Author Interview

Author Interview: Christopher Long

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Christopher Long, author of Something Needs Bleeding.

About the author:

At thirty-six years of age, Christopher Long is a relatively young writer. But when you read his writing, you realise he is older than beyond his years. He has the horror and torment of a million tortured souls in his work.
Dark, supernatural stories are his life blood. His first shocking novella, The Compressionist, is a scary tale about a man that feeds on the very life force of people and has done since the dawn of time. It was published early Spring of 2014.
He writes like a man possessed. Maybe he is? He sure seems older than his years suggest. No one dare go up in his attic to see if there is a picture of his good self that might be changing.
His second novella, The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce, a tragic tale of a recently retired thespian who finds something very strange in the grounds of his seaside retreat. Was published in the summer of 2014.
His third novella, The Narrow Doors, a tale that proves sometimes you should leave the past buried, was also published. all three of these were released as part of a novel length collection, Christopher Long’s Unusual Things.
His debut novel Something Needs Bleeding, was a ground-breaking novel where he edited the last stories of mysterious horror writer Thomas Singer is a horror tour de force. A further two novels are in the pipeline, or sewer pipe in Christopher Long’s case. The next is early 2017 and we at KGHH Publishing can’t wait.
Christopher has been writing stories since he was first able to hold a pen. Reportedly his first book collection, Tales from the Crib, would scare any nursery school or kindergarten.
It all began for Chris when someone gave him their copy of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, and he hasn’t looked back since. If only in fear that someone’s going to hit him with the library late returns fee.
For Chris, stories are a means of escape. Not always to a place your average person or writer would go, but a dark, scary place that Chris feels most at home. The dark places that are in all our minds.
He is happily married to the lovely Samantha, or “Her Highness” as she likes to be called. They live in the midlands of England, which is a bit like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but with just a few less Orcs! And where Sam refuses to let Chris read her his bedtime stories, as he told her one once and she didn’t sleep for a month.

Hello, Christopher. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I did start with ambitions but, I’ve got to be honest, they got in the way of the writing. For a long time, I was really only writing for myself. Then, when I self-published a couple of stories, I waited for the praise. The adulation. I know it sounds really childish and naïve, but I assumed that you wrote a story and people came running to you for more. The minute I realised they didn’t, I found it started affecting any story I was working on. It made me question everything I was doing. That’s why, these days, I’m trying to keep one ambition ahead of all the shiny and distracting ones; just enjoy what you’re writing. It seems to be working for me so far.

That said, I will never turn my nose up at thought of fortune and glory.

Which writers inspire you?

Roald Dahl was definitely the first. When I came across his stories as a kid, they caught me off guard. They were devious and cunning. They could make me laugh, scared the hell out of me and never felt like they were talking down to me. I kept waiting for people to come along and confiscate them at first. He taught me a lot as I read everything of his I could get my hands on. Not just about story, but also about the relationship the writer can have with his readers as well.

Neil Gaiman has definitely been a big influence. Although a lot of that influence can also include me hating him for just good his stories are. Pretty much every story I’ve read of his just feels like this perfect, polished gem that’s come from another world. They’re so insightful, yet so deceptively simple. So perfectly designed to fit in a gap in your head that you didn’t know was there until you’ve put the book down. Damn him.

I recently realised Emily Brontë taught me a very important lesson about writing. The first time I read ‘Wuthering Heights’ I was pretty young and I didn’t understand the idea of an untrusty narrator. So, when Lockwood is taking you into the story, I didn’t understand that he was lying to me and trying to cover over his own fault. She had written him so sublimely that all his passive aggressive nature almost snuck under my young radar. Thank you, Emily. Any time I doubt the value of first person narrative, you remind me why it matters.

Tell us about your book?

‘Something Needs Bleeding’ is, on the surface, a collection of ghost stories by recently diseased author called Thomas Singer. However, as you read each of his stories, you’ll start to find links between them that all hint to a secret Thomas kept until his death.

It wasn’t what I was set out to write at all. I was trying to write a far more standard dark horror comedy, but I couldn’t get my teeth into it. It made me start questioning where my own flavor of horror came from and what it really said about me. Which, in turn, got me thinking about how horror can affect people both as a genre and as an actual event in someone’s life. That was when I saw that the far more interesting story lay not so much in telling a horror story as looking at how we tell a horror story through a horror story. It let me talk about how we express something which has scared us or damaged us through the stories we tell other people.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I actually got moving on the idea, I think it took me around half a year. Although it felt a lot longer at the time. I remember seeing friends and barely being present when they were talking to me. My mind was forever wandering back to these stories and to the man I was creating to write them.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

The main thing I’m working on right now is my second novel. I started trying to write it back in 2016 and so far, I’ve got to say, it has been an absolute beast. In fact, early this year, I had to drop the story I’d been working on for months and start something new. It wasn’t easy but the original idea had been restarted so many times that I’d completely lost faith in it. On the bright side, doing that has allowed me to start something very different from anything I’ve written better and, so far, it’s going really well.

I’ve also got to get a couple of short ghost stories ready for a Halloween and Christmas collection for this year and I might be getting a story onto a rather popular podcast. Although, I’m worried about jinxing that one. Also, recently, I’ve set up my own website. Which means I’ve entered the glamorous world of the weekly blog. It’s also got me writing poetry again, which I’ve not done in ages. In fact, recently, my poetry got me some incredibly humbling feedback. Someone wants to put one of my poems up on a canvas print in their house. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is going to sound really tacky, but there’s a possibility it chose me. I never really set out to be a horror writer. To be honest, for a long time, I wasn’t really much of a horror fan. I read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and some early Clive Barker, but I never delved into the dark and gruesome torture fiction my friends were into when I was growing up. I was busy with Arthur C Clarke, Terry Pratchett and Raymond Chandler.

I was writing big, sweeping fantasy sagas back, until I stumbled across Fight Club and Hunter S Thompson. Which led to me writing some very dark, strange tales for a while.

The ghost stories really came about because of M R James. I’d seen a TV show where Christopher Lee told some of James’ classic tales pretty much straight to camera and that always stayed with me, but I never dreamt of trying to write one. Not until I was bored on a long car journey about three years ago. I saw someone standing on a motorway bridge and then thought I saw someone standing on the next one. It got me thinking and I ended up writing a story called ‘The Low Road’ that afternoon. I found it surprisingly easy and enjoyable to do. It also got a great response from people who read it

As I started to explore the genre I found the potential to write some great character driven stories. Really good horror stories push characters into unfamiliar territory. They force them to face the impossible. So far, that chance to disturb the equilibrium of flawed character’s lives has lead me to some pretty interesting places.

When did you decide to become a writer?

That happened at primary school. I was reading ‘James and the Giant Peach’ when I became aware of the fact people could tell stories for a living. I couldn’t believe that was an actual way to live as an adult. In some respects, it felt a little wasted on adults. Everyone I knew had parents who were office-bound every morning or worked in a shop. I still remember walking into our classroom one morning and one of the girls in my class asked me what I wanted to be when I was older. I told I wanted to be an author and I’ve never really looked back.

Why do you write? 

I guess it’s somewhere between a compulsion and an addiction for me. I know I hate not writing, if that makes sense. When I finished ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ and sent it off to my publisher, I opened a new Word file. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was about to start, but I knew I couldn’t just sit back. It felt wrong. There are too many stories I want to tell. I can’t quite imagine a day where I get up in the morning and don’t write for a couple of hours.

Where do your ideas come from?

The ideas come from the tiniest of details normally. The whole of ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ started off with me walking home from the pub on the first night they turned all the streetlights off after midnight around here. There was that cold, heavy silence that you only get when it’s truly dark. It really got to me and started the wheels spinning in my head. ‘The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce’, which is probably my favourite of all the short stories I’ve written so far, came from a nightmare. I woke up with these strange images of an old man trapped in a house that was constantly changing around him and knew I had to use them. I ended up sitting and writing for that whole day. I started when it just getting light and stopped after the sun had set. I was determined to capture that fear and I think it worked pretty well. One thing I will say is they rarely come fully formed. They’ll start off as one thing and just the process of telling them to myself on that first draft will change them into something far more interesting.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have the worst handwriting in the world. Well, it’s probably in the top ten. I used to write all my stuff by hand, years ago. I would scrawl them down on pads or spare sheets of paper. They were these ever expanding bundles of scruffy looking pages. I always thought a computer would ruin the process, until the day I tried to read one of them back. After spending hours trying to decode the smudged hieroglyphs I’ve covered those pages with, I decided I had to start typing stuff instead. It took me a while to get used to it. In fact, I started with poetry before I went to prose. It helped me get the rhythm right, as pretentious as that sounds.

Annoyingly, over the years, I’ve been given some really nice leather notebooks to write in and I’ve not got the heart to tell people those pages will never hold a draft of a story. Ideas for a story, sure? The odd comic book shopping list, definitely. But not a story. Not if I want to be able to read it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a tricky one. It’s a list that can change from one week to the next. That said, my favourite book is pretty much always going to be ‘Catch 22’ by Joseph Heller. I love the insanity and pain of that book. The dizzying logic of the whole thing. It’s brilliant, hilarious, powerful stuff.

‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Z Danielewski is another one of my favourites. It’s a book that plays with reality and style, but has an ingenious story at its heart.

‘Number 9 Dream’ by David Mitchell is another book I will go back to over and over again. I know a lot of people will say ‘Cloud Atlas’ is better, but this was the first Mitchell book I read and it blew me away. It toys with you and your expectations, but it never feels shallow or like a trick.

‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl is on the list, without a doubt. One of the perfect horror books for a kid. It’s chilling and exiting and, for me, the best use of witches in any fiction.

‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman is close to perfect as well. I watched the original BBC TV show and hunted the book down as soon as I could. It has this wonderful array of strange fantasy characters who are out of this world but have their roots sewn into the streets of any major city. It’s such a great mythology. Yep, now I have to hate Neil again for a while. Damn him.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Very, very badly. I keep writing as often as I can in order to keep The Block at bay, but it can still catch up with me. Take that idea I had for a second novel. I tried any which way to dodge past it, but it tackled me to the ground in the end. If I’m not careful, I get lost in a maze of notes and previous drafts.

What I’m trying to do right now is work around it. So, if I start to struggle with an idea, I set it aside and try something else out for a while. Work on the next blog post, a poem, look over something I need to get written for a future commitment. Sometimes I pick up a really early idea and play with it again for a day or two. That seems to be a pretty decent distraction at the minute.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Everyone is going to tell you to write and they’re one hundred percent correct. The best way to find your voice and to find what you want to on the page is all held in that process of just keeping at it. Keeping writing. The thing is, though, I think every aspiring author knows that deep down, already.

So, the best piece of advice I can offer you is to find likeminded people. Hunt them down on social media. Or at conventions. Or at writing groups. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people. Some really friendly, really open, really creative writers. Reading their work and talking to them about stories has helped me up my own game no end and it’s also helped me to feel like this isn’t just me sitting in a room on my own. Especially when it hasn’t been easy finishing a story or starting one.

So, yeah, that’s my advice. Go find other writers and stick with them. There’s safety in numbers

Thank you, Christopher, for all your impressive answers!


About The Book:

Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Reviews By Contributors

Book Review: The Birth of Death (The Legacy of Evorath #1) by Joseph Macolino

Author: Joseph Macolino 
Release Date: 8th June 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Pages: 1,378
Publisher: Create Space

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal, is disturbed when he discovers that the culprit behind a recent string of kidnappings presents the greatest threat the world of Evorath has ever seen. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding a great secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the crown. Meanwhile, Irontail, a young centaur warrior, endeavors to find his way in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged.
When their paths cross, the entire forest must unite, performing an ancient ritual to combat this new evil. While the world of Evorath deals with this great threat, Artimus and his companions must put their internal conflicts to rest as they work together to combat this harbinger of death. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?
The first of many stories taking place in the world of Evorath, this series gives readers the thrill of an epic fantasy while introducing characters who are struggling to balance the demands of society with their own personal desires. One thing is for sure: at the end of it all, nothing will be the same.

Review

The story follows Artimus who is the head investigator for the Elvish kingdom. Artimus comes across an interesting investigation and falls in love with a beautiful elvish druid named Savannah. Artimus must fight off the dangers all around the kingdoms while balancing his personal life and his love to Savannah. This was a very nice story to read. This book is a great fantasy book and I enjoyed the classic fantasy feel of the book. I fell in love with the world from the beginning till the end and the author shows us many races and gorgeous places. The land of Frovath seems perfect and the story is full of adventures and friendships.

This book has lots of races, wonderful adventure, magic and tons of action. All these make the story a fast pass read and a fun story to follow and I can’t wait to read the next book.

 

You go through everything with the characters and feel their problems. I loved the Dryads, they are so intriguing and they bring a lot to the story. My favorite character is Irontail, but they are all written in a wonderful way, even the bad guys (this was important to me).

 

I loved the author’s writing style. The author has done something unique here, he shows us the character as humans that need to cook or clean, even when their world is in danger. These simple acts show us, just how much we need to feel normal and do normal things, even if the world around us is in chaos.

The story follows different characters, through the different point of views, but the author did a great job following them and describing everything that you knew who the character was, just by how they moved and did things, even before they spoke.

The first 3 chapters were a bit slow to read, but as an avid Fantasy reader, this is a common thing so I was used to it.

The ending of the book left me with wanting more, and more questions were asked. I want to know of this world and about the characters, can’t wait to read the next book.

The cover is gorgeous and once you read the book, you’ll know who it is on the cover.

The blurb was nice and intriguing and made me want to read the book.


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview

Author Interview: Patrick A. Roland

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Patrick A. Roland, author of Unpacked Sparkle.

About the author:

A new voice in self-help, author Patrick A. Roland, in partnership with Az Publishing Services, has released his new memoir about grief and recovery, Unpacked Sparkle, now available on Amazon.
Unpacked Sparkle chronicles Roland’s transformative journey upon finding his partner Pack dead in January 2014. It begins on the day of the funeral that he was uninvited to by Pack’s homophobic family and details the nearly two year journey back to a now thriving, joy-filled life he experienced after attempting to jump out of a twenty-six story Vegas casino after a weekend of intended Britney Spears and Mariah Carey concerts that he mostly missed in the throes of grief and addiction. He was instead hospitalized there after his mother miraculously found him. There, he began to take the vital steps necessary to take back control over his life.
The book discusses addiction and the recovery from it, grief and the journey to acceptance that ensued, the family dynamics and DNA that resulted in a live-saving bi-polar diagnosis, and the importance of civil rights and marriage equality. This miraculous journey is threaded together by a tapestry of amazing friends who helped him find his way back to happiness, as well as signs from beyond that his partner is still with him spiritually, even though his body is not.

Hello, Patrick. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’ve been a writer for my entire career, more than 20 years now. I think I probably always wanted to be an author, but I’m not sure I ever thought I would actually do it. I’m glad I did. The whole experience has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wrote myself out of pain and made it my power. My whole being shifted as a result of this experience.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ve always been inspired by female African-American writers like Maya Angelou, Alice Williams and Toni Morrison. In fact, Morrison inspired the time-jumping, kind of jumbled narrative in my book because that’s truly what grief is like – it’s all over the place – one day you are lamenting one thing and the next you are fixated on another. But as I was looking at it afterward, it all fit together like a puzzle that I had to put together to heal. Morrison often does that too. I also like authors who are really bold like Augusten Burroughs. I feel like he and I probably have a lot in common.

Tell us about your book?

It’s mostly about the two year period following the sudden death of my partner, Pack. It’s about what happens at the intersection of grief and addiction; but then it’s about what can happen afterward once you overcome it and become sober. It’s about finding the beauty even amid the most horrible thing that ever happened to you. It’s about taking pain and making it power. It’s about loving yourself as you are and letting your inner light – your sparkle – shine the brightest it possibly can do that you can live a beautiful life of joy and purpose despite what your past may have dealt you. It’s about experience, strength and hope. I’m showing readers what I got through in the hope that they realize they can get through things too. You just have to love yourself and believe that you can.

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the majority of it in about 12 days. It poured out of me. I was never more inspired. But I was only about 100 days sober at the time and I felt like I needed more sobriety for it to have impact. So, about a year later I wrote some chapters to flesh out my first six months of sobriety since that’s when it ends. I also wanted to redeem my mother more, because at the time I wrote the book we were not getting along. As a matter of fact, the earlier drafts of the chapters about the difficulty of that relationship were much harsher before the editing process, which took about six months.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I wrote a children’s book that needs to be illustrated and I am hoping to turn Unpacked Sparkle into a screenplay. I think this could be a movie. I want this to be a movie!

Why have you chosen this genre?

It was the most honest. I felt like I had been through something that was really hard that I also felt could help other people. That’s what this is about: sharing my story so the next person doesn’t have to hurt as much as I did.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ironically I wrote a poem about my dog dying in the sixth grade that won a pretty major award and now 30 years later I’ve written a book about grief. Maybe this subject matter chose me. I think I have something inspiring and moving to say about a subject that might seem grim on the surface.

Why do you write? 

I think I needed to write this book to work through the grieving process. I started it as one person, and emerged a whole different one by the time I was completed. Even if I never released it, the result was already a major success for me. But I felt like what I had survived could offer others hope. So I wrote this for others like me who are struggling. It’s for the beautifully broken. I hope they unpack their own sparkle and learn to love themselves as they are.

Where do your ideas come from?

For this project, I made a list of all the things I wanted to write about and checked them off as I went along. I had a lot of chapter titles in my head already (many are song titles that pertain to or are an homage to the events that transpired within the chapter). Like I said before, when this was finished it didn’t feel “done” until I wrote those later chapters, one of which – “Safe and Sound” – is the most beloved of the whole book by audiences.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I actually wrote this whole book in the notes section of my iPhone. I later put it all together in Word and it was edited that way, but I usually get ideas very quickly so I just grab my phone and get going.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Waiting to Exhale – Terry McMillan
  2. Dry – Augusten Burroughs
  3. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  4. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  5. The Color Purple – Alice Williams

I’d say those are my favorite authors too, but I’d add Maya Angelou in the mix.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I meditate or try to center myself with relaxation or positive self-talk. If you reframe the situation, you can usually power through anything and make the situation bear fruit.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep going and don’t give up. You can do and be anything if you believe in and love yourself. It all starts with you!

Thank you, Patrick, for all your exciting answers!


About The Book:

Over a year ago, I left a Mariah Carey concert in Las Vegas after six songs. I had gone on the trip as a present to myself for turning forty. But I couldn’t enjoy it. I was high on multiple drugs, but mostly crystal meth, and extremely drunk. I had been this way the majority of the year and a half since my partner Pack had suddenly passed away.
I found him dead on the bathroom floor one January morning while I was getting ready for work. The police told me I had no rights in my own home and asked me to leave. This was before gay marriage became legal. Life as I knew it changed instantly.
His family pretended I didn’t exist. They mauled our home the day he died, leaving it a ravaged mess. I was kicked out of that home. I was also disinvited to his funeral. In eight days I lost everything that mattered. Not even the law protected me from this.
So I got high in an effort to shoulder the pain. It didn’t work. I carried the heavy weight of unresolved complicated grief and addiction on my back. It was like an elephant. A large, unwieldy elephant that wanted me to die.
No longer able to participate in anything that mattered and unwilling to bear this burden anymore, I went back to my hotel room on the twenty-sixth floor of a casino and looked out on the sparkly lights below. I wanted to be in the light. So I opened the window and decided to jump.
But God intervened. My mother had somehow found me. Help came and I surrendered to the powerlessness of my situation. I asked God to help me. I stayed and I fought and I learned how to love myself. I put on a pair of sparkly shoes I had bought for that barely attended concert and I walked in to the rooms of Crystal Meth Anonymous. I had bought the sparkly shoes hoping Mariah would see me in the audience. Though she didn’t get the chance, you did. You all embraced me and my sparkly shoes. They have become my calling card of experience, strength, and hope.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Reviews By Contributors

Book Review: New Megiddo Rising (The Apostates #0.5) by Lars Teeney

Author: Lars Teeney
Release Date: 14th September 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 87
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★+1/2

Blurb:

At the Dawn of the Texas Republic declaring independence from Mexico, New Megiddo was born. Created by a death cult led by the Reverend Brigham Wainwright, who actively works to flood the empty, barren land with his American followers; undermining his Mexican overlords.

Fast-forward several centuries and America has become New Megiddo, a theocracy run by the Schrubb Administration, where order is kept using the technology of the [Virtue-Net] to feed the Reverend Wilhelm Wainwright’s sermons to the minds of the people. In the slums the humble beginnings of an insurgency of Apostates take shape. The cruel and clueless policies of the Church of New Megiddo and the ruling Regime push the disenfranchised masses one step closer to all-out rebellion.

Review

This is the prequel novella to the Apostates Series.

In my opinion, it will help you a lot if you’ll read the 3 books in the Apostates Series, or even just the first so you’ll be familiar with the world, characters and overall the plot of the story.

This novella flew by fast and I when I finished, it left me craving for more of this world. You could easily see that the world was well thought-out. The author is giving us a bleak view of a future and keeping us wanting more of this world.

This novella is a wonderful background story that shows us how it all started and how this dystopian world came to life and why. This book is not centered on a plot, and at first, it was hard to connect and read, but as soon as I had a few moments to myself, I was quickly reading through the book, and before I knew it, I’ve reached the end.

Each character has their own story but they are not connected. I think this is a wonderful origin story and Lars did an amazing job and even the gorgeous cover, made me enjoy this book a lot.

I love the cover art of this book so much, it’s so pretty.


Goodreads and Amazon

Reviews By Contributors

Book Review: The Rustle Of Silence by Lalitha Venkatraman

Author: Lalitha Venkatraman
Release Date: 10th September 2016
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Edition: E-book
Pages: 131
Publisher: 

Rating: ★

Blurb:

Christopher is a handsome and brilliant businessman. His business empire had sprawled across several countries and he could have any woman he wants. His is a loving and caring nature and people adore him for his sterling qualities. For the outside world, Christopher has it all, did he really?
Preeti is an intelligent, savvy professional who has spent her life consumed with work. She lived the life of a Saint, happy to bask in the glory of her parents’ love.
Pulled together by peculiar circumstances, Christopher and Preeti quickly tear down each other’s barriers, bonding over a deep passion for their loving families as they explore the vibrant cities and rich, exotic culture of India. They grew quite close.
Preeti makes a startling discovery in Christopher’s house and to a certain extent, about the man himself. Suspicions run wild. Inexplicably, Preeti becomes the centre of accusations herself when a mysterious man with a traumatic past questions whether her love is truly for Christopher or his incredible wealth. Will Preeti be able to prove her good intentions, or will she have to make the ultimate sacrifice for the man she loves?
And then there is a jungle and people say that it is cursed. The forest is alive and breathing; from time to time, one could hear a huge rumbling noise from within. The trees shed millions of leaves. The hills move a few miles from their places. The river water rises to form solid arches. The forest dazzles the surroundings with its own magical light show. People are terrified of the living, breathing woodland and keep their distance from it.
De Silva lives all alone in the cursed jungle and he rushes to meet total strangers, Christopher and Preeti in the middle of the night…

Review

I tried really hard to not give up on this book and have faith that it will get better as the story progressed, but it just wasn’t for me.

The plot wasn’t entirely original and my main problem with the book was the writing and narration. The narration lacked cohesion with weird time jumps and the pacing was erratic. The book also had too many metaphoric descriptions for mundane aspects and didn’t spend enough time explaining the actual plot.

There was a subplot plot with references to slightly supernatural elements. But it was never properly explained or explored and it just existed to tie up loose ends of the main story. The characters and dialogues were unrealistic and flat.

The book had a decent build up, but around 40% I started to lose interest and ended up skimming over the rest of it. The ending was rushed and predictable with too much exposition crammed into the last few pages.

I feel that strong editing and a better plot structure would have helped this book, but right now, it just didn’t work for me.


Goodreads and Amazon

Reviews By Contributors

Book Review: Lake Of Fire (Apostates Book #3) by Lars Teeney

Author: Lars Teeney
Release Date: 1st July 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopian
Edition: E-book
Pages: 250
Publisher: Xcism Press

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Archon Greta Sanchez and Strategos Evan Nubia struggle to hold together the Manhattan Union, amid Acolyte Possession Attacks, factional strife, and Database cartel crimes, while Sister Consuela Grajales tries to provide spiritual guidance to the people after she has renounced violence. But, when the Acolyte Possessions threaten all of their families directly the former Apostates consult Simon Schrubb about this mysterious threat. Simon Schrubb directs them to seek out Paradise, a hypothetical super backup server that just may hold the key to the Acolytes. And so, they set off in an armored convoy across the radioactive city ruins and dead tree littered wastelands on their perilous quest.
Little do the Apostates know that Apedemak Nubia and his Nubian Braves fight for control of their home, Sulfur Springs, which is said to hold Paradise, against the Trinity, a being that somehow controls the Acolyte Horde. As the Nubians split up to search out allies east and west, the Republic of Ukiah finds unlikely allies in the Nubian Braves, and the former Prelate Ayane Inoguchi, who struggles to reconcile her past, while helping to defend the Republic from an all-out Chinese invasion of the West Coast.
But, amid all the chaos the Lake of Fire burns deep below the Earth and threatens to undue all labors to consume the world and usher all souls to Paradise in the name of the Trinity and the Proxy Messiah.

Review

I must say that this story was surprisingly quick read. Evan nubia fights to keep the Manhattan Union from getting in the middle of the Acolytes attacks while others fight against Trinity and protecting their home and themselves. Sister Gvajales is offering spiritual guidance and Apostate Simon is trying to find the Super server that is so important to the Acolytes.

This book has everything in it: Those who fight for power, those who fights for justice, war, betrayal. These elements make you want to read more and be more engaged with the characters. They try to find the answer for the Acolytes while trying to find the right man for the job. Everyone here has neural implants and this can bring all sorts of problems to regular people.
Everything is falling apart fast and Lars did a wonderful job of keeping the suspense until the end.

The characters are well written and well plotted out, that as a reader you get deeply involved with them. I really loved most of the characters, their determination, and strength to keep on fighting. I didn’t have a favorite character like the in the other books, everyone here plays their part beautifully.

This book like the others in this series was well crafted and lots of mystery and suspense. Lars did even better with this book’s descriptions; it felt like I was watching an action movie. I loved the advanced technology so much (omg). With all the different factions that are fighting for the power to rule, gives us a wonderful view of a potential future and how our world can change so drastically.

From the beginning, I was hooked on the story and the characters, but what made me turn the pages more than anything was this world and see what the characters will do next.

The story ended in a perfect way (I will not spoil it for you). The ending truly surprised me, and I’m usually good at seeing what the ending will be. It was truly the perfect ending to this story.
I enjoyed this series a lot and this book was even better than the rest. Even though this series has ended, I can’t wait for what Feeney will write next.

I think the cover is simple and pretty and I like it.

The blurb is very accurate in the story’s plot and of what the characters will have to deal with. I think it’s witty and very engaging.


Goodreads and Amazon

Bruce Miller · Non-Fiction

Book Review: I Came, I Saw, I Coffeed by Bruce Miller

Author: Bruce Miller
Release Date: 16th September 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 156
Publisher: Pacific Trust Holdings NZ Ltd

Rating: ★★★

Blurb:

I Came, I Saw, I Coffeed Online Dating: Why Didn’t He Call Me Back? What Goes Through a Man’s Mind on the First Meet? Impressions from a Man Who Had Over 350 First Meetups. Have you ever wondered what goes through a man’s mind when you first meet? “Why didn’t he ask me out again? What did he think of me?” “Did I say the wrong thing?” I was newly singled after an unwanted divorce and retired early, so I had time on my hands to find a girlfriend. I didn’t want to be alone, and hadn’t dated in years. I was eager to meet a woman, and became discouraged trying to find someone to be your love, your best trusted friend, a confidant and companion — a very difficult task. Seeing my low spirits to get on with searching to find a woman, a good friend simply told me dating is “Just a game of numbers — the more ladies you meet, the better decision you’ll make.” So, I ventured into the field of online dating and over three years met over 350 ladies. Many women asked me what goes through a man’s mind when he meets a woman. In this book I spell out my thoughts about the women I met, her walk, her appearance, demeanor, clothes, habits, figure, etc. in detail.

Review

I Came, I Saw, I Coffeed by Brian Miller basically is more like a report of the author’s real-life online dating experiences.

This book is unique, to put it mildly, and quite amusing, to be very honest. It was interesting to read about the author’s observations about what women want and how they behave, but it did feel unusual to be reading about them, especially in the starting. But once the tone was set, it got quite interesting.

I liked the plain writing as this book was more about its content than the writing itself and enjoyed reading it.

I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the subject of online dating as this book is a fun, light and a very quick read.


Goodreads and Amazon

Mystery · Sandra Block · Suspense

Book Review: The Secret Room by Sandra Block

Author: Sandra Block
Release Date: 18th April 2017
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Her patients are dying. Some are apparent suicides and others possible accidents, but rumors are flying that Dr. Zoe Goldman is an angel of death-intentionally helping hopeless cases go to a “better place” – or, worse yet, a dangerously incompetent doctor.
As a new psychiatry fellow at the local correctional facility, Zoe is still learning the ropes while watching her back to avoid some dangerous prisoners. As the deaths mount up, Zoe is wracked with horror and guilt, feverishly trying to figure out what is going wrong and even questioning her own sanity.
What Zoe doesn’t realize is that someone is targeting her patients to get to her. Someone who has access to her deepest secrets and fears. Someone who will stop at nothing to take everything Zoe has, even her life.

Review

I’ve previously read The Girl Without A Name by Sandra block (the first book in the series) and liked it. Somehow I missed reading the second part, but when I read this part I instantly felt connected to the main lead, Zoe Goldman, even better that the first time.

As I started reading the book I was hooked from the first chapter and was right “into” it till the very last page. The plot was really good and I enjoyed the diary entries of the mysterious antagonist a lot. Initially, I thought I had the villain figured out, but as the plot progressed I started doubting my assumption, and as the plot proceeded further, I was literally biting my nails due to all the anxiousness.

The plot build up was also really good in this book and the pacing was perfect and in tune with the earlier parts(s). I enjoyed the simple writing style of the author and, in fact, appreciated it because it really complimented the story.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves reading a nice medical thriller or a cozy suspense and mystery book. Also, if you’re looking to start a new non-detective series, then this will be perfect for you. It’s unique, engaging and consistently good.


Goodreads and NetGalley

Maris Soule · Thriller

Book Review: Echoes Of Terror by Maris Soule

Author: Maris Soule
Release Date: 22nd March 2017
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 320
Publisher: Five Star Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years before. In Skagway, Alaska, the usual crimes faced by the police department’s small force are DUIs and missing bikes. With the chief in the hospital and one officer missing, they’re not prepared for the kidnapping of a billionaire’s daughter.
Misty Morgan thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention. Now she and another teenager
are praying for their lives.
Stuck in China, Misty’s father knew his daughter was up to something, so he his daughter was up to something, so he asked his longtime friend Vince Nanini to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is Vince arrives too late. The college boy is dead, Misty is missing, and the police
aren’t eager to let him help.
When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months resurfaces. Vince finds her drunk and in tears, and he’s with her when she realizes the kidnapper has struck again. Together they must figure out where this man has taken three people, and they must find him fast.

Review

Echoes Of Terror by Maris Soule is a suspenseful novel that turned out to be surprisingly good and different than most DI novels.

After reading so many books on DI and Investigating Officers in general, there’s hardly a time when I get overly excited to read another one on the same lines. I was expecting the same from this one, but as it turned out the plot of this book was not only unique but quite simple and fresh, to put it plainly.

The author did a really great job in making the lead character directly involved with the case. It made the plot feel more personal and made the stakes appear very high, which was a big plus for the overall story.

I wasn’t overly enthused about the main characters, Katherine and Vince, but Katherine was likable enough and I was able to follow her story without losing interest. I liked almost all the secondary character and also the place and settings. It was good to read about a different place and to learn about how people live their lives in a particular setting.

The beginning was good and so was the ending. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend to all the suspense readers and DI fiction lovers.


Goodreads and Amazon

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Writing by Jen Benjamin

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

Presenting Jen Benjamin…

Writing

Some people knit. Some bake. Some build cars or race cars or collect cars, while others prefer to take a trip back in time and ride horses. There are those who like to jog and those who like to garden. There are movie buffs and frequent museum visitors and people who spend hours upon hours playing chess. Or Candy Crush.

This world is flooded with ways people can amuse themselves. I amuse myself by writing.

I’m definitely not special. There are plenty of people who write as a hobby. And, if I’m going to be honest (which I can easily do when I’m staring at a computer screen instead of a person), we writers may among the more narcissistic members of the human race. Not in the pathological, personality disorder kind of way. Writers can be very lovely people. But when I write it’s fun because it’s a little like being God.

Hold please while I wait for lightning bolts…

Okay. I’m clear. God knows what I meant. It’s all good.

When I write novels (which I do in more than one genre and more than one name), I get to create a world that fits onto pages and characters to fill it up. And, like real, live humans, they don’t always do what they’re supposed to. I can make a person look a certain way, have certain mannerisms, use certain slang and, somehow, they always end up surprising me. Sometimes they get themselves into big messes and I have to rescue them.

It’s intoxicating.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I wish I could say that writing for so many years has made me into a master wordsmith, but that hasn’t happened yet. What has happened is the realization that I will never grow tired of making up stories.

My first romantic comedy is called Follow Me Home and my first romantic comedy heroine is a little like me. She’s a writer, she has bad hair and she’s a little socially awkward. But the similarities end there because, unlike me, she’s a bestselling author who has a book being adapted for film.

The idea for Follow Me Home came to fruition thanks to a bizarre, embarrassing dream I had one night. In the dream, I was engaged to a young celebrity (young as in I’m in my thirties and he was in his twenties). It was a bizarre dream where I took him to a high school reunion and told all my friends it was an arranged marriage. As though an arranged marriage in the 21st Century is less odd than some old cougar with a young, tall drink of water…

Not long after I had the dream, November came along. Many people know that November means National Novel Writing Month. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when over-caffeinated writers from all over gather together on the Internet as they each try to pound out a novel in thirty days for no reason other than to make themselves do it. It’s pure torture and so much fun. Some people run marathons. Other people write entire novels in a month. And if there are people who do both, they need to be captured with giant nets and studied because I’m sure they’re not human.

That particular November, I didn’t have any certain idea for a novel so I decided to write one based on one of my recent dreams. I tend to have vivid, peculiar dreams so I had a few to choose from. The one with the engagement to the young celebrity was the least bizarre and seemed like the best route for a story. That was the birth of my first Rom Com.

Follow Me Home is a lighthearted tale that I hope will make people smile, because I wasn’t setting out to write a literary masterpiece. I amuse myself by writing and my only hope is to amuse the reader who gives me a chance.

 


About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.

About the book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Children's Fiction · Sonia Panigrahy

Graphic Novel Review: Nina The Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy

Author: Sonia Panigrahy 
Illustrator: Hazel Quintanilla
Release Date: 2nd November 2016
Genre: Children’s Book | Illustrated | Graphic Novella
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 44
Publisher: 

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Nina’s a girl who takes charge. She uses her brain and her muscles to complete rescue missions. She doesn’t mind getting dirty and climbing trees. It’s all part of the life of the everyday girl superhero. Young readers are encouraged to recognize that the traits of being smart, strong, and speedy exist within themselves. Young girls will find this book to be a positive affirmation that they too can be superheroes.

Review

Nina The Neighborhood Ninja by Sonia Panigrahy is a delightful read that teaches young children, especially girls, to be a super-hero in their own worlds in their own way.

I rarely read children’s books, but when I was asked to review this title, I simply couldn’t say no. Look at the cover, who can say no to that cute face?!

The book is so adorable that it stole my heart right from the first page and made me smile with each and every turn of the page. Nina is a normal kid who does extraordinary things and has super powers, the best one being her kindness. She teaches kids to be their best self and to do their best to help others in whatever little way they can.

The illustrations are equally beautiful and I’m sure that this book will be quite visually appealing to children.

I’d recommend this book to all the parents who have young children, especially for their little girls. Nina is one superhero you wouldn’t want your child to miss.


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview

Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.


Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.

Tell us about your book?

Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.

Why have you chosen this genre?

The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.

Why do you write?

It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!

Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!

About The Book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Mathew O'Neil · Non-Fiction

Book Review: After Life by Mathew O’Neil

Author: Matthew O’Neil
Release Date: 4th May 2016
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: 275
Publisher: Ockham Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

What happens to us when we die? It’s a question that has been debated for centuries, moulded through time to fit our ever changing views.
Many religions teach that how we act in our life will determine where we will end up after life. If you follow religious teachings and adhere to their ethical standards, you will be rewarded and spend an eternity in heaven. If not, you will be punished and forced to spend forever in hell.
Modern science, however, will tell you a completely different story: fanciful, hopeful tales of an afterlife are both rationally explainable and lacking in evidence.
Theologian Matthew O’Neil demonstrates that the contemporary religious view of the afterlife is far from what our ancestors envisioned. Subjecting both original Scripture and contemporary faith to the rigours of modern science and rational philosophy, he seeks to answer one of humanities most famous puzzles: what happens After Life?

Review

After Life by Mathew O’Neil is an extensively researched and a gracefully written book that proved to be a highly insightful read.

I’m officially a convert and have recently started reading non-fiction titles, but I know a well-written book when I read one, and this is definitely it. I started reading this book with a mind buzzing with curiosity as, like everyone else, I’ve always wondered about what really happens when a person dies.

I’m not a Christian, I’m a Hindu, but even in our mythology and religious texts we have a lot of similar concepts like burning in the fire of the hell and such, and I’ve always been curious about whether these things were true or just stories. In spite of belonging to a different religion, I loved reading about the comprehensive cultural references about Christianity, Hebrew, and Jew cultures and their various respective Bible quotations and references.

This book answers, or to be more specific explores, these questions and a lot more. Author Mathew has done a great job in not only researching but also in putting across his views supported by this extensive research. I liked the writing style of the author and it made reading this intriguing book a very pleasant experience.

I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone who’s ever asked or wondered about the ultimate existential question – What happens after we die?


Amazon

Kenneth Eade · Thriller

Book Review: Traffick Stop by Kenneth Eade

Author: Kenneth Eade 
Release Date: 24th February 2017
Genre: Terrorism Thriller
Edition: E-book
Pages: 275
Publisher: Times Square Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Paladine, terrorism’s worst enemy, is back in this third episode of the hit political thriller series.

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Review

Traffick Stop by Kenneth Eade is a powerful thriller that is sure to make you feel empowered by reading this wondrous story about the fight against human trafficking.

This book is the third installment in the Paladine series and though I haven’t read the earlier parts, I did not felt like I was missing out on something while reading this book. So the author has managed to give enough descriptions of the lead’s mannerisms and his personality on the whole that I was able to follow him on his journey without any reservations.

I loved the premise of the story and the way things unfolded. There were enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged throughout the book and in spite of being based on such a serious and heavy topic, I didn’t feel over-burdened by the severity of it all, which is the main reason why I really liked this book.

The characterization was really good and I was able to relate to the main lead and also to most of the secondary characters. I liked how the main lead was shown with all the dramatization as it made it an enjoyable read without losing the main point.

I liked the writing style of the author and the writing was simple to follow and made reading this book a pleasant experience. This is a no-nonsense book about human trafficking and sex slave industry, and the author has done a really good job in minute detailings.

I’d recommend this book to all the thriller lovers and to all those people who’d like to experience freedom by reading about the downfall of modern terrorist groups. I sure as hell did feel very inspired!


Goodreads and Amazon

Guest Posts

Guest Post: E-Book Revolution by Kenneth Eade

TODAY, AT TRB LOUNGE, WE ARE HOSTING AUTHOR Kenneth Eade, AUTHOR OF Traffick Stop.

Presenting Kenneth Eade…

EBOOK REVOLUTION

When I was going to college, I loved to go to the library to study, slink into a nice comfortable chair, and read until I drifted off to sleep. When Borders came out with their neighborhood blockbuster book stores, I did the same thing, and often left the store with a book I had the pleasure of sampling in the same comfortable way. Now, most people buy their books on the Internet, and read them on their Kindle.

A phenomena of the Internet has been the consolidation of retailers into new monopolies. Retailers such as Netflix replaced blockbuster stores such as Blockbuster Video, who found it impossible to sustain its brick and mortar retail stores against the power of the Internet and the popularity of download streaming. Newspapers have been outdated by means of publishing the written word more expeditiously, and, as a consequence, journalism has had to adapt to try to maintain some kind of quality.

The same has happened to the publishing industry, and the brick and mortar bookstores. Borders, one of the “Blockbusters” of books, was gobbled by Barnes and Noble, who now finds its biggest competitor to be Amazon. Amazon has developed a suite of tools that allow authors to enter the publishing industry, a place once reserved for the elite, and more closed than the world of Hollywood filmmaking.

A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of consumers say it is unlikely that they will give up on printed books by 2016 (per this story at tinyurl.com/q4fm2hu), and the British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits; the survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to eBooks (per this story at tinyurl.com/ktljhph).

I was surprised by these findings because I was sure that ebook sales had been growing at an exponential rate. The annual BookStats Study reports that 457 million ebooks were sold last year; a 4456% increase since 2008, when 10 million were sold (http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/). Although paper titles sales are higher, you cannot ignore the steady increase in the number of ebook sales, which I still think is the future of publishing. I think you have to account for the demographic, in that most older readers will naturally choose a print book, whereas younger readers, who tend to do their homework on their laptops, will opt for an ebook.

According to successful New York Times Best Selling Author Hugh Howey, who has turned his back on the publishing industry and now publishes his own books, he makes more money self-publishing and it frees his time that he would be using chasing agents and publishers to write more and better books.

Print books are still being purchased because the non-Generation Y readers are slow to convert to Kindle. They prefer having a printed book in their hands, so there will be a market for the printed book in the near future. However, ebook Sales are still up, and older readers are buying Kindles. Impulse buying is much stronger with eBooks, which are delivered instantaneously, and they are cheaper than print books. I think the reading public will still prefer print books, but, as time goes by, eBook sales will overcome them, merely due to the demographics.

My ebooks both have printed versions that sell on Amazon and are also offered at Barnes and Noble. Although they sell only online, online book sales account for more than 50% of all book sales, as recently reported in Digital Book World (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/online-retail-now-accounts-for-nearly-half-all-u-s-book-sales/). I think that the trend is toward online sales taking over traditional retail outlet sales. We have observed many book store closures and consolidations in the past few years and I think we can continue to see more. I myself will miss being able to go into a book store, pick up a book and relax in a soft chair while sampling its passages to see if I feel like buying it, but you cannot deny the trend. My ebook sales are still running about three times higher than my printed book sales, but the option is there to appeal to both markets, and that is what Amazon is doing with giving authors their “Create Space” platform.

I think publishers have to offer both ebook and print book formats to appeal to both sides of the market. In the end, it is the quality of the book and the promotions that are used to bring awareness to it rather than the medium that is going to control. Like any other product, you have to package and offer it to the consumer in a way that appeals to his or her buying habits.

However, as the reading public ages, new readers will be almost exclusively eBook oriented. I regret the demise of the printed book, but I don’t see that there will be anything that can be done about it, except to preserve them in libraries and museums. With the trend toward iPads and Kindles, and public schools even proposing issuing iPads to students, young people will eventually grow up not knowing what it is like to read a printed book. Technology will do the same thing to the book that it has done to the printed newspaper.


About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

About the book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview

Author Interview: Kenneth Eade

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Kenneth Eade, author of Traffick Stop.

About the author:

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an award-winning, best-selling Top 100 thriller author, has been described by his peers as “one of the up-and-coming legal thriller writers of this generation.” He is the 2015 winner of Best Legal Thriller from Beverly Hills Book Awards and the 2016 winner of a bronze medal in the category of Fiction, Mystery and Murder from the Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. His latest novel, “Paladine” is currently a quarter-finalist in Publisher’s Weekly’s BookLife Prize for Fiction. Eade has authored three fiction series: The “Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series”, the “Involuntary Spy Espionage Series” and the “Paladine Anti-Terrorism Series.” He has written sixteen novels which have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

It’s difficult to speak about ambitions without appearing egotistical, but I will flat out say it – I want to be recognized as a best-selling author, along with the most popular mainstream authors of today. It’s not so much about ego as I think I have a powerful and important message in my writing that needs to get to as many people as possible. And, of course, there’s those pesky bills that need to be paid.

Which writers inspire you?

The classic authors like Dickens and Steinbeck come to mind right away. Our history will be told in literature. No matter how the politicians decide to rewrite it to suit their needs, the greatest literary works of our time will be what people will be looking at in a hundred or two hundred years from now to really see how we “ticked.”

Tell us about your book?

“Traffick Stop” is the third in a series of books about Robert Garcia, a military-trained assassin who has, since his retirement, turned to the private sector and is doing what he does best – killing terrorists. In the first installment, he inherited the moniker “Paladine” from a blogger who witnessed his first kill. But he’s really more of an anti-hero than a hero.

 How long did it take you to write it?

The bulk of the work was done in three months, and it spent a month in editing and rewriting to hone it to its present state.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m currently working on the 11th installment of my Brent Marks Legal Thriller series called “And Justice?”

Why have you chosen this genre?

I actually got into this genre by chance. A reader of my legal thriller series suggested this character, who appeared for the first time in Book 9 of that series. Since then, he has reappeared as the main character in three completed books. This is a popular genre, to be sure, but terrorism is something people are interested in now. It’s a hot topic, mainly because we feel powerless to do anything about it. People are relating to this character, who would otherwise be a pretty repulsive guy, because he is giving them an outlet to express their frustration against terrorism vicariously.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It’s not a decision I made, really. I’ve been a writer since I’ve been able to pick up a pen. I’m glad I finally decided to take it seriously.

Why do you write?

That’s like asking why I breathe. How could I not? It’s not something I had to learn. It just came naturally. I’ve always been a storyteller, but I guess I didn’t find my medium until later in life.

Where do your ideas come from?

Since my stories all revolve around real social issues, all I really have to do is look at the news. It seems every day there is something going on in our world that inspires me to “right a wrong” or to at least point it out.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have to use a computer. Because my thoughts go faster than I can speak, writing longhand became futile a long time ago. I wrote my final exams in law school with an electric typewriter – same with the bar exam. In the days when we had typewriters, the keys used to stick together. That hasn’t happened with the computer keyboard yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I like “A Tale of Two Cities” by Dickens, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Of Mice and Men” by Steinbeck, and “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. That’s not five, is it? I also love the Tom Sawyers books by Mark Twain, who is one of my favorite authors.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

What’s that? No, seriously, I do suffer from lack of inspiration. My assistant (my dog, Misha) offers a solution to writer’s block. She’s always ready to go for a walk and never refuses me. Out in the fresh air, I think about the character and where he is in the story and ideas will usually come, or at least I’ll find out what happens next in the story.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Well, the business right now is kind of like “Field of Dreams.” You could spend a lot of time trying to get an agent or a publisher, but it won’t do you any good unless you have a body of work. So, build those books and it will come.


THANK YOU, KENNETH, FOR ALL YOUR INSIGHTFUL ANSWERS!

About The Book:

From the best-selling & award winning author critics hail as “one of the strongest thriller writers on our scene” comes the continuation of the unforgettable story of an unlikely “anti-hero,” Robert Garcia, a dangerous and unfeeling assassin of jihadist terrorists, exalted by social media as “Paladine”, a living paladin whose mission is to rid the earth of evil for the betterment of mankind, is an assassin working covert black ops for the CIA. In this installment of the series, Paladine seeks to retire from the assassination business and finds himself fighting a band of Syrian sex traffickers.

Please Note: This book is on sale till 13th March 2017 on US and UK Kindle for 99 cents and all royalties will be going to Prajwala (http://www.prajwalaindia.com/) to benefit victims of human trafficking.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

 

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself by Jasmine Farrell       

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Jasmine Farrell, author of Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves.

Presenting Jasmine Farrell…

Self Discovery: The Foundation to Finding Yourself

My initial step on the path to self-discovery wasn’t an intentional one. I merely woke up one morning in December of 2014, remained in bed for a few minutes in silence and focused on my breathing. Prior to that moment, I was beginning to question my faith, what I had been taught, my level of self-love and whether I honestly viewed myself in a positive light (which wasn’t so affirmative, I should add). Hence the not-so random-subconscious decision to wake up one morning in silence. In the days after that morning in 2014, I began to meditate on the things and people I was grateful for. From there I would alternate between silence and gratitude. I eventually began to read some books about meditation, its benefits, the reason for its demonization and its correlation with self-discovery.

Self-discovery is not a beautiful journey that makes you smile and feel giddy all the time. It’s sometimes messy because when you self-reflect, you begin to hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make. You begin to discover parts of yourself that aren’t so nice and flaws that would make you cringe if you knew someone else who had those same flaws. Nonetheless, the journey is imperative—and priceless!

If you are not sure where to start, why don’t you try the challenges below:

Media Detox:

We are all media junkies. Let’s be real. Whether it’s social media, television, news articles that are doused in yellow journalism, gossip magazines, YouTube or everything all at once, we love to spend hours feeding ourselves whatever media is on offer. While social media has its benefits, as does as a moderate consumption of media too much of it can flood our minds, causing us to drown out what our gut is attempting to say—in addition to muting our own insight and yelling out what media has to say for us. We’ve drowned ourselves with such a copious amount of media that we sometimes look to media to think for us. Because God forbid we might have a mind of our own that isn’t in alignment with media.

Challenge: Do not grab your phone and check your social media accounts when you first wake up and just before you go to bed. Subtract two hours of your television viewing or your video streaming time. Substitute it with an activity that involves connecting with a loved one—in person OR on the phone (this does not include texting). If no one is available, how about making some arts and crafts or coloring? Yes, I said it: Color in a coloring book.

Side note: Some of you have jobs that require you to engage in media. If so, then hustle, Queen. Nevertheless, you can still cut it back during your personal media surfing time!

There Are Beautiful Moments Surrounding You:

Gazing outwardly and taking in life as it plays out around you is a lovely habit to adopt. While walking to work or venturing off to the store, look around you. Stop internalizing what you did wrong the other day. Roll your eyes and move forward from that person in front of you who randomly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to check their phone. Breathe in slowly, exhale and really look around you. Did you catch the baby giggling at the sight of big bubbles being blown by the mother, or feel the light breeze on a hot-ass I’m-about-to-be-a-cooked-meal-for-a-cannibal day?

Being in the present moment aids you in discovering what you like and what you abhor. It allows you to open up and truly observe the things and people you may have been depreciating. Sometimes in the midst of being present in the moment, you may realize the main person you have been depreciating was yourself.

For me: Being in the moment also helps my common NYC anxieties and my intrusive thoughts. If I’m focused on what’s going on externally, I won’t be too harsh with what’s going on internally.

Challenge: Whenever you can, slow down. Walk a little slower, look at the trees, the homes and the colors that grace your eyeballs. Breathe. Slow down. Observe. Breathe and repeat!

Throwbacks!

Remember the hobbies or activities you used to engage in a few years back that made you smile like you were related to Mr. Kool-Aid? Reflect on that allotted hobby or activity and really consider if you lost interest or whether life happened and you became too busy.

Challenge: Find time for the activity/hobby you love. Make time for it! The time you surrendered from social media can be used for this challenge!

In a society that encourages us to love and be ourselves unapologetically, yet dehumanizes, exploits and subtly belittles us, it can be quite natural to second-guess our value. It is understandable that you may feel as though you are unworthy to wholeheartedly love yourself. Many of us were taught to put ourselves last, in order to obtain happiness or rewards in the long run (how is that working out for you?). A few of us were even discouraged from even showing an ounce of confidence lest we became “cocky”. Confidence is not cocky. Knowing you’re dope all by yourself just as much as the next person isn’t cocky. Devaluing another being while boosting up your own self-esteem—that is cocky.

Push through the cognitive dissonance with a new mentality that is receptive to this:

You ARE worthy to love, know and understand yourself.

How else will you shed your light brightly, love others and live life with purpose?


About the author:

jasmine_farrell_jpgJasmine Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.

About the book:

phoenix_coverPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Contemporary Fiction · Jen Benjamin · Romance

Book Review: Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

25592056-2Author: Jen Benjamin
Release Date: 25th March 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: E-book
Pages: 176
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.

Review

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin is a light and enjoyable Contemporary Romance read that’ll win your heart in a blink.

I get extremely choosy when it comes to Romance genre, therefore I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. But fortunately, this book turned out to be a really pleasant and a light-hearted read. I liked the premise of the story as it was unique and was impressed by the execution and the balance of the emotions the author was able to maintain throughout the book. Romance is a very tricky genre because there needs to be a very strict balance otherwise, the story may either be lifeless or too cheesy and as far as I’ve seen only a few authors can do it correctly. And I’m glad to say that author Benjamin was able to pull off this balance quite well.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to the leading lady as I’m a writer myself (I’m pretty sure that if you want to be a writer or if you are one already, you’ll love this book simply because of its story and theme.) I liked the other secondary characters as well and found the writing pleasant and simple.

I’d recommend this book to all the Romance fans and also to those who’re looking for a light-hearted, breezy quick read to read this summer.


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview

Author Interview: Robert Sanasi

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome author, Robert Sanasi.

About the author:

img_3729Robert Sanasi is an Italian poet, novelist and lyricist born in a small town of Southern Italy in 1981. He’s been living abroad for nine years.
After graduating in Communication Sciences at the University of Lecce in 2006, he started composing journalistic articles for local magazines and short poems. He then moved to Bologna for a year ‘to escape the alienation and monotony of the provincial life’. Immediately after that, he flew to Dublin, Ireland in search of work and new life experiences. There he worked at several American multinationals and shifted towards a more creative kind of writing, focusing on poems and song lyrics in English and Italian. The family drama connected to the car accident of his older brother only a few months after his departure, his coma, and his subsequent rehabilitation had a deep and strong impact on Robert’s life and writing. This is also described in his first literary novel ‘Dublin Calling’, to be published by Wallace Publishing in December 2016.
All his works have a strong imprint of autobiographical authenticity which clearly refer to the Beat Generation. He particularly loves American literature of the 1900s and authors such as Kerouac, H. Miller, Fante, Roth, Bukowski, Mcnirney, as well as European authors such Celine, Hamsun Buzzati, and Tondelli. He defines his style as “visionary-expressionistic realism” that focuses on the emotional side of life and literature. He has recently achieved second place in the Poetry section of the online Italian writing contest Word Selfie with his poem Angel of the Street, which has also been selected for an an international event and anthology of poetry called 100 Thousands poets for change.
Apart from the six years spent in Dublin, he has also lived for a time in Copenhagen, Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Berlin, Bratislava, Krakow, Prague, and Warsaw. He defines himself as a ‘2.0 migrant urban writer’ and a representative of the current “Generation on the run”.


Hello, Robert. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’m really doing everything possible (and maybe even impossible) to get there: being a writer. I’ve been “working on the dream” for so long and so hard. Now I’m ready to start it up.

Which writers inspire you?

The ones who are not afraid of writing everything down and try all the time to be original yet authentic. I get inspired mostly by autobiographic writers and real-life stories.

Tell us about your book?

Dublin Calling, as the title may also evoke, is a journey, meaning both physical and existential. It’s the story of a young Italian emigrant who moves to Dublin in search of a job and above all of new life experiences. After his initial enthusiasm, a very tough family issue arises back in Italy and from that point on his soul and life feels like split in two: one in in his home country and one in his new one, Ireland. In the turmoil of the events, he finds himself in a private and restless quest for some sort of meaning or belonging or a piece of full happiness in the most different ways: through love, sex, poetry, trips and attempts to run away from a reality that he doesn’t feel as his own which might be seen as an escape from himself in a city, Dublin, that is just more than a mere story setting. It’s more like a woman to love and hate at the same time and at the same intensity. And which will affect his years, his growth and maybe his life forever. It’s based on many of my personal autobiographic experiences. What I wanted to do was to leave a sign of this “generation on the move” by means of a novel.

How long did it take you to write it?

Pretty much four months. The objective was to finish it just before leaving Ireland for good and I managed to do so.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Other than finalizing my latest novel, I’m currently working on a script. It’s based on a couple of my literary works. Writing for the screen is quite different from writing a novel but I must say I’m enjoying it. I think I have a cinematographic vision.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Because the realistic narrative is to me the most powerful tool to represent what I want to represent. It’s the only genre I feel comfortable with. I don’t think I could do something different.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It happened twice actually: when I was 22 after reading Kerouac’s On The Road For The First Time and (in the middle of a long hiatus) after I completed Dublin Calling. Then I truly understood it was my own path.

Why do you write?

Complex question that can be simplified this way: to express myself, to create something. Because I’m in love with arts. I guess this just happens, at a certain point, to all artistic minds. It’s something natural and spontaneous. It’s within and comes along the way at some point.

Where do your ideas come from?

Really from anywhere! It’s crazy how ideas and inspiration may come along at any time and in any place. I get many ideas listening to music or watching movies but even in the streets, among the people, in the buses or trains, often when I first wake up in the morning and it’s better to have always something to write down notes or it will be lost. You must be fast and ready to catch that idea or it will fly away.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Laptop most of the time. If I’m around and some inspiration comes up I take notes on some paper or even on my phone.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

On The Road for sure as it all started from that, then Ask the dust, Tropic of Capricorn, Journey to the end of the night, Portnoy’s complaint.

My favorite authors are Kerouac, Henry Miller, Fante, Celine, Tondelli (and I’d like to add Rimbaud).

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

In the last three years, I’ve been writing totally four novels, which are a lot considering the timeframe. I guess I’m still in a kind of “artistic ferment” having so many stories to tell, therefore it was always easy to move on.

I’ve never really experienced the famous Writer’s Block so far. Probably because I mostly write when I kind of need it, when I know I will enjoy the most. I’m still in a time when I’m not obliged to follow schedules or specific requests, so I write when inspiration comes. If I’m writing and something is not coming up at all or the way I want, I just stop and have a break. It means it’s time to pause.  One hour or one day later, it will go better for sure.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To follow their passion, to seek improvement and new ways of writing, to be determined, to take themselves seriously as writers, to be professional when contacting publishers and agents or any other person in the publishing industry, to be open to critics and accept an initial failure or delay in results. Persistence is key to becoming an author. Last but not least, to get the necessary satisfaction from what they are doing. Above all, writing is a pure pleasure.

Thank you, Robert, for all your insightful answers!

About The Book:

dublin-calling-master-e-book-cover-1A Southern Italian man who finds himself hungry for life decides to emigrate to the crazy Northern European city of Dublin. From that moment onwards, no matter where else he chooses to travel, Dublin is forever calling him! Dublin Calling is a fascinating and honest insight into the life of a 2.0 migrant. “I was jumping on a rollercoaster for a long and amazing ride. I was a young soul waiting to take-off and experience unpredictability. Hope, pain, love, sex… and everything in between. Dublin was calling me.”


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

D.H. Gibbs · Fantasy · Paranormal · Young Adult

Novella Review: Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs

29380359Author:  D.H. Gibbs 
Release Date: 1st March 2016
Series: –
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Edition: E-book
Pages: 96
Publisher: Sandphics Creations

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed? After hundreds of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.


Review

Nika by D.H.Gibbs is a Young-Adult Fantasy read that is sure to capture your attention right from the start till the very end.

This book is a real example of how really powerful novellas can be. This is, of course, the first book in a series, but I definitely loved it and will be keeping an eye out for the other parts in this series.

The main character was likable and relatable and the other secondary characters were also good. I liked the writing of the author as its simplicity made this book a very easy and a quick read.
I liked the basic concept of the story about how Nika was the long lost heir of her family, which she was completely unaware of. And I especially liked how she was made aware of everything and how well she adapted to her new surroundings. I see a lot of potential in this series and can’t wait to read the next part!

I liked this book quite a bit and would recommend it to all the YA and Fantasy lovers.


Goodreads and Amazon

SprkIt

Book Review: The Painter by Lina Toorn

51qlpshotjlAuthor: Lina Toorn
Release Date: 3rd June 2016
Series: –
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 234
Publisher: –

Rating: ★★

Blurb:

A very young Dinnie loved her “Bertie” but fate intervened. His sudden disappearance left her devastated. Tormented by the fear of living a lonely life and alone, she ventured out….
The beauty of their love for each other blinded the two sweethearts to everything but each other. Her soul burned like a bright fire; her love’s thirst for her soulmate could not be quenched. Dinnie, a girl in love, suddenly had her love ripped from her heart, sending her soul to the depths of despair. She had lost her hope, her young heart broken to accept life as a lonely journey towards her end, by fate. Slowly, the world would peek into her story through paint. Time held no meaning…. History, her passion and her eye for beauty was allowed to blossom and be expressed.
Would love find her again?

Review

The Painter by Lina Toorn is a women’s fiction book that is centered around the life of a widowed painter who is thrown into the world she doesn’t belong to.

Initially, the book started out strong, but soon, after a few pages, the suspense started to feel a bit forced and then when I kept on reading the book, the story felt awkward, the scenes started and stopped abruptly and the overall plot seemed very shaky.

Sometimes, in the dialogues, the names were interchanged and that created a lot of confusion and it took me a lot of time re-reading passages and sometimes, even pages.

I wasn’t able to feel any connection with neither the lead nor any of the secondary characters, though I was able to feel the efforts of the author to force the connection very clearly, which again was another thing that made me not like the story.

The writing was good for the most part but at times it did feel forceful and clumsy. The dialogue exchange felt unreal and forced too.

Overall, I guess the story is good, but the book is in dire need of thorough editing. I could see the potential in the story as well as in the plot structure, but a few negatives worked against the book more than the positives supported it.

If I really have to, then I’d recommend this book to readers, who won’t mind the technical problems in a book.


Goodreads and Amazon

Book Reviews (by Genre) · Graphic-Novel · Supernatural

Graphic Novel Review: Suicide Squad Vol.1 – The Black Vault

32993892Author: Rob Williams
Illustrator: Jim Lee
Release Date: 7th March 2017
Series: Suicide Squad (Vol.1)
Genre: Supernatural, Graphic Novel, Sequential Art
Edition: E-book
Pages: 160
Publisher: DC
Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A part of DC Rebirth!
From writer Rob Williams, superstar artist Jim Lee and Philip Tan comes the new Suicide Squad!
The government has once again handpicked the worst of the worst for its Task Force X. Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Katana and Killer Croc. All deadly criminals sent on the most dangerous missions possible by a governement that wants them killed. But their newest challenge? A teammate so powerful that even this group of murderers and thieves can’t control.
Behind the pencils of Jim Lee and Philip Tan, as well as the pen of writer Rob Williams comes SUICIDE SQUAD VOL. 1! Collects issues #1-6 and SUICIDE SQUAD: REBIRTH #1.
Rebirth honors the richest history in comics, while continuing to look towards the future. These are the most innovative and modern stories featuring the world’s greatest superheroes, told by some of the finest storytellers in the business.
Honoring the past, protecting our present, and looking towards the future. This is the next chapter in the ongoing saga of the DC Universe.  The legacy continues.

Review

This book was pretty awesome and I loved the illustrations! The story was pretty good too and I liked the part where all the backgrounds were given. It helped me connect to all the characters as I didn’t know about half of their pasts.

The dialogues were good too and overall I think this is one of the best graphic novels that I’ve read in the recent years. The female characters were neither over-dramatically sexy or muscle-ly or gay. They were really awesome and bad-ass and I really liked Harley Quinn and Katana.
I loved Deadshot and Colonel Rick Flag and even Croc, but Boomerang was just… meh.. though his background story was cleverly told.

All in all, I liked this book better than any other that had Harley Quinn in it and hence, I’ll be giving it an extra star.


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Dan Lawton · Mystery · Suspense

Book Review: Amber Alert by Dan Lawton

31847203Author:  Dan Lawton
Release Date: 11th November 2016
Series: –
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Time is running out.
Nine-year-old Chloe Janis is abducted.
Abby, her mom, is now faced with revealing her dark past, hidden these last seventeen years, or losing her daughter forever. A cryptic message from a man she’d shoved into the dark recesses of her mind forces her into an impossible situation—revealing secrets best kept hidden or losing her daughter forever.
Secrets, deception, and betrayal surround the small town of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. All eyes are on the community, threatening to split open as yet unhealed wounds are probed. Fates will be rewritten and careers redefined. Everyone involved will confront their pasts if there’s any hope of Mifflinburg becoming a town at the heart of redemption and forgiveness.

Review

Amber Alert by Dan Lawton is a suspenseful mystery read that keeps the reader engaged throughout the book.

The plot line of the story is fairly straight and this is not your typical who-dun-it suspense story. The real deal is in the plot buildup that is done excellently well with the use of multiple POVs that keeps the reader reading further without wanting to miss anything.

The characters were all nicely done. I felt bad for Scott, though I did not like Abby at all and I’m quite sure that this was intentional based on the story. I felt really sad for what little Chloe had to go through and felt bad for her father too.The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

The ending was good and appropriate keeping with the personalities of the characters. Though I do wish that Abby should have been locked up in the jail because she truly deserved it. But things are never black and white and this book showcases this very fact beautifully.

I liked the writing style of the author as it had a great flow to it and made reading this book enjoyable and quick. It was simple and free of complex words, which really appealed to me.

I’d recommend this book to all the genre lovers and to everyone who wants to read a light, yet gripping mystery/suspense read.


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Calvin Honors · Drama · Dystopian

Book Review: The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors

 

32032973Author: Calvin Honors
Release Date: 4th September 2016
Series: –
Genre: Dystopian, Psychological Drama
Edition: E-book
Pages: 129
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

2115 London
The city is overrun by organ traders in truck size hearses trawling the streets in the aftermath of the Hemo plague. Writer James Nolte meets Laila an X1 cyborg sent to scan humans for signs of Hemo.
Modern Day New York City
Internal Affairs agent John Azolo connects the dots from an unfinished manuscript to unravel a mystery surrounding his friend’s suicide. Detective Laila Carter, whom John audits, might just hold the key to both stories.

Review

The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors is a Psychological Dystopian Drama based on a remarkably unique futuristic concept.

The fast paced book offers a lot for the genre lovers. It explores a unique writing style of combining two parallel, seemingly unrelated stories and then bringing them together to a great climax. The characterization was god and all the characters were relatable.

The writing style had a nice flow and made this book an easy and quick read.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to al the Dystopian and Speculative fiction buffs. This is one book you wouldn’t want to miss.


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Jessica Treadway · Mystery · Suspense

Book Review: How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway

32489596Author: Jessica Treadway 
Release Date: 6th December 2016
Series: –
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Edition: E-book
Pages: 416
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A page-turner about the murder of a teenage girl, from the author of Lacy Eye.

On a cold December day in northern upstate New York, the body of high school senior Joy Enright is discovered in the woods at the edge of a pond. She had been presumed drowned, but an autopsy shows that she was, in fact, strangled. As the investigation unfolds, four characters tell the story from widely divergent perspectives: Susanne, Joy’s mother and a professor at the local art college; Martin, a black graduate student suspected of the murder; Harper, Joy’s best friend and a potential eyewitness; and Tom, a rescue diver and son-in-law of the town’s police chief. As a web of small-town secrets comes to light, a dramatic conclusion reveals the truth about Joy’s death.

Review

How Will I Know You by Jessica Treadway is a compelling read that will leave you with so many thoughts that you’d be thinking about this book for days even after it is over.

When I started reading this book I had this idea that this book will revolve around a murder and then it’ll turn out to be a fast-paced who-dun-it kind, but as I got into the book I realized that I completely started forgetting about the actual murder as the story focused on the people and the relations Joy was surrounded with when she was alive. This book shows so transparently the truth about how exactly the things would be like if a murder of this kind happens in real life of a normal teenager.

This book shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a Thriller, but it is a realistic approach of the author towards the situation on the whole. After reading this book (actually, while reading this book) I realized how easily we form an opinion about someone whom we’ve never really known. How easy it is for everyone, including the parents and the best of friends, to misinterpret the actions of someone and come up with their own theories about how things would have played out and what might have happened and how they start believing and, in a way, living in those theories. Human nature is such a tricky and immensely complex thing that you never know what might happen in the next few minutes.

The writing was really good and had an easy flow to it that made reading this book a good experience and the slow-to-medium pace of the story was completely in sync with the story itself.

The characters were so real and full of life that I was able to connect with each and every single one of them. And I’m really thankful for it because this book is, in all respects, a character-driven story and these strong characters served the purpose perfectly well.

The beginning was great and I was pulled into the story right from the first chapter. The ending doesn’t fail to tell the readers about what really happened on the day of the murder and who did it, so in a way it served as a beautiful closure because otherwise, I’m sure it would have been a really gut-wrenching read.

I’d recommend this book to all the mystery and suspense lovers and also to all those readers who don’t mind reading about dark subjects such as depression and coping with the loss of a loved one.


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Best books of the year

The Reading Bud’s Top Ten Books Of 2016

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In 2016, we reviewed a total of 90 books at TRB! 90 books!! And it is extremely difficult to hand pick only 10 of them, but selecting the best of the best is the whole point of this post, hence, here’s our 2016’s list of top ten books –

The Reading Bud’s Top Ten Books Of 2016:

  1. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
  2. Warren The 13th And The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
  3. In The Blood by R.L. Martinez
  4. Over The Dragonwall by H.C. Strom and Dennis D. Montoya
  5. The Secrets Of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy
  6. The Eighth Day by Joseph John
  7. Losing Lauren by Alretha Thomas
  8. Security by Gina Wohlsdorf
  9. The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews
  10. Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Please check out the slideshow below to have a look at all these amazing books.

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Note for the authors of the Top Ten Books:

If you want to use the above TRB logo or share this post with your readers on your blog or social media, then please feel free to do so. A link back will be greatly appreciated.


Apart from these books, there were some books that also deserve a mention in this post:

Mystery · Suspense · Tim Van Minton · Young Adult

Book Review: The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton

31355126Author: Tim Van Minton 
Release Date: 1st August 2016
Series: –
Genre: YA, Mystery, Suspense
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 204
Publisher: CreateSpace

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Falsely accused of murder, twelve-year-old Evan Peregrine battles through a raging storm to get home to the island of Little Yarnmouth, only to find it deserted. Searching for explanations he is soon plunged into the savage world of the Conkwoyoto, an Arctic tribe that turned to piracy after the polar ice cap broke apart. But there is something strangely familiar about these fearsome men and their tattooed faces, and memories of the day he lost his leg and his mother in a collision with an iceberg come flooding back. Now Evan must avoid being captured by the police and the Conkwoyoto while trying to track down the missing islanders, prove his innocence in a murder, and uncover the mystery of the Arctic tribe that’s traveled thousands of miles to Little Yarnmouth Island.

Review

The Little Yarnmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton is a delightful Young Adult read that will capture your heart and leave you smiling in its wake.

I’ve been reviewing books for almost 3 whole years now and sometimes I come across a book that makes me realize again just why I keep on reading self-published books and reviewing them month after month. Ever so often I come across books that completely steal my heart and leave a long lasting impression on me, sometimes so strong that I have to read those books again, and again, to relive their brilliance. The Little Yarnmouth Abduction is exactly that kind of a book (and so much more, if I am being truly honest.)

Recently, there has been a steady stream of hit YA books that are making big bucks all around the world. Some are good and some are, well, not so good, but when I read this book they all paled in comparison. I honestly don’t know where to begin praising this book, and even how to do it. This book is a delightful, delightful read. I savored reading each and every single page of it and, in fact, looked forward to reading the entire book again as soon as I finished it.giphy-4

The storyline was well thought out and, for me, simply astonishing. I have never heard of mass island kidnapping or anything close, so I thoroughly enjoyed the story all the way through. It was a marvelously brilliant and an extremely clever plot and I loved the pacing and tension that the author cleverly practiced.

The characterization was so brilliant that I’m pretty sure I fell in love with Evan the moment he got up groggily from his sleep on the first-second page and innocently attached his leg to his knee. He is sure to stay with me forever as one of my favorite (and awfully adorable) characters. The cast of secondary characters was equally brilliant and I loved each and every single one of them.

giphy-14

The ending was absolutely smashing as it gave me hopes that there’s a second part on the way (or at least I hope that it is.) The writing was clever and smooth and the light and witty tone of narration was a perfect fit for this story.

I would recommend this book to each and every person who loves reading a good book with impressive characters. I am very sure that this book will definitely win your heart in the first chapter itself.


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Stevan V. Nikolic · True Story

Book Review: Truth According To Michael by Stevan V. Nikolic

31568408Author: Stevan V. Nikolic 
Release Date: 21st September 2016
Series: –
Genre: True Story
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 448
Publisher: Istina Group DBA, New York

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

“Truth and reality are just our personal perceptions of the things and conditions we see, hear, or feel.”

A novel about the man addicted to love. Based on the true story, it follows thirty-three years in the life of Michael Nicolau. The story takes us on the long path of Michael’s soul-searching and understanding of circumstances that brought him to become a homeless man living in the Bowery Mission, a New York City shelter. Eager to vindicate himself and his actions, he speaks about his life, for hours, day after day, to a social worker in the Bowery Mission. At the same time comic and tragic, villain and hero, Michael is wrestling with the concepts of truth, reality, hope, faith, love, and honor.

Review

In the beginning, the title of the book made me curious, as I am a person that searches the truth in many aspects of life but the most important the personal truth.

Then I started reading and in the first chapter, Michael was in deep trouble, no money, no friends, no home. Then he accepts to make part of a program, the Bowery Mission, a shelter created to rehabilitate homeless people.

Michael is not a classic drug addicted homeless and that’s why his story is more interesting. Every chapter describes a part of his life in the program and a part of his past. Gradually we find out everything about him. His purpose, his problems, his thoughts.
This character is a contradiction. He is intelligent and hardworking but he keeps ending in the same situation of having nothing, but a dream. He keeps searching a woman, an obsession that nobody accepts.

The ending surprised me. Finally, Michael found a way of doing things his way, living as he wanted to, not the way everybody told him to. He finally understands the purpose of his life.

Today’s philosophical questions are illustrated in beautifully in this well-written book. Success, money, business, love, God, religion, freemasonry is all mixed up in a story that kept me tuned.


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Sandra Brown · Suspense · Thriller

Book Review: Sting by Sandra Brown

29203612Author: Sandra Brown 
Release Date: 16th August 2016
Series: –
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 408
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Rating: ★

Blurb:

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.
As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.
Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.
With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages.

Review

DNF at 10%.

I’ve read Friction by Sandra Brown earlier and loved it, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. I was well aware that Brown’s novels had steamy scenes in them, but in Friction, the scenes went well with the story. But this book was way too much and the sexual tension shown between the 2 main leads in the first 10% of the book made me feel so awkward that I simply couldn’t go further.

The writing felt off too and it was more tell than show. On top of all this, the snide remarks of the protagonist were way too much for me.
This book felt more like an overly sexed up New Adult rather than a Thriller. Or at least that’s how I felt.

If you don’t mind reading this kind of content then you might actually like this book. I don’t usually have trouble reading normal sexy stuff (seriously, who does?!), but it’s just that I was hoping to read a really good Thriller and really high expectations from this one.


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Chick-Lit · Claire Gem · Romance

Book Review: The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem

32313788Author: Claire Gem
Release Date: 29th September 2016
Series: –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 267
Publisher: Erato Publishing

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

Rock Star Contemporary Romance
Turning forty rocks a research technician’s world. Her husband leaves her, and then she’s bitten by a mouse at work. She snaps, taking off to chase after her old dream of a music career and her new crush: a rock band drummer.
Turning forty, for Lannie Marvin, is rough. It’s the day she discovers her marriage has been over for awhile. . .she just never got the memo. At work, a crazed lab mouse brutally bites her–one being treated with a libido-enhancing drug. Lannie snaps and takes off for a wild weekend.
Allard, drummer & songwriter for a metal band, lost his wife and muse to breast cancer five years ago. So when the sexually charged Lannie literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is ready to learn more about her–and her long-buried interest in musical composition.
But their frenzied affair can’t last. Tristan is headed to the UK to audition his next album. And Lannie soon learns an elevated libido isn’t the only effect of that experimental drug.
The treated mice have gone deaf.

Review

The Phoenix Syndrome by Claire Gem is a fun and light romantic comedy that is a highly pleasant read.

The book started out at a steady pace, but before I knew it I was so engrossed in the plot that I found it difficult to put it down even to make a cup of coffee! This book is one of those books that gives you a feel-good feeling about the story and makes the time go by in the blink of an eye. I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly and found myself chuckling quite often owing to the author’s witty, sarcastic and intelligent\remarks.
I’ve previously read Hearts Unloched by the author and loved her writing style, but this book was even better and I found the writing style even more engrossing. I’m really looking forward to reading her next releases.

I loved the characterization and was able to connect to the main character, Lannie. Even though I rarely read books about characters above 30 years of age, this book proved to be a pleasant experience. I also loved the other secondary characters and enjoyed the background stories of them all. The ending of the story was perfect too.

I’d recommend this book to all the romance and chick-lit lovers and also to those who won’t mind reading a warm funny read.


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