Friday, August 10, 2012

The Book of Paul - Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!





Details


Title: The Book of Paul
Author:
Richard Long
Publisher:
Open Eyes

Release Date: June 7th, 2012

Available to order here: Amazon  / Barnes & Noble


Synopsis 

 

“Never alive…and never dead…”

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond
all imagining”—an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of
ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the authentic alchemical rituals for transforming thought into
substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When a lusty, East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with a battle-hardened loner, they
are overwhelmed by the intensity of their feelings. Rose and Martin soon discover they are
unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At
the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who
guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Martin and Rose fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny
as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology
converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate
power in the universe—the Maelstrom.

Read the first few sample chapters here >> http://www.thebookofpaul.com/excerpt


About the Author

Richard Long writes to exorcize the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future.

He started life in the school of hard knocks and worked to create his own rags to riches story of
troubled kid turned successful advertising executive.

His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural
horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction.

Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children could read
his books.He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.


Connect with Richard on the following links:
Website: http://www.thebookofpaul.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RichardLongNYC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/RichardLongNYC
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6426921.Richard_Long



An Excerpt 

Monsters


You tell your children not to be afraid. You tell them everything will be
all right. You tell them Mommy and Daddy will always be there. You tell them lies.
Paul looked out the filthy window and watched the little girl playing in the filthier street below.
Hopscotch. He didn’t think kids played hop- scotch anymore. Not in this neighborhood. Hip-
hopscotch, maybe.

“Hhmph! What do you think about that?”

Paul watched the little black girl toss her pebble or cigarette butt or whatever it was to square
number five, then expertly hop, hop, hop her way safely to the square and back. She was dressed in a clean, fresh, red-ging- ham dress with matching red bows in her neatly braided pigtails. She looked so fresh and clean and happy that he wondered what she was doing on this shithole street.

The girl was playing all by herself. Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop. She was completely absorbed in her hopping and scotching and Paul was equally absorbed watching every skip and shuffle. No one walked by and only a single taxi ruffled the otherworldly calm.

Paul leaned closer, his keen ears straining to pick up the faint sound of her shiny leather shoes
scraping against the grimy concrete. He focused even more intently and heard the even fainter
lilt of her soft voice. Was she singing? He pressed his ear against the glass and listened. Sure
enough, she was singing. Paul smiled and closed his eyes and let the sound pour into his ear like
a rich, fragrant wine.

“One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door…”

He listened with his eyes closed. Her soft sweet voice rose higher and higher until…the singing
suddenly stopped. Paul’s eyes snapped open. The girl was gone. He craned his neck quickly to
the left and saw her being pulled roughly down the street. The puller was a large, light-skinned
black man, tugging on her hand/arm every two seconds like he was dragging a dog by its leash.
At first, he guessed that the man was her father, a commodity as rare in this part of town as
a fresh-scrubbed girl playing hop- scotch. Then he wondered if he wasn’t her father after all.
Maybe he was one of those kinds of men, one of those monsters that would take a sweet, pure
thing to a dark, dirty place and…

And do whatever a monster like that wanted to do.

Paul pressed his face against the glass and caught a last fleeting glance of the big brown man and the tiny red-checkered girl. He watched the way he yanked on her arm, how he shook his finger, how he stooped down to slap her face and finally concluded that he was indeed her one and only Daddy dear. Who else would dare to act that way in public?

“Kids!” Paul huffed. “The kids these days!”

He laughed loud enough to rattle the windows. Then his face hard- ened by degrees as he
pictured the yanking daddy and the formally happy girl. Hmmm, maybe he was one of those
prowling monsters after all. Paul shuddered at the thought of what a man like that would do.
He imagined the scene unfolding step by step, grunting as the vision became more and more
precise. “Hhmph!” he snorted after a particularly gruesome imagining. “What kind of a bug
could get inside your brain and make you do a thing like that?”

“Monsters! Monsters!” he shouted, rambling back into the wasteland of his labyrinthine
apartments, twisting and turning through the maze of lightless hallways as if being led by a
seeing-eye dog. He walked and turned and walked some more, comforted as always by the
darkness. Finally, he came to a halt and pushed hard against a wall.

His hidden sanctuary opened like Ali Baba’s cave, glowing with the treasures it contained.
He stepped inside and saw the figure resting (well, not exactly resting) between the flickering
candles. At the sound of his footsteps, the body on the altar twitched frantically. Paul moved
closer, rubbing a smooth fingertip across the wet, trembling skin and raised it to his lips. It tastedlike fear. He gazed down at the man, his eyes moving slowly from his ashen face to the rusty nails holding him so firmly in place.

The warm, dark blood shining on the wooden altar made him think about the red-gingham bunny again.

“Monsters,” he said, more softly this time, wishing he weren’t so busy. As much as he would
enjoy it, there simply wasn’t enough time to clean up this mess, prepare for his guests and track
her down. Well, not her, precisely. Her angry tugging dad. Not that Paul had any trouble killing

little girls, you understand. It just wasn’t his thing. Given a choice, he would much rather kill her
father.

And make her watch.

 

My Review


"The Book of Paul" by Richard Long is, and I have to admit this to begin with, is not the kind of book that I usually pick up. I'm a HUGE fan of thrillers, so the premise was incredibly intriguing to me - and boy am I glad that I decided to give this book a try! You may have seen me describe many a thriller as being "atmospheric" - well, I love using that adjective because the truth is, I really believe the setting and the atmosphere are KEY, especially in a thriller or mystery. "The Book of Paul" is completely brilliant because although the narrative is absolutely engrossing, the book is thoroughly absorbing in it's ability to creep you out with the build-up of its creepy atmosphere and chilling setting. This book defies any genres, because it is the amalgamation of many genres in one - horror, supernatural, paranormal, romance, thriller, and mystery. And the beauty of it is, it does justice to all of the above, it is all of the above, without focusing too much on one or the other.

In addition to the creepy, dark and foreboding nature of this book - it is also a novel of multi-faceted and multi-dimensional characters. Characters like Martin, who is a truly troubled character, but beneath the surface lies a decent human being marred by the inadequacy of his upbringing. And then there's Rose, whose presence seems to have a positive effect on Martin, is herself a damaged woman with a past - but in the short time that they come to know each other, they tend to understand and connect with each other, and soon become important to one another. Then, there is Paul - and I left him for last because I believe him to be the most complex character of all - he is truly a despicable being, a gross and negligent man who has almost no redeeming qualities. But as flawed as he is, it's absolutely riveting to read about his character and his atrocious deeds! 

The timeline of the narrative is quite short, and comprises of only a few days - but we are able to appreciate the past of the characters via Martin's memories, which he has suppressed, and via journal entries made by the narrator. The narrator is the main character of the book, and the story revolves around him, but all the characters are so absolutely essential to the story that it is absolutely impossible to pin-point any important characters. This book is a roller-coaster ride, with a fireworks to boot - it is crazy, it is zany, it is thoroughly enjoyable, and it will puzzle you...until you get to a little past halfway, and then things fall into place. But here's the unique thing about Richard Long's book - even though the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, the premise is still so unique, and so crazy, that one cannot help but be completely hypnotized by it. A part of your brain begins to accept it, and the other part is astonished that such events have come to transpire in the course of the narrative. I really want to go ON and ON about it, but I would not want to give too much away.

Believe me, anyone with an inquisitive mind, and a penchant for the weird or scary would love to read this book. But be prepared, some parts of the book are quite disturbing, and include torture and mutilation - if you are not someone who can handle the gore, this may not be the book for you. However, if you are able to stomach such indelicacies, then this is the kind of book that is sure to baffle you in the best way possible!  Let me forewarn you - this book is a conundrum wrapped in a riddle, it is both puzzling and thoroughly riveting to read. This book will send tingles up your spine as you read, and a feeling of dread will permeate your being as you advance through the story, you will probably check the deadbolts and windows of your home twice, if not thrice, and you might even end up having to sleep with a night-light on....but trust me, whatever the case may be, this book is sure to bamboozle you with its awesomeness - I can't wait for the rest of the books in the series!!!


My Rating : 5/5 Stars

 

 

 

The Giveaway





Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book via the publicist for the author of this book. I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Oxford Messed Up - Love in the time of OCD






Details

Title: Oxford Messed Up
Publication Date: November 11th, 2011
Publisher: Grant Place Press



Synopsis


Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman has come to Oxford University to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of academia pale in comparison to her untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fueled by her overachieving parents and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her next-door neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loomate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving English music student. Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth. Gloria and Henry's relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison's music into a desire to fill the gaps in each other’s lives. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely yet redemptive love.


About the Author


Oxford Messed Up was honored with a 2012 “IPPY” award from the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Best Adult Fiction E-Book, earning a Gold medal for being among the most “heartfelt, unique, outspoken and experimental” entries. It has also been named a Finalist in the E-Book category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

As both an educator and attorney, Andrea Kayne Kaufman has worked closely on issues relating to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Kaufman is currently the chair of the Department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum at the DePaul University College of Education in Chicago. She earned a bachelor's degree from Vassar College, a master's degree in Education from Harvard University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

She lives with her husband and two children in Chicago.




Review


What, sometimes I ask myself, makes a novel great? Is it the characters? The narrative? The dialogue? The setting? I can never come up with a conclusive answer to this, and simply saying "all of the above" seems like such a cop out - so I pacify myself with the only answer that makes the most sense to me, "What makes a novel great, is the way it makes the reader feel." If this is the gauge used to determine the greatness of a novel, "Oxford Messed Up" by Andrea Kayne Kaufman is one of the greatest novels I've ever read. Upon finishing the novel, I was sad to depart with its wonderful characters, maniacally searching for more titles by the same author, and then catatonic for nearly two hours just thinking about it - all after I clutched it to my chest and wailed for 15 minutes straight. No, I'm not crazy... okay, yes, maybe I am. But this novel, and author Andrea Kayne Kaufman, will tell you... crazy can be beautiful. 

Gloria Zimmerman a graduate student and a Rhodes Scholar who, despite being incredibly brilliant, is a perfectionist with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In addition to being an overachiever, and completely friendless, Gloria is in a very dependent relationship with "Oliver" who, like Gloria, is immensely intelligent, but can be quite demeaning and controlling, and is Gloria's mentor in terms of her ritualistic behavior. At the beginning of the novel we find Gloria and Oliver embarking on a journey towards Oxford, where Gloria is going to study. When Gloria arrives, she realizes that she is sharing a "loo" with Henry Young, a particularly untidy ex-junkie, across the way. For Gloria, an obsessive germ-phobe, "cleaning the toilet was a test of her competence and loyalty to Oliver, her god, and the precept of staying in control.” 

From here begins the journey of Gloria and Henry, a mutual journey of self-discovery, set to the background score of Van Morrison songs and poetry. Gloria finds that she is distancing herself from Oliver, and beginning to laugh and lose herself in the devil-may-care attitude of Henry's, while Henry deals with his own issues and demons. They revel in the lyricism of Van Morrison songs, the exploration of Sylvia Plath's poetry, and compare notes on their families - both harangued by dysfunctional families, and parents who have only managed to damage their children more than nourish them. And together, they set out to survive life at Oxford, and make happiness their choice. But it is never quite as simple as that, now, is it? As they discover more about each other, they discover more about their own self, and in doing so, strain an already unlikely bond.

The beauty of Kaufman's "Oxford Messed Up" lies in the multi-dimensional characters that are both rich and real, a narrative that soars in its simplicity and plunges into immense emotional depth at the same time, and prose that is beautifully crafted. What really, and absolutely, blows your mind is the way in which Andrea Kayne Kaufman explores the human spirit so beautifully, approaches the subject of mental health with such sensitivity and such intricacy, and creates her characters with such intimacy that you cannot help but become invested in their relationship, and attached to them This is an absolutely brilliant novel, especially for a debut, and one I believe should become part of our curriculum, at least for students of Psychology - the kind of novel that generations down the road will read, seeking comfort in it's characters. I wanted to kiss the hands that wrote this novel - I still might, if I ever am lucky enough to meet it's author (it's okay, Andrea, I'll bring the hand sanitizer!). As a voracious reader, and an absolute worshiper of literature, I'm constantly searching for books that are life-changing - I assure you, "Oxford Messed Up" is just that kind of novel. I hope you will pick up this book, and I hope that it will leave you with as much joy and elation as it bestowed upon me. And, finally, I leave you with lyrics to a Van Morrison song, one I particularly love, that sums up precisely how I feel about this book...

"I've been searching a long time
For someone exactly like you
I've been traveling all around the world
Waiting for you to come through.
Someone like you makes it all worth while
Someone like you keeps me satisfied. 
Someone exactly like you."


My Rating : 5/5 Stars *****





Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book via LibraryThing Early Reviewers. I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Waiting for Daybreak Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway




Hi guys, I'm a lucky participant in the "Waiting for Daybreak" Blog Tour. Today, I'll be reviewing author Amanda McNeil's wonderful e-novel, "Waiting for Daybreak", which is a dystopian-meets sci-fi-meets zombies-meets romance-meets philosophical introspection, kinda book! Yeah, it's pretty awesome!





Title: Waiting for Daybreak
Publication Date: June 4th, 2012


About the Author


Amanda is an energetic, Masters Degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes scifi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance. She has previously published short stories and a novella.

Make sure to check out her website: Opinions of a Wolf 
and the author's Twitter.

Book Blurb

What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?
 


Review

 
  Let me first confess to a few things - I'm a bit wary of Indie books, and Indie authors! *Gasp* Yes, I hear your collective gasp, and trust me, I am appalled at myself, too - but I assure you it is not because I am a publishing snob of any kind, but because I am wary of if I would like the book or not, if I will find editing discrepancies, etc. You see, I mostly try to avoid putting books I don't care about on my blog - I believe they just don't deserve the time it takes to write up something special, even if it's antagonizing, about them. I cherish my creative license as a blogger and book reviewer to say anything I damn well please about a book - and if I do so, I might be leaving the carcasses of an indie author's dreams in my wake. So yeah, as a general rule, I limit how many indies I take up for reading/review. But when I spoke with author Amanda McNeil, I instantly knew I'd say yes to reading/reviewing and going so far as to be part of her blog tour. Are you wondering why? Because she appeared to be extremely charming, disarming and incredibly sweet - and I realized, this intelligent woman will not hold my opinions against me, even if they may not be in favor of her book. Knowing this, makes me feel at ease, knowing I'm not harangued by limitations.

Since I used the word "confessions" - confession #2: Before 2009, every time I heard the name "Frieda", I thought of Frieda Kahlo. After 2009, every time I hear the name "Frieda", I think of Frieda Pinto. The former was a remarkable woman...the latter makes me nauseous for being heralded as a starlet, when you and I both know she is just a talentless, cardboard bland actress with stunning looks. So, automatically, I have a distrust of characters named Frieda. Now, I know you are thinking, how in the world are either of those two things pertinent to the "REVIEW" for this book (that, or you are seriously wondering if I'm crazy, and that would make the two of us my friend!)? Well, here's how...

I'm blown away!

Simply put, I'm blown away by this indie author, and this indie novel. That entire fear being disappointed by this indie novel was completely unfounded, because this book is wonderful. And this Frieda, well, let me tell you I'd take this Frieda over Ms. Pinto any given day! (But seriously, if this novel is ever optioned for a movie,  and they chose Frieda Pinto to play Frieda...I'd slit my wrists!)

Frieda (not the actress) is a dynamic character, and an immensely interesting one, at that. She has Borderline Personality Disorder which means she dissociates into an angry and violent personality, from time to time, with no recollection of the things she says and does during those lapses. As most such patients with behavioral and mental health issues, Frieda also suffers from bouts of anxiety and depression, and having to deal with these issues often sends Frieda spinning into a world where she inflicts harm and pain upon herself, in order to refrain from facing the actual pain of her disability. Addled by these psychological hurdles, Frieda is constantly trying to asses "What is normal?", in her world. Her quest for the meaning of life, and her existential pondering and musings make her an unlikely, but ultimately quite perfect, heroine of our novel.

The first half of the novel reads like Frieda's journal as she navigates a new world - a drab, destroyed, post-zombie apocalypse world, where society has crumbled, and Frieda and her cat appear to be the lone survivors. As we explore the daily routines of our heroine and her trusted feline companion, the book opens up like a flower and introduces us to the innermost thoughts and emotions of a troubled, yet beautiful, mind. Those who are fans of zombies, and the gore and carnage that this genre usually bequeaths, don't worry, this book does not disappoint - the action is coming, just you wait. But understand, this book is not merely about zombies, and it is not merely about survival - it is about all that, and it is about what it means to be different in the world, and how that changes when the world you knew no longer exists.

The second half of the novel gets more interesting as we are introduced to Mike! Aha, the plot thickens! A post-apocalyptic, awkward romance ensues. Why is this romance awkward? Well, it's difficult navigating the uncharted seas of relationships in "normal" life...can you imagine how this changes in a world where you might be the only people left, with all norms and traditions out the window? Especially given our heroine and her "disease"? Well, in some ways Mike and Frieda connect on a personal basis, what with their struggles with mental illness - but, they are also thrust into a world where they didn't choose each other, but were thrust upon each other, by way of being out of choices. Ahhh... not an auspicious beginning for a romance, right? Well, trust me... you are going to want to read this novel to find out where this unique romance goes.

Finally, the book picks up it's languid pace, and hurtles forward into action and drama, resulting in a climax that is action filled and will keep you at the edge of your seat. And the ending...oh, the ending...well, it is safe to say this ending shall surprise you! This book may have gotten one less star than how many I have given it, because I think there are other aspects of this novel that could be better explored (or perhaps I just want to read MORE from author Amanda McNeil! LOL) - but the reason it gets FIVE STARS, is because I simply loved how well-realized, and well-developed author McNeil's characters were, ESPECIALLY Frieda. Amanda writes about mental illness with sensitivity, and yet never fails to make it interesting. All in all, Amanda McNeil has created quite an interesting world in her novel, "Waiting for Daybreak", and I assure you, you will be reading it all night and through daybreak, scurrying to try find out...what IS normal?


Rating: *****FIVE STARS*****

Giveaway Time!!!



Would YOU like to win a copy of "Waiting for Daybreak" by Amanda McNeil? Thanks to the generosity of the amazing author, now you have a chance to win an e-copy of "Waiting for Daybreak". Make sure to enter for your chance to win an eBook of "Waiting for Daybreak." CLICK HERE and it will take you to my previous post, and giveaway for this amazing novel. - Giveaway ends on July 17th, 2012 (so chop, chop, my friends!). Also, click on the BLOG TOUR BANNER at the very beginning of this post, in order to check out all the different blogs taking part in this blog hop!




Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book for review by the author, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Coming Up For Air" Giveaway

Due to popular demand for this book, and because the author and the publicist were kind enough to offer more copies of this book for a giveaway, I am hosting another giveaway for this title that is SO close to my heart!!!


Synopsis 


Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband, she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life. But everything changes when her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at the funeral, and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death – and he wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face.

As Ellie and Hutch start digging into Lillian’s history, and speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Using both a hidden diary that Ellie found in her mother’s things, and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts…

My Review


"Coming Up for Air" by Patti Callahan Henry is a beautiful story about reconciling your past with your present. Ellie's mother Lillian has passed away, and while Ellie is taking care of, and sorting through, her belongings she comes across her mother's journal locked away from the eyes of the world. This discovery raises many questions for Ellie who, in order to find answers for them, decides to leave her home and husband in Atlanta to travel to Alabama to stay with her mother's best friend, Miss Birdie. In the meantime, Ellie's ex-boyfriend, and her first-love, surprises her by showing up at her mother's funeral - it turns out that he is doing a documentary on ten women and Lillian, Ellie's mother, is one of them.

So together Ellie and Hutch try and uncover the real Lillian, before she was a mother and a wife, who she really was. And in trying to uncover the mysteries of her mother's past, Ellie learns a lot about her own self, her marriage and her life. It is this journey within her own self, and coming to the conclusions that she does, that results in Ellie's "Coming Up For Air".

Patti Callahan Henry is indeed, as the blurb suggests, a tour de force. When I won this novel, and looking at it's cover, I thought it would be a sugary sweet, rot your teeth out sweet, kind of a novel. But I was pleasantly shocked to find out that it is nothing of the sort. Although author Patti Callahan Henry sure knows how to spin a romantic tale, she knows its place in the narrative, and never forces the romance beyond its bounds. Although, I must admit, this author definitely knows how to characterize the dynamics between different relationships. And although the narrative deals with the Civil Rights Movement, ethics and social inequities, it never ends up being preachy or tedious. I also love that this tale is set in the South - anywhere else, and this story may have fallen flat. I love the dialect, the way of life, and the tales/stories that emerge from the South - they have a culture of their own down there, and it is absolutely beautiful to read about.

All in all, "Coming Up For Air" really was like coming up for air for me. My past few reads have been really fast-paced thrillers. This books incorporates some mystery into its narrative and is very well-paced, but it is far more about the characters within the novel, than it is about the mystery to be uncovered. I loved being able to connect with Ellie on various levels, and at times with Lillian as well. This book was a breath of fresh air, and I am really looking forward to more by author Patti Callahan Henry. It's a beautifully written novel, and one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading about family dynamics, family secrets, the Civil Rights Movement, or generally about "the South". Enjoy! :)

My Rating : 5/5 Stars

More Info


But before I go further into the giveaway, I wanted to tell you about a NEAT, NEW and SUPER AWESOME fact about the book - it has an app that was just recently launched that goes hand in hand with the book, "Coming Up For Air" by Patti Callahan Henry. Yes, you read correct...and APP, that co-relates to the book! How COOL is that, right!?!?!? It's a wonderful book, and I wanted to be able to remember which parts influenced the app, so here I am reading it again!

Just a little info on the app: it is called "Wildflowers" by Patti Callahan Henry, and is created by Wildflower Wishes LLC. The app is inspired by a gorgeous garden scene in the book, and was commissioned especially for this Patti Callahan Henry's novel "Coming Up For Air", as it was released on paperback on May 22, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin. Here's a FUN FACT: If you buy a paperback copy of "Coming Up For Air" by Patti Callahan Henry, (click on the book cover below) it features the QR code to the app on the cover of the book!!!!




The FREE app comes with five special wildflower icons, each with a designated meaning (I'm sorry; I love you; Good luck, etc) which can be send to friends or loved ones via email, to fellow Wildflower Wishes users or to Facebook friends, along with a personalized heartfelt message - with ONE click, you could make someone's day. Additional wildflowers (icons) can be purchased for a mere $0.99. You can use it for birthdays, anniversaries, or (my favorite reason), just because! It's FREE, what have you got to lose? Just click on the shot of the app below, and it will take you straight to the app store on iTunes. 



 
 A screenshot of the cover of the main screen or cover of the app - isn't it beautiful?

A screenshot of the actual app - with a wildflower icon. Again, isn't it absolutely ADORABLE? 



Also, here is a list of flowers available to you through the app, and more will be added along the way, for special occasions, and such.

Infinite Love -- Bellflower
I Am Grateful -- Bluebells
Sending Encouragement -- Black Eyed Susan
Thinking of You -- Zinnia
A Mother's Love – Impatiens
Pure Loyal Love -- Daisy
Bond of Love -- Honeysuckle
I am sorry; Please forgive me -- Purple Hyacinth
Don't forget me -- Forget Me Not
I will never forget you -- Everlasting
Sending Protection -- White Heather
Sending Cheer -- Crocus
Sending Courage and Daring -- Edelweiss
Sending Good Luck -- Clover
Sending Perserverance -- Chicory
Farewell -- Sweet Pea
Secret Love -- Acacia
Love at First Sight – Gloxinia


Now, THE GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the immense generosity of the author Patti Callahan Henry, and the Emily LaBeaume of Wunderkind PR - I have 4 copies of "Coming Up For Air" up for grabs. 


That's right...you read that right... FOUR. AWESOME. COPIES!!! Which means FOUR. LUCKY. WINNERS!


Unfortunately, this contest is limited to US readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

~Summer Lovin' Giveaway Hop - INT~


Hosted by I'm A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by Tifferz Book Review

 

Well, well, well....SUMMER is here...and LOVE is in the air!!! Yes, the sweltering heat lights a fire inside of you, and the romance just comes boilin' up....don't deny it...just roll with the love punches! lol :P (Yes, I just said love punches....believe it! bwahahahahaha). This giveaway hop is ALL about celebrating the summer romance....

Okay, I know you have some hoppin' to do...so I'm just going to get down to it. On the blog today, this Enamored Soul is bringing you the work of a really sweet, articulate, kind and amazing author named Amanda McNeil. Why this book? Because Amanda has penned a post-apocalyptic novel that is intertwined with a beautiful love story! Trust me, this book is both a dystopian, horror filled with adrenaline...and a love story that is SURE to inspire you! :D

About the Book

 

What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?


 Links where you can find "Waiting for Daybreak" : Amazon, Author's Blog, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Pinterest

About the Author



Amanda is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic
apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes scifi, horror, urban fantasy, literary
fiction, and paranormal romance. She has previously published short stories and a novella.

 

Make sure to check out her website: Opinions of a Wolf


More Info


I'm part of the Official Blog Tour for "Waiting for Daybreak" , and the Blog Tour starts on July 13th. My post for the blog tour goes up on July 14th, 2012. Because Amanda is such an amazingly sweet person, she offered an eBook to be part of this giveaway hop! So that's what I'm offering you, today! :D Since it is an eBook, this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below...



a Rafflecopter giveaway








Saturday, July 7, 2012

"An American Family" by Peter Lefcourt - Review & Excerpt




AN AMERICAN FAMILY:
A Novel
By Peter Lefcourt
Amazon e-book; May 1, 2012
$3.99; 355 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4675-2353-0

About the Author

 

Peter Lefcourt is a refugee from the trenches of Hollywood, where he has distinguished himself as a writer and producer of film and television. Among his credits are “Cagney and Lacey,” for which he won an Emmy Award; “Monte Carlo,” in which he managed to keep Joan Collins in the same wardrobe for 35 pages; the relentlessly sentimental “Danielle Steel’s Fine Things,” and the underrated and hurried “The Women of Windsor,” the most sordid, and thankfully last, miniseries about the British Royal Family. He is a 30 handicap golfer, drinks too much good wine, and has never been awarded the Nobel Prize for anything. 






About the Book


What did it mean to become American in the mid-20th century? Peter Lefcourt goes beyond assimilation to take a nostalgic and dramatic look at what makes us truly American in AN AMERICAN FAMILY: A Novel (Amazon e-book; $3.99; May 1, 2012). Lefcourt, known for his best-selling comic novels -- The Deal, The Dreyfus Affair, Di & I, Abbreviating Ernie, The Woody, Eleven Karens and The Manhattan Project -- takes a more serious approach here as he revives the settings, styles and sentiments of the 20th century.


Roots, The Godfather, Angela’s Ashes, The Joy Luck Club, My Antonia, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Middlesex are just a few of the great family sagas that have evoked our shared immigrant experience. AN AMERICAN FAMILY is told through the shifting points of view of the five Perl siblings born in the 1940’s, between the two iconic dates of the last fifty years: the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the catastrophe of 9/11. Within this time frame the Perl family is swept up in the sweeping cultural changes of those years: the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, rock and roll, drugs, women’s liberation, and the civil rights movement.

My Review

Before I begin this review, I have to admit it, I have to come clean - I am a pretend, wannabe, counter-culture hipster who tends to be mistrusting of anything that comes out of Hollywood, except summer blockbuster movies (I mean, have you SEEN "The Avengers"!?!?) and the Hemsworth brothers (yum!). So naturally, I was apprehensive about reading this novel, given that I did not know very much about author Peter Lefcourt. So with that being said, I also confess to you...I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong - all my apprehensions were unfounded, and arbitrary, because this book is one of the best books I've read this year!

The story is about the Perls - a family on Long Island, and follow them over a course of three generations. Author Lefcourt's narrative is full of subtly nuanced characters that are fiercely real, and the saga of a family that you will be able to relate to, on multiple levels. The story begins on a historical day, the assassination of President Kennedy, and then takes through the many milestones and historical events that the Perl family witnesses, such as the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and September 11th. The story revolves around the ten main characters - the first of which is Meyer, who has a penchant for theater actresses, and is a tailor by profession. Then there is Nathan, who becomes the male head of the family. Also, we meet a young and misguided lawyer who is constantly running after the ladies and booze named Jackie, with connections in all the wrong places.  My favorite, Elaine, is the one who is living a life of discontent, wanting more than to just be a mother and a teacher. Also, there is Michael, the ambitious one, trying to make a fortune and name for himself. An artist, but struggling to define his talent and his sexuality, there is the young and beautiful character of Stephen. And then, there is Bobbie (Roberta), the rebellious one, a hippie, a free-spirit trying to cram too much, too fast into her life.

What author Lefcourt has done in this novel is that he has highlighted the slow progression and evolution of an American family. We also witness the contrast between generations - from the older generation, with an immigrant mentality, to the next generation struggling to assimilate and define their own place in the American society, down to the new generation, liberal and accepting and breaking free of the bounds of traditions, to step into the society as home-grown Americans. This is a family full of colorful, vibrant and neurotic characters, and I'm sure you will find at least ONE (if not many) characters in this novel who will remind of you a certain uncle, or a cousin, or another. It is the believability of these characters, and the reader accompanying them on the journey through the times, and their growth and evolution that make this novel a true gem. Like good ol' American pie -- this book is delightful, refreshing, sweet and an instant CLASSIC!


An Excerpt


Her parents had spent the first six months of their marriage living with Uncle Meyer above his tailor shop…

Her parents had spent the first six months of their marriage living with Uncle Meyer above his tailor shop on Rivington Street, before they had gotten their own place in Brooklyn, where Elaine had been born. The apartment was on the second floor of a brownstone on Chester Street, in Brownsville.
She could remember mornings on Chester Street, her father getting up early to go to work, the smell of the Wheatina he made for the whole family, even in hot weather. She would lie on the couch pretending to be asleep, because if her father knew she was awake, he’d make her get up. Bed is for sleeping.

Elaine broke off pieces of her sandwich and watched the squirrels fight over the crumbs.
The door to the cafeteria opened, and a girl she knew from her psych class, a Negro named Felicia Evans, exited, tears running down her cheeks.

 Make sure you click on the banner below to check all the other stops on this amazing blog tour! 



http://booktrib.com


Disclaimer:  I received an copy of this book via Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, in conjunction with a BookTrib Blog Tour. I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book. 


http://booktrib.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

~Summer Reads Giveaway Hop~


Hosted by I'm A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by Rex Robot Reviews



Well, Summer is here, and I thought I really need to host a giveaway, and participate in a blog hop - I mean, I love sharing books that I enjoy with others, and I really wanted to be a part of a hop, since I've benefited so greatly from so many of them. Today I'm giving away a book that I absolutely LOVE and ADORE named "Coming Up For Air" by Patti Callahan Henry! Read my REVIEW of THE PERFECT SUMMER READ, with great depictions of lush greenery and nature playing a really important role in the narrative. It is a GREAT novel, and I hope whoever wins enjoys it as much as I did! 

Synopsis 


Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband, she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life. But everything changes when her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at the funeral, and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death – and he wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face.

As Ellie and Hutch start digging into Lillian’s history, and speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Using both a hidden diary that Ellie found in her mother’s things, and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts…


More Info


But before I go further into the giveaway, I wanted to tell you about a NEAT, NEW and SUPER AWESOME fact about the book - it has an app that was just recently launched that goes hand in hand with the book, "Coming Up For Air" by Patti Callahan Henry. Yes, you read correct...and APP, that co-relates to the book! How COOL is that, right!?!?!? It's a wonderful book, and I wanted to be able to remember which parts influenced the app, so here I am reading it again!

Just a little info on the app: it is called "Wildflowers" by Patti Callahan Henry, and is created by Wildflower Wishes LLC. The app is inspired by a gorgeous garden scene in the book, and was commissioned especially for this Patti Callahan Henry's novel "Coming Up For Air", as it was released on paperback on May 22, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin. Here's a FUN FACT: If you buy a paperback copy of "Coming Up For Air" by Patti Callahan Henry, (click on the book cover below) it features the QR code to the app on the cover of the book!!!!




The FREE app comes with five special wildflower icons, each with a designated meaning (I'm sorry; I love you; Good luck, etc) which can be send to friends or loved ones via email, to fellow Wildflower Wishes users or to Facebook friends, along with a personalized heartfelt message - with ONE click, you could make someone's day. Additional wildflowers (icons) can be purchased for a mere $0.99. You can use it for birthdays, anniversaries, or (my favorite reason), just because! It's FREE, what have you got to lose? Just click on the shot of the app below, and it will take you straight to the app store on iTunes. 



 
 A screenshot of the cover of the main screen or cover of the app - isn't it beautiful?

A screenshot of the actual app - with a wildflower icon. Again, isn't it absolutely ADORABLE? 



Also, here is a list of flowers available to you through the app, and more will be added along the way, for special occasions, and such.

Infinite Love -- Bellflower
I Am Grateful -- Bluebells
Sending Encouragement -- Black Eyed Susan
Thinking of You -- Zinnia
A Mother's Love – Impatiens
Pure Loyal Love -- Daisy
Bond of Love -- Honeysuckle
I am sorry; Please forgive me -- Purple Hyacinth
Don't forget me -- Forget Me Not
I will never forget you -- Everlasting
Sending Protection -- White Heather
Sending Cheer -- Crocus
Sending Courage and Daring -- Edelweiss
Sending Good Luck -- Clover
Sending Perserverance -- Chicory
Farewell -- Sweet Pea
Secret Love -- Acacia
Love at First Sight – Gloxinia

Now, THE GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the immense generosity of the author Patti Callahan Henry, and the Emily LaBeaume of Wunderkind PR - I have a copy of "Coming Up For Air" up for grabs. 



Unfortunately, this contest is limited to US readers. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and then check out the other blogs on the giveaway hop!




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