He’s simple. He’s kind of retro. He gets it. I don’t know if any of that is true but it sure helped sell that image to me. And that image paired with the writing style, voice and subject matter, make for a complete storytelling package. David Sedaris is another good example of this. His book covers are not only complementary to the text, but they are pretty good reflection of the writer as well. They show his humor and his self-deprecating elegance. I mean, maybe I am reading too much into the covers, but that’s the point.
Society, today more than anytime after the invention of written words, is very visual. People will remember your cover, at least you better hope so. They will make assumptions based on your cover. And it will be part of the whole overall experience of buying your product.  It’s up to you to make sure that it adds to the experience in way that is positive and an accurate representation of your work and your personality.

A winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, So Go On and Live poignantly and bitingly captures the angst and restlessness of modern American youth. Pedro “Pete” Salcedo, a young but worn down journalist, is on a figurative and metaphorical journey through the absurdity of life, America and beautiful women. 

After accepting a prestigious job in Washington, D.C. and subsequently losing the love of his life, Pedro loses himself, first to his work, then to the road and eventually to the apathy, alcohol and cynicism that permeates through youth culture. Pedro struggles, like many of his generation, to get his life in order and hang on to love, sanity and pathos in this modern world, where women, relationships and sexuality are constantly evolving. 

So Go On and Live is a wild and emotional expedition into the existential and farcical perspective of a drunken, Mexican-Irish, would-be poet offering a new breed of optimism that comes with a nihilistic twist.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Literary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Erick Galindo through Twitter

Saturday, August 2, 2014

#ReviewShare #Bullying #Children - The Bully Barn by Robert Gioia

The Bully Barn: A Lesson For Bullies, Bystanders and VictimsThe Bully Barn: A Lesson For Bullies, Bystanders and Victims by Robert Gioia
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beneath the colourful illustrations and the entertaining story in this book there is a powerful message about something that affects countless children every year. Bullying is a serious issue that can cause lasting physical and psychological damage to its victims, it is books like this that give hope to the idea that one day all bullying may be eradicated.

By displaying the anti-bullying message in an entertaining story it is instantly made more entertaining and relatable to for children, because of this they are far more likely to listen and understand the importance of what is being said. Personally I feel this book should be read in all schools from an early age, I commend the author for their efforts to make a difference and I wholeheartedly recommend to all parents that they share this story with their children.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #Fantasy #YA - Sophia: Within by Jordana Lizama @JordyLizama

Sophia: WithinSophia: Within by Jordana Lizama
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual rating is 3.5 stars

In this engaging tale we follow one seemingly normal girl who ends up being thrown into a battle that threatens to cause disaster for humanity. Along with Alec who is a mind reader, the pair must do their best to protect the world. I felt the author brilliantly captured the magnitude and danger of the situation throughout, with such a threat being present I was immersed in the story from the beginning.

The real strength of the book lies with the characters, Sophia is a fantastic protagonist whose qualities make her compelling to watch as the shocking events unfold around her. I felt her motives and actions were believable throughout and I enjoyed following her journey, she seemed to grow as the plot progressed which is realistic considering what she experiences. Alec was intriguing as well, he added to the overall strength of the story and that is one of the biggest compliments I can give.

Overall the author has taken a plot idea that clearly had a lot of potential and they have brought it to life through each page of this book. From start to finish my interest was held and I personally believe teenagers and adults would definitely enjoy this piece of literature.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

#ReviewShare #Suspense #SummerofGreed - Lethal Greed (Greed Series #2) by @JWMefford

Lethal Greed (Greed Series #2)Lethal Greed by John W. Mefford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John W. Mefford wastes no time weaving a dark and intriguing story of a world fille drugs, money, and danger in Lethal Greed. As the story begins, the criminal underworld peeks out from every corner, revealing itself without hesitation. With his straight to the point writing style, Mefford shatters the illusion of safety within mere pages.

In this story of the lurid operation of the Mexican drug cartel, the door is opened to all things illicit as each victim is swallowed by the voracious appetite of the story's malefactors. Everything from the results of their reign over drug addled teens, to their kidnappings and murders to feed their profit unfolds in a sharp and gripping manner. The crimes and the struggles of those surrounded by them are real, poignant, and increasingly intense as the story goes on.

As Arthur struggles to wake up from the nightmare of the upheaval his wife's kidnapping has created, a clandestine network of lawlessness begins to connect each piece of the story together, building the thrill and intensity. When we meet the protagonist Michael, a journalist and confidant of Arthur, the mystery quickly begins to unfold, leading to the discovery of the grim truth about the drug cartel. Each twist and turn is chilling, as Michael and his associates fight to expose and dismantle the deadly drug trade destroying their Texas community.

Mefford succeeds in shining a light on the illegal drug trade in a compelling and genuine way. He flawlessly catches every angle, laying out the insatiable greed, ego, and danger below the surface of a fledgling drug enterprise, before he quickly flips back to the disarray left in its wake.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

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#ReviewShare #WorldWar #HistFic - The Deadly Playground, 1914 by Robert Carter @NovelRob

The Deadly Playground, 1914The Deadly Playground, 1914 by Robert Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This refreshing look at two men’s friendship and adventures throughout the First World War certainly made for compelling reading. Following their journey and the effects it has on them ensured I was always entertained, they say opposites attract and the stark difference between the two men’s lives proves that point emphatically. Beyond the contrast in wealth is a strong connection that is both endearing and fascinating to watch.

As a bit of a war history buff myself I feel it is worth mentioning the accuracy and detail the author uses throughout the book, clearly he has researched this period of time extensively and it really pays dividends in the story. It adds a realistic element to the book that definitely helps to hammer home the fact that these characters are involved in one of history’s most defining events.

Although the book is mainly focused on the two friends we are also introduced to the rest of the wealthy Barrington family, I felt this was a good idea by the author as it highlighted the difference between Jimmy and Stanley’s upbringing, it was also good to gain an insight into the life of one of the main characters.

Overall I found this book to be thoroughly entertaining. It flows well and the strong set of characters really elevates it to the next level, further instalments are planned and I for one cannot wait.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

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