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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Marie Lavender's Writing in the Modern Age: Writing to Tickle the Funny Bone by Lois W. Stern

Marie Lavender's Writing in the Modern Age: Writing to Tickle the Funny Bone by Lois W. Stern: WRITING TO TICKLE THE FUNNY BONE by Lois W. Stern On the fourth year of my Tales2Inspire "Authors Helping A...

----- The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Joys of Reading: Book Tours, Prizes, Trilogies

Today we are being visited by a virtual blog tour celebrating the completion of author Mary E. Martin's second series, The Trilogy of Remembrance. We would like to welcome followers of the tour joining us from  Book Pleasures,  http://www.bookpleasures.com and from other sites on the tour.  Learn more about the tour and its associated contest by scrolling down.



Title: Night Crossing 
Author: Mary E. Martin 
Series: The Trilogy of Remembrance 
Publisher: iUniverse (June 20, 2014) 
ISBN-10: 1491737158 
ISBN-13: 978-1491737156 
Reviewed by: Vonnie Faroqui of Ink Slinger's Whimsey
Rating: 5/5 Star
Link To Purchase: http://amzn.to/1KB6JtE

Savoring Night Crossing

When you drink wine, do you gulp it down; racing to the bottom of your glass? Do you savor it; holding it in your mouth; flicking it with your tongue; allowing yourself the pleasures of experiencing its texture, the changing flavors as it rolls over your taste buds, splashing against your palate. Night Crossing is a story that, like pleasing wine, deserves to be savored.   

Alexander Wainwright is at a personal and professional crossroads. His reputation and skill as a painter are being challenged to expand and grow. The creative mile stones of his past have brought him to a turning point. In order to expand creatively he is being pressed to create something new, to broaden his understanding of life and how much of it he is willing to experience. A vision guides his next adventure. A vision of the cosmic egg floating before him. Life places a mystery in his path, and guides along the way. Alexander must discover for himself answers to questions about his capacity to create as an artist and his ability to love another. Can he give himself to love and remain true to his art? What about his vision? Where did it come from and how could his vision be found in the work of an artist completely unknown to him? As he is drawn into the mystery surrounding his vision and a painting found and brought to him by his agent, Alex is led to journey to Paris, taking the ferry, a night crossing. When the ferry meets with disaster, Alex is forced to choose between saving the life of an older passenger, with whom he has made a deep creative connection, and a young mother with infant child. How does one choose which soul to save, which life holds more value? Life often chooses for us and in so doing life pushes Alex further down the road toward discovery and the edge of sanity. The mystery of his vision deepens and carries him from Paris to St. Petersburg, where he meets the artist who shared in a vision of the cosmic egg.

The Trilogy of Remembrance comes to an inspired and satisfying conclusion in, Night Crossing. Alexander Wainwright's heroic journey takes him into a swirling dream like progression of thought, darkness, light, and dancing rhythms which open windows to the heart and soul of creative experience. He is the student and the observer of life. He journeys, inspired and driven by compulsions and forces he does not understand, meeting guides and antagonists along the way. Each in turn adds to the mysterious patterns being woven around him. Their destinies entwined.  His muse Daphne, faithful narrator Jamie, and friends both new and old will enter your heart and find their way to places that resonate. A new story unfolds, new mysteries are explored as Alex frees his unique inner light and searches for the place love holds in his art and in his life. These characters breathe. They hurt and love, like we hurt and love. Their stories, choices, and struggles give us pause because they are stories we recognize as versions of our own. I love Mary’s writing, which is eloquent and full of human insight. In Night Crossing, as in the previous books of the trilogy, she reveals surprising depths of interest and perception –both spiritual and aesthetic, into the visual, musical and performance arts. Through her story telling she has the reader pondering many ideas, concepts and truths relating to creativity, spirituality, and life. Her writing illuminates much and yet leaves room for further exploration. I find her work entrancing and provocative, without being pushy. I will miss Alexander and find myself wondering how she might work him into another novel or series now that his trilogy is complete. Do I recommend Night Crossing? Oh yes, yes indeed, I do. 

Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing

 
​MORE ABOUT THE TOUR
Followers of the tour have an opportunity to enter in a $200 Amazon gift card giveaway, sponsored by the author, as well as to receive a purchase incentive package donated by the tour sponsors. Entries in Mary's $200 Amazon gift card giveaway will be accepted until midnight on August 31, 2015 with an announcement of the winner posted from Mary's Blog on September 1, 2015. Anyone submitting a proof of purchase entry in the giveaway draw will receive as an added benefit the tour purchase incentive rewards package of free e-books and discount coupons donated by tour hosts. For a full tour schedule of events, as well as details on how to enter the lottery drawing for the gift card and receive the purchase incentive rewards package, visit Mary E. Martin at  http://maryemartintrilogies.com/virtual-tour/

We encourage our followers to join the tour further by visiting The Avid Reviewer,  http://avidreviewer.com/ for a review from Mary's first series, Final Paradox: Book Two in the Osgoode Trilogy.  





----- The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Uncomfortably Close Look at the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic



THE BITTER TASTE OF DYING
A memoir
by Jason Smith
ISBN-10: 0996402012
ISBN-13: 978-0996402019
Available on Amazon
Available at iBooks

Reviewed by Christa Wojciechowski originally on MySweetDelirium.com

Just a few years ago, Jason Smith was lying in his bathtub, the blood slowly draining from his slit wrists. Now he is here to tell us how he reached the point of suicide after his long, dark descent into prescription opiate abuse. The Bitter Taste Dying is a story of resurrection told by an author who has literally come back from the black grip of death.

Today’s junkies are not just on the street corner anymore. Big Pharma are the suppliers, and doctors are the pushers, cultivating (perhaps inadvertently, but that’s debatable) a massive population of addicts from all demographics.

After a severe car accident, Smith has back surgery and is given a perpetual menu of painkillers and muscle relaxers by his physicians. It doesn’t take long for the high schooler to realize that by taking more than the recommended dosage, he could obtain the warm, euphoric mental and physical comfort only opiates can bring. But all too soon he also discovers the pangs of withdrawal whenever his medication runs out.

If anyone has difficulty understanding what an addict feels like, Smith describes it with painful accuracy.

“You know that feeling of having your head held under water, the last of your oxygen depleted, where very fiber of your being screams at you to get to the surface for more air? That’s the feeling of needing more drugs…”

As Smith grows into a man, his addiction grows to mammoth proportions and he must go through heroic efforts to keep himself in pills and Fentanyl patches. Smith tells the story in an approachable, conversational tone that may have you laughing out loud at some parts. As horrendous as it is watching how far he would go and how morally low he would sink to get more drugs, it’s difficult not to marvel at his ingenuity and boldness.

At the same time, Smith writes with tender honesty and cutting unabashedness that is rare in any writer, much less any human being. The reader immediately feels very close to him, making his shocking confessions feel like blows.

The Bitter Taste of Dying is an important book that underscores the urgency with which society has to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic. It allows us to watch with uncomfortable closeness how easy it is to develop an addiction to pain medication and how quickly and mercilessly it can devour one’s entire life.

From aspiring football star to international criminal, Smith shows us step by step how opiate addiction can happen to anyone you know, and very likely destroy them. Most importantly, The Bitter Taste of Dying reveals the light at the end of the tunnel–even the most hopeless addict can make it out alive.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Smith is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, whose work has been published extensively in both online and print media. Jason Smith is also the Creative Director of TheRealEdition.com, a recently launched website that allows addicts, recovering addicts, and their loved ones to publish their stories of addiction. Jason currently lives in northern California with his wife Megan and two children, Jaden and Isabella.

The Bitter Taste of Dying was released July 6th, 2015 by Thought Catalog and available in KindleiBooks, and his website http://authorjasonsmith.com.

Jason Smith is available for interviews, contributions, and appearances. To schedule a media event, order books, or request review copies, please contact christawojo at gmail.com.


ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Christa Wojciechowski is an author and freelance internet marketer living in Panama. You can visit her blog at christawojo.com and follow her on Twitter at @christawojo.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Second Book in Luana Ehrlich Series Maintains the Thrills

Title:  Two Days in Caracas
Series: A Titus Ray Thriller
Author:  Luana Ehrlich
Genre: Christian thriller
ISBN: 1511628650
ASIN: B00ZPQYHIK


Originally reviewed by Ron English for Amazon


It has been said that a new author often will produce a good book on her first time out, but then struggle to produce a second. That has not been your case Luana Ehrlich. Two Days in
Caracas beautifully dovetails into the wake of your first book, One Night in Tehran. I somewhat expected your new work might have toned down the action of Titus Ray, or at the least just drift into his next adventure. No. That was not the case. 

Two Days in Caracas delivers new thrills, more depth into the mind and life of your growing character, Titus Ray, while promising more intrigue from future stories. You delivered such skill in drawing me into Titus Ray’s background of family and old hurts and then wove into his heart a new, growing affection for the police detective, Nikki Saxon. Where one might expect a passionate display of fast moving sex and love you handle this relationship with the kind of drama I recall from the old westerns where the cowboy has grace and reluctance and then rides off into the sunset leaving the reader wanting more. This book has it all. Danger—plenty of that, travel to foreign lands--for sure; characters that are so believable you might sense you know these folks. You surely develop an interest in turning the page to see what will happen next. Since I live in Norman, Oklahoma, I kept hoping that Titus Ray would return and let me glimpse more of his new life in our familiar surroundings. You did not disappoint. I marvel at the way you let Titus Ray grow into his new faith. You have not forced any religion onto these pages, but let this part of his life make a gentle impression on the reader as it does so in his expanding experience. His learning to pray is so new to him it reminds one of a child growing in grace and knowledge. His faith, while strange to him, is such a natural part of who he is and who he is becoming. His love for Nikki is refreshingly tender with just the right amount of desire and fear one might expect from a decent man living a dangerous life and chasing bad guys. And chase them he does. Not a curse word in the book and yet nothing is taken away from this adult story of action, love, assassins, kidnapping and murder. Great book. You have introduced me to a new kind of fiction where I can believe this story is a true life adventure of a man, his work, his love, his dog making me care for them all. Now I must wait for your provoking promise of Titus ray’s next adventure in Washington. Hurry, please.
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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chief Editor at Midwest Book Review Praises The Frugal Editor

The Frugal Editor, second edition
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
www.howtodoitfrugally.com
ISBN: 9781505712117
$17.95 pbk / 
$9.00 Kindle 
Available on Amazon 

Reviewed by James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review for Library Bookwatch (July  2015), the Jim Cox Report, and the Writing/Publishing Shelf at Midwest Book Review


Now in an updated second edition, The Frugal Editor is part of the "How To Do It Frugally" series for writers and publishers, and an absolute "must-have" for virtually all aspiring and practicing authors in these tough economic times. Tips, tricks, techniques, and do-it-yourself editing secrets will aid in improving one's writing at every stage of the process - from creating an initial query letter to revising rough drafts, putting the finishing touches on the final manuscript, and marketing the published work. 

"Remember when you first realized that a blow-by-blow account of a movie bored your parents? It's true with books, too. When space is limited, your plot should be a mere logline, pitch, or teaser. Your credentials or experience will be far more impressive to an agent or publisher." 

Extensive appendices filled with useful things like professional sample cover letters or query letters, tips for Kindle formatting made easy, and more round out this top-notch guide by award-winning author and former New York publicist Carolyn Howard-Johnson. 

Also highly recommended is the second edition of "The Frugal Book Promoter" (9781463743291, $17.95 pbk / $9.95 Kindle).
 
MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Jim Cox and the Midwest Book Review have a long history of providing credible reviews to authors regardless of the press they are printed on. Find them at http://www.midwestbookreview.com. Cox also edits the Library Bookwatch, an online magazine, and his own e-mail newsletter, the Jim Cox Report.
 


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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn t is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Poet Published Short Book of Philosophy and Religion

Strength to Be Human
Author: Mark Antony Rossi
Loyal First Books
2015 Kindle E-Book Editions
48 pages
http://www.amazon.com
 Review by Sy Albright originally for Loyal First Books
Tackling the existential existence of humanity on a global scale would be a topic too large for even a War and Peace length volume, but Rossi’s Strength to Be Human manages to boil down his poignant distillations in less than fifty pages. Quite a feat when considering he neither dances around political opinions nor runs away from criticizing Science and Religion as potential negative elements that hold back humanity from its fullest potential.
In “What We Learned” Rossi states…..We waste our time building the better machine rather than raising the better child. The sum of our species is naught if we simply carry our fear and hostility to the Cosmos?
This is the first time I have ever read a book that successfully pushes back on religious thought and science philosophy without calling for extreme measures or proposing to exchange one idiotic ideology for another. He plainly points out that religion and science are most dangerous to peaceful coexistence when allowed to lament on humanity’s lack of superhuman or supernatural powers. Powers he clearly shows are unwanted and unneeded.
There is a certain poetry in these writings that ease the deeper thoughts into your mind as with the closing lines of “Prime Mover “--- “But the ultimate beauty of the human creation is the indomitable desire to rise above the sum of our shortcomings. In this journey the happiness of humanity stands the strongest chance of building a better world and finally finding a love capable of pushing back the primal instinct.”
These essays read like meditations for the well-being of four billion people. It’s a heady goal but likely a beneficial mission suited for the world-at-large. If Poverty and War have a permanent cure the medicine will arrive by natural means. No test tube or holy touchstone can bring people closer to peace until they settle the war raging in their own hearts. The mechanical and the metaphysical have a place in our dreams if humanity takes care to ensure our deepest decisions are made from personal experience and common sense.

About the Author:


Mark Antony Rossi is an Italian-American poet, fiction writer, playwright and future science author. His poetry, fiction, nonfiction and criticism have been published in Another Chicago Review, The Antigonish Review (Canada), Anak Sastra (Taiwan), Bareback Literary Review (Canada),  Black Heart Review, Brain of Forgetting (Ireland), Coe Review,  Deep South Journal, Dirty Chai,  Dogplotz,  Enclave, Entropy, Farther Stars Than,  Flash Fiction (Italy), Gravel, Heart and Seoul (South Korea), Mad Swirl,  Peaches Literary Magazine, Ploughshares,  The Muse (India) New Delhi Review (India), On The Rusk, Poetry Kanto (Japan), Petite Hound, Purple Patch (England), Japanophile, Satire, Scribble (New Zealand), SchitzoRealism, Scrivener Creative Review (Canada), The Journal of Poetry Therapy,  The Poet’s Haven,  The Sacrificial,  TransNational (Germany), Toad Suck Review, Tracer, Twisted Vines Literary Review, Yellow Chair Review and hundreds of others in ten countries. His poetry and fiction book titles include Tints and Timbres, Variations on Virtue, Songs the Season After, Church of Jazz and No Town of Mine.  His also the author of two nonfiction books Strength To Be Human and The Intruder Bulletins: The Dark Side of Technology a major bioethics paperback and ebook that became highly popular in American Colleges and Latin America after the Spanish-language version was released. He lobbied against Human Cloning Research was congratulated by then President George H.W. Bush for his ethical writings and principled stand on increased ethical consideration regarding biotechnology. A USAF combat veteran he devotes his spare time to supporting veteran causes in his community. And he has been a frequent radio guest (Weissbach, The Jeff Rense Show, X Zone, Across The Net, The Byte Show, Paranormal Front) to promote bioethics and veterans rights. His paper “Poetry as Therapy: Self and World Analysis” has been used a basis for poetic therapies to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

King's Traveling Man Called "Deviant Thriller"

The Traveling Man 
 Series: The Travelers: Book One
Author: Michael P. King
Genre: Crime Thriller
ISBN-13:9780986179600
Purchase The Traveling Man  
Reviewed by Kirkus Review
Husband and wife con artists must get back on their feet after a scheme goes spectacularly wrong in this criminally good debut by King.
Married hustlers Tom and Patty (or, at least, those are their aliases) arrive in a small town alongside their partner, Buddy Ray, with the intention of pulling off a lucrative con—selling contaminated lakefront land for a high price. Everything proceeds according to plan, until Buddy and Patty go against Tom’s instructions and take on a doomed side deal. From there, things take a dangerous turn, and Tom and Patty are left to pick up the pieces of their business and personal relationship (and heal more than a few physical wounds). After taking a monthslong break, the couple tries to get back in the game—with similarly messy results. On the spectrum of grays, these two are much closer to black than white. They cheat, steal, manipulate, blackmail and even kill when the moment calls for it. Yet readers might still find themselves white-knuckling their books (or e-readers) when the pair is in a tight spot. Despite the couple’s more questionable values, Tom and Patty’s relationship is based on love, loyalty and trust, and even they have their red lines: “We don’t scam civilians. Rule number two. We use them; we pay them; we stay out of jail.” Charismatic, levelheaded Tom is especially likable despite his criminality. It also doesn’t hurt that Robert and Pamela Johnson (as they call themselves in the second half of the book) are more than once pitted against an even more cutthroat thug who makes them look like the good guys. Surrounding them is a cast of superbly sketched characters whose competing motives constantly trip up their plans, such as Marcie, the overconfident, small-time real estate agent they’ve looped into their land-sale con. With a story every bit as intricate and entertaining as the personalities who fill it, King’s uncommonly solid debut is a must-read.
An absorbing, deviant tale of redemption.
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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.