Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Poet of the Wrong Generation #BookReview

  • Title: Poet of the Wrong Generation
  • Author: Lonnie Ostrow
  • Print Length: 455
  • Publication Date: November 10, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

My Review:

I was surprised to find that I loved everything about this book–from the cover to the prose. The storyline was engrossing, the characters extremely well-developed, the dialogue superb…well, Poet of the Wrong Generation is a book you have to read when you have no pressing matters to attend to because it’s that hard to put down.

We open with a prologue to the present. Johnny Elias is staring into a photograph taking himself back into a time when life was good and carefree. He was in love, had friends, he had happiness. And now, because of the things happened since then, he’s feeling regret. Don’t we all when we start feeling that nostalgia?

After we’re through we the prologue, the next time we see Johnny is back in time in 1991. He joins Megan Price, the girl he loves, and their friends at a concert in Central Park. However, soon after, everything changes. Feeling heartbroken and betrayed, he begins doing what a lot of real people do in these kinds of situations: a writes down his feelings. But these aren’t just words. They’re magical poetry from the heart. Johnny ends up turning his writing to music and falls into success and fame.

This was a truly amazing novel. I can see it becoming a summer series or even a mini-series on the Hallmark channel. But at the same time, perhaps they better not touch this story. After all, bringing stories to live, especially on network television, it just may ruin this beautiful creation of Lonnie Ostrow’s.

If you want a book complete with twists and turns, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book with star-crossed lovers, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. If you want a book that tugs at your heartstrings in every way, pick up Poet of the Wrong Generation. It’s well worth the time it takes to read. I highly recommend this pleasure of a book.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Lonnie Ostrow
Biography

Lonnie Ostrow has been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With Poet Of The Wrong Generation, he combines all his unique experiences to bring you a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption — a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. It’s been hailed as “the ultimate rock & roll love story.” Since 2001, Mr. Ostrow has been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. He also serves as an editorial and marketing consultant for a collection of first-time authors through The Editorial Department in Tucson, AZ. Previously he served as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors including Ray Manzarek of The Doors.

From 1995 – 2001, Mr. Ostrow was widely credited with inventing the “living celebrity postal phenomenon.” In all, he worked with more than 40 legendary personalities from the Bee Gees to Bob Dylan, Sylvester Stallone to Jackie Chan, creating media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.

Ostrow’s first publication, Titanic, A Postal Collection, was published in 1998.

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#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “STASHES,” BY P J COLANDO

 

  • StashesTitle:  Stashes – What Ever Happened to Earn?
  • Author: P. J. Colando
  • File Size: 1011 KB
  • Print Length: 350 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Bookbaby, 1 edition
  • Publication Date: June 19, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LIAZBKK
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Humor, Contemporary Fiction

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Meet the Breeden’s

Meet Jackie and Steve Breeden, your average hard-working, dairy farming, salt of the earth kind of folks who live on a rural farm in Michigan. Time has marched on in their lives, and both, Jackie and Steve, realize that as they are getting older their dream of hitting the road and seeing the beauty of what America has to offer, in the style of their hero Charles Kuralt, is becoming a shadowy memory. Life for the Breeden’s has become predictable and dull.

Just when Jackie and Steve accept that their dream is gone, their son Brandon abruptly loses his job at the GM Plant not far from town. Armed with the knowledge that Brandon and his wife, Amy, a Vice President at the local bank, are going to lose their home to foreclosure, Jackie and Steve decide to buy a Winnebago. It is a win-win situation for all of them. Brandon and Amy can move into their house while Brandon tends the milking business, and Steve and Jackie can travel and explore the United States fulfilling their lifelong dream. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Amy is a conniving, whining, money obsessed twenty-something, typical of an entitled generation. Amy decides that she is not going to take losing all the things she worked so hard to possess, just because they wallowed in insurmountable debt.  In Amy’s eyes, she deserves her luxuries, no matter what!

In no time, Amy hatches a scheme to expand the Breeden’s micro dairy business by growing and selling marijuana edibles, convincing Jackie that this is the way of the future. One day while at work at the bank, Amy secretly manipulates the amount of the loan for the Winnebago and the line of credit to finance supplies for her burgeoning marijuana crop.

Jackie and Steve leave for their trip, entrusting the care of their home and business to their son and daughter-in-law finally free to pursue their baby boomer dream. What could possibly go wrong?

Recommendation:

Stashes was one of the funniest and most enjoyable books in this genre I have read in a long time. Maybe it had to do with the language (I am from Wisconsin, the book takes place in Michigan) or maybe it had to do with the stage of life I find myself at but I felt a strong connection. I enjoyed the loveable characters of Jackie and Steve and felt right at home with their dialog and their thoughts. There were times that I silently howled with laughter at the situations all of these characters ended up in. The best part was that every challenge was believable and realistic in our world today!

I also enjoyed the approach that PJ Colando took in the story telling. She used two protagonists so you got both points of view, that from Jackie telling her side of the story, and Amy elaborating her’s. This made the story richer by sharing the generational ideals of the two women. You can only imagine the fireworks between these two.

The character of the daughter-in-law, Amy was fascinating to me. You had to love her determination and grit, even though she always seemed to make disastrous decisions. In fact, I liked that Amy mirrored many of Jackie’s attitudes. The fact that the women didn’t recognize that about each other added to the absurdity of their lives and decisions.

P J Colando describes her book as a “fictional farce,” and I couldn’t agree with her more. In fact, she shared with me that the cover illustration is by Cliff Cramp, who had done all of the cover art for the Star Wars DVD’s. She said he pictured himself on the cover, which he said is done in “National Lampoon” style. If you look on the lower right of the cover, he even signed it!

P J Colando also shares with us that “Cliff Cramp is a friend of a friend who is generous in every way. Cliff agreed to do the cover before my final revision; in part, because I sent him a picture of the apron on the cover – it is reversible. Has a dark side and a light side, just like The Force. I wear the apron to all book events, wearing the light side when I read a few pages in Jackie’s point of view and the dark side when I read daughter-in-law Amy’s point of view. She’s a whippersnapper, that one!”

Humor aside, this book deals with the realities of life in the heartland of America and how people are dealing with life in a downsized economy. The issues of medical marijuana are humorously discussed without demeaning the positive qualities of such a program, or demeaning the laws in place to protect the rights of all citizens.

What I loved most about the book was the moral tug of war Jackie had with herself while trying to honor her values as a friend, wife, and mother. Many of these lessons were interwoven with humor and faith, a joyful combination. Stashes will help you realize that staying true to your beliefs and values is not always an easy thing and sometimes you have to be creative to survive!

PJColando-About

Author: P J Colando

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 4.5 out of five stars

4.5 stars
About P J Colando from her bio on her blog:

“As a licensed speech-language pathologist I wrote thousands of clinical reports – and some of them contained fabulous fiction, to urge a denial-oriented insurer to pay. Now I write for fun and freedom of expression. It’s an elegant hobby: I hide away in my home on a hill, out of earshot of the fray.

My short stories and personal essays have been published in magazines, newspapers, and non-profits’ newsletters. I write a regular column for ‘Lit Central’ called “Write Places”. My stories have also been included in the anthologies: Open to Interpretation, The Indiana Review, The Biscuit, She Writes, and Wisdom Has a Voice.

My satiric family saga, Stashes, was published in July 2014, its pot plot shock-and-awing my friends. Next in the series will be HASHES AND BASHES. Wonder what it’s about? Clues were stashed among the misadventures of book one…

I relish oral reads, including Dime Stories, Literary Posse, and LIT UP! I’d love to come to talk with your book clubs, groups of writers/readers. I have an extensive public speaking resume. I provide home baked goodies, giveaways, insights, and laughs. Connect with me.

My husband, Larry, and I are also widely traveled, a quest endowed by my parents. We grew up in small towns in the Midwest and now live in southern California. We feel deeply grounded, yet we crave adventure. No kids, no pets, lots of friends, and few financial obligations: what a life we’ve created, fellow Baby Boomers!  Come join … via my writing.

I post regularly on my blog, themed as “Stashes, Hashes, Bashes: Boomer Stuff!”

I write while my husband watches sports (read: often). He calls me a walking exclamation point! I dash –

I’m told there’s sunshine in my Voice, an inimitable, singular energy. I am having a blast!”

Find out more about P J Colando’s books here.

Make certain to connect with P J Colando through Facebook at P J Colando.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 12.22.15

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “BEYOND THE COLORED LINE, STELLA – BOOK 2,” BY AUTHOR @HOUSEOFPOETRY

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  • Title:  Beyond the Colored Line – Stella, Book 2
  • Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication Date: July 27, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B013PQCKK8
  • Formats: Kindle, Stella – book 1: Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Literature, Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Introducing – Stella May

In 1916, Stella May is born as the great-granddaughter of a former slave, also named Stella May. The original Stella May changed her family’s surname to May upon gaining her freedom. Stella is born of mixed ancestry which for all appearances gives her light skin, blond hair, and hazel eyes.

An amazing beauty, Stella is teased by her black classmates because they don’t believe she is black enough. She looks white and even sounds white. In comparison, her white classmates ridicule her since she is too poor to fit in with proper white society. Stella May is caught in the proverbial catch 22. She is too light to be black and too poor to be white.

Stella May’s mother, Judith was born of mixed ancestry also, which gave her the same light skin, hair, and eyes. Judith always thought of herself as a black woman when she married Stella’s father who was also black. By 1928, Stella’s father ran off in fear of being lynched for being married to a white woman. In those days, society made it clear that the races should not co-mingle.

Who is Sidney McNair?

However, even without her father around, Stella was raised with a family of aunts (from her mother’s side) who took an active part in her life. Eventually, because of the difficulties with Stella fitting in at school, her mother sent her to a private school. Stella’s uncles on her father’s side said, “…They were breaking the law – that a Negro had no business in a white school.” Aunt Sara felt different, because, after all, she said, “Stella is half white.”

By the time the Great Depression eases, Stella and her family move to segregated Chicago, where life is not much better. Aunt Sara, a school teacher, struggles to wait for the school district to pay her. Sara has made the step into white society by dating an affluent doctor and encourages Stella to do the same.  After a discussion with Aunt Sara, Stella decides to pass for white. Sidney McNair is born and enters a white society where she had the freedom to go where she chooses and to buy whatever she likes. Stella has crossed the colored line.

Many years later, Sidney is forced to come to grips with the decisions she made long ago. How those decisions affect her life, and the lives of her children and grandchildren, take the reader on a roller-coaster ride into the world of race and ethnicity in America today.

Recommendation:

Since I had not read the first book in the Stella series, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to pick up the threads of Stella’s story. Although the characters are fictional, I was drawn to them (especially Stella) because I have granddaughters of mixed ancestry and I wanted to understand the challenges they face as young women each day.

Maybe, because I felt such a personal connection, Stella’s story touched me even more deeply than I thought it would. I had no idea how difficult life was for Stella and her family, all because of the color of their skin. This was an emotional read for me.

Even more revealing, is how relevant Stella’s story is in America today. I wonder how many people, faced with the same dilemma’s that Stella dealt with, would be able to reconcile their feelings about their own ethnicity.

So, I asked my granddaughters who have black, white, and Thai ancestry. Both girls are beautiful and exotic. They have dark hair, and skin, while one granddaughter has brown eyes, the other has hazel eyes. You know what they told me? They said they were American! Somehow, I knew Stella would have approved.

Beyond the Colored Line is a story about an American family dealing with the issues of race and color in a time when those issues were considered to be conditions characterized with hardship and suffering. Stella’s story helped me to discover connections with my own family I never had before. You see, even in my own family, nothing is ever just black and white.

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5
Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl:

Born in 1987 on the south side of Chicago, Yecheilyah Ysrayl (“EC”) is an author and Spoken Word Artist.

Yecheilyah started writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She attended Harper High School (International Language Career Academy) Robert Morris College (Computer Basics / Administration), Chicago State University (Professional and Technical Writing), and Everest College (Medical Assistance / Phlebotomy).

As an artist, Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an incorporation of spiritual critique, honesty and an authentic analysis of African American identity. She seeks to create work that promotes healthy research and investigation into the cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. Furthermore, “EC” seeks to advance the promotion of truth and identity by way of Spoken Word.

“EC” currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

To watch a trailer for the book click the link below.

Make certain to connect with Yecheilyah through her Twitter @ahouseofpoetry

And Facebook at Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.2015

Guest #Book #Review by @TheAranArtisan of Dancing to an Irish Reel by @CFullerton3

Melissa Gillan Review of Dancing to an Irish Reel

Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton – A book review

Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire FullertonOh to be twenty-something again, but this time with the same intuitive sensibility as Hailey Crossan, the heroine of this fictional story.

That thought crossed my mind many times while reading Claire Fullerton’s novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel. I had the pre-decided notion that I would relate personally to Hailey’s experience being that, like her, I’m an American woman involved with an Irish gentleman. Relate I did, but not where I expected to. Our relationships are as different as our personalities and the same goes for the men in our lives. So I reread the book with no expectation or comparison and it won my heart over.

What I most connected with were the references to western Ireland geography, weather, language, and societal mores — they are impeccable. I could nearly hear the distinct Connemara blas when natives spoke. Ms. Fullerton nailed the vernacular, evidence she had spent time in the setting either researching the book or being Galway by Melissa Gillaninspired to write it. How fortunate for her because the west of Ireland is a spectacular place to be.

Another appealing part of this book for me is the use of genuine locations. One pub in particular made me smile each time it was mentioned. My husband and I celebrated there with friends and family days before our wedding and returned again on the day following our wedding. I’ve eaten, drank, danced, shopped, and wandered in many of the places that are written about. And the places I was less familiar with, I found myself drawn to explore.

The story reads more like a true narrative rather than one of fiction. As Hailey keenly observes the nuances of Irish life, her confusion about her swain, Liam Hennessy, begins to make sense and she gains knowledge about the realities of life with an Irish man whose first loves are music and family. While all this is happening she remains remarkably level-headed and generous with her time and affections for friends, co-workers, and neighbours. In their own unique way, they provide insights that may or may not relieve some of her uncertainty; if not, they at least help to take her mind off the wonders of her heart while also enhancing the storyline.

Hailey and Liam’s relationship is not an uncommon scenario here in Ireland. Bittersweet at times, there’s an innocence and naivety to their love story that had me reading between the lines of their dialogue right up to the end of the book. I’ll admit, the ending was unexpected but not surprising. I could easily see a sequel to this book and would welcome it with open arms.

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely. Who would I recommend it to? Anyone living apart from Ireland who wants to get a sense of its people and intrinsic nature. Anyone who is living in or has visited Ireland and wants a reminder of how unique a culture it is. Readers who are interested in real life relationships, full of complications and void of fairy tale scenarios would also find this story appealing. If you enjoy a really good piece of fictional writing, then Dancing to an Irish Reel is for you.

Claire in front yard with dogs Dec 28 2011-1007895 1Author Amazon page

Dancing to an Irish Reel – Google+ page

Dancing to an Irish Reel – Facebook page:

Claire’s blog

Follow Claire on Twitter: @cfullerton3

Claire on Pinterest

 

About the Reviewer:

Melissa Gillan The Aran ArtisanMelissa Gillan “The Aran Artisan” is an Amercan lady who married her Irishman and moved to Ireland on love and a prayer. She and her husband work the land, raise their children, and do everything the Irish way. Her Blog,The Aran Artisan is a favorite stop for many who love her style of sharing the Irish way of life in an American voice. She was chosen specifically for this review to deem how authentic and how successful Claire Fullerton had made Dancing to an Irish Reel.  Living in the area of the setting for the book, she would know.

 

Book review @FTThum : Voice of Innocence by @LindsayDetwiler

Enough said that after reading this book, my interest in Romance is rekindled, the book genre that is. 🙂

Voice of Innocence cover

Title:               Voice of Innocence
Author:          Lindsay Detwiler
Publishers:   Satin Romance, Melange Books LLC (2015)
Format:         Paperback
ISBN-10:        1680460595
ISBN-13:        9781680460599
Website:         http://lindsaydetwiler.com/
Twitter:          @LindsayDetwiler
Pages:             249
Genre:            Contemporary fiction – Romance

What’s it about?

This is a story of love lost and found, of second chances.

Emma and Corbin – teenage sweethearts, first loves. Corbin finally found someone who believed in and supported him, despite his somewhat cavalier attitude to life and the sadness that permeated it.  In Corbin, Emma experienced what it was to have someone truly see her, her ‘wildness’. Their love seemed impenetrable, that is until disaster struck on the eve of Corbin’s marriage proposal to Emma.

The lovers are separated by time and space yet they are never far from each other even as they moved on with their lives, or at least Emma appeared to have. When another twist of fate caused them to confront the reality of their love.

This is not YA romance. It is much more as I am taken from Emma’s and Corbin’s teen to mature years – their voices sounding through the years as they wrestle with the dilemmas of,

Does true love exist? Can one ever know for certain? Is it worth sacrificing a life for? Does one follow one’s heart or mind? Does one stay true to oneself yet betray another? Is it impulsive to abandon a happy comfortable life for a dream? Is it too late for second chances?

Ultimately, what price truth, peace or love?

Would I recommend it?

‘Voice of Innocence’ is a book with mature themes yet handled skilfully. Once began, it was hard to put down as I was hooked into discovering ‘why’.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel as it moves from moments of fairytale-like happiness and joy to harsh realities and great despair. Detwiler’s deft hands in portraying characters with depth made connecting with them easy.

I wonder, will there be another book for Emma and Corbin? If there is, I most certainly will not miss it.

Highly recommended.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization:   3.5/5
Made Me Think:                3.5/5
Overall enjoyment:           4/5
Readability:                        4/5
Recommended:                  4/5
Overall Rating:                   4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 4.55
  Paperback USD 13.12
Booktopia Paperback AUD 38.25
Bookdepository Paperback € 18.03

– FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

florence-2

© 2015 LitWorldInterviews

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “THE POOL BOY’S BEATITUDE,” BY AUTHOR @MAGICMASTRMINDS

The Pool Boy's Beautitude

  • Title:  The Pool Boy’s Beatitude
  • Author: D. J. Swykert
  • File Size:
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  •  Publisher:  Rebel ePublishers
  • Publication Date: July 23, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN:
  • ISBN-10:  0615824560
  • ISBN-13:  978-0615824567
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Romance,

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which follows. *

Welcome to Jack Joseph’s World

Jack Joseph is a conundrum. He possesses a Master’s degree in particle physics yet owns his own pool cleaning business. Jack appears to live within the constraints of his mind while pondering the dark matter of the universe. Jack even has high aspirations and would love to find the God particle, even though he dropped out of college when he found physics to be too tedious. You see, Jack just wants to live life his way.

However, all of the brilliance of Jack is dimmed with the way he chooses to perceive the world. Jack thinks that life is governed by random coincidences. To that effect, he lets his life spiral into chaos. With a failing marriage and a wife who wants a divorce, Jack slips into the black hole of alcoholism. Mix in casual sex with multiple clients and drugs to soothe the pain of too much alcohol, Jack continues his descent out of control in a controlled world.

Jack’s Bondage Continues

After Jack’s wife Elle, kicks him out of the house, he finds solace with Rosemary, one of his clients who uses sex, alcohol, and drugs to manipulate him into her version of the perfect man. Jack in his randomness, allows the situation to proceed even though he realizes he has sold out his soul for this pitiful existence. Jack is polarized by his dependencies, unable to break free.

One drunken night, Jack meets Sarah. There is an immediate connection, something that Jack has never experienced before. Jack is smitten and when a DUI lands him in jail, he is forced to face his demons and reconcile his lifestyle to the lovely Sarah.

My Recommendation:

To me, Jack Joseph was a likable guy even though he had enough failings to make any woman run the other way. There was something about him that was intriguing and drew me to him. I found many of Jack’s viewpoints made me uncomfortable and most of his life choices were mind boggling. Although, that is what made me want to read more. I really wanted to figure this guy out and see what made him tick.

D. J. Swykert makes Jack a real person. Written in the first person, Swykert has Jack display credible addict tendencies that sometimes were shocking in their authenticity. I found myself wanting Jack to get better and to find his way through his addictive personality and lifestyle. Sometimes I felt his desperation and pain. Other times I wanted to kick him in the teeth for all of his stupidity. The next thing I knew, I liked the guy again because I finally realized, there is a little bit of Jack Joseph in all of us.

This was an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book that makes you think about the intricacies of life in general. The story moves along quickly and the dialog makes you feel like you are in the room overhearing the characters. You feel this story through Jack’s eyes, flaws and all. Jack really got under my skin!

DJ Swykert

Author, D. J. Swykert

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 4.5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.5
About D. J. Swykert:

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator, and wolf expert, living in Northern Kentucky, USA. His short fiction and poetry has been published in: The Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL. His novel, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, won a literary competition with The LitWest Group in Los Angeles in 2002.

Make certain to connect with D. J. through Twitter @MagicMastrMinds

And Facebook at David J. Swykert

His blog at Magic Master Minds.com

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.21.14

 

 

#BOOK REVIEW BY @ColleenChesebro OF FACES OF A SMALL CITY BY AUTHOR @PaulStearsNews

  • Title:  Faces of a Small City
  • Author:  Paul Stears
  • File Size:  879 KB
  • Print Length:  322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication Date:  December 11, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00QJI5VL0
  • ISBN-10: 1505349648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1505349641
  • Formats: Paperback  Kindle
    Goodreads
  • Genres:  Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Drama

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which follows. *

Recently graduated from University, James is excited to get on with living the rest of his life. His existence in Canterbury seems to crawl by and his prospects are slim. With no job, no girlfriend, and without a place to call his own James drifts, all the while self-medicating himself with alcohol and women that mean nothing to him. One night, celebrating at a local pub with friends, James has a chance encounter with the elusive and stunningly beautiful Maisie. For James, Maisie is the stuff dreams are made of and he can’t shake her memory from his mind. He can’t wait to see her again, although it seems they are never in the right place at the same time.

Maisie has insurmountable problems of her own to contend with as her mother continues to lose touch with reality. Maisie struggles to live up to the demands her mother places upon her. Much like James, Maisie is floundering in an adult world while desperately trying to get on with the business of living and finding her own identity.

James and Maisie’s stories wrap around each other while both live in the small city of Canterbury. Their lives intertwine through their friends, families, and life circumstances.  Jakes, the narrator of the story leads you into the contemporary lives of Canterbury’s younger population who are filled with hope at the beginning of their adult lives.

Recommendation:

“The Faces of a Small City,” is Paul Stears debut novel. Although, the book starts out slowly, I found myself swept up in the descriptions of Canterbury, the people, and the many life situations that are thrown at the characters of Maisie and James. It was easy to identify with both, James and Maisie as each seemed to be real characters with strengths and weaknesses just like the rest of us.

A true coming of age love story, Stears does a marvelous job depicting and adding depth to the characters featured in this story. Many times I found myself reminiscing about my own first love experiences and how it felt to be that young again. Throughout the novel, a message of hope resounds in the face of formidable life obstacles. I really enjoyed seeing James and Maisie grow up and enter the next stage of their lives.

If you enjoy contemporary love stories with the backdrop of an English city to add culture and ambiance, you will enjoy this book. It is a quick read that will leave you feeling hope that there truly is someone out there for each of us, sometimes found right in the small city we live in.

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3.5
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 3.5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4

About Paul Stears:

PAUL STEARS has recently released his debut novel, “Faces of a Small City.” Graduating from Canterbury University in 2010, he spent his time working and writing. Born and bred in Kent, UK, he lives to write. You can follow him and find out more information about him at his blog: paulstearsauth.wordpress.com.

Please make certain to connect with Paul Stears through his Twitter @PaulStearsNews.

Book Review by: @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 10.21.14

 

#Book Review by @RonovanWrites of Sex & Samosas by Author @JasmineAziz

sex-and-samosas-jasmine-aziz-review-feature1

 

  • Title: Sex and SamosasSex and Samosas book cover by Author Jasmine Aziz
  • Author: Jasmine Aziz
  • File Size: 541 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0987735705
  • Publisher: Shubblie Publications (March 1, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0085TJWQ6
  • ISBN-10: 0987735705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987735706
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy (Some might say Erotica but the way Ms. Aziz handles the subject, you just don’t get that from it.)

 

How did I happen to end up reading this book?

I’m not certain what I was expecting when I began reading Sex and Samosas by Jasmine Aziz. I didn’t read any other reviews or even a book description beforehand nor have I since. I had no preconceived ideas about what it was about, except it had the word sex in it and I was cautious. Having read an article about the author, I only knew I felt I could trust Jasmine Aziz to provide a good story. Me and a book with the title Sex in it would not normally be a match, but trust was given and thus here we are.

I learned of Ms. Aziz after having read about her through Dan McNeil, another great author I have interviewed and thought there was a great opportunity for a review and interview. (The interview is just waiting for me to format it. Look for it any day now.)

In the beginning.

“You never forget your first orgasm…”

Those are the first words you are going to read once past the opening credits. Yes, you will read this as if watching a movie, because it feels like a movie and will make a great movie with the right director, if only Nora Ephron were still with us.

Learning.

Not letting the books opening words give you too much pause, if you are of the more timid kind, (Waves hand. Okay, maybe not timid but a closet fiend.) you will read about the how and why of the orgasm in women. In truth men will learn just as much as women. Trust me men, and women, there is nothing wrong with learning things from books. They save a lot of time and unsuccessful moments.

This book takes the awkwardness out of unsatisfying sex and wanting to remedy that problem. Men, don’t be arrogant and think you know, because if you finally do really know how to make her happy, you will be the happiest you’ve ever been. Call it a mindgasm if you will; my word as far as I know. Aziz explains how things work, north and south of the pleasure equator.

Sex isn’t the only thing this book is about. You will find Sex is only perhaps a metaphor for what really happens in the book. The sexual awareness that occurs is a parallel path of something else.

The Who

We meet Leena, a South Asian woman married to Manny, also South Asian, who lives in North America but has a very traditional mother from the old country, India. They have been married for five years or so and have already settled down into the marriage routine. That revealing part from Leena had me laughing and for a while and I still laugh when I think about it.

But we also meet Mahjong, Mae Wong really but the mispronunciation from younger days stuck and it fits in more ways than one. Mahjong takes Leena to a Sex Party, a party that is not exactly what the name implies but does teach a lot. (Men, when you read this, take notes.)

You will learn a lot about some of the customs and even culture confusion of being South Asian and being in North America around a traditional South Asian community culture. You will also find Leena’s mother’s thoughts on religion interesting. I did.

What you get.

Family and community play an interesting role in the book and in ways I would not have expected. Yes, you will get surprises. The subject is handled well, with taste and humor. Some may be pleased the amount of profanity was at a minimum, which keeps the mind more on the story than taking away from it and leading one down that path of a pure sex book. And when any words are used they tend to fit the situation and the person speaking. They aren’t just thrown in there for shock value.

Again, this is not a sex book, but it is a book that includes the topic of sex, and in very descriptive ways.

Ms. Aziz handles the writing of the subject so well that you don’t feel uncomfortable reading certain subjects and think of it more like a classroom or documentary of sorts with a lot of humor along the way. And she makes it human. You will swear she is reading your mind at times.

Nothing is perfect. Sex isn’t perfect like a scripted movie. Things happen, and man, I am still dying over the what I call ‘on fire’ part of the book.

The book is almost just about as much about men as it is about women; at least you discover things about men that you may not realize. And Aziz nails it. (Pun intended after the fact.) Her honesty in sharing these thoughts and parts of her reality, you’ll know what I mean once you read about Ms. Aziz, took more courage, I believe, than the actual being involved in anything that occurs in the book itself. And for that, I thank Jasmine Aziz. I honestly think writing about sex in this manner is one of the most brave things you can do in this day and age. The final frontier if you will.

Recommendation:

I say anyone that might ever have sex should read this book once at the appropriate age. For a child of mine that might be 40. Okay, maybe 18 or as a senior in High School.

There are descriptions of sexual acts, tastefully so, and humorously at times, but be aware of that when purchasing the book for yourself or as a gift. You eventually don’t even notice it.

As readers here on LWI know, my reviewing is a bit tougher than some might be out in book review land. I like for my reviews to count for something. When I say I give an honest review, I mean it. If I am asked for a review and it doesn’t appear here then that usually means I couldn’t even finish the book and thus don’t want to do harm to a book’s sales because of an OPINION, which is all a book review is, even by a professor at Harvard or Yale.

Thus, follows my rating.

Character Believability: 5Jasmine Aziz Author of Sex and Samosas
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.8

Just so everyone knows, I don’t normally give Ratings this High.

About Jasmine Aziz:

I’m a retired vibrator seller.

I’ve been writing poetry and short stories for years. Following a bad breakup and shortly after doing a “Bollywood Bachelorette” party during my days selling adult novelty toys, I was inspired to write my first full length novel. I’m currently working on my second book “Bring Your Own Batteries” – my memoirs chronicling the four years when I sold sex toys. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve lived through a lot, I’ve got much still left to say.

I reside in the town where I was born: Ottawa, Canada.

To watch a trailer for the book or even readings by Jasmine Aziz of sections of Sex & Samosas on her site, click the link below.

http://www.jasmineaziz.com/media.html

Make certain to connect with Jasmine through her Twitter

And Facebook at Sex & Samosas.

Book Review by: @RonovanWrites of ronovanwrites.wordpress.com

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Book Review. The Martian by Andy Weir.

The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian by Andy Weir

Title:   The Martian
Author:   Andy Weir
ISBN-10: 0091956145

ISBN-13: 978-0091956141

ASIN: B00FAXJHCY

Although I’m not much of an engineer and my knowledge of physics and chemistry is by now rusty at best, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a story of survival of the human spirit, creativity and problem solving at its best.

In previous reviews I have commented on how usually we put ourselves in the place of the protagonists of the books we’re reading and wonder what we would do. I can honestly say if I had been in Mark Watney’s place (abandoned alone in Mars), I’d be dead.

Of course he’s an engineer, a botanist and an astronaut, so he’s not your usual Joe. Even by those standards, he seems like an extraordinary human being as he never (or very seldom) gets downtrodden and keeps trying and going, no matter what. Resilience should be his second name.

I cannot comment on how accurate many of the suggestions or situations in the book are (and I’m sure people will have as reference other stories, books and movies), although I know whilst I was reading it, it seemed well constructed, plausible, and to my untrained eye the story felt true.

I found the epistolary (logs) style appropriate and suited to the content (this is not somebody trying to write a novel or a confessional), the book thrilling, and the adventures of this modern day Robinson Crusoe gripping and impossible to put down.

Do we get to know much about Mark? Probably not, other than his steel determination, his sense of humour (somewhat infantile, but hey, whatever helps) and his resourcefulness. There is no much character development, but maybe survival is far too consuming an activity to allow for much of anything else. We know the other characters more through their actions than through deep psychological insights, but this is an adventure book and it focuses on doing.

We can’t help but ask ourselves if in real life the team around him and the whole world would have been so generous. One seriously wonders, but there are wonderful examples of human generosity and we can only hope so.

Having had a quick look at the negative reviews I observed that many people said it read like an instructions manual and it was boring. Although it’s not the most emotionally engaging book I’ve ever read, I didn’t find it slow or boring, just the opposite. But maybe it’s me. And it seems a few other people. I’d recommend it to anybody who finds the premise interesting, but just in case have a look inside and read a sample, as the style does not change much and if you don’t like the beginning you might not get along with the book.

Book Highlights: The sheer amount of detail and technical knowledge.

 Challenges of the book: As above. From reading some reviews people found the science part of it a bit hard to stomach. Also, I got the sense that the main character is somebody writing a log for posterity, but not somebody who wanted to discuss his feelings or philosophical insights, rather an eminently practical person. Also, at some point in the book somebody mentions he coped with situations by using humour. Sometimes he appears too upbeat, but then…when you’re alone you have to get on with it.

 What do you get from it: A story of endurance of the human spirit and determination to hang on to life. And a lot of details about life (or the absence of it) on Mars.

 What I would have changed if anything: I would have liked to know more about the life of the character before he was in the situation he is in, but he does not linger on thoughts about his life or himself much and in such circumstances, maybe keeping busy would be the best defence mechanism. Also, we only get what’s written, not the truly alone and unrecorded moments. Taken at face value the form and the content appear suited to each other.

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: People interested in survival stories, and with a certain background or tolerance for lengthy explanations about technical matters. As I comment in the body of the review I don’t think I’m particularly up-to-date in engineering or technical matters, but I’ve always loved solving puzzles and problems and the whole book is a big puzzle.

 

The Martian (Paperback cover)
The Martian (Paperback cover)

 

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5 (more about technical issues than about life in general)
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $15.48
Kindle:  $5.35

Audio:  $30.99

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com