Friday, August 31, 2012

Pump up Your Book Tours presents The Evelyn Project, by Kfir Luzzatto




Summary of The Evelyn Project:
A loving father's cry for help gets into the wrong hands, and a hundred years later things get out of control.Evelyn's father did everything in his power to save his dying daughter, black magic included. But when a century later his plea for help gets into the wrong hands, all hell breaks loose. Caught in the slippery battlefield between the Vatican and a cult that wants to change the past, a young Italian professor and a beautiful French actress are too busy running away from murder and conspiracy to let physical attraction develop into love.And it further complicates things when Her Majesty's Secret Service decides to take an interest in what everyone else is doing to pull some strings of its own.Love that lasts through the veils of time, a mystery, and a race to end a conspiracy, "The Evelyn Project" is a story that will stir both your heart and your intellect.

Author Bio:


Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney.

He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis. He has won numerous awards for his writing.

Guest Post: "What Inspired you to Write the Evelyn Project?"


“I am always taken by surprise when a story line somehow finds its way into my consciousness and, once settled there, demands to be written. Then I'm stuck with it, whether I like it or not. And, unfortunately, those story ideas don't come equipped with a well thought-out plot; instead, you get this rather fuzzy but nagging image that won't go away until the story is fully developed. This is what happened to me with The Evelyn Project.

Photo provided courtesy of
Kfir Luzzatto
Evelyn (or, rather Evelina, as she was named in my native Italy) was my great aunt. She died of tuberculosis in 1894. She was only 26 years old. My great-grandfather was an influential politician who left no stone unturned to try to save his daughter and got her the best medical care that was available at the turn-of-the-century, among which praying was probably the most effective measure.

Evelyn's studio portrait, which I used in the book cover, hangs on the wall beside my writing desk. My second daughter, Lilach, is her living image and her 26th birthday is approaching fast. That might have been a catalyst for me to write the book, although the sad story of Evelyn's death was always a part of my family's ethos; I must've sucked it in with my milk because I can't remember the first time her name was mentioned. When my parents died I was left with the responsibility to make sure that my family history would not be forgotten. That entailed a lot of reading in books, documents and letters, which brought Evelyn's figure increasingly to life for me. I learned of her warm relation with her father through letters she had written to him, and I discovered more than I already knew about my great-grandfather's devotion to her.

Throughout my reading and learning one persistent thought kept popping up in my head: today her death would have been an unnecessary tragedy; with readily-available antibiotics an otherwise healthy young woman would not have succumbed to her illness. So what if it was possible to go back in time and save her using medical technology commonly available today? It is probable that saving Evelyn's life would not have changed the course of history (contrary to what many science fiction books would predict), but even if it did, preventing her father's private hell would have been well worth the price.

Having got emotionally involved in her story I realized that I had to do more than just sit there and shake my head in sorrow. I couldn't just let Evelyn fade away in those yellowing papers. I had to do right by her (whatever that meant). My investigation of Evelyn's misfortune allowed me to put myself in my great-grandfather's shoes, to feel the emotions that he must have felt (he was approximately my age when Evelyn died) and to test the length to which a father would go in an attempt, no matter how futile, to save his child.

Overall, writing this book turned out to be an exceptionally emotional journey for me. Sometimes I felt ashamed that I was enjoying writing it. Instead of dishing out a uniformly gloomy piece I was writing a fast-paced thriller that, beside the suspense, also has its hilarious moments.

This is not the first time that inspiration has come to me like an assignment from above without any real control from my side. I have learned not to fight the impulse and, instead, to embrace it and to allow myself to be taken on an emotional roller coaster ride without a clear vision of where the journey is likely to end.

I don't believe in stereotyping ghosts, so I won't say that I recognize Evelyn's hand or my great-grandfather's stick behind my urge to write the story. It is true, however, that now I feel much closer to them than I did before; they have assumed characters and a presence so real that at times it feels as if we had actually met. I often wondered whether they would have grudged me the use I made of their characters in a commercial book, but something tells me that if they can see us they understand that this is my way to give Evelyn some of the life she has been denied, even if only on paper.

But this is not only about Evelyn. My great-grandfather was no less of a victim to her disease than she was. The Evelyn Project is my tribute to them both.


Contact him:
Twitter: @KfirLuzzatto

 Author’s Website:  http://kfirluzzatto.com

Amazon:Purchase Link 
SMASHWORDS:Purchase Link





Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lily's Review of Hunted, by Cheryl Rainfield



Hunted
Caitlyn is a telepath in a world where having any Paranormal power is illegal. Caitlyn is on the run from government troopers, who can enslave, torture, or even kill her, or make her hunt other Paranormals. When Caitlyn settles down in a city, she falls for Alex, a Normal (someone without Paranormal powers), which is dangerous because he can turn her in. And she discovers renegade Paranormals who want to destroy all Normals. Caitlyn must decide whether she's going to stay in hiding to protect herself, or take a stand to save the world.

read excerpt

 

Published December 15th 2011 by WestSide Books


Lily's Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Review:

I was first introduced to this author when I picked up Scars, from Netgalley. It was a reviewed at an earlier date on this blog. I was gripped by the main character's voice and pain in this novel. I did not hesitate to read Hunted when Cheryl Rainfield very generously offered it to me to review.

The premise was different, in that it offered a paranormal tone, yet the stories are very much the same in that there is affliction, persecution and the necessity of hiding one true self.

As an X-men fan, I was instantly gripped by the story from the beginning, where our main female character, Caitlyn, is running with her mother from an agency intent on apprehending those with special abilities. She finds herself in another town, going to a new school, facing down bullies, making friends, slowly gaining trust in her small circle, fearing betrayal at every turn. 

The action was fast paced; sometimes too fast for my liking, which is a strange thing to write. But sometimes it felt like there was something missing in between action scenes, that maybe would have explained some of the thought processes a little better.  

The writer did write successfully with a teenager's voice, with situations becoming maybe a little more dramatic than they should have been, but believable to me. I am not so old that I don't remember the earth shattering moments of those years, that now seem so trivial, surrounding friend squirmishes, and boyfriend actions or lack of. Not to say that the book centered around that; that is very far from the truth. The story is infused with situations which were very serious, as a full out war with potential catastrophic results was on the verge of erupting.

I found the relationship forged between Caitlyn and Alex to be believable, though was momentarily confused by the scene where Alex shows intense prejudice against paranormals, when prior to that moment, he seemed truly to be sympathetic, or at least neutral. 

On the whole, I had a hard time putting this book down, which is definitely the same issue I had with Scars. The story was gripping, and very engaging to the very end. 

Another recommended read for YA readers, without a doubt, and I look forward to continue reading more novels by this author.

Stay tuned for a future Author Spotlight with Cheryl Rainfield, and a Giveaway! 


 


Purchase Links:

Learn more about Cheryl Rainfield on her website!
 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Erin`s Review of The Sixth Sense, by Lawrence W. Gold

  My Rating: didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing

Brier Hospital Series: Arnie Roth, a family practitioner, develops viral encephalitis. He awakens from the near-death experience with a new appreciation for life and an unexpected talent, his sensitivity to smell has increased a thousandfold. The Sixth Sense is highly entertaining, thought provoking, and touching journey through a world that influences us every day, but one that we know too little about.





This was a great novel, unlike anything I have ever read before.  I love books about medicine.  Medicine is fascinating, and Dr. Lawrence W. Gold has brought a whole new aspect to it.

The story captured me from the very beginning, there were a lot of characters, but the development was strong, which made it very easy for follow along.

There was a lot of medical terminology which I eat up, but there was a twist to this one.  The main character, Arnie is a MD who develops a viral infection and nearly dies, though when he wakes up he has super human smelling...seems cool right?  It totally does until you read the story and become aware of what it would really do to you, you feel sympathy for Arnie and his family.

A book of a lot of twists and turns, this one will pull you in and not let you go!

I can't wait to read some of Dr. Gold's other novels.

About the Author

 After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School, I graduated from Adelphi (class of 1961), a college then, a university now, and then to medical school in Chicago. The war in Vietnam interrupted my postgraduate training with a year in Colorado Springs and another as a Battalion Surgeon in Vietnam. I spent seven months in the Central Highlands with the 4th Infantry and five months in an evacuation hospital in Long Binh outside Saigon where I ran the emergency room. I returned intact in 1968 to complete my training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney, nephrology. I worked for twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice caring for patients with complicated illnesses often in ICU and served as Chief of Medicine. My wife Dorlis and I retired in October 1995 and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for a life at sea in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Four years later, exhausted from repairing everything on board, (often many times) we sold the sailboat and within a year took the lazy man’s out; we bought a Nordic Tug, a trawler. We motored around Florida, the Bahamas, the entire East Coast and completed two ‘Circle trips’ to Canada and back, eight months, the first time, five months, the second. I wrote professionally as a physician to inform but rarely to entertain, at least not on purpose. First, Do No Harm was published in April 2007, No Cure for Murder, the original version, was released in August 2011, and For the Love of God in January 2012 (all available in print and Kindle). In the last two years, I’ve written three screenplays based on my novels and hope to see one or more produced for the screen. I submitted my screenplay, Rage to the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest contest and won honorable mention (57 out of 11,000). We live in the California Sierras in beautiful Grass Valley with 13 year old Mike, a terrier mix and Bennie, a 7 year old purebred Yorkie who, looks like he’s on steroids.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lily's Review of Anumal Empire: Lazarball, by David Ayres & Darren Jacobs


Anumal Empire: LazarballThe race of man is extinct…
A new breed has risen...
Anumalkind shall inherit the Earth...

After merging human and animal DNA together, the Anumal race turned against their creators…and wiped them out.

Now, millennia later, an ancient pact between warring clans has been broken. Dark powers are surfacing, threatening the survival of this hybrid race…and the fate of the Anumal species lies in the paws of a single lion…Clinton Narfell.

Hailing from the desert village of Wooburn, Clinton’s meager life is catapulted out of control the day he steals food to feed his younger brother. As an extraordinary chain of events begins to unfold, Clinton is forced to use skill and cunning to keep himself alive…and is hurtled towards a destiny he did not realize he was born to fulfil…

Facing savage scavengers, vicious anumal clans, and worse, Clinton soon realizes that power does not come from books or spells, but from something far deeper within us all.



Kindle Edition
Published April 19th 2012 

Lily's Rating:  didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing

Review:

I first came across this novel on a fellow blogger's site, The Selkie Reads Stories.  I absolutely LOVED the cover, enjoyed the review, added this to my ever growing 'to read' list, and left an excited comment on their post.

David, one of the writers of this novel contacted me asking if I would like to read and review their novel! Heck Ya!!! 

I only got to it this month unfortunately, but so glad when I finally did.
This book is a smorgasbord of AWESOMENESS!

I loved that the story didn't really focus a lot about the past, and how the anumals came to be. Humans are extinct and the world is a much changed place. There is a multitude of colorful characters of every type of animal/human mix you can think of.  The main character definitely stood out, with his lion features. He falls into the stereotypical underdog category... always beaten down, but always gets up, shakes his mane, and off he goes again. And you want him to succeed. 
I couldn't help but envision one of my favorite childhood cartoons.


 

Thundercats!! Heeheee! There were a lot of cat anumals in this book, and that is why I thought of it. 

As you read though, you kind of forget that they are DNA mixed. I found myself picturing them as humans in my mind. But that is only because, they are very much human in emotions and behavior, if not necessarily in appearance.  

The storyline is very engaging and exciting. A novel, whose type, I have not really read before. I kept thinking... 'Someone please make a cartoon series out of this! Or a movie or something!" because it is SO cinematic.

Though I did not have a lot of trouble visualizing the characters in their described form, the added pleasure of art work in the novel was awesome! I really enjoyed ending a chapter, and coming to another piece of artwork before beginning the next.  David and Darren have an amazing site for Anumal Empire which I listed below for you guys to check out, and you should. There is some artwork not included in the novel that is really cool and worth a look.

I would recommend this book for all ages. I can see this novel being really attractive to young male readers or young at heart, but if you have a sense of adventure like I do, you will love the world inside these pages, and the characters that were brought to life in it, regardless of your sex and age.

Really looking forward to the next installment, because (damn you, David & Darren) we are left with a cryptic warning as our main character walks off into the desert towards his next adventure. Even without the cliffhanger, I would be eager to get my hands on the next book of the series.



Purchase Links:


About the Authors:


Monday, August 27, 2012

Author Spotlight - Zoe Brooks





 We are extremely excited to have received an interview with Zoe. Erin and I read Girl in the Glass recently, and absolutely loved this story. Erin wanted to give it 6 stars! And I don't blame her. It was beautifully written, and one of the best stories we have read this year.

Zoe has also very kindly given us the opportunity to host a GIVEAWAY for all our readers, present and future to win one of three copies of Girl in the Glass through Smashwords, in epub, mobi or pdf formats.

Please check out our reviews of Girl in the Glass:



Without further delay, on to the interview!




      What brought you to writing? Did you always want to be an author?

I’ve always written poetry and in my youth I was very successful at it – I was published in several anthologies and had a couple of collections published. But apart from an attempt at a novel when I was fourteen, I had not written a book until a few years ago. So in answer to the second half of your question, I always knew I was a poet, but not a novelist.

That said, I have always written stories in my head both as a way of understanding people I met and as a way of escaping the world. I was honored to work with disadvantaged people (asylum seekers, refugees, abused women, the homeless) for twenty years, but a few years ago it got too much and I had to stop. But the stories they told me stayed with me. A close friend of mine was a story editor in the film industry and had always loved my poetry: she encouraged me to write. I decided I would write a children’s novel. 

      What was your inspiration for ‘Girl in the Glass’?

The idea of the shadows goes back to a children’s play I wrote years ago and I used it in my new children’s novel. When my friend read the first draft of the book she picked up on it. The second thing she commented on was a minor character. Why was I so ambiguous about this woman? I rewrote the book and this character started to demand my attention. What was her secret? What was her story? I tried to write a children’s book about her, but still it wasn’t right. At last I realized she merited my full attention and an adult novel.

The first draft of Girl In The Glass only took me a month to write and there she was – Anya, complex, flawed, frustrating and loveable. Whatever people say about writers writing about themselves, Anya is not me. She is a combination of all those amazing women I had met through my work. She is also based on two women who were very important to me, but as one is still alive I won’t tell you who they are.

 
      The title of this book is very interesting. Can you expand on why you chose it for this novel?

There are a number of key points in the novel when Anya sees her reflection and realizes something about herself. In one case the mirror is held up by the housekeeper Marta so Anya can see that she looks like her mother, which is the reason why Anya’s aunt hates her. In another she sees herself in a shop window and is shocked by what she sees. As the book (and the trilogy) is about how Anya comes to understand and to value herself, the title seemed perfect. 

      Erin and I are very curious about what is referred to in the novel, a ‘Shadow’? I have a theory. Are you going to end our torture by telling us, or will it be more explored in upcoming novels?

I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. But I will tell you that book two – Love of Shadows – will give you a lot of answers. There will be a few more answers in book three.


       Since there has been mention that this novel is part of a trilogy, when should we expect to see the next installment?

Love of Shadows is currently being copy-edited. I’ve just commissioned the cover. I am aiming for release by October, so you won’t have to wait much longer. 

      You recently had a promotional offer for your novel “Mother of Wolves”. Can you tell us a little bit about this novel and what inspired this story?

Mother of Wolves is about another remarkable woman, Lupa, but she is very different from Anya. She is a born leader and has no self-doubt, so unlike Anya. When her husband is murdered, Lupa sets about revenging his death and in so doing protecting her sons. The story therefore starts off as a revenge story, but it turns into something more.  

Lupa had appeared as a minor character in  another children's novel I wrote and abandoned a couple of years ago. Although that novel is in my desk drawer never to see the light of day, my beta readers all wanted to know more about the character. In the first book she was a gypsy queen. I was nicknamed “gypo” at school and my grandmother may have been half-gypsy, so I have always been fascinated by the gypsies. I was on a boring tour of a Czech castle about two years ago, when I noticed some primitive paintings. Looking closer I could see they were paintings of the persecution of the gypsies – in one a woman with a baby in her arms is bleeding from where her ear has been cut off; this I discovered was the punishment just for being a gypsy woman. The gypsies have never united behind a leader in order to resist their persecutors, but what if they had, and what if that leader had been a woman?


       I know this one will be a hard one, but what is one of your all-time favorite books?

Hard! You’re not joking. Can I have a series? If so I choose the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin. Le Guin is the best author for creating realistic worlds and tacking important themes whilst telling a great tale. If I have to go for a single book, then it would by Jane Eyre. It was the first adult book I read and of course I identified with plain but spirited Jane. Now I am older I realise how clever the psychology is in it, there are good reasons why the Rochester/Jane relationship happens and works.  

      Tell us a little bit about how your experience as an author has been for you so far? Is it anything like you expected?

It’s still early days for me. But I am surprised and delighted by how many people just fall for Anya and how many get what I am trying to do with my novels. A lot of people, including yourselves, have been very generous and supportive. 

       What was the funniest or most memorable reader reaction to one of your novels?

I think the one that meant most to me was that of my story-editor friend. I am sure she was worried that her comments might put a strain on our relationship, what if my book was rubbish? It wasn’t and I really enjoyed her feedback. She used to say I was writing best-sellers - I hope she’s right. 

       Any advice for debut or aspiring authors out there?
   
Be self-critical but only after you've written the first draft. It’s a balance – you have to believe in yourself enough that you write (many people give up before they finish the first draft), but you have to be open to the fact that you won’t get things right at first go.


Thank you so much for your time! Erin and I are really looking forward to reading Mother of Wolves which we did not delay in downloading.

About the Author:
(pic and blurb from Goodreads)
Zoe BrooksI am a British writer and poet. I spend half my life in a partly restored old farmhouse in the Czech Republic, where I write all my novels and poetry. I aim to write popular books, which have complex characters and themes that get under the reader's skin. My first novel Girl in The Glass is available on Amazon, along with my second Mother of Wolves and my long poem for voices Fool's Paradise
For more information and/or to connect with Zoe Brooks, please check out her website!





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