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Monday, August 22, 2016

Roadmap Girl Reviews Maxine Nunes' Dazzled

Title: Dazzled 
Series: Nikki Easton Mystery Series, Book 1
Author: Maxine Nunes
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Five Star
Date of Release: October 23, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover):
Author Website: www.maxinenunes.com

Reviewed by Marlan Warren originally Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz

“I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here, where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.”—Dazzled

Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.
Critique: Maxine Nunes' “Dazzled” is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

True to its genre, the story takes readers where others have gone before, but Nunes puts a fresh spin on the familiar elements through inspired turns of phrases ("...a man who evidently thought a strip of chest hair would do for a necktie") and quirky 21st Century updates (gifted with a bouquet, the only "vase" Nikki can find is an empty Slurpee cup).

Nunes also has a gift for depicting layered characters. To this end, she makes excellent use of an acting class that demands "honest emotions" of its students. In the hands of a lesser writer, these scenes could come off as satire or excessively dramatic; but here they skillfully alternate between humor and pathos while giving readers the necessary insights.
“The stronger the personality the more it hid.”—Dazzled

“Dazzled” lovingly and painstakingly explores the paradoxical contradictions of Los Angeles and its hapless inhabitants. The smell of night jasmine juxtaposes with the stench of the morgue...an actress with a "show biz" sensuality hides her true self in plain sight...and all the sleights of hand resonate in the book's first line:

What's real?

At its core, the mystery explores love in its various forms and disguises. Twists, turns and double-crosses abound. Enough to keep the pages turning, but not so complicated or overloaded with characters that it ever feels unwieldy.

All in all, a fun read—unless you are living in L.A., in which case you might have fun while also thinking about leaving town; or if you are the optimistic type, you might find yourself looking forward to a sequel.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Marlan Warren is an avid tweeter (@MalanWarren). You should know her! And--obviously--a book fan. But she is also a PR girl who writers should get to know.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Goodreads Author Lauds Book about Law and Lawyers


Ms. Marin gave the book 5 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Title: Closest to the Fire
Subtitle: A Writer's Guide to Law and Lawyers
Author: Karen A. Wyle
ISBN for paperback: 978-0-9905641-4-0
ISBN for non-Amazon ebooks: 978-0-9905641-5-7
Published by Oblique Angles Press
Available on Amazon (US)  as an e-book 
Available as paperback on Amazon US
The books' Web site: http://www.cttf.karenawyle.net
Cover designer: Elizabeth DiPalma Design Plus 
The cover won The Book Designer's, aka Joel Friedlander's,  nonfiction ebook cover award for October 2015



Reviewed by Ms. Marin originally for Goodreads.
Five of five stars



As a writer, I thought this book would be useful in the event I delve into the legal sphere for a screenplay. As an individual who’s had some experience with the legal system, I thought it could provide some insight on the legal process in general. I have to say Karen Wyle did not disappoint on either count.

Any writer wishing to take on the legal system first needs to understand the who, what, where, why and how of the subject. Ms. Wyle has successfully provided that information in her book “Closest to the Fire” which is a massive undertaking. Just check out the table of contents.

While this book is a guide and the author encourages readers not to just go from A to Z, I decided to read the first four chapters straight through to get the feel for her style. Thereafter, I poked around at different chapters that caught my attention.

The author clearly explains numerous aspects of the law, civil and criminal, and the people associated with it and in so doing, offers up possible scenarios a writer may choose to incorporate into a story. In fact, just about everything in the book, if you look closely enough, will provide clues for a novel or film script. But the author specifically points out possibilities with her use of asterisks for plot points. The author also peppers her work with references to films with legal plots.

You’ll read historical references and explanations of how some laws changed and why. You’ll learn the distinctions of criminal acts surrounding rape, robbery and theft, perjury, various threats and so forth. All written in an easy to understand fashion.

The one thing made abundantly clear at the outset and at the end is that this book is to be used as a writers’ guide and readers should not rely upon it for legal advice. That being said, I found the book very useful in understanding aspects of the law and, if writing a scene or screenplay involving the legal system, this would definitely be a resource I would use. Well done, Ms. Wyle.



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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Diane Donovan Lauds Jendi Reiter's Newest Book, Two Natures

Title: Two Natures
Author: Jendi Reiter
Author website: http://www.jendireiter.com/
Genre: Literary fiction
ISBN: 0996907424
Published by: Saddle Road Press (www.saddleroadpress.com) 
Where to buy it:
Name of reviewer: Diane Donovan
Original review publication: Midwest Book Review
Reviewer's link:

Reviewed by Diane Donovan originally for Midwest Book Review



Julian is a Southern boy and transplanted aspiring fashion photographer in New York City in the 1990s; a gay man facing the height of the AIDS epidemic and professional, social, and spiritual struggles alike as he questions himself, God's will, and Christian values in the advent of a specific kind of apocalypse.

It's rare to discover within a gay love story an equally-powerful undercurrent of political and spiritual examination. Too many gay novels focus on evolving sexuality or love and skim over underlying religious values systems; but one of the special attributes of Two Natures isn't just its focus on duality, but its intense revelations about what it means to be both Christian and gay.

In many ways, Julian is the epitome of a powerful, conflicting blend of emotions. Take the story's opening line, for one example. Readers might not anticipate a photographer's nightmare which bleeds heavily into evolving social realization and philosophy: "I woke from another nightmare about photographing a wedding. The bride was very loud and everyone's red lipstick was smeared across their teeth like vampires, except vampires would never wear lavender taffeta prom dresses. It's always the wrong people who can't see themselves in mirrors."

Even the language exquisitely portrays this dichotomy: Julian's parents are still "Mama" and "Daddy", his language and many of his attitudes remain delightfully Southern ("You know, back where I come from, that was the first thing you asked a new fellow: what does your Daddy do, and where do you go to church?"), and his experiences with men, female friends, his evolving photography career, and life in general are wonderfully depicted, drawing readers into not just the trappings and essence of his life, but the course of his psychological, philosophical and spiritual examinations.

As Julian explores this world, readers should expect sexually graphic (but well-done) scenes designed to enhance the storyline (not shock it with departures or dominant heaviness), an attention to the social and political environment of the 90s that swirls around Julian and changes his perspectives and decisions, and a gritty set of candid descriptions that probe real-world experience.

Readers of gay fiction seeking more than a casual series of insights into the world of New York City's culture, enhanced by the deeper perspectives of a young man who spiritually struggles to find his place even as he fine-tunes his career and life, will welcome the close inspection of truth, love, and life provided in Jendi Reiter's Two Natures, powerful saga of Southern etiquette and perspectives turned upside down and the risks involved in moving beyond one's safe zone.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jendi Reiter is also the author of  Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize):

"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."
Surangama Sutra

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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Costa Rican Author Gleans Editing Tips from The Frugal Editor

Title: The Frugal Editor, 2nd Edition
Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author’s Web site: http://HowToDoItFrugally.com
Awards: USA Book News, Reader Views, Irwin Award
ISBN: 9781505712117
Available as an e-book or paper, http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor

Reviewed by Helen Dunn Frame

Senior citizens may find it difficult to change a life-long habit, specifically typing two spaces after the end of the sentence. Now it’s possible to keep an old habit and let Word “correct” it for you. Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson, in The Frugal Editor that contains a wealth of information for writers editing their own work, explains how to use “Replace” to fix this element in a document.

She outlines the directions under a “Sidebar” in the book, one of many tips crammed in it. I found it on page 34 of 123 pages in my PDF copy under the heading Let Your Replace Function Spot the Dots.

Be sure to “Select All” to highlight the entire document. Just remember to put the cursor on the “Find what” and “Replace with” bars, to the far left as possible. Press the space bar twice in “Find what” and once in “Replace with.” They will look blank but when you click on “Replace All,” the poltergeist will correct the spaces. A box appears to confirm the app has worked.

The Frugal Editor has helped me before with useful information.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Helen Dunn Frame is the author of
Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition); Greek Ghosts; Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth; Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal.

Website:
http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1COtMJn 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her next book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers will be How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 
                 

The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. 

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

Friday, July 1, 2016

Reviewer Would Give All the Stars in the Universe


  • Title: Rarity from the Hollow
  • Author: Robert Eggleton
  • Web site link: www.lacydawnadventures.com  
  • Genre: Adult Literary Science Fiction
  • ISBN: 9781907133060;1907133062
  • Name of Reviewer:  Charity Rowell-Stansbury
  • Review Site: On My Kindle
  • Amazon Link: Available in paper or as e-book.
  • Rating from Reviewer: If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe.

Reviewed by Charity Rowell-Stansbury originally for On My Kindle

Lacy Dawn seems like a typical Appalachian eleven-year-old girl; bright, resourceful, living in poverty, and trying desperately to "fix" her mother and father. Her father, Dwayne, is a war veteran who suffers from PTSD and prefers to self-medicate; when triggered, he becomes violent and Lacy Dawn and her mother become the target of his rage. Lacy Dawn's mother, Jenny, does her best to protect her daughter; however, she is worn down from years of abuse and sacrificing her dreams to take care of her daughter and husband.

Despite outward appearances, Lacy Dawn is a very unique and gifted child. She spends most of her free time talking to the trees in the Hollow; playing with her deceased friend, Faith, who dwells in the trees; and learning all she can from her anatomically incomplete and semi-organic boyfriend, DotCom. After helping Lacy Dawn implement a treatment plan for her parents, DotCom reveals his true purpose; he was sent to help Lacy Dawn evolve, and then recruit her for a mission to save the universe.

While DotCom has no idea what she is supposed to do to save the universe, the pair decide to let her family and Tom, family friend/local entrepreneur/drug dealer, in on the secret. With the help of friends, family, and the family's dog; Lacy Dawn and DotCom come up with an ingenious plan to save the universe.

When Eggleton requested a review of Rarity from the Hollow, I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go. It is not every day that I find a kindred spirit in a book, but I found one in Lacy Dawn! I admired her courage, her imagination, and her intelligence; I could go on for days about the excellent job that Eggleton did in developing Lacy Dawn's character, but I won't. What I will say is that even if you do not fully understand her perspective, you will admire her spunk.

I also greatly admire Eggleton's whimsical, witty, and understanding approach to sensitive and serious subject matters: child abuse, child poverty, domestic violence, PTSD, drug use, and alcoholism. Eggleton's matter-of-fact and irreverent tone about these subject matters conveys the gravity of the family's situation without sending readers into a spiral of suicidal depression, or being insulting.

Rarity from the Hollow
brilliantly combines social commentary in a fantastical and intricate science fiction setting that readers can understand and relate to. It is one of those books that if it does not make you think, you are not really reading it.

FROM THE REVIEWER:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Girl Plus Book Reviews Cresecren Chronicles for YA

Title: NOVUS 
Series: The Cresecren Chronicles, Book 1)
Author: Crystal Marcos
Genre: Young Adult
Honors and Awards:
~"Official Selection" Winner in the E-Book Young Adult category, 2015 New Apple Book Awards!
~Winner Best Books in the Young Adult category, 2016 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards!
ASIN: B010OI7UIM
ISBN-13: 978-0984389988

The Cresecren Chronicles: Novus
Reviewed by Sarah originally for Girl Plus Book  

“I may never know what it feels like to lose a mate. As I watched Zira rock back and forth moaning, I wondered if love was worth what she felt. “

Adventure-packed experience with a Cinder-like feel and a iRobot-like storyline. Marcos takes you into a dystopian world where humans have made a new being to aid in the survival of the human race. The Cresecrens, essentially a new race whose sole purpose is to serve humans. No rights, no freedom. Humans and Cresecrens live peacefully within their own boundaries, until one unexplainable event, all that changes.
From character development to plot twists, Marcos story comes together beautifully. There is never a slow or dull moment: conspiracy, forbidden love, hidden cities, battles, and more; you are sure to read this book in one sitting.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Imperfect Echoes
Subtitle: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Honored by USA Book News
Genre: Poetry
ISBN-13:978-1515232490
ISBN-10:1515232192
To buy as either paperback or e-book: http://bit.ly/ImperfectEchoes r%2Caps%2C272
Cover art by Richard Conrad Jackson

Reviewed by Helen Dunn Frame
Five Star Review on Amazon:

Review:

I’m not a poet and I know it. However, Carolyn Howard-Johnson is as evidenced by her latest work Imperfect Echoes Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. She found inspiration for her poems in a variety of lengths in a wide range of topics garnered from news stories, photographs, events and more. Her style is distinctive. You’re bound to find poems that strike a chord in your life. Be sure to read the section at the end of the book, “About the Author” to learn about this fabulous woman.

About the reviewer:


Look for Helen Dunn Frame’s fourth book, Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth, in paperback and Kindle on Amazon soon. Her other books are Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition); Greek Ghosts; and Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal. Find out more about her here: Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Dunn-Frame/e/B0054LDOBW
Website: 
http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1COtMJn Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/grandi1369/   and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-dunn-frame

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