Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Strap in and get ready for another hilarious, unbelievable journey into the life of author Simon Williams in the third book in his travel series, Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

From being dragged from an icy river on a white-water rafting trip in Nepal, to going headfirst over the handlebars of a moped in the Greek Isles, to struggling to understand the complexities of the bar fine system of a Thailand whorehouse, what else can go wrong on a trip? 

These are one man’s engrossing stories of wandering our planet that the editor at Frommer’s Guides doesn’t want you to know. Simon explains exactly what not to do when you find yourself in a tricky situation.

Nobody travels like this anymore. Maybe for good reason. Simon Williams doesn’t go looking for trouble in life, but when he finds it he never keeps his sarcastic mouth shut.

Travelling – it leaves you speechless then turns you into story tellers. Ibn Battuta

The Review

Author Simon Williams continues to dazzle and amuse readers with tales that seems impossible to be true. From an unplanned trip to the Taj Mahal that nearly drives the author over the edge to losing friends in Northern Ireland and even hilarious experiences watching passengers in airport terminals, this story has it all.

The author does a marvelous job painting a picture of the world through his eyes, bringing much needed humor and wit to normally stressful and awkward situations travelers have to endure around the world. The language and custom barrier between cultures can lead to unexpected outcomes when traveling abroad, and having a sense of humor about it can help ease the misunderstandings that are bound to happen. The author perfectly brings this imagery to life to showcase the situations one encounters during a life of travel.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this book. It continues an already exciting series of novels that explore one author’s journey in a funny and unique way. Filled with laughter, amazing looks from around the world and a steady dose of sarcasm and wit, this is the travel series you need to be reading now. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Simon Williams Wanderlost 3: More Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Wanderlost-Shots-Literary-Tequila-Restless-ebook/dp/B07GN19GZB/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1539657676&sr=1-1&keywords=9780463648001

About the Author

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If sarcasm was your acceptable daily allowance of protein, then author Simon Williams would be a juicy 12-ounce steak sandwiched between two pieces of red meat. In a recent Facebook posting of the 37 things people regret when they die, there was only one item he hadn’t done. Let go of a grudge, but he doesn’t regret it.

Born in Townsville, Queensland Simon now lives in Miami, Florida. He always wanted to see the world and still harbours a strong desire to visit Cambodia, Ceylon, and Leningrad, but is buggered if he can find where they are on a map. He has spent half his life having to tell Americans that he grew up near Sydney, as most of them have no idea that Australia has another city.

He found out how much he enjoyed writing when his 10th grade English teacher told him that he was lazy, so he wrote a 25-page story for his next essay just to annoy him. That is coincidentally when he found out he liked to shit stir people. His sense of humor was developed over 8 years of boarding school. As a way of both evading having the crap between out of him, while also dealing with being a smart boy who sat at the back of the class but who couldn’t see the board because he refused to wear his glasses.

His favourite pastime is trolling his mates on Facebook and taking the piss out of them. He has only been unfriended twice, on both occasions by his wife.

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Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One of 2018’s most highly anticipated fall reads has to be author Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s novel Dracul. The book is the official prequel to the classic literary horror classic Dracula, written by Dacre Stoker’s great-granduncle Bram Stoker. Taking the concept first explored by Bram and showcasing how the legend of Dracula first began, the story puts the Stoker family in the role of protagonists and explores where the myth and legends truly came from. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s–and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here…

A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents’ Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen–a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen–and that the nightmare they’ve thought long ended is only beginning.

The Review

I will say it now: this is one of my 2018 picks for best book of the year. It was truly amazing to read, and was as engaging as the original novel written by Bram Stoker over a century ago. Capturing the gothic, Victorian era setting and interweaving history, mythology and handwritten notes from author Bram Stoker himself, the authors really did a wonderful job bringing the life of Bram Stoker and his family to life in a horror based setting.

Now while the world knows the works of Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be a fiction horror tale, what fascinated me about Dracul was not only the amount of history and real life individuals mixed into the narrative, but learning about the creation of Dracula to begin with. Readers will be enthralled to learn the true manuscript first written by Bram Stoker was never meant to be a fictional tale, but through the words of Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker’s afterward we learn how the book came to be what we know today, and that large portions of the original novel have never been published before. How much of this horrific and scary tale are fiction as we know it, and how much is fact?

The writing itself was amazing. The story was written in an epistolary format, allowing us to delve into the minds of the Stoker family themselves, as well as associates of the family and historical records to match some of the claims. Fans of the original tale of Dracula will love the similarities and context given throughout this novel, while modern day horror fans and readers will be enthralled with the vast character development and parallels between the life of Bram Stoker (in the novel) and the stories told within his novel years later.

The Verdict

This is a must read book for 2018. As a history buff, classic horror fan and overall Bram Stoker enthusiast, this story really captured my attention from the beginning. From the author’s early years battling illness to the life or death battle with unknown forces he and his siblings undertook, this is the kind of story that comes along rarely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up the novel Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735219346/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0735219346&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

About the Authors

Dacre Stoker:

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Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.

Dacre, who now calls Aiken, South Carolina home, was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979 and coach of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team, Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Dacre is married to Jenne Stoker and is the father of two children. He is the Executive Director of the Aiken Land Conservancy.

Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

Dacre Stoker’s Links:

https://twitter.com/dacrestoker?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/DacreCStoker/

J.D. Barker:

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J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.

A note from J.D.

As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

jd

J.D. Barker’s Links:

http://jdbarker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/therealjdbarker

https://www.instagram.com/jdbarker_author/

https://twitter.com/jdbarker

5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

5 STAR REVIEWS FOR JACK DAWKINS’!!

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Jack Dawkins, AKA as the Artful Dodger, wants to set the record straight about what happened to him after he was obliged to take up lodgings in Newgate Prison.   Thanks to the genius of Lionel Bart, we all have a lasting image of him skipping away into the sunset, arm in arm with Fagin. Well, the young jackanapes is here to tell you that the truth is very different.

You don’t have to know your way round archaic words, history or the works of Mr. Dickens, because Jack has very kindly provided a Glossary that you can refer to as he relates in his own inimitable fashion, his encounters with an unusually erudite Bow Street Runner, murderous villains, turnkeys, philanthropists, Innkeepers, Owlers, passing strangers-and Miss Lysette Godden, the first human being he has ever loved.  Strangely enough, Jack also reveals that, as he conducts what proves to be a highly dangerous search for his mother and father, he finds his true self.

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I thought you might like to take a look at Jack Dawkins’ ghost-writer.

You can see more of both of us on the You Tube video ‘the spirit of the Artful Dodger’,

in which Jack does the decent thing by returning from ‘Mutton Pie and Porter heaven’ to give me a helping hand.

 

The Suicide Letters Of Jack Monroe by Mary Maurice Review and Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book deals with themes and storylines/dialogue involving suicide and mental health struggles. Anyone who is triggered by this should be aware before continuing forward.

Author Mary Maurice has crafted a truly unique thriller unlike any other in the novel “The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe”. A strange business involving writing suicide letters turns into a dark roller coaster between two people fighting for control of an unraveling situation. Here’s the synopsis:

The Synopsis

Susan Jordan awakens at her Santa Fe apartment, cloudy and disoriented. Her clothing is unfamiliar. Where has she been? Her nose crinkles as she smells his scent. Jack’s back! Rubber filled legs brace against the stone cold tile floor as she reaches for the pile of mail haplessly setting on the table. Dozens of letters! Jack Monroe never stops. Susan wishes he would just leave, take his advice and go back to Detroit. He’s gaining to much control! He’s taking over!

The Review

What begins as an unusual business involving a man writing a person’s suicide letter to try to convince them not to commit suicide turns into a strange tale of obsession and two people struggling to define themselves by their relationship with one another. The book is incredibly written, consisting entirely of the letters of both Jack and Susan back and forth one another. The plot unravels into many twists and turns with each letter, and by book’s end readers will be on the edge of their seat in anticipation.

The subject matter can be difficult to read. In an era where the importance of mental health awareness and the impact of suicide on both the person committing the act and those left behind in their wake are at an all time high, traversing this area in a fiction setting can be difficult. Yet the author crafted a truly unique tale that was both a fast read and an engaging read all at once.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this book. Filled with the twists and turns you come to hope to expect in a thriller like this, The Suicide Letters of Jack Monroe is a one of a kind novel that readers will love to get lost in. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Mary Maurice’s book today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Suicide-Letters-Jack-Monroe-ebook/dp/B07FMX9HLH/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533684573&sr=8-1&keywords=the+suicide+letters+of+jack+monroe

About Mary

Mary Maurice Head Shot

Mary Maurice wrote her first poem when she was in the ninth grade, and hasn’t stopped writing since. Catching the fire at an early age, she continues to dedicate her time to the craft.Ms. Maurice has completed several novels of fiction and poetry, and has performed readings in distinct cities around the country. She presently resides in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

The Lowriders (V, #2) By Josh Holliday Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Josh Holliday returns as a force of nature as he explores firsthand experiences of the Latino community in East Los Angeles in the 1970’s in his novel The Lowriders (V, #2). Here is a quick synopsis:

The Synopsis

This story evolves around several young Latino people who populate the Barrio section of southeast Los Angeles in the mid to late 1970’s.

It focuses on their lowrider cars, their habits, style of living, and use of marijuana.

The reader will see how they connived their way in and out of tight ordeals staying one step ahead of the law in their various exploits.

The author lived in East L.A. from 1969 to 1971 and experienced some of these same adventures.

The Review

This is an interesting look into the lives of the Latino community in the area in the 70’s. As a Hispanic man with a deep love and respect for my culture and family, it was interesting to see the hardships and struggles the Latino community faced and continue to face at this time. While this book dives into a very specific group of the Latino community and does not represent all Latinos, the culture of this area and the times themselves and how they played a role in the Latino culture in that era was fascinating to see unfold. It was also a great opportunity to see the extreme treatment those in the Latino community suffer at the hands of the police, often being treated ten times more harshly than a caucasian person who had committed similar crimes.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fast paced read, filled with personal stories and images that reflect an era not too far removed from our own. While the book would do well with some further editing, the overall story allowed audiences to delve into the vast and rich culture of the Latino community in East LA at that time. Be sure to grab your copy of The Lowriders (V, #2) by Josh Holliday today!

Rating: 7/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lowriders-josh-holliday/1129557611?ean=2940156066803

Wanderlost: Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul by Simon Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Return to the hilarious, sarcastic humor of author Simon Williams with his latest novel, Wanderlost: Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul. Here’s the synopsis:

The Synopsis

Take a FREE shot of Tequila and make some poor choices in your life. 

When was the last time you laughed your f#cking arse off? 

Do you feel bored, listless, and trapped? Want to take off from your life for awhile? Ever tried taking a walk in someone else’s shoes… when their choice of footwear is a pair of flippers? 

Three things in this world are certain. Life can be repetitive and boring. Having more money would solve 99% of our problems. Pissing ourselves laughing will make 99% of our problems not seem quite as bad, while uplifting our spirits as we wait for our lotto numbers to come in. 

Soak in the literary intoxication of the Wanderlost series while you roar with laughter. On the bus, at school, or at work. The next best thing to drinking at work and your boss will never find a bottle. 

The Review

The first in a new series by the author of the nonfiction, humor/memoir series Torn, Wanderlost #1 captures the humor and sarcastic wit of author Simon Williams. Already this series of books has captured my attention, leaving me laughing out loud (literally) as I read the stories the author experienced.

 

From drunken fights about overpriced cab fares in Hong Kong that draws the attention of local police, to issues of personal space from the moment you exit your plane into New Delhi, the author uses humor to make light of otherwise frustrating struggles many travelers endure in the world. Being from another country makes world travel difficult, and only be leaning into the absurd and mind-blowing circumstances of travel can one hope to survive with their sanity intact.

The Verdict

This is a wonderful first book in what promises to be a hilarious, laugh riot of a travel book series. The honesty and personal experience of the author blend well with the sarcasm used by the author throughout the novel. This book showcases the various struggles of going to other nations around the world, as this lone Australian citizen treks the countries of the United States, China and more. If you enjoy funny, well written and quick reads about travel, then author Simon William’s novel Wanderlost: Shots of Literary Tequila for the Restless Soul is the book for you. Grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

https://amzn.to/2IH0RBQ

Interview with Author Scott Semegran

This interview discusses To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel by Scott Semegran, which Anthony Avina gave a rating of 10/10 for his book review.

The Interview

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I began writing in earnest literally the day after graduating college with a degree in English way back in 1993. Over the years, I have published poetry, short stories, comic strips, and novels. Novels and short stories are what I have kept at the longest and find the most joy in writing and publishing these days.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Oh, man. That’s a loaded question. I have a few answers: 1) To be honest, I wrote this story for my wife. Having written quite a bit before that didn’t particularly tickle her fancy, I set out—as a challenge to myself—to create a story that would inspire and affect her deeply. She said I accomplished that so I consider it a success. 2) I wanted to write a novel that was endearing but not saccharine and quirky but not snarky. That was a huge challenge! 3) I wanted to explore the power of friendship amongst a group of people with very different backgrounds and personalities. I felt the current state of the U.S. needed that.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That camaraderie amongst kind-hearted friends wins the day over evil intentions. I truly believe that.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I have mostly written literary fiction, usually with elements of humor or satire. That’s my jam. I’ve been inspired by Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Charles Bukowski, Michael Chabon, and the like. I hope to have a lasting legacy like these authors.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I would ask Rita to bake me her famous banana bread. Food is the key to my heart. I love food. I love to cook. And I love when my wife cooks for me.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I feel the following have helped me the most: Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, and Instagram have helped the most with finding new readers. BookBub used to be more of a promotional service but they are now enhancing their site to accommodate reader reviews and book recommendations from authors. Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram are all great, too.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Develop a thick skin. You’ll hear “No” or “This is not for me” a lot for a very long time. But if you stick at it, develop your craft, and continue to put stuff out there, you’ll eventually find your readers if your talent develops. Find someone to help with editing. Seek out reviews and accept constructive criticism. But mostly, listen to your creativity when it beckons.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
My latest novel, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, will be published February 1, 2019, so I am in promotion mode right now. I will be recording the audiobook version in the coming month, narrated by yours truly. And I have a seedling of an idea for a new story germinating in my brain. I’ll probably start writing that in early 2019.

About the Author

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Scott Semegran lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, four kids, two cats, and a dog. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English. He is a bestselling, award-winning writer and cartoonist. He can also bend metal with his mind and run really fast, if chased by a pack of wolves. His comic strips have appeared in the following newspapers: The Austin Student, The Funny Times, The Austin American-Statesman, Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, Seven Days, The University of Texas at Dallas Mercury, and The North Austin Bee. Books by Scott Semegran include Sammie & Budgie, Boys, The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, Mr. Grieves and more.

https://instagram.com/scott_semegran

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3409317.Scott_Semegran

https://www.twitter.com/scottsemegran

https://www.facebook.com/scottsemegran.writer/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/scott-semegran

https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/172809

https://www.amazon.com/author/scottsemegran

And my website:

https://www.scottsemegran.com/