Friday 30 November 2012

#PUYB Book Review - Captain by Thomas Block

CaptainCaptain by Thomas Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There were many different layers to this book and each of it seemed to be buried under technical details. There were bits that were so nail-biting and enjoyable, then there were bits you just couldn't relate to. I liked the way Captain Thomas Block introduces all these little issues that sidetrack you from the real story. Quite like a MacGuffin and kept the book going.

How would I have done it differently? Less on the technicalities. Yes, when you're a pilot it's easy to understand things from that side of the plane. But as a passenger who loves to read, some of what was described in the book was really hard to relate to.

Still, the story was well-written, characters well-developed and the ending came as a pleasant surprise. I liked the book but probably wouldn't read it again.

Would I recommend this read? Yes, to anyone who likes aviation or technical details.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4.5/5
Formatting: 4.5/5
Pacing: 3.5/5
Offensive content?: PG to PG13, mostly for theme and content.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 28 November 2012

#Orangeberry Guest Post - Crazy Weather, True Love & the Natural Balance of All Things by Vanna Smythe

Crazy Weather, True Love & the Natural Balance of All Things
by Vanna Smythe
Weather has been odd these past few years. You will likely agree with that, whichever part of the world you call home.
Such odd, uncharacteristic, ominous weather is precisely the sort of thing Joinings, as described in my debut fantasy novel Protector (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 1), can prevent. In the world I created in Protector, the energy released as two who love each other truly come together, can be used for many ends. The two that make such a pair are called a Beacon and an Answer, and it is the Catalyst who releases their energy, then guides it towards the wrong that needs to be righted.
However, such an arrangement is not natural.  The energy of true love is being used and abused, made to flow at the bidding of people.
The main question raised in Protector is whether true love is stronger than any of the rules imposed, stronger than over 1000 years of tradition.
Yet at the heart of the story are the characters. They are the ones who must deal with these issues and whose decisions will ultimately lead to the final answer.
There is Protector Kiyarran, or Kae, whose whole world unravels in the first few days after his biggest dream comes true.  He becomes a Protector of the Realm, an elite soldier, only to find out that the secrets they kept from him are enough to make the world an entirely different place. To top it all off, out of nowhere, he now feels strong love for Princess Issiyanna.
Issiyanna, or Issa, is to wed a man she does not love.  There is another whom she dreams of most every night and he is the one she loves beyond all.  That is because she is a Beacon, and people have been sent to collect her.
Will natural love blossom, or will the world continue as it has for the past 1000 years? Will true love still be used as only a tool, a means to an end?
Well, I’m not going to tell you that right now.  Those answers will come in the upcoming, Book 2 of the Anniversary of the Veil series, called Decision Maker, which will be available soon!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with  Vanna Smythe on Twitter & Facebook

#InspiredKathy Book Blast - First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch by Samuel Ben White

First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch

"What if history didn't happen that way ... the first time?"

Garison Fitch was one of the most revered scientists in the Soviet Americas until he left fame behind to work on a secret project in his log cabin in the mountains of Marx.

But something went wrong. Instead of traveling interdimentionally, Garison has traveled through time ... twice.

Now, he's in something called "The United States of America" and a woman he's never met before is calling herself his wife. It it a hoax? Or, has he somehow changed history?

If so, can he return the world to what he believes is "normal", or must he live in this strange world he created?



"Sam continues to weave his magic as a storyteller. I always find myself anxious to find out what will happen next and what kind of twist will befall the adventurers. It helps to be familiar with the places that the heroines go, which adds to the story."
~Labdaddy, Texas

"I've had a few very unproductive but enjoyable days thanks to Samuel Ben White. If you haven't read Sam's books you have been missing a treat. These were funny, suspenseful, spiritual and kept you turning the pages."
~Karen S.

"Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed your books. I have a Kindle and I have purchased all of the Garison Fitch novels. I am in Saudi Arabia and your books have really helped take me away from here."
~Scott, Saudi Arabia

Also Part of the Series:

Saving Time

Two years ago Garison Fitch traveled through time and rewrote history. An accident in the eighteenth century created a whole new world, and even gave Garison a wife he had never met before. Now, he’s got a daughter and he’s coming to enjoy this world he created. Until he’s attacked by men masquerading as Indians, and a funeral procession from out of the past enlists his help, and a tree grows from sappling to full-grown in a matter of minutes, threatening his daughter’s very life. Time itself is unraveling and Garison’s trips through time seem to be the cause. Garison must go back in time once again and keep himself from making the original trip that started the problem. But he can’t use his time machine to go back. How does one sew up a rip in time?

Lost Time

Jason Kerrigan and Brownwyn Dalmouth are pilots with the Republic of Texas Army Air Corps. A world war is going on and bombs have just brought an end to Crockett Air Field in south Texas. Jason and Bronwyn, though, are called away from the battle to be test pilots for a new aircraft that-they're told-will bring the war to an end. The experimental craft lives up to expectations in early tests, but then it lands them somewhere it never should have sent them. Another place? Another time? Another dimension? Somehow, they've taken a trip to the future and changed the past. Or did they? The answer to their change of reality may be known to a Justice of the Peace in Colorado named Garison Fitch. To figure it out, though, Garison may have to team up with his least favorite person: Bat Garrett.


Author Samuel Ben White

Samuel Ben White (“Sam” to his friends) is the author of the national newspaper comic strip “Tuttle’s” (found at and the on-line comic book “Burt & the I.L.S.” (found at He is married and has two sons. He serves his community as both a minister at a small church and a chaplain with hospice. In addition to his time travel stories, Sam has also written and published detective novels, a western, three fantasy novels and four works of Christian fiction.


Tour Schedule

Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/16/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it when you follow Sam then you can leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday 26 November 2012

#Orangeberry Author Interview - Cheryl Carpinello

Who are your favorite authors of all time? I devour everything written by the duo Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and have since I first discovered The Relic way back when. I love JRR Tolkien and have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think any author can. Mixed in with each characters’ individual traits are pieces of their author. My own sense of loyalty, friendship, and honor are imbedded in all my Arthurian characters. I also carry my own love of adventure, mystery, and magic into my stories for my characters to enjoy as well as my readers.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year? I actually have two movies I can’t wait to see. The first is the new James Bond film Skyfall. It opened in November and is on my short list for December. I’ve been a James Bond since high school. The second film is The Hobbit which will be released in December. I’m excited to see it.
Which authors have influenced you the most and how? I would have to say Joseph Campbell. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien in 1973. I was newly married and looking for my place in the world. Looking back, I see it was the journey of Bilbo and Frodo that drew me in. Like them, I was also on a journey and had no idea of the ending. A few years later, I discovered Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey. I realized that this was the attraction for me and a whole world of readers in the works of Tolkien, T. H. White, George Lucas, and J. K. Rowling. What I have tried to do in The King’s Ransom (Young Knights of the Round Table) is write a story that would couple the Hero’s Journey with the King Arthur Legend.
What is the one book everyone should read? The Once and Future King by T.H. White. He brings the Arthurian Legend right into everyone’s home with his story. Through Wart’s (young Arthur) experiential lessons, readers understand the idea of might not being right, the fragile nature of this world we live in, and that none of us are perfect. The amazing thing about this is that White does all this with stories of knights, jousts, and quests.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Experience the true meaning of friendship and loyalty as three friends, motivated by their belief in the Wild Man’s innocence, embark upon life-changing quests testing their limits and forcing each to confront and conquer their fears or face humiliation and/or even death.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? My current work-in-progress takes my readers out of Medieval England and back to Ancient Egypt. Sons of the Sphinxis a mystery/adventure for tweens/YA and introduces readers to a different type of quest.
Future projects include a sequel to Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. I’ve had several readers ask me what becomes of Guinevere’s friend Cedwyn, so I’m working on a storyline there. And, somewhere soon, I’m going to do another Young Knights of the Round Table. I haven’t decided yet whether to continue with the same characters, or to give a new group of young people a chance at joining the Round Table.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? Teaching students in high school who didn’t like to read or who found a million other activities to do rather than read motivated me to dig deeper into my curriculum. It is always challenging to find reading material that excites every student. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Then one spring I decided to do The Once and Future King by T. H. White. My freshmen were ecstatic. We read; we discussed; we drew murals of chapters; we wrote poetry and songs; and we attempted to earn Knighthood in seven days! Boy, what a discovery I’d made.
I continued to teach the King Arthur Legend, and the enthusiasm never waned. I had students who would give 100% on this unit when I struggled to get them to read other literature. These kids were my inspiration for choosing the legend of King Arthur for my writing. I use the appeal of King Arthur to encourage young kids to read more and to believe that they can write. I always come away from a school visit believing that I have helped the students relate better to their writing, and hopefully, ignited a little spark in the reluctant readers to pick up a book.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. This would have to be my Medieval Writing Workshops for elementary and middle school students and the Colorado Girl Scouts. We explore writing and reading, and it is fulfilling to see young students excited about writing and reading. The kids enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!
What was your favorite book(s) when you were young? Like many young girls, I was and still am crazy about horses. For years (and I mean years) all I read were horses stories. My two fiction favorites are the Golden Stallion series by Rutherford Montgomery and theBlack Stallion series by Walter Farley. I also read non-fiction dealing with horses.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? I know it’s been said many times, but writers need to write what they love. Also, don’t be afraid to explore and expand on that. It was my love of the works of Tolkien along with the connection to Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey that inspired me in my writings. It has taken me beyond Arthurian Legend to ancient Egypt where a young pharaoh embarks upon his own journey to write a wrong and be united with his one true love.
Sometimes a person’s writing can take them places they never imagined. Rejoice in that and embrace it!
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Arthurian Adventure
Rating – G
More details about the book
Connect with Cheryl Carpinello on FacebookTwitter & GoodReads

Gratitude G!veaways

My giveaway is a $5 gift card.

Follow me on my Blog OR Twitter or GoodReads

Leave me a comment so I'll know who you are.

*Random winner will be picked and emailed on 30th November 2012

*This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer 

Sunday 25 November 2012

#Orangeberry Author Interview - Dianne Harman

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. You’ll get lost in the engrossing story and forget whatever problems you may have.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Yes, Tea Party Teddy, a tell-all novel about California politics will be out in early 2013. I am in the process of editing the sequels to Tea Party Teddy and Blue Coyote Motel.
What inspired you to want to become a writer? A quiet air-conditioner at a boutique hotel in Palm Springs in 106 degree weather. What would happen if someone pumped a “feel good” drug into the air-conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Having a trade industry buy 350 of my books to put in their “goodie bags” for attendees at their conference.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? The Bobbsey Twins.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Read Stephen King’s book, On Writing.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I’m living there.
What is your favorite Quote? “I didn’t make the rules, but I can play by them.”
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? I’ve reinvented myself so many times, I’m still not “grown up.”
How did you know you should become an author? I didn’t. It just stemmed from so many years of being a voracious reader.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Not completely, but places, circumstances and events that have been a part of my life certainly make their way into my books.
What do you do in your free time? Read, cook, and play word nerd games.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? She played the hands that life dealt her and never looked back.
What’s your favorite season/weather? I live near the beach in Southern California so I rarely see rain and I love it the infrequent times it happens.
Who or what inspired you to become an author? My husband believed in me.
Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense / Thriller
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Dianne Harman on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday 24 November 2012

#PUYB Book Review - Almost A Turkish Soap Opera by Anne-Rae Vasquez

Almost a Turkish Soap OperaAlmost a Turkish Soap Opera by Anne-Rae Vasquez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When we read about people like Adel and Kamil, we think they are wonderful characters in a book. Truth be told, their stories and conflicts are more real than many of us would like to admit. The Arab Spring was evidence of this, and many younger Middle Easterners spoke out in the hopes of better lives and futures but have they completely been set free from the chains they recognise as tradition?

This novel depicts Adel's journey in a candid manner and I loved that each chapter was short and engaging. The author provided just the right balance between each character, situation and background information. You were never once left with wanting to know more. I am not sure if the book was politically motivated, but there are undercurrents of these and yet, you somehow become emotionally involved with each character. You step away from this book feeling sorry, sad and happy for more than one character. Excellent, excellent, writing.

Would I recommend this read? Oh yes, definitely.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4.5/5
Editing: 4.5/5
Formatting: 4.5/5
Pacing: 4.5/5
Offensive content?: PG13 to PG15, mostly for theme and content.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

View all my reviews

#PUYB Book Review - Mr.Breeze by Morrie Richfield

Mr.Breeze by Morrie Richfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are bits of this book that has you thinking the author was set on creating a controversy. The religious themes are more than apparent and seems to spotlight that line in Alanis Morisette's song, "What if God was one of us?". Would we behave differently if we knew God was the person sitting next to us? Then, there are the bits (from Michael's view) that come off as a little bit sarcastic. Is this the work of a cynic who is trying to give us both sides of the story or are these thoughts of a person questioning religion?

The book is well-written and the story flows making it a fast read but you will have to take this book with an open mind. In a gentle, almost sarcastic tone it raises many questions on humanity, religion, social conditioning and life in general. There were also bits that dragged a little bit which I felt could have been omitted all together, hence the 4-star rating.

Would I recommend this read? Yes, to any patient reader with an open mind.

Overall assessment:
Content: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Formatting: 4/5
Pacing: 3.5/5
Offensive content?: PG, mostly for theme and content.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obliged to write a positive one.

View all my reviews

#Orangeberry Author Interview - Ryan Casey

What is one book everyone should read? The Power of Now. I’m not necessarily someone who sings the praises of self-help books or anything like that, but it’s such an enriching and life-changing read. I don’t believe in all of the principles, but it’s a fantastic way to reframe your life and the way you live it. Once you break down that illusion of the past and the future, the present becomes all the more important to you.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Something in the Cellar is a creepy couple of short stories, the title story focusing on a woman who has murdered her husband and left him to rot in the cellar, unbeknownst to her young child.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Sure–I have my debut novel, What We Saw, launching in just a few weeks. It’s a nostalgic mystery novel about a couple of kids on a caravan site who witness something truly shocking in the woods. I’m working on a new first draft at the moment, too. It’s kind of a ballsy thriller about a contract killer (poetic, I know). I don’t want to talk about it too much yet, but it should be out some time next year. I find talking too far in advance takes the energy away from a project. As for goals: keep on writing. Get my name spread all over that digital shelfspace. It’s the best way to market one’s self, that’s for sure. Not that I’m rushing — just eager to stay focused.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. Every time someone tweets me, comments on my blog, or leaves a review, positive or negative. Seeing my work and effort recognised — that’s the biggest buzz of all.
What is your dream cast for your book? Sometimes when I’m writing, I have clear actors and actresses in my head, however in Something in the Cellar it didn’t really work like that. If I were to help in a cast selection process though, I’d love to see someone like Tilda Swinton in the lead role of Sandra. She proved in We Need To Talk About Kevin that she can capture that tough-but-mortified mother role perfectly. The imagery at the start of the accompanying story, The Runaway, is inspired by a French film called Martyrs, so I’d have Mylène Jampanoï in the lead role.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? I was mad for Lord of the Rings as a young-teen. I’d buy the figures and paint them, pick up basically any magazine covering it. I remember being really aggrieved at a certain scene not being included in Return of the King from the book. Probably the first time I got annoyed at an adaptation, as brilliant a piece of cinema as it is.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? YES. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It’s dark, dirty, and totally captures the mood of Something in the Cellar.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? Stop calling yourself an aspiring author. The sooner you can rid yourself of that dreaded ‘aspiring author’ tag, the better. Seriously. By calling yourself an aspiring author, you’re committing yourself to a stasis that you’ll find it very difficult to break out from. You need to stop aspiring and start being — that, I would argue, is the greatest piece of advice I can give.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? I actually wanted to be a binman/trash collector. I used to enjoy playing with those toy bin-wagons. Funnily enough, I’ve mentioned said toy bin-wagons to friends and they’ve all given me a strange look. You know which ones I mean, right? Still, it could have been worse: one of my male friends aspired to be a ‘mummy’ when he grew up.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? Ryan Gosling, because he’s called Ryan and because I’d love to think I’m anywhere near as cool as him…
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? Oh, totally. You see, I have a problem that all writers encounter whereby people who read my books see themselves in the pages. That’s just natural, I think — we project our reality into our fantasy worlds. However, I kind of see fragments of myself in each of my characters, because those characters are a part of my imagination, right? I guess it helps to be a little unstable as writer in that respect.
What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had? Crazy ideas are just the best. I honestly believe that the crazy ideas are the ones that we should just run with. I tend to turn the craziest ones into shorter works, as with Something in the Cellar/The Runaway. What We Saw–my debut novel–is something of a breather from the craziness of those. But we’ll just have to see what the future holds on that front!
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? There’s so much good advice out there, I can’t even begin to narrow it down. However, a piece of advice that will always stick with me is to use criticism constructively. It’s so easy to get bogged down when somebody says they don’t like something or other, but it’s important to weigh up what the person actually says before immediately dismissing it. They could just be making the most important writing tip of your career.
How do you react to a bad review? Take it on the chin and accept that no piece of work can please everyone. I do my damnedest to make sure the writing quality of my books is as good as it can be, so after that, it’s simply a matter of personal preference than anything. That said, I did receive a review for Something in the Cellar saying that the reader wasn’t a ‘fan of short stories and didn’t like open endings.’ That kind of baffles me a little — if you aren’t a fan of open-ended short stories, then why are you reading one? But still, I bit my tongue and carried on writing.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? The Not-So-Accidental Zillionaire (I wish).
What’s your favorite season/weather? Summer when it’s winter, and winter when it’s summer.
Who or what inspired you to become an author? I know it’s the age old cliché but I’ve wanted to write stories ever since I was a little kid. I always remember being in the first year of school aged, like, five, and writing a 50-ish word epic about a girl who fell down the stairs and woke up on the loo to find it was all a dream, then fell down the stairs in reality. I guess that’s pretty deep for a five-year-old, but I knew right at that moment that writing was my calling.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? It was pretty surreal, actually. Me and my friend were having a few drinks and watching some film or another when I saw Something in the Cellar had gone live on Amazon at like, 2am. The funny thing is, it made two sales instantly. It was a pretty amazing feeling, and although it didn’t necessarily maintain such a pace throughout the rest of launch day, it was so cool seeing those two purchases. I wish I could find those buyers and thank them.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is…. The Dead Zone by Stephen King.
In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with? Chuck Palahniuk. I think we’d throw some awesome ideas together. I reckon working with somebody like that could actually be very liberating too. Otherwise, Stephen King. He’s a master at creating worlds, and I’d very much love to be a part of that world-building process.
Buy now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense / Horror / Short Story
Rating – PG13
More details about the book
Connect with Ryan Casey on Facebook & Twitter


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