Monday, 31 March 2014

Obvious Child by Warren Cantrell






Available from TWCS, Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Kobo - April 3rd, 2014









My Thoughts

Obvious Child by Warren Cantrell is a story about a young man Sam Grant who gets himself into a bit of a pickle and then tries to extricate himself through a series of inappropriate actions that strangely don't help him achieve his goal. 

It strikes me as a very topical concept - ill gotten fame through participation in a reality TV show. YouTube sensationalism and viral infamy at its finest. There are many occurrences of this in society today, Justin Bieber is probably the most notable example of late. Sam Grant is a lot like him, not the singing aspect but the bad boy miscalculations that divide public opinion between love and hate.

Some of our readers can not tolerate Sam - he is a divisive personality. At times I too found myself questioning his character. He seems to reach a point in the story where he is almost unredeemable and I was glad to see him turn that around. I honestly feel that there is a point of no return for a character's good standing in the public eye and I'm guessing that this is different from person to person.

I quite enjoyed this novel, especially the ending which although it left the story on a bit of a cliff hanger, it also ends in a spot that feels right.

I look forward to more from this author.

Please read my Disclaimer
The Summary:

Sam Grant doesn’t want to be famous, but he doesn’t have much of a say in the matter.

On the verge of graduating from college with his master’s in History, Sam and the rest of the world bear witness to the invention of time travel. Revealed via a YouTube broadcast, the brothers responsible for inventing time travel find their remarkable device coopted by the U.S. government. In a magnanimous gesture, the U.S. government holds a worldwide competition to decide who will be the first time traveler in history. This turns Sam’s world upside down after a half-baked joke application he sends in gets him accepted as a contestant for consideration.

Thrust into a political and media blender set to puree, Sam and his fellow contestants vie for the affections of a worldwide audience who will vote on the eventual winner. As the successive rounds of the contest pass by, and Sam tries everything from indifference to wild irreverence to get himself voted out of the competition, he finds that all his actions only serve to make him more popular.

As the contest goes on, Sam and the time travel project become more of a referendum on our society’s fascination with celebrity disasters, and what they will do to make sure the entertainment doesn’t stop anytime soon. Unable to get out of the contest via logical means, Sam learns to embrace the perks sudden celebrity provides, yet also suffers some of its typical consequences.

Stuck between two worlds—one he can’t handle, and another he can’t control—Sam finds himself considering a third option, one that has him confronting a time traveling reality that terrifies him to his very core.


The Author:


Warren Cantrell is a film and music critic based out of Seattle, Washington. One of the few surviving journalists of the Gonzo school, Mr. Cantrell’s work has appeared in such publications as Lost in Reviews and Scene-Stealers.

A classically trained scholar with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in History, Mr. Cantrell has spent the majority of his time since graduation writing novels and paying off his student loans. Working as a critic and an on-the-ground correspondent, Mr. Cantrell has covered the Seattle International and Sundance Film Festivals and has had the pleasure of interviewing people ranging from Sissy Spacek to Joss Whedon.

As an established film and music critic, Mr. Cantrell finds that it is best to keep his political views private, except to say that he feels Greedo definitely did not shoot first and that The Misfits ceased to exist the moment Danzig left the band.

A life-long Arizona Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Phoenix Suns fan, Mr. Cantrell enjoys fast cars, Italian opera, Norwegian cinema, Kentucky bourbon, and Motörhead concerts.



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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Story Behind the Title by Brian Sweany


One point that was raised throughout the review process regarding these novels related to the titles and where they came from? Making Out with Blowfish was more obvious than the first one… So I asked Brian to write guest post regarding his explanation of the titles… please see his reply below




In the first book, we see Hank as an angst and hormone-filled teenager. On the surface, it's easy to dismiss his bumbling and stumbling as typical adolescent high jinks. But as we dig deeper into his life, we realize there are demons behind the curtain. When Hank stumbles across a belly dancing album in his parents' record collection--belly dancing being the Pilates of the 70s--he's enchanted by the cover of the album. Even the title is mysterious: Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer by Mohammed El Bakkar and His Oriental Ensemble. What's more, the album is the perfect metaphor for Hank's detachment from his own sexuality; the beautiful topless belly dancer on the cover has no face. The title of the album cuts her off at the neck. In a world Hank has never trusted, his first true love can only be a faceless belly dancer. Biographical note: This was an actual album my mother owned. TWCS publications department briefly considered using the real cover (see image above), but felt it was a bit too explicit. Halfway into the editing process, I actually had to go back and change an entire paragraph describing this album cover in detail when we decided to go with a more subtle stock photo. 

Like you said, the second title was a bit more obvious. In the opening scene of the second book, we have Hank and his best friend Hatch lamenting the idea of getting old. Hatch, who is now a naval officer, recounts a military anecdote about a blowfish. Hatch says,

“It’s just a phrase my submarine captain used to use whenever we got into a dicey situation. ‘Men, it’s time to make out with the blowfish,’ he’d say. [It means] you choose your battles. Blowfish are the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world—two-hundred times more deadly than cyanide—but they’re also a culinary delicacy. The choice is yours whether to die or have a good dinner.”

Like the belly dancer in the first book, the blowfish in the second book becomes a metaphor for Hank's trials and tribulations. Will he rise above it all or let the world consume him? And in the end, both the belly dancer and the blowfish are dual metaphors for the ultimate question asked by both novels: How does a boy become a man when all the men in his life are taken away from him?


Enter here to be apart of the three prize giveaway

 

Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Summary: 


This is the part in our hero’s story where he looks back and reflects upon the man he is today, but the truth is I’m still searching for him. I am still lost. Not the guy who thought I had found my way out of the wilderness . . . not the guy I wanted to become. 


When we last saw Hank Fitzpatrick in Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, he seemed to be finally figuring things out. He had a girlfriend. He had a life. But his secrets were yet to be discovered, his demons yet to be exorcised, and soon he would have no choice but to face them both. Gone is the boy we came to love, replaced by a man we struggle to like. Welcome back to Empire Ridge. Making Out with Blowfish is fear and loathing in the suburbs as told in Brian Sweany’s uniquely uninhibited voice.





Author Bio:
Since 2000, Brian Sweany has been the Director of Acquisitions for Recorded Books, one of the world’s largest audiobook publishers. Prior to that he edited cookbooks and computer manuals and claims to have saved a major pharmaceutical company from being crippled by the Y2K bug. Brian has a BS in English from Eastern Michigan University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1995. He's a retired semiprofessional student, with stopovers at: Wabash College, the all-male school that reputedly fired Ezra Pound from its faculty for having sex with a prostitute; Marian University, the former all-female school founded by Franciscan nuns that, if you don't count Brian's expulsion, has fired no one of consequence and is relatively prostitute-free; and Indiana University via a high school honors course he has no recollection of ever attending.
Brian has penned several articles for EverydayHealth.com about his real-life struggles to overcome sexual abuse as a young boy. Making Out with Blowfish is the sequel to his debut novel, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, and both books draw inspiration from this experience.
Brian has spent most of his life in the Midwest and now lives near Indianapolis with his wife, three kids, and two rescue dogs. For more details, check out the author’s website at: www.briansweany.com.  


Connect with Brian Sweany on: 



Monday, 17 March 2014

Making Out with Blowfish by Brian Sweany


Release Date: 6th March 2014
Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Reviews by Witchypoo - Guest Reviewer


Exotic Music of a Belly Dancer

This is not a book that I would not have chosen; the cover and the title did not appeal to me, but my daughter recommended it, so I took the plunge and read a chapter... then another and another, until the tale was told. And I'm glad I did. I now think that everyone should read this book.

This is story based on real events, about a teenage boy, Hank, that was sexually abused by his godfather as a child. It’s a coming of age story that highlights how a person coming from a so called “normal, respected family” moves on / grows out of / copes with / is shaped by such experiences. Initially Hank copes / compensates by partaking in lots of boozing, sex, music, partying and occasional trouble.

The story starts with a conversation. Hank’s parent have decided to have a vasectomy reversed, presumably so they can have more children...of course Hank doesn't think this good idea. The issue is further complicated when he discovers that one of his girlfriends (Lauren) has not only fallen pregnant but has also had an abortion. 

Subsequently, Hank has a lot on his mind... and then his parents have another son, Jack. This is followed by more boozing, girlfriends and parties until both of Hank’s grandfathers die and then Hanks father is also killed. What was already perilously close to shattering, becomes even more strained and stretched... With in six months his Mum picks up with an old school boy friend; Hank naturally finds this challenging. But then his Mum also ends up in hospital after taking too many pills with alcohol in what may have been a cry for help...

When Hank visit’s his mum in hospital, his old girlfriend (then one who previously had the abortion) also shows up. What occurs there is a serious of confessions that will blow your mind!

It’s a very good story with an underlying theme of anti-judgment. Don’t judge this book by it’s cover, and don’t judge it’s characters until the story unfolds... and even then, maybe reserve a little judgement for book 2.


Making Out with Blowfish...

Another lovely story that is not all alluded to by the title and cover, though
the reasoning behind the title is a little clearer in this story. I continue to believe that everyone should read these books, even if only to show us how judgmental we all can be. 

Hanks life was very topsy-turvy, as was the lives of his whole family starting with his grandparents; even the lives of his friends and their parents was topsy-turvy. It goes to show that none of us are perfect. 

A lot is revealed in this book. It helps the reader to understand the flow on effect of bad decisions, and how some childhood experiences can instill in us a response that impacts decisions we make for our children. Have you ever remembered something your parents used to do, and swore you’d never do that to your kids? Have you ever learnt something about your parents that made you understand why they acted a certain way? This book has a lot of those moments. 

I loved Hanks battles, his ups and downs the way he deals with everything, the way he copes (or doesn’t cope) with life changes. He seems to be quite insightful of people and their needs. The fact that this is based on a true story only makes Hank’s journey even more profound. It made me cry several times.

It’s a book that needs to be read....




Summary: 

This is the part in our hero’s story where he looks back and reflects upon the man he is today, but the truth is I’m still searching for him. I am still lost. Not the guy who thought I had found my way out of the wilderness . . . not the guy I wanted to become.

When we last saw Hank Fitzpatrick in Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, he seemed to be finally figuring things out. He had a girlfriend. He had a life. But his secrets were yet to be discovered, his demons yet to be exorcised, and soon he would have no choice but to face them both. Gone is the boy we came to love, replaced by a man we struggle to like. Welcome back to Empire Ridge. Making Out with Blowfish is fear and loathing in the suburbs as told in Brian Sweany’s uniquely uninhibited voice.



Enter here to be apart of the three prize giveaway



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Author Bio:
Since 2000, Brian Sweany has been the Director of Acquisitions for Recorded Books, one of the world’s largest audiobook publishers. Prior to that he edited cookbooks and computer manuals and claims to have saved a major pharmaceutical company from being crippled by the Y2K bug. Brian has a BS in English from Eastern Michigan University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1995. He's a retired semiprofessional student, with stopovers at: Wabash College, the all-male school that reputedly fired Ezra Pound from its faculty for having sex with a prostitute; Marian University, the former all-female school founded by Franciscan nuns that, if you don't count Brian's expulsion, has fired no one of consequence and is relatively prostitute-free; and Indiana University via a high school honors course he has no recollection of ever attending.
Brian has penned several articles for EverydayHealth.com about his real-life struggles to overcome sexual abuse as a young boy. Making Out with Blowfish is the sequel to his debut novel, Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer, and both books draw inspiration from this experience.
Brian has spent most of his life in the Midwest and now lives near Indianapolis with his wife, three kids, and two rescue dogs. For more details, check out the author’s website at: www.briansweany.com.  


Connect with Brian Sweany on: 


Other novels by Brian Sweany:










Thursday, 13 March 2014

Trust by Sherri Hayes - Book 4 in the Finding Anna Series



Available 20th March from: TWCSAmazonB&NiTunesKobo

The Summary


Brianna is lost for the fourth time in her life. Each time was unexpected, and each changed the course of her future. The first life-altering event occurred when her mother died, and she moved to Minnesota to live with her father.

The second was when she was kidnapped at the age of seventeen and forced to be a slave. She would never forget those ten months. Brianna thought her life was over.

Everything changed again the day Stephan steamrolled into her life and brought her home to live with him. She had no idea what to expect—what life with her new Master would hold. That first month with Stephan was, in some ways, more confusing than the prior ten. As a slave, she’d known her place. With Stephan everything was new and different. He’d given her freedom and so much more.

Five months after Stephan rescued her, Brianna once again finds her life flipped upside down.

In this fourth, and final, installment of Finding Anna, Brianna must unearth strength she never knew she possessed. Stephan can no longer protect her from the outside world. She must learn to trust herself, embrace who she is, and discover who she wants to be. Only by facing her demons can Brianna find true happiness and peace.

 About the Author

Sherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn't good at spelling or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author.

At the age of thirty, all that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more.

Seven years later, Sherri is the author of seven full-length novels and one short story. Writing has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create.

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on her

Other books by Sherri








Wednesday, 5 March 2014

St. Bart's by Emme Cross



Welcome to the Blog Tour for Emme Cross's novel St. Barts


Please see below for a list of all the tour dates and giveaway - if you've not yet got your copy of her saucy novel you can enter from here. :)


6th March - Highlight / Kickoff - http://cafeartspace.blogspot.com.au 

7th March - Review - http://bit.ly/1c3CMSE Jen - Goodreads

8th March - highlight / excerpt -  http://hookerheelsbookblog.blogspot.com/

9th March - review - http://bit.ly/1ombtDi Johanna - Goodreads

11th March - Review / Guestpost - https://www.facebook.com/channelling.cloretta

12th March - Review and Interview - http://www.actingbalanced.com 

13th March - Review -  http://jeanniezelos.wordpress.com 
13th March - Excerpt - http://nomdeplumepress.wordpress.com 

14th March - Review and Excerpt http://ripeforreader.blogspot.com 

15th March - Review http://bjsbookblog2.blogspot.com

16th March - Review - http://bit.ly/1jNEaca  Connie - Goodreads


18th March - http://bit.ly/1djR00j  Ilana - Goodreads


20th March - Review and Excerpt - http://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5 






Summary

St. Barts.

Sunny O’Hara hopes to call the tiny slice of France her new home. Her parents met and fell in love on the Caribbean island, but she and her dad left after her mother’s death. Sunny is back on St. Barts hoping to build rental villas on some family land and finally have a social life after nursing her father until his death. Sunny hasn’t dated and sometimes feels as though she’s wearing a scarlet “V” on her chest.

Enter Sven Larsen, a Hollywood bad boy, a movie star in the making. He’s on St. Barts for what could be a career-changing role. He’s also antsy. His steady diet of booze and eager bed partners has left him feeling empty. He wants something more, something real. He’s intrigued by the strange woman he meets cooking after hours at a local restaurant. When she turns up on set as a translator, he gives in to temptation and asks her out.

Sunny turns the table at dinner and propositions her date. Will he be her sexual mentor? Sven is shocked, intrigued, and ultimately enthusiastic. The lessons proceed in scorching secrecy, but word leaks out, and soon the tabloids are hunting for Sven’s latest lover.

Not everyone is pleased about the liaison. Sunny’s friend, Mimi, worries that she’s in over her head. Sven’s friend, Clyde, worries the actor is getting too attached. As lust flares into love, someone decides to take drastic action and the romance between the virgin and the movie star takes a tragic turn.

St. Barts is a novel about the allure of celebrity and fame, about the enduring need for roots, and ultimately, about love. It’s also a love letter to a beautiful island.

Introducing Emme Cross 

Emme Cross is a veteran journalist who has worked at the biggest media outlets in Canada and has met everyone from politicians to rock stars. She writes for and reads the news on the most popular radio station in the entire country and researches and writes for the largest radio news station as well. She is an avid reader, gardener, world traveler and foodie. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and their English Bull Terrier.




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