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A Dark Side of History

Micah Genest Author Interview

Micah Genest Author Interview

The Land of Ick and Eck follows Harlot’s strange encounters as she travels through a strange land. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

I’m fascinated by children’s stories that are strange and make you think, “Wait, What? Haha, did that just happen?!” Victorian literature for children, as well as older versions of fairy tales, are where I found inspiration for the setup up of this book; they so often make you take a step back, laugh, think, and then continue on with curiosity. These stories can sometimes be whimsically mature, exploring violence, sexuality, and/or morality in creative, imaginative ways. Not treating children like delicate sugar-flakes and allowing for such content adds so much depth to the meanings and understanding of the stories, something I have found difficult to come across in modern children’s literature.

So when I started writing, I wanted it to be something that that gave me similar feelings to when I read older, bizarre fairy tales. I wanted it to take place in a strange world, where things were non-sense, but also made sense if you had the knowledge to understand what was happening, especially when the reader becomes aware of the innuendos. Like many episodic folkloric tales, there is much more than what lies on the service, multiple understandings; that is what I really enjoy about such types of stories. This is one of them.

The world that you’ve built is enthralling and curious to say the least. What were some sources of inspiration for when creating this world?

Reading literature about/from the faerie, medieval, Georgian, and Victorian world was where some of my inspirations came from. I would often find myself reading, for example, faerie lore and tales, medieval fabliaux and chivalric romances, and strange episodic stories that involve children, such as Jerzy Kosiński’s The Painted Bird (a modern tale). I wanted to create something like Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but darker and with more macabre and questionable situations.

The realm of Ick and Eck needed to somewhere that made sense not necessarily for the human world but in the faerie world. It was to be a place that the mind of an imaginative child could easily follow and bring to life, but for adults, things might seem a little off (unless they still have the child within them). It needed to be absurd, but penetrable if you put yourself in a different sort of mind-set. To get this inspiration, I often found myself delving into the artworks of Brian Froud and other artists who have continued to add to the world of faeries and fantasy, also mixing them with some of my other interests.

One of those curiosities was religion. There are many religious characters in the book, ranging from the fat-Friar, empty moon creatures, Crowned-Alter-Fops, gluttonous monks, to name a few; I enjoy studying Abrahamic religious texts, traditions, as well as medieval stories of how clergy use power to control others. Several scenes in the book comment on these injustices, but they are mixed in with the faerie world to create a more folkloric feeling. Truth be told, no hesitation of satire was taken.

Another source of inspiration was the study of medieval and Victorian prostitution. As a reader would observe, the protagonist’s name is Harlot; yes, the story does indeed explore the ideas of a dark side of history, as well as a subject very much alive today. From the exploration of courtly love and the desperate knights in need of a doctor’s (i.e. a beautiful woman) cure to save them from love sickness, to the poetic grocery-list like booklets of women found in Harris’s List of the Covent Garden Ladies, these studies were an essential backbone and driving force of inspiration. The story is a critique of this behaviour. It is meant to bring light to a subject so many people want to hide.

The introduction of the book lays this out:

  • Into a land of fantasy
  • With haste we cast them all aside
  • No tearing if you cannot see
  • That is what we all make-believe

My list of inspiration could keep going on, so I will stop before I get carried away even more.

Harlot is a curious and innocent character that I found endearing. What were some driving ideals behind the character?

I wanted to create a character that constantly found interest in novel things, while at the same time never really learns much from their experiences. Even after Harlot is assaulted at the beginning of the book (i.e. her blue flower), deceived, used, and treated as inferior, she continues on. Some say this might be a weakness, others a strength, that is for the reader to decide.

I have found it quite funny though, how some people really like Harlot, while others really do not. Some like her curious and innocent perspective, while others think she is rude and inconsiderate, and do not want their children to read about her because she is a negative role model.

In any event, what drives Harlot is her curiosity, her unwavering innocence, and her ability to navigate such a strange place, the land of Ick and Eck. She is such a strong character, a feature I have seen in people who have been abused. I can never understand their strength. They are stronger than I could ever be.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on a couple projects, but I am a very slow writer. It took me eight years to be contempt enough to pursue publishing The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters. But in any event, I am working on a continuation to The Land of Ick and Eck, per say, following a girl named Perfume, as well in another section about Harlot. Each are separate and different stories, written in different styles, but in a way they meet together through common characters, situations, and absurdities.

I am quite excited about it, though I do not know how long it will take to complete.

Author Links: GoodReadsYouTube

The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot's Encounters by [Genest, Micah]

A much too trusting Harlot finds herself in the preyful Land of Ick and Eck, a place where she encounters peculiar creatures that have the most awful intensions of the carnal sort. By happenstance, she finds the company of a Ground Faerie, a Wood and Water Nymph, and a Butter-Maiden to assist her (sort of) along the way.

But Alas! How the outlandish figures are quite the handful, ranging from the likes of Spriggans, the-man-with-a-can-for-a-head, Jaw Skins, to Alter-Fops, a knight of courtly love, and a Nigwig (to name a few). Thankfully, there are moments of repose, such as those with the band of eunuchs with sacs on their heads, the beautiful Milk-Maidens, and the adventures within the Faerie Ring.

Though the bombardments continue to pursue her, Harlot’s innocent temperament, irrational faith, and devotion to feeding her curiosity provokes her forward, and thus her true strengths are revealed within the Land of Ick and Eck.

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Vexing Stages of Culture Shock

Michael Greco Author Interview

Michael Greco Author Interview

Plum Rains on Happy House follows an American who is trying to turn an Inn into a school but is thwarted by the house’s strange creatures. What was the inspiration behind this unique story?

I live in Japan, and it’s a place I know well. The book’s dedication probably says it all:

This book is for Japan. It’s the place I call home—though it may not want me to. For over 25 years I have grappled with the dos and don’t’s of my host country, destroying the language in conversation, giving up, resuming more study, eventually resigning myself to the boundless plateaus of almost-speech.

And Japan abides. Like a patient steward, it absorbs the frolics and the ribbing, while providing a solacing habitat in which to write and teach and parent and grow.

I came over to Japan in the 80’s and I’ve lived in some pretty seedy guesthouses—what we call gaijin houses. In creating the residents of Happy House, I just mingled the characteristics of a few of the unique people I’ve met over the decades in Tokyo and in Los Angeles. In some cases, I didn’t need to exaggerate at all.

On one level Plum Rains on Happy House is a detective story. A fellow named Harry Ballse invites the protagonist, nicknamed the Ichiban, to Japan. But the residents of Happy House all deny any knowledge of this mysterious Harry Ballse.

Some readers may pick up on the references to the 1973 film The Wicker Man, about a policeman who is lured to a Scottish island to investigate the report of a missing child. It’s a game of deception. The islanders are playing with him. The paganism and the sexual activity the sanctimonious policeman finds so objectionable are simply part of the selection process—to see if he possesses the characteristics to burn in their wicker effigy so that the village will have subsequent successful harvests.

In Plum Rains on Happy House, the Ichiban must undergo his own horrific sacrifice to appease the house. My novel is in many ways a tribute to that remarkable film, and it has the same foundational plot lines, but I’ve laid down a hearty layer of satire and lots of cross-cultural lunacy.

There are some weird and fascinating things happening in this story. Was this an easy outlet for your creativity or was there some effort put into creating these things?

Nothing is easy. If women will forgive me the metaphor, creating Plum Rains on Happy House was like giving birth—it hurt a lot. There were points when I considered giving up because it was just too hard. I’m not a funny person, but I have little trouble dreaming up wacky stories and characters. The residents of Happy House had to be distinctively quirky. I didn’t know how bawdy things were going to become, or how much depravity would creep its way into the story. But once I had the characters they took charge, and I relegated myself to being, more or less, their stenographer.

Dialog was also something I paid close attention to. Of course, sharp dialog is vital in any story, but for this kind of back-and-forth humor to succeed, I felt it really had to have zip. Just like a comedian practices his delivery line, the dialog exchanges had to have real punch. As with most writing, dialog should say a lot , with very little. The communication isn’t in the words being said but in the subtext. Good dialog says it without saying it. One quick example from Chapter One has the resident of Room 3 (nicknamed The Goat) explaining to the new resident about his missing foot:

“I saw you looking at the bottom of my leg.”

“Your foot?”

The Goat scowled. “Obviously, you can see that no longer exists.”

“It’s in Cambodia.”

The Goat went into a cross-eyed fluster. “What is?”

Sometimes readers need to work a bit to understand the exchange, and I think they appreciate that. Dialog is an organic process. It’s the way characters talk in my head, and I think I know how to write them because they are all a part of me. It all works toward satisfying the element of what a good scene often comes down to: one person trying to get something from another.

Mix that in with the baffling idiosyncrasies of Japan and its language, and the vexing stages of culture shock, which frame the Ichiban’s adventure in Happy House, and readers have a lot to juggle, especially those uninitiated to living in other countries. I’m hoping this confusion is a part of the magnetism of the story. On top of that, one should remember the old guesthouse is haunted:

“Happy House is an amoeba everlasting, a floating world—capturing and sealing the self-indulgence of the red-light districts, the bordellos and the fleeting, delightful vulgarity of ancient Japan, an eternal time capsule of the flamboyant and the boorish.”

What do you find is a surprising reaction people have when they read your book?

The book has received mixed reviews. Of the five books I have up on Amazon, Plum Rains on Happy House was the first to receive a customer review of one star—perhaps rightfully so: the reader was “disgusted” by some of the more explicit scenes, and I think that was my fault; the earlier cover gave no indication of the sexual content within, and this poor woman was clearly ambushed. With the one star, I know I’m finally an author, and wear it as a badge of honor.

There are, however, cultural elements in the story that some will not understand: the usage of the various slipper customs inside a house, the daily beating of the futon, the laundry poles, the shockingly steep stairwells, the neighborhood garbage trucks that play cute tunes to let you know they’re coming, the confusion between the colors of blue and green.

The dichotomy of substance versus form also plays an important part in underscoring the tension—in the way one swings a tennis racket, or walks in a swimming pool, or plays baseball, or eats particular dishes: What should predominate—what you are doing or how you are doing it?

On another level, the story examines language acquisition and the role of structure within the learning process. The residents all have their various opinions: As teachers, should English be taught through some kind of lock-step formula, or would one be better off approaching it in a more hands off manner, rather like painting? Everyone seems to have an opinion.

The idea of structure comes to the forefront again when discussing what one character, Sensei, calls the hidden structure of the house, which, like the neighborhood (or any cityscape in Japan) appears as an amorphous sprawl. But look underneath this sprawl and one sees the organism. Sensei says that the randomness, or chaos, embraces a flexible, orderly structure, and he likens the house to an amoeba that has the ability to alter its shape. Similarly, this amoeba can be seen as a microcosm of Japan as a whole.

What are you currently working on and when will it be available?

I’ve finished the first few drafts of a story about Special Needs teens who discover time travel. But the adult teachers at the school find out what’s going on and abuse this ability to travel back into time for their own selfish needs. It turns out the ones with the Special Needs are not the teenagers—who are all somewhere on the Autism spectrum—but the supposed grownups, and it’s up to the teens to save the day. It should be out in autumn.
Thanks for having me!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Plum Rains on Happy House by [Greco, Michael]In Japan, the little inn called Happy House welcomes its guests … unless it’s rainy season. When the “plum rains” arrive, trying times of volatility and decadence begin for everyone.

The American in Room 1, however, is dead-set on turning the derelict Happy House into a burgeoning English school.

The house has other plans, and Room 1’s attempts are thwarted by a freakish creature that lives under the floorboards called “the Crat”.

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Shadow Resistance

Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]

Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.

B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.

The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.

Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.

This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.

PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP

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Literary Titan Book Awards April 2019

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

The Money Trail (The Sean Kruger Series Book 5) by [Fields, J.C.]"Mama Sou": Metamorphosis of a Mother by [Griggs, Maria, Clapp, Tyler]The Tribulations of August Barton by [LeBlanc, Jennifer]

Greater Things Than Thou (Blood of the Prince Book 1) by [Dean, R.L.]Seven Days in Lebanon by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’Ombe Zeruzeru by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]Strong Is . . . by [Pulliam, April B.]

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir by [Pomerantz, Diane]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Chosen by [Corbitt, Ray]

The Cabin: A Murder Mystery by [Frolick, W.D.]Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler by [Wilker, John]Rock Hard: Chord Brothers, Book 1 by [Roberts, Mariah J., Roberts, M. J. ]

Keeper of Slaves: Book Two of Antebellum Struggles by [Erman, Dickie]Escape from Kolyma: Aborigin Is a Bear Region by [Litvin PhD, Chester]Sailor's Psychology:: A Methodology on Self-Discovery Through the Tale of a Semite in the Squall by [Litvin, Chester]

Plum Rains on Happy House by [Greco, Michael]Moon Dogg by [Greco, Michael]THE ODDS OF GODS: Why Christians Should Not Tell Lies by [Campbell, Rush O. C. ]

Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors by [Landon, Dolly Gray, Noland, Gary Lloyd]Lamellia: The Wicked Queen by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

Plum Rains on Happy House

Plum Rains on Happy House by [Greco, Michael]

Lawrence Thornberry thinks he is ready for his year in Japan. However, nothing could have ever prepared him for the experience he is about to have. An experience he can never truly understand but astonishingly accepts. He discovers new elements everyday. Some of these strange things would deter anyone but not the Ichiban. A nickname he got because of the room he was assigned, room number one. This American English teacher teaches at the Slop Bucket. When he is not there he encounters strange things at the Happy House. Strange things that are brought on by the rain. Just a good old Japanese experience.

One of the strange but weirdly comfortable things is that this story is told by crow. A tale that slides seamlessly from first to third person and back. The crow has strange characteristics of its own. Note the overuse of the word strange. It is a recurring theme in Plum Rains on Happy House. The crow though not exactly living in Happy House is one of the many eclectic characters in the book. Michael Greco has done a good job of building otherworldly characters but still maintain a light touch. Another grumpy but delightfully humorous character is the Goat.

Oh the words. The author has a special gift. He weaves words into a beautifully crocheted poncho. A poncho that envelopes the reader in pure literary induced ecstasy. An example is that bit where Titty is introduced. It is so funny and accurate, I imagine. The reader cannot help but picture it. Speaking of which, the character development in this book is quite good. Not in a way that one can relate to them but in a way that makes the reader comfortable. The reader feels at home in a house that requires a symbiotic relationship between it and the resident. It is uncanny how that can be possible.

It is truly wonderful that despite the Ichiban noticing some peculiarity as he was trekking up to the house. He kept going. He continued to see the crooked house but it was like he saw something completely different. Like all the strange things were supposed to be part of the experience. It is good to take things in stride like that.

There are two issues with this book. While the language is well utilized, it still requires a bit of polishing. The plot is unique, but the story is confusing at times. Bits that arise abruptly and disrupt the flow of everything. Some people may like this as it brings a little unpredictability to the story.

This is an entertaining book with interesting characters and an imaginative creative plot. All of that and a whole lot of quirk.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B07DWQ3R68

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Brought Down by Craziness

Nikki Mays Author Interview

Nikki Mays Author Interview

Cuffed by You captures the romance, comedy, and drama of the last two books and takes it to a new level. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

It’s funny but one of my readers who has been with me from the start suggested that I use a meme that I posted as a scene in one of my books. That scene ending up being the attempted drowning scene in Addicted to You. To pay homage to my reader I named Kayla after her. Cuffed by You sort of took on a life of it’s own. I knew that I wanted Kayla to have her own book because who doesn’t love a good woman who was pushed to the brink receive her happily ever after? Who better than to be brought down by craziness than the series’ man-whore Marc. I thought that it was fitting that he would go from never wanting to person, to ending up with five. Really, the characters took on a life of there own and I was just along for the wonderful ride.

I enjoyed the depth of Kayla’s character. What was your process to bring her character to life?

I wouldn’t say that I had a process. Being a stay at home mother of three, it was easy to grasp what she would be like daily. All I had to do was add in what I would feel like if my husband ever did that to me and bam, she came to life. I think that a lot of women are able to relate to Kayla regardless of whether they’re married and have kids. What happened to her is a woman’s fear. Of course we want her to come out on top and with a much better man than ever before. The fact that Marc was so sweet and loyal to her children was just a huge plus and is what really stole her heart. It’s easy to guard your own heart, but when someone loves your kids as much as you do…well cupids arrow sticks.

I really enjoy the level of detail you give to each character. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast as your main characters?

Hmmm, that’s a pretty tough question. I’m not really sure because I haven’t really based them off of any celebrities. I know that some authors use inspiration boards for their characters but I don’t. Let’s see, I love Alexander Skarsgard, I most certainly wouldn’t mind him playing either Marc or Rocco. Tom Hardy has to be in there somewhere because…Tom Hardy. Luke Evans would be great as Morris. I think Eddie Cibrian would make a great JJ because of his dimples. Tyler Hoechlin would make a great Damon and Declan. He has the body and broodiness of Damon but also the smile and sweetness of Declan. Huh, I guess that wasn’t very hard after all. Thanks for making me look up some hot celebs!

What is the next book in the in the SAPD series and when will it be available?

The next book in the series will be JJ and Sage’s story titled Protected by You. I’m hoping to have it out by May 5, 2019, but we’ll see. Every Indie author knows that a million and one things can go wrong when it comes to self-publishing, so wish me luck!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Cuffed by You (SAPD SWAT) by [Mays, Nikki]Kayla has had a pretty crappy year. Cheating husband? Check. Getting arrested for trying to drown him? Check. Getting handcuffed by the world’s hottest cop? Check. Raising four kids alone? Check. Cheating ex-husband being a complete nuisance? Check.

Obviously, it makes sense that she wants to stay as far away from the opposite sex as possible. The only thing she cares about is her family and work…well and maybe keeping her battery supply fully stocked. Of course, staying away from the opposite sex would be a lot easier if a certain Viking looking police officer didn’t seem to be everywhere that she is. It would also be a lot easier if he would just stop flirting with her. Doesn’t he understand that she’s a mess on the best of days? A mess with four kids! What man in his right mind wants a woman who’s crazy with a ton of kids?

Marc is the type of man who enjoys variety in life…if you know what I mean. But he hasn’t been able to get a certain crazy jilted woman out of his mind for the past year. Unfortunately for him, he likes a woman who’s a little crazy and Kayla has just the right amount. He knows that the last thing that she probably needs in her life is a man like him. But it’s like fate is even trying to help him. She is everywhere these days and he’s not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

He’s a man who always has a plan. His newest one? To get Kayla to be his. Pretty simple right? Sure, if you don’t factor in that she doesn’t want a man. And that she has four kids. And that her ex-husband is the biggest piece of trash that he’s ever met. And if you don’t include meddling family members. Sure, this will be a piece of cake. What could go wrong?

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Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors

Nothing is More: a High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors by [Landon, Dolly Gray, Noland, Gary Lloyd]

This physiological thriller is amusing and engaging right from the start. Act one introduces us to the characters, all of which I found interesting but one more particularly so was Purvel Schlignatz. He’s a graduate student who is focused and open-minded, but gets convinced to do things that he sometimes does not subscribe to and I was not comfortable with the influence that Pelvin Penisovich had on him.

The drama and romance blended easily and were equally entertaining. I loved how Purvel Chlignatz was ready to risk everything just to be with Kitty Walters. I closely followed the drama that led to Pelvin Penisovich and Dronah Stackbut’s break up and learned a few things about friendship along the way. The romantic themes explore how pals and lovers sometimes get betrayed, and the result is anger that could be destructive.

Dolly Gray Landon’s story is exciting if not interesting and filled with characters with quirky names having engaging conversations. Melody wasn’t a favorite for me, but not for a lack of character development, quite the opposite. Her attitude and lack of empathy made me dislike her character. She was full of herself and abused the influence she had. I, however, appreciate that the author made her one of the main characters, as her role added more spice in the book. I also got to learn a few new words, as the jargon used by the Stool candidates was compelling. ‘Nadaism’ is one of the words I found to be amusing throughout the book.

Everything from the plot, literary stylistic devices used, character and writing style were excellent. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading plays and wants to enjoy a good story. Keep a dictionary handy as this story will surely increase your vocabulary.

Wealth, power, the socialite life, education, relationships, and peer influence are some of the themes covered in the book. The author’s sense of humor is subtly apparent throughout and serves to deliver a larger satirical story that kept me laughing, entertained, and quickly flipping pages.

Pages: 306 | ASIN: B07P3L7C7R

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7 1/2 Habits To Help You Become More Humorous, Happier & Healthier

7 1/2 Habits To Help You Become More Humorous, Happier & Healthier by [Jacobson, David]

The first thing that caught my eye even before getting to the first chapter of the book was the dedication part. The author styled dedication as ‘deadication’ and I thought, wow, is this a typo? Reading on, the author explained that the misspelling was intentional because he was dedicating the book to every dead person he knew. I thought that that was cool, and sort of funny. Here I was getting ready to read a book that would make me more humorous, happier and healthier, and what do I find at the beginning? Some funny word. I immediately knew that I was in for a good read. David Jacobson also had a livication part; dedicating the book to all living people.

In chapter one, the author states that you should treat humor as a necessity, not a luxury. The author writes that you should make humor a priority in your life. I agree with him because, with humor, life stops being too serious. Humor will help you improve your attitude, physical and mental health. On using the self-effacing humor, the author writes that it is good because you will let others know your humor, and they will be comfortable knowing that you know they know.

Habit four was my most favorite of all. The habit reads “Use the power of humor to positively influence you and others.” I couldn’t agree more. It is evident that by bringing in humor even during tense situations people feel a little bit relaxed. By reading and adapting this habit, you will help those around you better their own well being. There is no harm in being a little funny with your friends around. Humor makes the environment more cheerful and more fun to be in. The sixth habit was a good one too; humorize – Combine humor with other aspects of your life.

I kept wondering why the author wrote about 7 and 1/2 habits. Why did he half it? Why not write about either 7 or 8 habits? The author explained that he wrote the half habit because you don’t need the entire habit for it to work. The half habit is also the most challenging to maintain. “Mastering your thoughts” is the last and half habit. It is not easy to master your thoughts. The good news is that if you manage to master them half the time, you’ll be doing twice as well.

Every book lover should read this book because the book is educational and amusing. I also recommend the book because it makes you view humor and life differently, and enables you to see the light side of things. The best part is that the book is a light read so you will finish reading it sooner than you realize.

Pages: 167 | ASIN: B07L23YS7C

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The Werewolf Queen

I always wished I had supernatural powers. Now I wish I didn’t.

Sadie’s a dud, a failure–the only one in high school who doesn’t have any kind of supernatural powers. Her psychic bff, Jo, knows something about Sadie’s future, but just won’t tell. And what the heck is going on when one of her teachers starts looking at her while he’s going on about powerful lost keys, portals of madness, and destinies?

Then it all starts.

On her 18th birthday, Sadie starts to feel weird. And when werewolves, vampires, and demons all turn up to spoil her party, the weirdness really ramps up.

Leaving her best friend, her family, and the only town she’s ever known, Sadie must find safety. But while the king of the werewolves can offer her somewhere to hide while she’s learning about her new powers, he can’t stop his psycho witch fiancée from finding new ways to try and kill her. Of course, the murderous tendencies of this psycho witch only get worse when she realises the Werewolf King is, um… attracted to Sadie.

And all that’s before Sadie sets off to try and find one of the lost keys. Before she visits hell. Before she picks up a pet ogre.

And before she realizes just how powerful she can become.

But if it really is her destiny to collect one of the lost keys, will she be able control her newfound power and help save the world and all the people in it she loves? Or will she buckle under the pressure?

She’s about to find out. A mansion surrounded by demons and full of vampires and witches intent on her destruction awaits. Oh, and that psycho-witch fiancée of the Werewolf King. What could possibly go wrong?

If you like high stakes, kick-ass heroines, and a solid dash of humour, you’ll love this new Paranormal urban fantasy series by Brandi Elledge. Get it now.

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Ain’t No Messiah

Ain't No Messiah: A Novel (Tales of the Blessed and Broken Book 1) by [Tullius, Mark]

Ain’t No Messiah by Mark Tullius is a dark and intriguing novel about the life of Joshua Campbell. Set in the United States, it’s a tale of his life, from birth to adulthood. Significant family members such as his mother, father and brother walk some of his journey with him as well as childhood friends that reappear in early adulthood. Estranged family members are in his mind all the while and readers meet them briefly as he tries to connect with them.

Having almost died at birth, Joshua’s father labelled him the messiah. His father continues to use this label throughout Joshua’s unusual life; citing near death experiences as miracles. His father publishes books about him and fashions a new church and business on the miracles of the messiah. Despite calling him the messiah, he  verbally and emotionally abuses and neglects him on a regular basis. Joshua consistently refuses to believe he is the messiah and begins to rebel against his father’s rules. Eventually, at 17 he decides to run away, and experiences the world in a new light, but finds he still can’t shake the title of Messiah.

As the story progresses it is unclear whether he seeks out trouble, or trouble seeks him out, and this grey area is what kept me engaged throughout the story. Joshua is dragged into a world of sex and drugs, but he still has to run from his label as the messiah and his tyrannical father. As Joshua is pulled deeper into this world it becomes unclear who he can trust and things turn into a life and death situation. This reminded me of how Stephen King sets up his stories to deliver poignant ideas through simple prose.

Ain’t No Messiah kept me engrossed until the very end. As I read I kept questioning whether Joshua would break free forever from his father, or if he would be tempted by the life of fame and comparative comfort? At times I questioned his life choices and whether he could trust the people he aligned with. The main characters were well developed and believable. However, I felt there were far too many minor characters in the story that kept entering and disappearing. At times it became difficult to keep track of who was who. This detracted from the overall story as I had to pause and try to remember who the character was and why they were important to the story. The transition between flashbacks to past events and present day were clear at the start of the book, however near the end they became less clear which also distracted from the overall continuity. Overall this is an interesting and well written book that delivers a thought provoking message by putting a fascinating character in evocative situations that beg one to reflect on the choices we all make in life.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B07KCQ8P17

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