Review: The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire by Sandra Hutchison

I don’t review anything that isn’t fantasy or science fiction on this blog often unless it was something that really piqued my interest. And Sandra Hutchison’s The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire was something that caught my attention when I first read the summary. I guess it was because it reminded me a little bit of Another Earth, this awesome indie film starring Brit Marling. The movie and this book are quite different but have similar main characters. The story of Another Earth revolves around a young woman who cleans the house of a music professor who lost his family in a car crash. In Ribs and Thigh Bones, the story revolves around a teenage girl who keeps house for a physics professor who lost his family in a plane crash. Interesting, right?

Anyway, read on to know more about The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire and check out my thoughts on the book.

Continue reading “Review: The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire by Sandra Hutchison”

Review: UNCommon Bodies (An Anthology) plus a Giveaway!

UNCommon Bodies is out today! UnCommon Bodies is a collection of stories curated by Pavarti K. Tyler that span across genres to explore the lives of the odd, the unbelievable, and the impossible.

I was so intrigued by the stories included in this collection that I just couldn’t pass up the chance to read it. One story in particular reeled me in: Skin by Brent Meske: After constant bullying in high school, Patricia vows to change her name and her entire being. When she gains the ability to mold and sculpt flesh, that vow very quickly becomes a terrifying reality. Now isn’t that something?

Read on to know more about this awesome collection of stories and check out my review. Of course, don’t forget to enter the giveaway, too. :)

Continue reading “Review: UNCommon Bodies (An Anthology) plus a Giveaway!”

The Asphalt Warrior Series by Gary Reilly

I read Gary Reilly’s The Heart of Darkness Club last year and I really liked it. Reilly’s writing style and language is smooth, clever and quite entertaining. I would’ve liked to review the other books in The Asphalt Warrior Series, but I just don’t have the time. Hopefully though I’ll get a hold of the books in the not so distant future. :)

In the meantime, please read about the newly-released books in the series: Dr. Lovebeads and Home For The Holidays. Also, you might want to check out the other tour stops and enter the giveaways!

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Back in the driver’s seat again, the cabbie who made readers laugh out loud in the first three installments of the posthumously published “Asphalt Warrior” series has returned for two more books written by best-selling author Gary Reilly.

Winner of the 1979 Pushcart Prize, Reilly passed away in 2011 after a two-year battle with colon cancer, trusting a pair of friends to publish an 11-book series after his death. Since then, the “Asphalt Warrior” series has been in the hands of Mike Keefe, a retired political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Mark Stevens, a former journalist and acclaimed author in Colorado. Following the successful release of the first three books – “The Asphalt Warrior,” “Ticket to Hollywood,” and “The Heart of Darkness Club,” which hit No. 1 on the Denver area bestsellers list – the two friends will publish two more books Nov. 21, 2013 in honor of Reilly through Running Meter Press.

Denver taxi driver Brendan Murphy, aka Murph, returns in Reilly’s fourth book, “Home for the Holidays.” It’s Christmastime, and Murph leaves his cab behind to visit his family in Wichita where he finds himself reluctantly reconnecting with his siblings. Meanwhile, Murph takes it upon himself to save an old friend from making the biggest mistake of his life – accepting a job where suits and ties are everyday attire.

In “Doctor Lovebeads,” Murph ignores the little voice in the back of his head that says to stay out of the lives of his passengers. Instead, he goes undercover as a hippie – muslin, sandals, VW van and all – to rescue two girls he believes have been brainwashed by a cult leader.

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Doctor LovebeadsAbout Doctor Lovebeads

Denver cab driver, Brendan Murphy — known to all as “Murph” — once again violates his vow never to get involved in the lives of his passengers. This time, he is out to rescue to young neo-hippie girls he believes have come under the spell of a cult leader in a commune outside Boulder.

In Doctor Lovebeads, the fifth in novelist Gary Reilly’s Asphalt Warrior series, Murph must go undercover to accomplish his mission. He lets his hair go untamed, dresses in muslin and sandals and arrives on the scene in a beat-up VW van called the “Cosmic Wonderbus and Mobile Mercantile.”

Murph tries to pass himself off as an old live child in his confrontation with Brother Chakra. As the good Brother might say, “It’s a mind-blowing trip.”

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Home for the Holidays

About Home for the Holidays

Taxi drive, Brendan Murphy — known to all as “Murph” — abandons his cab and the mean streets of Denver for his hometown, his “dear ol’ Maw” and an Irish Catholic clan the size of Country Cork. It’s Christmastime in Wichita.

Home for the Holidays, the fourth in novelist Gary Reilly’s Asphalt Warrior series has Murph reluctantly re-establishing relationships with his brothers and sisters while trying to save an old friend from making a soul-killing mistake: seeking a socially-acceptable job.

It will take all of his persuasive powers to rescue Jimmy Callahan from “the suits.” That, and maybe a Christmas miracle.

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About the Author

Gary Reilly was a writer.

Simply stated, that was the essence of the man.

Born in Arkansas City, Kansas he spent his early years in Kansas and Colorado in a large Irish-Catholic family–seven brothers and sisters. The family moved to Denver where Gary attended parochial high school, graduating in 1967.

He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman.

After discharge, Gary majored in English at Colorado State University and continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of Colorado.

All along, his overarching ambition was to write fiction. And he did, prodigiously. His first published short story, The Biography Man, was included in the Pushcart Prize Award anthology in 1979.

Later he turned to novels, several based on his army experiences. While he wrote both serious and genre fiction, his greatest invention was the character, Murph, a likable, bohemian Denver cab driver. Starting with The Asphalt Warrior, Gary cranked out eleven Murph novels.

His dedication to writing did not include self promotion. Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focussed on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. He wrote well over twenty novels before he thought he was ready make his work public.

Unfortunately, he passed away in March, 2011, before he could realize that dream.

Friends and family remember Gary as a fun-loving, generous soul who always had time for other writers, helping them shape their work, getting it ready for print.

Now, through Running Meter Press and Big Earth Publishing in Boulder, Colorado, Gary Reilly’s fiction is finally coming to bookstores in Colorado and across the nation.

 

Guest Post and Interview: Ann Whitely-Gillen, author of Last Train to Omaha

Hiya, everyone! Today I have a guest post by author Ann Whitely-Gillen. In her post she talks about battling breast cancer and then writing her book Last Train to Omaha.

We also have an interesting Q&A with her where she tells us her favorite quotes, books, movies, among other things.

Check out this inspiring guest post and read more about Last Train to Omaha.
Enjoy! :)

Last Train to Omaha came about under extraordinary circumstances. Just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it certainly changed my life–but in many ways, for the better. After surgery, I was able to step back and take a good look at my life. Even with a wonderful husband and four fabulous children, I felt something more meaningful was missing something in my life. As I trudged through my hectic daily schedule something had been lost–me. Once I realized this, I put myself on a new path to be more of the person I was meant to be.

My road to recovery began when I started to write Last Train to Omaha. The characters in the book helped me rediscover myself. I also sought solace in their ability to overcome diversity with courage in their hearts and the peaceful resignation they achieved with the connections they all share. Each character represents a connection I’ve made in my life.

Through the eyes of James Milligan and his ensemble cast of supporting characters, we see that destiny is not only what life brings us–it’s about how life can be uniquely tailored simply by how we choose to respond to it.

I’d love to hear from you, feel free to email me at info@anngillenbooks.com

Annie

About Last Train to Omaha

After a horrific accident claims the life of his best friend at the age of eighteen, James Milligan is changed forever. For the next seventeen years, he lives as a ghost of his former self: shutting out those who love him most, navigating his life in a veil of solitude and drowning himself in anxiety and guilt.

When a chance encounter introduces him to Martin Diggs, an enigmatic war veteran, and palliative care nurse Rebecca Doyle, his life is changed irrevocably. Rebecca reignites emotions he thought he’d lost forever, and Martin challenges him to accept his shattering past and move forward.

Told with compassion and wisdom, Last Train to Omaha is the story of a broken man gaining the strength to let go of the crippling blame and doubt that plague him, pick up the pieces of his life and put them back together again.


If you could invite any five people to dinner who would you choose?
Morgan Freeman, Oprah, the Dali Lama, Robin Williams, and Dave Matthews.

Do you play an instrument? If so, what?
I’ve been a musician most of my life. I play the drums and I’m a vocalist as well.

Red or white wine?
Red – no question about it!

Did you ever think you would become an author?
I never thought about being an author rather a screenwriter or actress. It turns out becoming an author was in the cards all along–but I’m still working on the screenplay aspect of my career.

What kind of research did you do for this book?
My main character James Milligan suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so I had to look into that quite a bit, but the anxiety component of PTSD came to me quite easily because my best friend growing up suffered from severe anxiety and I experienced the signs and symptoms very well. I became an expert. I too, suffered from panic attacks growing up so I could really tap in to James.

I had to do quite a bit of research on geography, particularly that I’ve never travelled to South East Asia. But the most interesting part of the research for me was going through hours and hours of documentaries on the Vietnam War. I’m fascinated with that time.

What is the one book everyone should read?
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. He is my literary hero. I’ve read that book at least a dozen times. Oh, and Last Train to Omaha :0)

What are your favorite quotes?
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ― Marilyn Monroe

We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen. ― D.H. Lawrence

Do you prefer print books or e-books?
I love the feel of a tangible book in my hands.

Where is the one place in the world that you would really like to visit one day?
The Amalfi Coast, Italy.

What is your favorite food to snack on while writing?
I’m pretty sure I kept Pepperidge Farm afloat by the amount of Goldfish crackers I consumed writing Last Train to Omaha. :0)

What is your favorite movie?
I’m a total film buff. Again, too many to list so I will give you three out of my top ten: The Third Man, All About Eve, and Saving Private Ryan.

What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you?
For me it was editing. My book was over four hundred pages when I finished the first draft so it took a lot of work to streamline it without cutting out any of the key elements.

Out of all of your characters which is your favorite and why?
Out of my main characters, I’d have to say Martin Diggs (I always saw Morgan Freeman as this character while writing his dialogue). He is just so incredibly humble and gracious–not to mention incredibly smart and witty. Out of the supporting cast, I would say most definitely Frank Kenney because he was fearless, funny, and so incredibly grounded.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing the screenplay for Last Train to Omaha and it’s quite the challenge but I’m up for it. I’m also sketching out other ideas for my second novel. Many people have come to me about writing a sequel to Last Train to Omaha–I’m not sure, but every day the idea is growing on me more and more.

Ann Whitely-Gillen resides in Ottawa, Canada, where she is a full-time communications advisor and freelance writer. Ann lives with her husband and four children, who she loves to spend time with along with their family dog. In her leisure time, Ann can be found watching an indie film, reading a good book, or singing with her acoustic band.

Ann has always wanted to write a screenplay and, in fact, Last Train to Omaha started out with that in mind. After forty pages of writing, Ann turned the screenplay into a novel, as she wanted to delve deeper into James Milligan’s journey and enrich the ensemble cast of characters. Ann’s next project is to write the screenplay for Last Train to Omaha, her debut novel, so stay tuned!

Review & Giveaway: A Work in Progress by Brad Cotton

This is a review of A Work in Progress by author Brad Cotton. This book is currently on sale on Amazon until August 3rd. Brad Cotton is also doing a HUGE giveaway, including a $100 gift card to Amazon and copies of his book!

About A Work in Progress

Writer Danny Bayle’s life is in shambles. His true love has left him and his grandfather — the last and most important influence in his life — has just passed away. Danny has spent the last few months languishing, unable to write a single word, but at the urging of a friend ventures out into the world in an attempt to jumpstart a new life, befriending in the process an interesting assortment of characters including an author, a musician, an artist, and an elderly retired nurse. Garnering the attention of more than one woman, Danny sees his new friends unwittingly begin to shape what could just be the story of his life. But will he ever let go of the girl that got away?

Review

The book is basically about a writer who has lost people he loved and his writing groove, and how he deals with everything and the things he does in his attempt to gain inspiration to write again. It’s also about the people he meets along the way.

I liked how this book flowed. It was easy to read and easy to follow. The first few pages felt like the opening scene of the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper ’cause, you know, Bradley Cooper’s character was also a struggling writer. And because my mind immediately made that connection, the main character in the book, Danny, started looking like Bradley Cooper in my head all throughout the whole novel. That was fine. It made Danny very likeable, not to say that he was an unlikeable character. He was actually a pretty nice character. The characters in the book were generally written well–very real people in my opinion. The other character that I really liked was Katie, an artist struggling with depression and other personal issues. She was described as young and with pink streaks in her hair, so naturally I started picturing Claudia from Warehouse 13. I liked how her relationship with Danny was written. It was very unique, real, and deep but had none of the explosive emotional fanfare that you read about in many books and I liked that very much. Theirs was a relationship that slowly flowed and eased into what it was.

Overall, I liked this book but I did not love the ending. I wanted to see how Danny would handle his relationship with Katie and I felt that somehow it was made easier for him at the end. I also didn’t love the cover so much, although the bird image has a deep significance in the book. For me this book was just nice and easy and very chillax for some reason. It may be because I was reading this during a very rainy week and at one time I was reading while drinking hot white chocolate mocha at a nice place and it was raining out. The whole thing felt very surreal.

Giveaway

A Work in Progress is on sale from July 23rd to August 3rd! Download your copy here.

In addition, Brad is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon and signed copies of his book! Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

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Get your copy of A Work in Progress today! On sale on Amazon only.

About the author

Born and raised in Toronto, Brad Cotton has been writing professionally for over a decade. An average guitarist, a subpar painter, and a horrible juggler of anything larger than a tangerine, he is currently married to a woman, but does not have a cat, a drum set or any children. A Work in Progress is his first novel.

Learn more about the author and his work at: http://www.bradcotton.com/