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Spinner

Spinner

Spinner is a refreshing addition to the science fiction and horror genres. The book gives readers a new perspective as the main characters are not your usual shiny protagonists, but rather a group of boys, all of whom have some form of disability or handicap. The main character, Alex, is both impaired mentally as well as physically, bound to a wheelchair. This is not the only thing that sets Alex apart, though. Alex is a spinner, capable of taking on others emotions, physical ailments, and pains before they disappear entirely. A trait that finds him unknowingly being watched by those with ulterior motives and a far more sinister entity as well.

Spinner definitely brings something new and refreshing to the table with its focal characters being those typically dismissed and often belittled in our society. Bring in the science -fiction/horror vibe and Michael J. Bowler definitely writes to catch your interest. The story is original and cut from a different cloth which is refreshing. Although sometimes sentences can run on or become focused on small details, almost Charles Dickens-esque. It leaves little to the imagination as each character and scene is described in detail.

The author does a wonderful job of presenting the main characters with disabilities as people, not just a subset of society to be catered to. Each character, though their disabilities are mentioned and made apparent through their interactions, are easily seen as teenagers with their own opinions, personalities, and mindsets. The fact that they’re disabled rarely comes to mind throughout unless the story itself points to it, giving a refreshing and normalized perspective. Bowler uses a lot of different aspects and mannerisms stereotypical of a screen-teen. There are many dramatizations and immature reactions that detract from the characters otherwise superb development and depth.

I found this contemporary story easy to relate to and understand. Spinner has a lot of interesting and refreshing concepts that I felt kept the story thrilling and suspenseful.

Pages: 445 | ASIN: B075VCQ5F9

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Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday

Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday (Book Seven of Shadow and Friends Series 7)“In this children’s picture book and seventh book in our ‘Shadow and Friends Series’, Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS, 150th Birthday, two dogs and a family of squirrels decide to help Ellsworth celebrate the 150th birthday of the town’s history. This book coincides with the actual 150th birthday of Ellsworth in the summer of 2017. Illustrations are found on each page, most of them painted. Big Whitey tells the history of Ellsworth, and Fort Harker, with historical buildings, notable landmarks, and scenes painted by the author. At the end of this story, Little Whitey asks his father if they can re-enact the old west, dress like cowboys, and do a pretend cattle drive just like Ellsworth, KS. The squirrels dress in cowboy and cowgirl gear, and they even have a chuck wagon cook. They herd longhorn cattle, sing the state song of Kansas, and have lots of fun during their re-enactment. At the end of the story, they enjoyed a barn dance, celebrated the 150th birthday of Ellsworth, and Uncle Stubby took pictures and ‘selfies’. Children will love seeing the old west come alive with two dogs and a family of squirrels dressed in western attire, and using a small amount of cowboy slang. This delightful and funny book for children, targeted at ages 4-8, is easy to read and perfect for home or classroom. The story illustrates how cattle drives worked, the long dusty trails, life in the old west, and illustrations that produce pure imagination in children. Note: Actual gunfights and ‘adult type’ history were left out in this wild western history of Ellsworth, KS.”

Pages: 39 | ASIN: B072TPMDRH

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The Mystical Qigong Handbook For Good Health

Qigong is one of the pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It involves gentle hand movements, postures, controlled breathing and some visualization. Qigong is widely known to successfully treat a number serious illnesses, promote muscular-skeletal strength, increase circulation and promote overall wellness. The Mystical Qigong Handbook For Good Health offers simple but very effective exercises for all age groups.

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Accidental Killer

Accidental Killer (The Sarah White Mysteries #1)4 StarsA good mystery novel is one that will challenge the reader, misdirect suspicion, and keep the reader turning the page to find the next twist to see if they were right.  Accidental Killer by Tong Zhang meets all these requirements, as well as throws in some Chinese Mob style twists. The main character, Sarah, is a bright mid twenties writer that also has a degree in programing and seams to draw out the good in people. The book is filled with technology references and science information but this does not impact the reader’s ability to grasp what is going on even if they don’t understand the technology being discussed.  There is a small amount of romance in the book that adds to character development rather than being the center of the plot.

This is a contemporary story that takes place in California’s Silicon Valley area, with some outskirt resorts and the mountains of Tahoe. One of the key plot points is on nanotechnology, but the author does not go so in-depth into the science that the average reader will be lost. The same goes for the genetics discussion that some of the characters have. What is nice about this novel is the strong female protagonist. Sarah is not a fluff character, and she is very relatable. She talks about finding balance between traveling the path that was expected of her, computer science/programing, and her passion, writing. She over comes personal tragedies of being left by her mother and later her aunt that raised. We learn a lot about many of the characters through their interaction with Sarah, she is able to bring out their best sides and show the readers passion rather than just flat characters that move the plot forward. Hardly any character brought into the novel is fluff. This is important because it means that Zhang is writing with a purpose and not just trying to fill the book up with pages on pages of meaningless content.

Accidental Killer starts as if you’re stepping into someone’s life as a spectator. There is no preposition so (without spoiling things) the beginning of the story is confusing, but becomes clear a chapter in and the realization of what is really going on is magnificent. Several other characters are mentioned as well with no clue as to who they are or where they fit in, Scotty, Ramsey and Mr. Bash being a few. You will eventually learn who they are and how they fit into Sarah’s life but it takes times. While confusing, it does add to the mystery aspect of the novel; who are these people and what are their stories. If you can stick with the writing through the first two chapters you will be engrossed and unable to put the book down. There are definitely some memorable characters that I can see making a repeat appearance if Zhang continues the series, namely Jake and Madam Wu. Both are left with the impression they have more stories to tell. Overall a good mystery novel, quick read, and entertaining characters.

Pages: 189 | ASIN: B01527IF84

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Deity’s Soulmate

Deity's Soulmate (The Goddess Training Trilogy Book 1)Zeus’s Daughter. 100 years of punishment. Gardenia didn’t ask for it. Yet the Fates brewed their plans ever since before she was born. On the day of gaining knowledge about what humanity truly is, Gardenia decides to do something stupid… create a galaxy without permission. Out of that childish choice, something breaks inside of her and she decides to spend her 100 years with dragons. After searching the stars, Gardenia finds her first teacher and then the next and the next. However, what does one do when one falls in love with your family’s adversary? When one falls in love with a dragon? And what if the Fates are ready to make their move? Imaginative, amusing, and adventurous, the Goddess Training Trilogy Book 1 is a tale that will possess you to want to travel the stars.

Deity’s Soulmate tells the story of Gardenia, a young goddess on her rite of passage. She must create a world of her own with living beings that worship her as a god. The use of Greek mythology and detailed accounts of the stars demonstrate author Angelina Kerner’s vast knowledge on the subject. I enjoyed the budding cross-species romance between Gardenia and one of her teachers, which grows naturally and includes a twist that left me wondering what will happen next.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1518780466

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A Western Hearts Novel

Lilly Gayle's Profile PhotoWilder Hearts is a historical western and romance novel. What draws you to the old west and makes it ripe for you to write such a great romance story in it?

I’ve been reading romance novels since high school. My mom and grandmothers taught me to love history, and my dad taught me to love westerns, science fiction, and the paranormal. Growing up, I used to watch western TV shows and movies with my dad all the time. We still watch western movies together. I think I’ve seen every western ever made starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, but my all time favorite “old” west movie is Support Your Local Sheriff– a western romantic comedy staring James Garner.

I thought the historical accuracy was spot on. What research did you do for this story?

A lot of research went into this novel. I have dozens of hard cover books on British and American history. When I began researching historical crimes a few years back, my husband gave me The Chronicle of Crime by Martin Fido, a book that chronicles the most infamous crimes in modern history. I also get a lot of my book ideas from watching Mysteries at the Museum. While doing internet research on American crimes similar to Jack the Rippers, I ran across a single article on the Servant Girl Annihilator. From there, I began searching the web for more info, and low and behold, just after I finished the first draft of Wilder Hearts, Mysteries at the Museum featured a segment on the Servant Girl Annihilator. The show even made the connection between Maurice, the Malay cook and Jack the Ripper. I was thrilled.

It’s time to make Wilder Hearts into a movie! What actress and actor do you picture playing the leading roles?

I think Melissa Rauch who plays Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory would make the perfect Ellie. She’s older than Ellie and her hair is blond, but in Hollywood, anything is possible. And I think Chris Pratt would make a great Jake.

I enjoyed the romance that was weaved into the mystery story. Where do you see Jake and Ellie, oh let’s say, a year after the novel ends?

As secondary characters in the sequel. I still haven’t settled on a title for the book. Obviously, it will be something with “Hearts” in the title, but in the rough draft already in the works, Ellie suggests that Brett Henderson (the rancher who helped Jake rescue Ellie) consider answering an ad for a Mail Order Bride she read in the San Francisco paper, Matrimonial News (a real paper in the late 1800’s.) Jake, of course, will be against the idea, but Brett is desperate to find a wife for his son in the dying town of Harmony.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Wilder Hearts: A Western Hearts Novel (Book 2)Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed. When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime. Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.
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Review: Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure

Sarah's Spaceship Adventure 2star

Sarah Talmaiz is an average teenage girl wanting desperately to speed off into space for a quick joyride in an expensive space yacht with her boyfriend. But her clandestine rendezvous goes awry when she discovers that the boy with the expensive space yacht is nothing more than a jerk and a rapist. The space yacht gets taken out by a meteor strike and an unassuming boy named Pall comes aboard for repairs. He is persuaded by Sarah to rescue her by taking her off the ship. He agrees, but Sarah doesn’t realize that she has unwittingly married the boy. Pall whisks her deeper into space far from her home and so begins Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure.

If you ever said to yourself ‘I wonder what it’s like to be a space trucker’, then this book is for you. It details the in’s and out’s of being a space truck driver and is meticulous in that respect. Sarah and Pall are brought together by a series of unfortunate events and one improbable micro meteor strike. Their ill-fated relationship builds over time as they fight about mundane issues. IE. Sarah and Pall argue over the price of shoes that they’re selling. There are lots of these kinds of banal fights. During and between all their arguments they wonder if they should be together. This is fairly accurate for real life, but it’s not the type of conflict that makes you want to keep turning pages. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek moments in the book, but there are several odd points of focus. IE. Several paragraphs are used to describe how the spaceship docks in different ports , and there is an overabundance of explanation of how goods are stacked inside the spaceship. Amidst all these extensive descriptions Sarah gradually turns from a simple teen on a big planet to a crew-person plying the space lanes. ‘Adventure’ is included in the title so I was expecting lots of wild and unexpected things to happen. Well, stuff definitely happened and they were certainly unexpected, but they were bland in their development and execution. Sarah and Pall go to trial for piracy, Sarah gets propositioned by a rich guy, Sarah gets taken by slavers, there’s a minor bit about Peter’s infidelity, and then there was a whole section about Sarah wanting to buy high heeled shoes, but mostly they go to different places and sell their goods while Sarah learns the rigors of being a crew-person. Slavery is mentioned early in the book and I felt that the book was heading in that direction, possibly Sarah and Pall get mixed up in that and end up fighting the slavers and ending slavery, but no. The story is all about Sarah and Pall falling in love as they become successfull space traders. At the books core is a love story about two young teens and in that respect it’s done well.

Pages: 297
ASIN: B005MFL08O
Get more info on Stan Morris at GoodReads.com.

Interview – Gelo R. Fleisher

https://hungrymonsterreview.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/7ee77.jpg Gelo Fleisher, author of Shadowcursed, talks writing and indie game development all while working as a Certified Public Accountant. Kind of like Batman and Bruce Wayne… except he does your taxes afterward.

 

Is Shadowcursed the beginning of a series. What can readers expect from the rest of the series after Shadowcursed?
Sadly Shadowcursed is not the beginning of a series, but is rather a stand-alone story. Right now I’m not planning on writing another book in the Shadowcursed universe unless there’s a huge clamor for it (and I can think up of a good plot for a sequel). That being said, there is something of a semi-sequel in the works for the video game half of Shadowcursed. I’m an indie game developer as well as an author, and so after I wrote Shadowcursed, I built a free companion computer game titled ‘Requiem’ to go along with it. At the moment I’m about half way through a sequel to ‘Requiem’; here’s a screenshot of how it’s shaping up. I’m still very busy writing though and I’m currently about 20K words into my next novel, which will be a sci-fi detective mystery. Though each of my stories tend to be very different from the other, I think if people enjoyed Shadowcursed, they’ll enjoy this one too.

Bolen’s rooftop antics were obviously inspired by games like Thief, but what was your inspiration for the character of Bolen and the city he lives in?
Yes, the Thief series of video games were by far the largest inspiration. The original titles in the Thief series, back in the late 1990’s, had these gorgeous painted cut scenes. I was always struck by the somber beauty of their art, and the visual feel and timbre of Shadowcursed is an homage to them. The actual inspiration for the plot and characters came from different sources. The initial story inspiration was the idea of a thief having to destroy something beautiful in order to do his job. The main character, Bolen, grew out of this idea – that of a thief at the end of his career, doing one last heist that forces him to commit what ends up being a terrible crime, and makes him to reflect on his life and choices.

Shadowcursed is part of a fan mission you created for the game Thief called Requiem. How do these two mediums fit together for the overall story?
Plot wise, Shadowcursed and Requiem are very different. They both star Bolen and other characters from Shadowcursed, and they take place in similar settings, but they tell totally different stories. You can sort of consider them as being in parallel universes. What they do have in common are the same visual feel (being both inspired by the same source material) and narrative themes, regarding the fixing of past wrongs and the uncovering of a long buried evil. Because one (Shadowcursed) is a book, and the other (Requiem) is a computer game, they use very different narrative devices to tell their stories, but if someone wants to actually step into the shoes of Bolen, and navigate their way around a fantastical medieval setting (instead of just reading about it), then I think they’d enjoy Requiem. And best of all, it’s completely free.

You recently won Square-Enix’s Thief level design contest for Requiem, the companion fan mission to Shadowcursed. How does a Certified Public Accountant become a video game creator and writer?
Lots of late nights and a very supportive wife :-). I think a lot of people start out with dreams of pursuing a creative path (whether it’s writing, or art, or music, or game design) but soon find all their energy being sucked out of them by their day job. To counteract this, it’s important to surround yourself with people who you can interact with to keep your creative passions alive. For me it’s my family, my church, and a writing group that I’m part of. And of course you need to put in the hard work to actually get good at your passion, even if that means sacrificing some of your free time. But if you can do it, you can look back in a few years and realize that you’ve actually created something and shared it with the world, and that’s a great feeling.

Follow Gelo’s exploits at http://gfleisher.blogspot.com/

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