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Book Review: The Curse by Jina S. Bazzar

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Last fall, I connected with a writer who was ‘putting the finishing touches’ on her debut novel just as I was at the time. Jina S. Bazzar was writing a new fantasy series and trying to decide how many books, where to split the plot lines, at what point to release each one. We chatted a few times, helped each other through some marketing plans and provided an ear whenever it was needed. She was really fun and engaging to talk with and I’m glad we connected.

Jina is also a mom, a writer at a fantastic magazine, Conscious Talk, and the author of a blog where she shares advice, life musings, reviews, book updates, and other fun content. She’s from Brazil, lives in the Middle East, and often has battles between different bugs! I say this with humor because of a few posts she’s shared about how she lets one bug stick around to help control another one. Spiders are involved, and it’s just scary to me! (Yes, I’m a baby apparently). Anyway, I digress…

Jina’s launched both her prequel short story, The Curse, and her first book in the series, Heir of Ashes. I will be reading Heir of Ashes this summer, but I took on the short story this week to immerse myself in the story… what a great thing to have something like this to introduce me to a new world… and if you read thru the review all the way to the end, you’ll find a way to get a copy for FREE! Let’s dive in…

Short Story Review

If you’ve read my book reviews before, you probably know that they tend to be mysteries, thrillers, historical or contemporary fiction; however, you also know I’m branching out to try a few different genres, including romance, fantasy and science fiction. An opportunity popped up to read a new book by debut author, Jina S. Bazzar, who has both a book and a prequel short story, The Curse, currently available. What a great opportunity to explore a new author and genre by reading her short story to get the ‘lay of the land’ before I dive into the details of a new fantasy series she’s currently writing.

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I read the prequel eBook, The Curse, in less than an hour earlier this week via my iPad. With a title like this, and my interest in mysteries and suspense thrillers, who wouldn’t be intrigued! I’m normally not a reader in this genre because I prefer a clear understanding of all the rules and structure within the setting or world I’m reading about, and fantasy books often leave a lot to the imagination or surprise. Bazzar does a fantastic job providing details without over-building the background — just enough to wet your appetite to want to continue reading the series.

As I’m reading through the first half, I’m getting to know the characters, the background of the drama, the different types of creatures and/or humans… then suddenly, I see the emotional side of the The Curse beginning to form. I became invested quickly and as I finished the last few pages, I vividly remember thinking… “I may not get thoroughly excited by other worldly creatures, but wow, I’m definitely drawn in right now.” The impact of a decision the main character had to make and the loss of a connection (s)he suffers was enough to extract tons of emotion and hope for what could or might change to in the future to help find their way back together, save the family, or solve the battles between species. (Is that even the right word, species, when there are different types of humans, creatures, clans? I think I’m gonna learn something when I read the next book).

So… from a non-fantasy reader, this was the type of story that appealed across other genres and pulled this reader in. From secrets to mysterious plagues, future war to (un?)requited love, and family drama to trust, there’s a little bit of everything in this story. It excites me to keep reading, and that I plan to do in the next month when I take on the actual first book in the series, Heir of Ashes.

If you’re interested, you can download a copy of this short story for FREE via Smashwords. I hope you will, as this will give you a really intricate and eye-opening view into another world in a book with a strong writing style and a wonderful debut author. Kudos to Bazzar for tempting a non-reader in this genre to want to continue reading more.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Intro to Book: Bacon Pie (with link to a GIVEAWAY)

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As a continuation of the Author Alert series, I’m beginning to gear up again to start sharing more information on authors I’ve been reading the last few months. Today, I bring you another author that I WILL be read in a few months. You can find this adorable young adult / contemporary fiction / romance book on Goodreads through this link. It is officially released today, April 13th, 2018 and you can purchase it in many places such as Amazon.

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Description:

Lia Abbie has the easy life—kicking it back with old school video games, hanging out with her best friend Barnabas, and alternating her living schedule between the apartments of her two dads and her mom.

Kiev Jimenez is a theater geek who loves him some Shakespeare and taking care of his pet armadillo. He has one set goal in life: obtaining the role of Horatio for the Hamlet school play.

When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal’s office, they’re forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival, or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation, especially when it interferes with Lia’s relaxed life and Kiev’s theater role.
But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little
love in the air.

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About the Authors:

  • Candace Robinson: I’m just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. My days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books for my blog, Literary Dust. I live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it’s 30 degrees and the next it’s 70 degrees! I live with my husband and awesome daughter! You can also follow me on my review blog Literary Dust 

 

  • Gerardo Delgadillo: Yup. Even though I’m like  one-hundred-and-fifty-nine years old, spelled all out, I love to write about contemporary teens in distress. So no magic, dragons, or unicorns. At the tender age of sixteen years old, when giant lizards ruled the world, I used to be a DJ–turntables and all. I was born in the States, raised in Mexico, and now live in Big D. Cloud computing is my area of expertise–just don’t ask me what cloud computing means. I love football, the one played with the feet by footballers, La Liga from Spain being the best. Chilaquiles is my favorite food. Yummy. About my novels — Multi-cultural is my writing trade, in English and Español. My writing must be emotional or else … I believe in the Oxford comma, but the Oxford comma doesn’t believe in me. Love first person present tense POV. In my novels, food tends to be another protagonist.

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS

One (1) winner will receive an Amazon Gift Card, International

Ends on April 24th at Midnight EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’m planning to read this in June when I return from vacation and need to sample a clever pair of new authors. I look forward to supporting a fellow blogger & friend. How about you?

 

About Me
I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS.  My second novel, Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/FatherFigure.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Intro to Author & Blogger: Marco Etheridge

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As a continuation of the Author Alert series, I’m beginning to gear up again to start sharing more information on authors I’ve been reading the last few months. Today, I bring you an author that I WILL be read in a few months. Marco and I connected via our blogs late last year, but between his novel and my novel, we couldn’t find time to read each other’s works or even share news on all his travels. I wanted to share his book page which you can read on Goodreads as a heads up that I’ll be reading his book once I return from my trip to Italy in May.

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Marcos’ book, The Best Dark Rain: A Post-Apocalyptic Struggle for Life and Love, crosses into a few areas of interest: Seattle, last couple standing, intensity of a very different world… Although this isn’t a genre that I normally read, I like to be diverse and try new things… take a look and if anyone’s interested in joining me with a buddy read this summer, let me know. He’s currently working on this third novel, so there will be plenty more to dive in once you decide you enjoy his style and voice. You can read more about Marco below and reach out to him via his blog. I’m also sure he’ll respond to this post and you can further connect with him. Happy Reading!

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Marco Etheridge is an eccentric world traveler and writer living in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of the exciting new novel “The Best Dark Rain: A Post Apocalyptic Struggle for Life and Love.” Marco’s second novel, “Blood Rust Chains,” is scheduled for release in April of this year. Marco Etheridge lives in Vienna, Austria, where he is currently hard at work on his third novel, a political satire thriller.

Marco’s novels lead the reader on intricate literary journeys through different genres. With attention to detail and thoughtful prose, Marco builds immersive worlds crafted to house distinct and diverse characters. Always character and dialogue driven, Marco’s novels captivate the readers with dark charm and unforeseen plot hooks.

Though born in the USA, Marco considers himself a citizen of the world. Love carried him across the Atlantic Ocean to Vienna, Austria; and love holds him there. The long and winding pathway that has led to writing novels is one of varied experience. Marco has been a soldier, a commercial fisherman, a wanderer, and a jack-of-all-trades. His feet have happily trod the soil of over thirty countries spread over four continents and the odd sub-continent. The world is his playground and his fellow citizens are his playmates.

Marco’s antidote for everything is to throw some gear in his faithful Deuter backpack and disappear. An avid traveler and a complete street-food junkie, there is nothing he won’t try. Munching wok-roasted spiders in Cambodia? Absolutely. How about a four-course meal in Bangkok’s Chinatown, with each course from a different street stall? He is there! If you are interested in tall tales of travel, please check out Marco’s travel blog.

Version 3

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About Me
I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS.  My second novel, Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/FatherFigure.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 BONUS: Blogiversary Guest Post with Claire @ BrizzleLass

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Although the 365 Daily Challenge ended about one month ago, I’ve shared a bonus post in celebration of my very good friend’s third blogiversary. If you’re not currently following Claire @ BrizzleLass, then you must click the link and do so immediately. I chose the word unexpectedly for my guest post on her blog to share how we met, became friends, and will be hanging out together in person in London next month. This is a special week on her blog with giveaways, awesome friends to meet, and the potential to find a new author you’ll have in the future as she’s gearing up with several upcoming novels. She’s also quite well-known in the blogging world for helping authors on their books and marketing. So… without further ado, check out the link below to see today’s unexpectedly shared bonus 365 word all about my friend, Claire, via Blogiversary Guest Post: James from This Is My Truth Now @jamescudney4.

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TAG: Book Bloggers, Insiders & Tests

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I’ve been nominated for three different book blogger tags, and I’ve combined them into a new fun tag because after this one, I still have 45 more tags to still complete! Many thanks to readrantrockandrollbookloverblogs, and brizzlelassbooks for the nominations. These were fun — check out their blogs…. these are three of my favorite book bloggers I interact with all the time.

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Rules:
1. Answer the questions below
2. Credit the creator Jamie @ALittleSliceofJamie (1 of 3 since I combined tags… others are unknown)
3. Tag at least 6 people
4. Have fun!

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Describe your perfect reading spot.

Absolute quiet. Perfect temperature. No interruptions.


Tell us three book confessions.

  1. I have to read a series in order or I get all sorts of panicky.
  2. I once wanted a library and had thousands of books. When I moved, I had to give many away. I now only keep about 100 on the shelf.
  3. I’m now at a 50/50 split between reading e-books versus physical books. It’s a good balance.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

Love, Secrets & Absolution by K.L. Loveley

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How many books are on your bedside table?

1 book (Ken Follett’s A Column of Fire) and my iPad to read via Kindle, which has 15 TBR items.

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What’s your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

None. I like to keep my fingers clean while reading


Name three books you would recommend to Everyone

 

N.N. Light’s Daily Book of Inspiration

Ken Follett’s Night Over Water

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None


Describe how much books mean to you in just three words.

Passion. Confidence. Imagination. the-book-blogger-test

1. Where do you typically write your blog posts?

On the couch in my living room

2. How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

30 minutes including formatting and posting on all sites

3. When did you start your book blog?

Fall, 2016

4. What is the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

It is a lot of time to be focused on one thing

5. What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

Connections you make across the world

6. What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

all the 365 Daily Challenge ones

7. What is your favorite type of blog post to write?

Advice on writing / blogging

8. When do you typically write?

Dining Room table which doubles as my desk

9. Do you review every book you read?

Yes. I even went on a quest to review everything I read over the last 30 years I had never reviewed. I now have 575+ on the blog and Goodreads

10. When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

Within 2 days so it’s fresh in my mind

11. How often do you post?

Daily usually

*****

Top 3 book pet hates

  1. Not tying up loose ends
  2. No evidence for why a character does something
  3. Endings that don’t match the overall theme / style of the book

Nominations

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

AWARD: Mystery Blogger

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I’ve been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by caterpillars2butterfliesblog and angiedokos. Many thanks to both of them, I’m honored. Please check out their blogs. Between books and inspirational advice, they’ve got fantastic content and voices.

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The Rules

  • Put the logo on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and add a link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Answer the questions you were asked
  • Nominate a few people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice. One weird and one funny one.
  • Share a link to your best post

Here are three things about myself:

  1. I have hazel eyes.
  2. I am an awful singer.
  3. I miss winter already.

Questions to Me:

  • What is your favorite pastime, besides reading?
    • Genealogy
  • What is at least one thing you feel that you are really good at?
    • Cooking
  • If you could be an animal, which animal would you pick? Why?
    • Owls because they are wise!
  • What is your worst fear?
    • Being sick
  • What would the title of your life story be?
    • The Average Man Who Sees All Sides
  • If you could go back to any year in your past, when would it be?
    • 1998
  • What is your favorite Christmas song?
    • Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton
  • What would be your number 1 piece of advice to yourself at 18?
    • Be confident to try anything you want to try.
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
    • African safari

My Nominees:

Questions for Nominees:

  1. How many countries and/or states have you lived in? Least and most favorite?
  2. What author whose last name begins with an M comes to mind and why?
  3. What charity do you most support or believe in?
  4. Where is your go to spot to be alone and think?
  5. What’s a great unsolved mystery you wonder about sometimes?

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

AWARD: Blogger Recognition

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I was nominated by homemum2catspluskids and coffeecocktailsandbooks last year but with my book launch, I wasn’t able to respond. Now I am back to finishing a few tags and awards. Thank you so much for the nomination. Please check out her blog!

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The Rules

* Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
* Write a post to show your award.
* Give a brief story of how your blog started.
* Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
* Select other bloggers you want to give this award to.
* Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

How My Blog Started

  • Almost two years ago, I left my full-time corporate technology position and found myself with a few months of free time, at least before I would head back to work again. Part of my professional position included managing WordPress website development, and I had done some XML and HTML coding over a decade ago. I thought I should get a bit more hands-on with WP, which led to me creating three (3) websites: (a) author, (b) this personal blog and (c) my book. I also began reading and posting my reviews on Goodreads each day. After a few weeks, I found myself meeting new people, adding more content and having a grand ole time. I had things to say and people seemed to have fun reading and commenting. It’s taken off over the last 18 months and I now have about 6000 followers between all three sites and my connected social media accounts. Thank you to everyone; I truly appreciate all the kindness and interest. It’s become part of my full-time job, in addition to writing, bringing lots of fun and depth to my life each day. And now I’m looking to build and grow in many directions, looking for guidance, advice and requests from each of you! So bring it on…

Advice For Others

  • Create the blog for yourself — not for anyone else, in the beginning. Give some thought to the things you want to say and how often you plan to share. Create content that makes you happy, as it will have more quality when you’re first starting out as a new blogger. Reach out and connect to other bloggers who share similar interests. I’ve had about a 50% connection rate, meaning half the time I never hear back from the person, but  half the time I do. And in that process, I see great styles and topics on other people’s blogs, find wonderful people to share a few minutes of fun with each day and I learn different techniques for being open, flexible and friendly. Comment all the time. Be nice. Be friendly. Open new dialogue.
  • Build check-in points. I don’t mean put in a target to have “x” followers by a certain time period. I mean… check your statistics every week or couple of weeks to learn how people are using your site. Do you have 100 views and only 2 likes? What does that mean? Do you have 100 views and 100 unique people, meaning no one is looking at multiple pages? Learn what you’re doing that people like and what they don’t like, so you can determine if you need or want to make any changes down the line. Message me if you have questions on these features. Don’t get discouraged. Over time, you’ll see growth if you’re doing all the right things. Some people hit it perfectly the first time; others take a few months. But remember, you need to start out doing this for yourself to get comfortable before you can leap frog all over the place.

My Nominees

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.