Science Fiction

Ferocious by Paula Stokes #Review + #Giveaway

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ferocious_blog_tourFerocious

Ferocious
Vicarious Series
Book #2
Paula Stokes

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen (Macmillian)
ISBN: 978-0765380968
ASIN: B01MUDQD3B
Pages: 352
Word Count:
Goodreads Rating: 4.3
My Rating: 5.0

Book Description:

Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for vengeance.

When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter―finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.

Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?

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Praise for VICARIOUS

 

“Combining elements of sci-fi and mystery, Vicarious is an expert blend from an author gifted with the ability to jump genres and stick the landing every time.” ―Paste Magazine

“A total mind-bending thrill ride, with a heroine who’s as smart as she is strong. Readers will love Winter!” ―Lindsay Cummings, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zenith and The Murder Complex

“Reading Vicarious is like tiptoeing across a field of landmines. Blindfolded. Stokes delivers enough adrenaline to make readers beg for mercy.” ―Victoria Scott, author of Titans and Fire & Flood

 

“An action-packed thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end–I couldn’t put it down!” ―Kristi Helvig, author of Burn Out and Strange Skies

“Vicarious by Paula Stokes is a fast-paced thriller that grabs your attention on page one and doesn’t let go. The main character is a fresh take on the usual heroine in YA novels.” ―Julie Bond, Sales &Marketing Manager/YA Specialist, Read Booksellers

“This is the thrill ride you’ve been waiting for all summer.” ―PopCrush

“Pulse-pounding adventures and high-tech blend masterfully with romance, intrigue, and current issues, making this book completely captivating for any audience.” ―VOYA, starred review

“Stokes delivers fans of suspense a story full of twists and turns…The author admirably handles graphic and disturbing material in a subtle way.” ―School Library Journal

“A powerful kick-ass girl caught up in a high-tech, twisty mystery…Buckle up, this thrill ride travels at breakneck speed.” ―Justine Magazine

“Smart twists and turns…smart sci-fi worldbuilding. Complementing the mystery is a slow-burn love story between Winter and Mexican-American Jesse Ramirez, a fellow stunt artist. Their relationship is tender and complicated, with enough tension to sustain itself and enough heat to pop when things pay off.” ―Kirkus Reviews

 

My Take on the Book:

Whoa whoa whoa. I’m a bit late to this party and I’m a bit mad at myself because I honestly can’t believe that it took me this long to find out about Paula Stokes and this duology. I’m shook.

While I normally steer towards the more supernatural, paranormal or even dystopian novels I often enjoy novels that are stepped more in fact than fiction. This set of books does a great job of mering the real with fiction. While the ViSe recording technology that a good portion of these books focus on does not exist in our present day world, they did not seem too unbelievable or far off from reality.

I was particularly fond of the character developments, mainly Winter’s. I think Stokes did a great job portraying this character and shinning a light on the complexities of mental illness while helping to cast aside the stigma that surrounds it. In addition to these thoroughly fleshed out characters, I found myself really enjoying the romance. Most appealing to me was that this was not a instantaneous connection but rather a slow burn romance that started well before we were even introduced to the characters in book 1. It helped to make this story more realistic.

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5 Quills

I can’t wait to get my hands on more books my Paula Stokes because if these two were anything to go by, this author is extremely talented. Loved this duology and I can’t recommend it enough. This series was well worth muddling my already hectic schedule and coming out of hiatus to review. If you like action and mystery these are the books for you. The technology in these books gave me a J.D. Robb type feel but the writing is not like any I’ve encountered before, making this an original and well thought out story!

About the Author Paula Stokes

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers.

Photo Content from Paula Stokes

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3 Winners will receive a Set Copy of the Duology

{VICARIOUS+FEROCIOUS} by Paula Stokes.

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Graveshift by Michael Haspil Review

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Graveyard Shift

Graveyard Shift

Michael F. Haspil

 

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books

 

ISBN: 978-0765379627
Pages: 352

 

Goodreads Rating: 3.68
My Rating: 4.5

 

Book Description:

Police procedurals go supernatural in this gritty urban fantasy debut

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, who was born in ancient Rome, once hunted evil vampires for UMBRA, a super-secret unit of the NSA. That was before the discovery of a blood substitute and a Supreme Court ruling allowed thousands of vampires to integrate into society.

Now, Alex and Marcus are vice cops in a special police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When someone starts poisoning the artificial blood, race relations between vampires and humans deteriorate to the brink of anarchy. While the city threatens to tear itself apart, Alex and Marcus must form an unnatural alliance with a vigilante gang and a shape-shifter woman in a desperate battle against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.

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My take on the book:

As a native Miami girl, I was pretty excited that this story took place in my hometown. Cities like Doral, Coral Gables and Wynwood helped add to the character of the story and give the setting a nice visual for me. As for the characters, I normally reach for books with female leads since I can relate to them more but the characters of Alex/Menakaure and Marcus were solid characters with well-developed backstories. I enjoyed the whole mystery aspect of the story even if I did see many of “twists” coming. I honestly found this story to be a breath of fresh air in the vampire genre. Adding a pharaoh turned reanimated mummy into the mix as the lead character as opposed to the vamp was a great move and helped make the story so interesting.

Throughout the story, I caught myself reading too much into Alex’s interactions with other characters and expecting a “romance” as I have come to expect this of many urban fantasy books, especially the ones with vampires in the mix. I was pleasantly surprised, that while there is a slight mention of relations, there is no actual romance in this book. Whether this story is a one off or part of a series I feel like that was a bold move to make and it paid off. Sure, Alex could go on to build romantic relations in future books if the author so chooses to continue these characters’ stories but the fact that it was not introduced in this one makes this story stand out from the others like it in this genre.

My only slight complaint was how Miami itself was portrayed. While I enjoyed the mention of these larger cities and it helped me to envision the setting while reading, I felt like there was too much focus on the bigger, more popular cities and gave the setting a staleness that I wish hadn’t occurred. I felt like facts were being spouted and less imagery was given which made some of the setting come off a dry. Some of it just didn’t read as true. But honestly it was not enough to distract from an otherwise stellar novel.

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4.5 Quills

Michael F. Haspil

About The Author

Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he had the opportunities to serve as an ICBM crew commander and as a launch director at Cape Canaveral. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul.

When he isn’t writing, you can find him sharing stories with his role-playing group, cosplaying, computer gaming, or collecting and creating replica movie props. Lately, he devotes the bulk of his hobby time to assembling and painting miniatures for his tabletop wargaming addiction.
Michael is represented by Sara Megibow of the KT Literary Agency and Adrian Garcia of the Paradigm Talent Agency.

He has collected and made replica movie props for over twenty years and enjoys the way a particular collectible lets an individual connect with a meaningful story.

He spends entirely too much time gaming or thinking (some might say ‘scheming’) about strategies and tactics in all kinds of gaming be it board games, computer games, or his passion, tabletop wargaming. He devotes the largest share of the gaming pie to Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. He has collected and played Grey Knights, Space Marines, Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Necrons, and Space Wolves. Michael is a regular contributor to “The Long War” a premiere podcast and webcast dedicated to tabletop gaming, but especially to Warhammer 40,000.

Photo Content from Michael F. Haspil

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5 Winners will receive a Copy of GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Michael F. Haspil

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Sugar Skulls Blitz Excerpt + #Giveaway

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Sugar Skulls
Glenn Dallas & Lisa Mantchev

 

Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: November 10th 2015
Genre: New Adult Dystopian Science Fiction
 

Book Description:

Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.

Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the city like a ghost after an overdose of a deadly illegal street drug knocks him off the grid. When Micah and Vee forge an immediate, undeniable connection, their troubled worlds collide.

Trading concert stages for Cyrene’s rooftops and back alleys, they have to evade vicious thugs and Vee’s possessive manager as they unravel the mysteries connected to their dark pasts. And before the curtain falls, Micah and Vee will bring the city to its knees in their desperate bid for love, home, and a future together.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25789738-sugar-skulls

 

Excerpt:

M

My shirt’s open in a flash, and her lips are on me, her tongue tracing hot little swirls along my skin. My arms close around her, one hand still buried in her hair, the other stroking along her spine, fingertips trailing along the exposed skin, and she shivers despite the warmth radiating from her.

She’s a whirlwind, a hungry, passionate, desperately fuckable whirlwind, and I’m swept up in her wake.

The only furniture in the room is a little bench against the wall, since you need the space for couples, trios, and other gatherings of willing bodies. I sit down quickly, pull her closer, my hands on her ass as she climbs onto my lap, straddling me. Her afterthought of a shirt brushed aside, her chest against mine, I can feel her heart pounding like a speaker about to blow out.

Grabbing two fistfuls of my hair, she yanks my head back, exposing my neck. She chuckles as she kisses along my jawline, then bites . . . not too hard, but not gently, either, like she’s marking me as hers.

Her hands run down my neck and across my chest, her fingernails grazing my skin, one hand resting on the tattoo emblazoned over my heart. She pauses a moment and whispers the top name aloud— “Bryn”—before her mouth meets mine again. My eyes slam shut as I lose myself in her lips, her tongue, her little gasps for breath before she dives in for more. Our hands roam and grasp and tease, but it’s all background to one endless, ravenous kiss. She’s insatiable, a five-story drop, and I take the plunge, succumbing to gravity and falling falling falling with her.

She tastes like hard liquor and candy and sex and longing and . . . something else. Every brush of her tongue against mine makes it sharper, until it’s all I can think about, until even the promise of a gorgeous girl against me fades.

Apples. She tastes like apples.
Fuck. No.
I tense up and pull away from the kiss, and for the second time

tonight, I think I’ve surprised her. She leans close as if to kiss me again, only to purr in my ear, a rolling seductive sound that gives me shivers.

But the spell is already broken.

Velvet curtains. Bryn. Apples.
Someone in the club is dealing applejack.

Did you take something? Did you take little green translucent tabs of something?”

Her warm breath finds my ear once more. “I’m sorry, love, I only had the one. But I can get more, enough for both of us, and—”

Where? Where did you get it?” I shout with a fury that startles us both.

She leans back and takes a moment before answering. “From Adonis. The guy on the dais. He gave me a taste while we were danc—” “I need you to listen to me.” I stand up, awkwardly dragging her to her feet, and I grab her face with both hands. Locking eyes with her. Hazel. Clear. No ruptured blood vessels, no discoloration. Doing quick calculations in my head: skin temperature, time elapsed since she took the tab. If something bad was going to happen . . . It would’ve by now. Lucky girl. “Take anything, anything you want. Sample anything else in the whole place and get as blissed out as you like, but please, please don’t

ever touch that rancid garbage ever again. It will fuck up your soul.” She looks baffled by my spur-of-the-moment plea. I’m sure I would, too, in her place. I pull her close and kiss her again—a gift for me, an

apology for her—and then I bolt.
Making a beeline for the illuminated dais at the center of the Palace

of Wonders, I have no problem spotting him, even if we’ve never crossed paths before. Shirtless, crowned, grinding against a pair of waify young things wearing bioluminescent body paint and spaced-out smiles.

I hustle up the glowing side stairs and onto the platform, barging in on the soon-to-be threesome. “Hey, apologies, ladies, but I need a moment with His Majesty.”

The glow-in-the-dark sexpots step aside, dazed eyes already looking for a new plaything, and he looks suitably pissed. But three magic words make it all better.

I can pay.”

He sizes me up—torn shirt with no buttons, half-mauled chest, dark jeans with a little bit of roof dust still clinging to the legs—and shrugs, gesturing me toward a side exit. “Fun inside, business outside.”

We step out into the heavy mist of the alley, and the door shuts behind us. Standing with his back to me, he reaches into both pockets. From one, he pulls a handful of silvertip sticks and a lighter; from the other, a stack of green-tinted tabs, individually wrapped and ready to share. “What’s your pois—”

I don’t give him the chance to finish, charging him as he turns and slamming him against the opposite wall. His head bounces off the brick. I’m ranting away in my head, bordering on raving.

That’s for the girl in the alcove and Bryn and Rina and every other person you’ve torn to pieces with this fucking life-ruining shit . . .

He collapses to the ground, drugs still in hand, and I lean close, almost snarling. “Where’d you get this? Huh? Who’s your supplier?” I snatch the whole stack from him, cracking one tab open and sparking the lighter beneath it.

The applejack flares up in an instant, burning hotter than I expect, and I drop it into the garbage can against the wall, dumping the other tabs in after it. Each one bursts into flame with a whoosh, incinerated in seconds. This is some potent shit.

I turn back toward the scumbag dealer. “Who keeps you stocked? Is it Re—”

He punches me in the leg, and pain arcs through me. I crumple to the ground in a heap, twitching.

Fuck. Took too long. My hand still clutches the lighter tight, the nerves frozen and nonresponsive. I can’t even speak.

Standing now, he kicks me in the gut, hard. He leans down and smiles, showing me the glowing set of knuckles on his hand. Brights. Should’ve known. Then two furious kicks to the chest, punctuating them with “should kill you for that” and “wasted all my best shit.” I’m still so rattled by the shock from his modified knucks, I can’t cry out. I wheeze, trying to get my breath back, and he gives me three more kicks, just for good luck, I guess.

The security door swings open, and His Majesty instantly steps away from me. Blinded by the light from the doorway, I can barely make out the shape of the bouncer. “What’s going on out here?”

Slick as bacon grease, His Majesty goes into spin mode. “Guy wanted a hit of riprap and got a little aggressive, that’s all.”

Should I bring him inside and call the greys?”

Fuck.

But saving his own ass saves mine by accident. “Naw, let him sleep it off in the alley. You know how these little tweakers can be.”

Curled up in pain, I’m in no position to argue. I just lie there on the cold, damp asphalt as he spits in my face and struts through the security door. It slams shut behind him, and everything goes dark.

 

 

About The Authors

When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.

Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at http://www.lisamantchev.com.

Connect with Lisa & Glen 
 
Lisa: 

Glenn:
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Release Day Book Blitz Giveaway: Endless by Amanda Gray

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Endless

Amanda Gray

 

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Romance
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books

ISBN: 9780988340954
Pages: 384
Goodreads Rating: 3.49
 

Book Description:

 

Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life. Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock — and the Order — Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life — and beyond death. 

Available NOW:

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About the Author

 

Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.

GIVEAWAY:

$10 Starbucks Gift Card and 1 e-book of Endless (INT)

 
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Scars of Bifrost Review, Interview and Giveaway!!!

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Soft-BookCoverScars of the Bifrost
The Scars Saga
Book One
AJM Mousseau
 

Genre: YA Paranormal/
Sci-Fi Romance
Release Date: April 10, 2013
Publisher: Dauntless Hawk Ink

ASIN: B00CBCB8NS
Pages: 301 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.78
My Rating: 5

Book Synopsis:

Freya Catten has lived on the fringes of society her entire life, growing up in hiding with her mother in the deepest, wildest places left in North America—the national parks and forests. Freya’s mother taught her how to live off the land, away from civilization—mysteriously warning her of the dangers of getting involved with society and leaving traces of her DNA behind. But five years ago Freya’s mother abandoned her, leaving Freya to survive on her own. 
Freya knows how to stay alive, whether she’s hiding in the forest or running on the city streets. She changes her appearance often and owns nothing but her backpack filled with survival gear and a necklace that had been her mother’s. 
But, keeping one step ahead of Social Services isn’t her biggest fear. Freya’s true terror lies with The Takers—strange men who rappel from silver cords out of the deep blue sky from nowhere. They snatch up their victims then evaporate without a trace. Freya holds a dark suspicion—that the Takers are really after her, and they are closing in.
Freya realizes that if she is to ever have a normal life she must first find her mother and answer the questions that have kept her in hiding. Along the way, she meets Theron Hawk—a rugged teenage soldier from a war-torn country—and finds herself truly trusting someone for the first time in her life.
As secrets are uncovered, and Freya comes closer to solving the mysteries surrounding her life, her blood and the priceless necklace that lays at her throat, the scars of the Bifrost will threaten to rip apart Freya’s very existence.

SCARS OF THE BIFROST is the first story in The Scars Saga and is a Young Adult science-fiction/fantasy/paranormal romance novel infused with wilderness survival, urban fantasy, dystopian elements and mythological realism.

Amazon  

My take on the book:

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Too many books now a days end up as a carbon copy of another story with the same characters dressed up in different clothing. Luckily that wasn’t the case with ‘Scars of the Bifrost’. Author A.J.M. Mousseau has a unique ability to tell a story with a fresh take on the young adult’s genre, weaving a world unlike many others. It was an honestly pleasing read with ups and downs and characters that captivate and enthrall you. I loved it from the go. Within a couple of minutes of reading I found myself unable to put down my kindle, so much so I should say that my blog may have suffered from it. 🙂 The characters were strongly developed, and while you do find yourself questioning bits and pieces of the story, their story, nothing really goes unanswered. So here’s my break down on the good and the bad.

The Great (Pros):

 
  • The world AJMM created so masterfully. I loved the scenery in this book; she literally took me on a literary adventure. I felt as if I was right there experiencing some of the scenes with Freya.
  • The Characters. I know I mentioned above that those characters were greatly developed and I meant it. I loved A.J.M. Mousseau’s characters, from the good down to the bad. Sure I wanted to rip the face off said villain, but isn’t that how you know that the author has created a note worthy opponent for your hero? Truthfully, I can’t say that any character’s storyline really irked me. Freya is pretty awesome and Theron is Ah-maze-ing, two of my favorite main characters as of yet. I loved Piper, she was just too cute and Scarlett was oddly reminiscent of my own aunt. I loved Jesse even when he seemed to be that brooding over protective guy you tend to get annoyed with. I can’t get into too much detail involving the characters cause I might give away some of the plot points but just know that I could spend hours discussing this book and those characters.
  • The Science and Mythology. Really guys, this author did her homework before penning this masterfully written story. She breaks things down for us readers in a way that’s informative, not condescending. The mythology was woven into the story so well I found myself getting chills at some points.
  • The Cover Art. Seriously this cover art is so amazing and fits the story. It was one of the main reasons I found myself drawn to the story and one of the reasons I decided to read it. Even though it’s not a full facial shot it helped me to imagine Freya in my mind.

The not so great (Cons):

 
  • The ending. Don’t get me wrong the ending itself was pretty cool, but a tad anti-climactic. I saw it coming and that really bugged me when I went to turn the page and found I had reached the end. I wasn’t expecting that ending for a book that in my opinion worked so hard and succeeded in proving it was NOT like the rest. But this was a small faux pas that I can overlook. Truthfully only because I know, as a writer, that it is meant to keep readers on the edge of their seats and keep them hooked and tuned in for the next installment in the series. The ending gives the author a plot to work with so like I said bearable.
  • Predictability. I know, this might seem to conflict with my earlier statement to the contrary and for the most part this book was a breath of fresh air. But there was one moment in the book other than the aforementioned ending that I can’t delve into because it definitely is a major plot point, that I totally knew without a shadow of a doubt would happen. As the author continued, I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and hoped that it wouldn’t play out that way… but it did.

5 Stars/Quills

That’s my list and my take. My advice, go to amazon right now and buy your copy before the next installment is released because it’s a read that’s well worth your time. If you like Hunger Games and Percy Jackson or really anything Young Adults and Sci-Fi then this is definitely the book for you. Personally I’m super excited for UNLOCKING BRISINGAMEN, Book 2 of The Scars Saga. I’ll be sure to post a review as soon as it’s out and I’ve read it.  Make sure you check out the interview I did with the author and get a quick sneak peak into the book with the excerpt located in the scroll box below.