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Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Tour: Elegantly Wasted by C. Elizabeth Vescio Review and Interview and Giveaway!!!

ELEGANTLY WASTED by C. Elizabeth Vescio

On the eve of her high school graduation, proper socialite Francesca “Frankie” Fairholm rebelled against her elitist and controlling family to pursue the dark lifestyle of a contract killer for the enigmatic Osiris Corporation. Years later, with her training complete, she believes she's doomed to the life of a sociopathic lone gun until a botched hit brings two unlikely allies, her cousins Addison and Katharine.

Using Katharine’s etiquette school, Elegance, Inc., as a front, the trio weave through Frankie’s dark underworld, carrying out contracts, drinking too much wine, and trying not to get each other killed.

Trouble follows the team home when the death of the cruel Fairholm matriarch reveals more than they ever wanted to know about their family. As the funeral preparations play out, the trio begin to realize there is much more to their employer than meets the eye and their family connections run deeper than they ever imagined.

Elegantly Wasted: Amazon | Nook | Series Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Interview with Elizabeth Vescio

1.      What made you want to be a writer?
Carrie Fisher, Calvin and Hobbes and my mother. The reason I credit Carrie Fisher is a long story, but it can be summed up with me reading Postcards from the Edge when I was fifteen. Calvin and Hobbes- Bill Watterson is a personal inspiration to me and of course, my mother raised me to love books and writing.

2.      What inspired Elegantly Wasted?
I had been thinking of writing something based on my family for a few years… after a few ideas, nothing was working. So I thought I might add guns. Then, one night I’m having a discussion with my cousin on her second bottle of wine and it hit me… Women, Wine and Weapons. It became far from the truth and one hell of a ride.

3.      Which character was the hardest to write?
I always thought the guy characters would be more of a challenge, but it ended up being one of the other hit women- Gretchen. I had this grandiose idea for her and it kept falling flat. Her voice came out similar to my MC no matter what kind of back stories I dug up. I had to really focus on her. I ended up writing a story in her perspective that helped shape her.

4.      Is there one writing tip that you live by? One that helped you complete your novel and pushed you forward?
I go by the wisdom bestowed by Captain Jason Nesmith: Never give up, never surrender. It’s the truth. There are so many times where you’ll just sit and think “why am I doing this?” Because you love it. Having moments of weakness is far better than giving up.

5.      What book have you most recently read that blew you away?

A sad fact about me is that lately I’ve had almost zero time to read. I’m looking forward to my schedule clearing up so I can tackle this insanely long book list that my social media assistant keeps updating every week! The last book I read that I just loved was “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess). It’s going to be my go-to read when I need a laugh.


*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

I wasn't sure how I would react to this book at first...rich girl turn contract killer. I wasn't sure how relatable the characters would be. Once I started reading this book though, all my concerns flew right out the window. This book kept me wanting more and drew me in quicker than I would have expected. 

I liked all the flashbacks, which happen more in the first half of the book. This book reads like a friend is telling you their crazy life story. Some parts are funny, with the characters playing off each other well. I liked this approach to a novel and it helped me relate to these characters I might not have otherwise. 

You can't go wrong with this book. It's intense, yet witty, which a bit of crazy thrown in as well. Each character is unique and brings their own spice to the novel. When characters are that well developed, it makes the story all the more worth reading. 

ABOUT C. ELIZABETH VESCIO

Author C. Elizabeth Vescio likes to play in the dark world of cynicism and death. Her first novel, Elegantly Wasted touched on the demented and humorous side of a delightfully dysfunctional family.

She enjoys cynical debates, cupcakes, making her mother-in-law sew her aprons that she never wears, zombies, the Fifth Element and Tomb Raider. She gathers her life inspirations from Neil Gaiman, Julia Child and Paul Simon. When she isn't out photographing her next project, she's studying color, concept and design or writing stuff down in hopes it makes sense one day... or she's on Pinterest. 

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and three dogs.



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TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, February 10th - Wine, Books & Fringe
Wednesday, February 12th - 
The Best Books Ever
Friday, February 14th - 
Midwest Galley Girl
Monday, February 17th - Cloey's Book Reviews
Wednesday, February 19th - 
Mythical Books
Friday, February 21st - 
Crystal in Bookland
Monday, February 24th - Paper Charade

Wednesday, February 26th - We're Jumpin' Books
Friday, February 28th -
Aspiring Joy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Feature: A Tricky Game by Seraphima Bogomolova

A Tricky Game, by Seraphima Bogomolova, is a mystery psychological thriller, published by Souliris UK Ltd, released on July 15, 2013.

A Tricky Game is a psychological novella telling the story of a young enigmatic woman, who finds herself involved in an edgy game of three men, whose genuine intents, second agendas, and secret longings become closely intertwined with her own destiny, creating unexpected twists that place her in front of challenging life choices.

In Moscow, Russia, an aluminium magnate, Kazimir Stankevitch, enters into an unwritten agreement with a seductively attractive young woman, Angela Moreaux, whom he secretly desires. Later that night, as she returns home from a nightclub, a shot is fired at her. While in the hospital she receives a visit from a silent masked incognito, whose true intentions she is yet to discover. At the same time, her unsuspecting associate meets in the Ritz with an elderly Swiss gentleman who delivers to him a mysterious letter. As the stakes in the game go higher, the young woman is confronted with life choices that will challenge her in unexpected ways.

A Tricky Game is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Tricky-Game-ebook/dp/B00DYYSD8U

Seraphima Bogomolova was born and raised in St Petersburg, Russia. She is the Editor of Avantoure.com. A Tricky Game is Seraphima’s debut novella. Currently, she is working on her second novella. For more information, visit http://atrickygame.com/


Excerpt:

Through the crowd of clubbers and dancing strippers, she walks toward him. Approaching, she stops, her eyes fastened on his profile. Instantaneously sensing her presence, the man turns round. Her hand extended to him, he grabs it and, parting his lips, impresses them on it, leaving a flaming trail on her skin. She pulls it away. He looks up.

"Are you playing with me?”

“I think you enjoy being played with."

"It depends."

"On what?"

"On the game."

She sits down. His eyes on her mouth, he watches her light up a cigarillo, her lips encircled around its chocolate tip. She draws on it, releasing a blow of smoke. Motioning at a waitress, he orders a bottle of Krug. Champagne's poured into their glasses, he raises his glass.

"To our agreement."

"As you wish."

"Do you think it really matters what I wish?"

"It depends."

"On what?"

"On your wish."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking Forward....

I haven't been able to post as much as I'd like this year so far. Granted, we are just two months in, but even though I'm back to taking classes part time, I'm working and one of those classes is Spanish! Need I say more?

I love doing reviews for authors, but my last requested review will be at the end of March. After that I plan to continue to do reviews, just ones I pick myself. I've been collecting a lot of old sci-fi books and I'd like to dig into them. So while the posts might not be as consistent as they were a few months ago, this aspiring author isn't going anywhere! Thanks everyone for reading my posts and supporting the authors I review!!

Also my husband and I are going on vacation next month. We are planning on moving later this year and want to check out the area first. More to come on that though!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Book Review of Children of Earth by Lorinda Donovan

In 2006, NASA launched the New Horizons probe to give the people of Earth their first good look at the dwarf planet Pluto, and then to study what lies beyond it in the outer reaches of the solar system. CHILDREN OF EARTH tells the harrowing story of what it discovers in 2015 -- the answer to the ages-old question, “Are we alone?”

The answer is no. We never have been. The discovery of an ancient race hidden in plain sight sets in motion a global initiative never before attempted. But if Earth is to survive, the plan must succeed -- and only a small team of brave men, women and revolutionary artificial intelligence stand between the human race and its potential destruction.

CHILDREN OF EARTH is equal parts sci-fi action-adventure, a love letter to the bygone days of America’s manned space program and a story about people from all walks of life, how their individuality defines humanity as an important race -- one worthy of saving and worthy of, if not quite prepared for, the next stage of evolution.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

This book has space and aliens. Need I say more? This book was amazing, just down right amazing. I love a good sci-fi book and this book delivered for sure! 

The writing is top notch. The characters are well written and relatable. At first I wasn't sure how much I would be able to relate to them since they were mostly scientists but that didn't really matter. Lorinda did a great job writing them and giving them each their own voice. 

The concepts in this book are really interesting and I could see things playing out in real life should aliens come in the manner they did in the book. You will have trouble putting this book down. I gladly look forward to reading more from Lorinda Donovan!! The way she writes makes me feel like I've made a friend, like a friend is telling me this awesome story. Totally worth checking out everyone!!

Goodreads    /   Amazon 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest Post from Lorinda Donovan author of Children of Earth

I must confess before I begin that this is my first time guest posting on a blog. I realize what a big deal guest posting is, so let me say thanks to Joy for the opportunity. Hopefully I won’t bore you to death or embarrass you.

I’ve been telling stories in one form or another almost all my life – but only in the last ten years or so has it become my career. Of course, I still shrink a bit when I say ‘career,’ as the word sort-of implies that I get paid for my work, which hasn’t happened yet – at least not in any amount that wouldn’t make a tax preparer bust out laughing after seeing my 1099’s.  But I have been told that I’m a good writer, by quite a few people who have nothing to gain by saying so. I think the coolest compliment I’ve ever gotten came from a producer who told me that I ‘write like a man.’ A lot of female writers would take offense at that, but I knew exactly what she meant – and if you’re a writer (or a steady reader), you probably know what she meant, too. So I think I might actually be fairly qualified to give out some free advice to any fellow writers who read this blog. 

My biggest pet peeve when reading a novel (or especially a script) – besides sloppy proofreading jobs – is bad dialogue. Reading it is like running on an open beach on a beautiful, sunny day, totally in the zone – and then suddenly tripping and busting your ass. To me, nothing ruins a story faster.

So how can you write better dialogue? Well, the first trick is an obvious one, and key to just becoming a better writer, period: read a lot. And not just the classics, but mediocre books and bad ones, too. Once you’ve read enough of all kinds, you’ll be able to recognize why the good stuff works and the bad stuff doesn’t. 
Another trick is to listen carefully to how other people talk – and how you yourself talk. So much of what makes good dialogue work so well is how it sounds, even though you’re reading it. There’s a natural feel to good dialogue, a smoothness – which is not to be confused with (what I can only describe as) über-cool dialogue. To me, the epitome of über-cool dialogue is a lot of what Quentin Tarantino writes – stuff that sounds awesome, but that you would never actually say to anybody in real life. I mean, really – if you were Beatrix Kiddo in ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2,’ would you have sat through Bill’s entire spiel about superhero origin stories? Don’t get me wrong, it was cool – but you could’ve dispatched the dude and been halfway across the state in the same amount of time. That’s not what I mean when I think of ‘good.’ 

Just plain old, good dialogue should get the necessary information across, but sound like a conversation you’d have with your best friend – and to me, that includes using things that other writers (and teachers of writing) would say are incorrect. In real life, people don’t always express themselves in properly-constructed sentences. They start sentences with conjunctions. They pause mid-thought. There are conversational lulls. They say ‘uh,’ ‘um,’ ‘like’ and ‘really.’ I say don’t be afraid to put them in there. Don’t be afraid of using phonetic spelling if your character has an accent – don’t be afraid to try anything you think will make your dialogue sound better. Just don’t overdo it. 

It might sound as if I’m against the long-established rules of proper writing, but I’m not – not at all. Every writer should have a copy of ‘The Elements of Style’ and do their utmost to abide by it – but every writer is also a bit of a rebel, and should also know that sometimes breaking the rules is better for the story. And whatever is better for the story is what the writer needs to do.

About the Author:
I'm a Philly girl, born & raised. Yo! I've always loved to tell stories, been doing it since I was a kid. But I loved being a visual artist as well -- so I went to college thinking I was going to become a graphic designer, and ended up a film major. Met my husband there and we got married after graduation. Then we packed up and hauled ourselves Beverly Hillbillies-style out to Hell-A, and spent the next 10 years working in Hollyweird.

We had a pretty good run out there...I was an assistant editor during the last hurrah of film and the beginning of digital, and my husband worked the last hurrah of hand-drawn feature/TV animation. But the change to all things digital and CG hit animation especially hard, and around '01 he found himself in the midst of massive layoffs due to outsourcing. So we re-evaluated our priorities and decided to pack it in. After 9/11 my husband joined the US Border Patrol and we moved to Arizona. Stayed there for 5 years and absolutely hated it...the only good thing was having our daughter in '04. Then finally, my husband was able to transfer out and we took off to the great white north of North Dakota, where we currently reside. It's a beauty way to go...yah, you betcha.

I now find myself in my 40's, going back to storytelling in the hopes of making a new career out of it. Here's hoping it works out

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review of A Life of Death by Weston Kincade

Alex Drummond is a troubled high school senior with a checkered past, a broken home, and a surprising ability. When he touches items that murder victims held in their final moments, Alex relives the events in gruesome detail, seeing what they saw, thinking their thoughts, and even feeling what they felt. But who will believe a troubled teen, especially when the murders are so close to home and might reveal skeletons hidden for hundreds of years? Join Alex as he struggles to find his destiny, understand love, solve the mysterious murders within his small home town, and speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

First off this book is very well written. The pain Alex goes through is evident and as a reader you can't help but feel for him. I would venture to say this book is complex, in that you have Alex's home life as well as this ability he has to see past murders, mixing all around this troubled kid.

This book touches on many topics that are not talked about enough. Abuse and how our system can't always help every kid. It's frustrating and you want to just jump through the book and help Alex! Any author who can make  you have those feelings is doing the right thing. I'm glad I read this book, though at times it was painful to read. I am glad I was given the chance to read this book! Check it out for yourself.

Goodreads  /  Amazon

Author's Websites:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog Tour for The Outmate by Victoria L. Trenton

Live life out loud.

Chrissie Laursen doesn't date models. Having barely survived her battle with alcoholism and just out of a ten-year marriage that lasted nine years too long, she's laser focused on her thriving Miami Beach business: promoting erotic photographers in local galleries. She has no time for the ego driven pretty boys that proliferate in that business. For so long she's wondered if life and love would ever truly touch her that she decides to go it alone. Then she sees the glacial blue eyes and rugged, animal intensity of Nick Jessup, and her resolve begins to fracture.

Irresistibly drawn to him, she begins a relationship with Nick and soon becomes obsessed with his dominant, controlling personality. Even his dangerous past doesn't scare her. But before their charged sexual energy culminates in passion, the peril of Nick's past explodes into the present and he is sentenced to thirty-five years in prison for a horrific crime. Faced with the reality that her life can either return to the empty normalcy she's always known or continue through the terrifying and exhilarating doorway that Nick's arrival has opened...she makes a decision to do something that will never allow her to go back to the fragile life she's just rebuilt.

A wild, erotic, and powerful journey of self-discovery, The Outmate shimmers with the intensity of what it means to be human-and the clarity that comes with finding your truth before it's too late.



*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

Wow! This book was a thrill ride! To be honest I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I began reading this book, which in a way helped me identify with Chrissie. She was a great character to follow and I loved how the book explored her fears and hopes. I didn't always like her actions, and I couldn't understand liking someone hurting you physically, but I think everyone understands love and the power it can hold over a person.

I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey but I would think this book would fall in a similar category as far as the sex in the book goes. This book was very hard to put down and I stayed up well past when I should have gone to sleep in order to find out what happened next.

Even though this book isn't a typical book I would read, I loved it and enjoyed it thoroughly. I loved going on the thrill ride this book produced. The pacing was great, it was very well written and the character development was top notch. I would not hesitate to read another book by Trenton.

Great book to read to spice up your cold February and Valentines day!!

Author Links below:





Friday, February 7, 2014

Book Highlight: Believe by S. F. Malik

"They are the most brutal Empire we have known for generations. 
I am a seventeen year old slave boy, who must endure a life of servitude and sacrifice to keep my family alive. 
They took away my mother, my sister, my friends, everything I have cared for including my love. 
I inadvertently struck out and my actions started a chain reaction which led to war and a full scale rebellion. 
They have sent two armies to crush our resistance. 
I have an army of 300 maltreated slave children. 
They have an army of 5000 battle hardened men. 
I have hijacked an armoured State train. 
They have a limitless arsenal of the most sophisticated weapons on the face of the earth. 
I have promised my army of slave children to get them to freedom or die trying. 
They have vowed to kill every single slave child and have promised to handsomely reward the one who brings my head. 
I have made a pledge to my younger sister and will cheat death as many times as it takes to fulfil it. 
They are planning victory celebrations as a foregone conclusion, and have ordered ingeniously gruesome deaths for my soldiers and our families. 
What they don’t know is…we have a stolen nuclear warhead in our possession and we intend to deliver it to the Emperor’s doorstep." 

Goodreads

Review to come March 24th!!


“My hate strengthens my resolve, and helps me remember exactly who I am… a believer. And I would spurn this limitless wealth built upon the blood of my people. I would rather die penniless in the arms of my Joseph, than live as a queen haunted by guilt and shame.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Author Interview with Guy Donovan, author of The Forgotten Princess of Mona

1. This book must of taken a long time to piece together! How much research went into it?
Lots!  Once I settled on North Wales for the location, I really delved into the geography and history of the area and its people.  I knew I wanted it to be set only a few years after the Roman withdrawal from Britannia in order to take advantage of the general lack of solid facts concerning specific rulers and kingdoms in that time period.  Doing so provided me the most wiggle room in terms of recreating that time to suit my purposes.  There is really quite a bit of information available historically speaking but much of it is contradictory, allowing me to pick and choose which source (or rather sources, since I mixed and matched a good bit!) to follow.
As a result of that research, all the locations in the book are real ones.  The Welsh island of Anglesey is still referred to by the Welsh as Ynys Mon and Roman maps of the period refer to it as 'Mona.'  There was once a Roman fort on the smaller island of Ynys Gybi that served as a watchpost to provide security for their copper mining facilities on the larger island of Ynys Mon.  The Roman wall around the fort is still there, including the remains of the northeast tower in which I put Domelch near the end of the book, and the foundation of the fort now has a church on top of it.  That fort, somewhat larger in my telling than in actuality, became my royal manor of Caergybi.  Amlwch and its copper mines at Mynedd Parys (Parys Mountain), as well as Owena's hometown of Pen-y-Sarn are similarly real locations as well.  As for the larger issues of High King Vortigern of Britannia, he too is a historical figure and often referenced as a precursor to Uther Pendragon of King Arthur fame.  Much of that becomes a larger issue in books two and three of my larger trilogy.

2. How does your writing process work? Do you make an outline and go chapter by chapter? 
I don't really use a general outline but early on, I wrote pages and pages of notes detailing characters, their relationships, and sometimes backstories for each of them as well as historical notes that I wanted to connect the story to.  But I also wanted to let the story tell itself to some extent, as I feel that that's often where the real act of creation comes into play.  What I did with this book, and the rest of the trilogy as well, was to come up with an arc that I wanted my protagonist to follow.  I knew where Cerys was starting...I knew about the middle of the overall story...and I absolutely knew the ending (for her, at least, if not all the other characters).  I then set about writing and discovering other ideas and even whole characters as I went.  My pre-established arc sometimes turned into a convoluted spaghetti plate of plots and subplots wrapped up in multiple agendas of multiple characters but I kept in mind (or at least tried to) that it all had to center, eventually even if not immediately, on Cerys and her life's story.

3. Where did you get the idea for this story?
Probably about six years ago, my wife wrote a spec script for a Barbie direct-to-video feature entitled 'The Dragon's Treasure,' hoping that a friend of ours at Mattel might be able to get it picked up.  Well, that didn't happen.  Years later, while wallowing in a severe case of the creative doldrums due to my mindlessly uncreative job (which will remain anonymous for the present), she recommended I try taking the concept and "adulting it up."  I resisted at first.  It was her idea, after all...not mine.  Finally though, I thought more about it and how a simple story such as that one could be adapted as if happening in real-world locations (hers centered on a young girl named Isabel and was set in a mythological sort of France-ish kingdom) set during a real period of history in which a dragon could be believed.  The first thought that came to mind was that the Welsh flag is of a red dragon set against a field of green and white.  TA-DAH!  Her 90 page original eventually became my trilogy that is now (including books two and three, of course) totalling upwards of 1,500+ pages.

4. When should we expect book two?
Book two is currently going by the title of 'A Cold, White Home' and is in its second draft as we speak, or rather 'write.'  I am hoping to be ready to self-publish it by sometime this summer, hopefully no later than August of 2014.  I am also currently a little more than halfway through draft one of book three and hope to have that completed by April of this year at the latest so I can tie the editorial of books two and three together and keep everything that happens in total agreement.  With luck, I plan to release book three the following spring or summer of 2015.

About the Author:

Guy Donovan was born in Georgia in 1966, the son of an Air Force officer and a stay-at-home mother.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantryman, he attended college in Philadelphia, PA where he met his wife.  Today, they are the proud parents of a 9-year-old daughter who graciously allowed herself to be photographed as the royal backside of Princess Cerys for Guy’s novel, ‘The Forgotten Princess of Môna.’

Guy holds a BFA in animation and has worked on both television and feature films for Marvel Films, Hanna-Barbera, DiC, Saban Entertainment, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, and Warner Bros Feature Animation.  Like any good animator, Guy preceded his career with a variety of other jobs, including: machine cleaner at a machine shop, dish washer, grocery bagger/shelf stocker, security guard, and even as a dynamite loader at virtually every rock quarry in New England.  

Guy is currently employed by the U.S. Government in North Dakota and hopes very much that his trilogy ‘The Dragon’s Treasure’, of which ‘The Forgotten Princess of 
Môna’ is book one, changes that. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review of The Forgotten Princess of Mona by Guy Donovan

Eleven-year-old Cerys is no normal little girl. The orphaned daughter of a fifth century Welsh king and queen, her only friends in the island kingdom of Môna are her old Pictish caregiver and a young chambermaid. The new queen wants nothing to do with her-- instead doting on her own son, who will one day rule Môna in place of Cerys. The people of Môna, royal and commoner alike, barely remember she even exists.

It’s hard being a young princess without a kingdom or even a mother and a father. It’s even harder for Cerys because in addition to her other troubles, she was born mentally impaired. She lives her life in a perpetual fog of loss and regret, wishing more than anything to be like everyone else…to be normal.

Then one day Cerys meets a new friend, one whose thoughts are as clear to her as speech, and she finds her own previously muddled thoughts growing clearer. It seems like a miracle to Cerys and the small circle of people who care for her. Now that her thoughts are clearer though, she knows she can’t ever tell anyone how she came by her incredible cure. In fact, she knows that if anyone found out her friend’s identity, it would surely lead to death for both of them. Like Cerys, her new friend is different from everyone else in the world.

“The Forgotten Princess of Môna” is the first book in “The Dragon’s Treasure” trilogy.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review*

There were a lot of concepts in this book that I enjoyed. The characters especially. I loved the fact that Cery's was a special needs child. Having worked with special needs for many years I was able to relate to her caregivers and to Cery's. 

The story has a fairy tale like feel to it though it reads as a normal novel. I will admit though, the story moves fairly slow, but at a consistent pace. If the story moved a little faster I feel I probably would have enjoyed it more. Not to say I didn't enjoy it at all though! This book was right up my alley and I love stories like this one.

You can tell a lot of research went into this novel, not just by the names, but by the traditions the community has, the setting and the characters themselves. The clashing religions I found very interesting as well. This detail in the novel helps the reader transport themselves and understand the characters on a deeper level. 

Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy novels. 

Goodreads   /  Amazon