November162011

String Bridge - Jessica Bell



Author: Jessica Bell

PublisherLucky Press

Rating: 3 Shots of Espresso(Coffee Buzz)

Passionate about music? Curious about the passion of a musician?
Jessica Bell’s debut novel, String Bridge, develops a keen sense of how to show the enveloped passion of a musician. Melody, the Australian musician living in Greece, decides to make a decision for herself rather than someone else. She decides to think about returning to the stage; she is no longer happy in her career that she had chosen over her guitar. String Bridge takes the reader on Melody’s journey and through each of her obstacles.
Bell’s novel is a nice change in the genre where the character decides to redefine their identity or go back to their roots. String Bridge examines Melody’s life and her society defined gender as a female and what that was supposed to mean when she married her music promoter husband. Melody seeks what she wants and carefully decides what type of sacrifices are necessary.
I really enjoyed the connection Melody has with her mother, and the guidance that she seeks from her mother. The people that Melody sees as harboring knowledge, such as her mother, kept me interested in the decisions that Melody would make. I felt like I had invested in Melody and her decisions that I kept reading and waiting to see what she would end up doing by the end of the novel. The passion that Bell portrays through Melody’s desire to be a musician again is wonderful and believable. I felt likeString Bridge is worthy in the way Bell fully develops the struggles of a character who wants to redefine their identity. I felt that Bell examines the situation without simply having Melody being only negative about her current situation. There was a push and pull that Melody goes through that validates this category of novels that I, at times, have had trouble reading. Jessica Bell’s String Bridge does a fabulous job developing the struggles and decisions that Melody ends up making by the end of the novel.
I give Bell’s String Bridge three shots of espresso because I think that those who really enjoy character self-discovery novels will thoroughly enjoy the novel. I know that this is a genre that I normally don’t fawn over, but I really enjoyed this great addition. Also, those who are passionate about music should definitely check out String Bridgebecause Jessica Bell also has a fabulous soundtrack that goes along with the novel. For a great read and a great listen, pick this one up!
Check out the trailer:

ï(ð~ Erica 
5PM

Self-published Sunday Spotlight - November 13, 2011 


I have decided to showcase three self-published authors every other Sunday. I will briefly explain their book and what it’s about and who the author is. I want to support self-published authors, and I believe that this is of more value to my audience. The actual reviews of these books may come later. This is how I plan on continuing my support of the self-published author population, as I have now fully entered the work world. Cheers to the wonderful world of self-published authors; a great group of authors that all should take the pleasure of picking one of these fabulous novels up!
eBook (Non-fiction):

CULINARY SCHOOL: THREE SEMESTERS OF LIFE, LEARNING AND LOSS OF BLOOD

Written by: S J Sebellin-Ross
2011
words
S J Sebellin-Ross’ memoir, Culinary School, confesses her experiences from the good to the bad to the bizarre. Immediately, Sebellin-Ross takes you into her culinary world by describing who really is the average student. “[They] are not foodies. [They] are not people who read Saveur or own cookbooks or eat in fine restaurants. [They] are not people who know who David Chang is or what soba noodles are.” Instead, Culinary School depicts a world that may be foreign to the average person, the foodie or even the restaurateur; Sebellin-Ross roughly depicts her experiences with her fellow culinary connoisseurs. While much of the memoir revels in the struggles of Sebellin-Ross, the lighter moments keep the memoir insightful, and, at times, the memoir does offer some recipes. Sebellin-Ross’ Culinary School left me with a burnt feeling in my mouth because her whole experience seemed torturous. I love to cook and warn the foodie at heart that this is memoir for the strong stomached, but do check it out!
Non-fiction (Print):

STILL LIFE WITH BRASS POLE: THE CROSS-COUNTRY COMING OF AGE OF A TEENAGE LOVE JUNKIE

Written by: Craig Machen
2011
269 pgs
Craig Machen’s memoir, Still Life with Brass Pole, takes you into his life as a 16 year old thrown into a world of drugs and abandonment. Though Machen deals with rather heavy and serious issues, he manages to keep the moments lighter with his humor or snide comments. Still Life with Brass Pole manages to maintain a sense of optimism in a life full of obstacles and hurdles that are only heightened due to the fact that he is a teenager where everything is so much more dramatic and earth shattering. The hope that drives the memoir keeps you interested in how his cross-country adventures to find his own life and family pans out. Machen’s Still Life with Brass Pole shows how one surrounded by sorry material conditions can redefine their identity for the better. Finding a sense of purpose and the good in the world is what makes this memoir worth the read. Check out Still Life with Brass Pole!
Print Fiction:

THE WATER MEN

Written by: Adelaide MacKenzie Fuss
2011
226 pgs
Adelaide MacKenzie Fuss’ novel, The Water Men, examines the redefining of Shawn McGuire’s identity. After having to rethink his income situation, Shawn goes back to his hometown of Newport Beach, California. Though Shawn may be financially hurting, he seeks the ocean waves of the Pacific to help redirect his new path. Along his own path, he discovers the needs of others and finds that living only in his own head and for himself is not the best path for him to take this second time around. He uses his love for the ocean and surfing to help guide him to form a self-satisfying identity. Fuss’ The Water Men provides the reader with a sense on wonderment about life and how we choose specific paths in our lives. How circumstances can mold us to travel one way rather than another way. Check out Adelaide MacKenzie Fuss’ The Water Men if you want to fall into the California surfing fantasy and to see what path Shawn McGuire decides to take.
5PM

Sunday Self-published Spotlight - October 30, 2011


I have decided to showcase three self-published authors every other Sunday. I will briefly explain their book and what it’s about. I want to support self-published authors, and I believe that this is of great value to my audience. The actual reviews of these books may come later. This is how I plan on continuing my support of the self-published author population, as I have now fully entered the work world. Cheers to the wonderful world of self-published authors—a  great group of authors! Everyone should take the pleasure of picking one of these fabulous books up!
  

eBook:

SLEEPING KINGS: DARK FORCE – BOOK ONE

Written by: John Prentice
2011
78,500 words
John Prentice’s Young Adult novel, Sleeping Kings, follows a geek, Nik, who now has to deal with her parents’ divorce. She moves to France with her father, where her ordinary life is transformed into adventure and mystery. As Nik tries to help figure out what is going on after finding a dead man, she must figure out how she fits into her new life. She uses the craziness from history to come to an understanding of what is happening around her. Prentice wondrously creates this world of mystery, fantasy and realism that is sure to keep you turning the electronic pages. Sleeping Kings is for anyone who likes to delve into a fantastical mystery, but also for those who like the mysticism of history. Check out Prentice’s Sleeping Kings, especially those Young Adult fans!
Non-fiction (Print):

WAITING FOR POPS: A JOURNEY FROM BOY TO MAN

Written by: John Philip Riffice
2010
331 pgs
John Philip Riffice’s memoir, Waiting for Pops, depicts Riffice’s life as a child dealing with a family history of alcoholism. The memoir begins strongly with a theme of betrayal and how that plays out for a young boy. Specifically, the young boy faces the betrayal of his mother because of her struggles with alcoholism. Riffice recounts the shame and betrayal the young boy feels because of living with an alcoholic mother. The memoir, however, doesn’t end with this one storyline; it, also, explores the boy’s childhood and search for answers surrounding his father. Riffice does a fabulous job analyzing how, as an adult, life and reality can drastically change. The now adult man must decide what is truth and what is fiction between what he remembers as a child and what he now know as an adult. Check out Riffice’s Waiting for Pops if you enjoy what sort of truth self-reflective tales bring to the mind’s surface.



Print Fiction:

THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM

Written by: Gerard DeMarigny
2011
273 pgs
Gerard DeMarigny’s political thriller, The Watchman of Ephraim, is perfect for the current political season to keep you thinking. DeMarigny takes the history and sadness of September 11th and creates a fantastical political thriller. The main character, Chris, rethinks his high-end career after the death of his wife on 9/11. The sadness and rage he feels from loosing his wife in such a horrific way catalyzes his decision to begin an agency to combat terrorism. DeMarigny tackles current political issues that do not have easy answers, but he does a fantastic job at raising such issues in a faced paced novel. I encourage those interested in politics or fiction that tackles political issues to check out The Watchman of Ephraim.

(Source: bookedinchico.blogspot.com)

5PM

The Man Booker Prize 2011…

I was waiting in anticipation all day Tuesday to find out who was going to win this year’s Man Booker Prize. I had seen articles all morning predicting that Julian Barnes was projected to win. Sure enough, Julian Barnes’ THE SENSE ON AN ENDING won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. Though I have yet to read it and hadn’t really looked into any of the five that were shortlisted, I was pushing for either Stephan Kelman’s PIGEON ENGLISH or Patrick deWitt’s THE SISTERS BROTHERS. Why you ask? Because those I had known the most about and had seemed intrigued to read them; in fact, they are both on my TBR list (no matter how insane that list is quickly becoming).
So now I have looked into Barnes’ novel a bit more; okay, so it was not what I would read if it didn’t have the “Booker” stamp of approval. I will, then, give it a try; however, I am fearful this novel falls into that category of uber maleness, which vomits uncontrollably the male protagonist’s pity party about how horrible their downgraded life may be. And to those novels, I can say how much I like them: NOT AT ALL. But like I said, I will give it a try.
Barnes’ win makes me question the prize just like many are questioning the National Book Award prize. The Booker Prize has awarded some phenomenal novels, LIFE OF PI, THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS, and MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN. So why does this one give me the same chills that A SEPARATE PEACE and CATCHER AND THE RYE gave me? And note, those were never good chills!
I guess I will have to wait until next year. This may be why my new favorite literary award is the PEN/Bellwether Prize. Check out that one for other wonderful novels that even more align with themes that I absolutely fall love.
Here’s to reading, soon, THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes; CONGRATS Mr. Barnes!
May252011

Armchair BEA Blogger Inspiration

So, I shamefully did not interview anyone for today’s Armchair BEA. I, however, wanted to give a shout out to those who have inspired me to start my book blog. 
First of all, Lori of The Next Best Book Blog (TNBBC’s Blog) had a book club on Goodreads, which I have been following and apart of for about 2 years. I have been following her blog and her twitter, which are both entertaining and informative. Lori is a wonderful support to new authors, independent publishers and fellow book bloggers. I graciously won a giveaway on her blog–The Ghost Trap by K. Stephens–which inspired me to begin my blogging. Everyone probably knows Lori’s TNBBC’s Blog; but if you don’t please check it out!
My other book blogger inspiration is Melissa’s The Sunday Book Review. She reads an eclectic list of books and has turned her blog into a really professional archive of book reviews. I love following her on Twitter and wish I could go to her Indie Book Event that will happening this summer (oh to live in New York Book City…sigh). The Sunday Book Review is a wonderful book blog; I aspire to have as wonderful a blog as Melissa’s soon!
Let’s keep the networking going because I love how receptive and supportive all the book bloggers are to one another. Cheers!
~ Erica

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