Audiobook Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Release Date: 19th May 2015
Genre: Science Fiction Fantasy, Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, Speculative Fiction
Series:
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 32 hours
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Blurb:
What would happen if the world were ending?
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain…
Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven distinct races now three billion strong — embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown … to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

Review

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson book was too heavy for me. The narration was slow and the story progressed so slowly in the first hour that when I realized the book was 30 something hours, I stopped it right there. You really need to like the narration enough if you plan to spend another 30 hours listening to it. And that was not how I felt, so I abandoned it. I have other books that I can read and enjoy in that much time (pretty sure I can read a good number of other books in that much time.)

THIS REVIEW IS ALSO POSTED ON GOODREADS
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ARC Review: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Author: Minka Kent
Release Date: 9th April 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 256
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.
Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.
As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.
To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.
Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Stillwater Girlsby Minka Kent is one of those few books that managed to grab my attention on NetGalley with a beautiful blurb and cover image when I was trying hard not to request any new titles at all. I was very excited to read this book and finally when I dove in expecting a mind-blowing thriller, I ended up marking it as another disappointing DNF read.

For some reason, I was not able to get past the first 8% of the book. Even though I really wanted to read this book, a couple of intolerable things led me to abandon this book even though when I almost made up my mind to simply skim over the pages in order to at least find out the mystery:

  1. Chapters full of fragmented sentences for exposition which led to overtreatment of a technique I otherwise love and use in my own works.
  2. Excessive foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is good, necessary even in thrillers for building suspense, but here it was too much.
  3. I felt forced by the author to feel sympathetic to the girls living alone. It felt like the girls themselves (or at least the POV one) were screaming at the readers to feel sorry for them and their conditions. As a result, I simply felt irritation and nothing more.
  4. focus on the unnecessary details and overall, the writing felt immature; it felt like the author wanted to go for Gillian Flynn’s writing style but ended up totally botching it up.

All in all, I think this book has a lot of potential in terms of the plot, or so the blurb has led me to believe but failed miserably.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: The Curse Of Time (Bloodstone #1) by M.J. Mallon

Author: M.J. Mallon
Release Date: 2nd April 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Bloodstone (Book #1)
Edition: E-book
Pages: 237
Publisher: Kyrosmagica Publishing
Blurb:
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon is an intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read. I had a great time reading this novel and exploring the magical world of Amelina full of magic crystals and enchanted mirrors.

The writing is good, the characterization decent and the pacing and tension in sync with the plot. The plot-progression was good and the character development was something I really appreciated in this story. The simple use of language complimented the plot and made it an enjoyable read.

The only problem I had when I started reading this book was that there were a number of themes running through the book, which at times felt a little bit confusing to me. But as I progressed further in the story, everything started to fall into place, and eventually, everything started to make more sense. So, maybe it was intentional or maybe not, either way, it wasn’t a big issue as I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to all fantasy and supernatural readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Erin Rhew

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Erin Rhew, author of The Transhuman Project, for our feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Erin Rhew is an editor, the operations manager for a small press, and a YA fantasy and sci-fi author. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.

 you can connect with the author here
Website | Facebook | Twitter


The Interview

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

Of course, everyone would love to have a bestselling novel, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of that. But mostly, I enjoy entertaining people. If people read my book and feel like they’ve taken an amazing adventure by the end, I can’t ask for much else.

Which writers inspire you?

I love, love, love Rick Riordan. His Percy Jackson series is top-notch for me. I really like how he mixes mythology with the modern world and adds a splash of humor. I’m not nearly as funny as Rick, but I try to have a humorous character, my Percy homage if you will, in every book.

Tell us about your book?

The Transhuman Project is about two neighboring countries, each subjugated by different things. Pacifica is run by a brutal dictator, and Kadar tangled up in the fake niceities of social media shows called Life Channels. Molly Richards and her friends get sucked up in the middle of both countries, and Molly must figure out a way to stop a tyrant from turning people into robots called transhumans while smiling and waving for the Kadarian masses who’ve made her their latest obsession.

It’s about friendship, love, social media, family, and what’s really important in life.

How long did it take you to write it?

The initial draft took me about three months to write. However, what you see now is actually the sequel. I decided the real story lay not in the original but in what comes after. So, I’ve been writing, rewriting, and fussing with this story for about five years.

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

I am currently working on story which places a historical figure in modern times. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to share it with readers!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know that I ever really decided to become a writer. I think I was born a writer. When I was four, I wrote my first poem (a terrible rhyme verse about cars, since my grandparents own a car dealership), and I’ve been hooked since that moment.

Why do you write?

I write because I can’t not write. Stories live in my core, and characters take up residency in my mind. They clamor to have their stories told, and I am at their mercy to oblige.

Where do your ideas come from?

I am inspired by everything around me. But mostly my ideas come from conversations I have with my husband. We’ll be like “what if this” or “have you ever thought of that,” and stories evolve.

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

I prefer to use my laptop because it’s portable, and I think way faster than I can write. I’m a pretty fast typist though, so my fingers can *almost* keep up with my brain when I type.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I love a lot of books, so I’ll just name five I really dig.

  1. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. I know it’s not technically a book (it’s a play), but the Bard is one of my biggest inspirations. I’ve played Juliet in three different renditions of the play, and I have almost the whole thing memorized.
  2. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever read.
  3. 122 Rules and Birth of an American Gigolo by Deek Rhew. Yep, that’s my husband. I’m obviously biased, but let me tell you, my man has got words. I’ve worked for small presses for years now, and I can truly say I’ve never seen such an amazing mix of literary and commercial in one voice. He’s masterful.
  4. She Wants It All by Jessica Calla. One word—Dave. I love this story so much, and I definitely have a book crush on Dave. Jess creates such vivid worlds and characters that you can’t help but get swept up in them.
  5. The Bloodline Series by Richelle Mead. While I enjoyed the Vampire Academy series, I really, really loved the follow-up series. It’s a whole world of alchemists and vampires that is a new, fresh take on the genre.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

It depends. If I’m on a deadline, I sit down and force myself to write, even if what comes out is garbage. But if I’m not on a deadline, I take some time to get inspired again. I read, watch shows, and talk to people. Inevitably, it rejuvenates my spirit.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Two things: never give up on your dream and edit, edit, edit. This business is tough, so you’ll need a thick skin. You’ll have to believe in yourself and your works even if no one else does. But you wrote something, so stick with it and keep believing. Secondly, edit, edit, edit, and when you think you’re done, edit some more. Never, ever, ever turn in a first draft to anyone.

Thank you, Erin, for all the insightful and interesting answers. I personally loved your writing advice!


About The Book

The Transhuman Project

When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest-rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.

But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.

Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar’s terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar’s tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.

And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.

As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet…the truth.

Amazon |Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

To read 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

Author Spotlight: Erin Rhew

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring Erin Rhew, author of The Transhuman Project, for the Author Spotlight feature.

About The Author

Erin Rhew is an editor, the operations manager for a small press, and a YA fantasy and sci-fi author. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.

 you can connect with the author here
Website | Facebook | Twitter

About The Book

When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest-rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.

But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.

Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar’s terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar’s tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.

And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.

As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet…the truth.

Amazon |Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

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/book featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

ARC Review: Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown

Author: L.M. Brown
Release Date: 15th March 2019
Genre: Short Story Collection, World Fiction
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 206
Publisher: Fomite
Blurb:
The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later.

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

REVIEW

★★★★+1/2

Treading The Uneven Road by L.M. Brown is a beautiful collection of short stories about a small town in Ireland in the early ’80s and ’90s. I had a very good time reading this book and the thing I found most impressive about this story collection is that each and every story bore a plethora of emotions that were very real and relatable. Being from a small town myself, I enjoy books that display the lives of people in small towns, the highs and the lows of living in a close-knit and ever-watching society. So I really enjoyed this book.

All the stories were related in some way or the other and so they felt more like chapters than individual stories which was another thing that I liked as this made the overall theme more interesting. The characterization was good, the writing was good and the pacing was very good. I’d say this book would make for an excellent coffee table book.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who loves exploring new cultures and distinct works fo literature.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Memory Tree (Carson Chronicles #2) by John A. Heldt

Author: John A. Heldt
Release Date: 30th April 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time-Travel, Sci-Fi, Relationships & Family
SeriesCarson Chronicles – Book #2
Edition: E-book
Pages: 659
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Memory Tree by John A. Heldt is a compelling sequel to River Rising, book one in the Carson Chronicles series. Just like the first part of this series, and the others I’ve read by the author, this book was equally interesting, entertaining and emotional. It had a lot to offer in terms of the rich American history, WWI and the culture of the years long gone. This book was especially good because it had a twist which I was not expecting and the element of surprise really caught me off-guard as I’ve come to understand where things are generally moving in author Heldt’s books because of having read many of them and being familiar with his style of writing. So the twist was a pleasant surprise for me.

The characterization was good and I was able to see the development of all the characters from the last book experiencing new worlds and living in times new to them. The writing was good and complimented the story well. And I’m really looking forward to reading the next part of this series.

I’d recommend this book to all historical fiction lovers and to everyone who loves reading stories on relationships and families. It is an honest-to-god feel-good story that will definitely warm your heart.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings

Author: Sam Meekings
Release Date: 1st August 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 290
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing
Blurb:
Who is that mournful man in the painting? THE AFTERLIVES OF DOCTOR GACHET tells the story of Paul Ferdinand Gachet, the subject of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous portraits: one that shows what the artist called “the heartbroken expression of our times.” But what caused such heartbreak? This thrilling historical novel follows Doctor Gachet from asylums to art galleries, from the bloody siege of Paris to life with van Gogh in Auvers, and from the bunkers of Nazi Germany to a reclusive billionaire in Tokyo, to uncover the secrets behind that grief-stricken smile.

REVIEW

★★★★

“I know some people argue that our lives are predicated on the quirks of our genes, that our destiny is inscribed in the code of our DNA. On the other hand, it is only when we are tested in the outside world that all the possibility bristling within us is whittled down and we really take shape.”

The Afterlives Of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings is a very delightful and a pretty compelling historical read with a powerful, well-written and brilliantly executed storyline. This book was such a good break from all the contemporary fiction I read. The plot was very unique, fresh and pretty captivating. I enjoyed reading this book a lot because I truly enjoyed reading each and every single sentence of this book (which is very rare  for me.) The writing was beautiful and the author’s style was pretty impressive. I guess I can say without a speck of doubt, and as rare as it may be, that in this book the writing was the best part.

I loved the characterization and character development in every chapter. I also appreciated the side-story of which was given in alternating chapters; it kept the story from being monotonous and made it very interesting.

I’d recommend this book to all historical-fiction readers and to anyone who is looking to take a break from their usual choice of books and might want to explore something refreshing and brilliant. Also, I’m sure Van Gough enthusiasts and fans would definitely love reading this book and exploring the background of the subject of one of his most talked about pieces.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Ghost Tribes: The Ghost of Africa by Venancio Cadle Gomani Jr.

Author: Venancio Cadle Gomani Jr.
Release Date: 1st January 2019
Genre: African Fiction
Series: Ghost Tribes (Book #1)
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 199
Publisher: Venancio Gomani Books
Blurb:
In a semi-fictional verisimilitude of the continent of Africa, all the tribes are ruled by kings, smaller breakaway tribes are ruled by chiefs, and all are governed by the council of paramount—a legion of the noble tribes of the continent.
The principal story follows the tale of Likando and the war of the brother kings. Likando is the Lozi tribe’s princess, heir-elect to the throne, and the only legitimate child of the Lozi king, Simasiku Lumeta. However, growing without the presence of her mother, and her father never having told her the story of who her mother is or where she is or if she is even alive today, causes her to begin searching for the truth against her father’s permission and/or consent. She stumbles upon darker truths that result in her to learn that her birth may not have been a result of love or mere chance, but a carefully considered and planned series of events. This leads the princess into taking courses of action that bring her tribe, family, and overall kingdom to the brink of near-extinction.
The second part of the tale which begins eight years before the events of the first novel follows the story of Kaleya, the lost son of nothing who, after waking up alone in the jungle with no memory of his identity or his past prior, goes on a quest to discover the truth behind his stolen memories but entangles himself in a series of circumstances that result in him having to fight for his survival more often than not. The second part of the story simultaneously chronicles the Ghost of Africa, an enigma thought to be a demon that terrorizes tribes around a territory it claimed as its own three years before the events of the novel. Before the Ghost of Africa occupied the territory it occupies, there lived a thriving tribe with an organized structure and an army of possessed soldiers, ten thousand strong. However, when the Ghost of Africa first emerged, it led an army of exiled tribesmen-turned cannibal, who form the population referred to as the cannibals tribeless in the millions, against the growing tribe and thus, overwhelming its army and having the cannibals devour the raw flesh of the men, women, and children of the tribe. After wiping out of existence the tribe that existed in its territory prior, the demon goes on to fence that very territory with the skulls of the tribe’s populist on barbed wooden stakes in the hundreds of thousands all around that territory as a warning for anyone who ever dared to trespass.
The first book in the series, The Ghost of Africa, opens with Likando, the heir-elect to the Lozi throne, preparing for the maturity ceremony who gets ambushed by a gang of purported ‘mixed-breeds’. This series of events leads her to come face-to-face with the Ghost of Africa.

REVIEW

★★★★

Ghost Tribes: The Ghost of Africa by Venancio Cadle Gomani Jr. is a beautiful book that is culturally so rich that it is impossible to not like it. It is an enriched and captivating tale which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

The book opens with a bang and ends on such a high note that I was left thoroughly impressed by the author’s ability to pull off something like this, which is conceptually so heavy, with such ease and precision. The writing is commendable and I am looking forward to reading more works by the author.

The characterization could have been better, but it is one of those books in which story is the main hero and the characters come next. So overall it proved to be a pretty good read and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes reading books with more emphasis on the story than characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

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But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

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AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AuthorLeigh Bardugo
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic & Elementals
Series: Six Of Crows (Book #1) & Grishaverse
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 495
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Blurb:
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Review

★★★★★

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the first book in the Six Of Crows Duology (also a part of the Grishaverse), is DEVILISHLY GOOD!!

When I was starting with this book, I did not even have the slightest of ideas that it would turn out to be one of my all-time favourite fantasy books! I loved, LOVED, the world-building and felt like Ketterdam was indeed a real world of which I desperately wanted to be a part of! This book is like a dream come true for a fantasy reader because this book has so much to offer to its readers that you simply can’t fault it! The conflicts were ridiculously good and lent an air of authenticity to the characters, something that lacks in most of the fantasy books these days. It was pure bliss to have read this book as I was so fed up of reading books that were only hyped up and had literally next to nothing to offer Caraval.

description

This book is a mind-blowing and earth-shattering dark fantasy novel. The story is deliciously complex and suitably grounded and the characterisation very mature, gritty and intricate. The story and the concept are simply out of the world and the author’s meticulous detailing is spot-on. This is a book you’d want to get lost in forever.

It is like a beautiful piece of art that you want to collect and then visit and revisit it again and again and again… This book is so ridiculously good that I can re-read it right now (only after 10 days.) It is one of those books that you wish would never get over… like The Hobbit and the ASOIF series but in a totally different way.

description

THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL!!
✦ A badass anti-hero with gut-wrenching inner-conflicts and an extremely difficult background and who is dubbed by people as the demon or the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A deadly and dangerous heroine who uses her Wraith-like persona to find out everyone’s dark secrets in order to serve the devil himself – check ✔︎
✦ A super-funny, charming and dangerous sharp-shooter side-kick who also happens to have a crush on the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A super-sassy, bold and gifted enchantress with unmatched super-powers who can kill you with a snap of her finger – check ✔︎
✦ A badass warrior-hunter-soldier who cannot be matched for strength – check ✔︎
✦ A naive rich brat who has left all the comforts and riches behind in order to find himself – check ✔︎

And there’s even more…
☛ An impossible heist
☛ Harsh weather conditions
☛ Bitterness amongst some people in the crew
☛ Possibility of backstabbing
☛ The odds are completely against and the stakes are so high that the readers can’t help but get swept away by how things happen the twisty turns that greet them at each and every page turn!

This book is a legitimate un-put-down-able read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or books with a solid plot as well as characterization. I mean, What The Hell Are You Still Waiting For?! Go and get this book today and do yourselves a huge favour!!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz

Author: C. Hofsetz
Release Date: 7th January 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Series: 
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb:
After Mike goes through a gut-wrenching betrayal by his fiancée, he finds himself in what he thinks might be the afterlife. But this is no heaven. The gods made a mistake and created another Earth in a parallel universe, putting both universes in peril. They need someone from his planet to destroy the alternate, and Mike is randomly selected for the job.
Trapped in an impossible choice, Mike accepts his mission and is returned to an Earth—and a body—so unlike his own. There, he meets Jane, who is—unbeknownst to him—the secret leader of an organization bent on tracking down Earth’s saboteur. In the face of her passion for humanity, Mike’s resolve falters. If Mike won’t complete his mission, the gods will.

Review

★★★★

Challenges Of The Gods by C. Hofsetz is a new sci-fi fantasy novel with a very unique plot based a really good concept. I liked this book a lot because it differs from most of the new sci-fi novels as it had depth, good characterization and good world-building and the best part was the concept itself – it was both fresh and unique.

The characterisation was decent if not excellent but it did compliment the story as, for me, the real hero in this book was the story. The plot was complex and at times it took me a while to grasp what was really happening because of the thin border the author dared to tread in this book between two parallel realities, but that was as it should be and it proved to be a good stimulus for the brain.

The writing was really good and it made the reading of such a complex book very easy. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it highly to all sci-fi readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Review: The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Author: Karma Brown
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 316
Publisher: Mira
Blurb:
Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Review

★★★★+1/2

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a beautiful, heart-warming and very memorable read about friendships, husband-wife relationships and the unpredictability of life.

This book is one of those books that always stays with the reader. I believe Contemporary Women’s Fiction as a genre has a lot of potential and when the books in this genre are paired with excellent writing, a strong and unyielding plotline and powerful and believable characters, they transform into magic. This book had all these things and so much more. I loved the dialogues in this book a lot because they were good and as a result, each and every conversation felt real. For me, this was the strongest aspect fo this book.

The second best thing about this book was the writing – clean, crisp and clear. As a result, the book felt like a very easy and quick read (something that I always appreciate.) The writing had a very smooth air about it and flowed beautifully complementing this beautiful story. The pacing was spot-on and the tension perfect.

I was totally blown away when the main turning point of the story came; I was left gasping for breath, literally. I did not expect it and it totally broke my heart. It took me a while to digest what actually happened and all the while I kept wishing for it to somehow get undone, but then when it did not, I found myself struggling to grasp what was actually happening just like the characters in the novel. I mean, one thing you know you love a character and then the next thing you know something very bad has happened to them and you totally did not see it coming (I’m remembering Ned Stark’s execution in the first book itself… god! it still hurts!) After having read a lot of books you come to a point where hardly anything surprises you. But this book made me feel emotions I forgot having felt for a long time. This book made me feel like a first time reader who got involved in a book so much that even after having finished the book I am not able to forget the characters.

I’m cutting back 1/2 a star because the author left me sleepless for a couple of nights with such a tragic ending (I hate you for it, Karma Brown, but I love you for writing this book!) I’m sure as hell reading other books by the author. And I’d recommend it to all the readers who have a hunger for really good stories but won’t mind reading about issues related to surrogacy or pregnancy.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and NetGalley

Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by C.J.

Author: C J
Release Date: 4th September 2018
Genre: Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 448
Publisher: 
Blurb:
When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty product–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns, and even scars especially when one of its side effects prolongs the user’s life indefinitely.
But a discovery like that is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula reveals another side effect. One decidedly nasty. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.
As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?.

Review

★★+1/2

Beautiful Disaster by C.J. is a unique new dystopian book with a fresh concept and a good plot.

I finished this book pretty quickly in spite of the book being 400 plus pages long which is a good thing and was mostly possible because of the simple writing style of the author. Though, in many instances, I felt that the writing needed some polishing. I liked the storyline and the concept, which was different from what I generally always expect from a dystopian book.

The characterisation was okay, it wasn’t too bad but I wasn’t really impressed by it. I liked the characters just enough to finish the book, so the characterization could have used more work, though as I said, it wasn’t too bad either, I just wasn’t able to feel a connection to any of the leads. For me, this was more of a plot dominated book than a character driven one.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to explore a new title (and/or author) in dystopian or speculative genres and won’t mind a plot-driven story.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

AuthorStephanie Garber 
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The Sunday Times bestseller WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS . . . Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

REVIEW

★★+1/2

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is one book that I had waited for a long time to read before, finally, I was able to read it for the buddy read of RMFAO‘s Buddy Read for December’s Fantasy Month. To say that I had monumental expectations from this book would be a complete understatement. I’ve always loved reading immersive and elaborate fantasy books, but after having read The Night Circus, I was completely enthralled to have discovered magic in such a conventional form – Circus. And that was the reason why I was so eager to read Caraval which, to me, seemed a lot like The Night Circus.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, comparing both these books would be an insult to The Night Circus as Caraval miserably and unapologetically failed on more fronts that I even care to count. The only reason I even completed the book was the plot because somehow (unbelievably) the plot managed to keep me interested and I wanted to find out how the book ended.

I was appalled to see that the characterisation was so lifeless that I don’t even remember the names of the leading heroine even though I finished the book only a couple of days ago! And this was not even the fault of my huge expectations because I really feel that if a book is a Sunday Times Bestseller, it has to have something going for it, shouldn’t it??

The descriptions were very forced and sounded repetitive, the characterization was weak and immature and the progression of the plot felt weak too. The pacing was not great as at some places it was so slow that I had to skim over portions. The world building was okay but not as it should have been and the dialogues were outright bad at some places.

I hate writing so much negative about this book as I do feel that this book had a lot of potentials but it failed miserably for me in almost every aspect. I won’t be recommending this book to anyone. Though if you love reading fantasy genre, you should really give The Night Circus a read because that book is simply MAGIC!

this review is also posted on Goodreads

Book Spotlight: Beautiful Disaster by C.J.

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the section of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring C.J, author of Beautiful Disaster, for one of our features, Book Spotlight.

About The Book

Book Name: Beautiful Disaster

Author: C.J.

Publisher: KDP

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Page Count: 448

Release date: September 2, 2018

Synopsis

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

get the book here:

amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster


About The Author

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

connect with the author
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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 featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn By Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy DwelisRelease Date: 30th October 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #3
Edition: e-book
Pages: 228
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
“He should have known this would happen. Wishes in movies and books seemed to go bad, so why would this one be any different?” 
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis misses his family dearly. Ever since his father, his aunt, and his uncle went to look for Gran in Europe, the house has been quiet and lonely. Even worse, Braidy’s cousin Blockhead is miserable after a breakup. Braidy wishes more than anything that he could do something to make his cousin happy. His wish is granted by a mysterious djinni, but the wish does not solve all his problems. Something is wrong with Blockhead, and Braidy learns a dark secret about his family that changes everything he knew. Will Braidy and Blockhead be able to undo the djinni wish, or will Braidy spark a war that may change the world as he knows it? Braidy von Althuis and the Dastardly Djinn is a story about identity, self-worth, consent, and responsibility. 
This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Dastardly Djinn by Cassidy Dwelis is the sequel to Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter. I had a bit of a complaint from the last part because of the absence of a character, but this book totally made up for everything because this part focused mainly on Braidy and Blockhead, Braidy’s cousin. So I really, really enjoyed this book (as much as I did the first one, Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller.) 

The story in this book starts where the last one left off and the plot progressed further featuring Braidy on yet another adventure, this one, again, a little bigger and better. Reading about the familiar characters felt so good and in no time I was there living the plot myself right beside Braidy. I loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading more books (especially in this series, if the author plans to continue) by the author.

I’d recommend this book to all middle-graders and to their parents and siblings and friends alike because this book has so much to offer that anyone could enjoy it.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Written By Blood – Conviction by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 28th November 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 238
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

Review

★★★★

Written By Blood: Conviction by Dwayne Gill is an action-packed techno-thriller that is sure to keep you entertained right from the start to the very end. This book is jam-packed with high octane thrilling action and masculine drama like there’s no tomorrow. The storyline was good and the thing I liked best about this books is that it revolved around male characters, something rare to find in today’s books where the leading lady always steals the show, so for me, this book was a real treat.

I liked the writing style as the simplicity of it greatly complimented the plot, though at times it did feel a little rough around the edges, it did not get in the way of reading. The characterization was good and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary or secondary. The plot progression was really, really good and the pacing was great too.

Overall, it was a really new engaging read which proved to be a quick read and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a book with strong male characters and don’t mind gritty action and rustic tones.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter by Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy Dwelis
Release Date: 30th March 2018
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #2
Edition: e-book
Pages: 228
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
“Braidy felt a churning cauldron of fear stirring in his stomach. Uncle Rolo had the habit of destroying good things.” Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis finally has what he needs: a good friend, Saturday-Morning cartoons, and a loving family. While life has been perfect since Braidy defeated the warlock that attempted to kidnap his father, Braidy knows the quiet will not last. Strangeness creeps through Maple Hills, especially since a ghost hunter moved into town. This ghost hunter has Braidy’s dead Uncle Rolo worried sick, but Braidy’s family thinks the newcomer in town is harmless. Braidy feels otherwise, and to make matters worse, a friend from Uncle Rolo’s past comes to call. Will Uncle Rolo follow the rules and stay safe, or will Braidy watch his uncle tear their family apart? Braidy von Althuis and the Gullible Ghost Hunter is a story about telling the truth, taking responsibility, and what it means to be a family. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★+1/2

Braidy Von Althuis And The Gullible Ghost Hunter by Cassidy Dwelis is the sequel to Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller, a book which I heartily enjoyed. This book was a bit shorter than the last one and as a result, for me, did not pack as much punch as I was expecting. Still, overall the series kept progressing nicely through this book and the story in this one tackled another great adventure which was very enjoyable.

The book was good, but I felt that it missed a couple of characters entirely, for example, Blockhead and Kara. Kara at least made occasional appearances, but blockhead was missing entirely from the second half of the book which felt more like a plot hole than a planned event. Even Gran, Aunt Liz and Mrs Althuis were shown very less which affected the characterization in this one (which was really unfortunate as I had huge expectations from this one.)

Nonetheless, the story was exciting in its own way and the plot was, yet again, a winner. I loved the fact that in this book, the story focused on Brady’s uncle, Rolo, and that new characters were introduced in a nice way. I again came across the issue of unpolished dialogues, but the brilliance of the plot again made it up for me.

If you’re looking for a fresh series to explore than I’d highly recommend this series, though I don’t recommend reading this part without having read the first one as the first part, Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller, gives an intimate knowledge of all the characters and their backgrounds.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Excerpt Reveal: Beautiful Disaster by C.J

Welcome to TRB-Lounge, the section of TRb dedicated to book promotion. And today, I’d like to welcome author C.J, for sharing with us an excerpt from her latest release, a fascinating speculative fiction novel, Beautiful Disaster.

Read ahead to get a sneak-peek into this amazing new read!

About The Book

When chemists Danny and Kevin accidentally create the ultimate beauty cream–with a little inadvertent help from Danny’s biochemist girlfriend, Maggie–they’re convinced they’ve hit the jackpot. After all, who wouldn’t pay anything for the ability to permanently remove blemishes, burns and even scars?

But a discovery like this is one many would kill for–something the three quickly learn when they are targeted by a rival corporation and their murderous corporate spy, Suzanne. Even worse, it isn’t long before the unstable formula’s decidedly nasty side effect pops up. If Maggie, Danny, and Kevin can’t figure out a way to fix it, the world will soon learn that there’s a heavy price to pay for beauty.

As the three scientists struggle to save humanity from potential disaster, they will have to overcome deadly mercenaries, the sociopathic Suzanne, and the man pulling everyone’s strings: the mysterious Boss. Will this Beautiful Disaster be the beginning of a brand-new world or the end of mankind?

book links:
amazon | goodreads | barnes n noble | itunes | kobo | scribd | 24symbols | playster

Book Excerpt

CHAPTER FOUR

Suzanne Verassing, Safety and Human Resource coordinator of Lexi Corp. was making her usual trip to the security office with an armful of baked goods. Since her hire date Suzanne had been cultivating the friendship of all of the security personnel. She believed if she was seen often enough, and shoved enough baked goods down their throats, they would feel she harmless and would cease to notice when she came around or at least not be alarmed when she did. Her plan worked, for, on every trip to the security office, which she made several times a week, she would download several days’ worth of video surveillance on a flash drive she carried with her at all times for opportune moments of piracy. Then she would watch it at her leisure at home or occasionally in a vacant Lexi office and forward any pertinent video off to Teaberry Cosmetics, Lexi Corp’s main competitor.

Suzanne was actually employed by Teaberry, the, CEO of which had no compunctions about getting ahead in the cosmetics business no matter the risk or illegality.

Suzanne Verassing or as she was known at Teaberry, Suzanne Hemlock, was a jack of all trades so to speak, a hired gunslinger for companies, which like Teaberry left their scruples behind after their stock first became public. With her chameleon-like features, Suzanne could fit in anywhere and conform to any type of situation. At five foot four 120 pounds, with shoulder length dark hair and hazel eyes, she had deceivingly soft facial features which contrasted her extremely physically fit and heavily muscled body. She covered up her muscles with long sleeves and full-length skirts.   At Lexi, she was the Human Resource woman who wore her hair in barrettes and favored pastels and flower-printed outfits. With a permanent smile on her face, she could always be found around the company delivering home-baked goods to someone’s office or a conference room.

Teaberry hired Suzanne because her abilities included theft, actual and informational, and product sabotage. She was not above seducing anyone who might have valuable information or needed to be slowed down if they were on the verge of a significant breakthrough. She also had a knack for destroying companies from within by preying on the weaknesses of essential members of staff, such as alcoholism, gambling, etc. What Teaberry didn’t know was that Suzanne also was a hired assassin and that she advertised on the dark web for extra money and for the sheer thrill of killing. She especially enjoyed making a murder look like an accident or a natural death. However, there was something to be said for the out and out wham bam bullet through the head approach. She often wondered if she was more of a sociopath or a psychopath but decided that was society’s problem to figure out at some point. For now, she would just enjoy the ride.

For two long years, Suzanne had integrated herself with these self-absorbed non- productive piles of emotionally driven drones. She had plastered on a smile after fake smile. She had signed every birthday, get well, and retirement schlock filled card until she wanted to puke. Known as the happy homemaker of the company, she had brought in baked goods by the dozens, which gave her stomach cramps. Finally, yes finally she was going to get out of this stifling environment and move on to something that didn’t involve skin care or the beauty industry. If it required chemistry, she wanted the end result to at least blow-up.

“Actually that might be a fitting end for Lexi a lab explosion with these annoying lab rats blown up in a fireball. Whoops, something went wrong, and just when they were having a breakthrough, what a horrible tragedy. Well, it’s time to butter up Mitchell and Roger,” Suzanne said to herself as she grabbed a tin of cupcakes and headed for the security office, unaware that she was about to hit pay dirt.

Later, after leaving the security office, she headed on home and watched the video she had downloaded. On it Suzanne saw Kensington and Montgomery (code names, “Dumb and Dumber”) run to the UV-VIS (ultraviolet, visible spectroscopy) with some sort of sample to analyze. She noticed Dumb and Dumber were acting stranger than usual, and something seemed different about them as well. They didn’t look as repulsive as they usually did. Their skin glowed as though they just had a body wrap, which was doubtful. She wasn’t sure they even bathed.

She leaned into her monitor as far as she could while zooming in. Suzanne couldn’t believe what she saw. Kensington and Montgomery both had perfect, unblemished skin. Had they actually come up with something? No. It wasn’t possible, she thought. She waited for them to suddenly combust, or for their first layer of skin to slide off in a crusty heap, but nothing happened. They just stood there grinning at each other and doing what appeared… Wait, they’re seizing. They are having the start of some sort of grand mal. No, oh God, they’re dancing and chest bumping.

She immediately texted her contact at Teaberry, Gretchen Meadows, and told her she was sending a feed off her computer. Once the feed uploaded, Suzanne and Gretchen began an Internet Relay Chat (IRC). They start an Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

G- Why are they analyzing the formula now? Are they double checking the ingredients? They should’ve examined the formula ages ago. They needed to have run it through the spectroscopy months ago for the quantitating determination of the different analytes. They can’t be checking to make sure their sample complies with the Drug and Cosmetic Act for the FDA now. It’s crunch time.

S- I wonder if the morons are using Nanotechnology and or nanoemulsion. That’s a little beyond their limited scope.

G- Of course it was experimental in 1998 and is the new hot ingredient we hide in the label. Of course no one advertises it that way. Who wants to buy something that bores into your skin and then possibly into your bloodstream and lymph system?

S- Think again, G. Some of these women would give 10 years off of their life to look 10 years younger now. What do they care if things run amuck in their system and eventually damage their tissue?

G-Why are you just showing me this now? It looks like they have been working on this for some time. What have you been doing over there?

S-These guys are idiots, grade “A” morons who spend the whole day playing games and socializing. The odds of them coming up with anything slightly marketable and innovative are the same odds of a pig winning the lotto. I’m looking through the previous video to see the breakthrough moment. I’ll also look for any specific ingredients or at least find out where they keep their notes.

G-Teaberry is paying you a lot of money. You had better do more than just look at the video and guess at what they came up with. I want that formula, I want everything surrounding that formula and no trace of anything or anyone connected with it after you have it. Is that clear?

S- Yes, G. I understand. You will have it all and Lexi Corp. will have nothing once again.

G- Signed off.

Suzanne was nervous and for Suzanne nervous was unthinkable. She disregarded the most recent portion of the download since it appeared those two grade A idiots were just throwing ingredients into a bowl. And when they combined the two containers, she figured they were making their lunch again. Several months ago she’d been fooled. While viewing a surveillance video, she thought Dumb and Dumber were looking unusually focused as they compared notes from battered notebooks. She had carefully taken notes of every colored-coded jar, only to learn that the morons had been making chili for themselves and the rest of the lab.

She couldn’t find a moment in any of the videos where Kensington and Montgomery had manufactured a formula. In fact, she could barely find a moment when they were actually working. Suzanne thought she had it back in July, but then a series of explosions and an evacuation of the lab destroyed that possibility.

She sat and pondered things. She began to wonder if the video in which they’d been making chili might have been when they actually created the formula and the latest video with what appeared to be them tossing random ingredients in was part of that same formula. Did I misjudge those idiots? Are they that brilliant that they can come up with a working formula in that short of time? Did they just need a deadline to perform? No. They are idiots that got lucky, and now they will be the late idiots of Lexi Corp.

Suzanne packed a “to go” bag. For her, this meant a Glock 21 .45 cal. with a silencer, a .223 DPMS rifle in a case, plenty of ammo and enough explosives to wipe out an entire city block. She also put in a change of clothes; she would walk past the Tweedles as Suzanne from HR, but would come out a warrior. She put all of this in her Land Rover. Soon after arriving at Lexi Corp., she had the car outfitted with plates registered to that moron Brian Conner. She never drove the Land Rover to Lexi Corp. before given she felt it would not go with her happy homemaker image. But today, when the big bang occurred, the last car seen going through security would be Conner’s Land Rover, and his ID badge would be used in the entryway. It was always good to be prepared and to have a scapegoat, and Conner, the jackass, was perfect.


About The Author

C.J

C.J. graduated from Illinois State University and has lived her entire life in the Chicagoland area. She is currently semi-retired, works part-time at the local library and lives with her husband and two dogs, Chili Pepper and Molly. She finally managed to put down on paper the strange and humorous story that had been with her for several years. This is that story and this is her first book.

connect with the author
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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 featured on TRB, then please get in touch directly by e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne gill

Author: Dwayne Gill
Release Date: 7th October 2018
Genre: Techno-Thriller, Action, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Written By Blood #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 82
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Not all monsters are created equal…Cane is the world’s most feared assassin.
Daniel is possibly the most dangerous man alive, and he’s definitely the largest.
When you think hero, neither one should come to mind.
Find out how each man stumbles upon a person in dire need and how they respond.

Cane and Daniel are the two main characters in Written By Blood Part One: Cane. The following two short stories are prequels of the novel.

CANE’S DETOUR

Kristy escaped a dangerous serial killer.
Can she escape Cane?

Cane was trained from birth by the U.S. government to be the world’s most feared assassin. Often sent to eliminate difficult targets quietly, his anonymity is his most important asset. In fact, very few people have seen Cane and lived afterward.

Kristy is abducted by an infamous serial killer and held captive in a remote barn filled with many other victims. While she watches the other women’s grisly fates unfold before her, can Kristy escape before she meets the same destiny?

When Kristy and Cane’s paths cross, they’re on very different routes. Cane is on his way to complete an urgent mission and can’t be late. Kristy is running for her life.
She just didn’t know she’d run into an even worse monster.
For Kristy to live, Cane must make a detour. Will he consider it? After all, he’s on a tight schedule, and she’s seen his face.

DANIEL’S DARKNESS

Taryn is a happy, outdoor-loving thirteen-year-old with a gentle, loving father. But her tranquil life is turned upside down when her father dies, leaving her alone with her drug-dependent mother, who squanders the little that they have and moves them to a rough neighborhood outside of Chicago. To make matters worse, Taryn’s mom hooks up with her drug dealer, who moves right in and begins abusing Taryn. Things can’t get much worse for her. Or can they?

When Taryn meets Daniel, her new neighbor that moved in across the street, his enormous body is bandaged from head to toe and he’s recovering from an ambush that nearly killed him. Taryn should probably stay away, but she’s drawn to the qualities of him that remind her of her father. But the better she gets to know Daniel, the more she sees that he’s not only very different from her loving father, he’s also carrying a terrifying darkness inside of him.

Review

★★★★

Cane’s Detour & Daniel’s Darkness by Dwayne Gill is a collection of two short novellas which serve as a prequel to and marks the beginning of a new technothriller series, Written By Blood.

Cane’s Detour: 4/5: The story started with an action-packed and super fast paced scenario which set the tone of the story (and the series) pretty well. As soon as I started reading, I knew I was in for some gritty action and some serious thrills. And this story did not disappoint. I was pretty amazed at how much the author managed to pack up in such a short story. A must read if you like action-packed narration and raw characters with dangerous edges.

Daniel’s Darkness: 3.5/5: This story was an entirely different cup of tea than the first one in terms of storyline, while at the same time, packing qual amount of rawness to characterization. Though this one had less action and more emotions and explored different themes while staying true to the main conflict of the series (as far as I can tell up to this point in the series.)

Overall: 4/5: I enjoyed both the books and can’t wait to read the main book in the series, Written In Blood: Conviction. The mood of the series is already set and I know one thing for sure that this book is going to be one hell of an exciting ride. Plus, being so intimately acquainted with the characters, it is difficult not to feel so excited to actually begin with this series.

I’d recommend this to all the readers who’ve been dying to read a series with raw and truly masculine male heroes who throw heavy punches before taking bullshit from anyone.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis

Author: Cassidy Dwelis
Release Date: 10th May 2017
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series: Braidy Von Althuis #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 323
Publisher: Precursor Publishing
Blurb:
Ten-year-old Braidy von Althuis just wants one thing: to fit in. The other kids at school think he’s weird, and for good reason. Despite his oddities, Braidy wants more than anything for his dad to be able to come to Township Day, a fun-filled event at school, but Mr. von Althuis refuses. “It’s too dangerous,” he says. Things change for Braidy when Mr. von Althuis gets sick, and, even wose, this pesky pest controller won’t leave Braidy alone! Will Braidy be able to get his family to Township Day without his world falling apart? Braidy von Altuis and the Pesky Pest Controller is a tale of frienship, family, magic, and mayhem that takes a look at what it means to be bullied and how to rise above it. This book is suitable for children aged 8 – 11.

Review

★★★★

Braidy Von Althuis And The Pesky Pest Controller by Cassidy Dwelis is an insanely enjoyable middle-grade fantasy book that will definitely warm your heart. This book is about a ten-year-old boy, Braidy, who lives with his odd family in an old palace and faces challenges in school in the form of bullying for being different. But in reality, Braidy is a brave boy who can go to any lengths in order to help his family and loved ones.

This is a beautiful story and I loved it to the core. The characterization is brilliant and the story progression is really, really good. The writing was mostly good but did feel a bit rough around the edges and in all honesty, seems to require a bit of a polish. Even the dialogues felt a bit crude and sometimes out of place, but these are minor flaws which can always be corrected by the author and seem minuscule in front of such a winning plot.

The best part about the book was that it had a lot going on which made the overall plot very interesting as well as very realistic. Each and every character’s internal conflicts were displayed beautifully and I really liked reading about each and every single person and incident.

I’m sure the kids would love to read this book (or listen to it as an elaborate bedtime story.) If you like reading books with honest characterization and concept then go ahead and grab yourself and/or your kids a copy of this amazing book.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Dwayne gill

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for another one of our very popular feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads


The Interview

 

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

My starting ambition was simply to put my story out there for everyone to read, but a funny thing happened along the way. I separated one long book into separate volumes. By doing this, I knew I’d be losing a lot of content, so I decided to incorporate the extra content into short stories.

I published Cane’s Detour in February 2018 with little expectation and a lot of pride. It was awesome to see my book, my story, on my own Kindle. Of course, my family and friends read it and said they loved it, but the reception I began receiving from complete strangers is what first made me realize there may be more to this. There were readers writing me expressing how much they enjoyed the story and began asking me when the full-length novel would be published. A few readers turned into many, and by the time I released the second short story, Daniel’s Darkness, in May 2018, I had quite a substantial following. Little did I know that readers would like Daniel even more than Cane.

Daniel’s Darkness caused my following to multiply exponentially, which made me realize the potential in what I was doing. I knew if all of these people loved the two short stories this much, they’d love the novel.

Then, in August 2018, my wife gave birth to our first child, and my world changed forever. My wife and I were both working before, but shortly after Sampson was born, we both decided she would stay home to raise him. It’s what my wife always wanted. That left me shouldering the burden of being the sole breadwinner, which made me realize how badly I needed this author thing to work for me in the long-term.

I hope to someday be able to support my growing family as a full-time author. We’re not done having kids, so I better get busy!

What started as a hobby has escalated into a deep desire to entertain people, and to make an honest living doing so.

 

Which writers inspire you?

This may sound funny coming from a self-published author, but I’m inspired by the traditionally published authors who came before me. These authors didn’t have the luxury that I have today of being able to decide to put my work out there for the world to see, absent any gatekeepers. Authors Like Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, even James Patterson, were all turned away multiple times by publishers, yet they never lost hope. They kept writing. They didn’t have the alternative that we indies have today; they just had to keep submitting their manuscripts, hoping someone would believe in them. That inspires me. I hope that I’d have the same level of confidence in my writing to trust myself on that level.

 

Tell us about your book?

My book is, in a lot of ways, your classic action thriller. It has all the elements you’d expect to see: a scary bad guy, epically bad-ass protagonists, damsels in distress, high-level corruption, and heavy doses of action sequences. It’s set in the near-future and features genetically enhanced men to throw in a dash of Sci-Fi. Conviction is also obviously pointing at a soon-to-be apocalyptic-type event, which would give readers that enjoy that sort of scenario something to look forward to in future volumes.

The book features Cane, a rogue-assassin who was trained by the government. He’s ruthless, efficient, and because he was isolated from society from birth, unable to understand most human emotions. In one of the short story prequels, Cane’s Detour, you get to see him at his worst. He’s still an asset of the government program, before it’s shut down, and he’s on his way to kill an American citizen. He runs into Kristy, who’s recently escaped from a serial killer, and has to decide what to do with her. He ends up helping her, albeit in an unconventional way.

The other main character is Daniel, who you also get a peek at in the short story Daniel’s Darkness. He’s 7’5 and over 400 pounds and is locked up in a super-max prison, convicted of multiple counts of murder. While Daniel isn’t in the novel as much as Cane, he’s still a highly entertaining character.

There are lots damsels in distress; besides Kristy and Taryn, the two you meet in the short stories, you meet Natalie and Jordyn as well. Not all the women in the novel are in need of protection though; readers will get to see a lot of the female characters evolve and stand apart on their own.

The other supporting characters of note are Lynks, who is Cane’s best friend and former fellow trainee, Bowman, the man who trained Cane and Lynks, Calvin, Daniel’s best friend, and Agents Hart and Barkley, whose roles grow bigger as the plot unfolds.

The villain of the novel is named Amos, and he’s one of the seven terrorist leaders who are giving orders to the marked men. Years ago, men by the thousands began disappearing all over the country, then reappearing elsewhere. What made it stranger was that they all were ordinary, hard-working family men. They abandoned their families and careers and moved away, and every one of them now have a marking, like a tattoo, on their forearm. There are also some who commit seemingly unprovoked acts of random violence, leading many to be suspicious of the group’s intentions. The true nature and origin of these men become clearer as the novel progresses.

The centerpiece of the plot has to belong to Marcene, however. She’s a mysterious lady that directs Cane to save Natalie from the marked men, thus bringing them to his attention. She also leads him to Calvin, then Daniel. She’s instrumental in the novel.

The novel follows Cane’s journey to save Natalie, investigate the marked men, recruit Calvin, and extract Daniel.

It also follows Amos’s path of trying to corner Cane, and when he fails, he targets Kristy and her mother, the two people Cane cares most about.

It turns into a feud that will keep escalating until the final pages.

Anyone who likes thrillers in the vein of Rapp and Reacher will surely be entertained, but where my novel and series differ from most thrillers, I believe, is in the exploration of the characters’ own inner struggles. Cane and Daniel are two of the most unlikely hero-types you’ll ever find in a novel, but each have found a way to overcome their own limitations to be someone better.

And it’s just the beginning of that journey.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I won’t count the original version of Written By Blood, because it was really long and ended up being segmented into different volumes. Because of the way I had to restructure the one long story, it’s hard to gauge how long it took to actually write Part One: Conviction. I began separating Written By Blood into different volumes in February 2018, which was a complicated process. I wanted each volume of the story to stand alone on its own, absent cliffhangers, so I had to add some plot and move things around.

The end product was Written By Blood Part One: Conviction, and I finished the manuscript in August 2018. In total, it took nearly four months of actual writing, once I had the plot worked out.

 

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

Oh yes! I’m always working on other projects. Currently, there are three short stories due before the launch of Written By Blood Part Two. One features Cane, another is a prequel to Part Two and features Daniel, then the other features the third main protagonist of the series, William, who will be in Part Two.

Of course, I’m also working on Written By Blood Part Two itself, which I think readers will like even better than Part One.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I didn’t really choose the genre. In fact, I didn’t consider genre until after I finished my first short story. It turns out my novel really crosses genres; it’s best described as a technothriller, but it could fall into a number of others as well.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

I wrote my first book when I was about five years old. It was called, The Thing, and it was awesome. My sister helped me make it into an audiobook, in the form of a tape cassette recording. In fact, I would read a page aloud and she’d press the side button of a walkie-talkie to indicate it was time to turn the page.

Seriously, though, after that phase of my life I gave little thought to writing. However, all through school I excelled in English and Grammar, and my ninth-grade teacher was so impressed with my journal entries that she presented me with a special award at the school end-of-the-year awards ceremony. She also told me she wanted a signed copy of the first book I wrote. I plan on following through on that promise.

I still didn’t quite fancy myself a writer at that point, and it really wasn’t until I wrote the first version of Written By Blood that I yearned to become a writer. It was more of a pipe dream then, but as I got older and the publishing industry became more indie-friendly, that dream became a reality.

 

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had a story burning inside of me. I didn’t sit down to write it until I was twenty-eight years old, and it was for fear of the story being lost somehow. I knew when I died, the story would die with me, unless I put it in writing.

So I did. However, I didn’t actively pursue publishing until I was thirty-nine years old. I had talked about it, people had encouraged me to go for it, but it took many years to pull the trigger.

However, Written By Blood isn’t the only story in my head. In fact, I have entire books, or stories, start-to-finish, sitting in my mind, waiting to be written. Dozens of books in many different genres, and I plan on writing them all.

I write for two reasons: One reason is the love of the story, for seeing the movies in my head come to life in written form. There’s no bigger thrill for me than that.

The second reason is for my fans. No one ever warned me about what it would be like to have fans that turn into dear friends. I have met so many great people in the past year, people that began as casual readers who took a chance on me. I’m so thankful for the relationships I’ve formed, and my readers mean everything to me. I vow to always be accessible to fans; I answer every email and have months-long conversations going with people.

Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. When I was a young boy, I’d play entire movies out using G.I. Joe men or stuffed animals. I’d even set a timer to make sure the length of the “movie” stayed in a certain time-frame. As I got older, even though I’d abandoned my toy props, I’d still play movies in my head. My favorite time to do this was on the school bus; because I lived in a rural area, I rode the bus for over two hours to and from school. In the mornings, I would lie on the back seat, close my eyes, and let the film roll in my mind. During these trips to school, the concept of my series Written By Blood was born.

Even at age thirty-nine, I still have the same, active imagination, although I rarely use stuffed animals or action figures. I’m inspired by anything I watch on television, anything I read, and I’m greatly inspired by music. I can listen to an emotionally moving song and have a movie trailer, of my making, playing through my mind by the end. I also use complete silence to brainstorm. One thing’s for certain: I never force an idea into a book or plot. It all comes very naturally, for I could only write stories that move me personally.

 

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

90% of my writing is done on a desktop computer, however, I’ve been known to type out portions of my books using my phone. I use MS Word and save my work on OneDrive, so my phone can connect seamlessly to any document that I need to edit on the fly. In fact, I do a lot of my proofreading on my phone.

I’ve yet to master dictation. I’ve tried a few times but so far it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. Vince Flynn
  2. George R. R. Martin
  3. John Grisham
  4. Dean Koontz
  5. Sandra Brown

Each of the books and authors played a great role in me becoming an author. I don’t claim for any of the books or authors to be a top five list of the best, but the impact they each had on me was substantial.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve honestly never experienced Writer’s Block, but that’s likely because all the writing I’ve done has consisted of stories that I already know from beginning to end, and everything in between. I’m sure at some point I’ll inevitably hit the wall, but so far there’s been no issues.

 

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

The most important piece of advice I’d give is simply to write. That may seem like a no-brainer, but I think too many aspiring authors out there don’t consider themselves true authors. I think this rings truer with Indie authors; we tend to only think of ourselves as an author once we see one of our books published. However, being an author starts long before any of your writing is published, so we should act accordingly. A true author writes, and does so every day. Set time away and make content your priority. By writing daily, you’re honing your craft, finding your voice, and becoming a better author.

The second piece of advice would be to grow your audience, and to do it immediately. This ties into writing everyday as well. Produce content, whether it be blogs or short stories, and get that into the hands of readers that will value your work. And keep producing! Give free material away all the time to your faithful readers to keep them engaged.

Decide whether you’re writing as a hobby or making it a career endeavor. If you’re writing as a hobby, you don’t have too many rules or guidelines you need to follow. But if your aim is to make a living from your writing, there’s certain things you’ll need to do if you want to be successful, and it will cost a few dollars. Don’t think you can put out quality work completely on your own without spending a dime. While you absolutely can publish at virtually no cost, your chances of long-term success are pretty low. Get a professional editor and cover designer, at the very least, and if you’re really looking at getting your name and novel out there, consider researching marketing. Learn how to write a professional blurb, learn categories on Amazon or wherever you’re publishing. Consider Facebook and/or Amazon Ads.

Lastly, join communities, whether it be other like-minded authors or readers in your genre. Goodreads has a ton of groups. Join one, or three. Get to know other people in the industry.

If you want to be successful, visible, and to stand out, you’ll need to do things other authors aren’t doing, because let’s face it: there are thousands of authors out there that no one knows, so if you want to avoid being just another name thrown into the mix, go the extra mile.

Have confidence in yourself and your writing. Accept criticism; it’s more important than you realize. Have fun. And most importantly, value your faithful readers. They’re the ones who will always have your back. Keep them happy, and never take them for granted.


Thank you, Dwayne, for all the insightful and exciting answers! 


About The Book

Written By Blood: Conviction

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

book links
amazon and goodreads

To read 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

Author Spotlight: Dwayne gill

Welcome to TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles. Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for one of our very popular feature, Author Spotlight.

 

About The Author

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads

About The Book

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

buy Written By Blood on
amazon and goodreads

Praise

“If you like action thrillers with a slightly futuristic, Crichton-esque twist, I strongly recommend Dwayne Gill.”
Matt McAvoy

“If you are looking for action, and conflicted heroes like Jack Reacher, you’ll really like this novel. But if you’re looking for something deeper, something that’s guaranteed to move you on a personal level, then you’ll LOVE this book.”
–RobertGG, Booksprout reviewer


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Audiobook Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Author: Dan Brown
Narrator: Paul Michael
Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series: Robert Langdon Book #5
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 19 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb:
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Review

★★★★

Origin by none other than Dan Brown is a gripping thriller which was both enjoyable and gripping. This book is the 5t instalment in the Robert Langdon series and, unlike lost key, was more in sync with the author’s impeccable sense of modern-day controversies. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to note that this book differed from the last one (which is one of my favourites in this series, Inferno) greatly.

The characterisation was spot on, the twists and turns were really good and made the mystery more interesting (though it was a bit predictable, maybe that was because of the fact that by the 5th book you generally know what the author is capable of doing) and the plot-line was excellent. The only complain I had from this book is that it had hours of exhaustive descriptions and backstories and crazily lengthy dramatics. This has been my problem since the first book, Angels & Demons, but this book took it all to another level entirely. Now it might be because this is the only book I have read (listened to) as an audiobook, but the descriptions felt too long even for Dan Brown’s standards – out of 19 hours more than 9 might have been the descriptions, so that is a LOT! Because of that, I zoned out a lot while listening to it and even fell asleep.

Still, overall it is worth a read if for nothing else than for the story itself and I’d recommend it to all Dan Brown readers and to those who are interested in conspiracy theories and such.

Read this book for RMFAO

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Future Comes From Behind by S.T.K. Chan

Author: S.T.K. Chan
Release Date: 28th October 2018
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy, Visionary
Series: Paradigm Shift, Book #1
Edition: e-book
Pages: 235
Publisher: S.T.K. Chan
Blurb:
What if the battle for good and evil were being fought just out of our sight, beyond our reach?
How far should one go to seek out the good and destroy evil, and what consequences might their choices have?”Tightly conceived and smoothly choreographed sci-fi fantasy. Higher aspects of human nature. RECOMMENDED,” The US Review of BooksLisa and her family barely manage to escape an invasion from the Rebel army in their home of Malta. Shortly after this episode, she discovers Exo, the ancient dimension she cannot understand until her late 20s. Exo is made of memories of the past; it brings forth all the strong echoes we leave behind. Lisa desperately wants to resolve the conflicts of this inner world peacefully, but quickly learns she must fight the shadows in people’s hearts, materialized through battle re-enactments, warfare and emotional turmoil.

Review

★★★+1/2

Future Comes From Behind (Paradigm Shift, Book #1) by S.T.K. Chan is a very unique visionary science-fiction fantasy novel which is utterly mind-boggling, to put it mildly.

The book started out with a seemingly normal storyline which seemed to be pretty straight-forward but soon it turned into a whirlwind of tightly packed chapters that were interlaced in different timelines belonging to different people. I am a huge fan of multiple POVs and time-shifts, but this book to an entirely different, which was both good and bad in its own way. It was good because it made the story fast-paced and really thrilling and bad because somewhere down the line it all got a bit confusing at times, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The characterization was average, it made me care for the characters enough to read the entire story, but I wasn’t able to relate to any of the characters thoroughly. I also felt that some places the dialogues and some paragraphs felt unpolished, and there was more telling than showing throughout the book, but, for me, the unique concept of the story made up for all these flaws. So overall, it was an enjoyable book and I’d recommend it to hardcore Sci-Fi Fantasy readers and to those who feel adventurous and want to try something different than ordinary fiction.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Spotlight: Future Comes From Behind by S.T.K. Chan

About The Book

Book Name: Future Comes from Behind (Paradigm Shift, #1)

Author: S.T.K. Chan

Publisher: S.T.K. Chan

Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Visionary

Page Count: 235

Release date: August 28, 2018


Synopsis

After Lisa barely manages to escape an invasion from the Rebel army in her home of Malta, she discovers Exo. This ancient dimension is made of memories from the past. It is here that evil manifests as flesh. It is here that the legacy of centuries of darkness can be stopped from whispering to our ears. Lisa desperately wants to resolve the conflicts of this inner world peacefully, but quickly learns she must fight the shadows in people’s hearts materialized through battle re-enactments, warfare and emotional turmoil.

buy here
amazon and website

 


About The Author

S.T.K. Chan – A fan of nourishing SF&F fiction. Seeker of essential truths in historical non-fiction. Exploring life for almost half a century. Delivering action and matters of the inner self. “Chan has license to be more philosophical and issue-oriented, and on the whole he blends together different genres well.” (John Staughton, SPR)

 you can connect with the author here
website

ARC Review: Killing Adam by Earik Beann

Author: Earik Beann
Release Date: 1st January 2019
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia
Series: 
Edition: e-book
Pages: 224
Publisher: Profoundly One Publishing
Blurb:
The world runs on ARCs. Altered Reality Chips. Small implants behind the left ear that allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine. The network controls everything, from traffic, to food production, to law enforcement. Some proclaim it a Golden Age of humanity. Others have begun to see the cracks. Few realize that behind it all, living within every brain and able to control all aspects of society, there exists a being with an agenda all his own: the singularity called Adam, who believes he is God.Jimmy Mahoney’s brain can’t accept an ARC. Not since his football injury from the days when the league was still offline. “ARC-incompatible” is what the doctors told him. Worse than being blind and deaf, he is a man struggling to cling to what’s left of a society that he is no longer a part of. His wife spends twenty-three hours a day online, only coming off when her chip forcibly disconnects her so she can eat. Others are worse. Many have died, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs.After being unwittingly recruited by a rogue singularity to play a role in a war that he doesn’t understand, Jimmy learns the truth about Adam and is thrown into a life-and-death struggle against the most powerful mathematical mind the world has ever known. But what can one man do against a being that exists everywhere and holds limitless power? How can one man, unable to even get online, find a way to save his wife, and the entire human race, from destruction?

Review

★★★

Killing Adam by Earik Beann is a new dystopian science-fiction novel with a refreshing new take on the alternate reality concept. I enjoyed reading this book mostly because of the author’s unique concept in which the focus was more on the people left int he real-world rather than focusing entirely on the alternate reality and the people living a virtual life.

I’ve read a decent number of books revolving around the subject of artificial intelligence and I must admit that, in most of the places, the author has done a good job in paying attention to details in creating this world. While at the same time, I felt the plot could have been a little bit more polished and just a little more pronounced. At some places the writing was good, but in some rare instances the writing felt crude and the dialogues felt redundant. The characterization wasn’t overly complex and felt a bit lacking in terms of being realistic and relatable.

Another issue I had with the plot is that it didn’t give any clear idea on how exactly the altered reality was – I did appreciate the fact that the story revolved around the world outside the altered reality, i.e., the real dystopic world, but I would have really liked it if at least some idea of the other world would have been given too, just enough to let the readers know what was going on on the “other side.”

Still, overall, it was an enjoyable book and made for a nice winter read which was clean and quick to read. I’d recommend it to readers who want to explore a light science-fiction story on altered reality. But if you like intricate plots with complex and multi-layered characters then this book might not be for you.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon (not up yet)

Book Review: Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima

Author: Margaret Mizushima
Release Date: 11th September 2018
Genre: Suspence, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4
Edition: e-book
Pages: 280
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
Featuring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo, Burning Ridge by critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima is just the treat for fans of Alex Kava.On a rugged Colorado mountain ridge, Mattie Cobb and her police dog partner Robo make a grisly discovery—and become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Colorado’s Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.

Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game?

A deranged killer torments Mattie with a litany of dark secrets that call into question her very identity. As a towering blaze races across the ridge, Cole and Robo search desperately for her—but time is running out in Margaret Mizushima’s fourth spine-tingling Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge.

Review

★★★★

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima is the 4th instalment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery but can be totally read as a standalone. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to read this book as it was a really good read with a nice plotline and honest characterization. I enjoyed the story on the whole and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything significantly even though I’m new to this series, and now I’m looking forward to exploring the prequels and the sequels to this part.

The two things that I liked best in this book were the plot and the characterization – the plot was intense, yet not over-the-top complex and the characterization was simply but realistic and I was able to feel a connection to both the story as well as all the main characters, especially the leading lady Mattie and her GSD, Robo.

The writing was simple and clean and the book had a moderate pacing which complimented the story well. The tension was also moderate, though it spiked up enough wherever needed to make it a very engaging read. Overall, I felt that this book is a complete package and I think that based on this book I can already see this series becoming a nice thirst quencher for mystery-ravenous readers.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of mystery, suspense and light thriller genres, especially those who are looking for a new detective series to explore.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: Shadow Killer: A Silo Story by David R. Larson

Author: David R. Larson
Release Date: 7th October 2018
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Series:
Edition: e-book
Pages: 89
Publisher: 
Blurb:
The silo is full of secrets. Deadly secrets.
Growing up in this world is hard enough for a regular kid, but so much more so when you’re an orphan with no friends.This is Bryson’s reality before he is chosen by the head of IT to receive a rare opportunity to Shadow for the mysterious position of “IT courier.” Wary of what may be expected of him but facing an uncertain future, he accepts the job for a chance to change his situation for the better.

As he grows into a young man, Bryson discovers dark truths about the origin and maintenance of the silo. Blasphemous things that no one knows, suspects, or would dare say out loud for fear of being sent out to clean. Or worse.

This knowledge comes at a price. When the time comes, will Bryson be willing to pay?.

Review

★★★★

Shadow Killer: A Silo Story by David R. Larson is a new post-apocalyptic novella that was equal parts interesting and entertaining. It was a very, very quick read, not only because it was under a hundred pages, but also because it had a great story and the writing had a good flow too.

I enjoyed this book even though I haven’t read any of the original Silo stories. In fact, after having read and liked this book, I’m now planning to explore the original silo stories that the author mentions in the book blurb on the book’s Goodreads – Hugh Howey’s WOOL.

I started this book with no expectations whatsoever as the concept was foreign to me, but as I was done with the first 3-4 chapters, I knew that it was a good book with a solid foundation. Maybe purists (who love the original books) might not think the same, but I had one hell of a time reading some really good post-apocalyptic fiction (one of my favourite genres.)

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of apocalyptic as well as post-apocalyptic genres and also to those who’ve already read the Silo Saga and enjoyed it (and won’t mind reading a short spin-off.)

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon