Book Tours: Starter Day Party for Hard Love: The Pleasure and The Pain


I’m setting up a starter day party for poetry collection “Hard Love: The Pleasure and The Pain”. I’m hosting a review for the book on November 6. Stay tuned for the review, and in the mean time, visit the other tour stops.

Tour Schedule

October 16th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

October 17th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

October 19th: Promo Post @ Undercover Book Reviews

October 20th: Book Review @ The Reading Guru

October 21st: Book Excerpt @ Inspired Writers

October 22nd: Promo Post @ Bookish Madness

October 23rd: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

October 25th: Promo Post @ Bookaholic Ramblings

October 27th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

October 28th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

October 29th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

October 31st: Guest Post @ Endazzled Reading

November 1st: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

November 2nd: Promo Post @ The Book Gazette

November 4th:  Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

November 6th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

November 8th: Promo Post @ 365 Days of Reading

November 10th: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

November 12th: Author Interview @ Forever Book Lover

November 14th: Book Review @ Hollow Readers

November 16th:  Book Excerpt @ Writers and Authors

About The Book

14406471Title: Hard Love: The Pleasure and the Pain

Author: William J. Warren

Genre: Poetry

A poetry collection by author William J. Warren

Author Bio

William J. Warren resides in Florida and has won several awards throughout the years in honor of his creative writing.


Amazon: Amazon

Google Books: Google Books

B&N: B&N

Book Review: Along The Watchtower by David Litwack

17798039Title: Along The Watchtower
Author: David Litwack
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon (Paperback), Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…

The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.

In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory—and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.

Some time ago, I read and reviewed There Comes a Prophet, the debut novel of David Litwack. I loved that book, so I was looking forward to getting started on his latest novel, Along The Watchtower.

The first pages introduce us to Lieutenant Freddie Williams, who is stationed in Iraq during the war. An IED explosion ends the war for him, destroying his body and mind. He’s sent back home, where he’s being kept in a medically induced coma for a while. Freddie soon discovers he’s stuck in two different worlds. The first is reality as he always knew it, his life now nearly destroyed, where he’s struggling with family matters and coming to terms with what happened, the guilt over his friends dying during the war, and painful agony. In the other world, he is Frederick, a prince in a fantasy land overrun by demons, horrific monsters and the likes. To save his kingdom, he must withstand terrible visions.

While the story doesn’t sound all that original at first glance, when you start reading it, the original elements David Litwack incorporated become all the more obvious. There are plenty of stories about people visiting fantasy worlds (think about Alice in Wonderland, the Neverending Story, The Wizard of Oz, Narnia, etc.) but those stories are aimed at children. They show fantasy worlds that are intriguing, and even though they may be dangerous every once in a while, the good guys always win. Along The Watchtower is an adult read – it’s a lot darker, both in the real world, and in the fantasy world. When he’s in the fantasy world, Freddie isn’t happy or heroic – he’s traveling through the same, painful journey as he is in real life. While Freddie’s personality develops in the fantasy world, so does his personality in the real world. In the real world, Freddie must come to terms with his injuried, his guilt and family troubles. In the fantasy world, the fate of a kingdom rests in his hands.

The recovery Freddie must make, both mentally and physically, merge beautifully in both the fantasy and the real world, as if they’re connected. That’s more than the only connection though. Freddie begins to find items belonging to the real world back in the fantasy world, except they’re magnified there, more threatening, true obstacles he has to face. The story is, at times, heartbreaking, because the main character just can’t seem to get a break. But in the end, when I struggled through deeply emotional scenes that left me shaking, I was glad that the author didn’t shy away from telling Freddie’s story, or from making it as sad and near impossible as it was. Even if he’s home safe and sound, Freddie continues to struggle to leave the war behind him, and as a reader, you’re sucked into the same struggle, experiencing the same feelings, the post-traumatic stress disorder, Freddie’s pain, his hopelessness, his feeling of losing control over his entire life.

David Litwack incorporates a lot of detail into his novel, and this only helps to enhance the story. Freddie’s emotions appear very authentic. Along The Watchtower is the kind of story that needs to be written, that screams to be read. It’s an enticing, amazing story of a journey of self-discovery and healing, of the consequences of war, of hope.

Book Review: The Journey by Dan O’Brien

15012057Title: The Journey
Author: Dan O’Brien
Genre: Spiritual, Philosophical, Fiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 21st 2011
Goodreads | Author Website | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

The Frozen Man. The Translucent Man. The Burning Man. The Wicker Man. The guide known only as the Crossroads, together these are the signposts and totems of the world that the being called the Lonely inhabits. Seeking out the meaning of his journey, the Lonely is a being consumed by philosophical inquiry and adventure. Filled with exotic places and age-old questions, the Journey is a book that seeks to merge the fantastical and real. Join the Lonely as he seeks out answers to his own existence and perhaps the meaning for us all.

In The Journey, author Dan O’Brien takes us on a spiritual journey. Our main character is a soul who’s lost his name as he reached The Crossroads, and is referred to as “The Lonely” for a large part of this book. The Lonely doesn’t know where he is or why he’s here, and neither do the readers. I liked this confusion, this sense of not actually being anywhere, but I imagine not everyone will like it as much. Not only does The Lonely have no idea who he is, where he’s from, or where he’s at, but neither do the readers. As The Lonely embarks on his spiritual journey to rediscover who he truly is, he must ask the help of spiritual beings. The first of them is The Frozen Man, then comes The Burning Man and next up is The Wicker Man. These beings, which aren’t exactly Gods, but more like spirits or things that just are, I suppose, give The Lonely glimpses of ideas, and it’s up to The Lonely to analyze them. In reconstructing the ideas, he slowly reconstructs himself, his own memories and who he once was.

I recommend to throw all your conventional ideas about books, how books should be written, and so on, out of the window before starting on The Journey. Think of it as a less-dark journey like in Dante’s Inferno. There are no real fleshed-out characters, but more like prototypes of characters. The Frozen Man, The Burning Man and The Wicker Man are more like ideas, notions, rather than actual characters. Even the main character, The Lonely, is so generic at first it could be anyone, which makes it easy for the reader to see themselves as The Lonely and the main character of this journey. The plot itself isn’t really there as well. There is a plot of sorts: The Lonely needs to figure out who he is, and to do so he meets with metaphysical characters who provide him with ideas, and a guide at The Crossroads who points him in the right direction. But that’s as far as the plot goes. This book isn’t plot-driven, instead the plot just flows, like paint brushes on a painting. The Lonely interacts with divine beings (fine, they’re not Gods, but they’re all-knowing, so I’d call them divine regardless), but instead of replying, they answer questions with questions. This reminded me of the philosophical teachings of Socrates, who was known to teach through questioning.

What is unique and thought-provoking about The Journey is that it asks philosophical questions and provides us with answers, but does so in a unique way. This book explained things totally different from what I’m used to hear, and fortunately, it was a lot easier to understand this way. In simple logics, the book introduces us to basic philosophical principles, and makes the reader ponder about life, death and the reason why we exist, if any.

What I did feel was lacking in the book was a drive, a point, a climax. I loved the ending, but sometimes the middle lacked direction. This vibe fitted the atmosphere of the book, but made me feel more confused than I’d liked to. Dante’s Inferno gave me plenty to think about as well, but on top of that, it provided a straight-forward, continuous journey that went in one direction, not several. I struggled to get through the beginning of this book, partly because it was so strange at first. Once I delved deeper into the novel, I began to understand what the author was trying to do and started enjoying it, but it was hard at first to adapt to the atmosphere and setting of this book.

If you’re looking for a fun, enjoyable, easy read, then The Journey isn’t what you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking to ask yourself a few questions, and read a new take about the meaning of life and philosophy without being preached to, then The Journey is a read you’ll definitely enjoy.

Book Review: Perpetuating The Species by Spencer Phelps

15704144Title: Perpetuating The Species
Author: Spencer Phelps
Genre: Humor, Fiction
Publisher: Book Baby
Publication Date: July 1st 2012
Goodreads | Author Website | Amazon | B&N

On one hand, Mike Lynch hates kids. He can’t stand how they scream all the time, poop themselves, everything. That probably comes from his father reminding Mike throughout his childhood that he was never wanted. On the other hand, that ice of indifference surrounding Mike’s biological clock starts to thaw after his girlfriend gives birth to someone else’s child.
Mike believes everything has a reason for existing, including our naughty bits. He now has a desperate urge to fulfill his basic human duty by using those bits to procreate. He just doesn’t want to deal with the aftermath. To get around this self-imposed dilemma, Mike takes a three-day weekend trip to Indiana, finds some women who are also looking to get laid, and tries to get them pregnant. He justifies his actions by assuming the people he encounters are going to get pregnant during one-night stands anyway. At least with his being the sperm donor, their child will be born to serve a greater purpose: Mike’s.
When he returns to Indiana a year later to see if the scheme was a success, confronting the results of his actions elicits more emotions than he knew he had. Now Mike has no idea how he’ll react when he discovers his child.

Perpetuating The Species is a humorous fiction novel that talks about a journey of self-discovery. At the start of the novel, we meet our main character, Mike. Working at a tourist agency in Marion, Ohio, Mike has a pretty normal life except for one thing – his girlfriend, Sarah, is pregnant. Mike isn’t prepared to become a Dad at all. In fact, he’s confident he’d be the worst Dad ever, following his own father’s example. But still, he loves Sarah, so he wants to give this kid thing a try. Until the baby is born and it turns out Mike isn’t the Dad at all.

Wallowing over the break-up, Mike feels depressed, until his best buddy Ben comes up with a “genius” idea. What about they go on a weekend trip, and Mike tries to impregnate three women during the weekend? Instead of seeing why this is the more horrible idea ever, Mike goes along with it. The two men end up driving all the way to Marion, Indiana where over the course of a weekend, Mike sleeps with three women – beautiful Phoebe, depressed gothic girl Dana and middle-aged Trisha who lives in a trailer park. Will the experience change Mike’s view on life, or will he still be as adversed toward children as he was at the beginning?

Perpetuating The Species is a well-written, humorous account of a man scared to become a father, and terrified of being as bad at it as his own father was. The writing is fluent, and the pace is high and consistent. Most of this novel is written from Mike’s POV, and the only problem with that was…I really didn’t like Mike. Not only is he an egotistical, superficial human being who goes on the most idiotic quest I’ve ever heard of to try and do – what exactly? Procreate? Create life? Become a Dad? Figure out if he’s Dad material after all? From an outsider’s point of view, it just looks like he wants to hurt people. Alright, maybe not intentionally, but as soon as you sit down to think about it, you realize almost instantly that nothing good can come from Ben and Mike’s quest. Also, the way Mike describes women is sometimes, well, sexist. He dotes on Phoebe because she’s beautiful, but then can’t wait to get away from Dana because she’s not.

Now, I really don’t like Mike, but I doubt it was the author’s intention to make us like his main character, especially at the beginning. That’s why the main purpose of this book is Mike’s road to self-discovery, filled with some humor and hilarious situations along the way. I definitely applaud the author for taking a chance and making his character not instantly likeable. That takes a lot of courage, and it makes it that much harder to get your audience to continue reading. I had to read this from start to end though, so that definitely wasn’t a problem.

Along the way, I began to warm up to Mike. Some men will probably recognize themselves or part of themselves in Mike. I do think this book is aimed primarily at men, and since I’m a woman, I often had more trouble with understanding Mike’s sense of humor (which is often mildly degrading toward women). I loved one particular scene with Mike and Dana, when he finally shows us a bit of another side to him, a warmer, heartier side. I was a bit dissapointed to see that side disappear that quickly, but was glad when it resurfaced.

Perpetuating The Species combines humor and an interesting story, with intriguing characters, and makes for an entertaining read.