review by: Amy R. Biddle
AUDIENCE: Adult & YAPUBLISHED THROUGH: CreateSpace
For anyone who has ever been homesick, Return to the Aegean will evoke your most deep-set emotions. Not only because EJ Russell writes heartwrenchingly poetic prose, but because the main character's emotions are genuine and raw. So often in literature, strong female characters are contrived and unbelievable- either because they are portrayed as a strong women but have cliche weaknesses, or because they are so over-the-top strong that they simply aren't real. But Thalia is neither cliche nor exaggerated. A woman who struggles with the emotions of returning home after running away and living at sea, she will stay in readers hearts forever. Return to the Aegean
spends a healthy amount of time describing the language and cultures of Greece. With a Greek glossary and endless tidbits about the local life, the novel was constantly educational, and yet it never felt academic. Such powerful writing can only come from someone with genuine feelings for a place, and EJ's Greek upbringing was apparent.
The only fault in the novel was the mystery itself. In the beginning of the book, it is understood that Thalia fled the small Greek island she was raised on, but it is not clear why. She is terrified to return, yet overjoyed to reunite with old friends. This mix of emotions heightened the suspense, even while the plot move forward slowly. However, halfway through the book, the plot was still moving forward at a snail's pace. Instead of allowing the reader to learn the story organically, EJ seemed to intentionally withhold information in order to keep up the suspense. At first, this was OK. But by the end of the book, despite the depth of character and setting, the mystery itself felt contrived.
Never mind the mystery. If you are looking for a taste of the Aegean Sea and Greek culture, or a novel full of lyrical prose and breathtaking prose, pick up Return to the Aegean. You will, no doubt, fall madly in love with Thalia.
4 out of 5 stars
Buy it on Amazon
Check it out on Goodreads
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THE REVIEWERAmy R. Biddle, co-founder and senior editor at Underground Book Reviews, was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has since made a living on the great blue sea.
The Atheist's Prayer, her debut novel, will be published in the fall of 2013 by Perfect Edge Books. You can visit her at www.amyrbiddle.com.
The Fall: Tales from the ApocalypseEditor:
Matt Sinclair Publisher:
Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, LLCGenre(s):
pagesTHE RUNDOWNTales about the end of civilization as we know it have captivated audiences for generations. It is no wonder that The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse would be just as intriguing. This group of stories all tied to the common theme of man's destruction gives the reader much to think about. Below are the tales and a brief summary of plot. Trust by R.C. Lewis - A family struggles to stay alive after the collapse of government. Hairline Cracks by Ryan Graudin - Zombies tear apart a relationship. "Lumberjack zombie becomes his own Fruit Gusher. Though his flavor is probably more Triple Berry Shock than anything else..."The Last Day of the Fall by Matt Sinclair - A hodge-podge group struggles to make it through the winter. Disconnect by Mindy McGinnis - A humorous meeting between God and Angels two seconds after the
apocalypse. "GOD: How am I supposed to deliver The Judgment without The iPhone?"WWBBCDITZA by A.M. Supinger -
What Would Big Black Cat Do In The Zombie Apocalypse? Solar Flare by Alexandra Tys O'Connor -
A teen, trained by his survivalist mom, faces off against a corrupt coach after the apocalypse.Emanate by Amy Trueblood
- A brother must protect his sister from both the aliens and the people who want to use her life energy. "I would do anything to keep my sister from their grasp, even if it meant being buried alive for ten hours every night."Little League by Cat Woods -
A baseball game between the Devils and the Saints has some very high stakes. Rebirth by A.M. Supinger -
A selkie, half seal half human, finds a way to truly become human, but at great cost. Crumbs by Jean Oram -
A photojournalist uses her camera to keep an eye on a survivor who she fancies. The Last Perfomance of the Neighborhood Summer Theatre Festival by R. S. Mellette -
A man arrives to see a show that has been canceled. Bone Dust by P.S. Carrillo -
A young woman falls in love with a doctor who has found a way to bring back the souls of the dead. Flight Plans by J. Lea Lopez -
A pilot takes one last flight before the end. The Last Sacrifice by Judy Croome -
A tribal leader finds that the ultimate sacrifice is not his own life, but the life of one he loves. THE REVIEW
With such a slew of stories there is bound to be tales that appeal to all readers. Some stories were stronger than others. Some left me hanging, wanting more of a satisfying ending. However, the overall effect of reading this pairing of stories was entertaining and thought-provoking. Some stories made me laugh. Some made me ponder. It was nice to have a mix of topics and emotional content centered around a theme that I find intriguing.
Overall, I think anyone drawn to dystopian literature will enjoy this book. There's something in it for everyone and many of the stories are top-notch and worth the 2.99 price tag.
Four out of Five Stars**I recieved a free review copy in exchange for an honest review. LINKS
Find the book on Amazon
Find Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC.
We want your opinion. Of all the amazing novels we’ve reviewed, we want to know your favorite. If you read and loved one of our books, this is your chance to support the author in our second annual Summer Reading List!
Looking for something to read today? Check out the results for the 2012 Summer Reading List
.Voting will close
at the end of the day on Thursday, June 27th at 2400 EST.Winners will be announced
on Friday, June 28th.
To vote, all you need is a Facebook account!
Well, what are you waiting for?
AJ Knauss is an author with an absurd sense of humor and a down-to-earth view of humanity. Her novel, Room Four, pulls from her own emergency room experience in a comic and often cringe-worthy series of events. But AJ is more than just a writer. She is a teacher, an Army doctor, and a philosopher. I'm excited to ask AJ a few questions about life and writing today.Amy:
I understand that you use a pen name so that you don't have to answer any tricky questions at work. Have you managed to keep your author-identity from your co-workers, or is the secret out?AJ
: The secret is mostly out. Emergency Medicine is a small world. But its a pseudo-pseudonym as I answer to AJ once in a while. And Knauss is my married name although I did not legally change it. My husband is in the military as well; we are about the same build, so laundry day at the house is bad enough without having the same name on everything. But I went with a pen name to put another layer of separation between my medical practice and writing. Patient confidentiality is very important and since I am poking fun at medicine I want to make clear that it is fiction. And if I decide to write the next vampire erotica series maybe my colleagues won't notice. Amy:
I understand that you practice emergency medicine. Tell me about your professional medical career.AJ:
I'm board certified in Emergency Medicine. I trained in Chicago and worked on an ambulance prior to medical school. I practice in downtown Milwaukee now but have worked in rural settings, a Flight for Life helicopter program, and with the military. I've taught residents and medical students in various settings and recently got involved in the Medical Humanities program at the local medical college. I like to think of it as inoculating future doctors with a sense of humor, specifically the ability to laugh at themselves. Doctors need humility. We do serious work. We can't take ourselves too seriously in the process.Amy:
Your book has some insane, improbable situations, but I imagine you have even crazier personal stories from your time working in emergency rooms and serving in the Army. Do you ever have an experience that is too unbelievable to put into fiction?AJ:
Ha! Truth is much stranger than fiction when it comes to the ER. If you ever have a chance to go out for margaritas with a group of ER nurses, you will get the unvarnished truth. The opening set up, where the two doctors are arguing over who has to fill out the death certificate, was something that I overheard. It got me thinking "what if bureaucracy was so bad it could hold up your soul?" I tried to capture the noise of the ER, the five conversations at once, the phone calls, alarms. But some of the real stories might come across as contrived...but as we say to each other, shaking our heads at 2am while treating two family member who got into a fight with a hamfork...you can't make this stuff up!Amy:
Tell me about your writing methods. How do you find time to write with your busy schedule?AJ:
Once Jerry and Alan started talking the story almost wrote itself. But before I get underway I like to have a good outline. An opening, and ending, and some key landmarks along the way. I work rotating shifts so I have the house to myself from time to time. I also set a deadline for this book as I had a deployment with the army coming up. But I primarily write because of all the great stories I hear and the moments I witness. There are simply so many stories that deserve to be told. These are the things that keep us human. Listening to stories is Medicine 101.
If I wasn't a physician I would still write but it might center around my family, neighbors, and our dog. Two mornings ago my husband was chasing him around the yard trying to get him to pee in a solo cup because the vet wanted a sample for his "wellness check up." Comedic inspiration is everywhere.Amy:
Despite the comic overtones, your novel has a very serious, philosophic bent to it. Your characters are dealing with death, old age and corruption, as well as reminiscing on their past lives and relationships. Other than writing a comic tale, what were your motivations when penning the book?AJ:
I made it a comedy because I don't think a deadly serious book on death, old age and human frailty would be as readable. But moreover I wanted to give a voice to some of my patients. Everybody asks "why me" and there isn't often a clear answer to that. In the ER we meet people under very stressful circumstances and have to establish this instant rapport and trust. Both the doctors and patients can get too focused on the data, what did the test show, what did the xray look like, and not ask the bigger questions. We were both in the same car...why is my friend dead and I survived? I never smoked...why did I get lung cancer? Because Jerry has nothing to lose and Alan has everything to gain, they could talk about anything and not hold back. But men in particular don't often have those conversations. So making them invisible to others forced them to have some conversations they might not otherwise have.
The other side is how the staff are affected by what they see. The veteran nurse, burned out doc and the idealistic intern are somewhat stereotyped characters but in medicine we have all been there. We do cry with a patient but we can't cry all the time so the humor is a buffer, the late night reflections are a buffer...I am interested in how people cope. PTSD is a big topic lately. Why does one person get it and another does not? Is it something in processing or not having time and space to process an event that triggers it? Amy:
I understand that Room Four
was listed on the Kirkus Indie Best of 2012 list. Tell us about your experience with Kirkus, and your marketing strategies.AJ:
I went with the Kirkus review to see if the book was good enough for public consumption. It's subjective but still very helpful to have an independent reader give detailed feedback, good or bad. For me it validated the time I spent on the project and makes me confident to write another book and see what happens. And its been fun to discover other authors via Kirkus, your website, and other bloggers' sites. Marketing is tough. There are many advertising options but I think word of mouth is still the best.
It is a business. Just because you wrote a book doesn't mean anyone wants to read it. I've had some success with local media and journalists. I've done a giveaway on Goodreads. I try not to be too much of a pest on Facebook. It's all new territory. Of the authors I read, I don't ever go to their websites. I get a recommendation from a friend or stumble across the book somewhere. So I am still exploring how to market. Amy:
From your personal experience, I imagine that you have enough fodder for another medical comedy. Do you think you will write another book any time soon?AJ:
I wrote a book before Room Four
that is in need of another edit. Much more medical drama than comedy. But because editing is less fun (and in reality I'm not sure about the premise in general), I've started two different outlines for new books. One is a stand alone sequel with further misadventures for Alan. The second is a mother-daughter adventure. I'm waiting to see which idea wins and then I will get under way. Each book teaches you how to write the next one.
Amy, thanks for your time and interest in Room Four
. Thank you especially for promoting new authors. Paranormal-satire-medical-comedy-buddy novel may yet become its own genre.Amy:
My pleasure, AJ!
Readers, you can purchase Room Four on Amazon
or visit AJ's website here
Amy R. BiddleGenre:
Paranormal Medical ComedyPublisher:
Self-published through CreatespaceCover Art:
Alan Fries (as in cheese) wakes up one day to find himself in an emergency room. He's watching himself in the hospital bed as the nurses try to bring him back to life. Next to him, a grumpy old man of a ghost named Jerry explains that they are both stuck in the hospital due to a paperwork issue. Someone hasn't signed their documents, so they aren't officially dead yet. Which is why they're stuck in limbo, haunting the halls of a hospital that is on the brink of collapse, with a corrupt CEO and an understaffed emergency room.
Alan isn't ready to believe that he's dead, so he's not too keen on walking through walls, and every time he passes a motion-activated faucet, he waves his hand underneath to see if this time
it will work. Jerry finds this habit annoying, and wishes Alan would just haunt the women's bathroom with him. But despite their bickering, the two men come together to help the living discover the corruption within the walls of their hospital.
As a medical professional who understands the emergency room scene, A. J. Knauss is no stranger to the subject. Room Four
provides a comic glimpse into the medical world, and uses humor to address more serious issues of healthcare, religion and economic status. But despite its engaging premise and colorful characters, the major downside to Room Four is that it is almost completely dialogue-driven. A.J. Knauss covered multiple action-packed scenes with amusing but over-done discussions, and this detracted the overall quality of the book.The Recommendation
If you're a fan of dialogue-driven stories, and want a comical inside look at hospital drama, you might pick up Room Four
and take a peek. But if you're looking for prose and imagery, look elsewhere. Perhaps Room Four
would make a better movie script than it would a book.The linksRoom Four on AmazonA.J. Knauss on AmazonA.J.'s website
Congratulations to the winners of the Spring Pitch Competition! After 28 entries and a month of selection and online voting, the following indie books were chosen for Underground Book Reviews' Spring Pitch Awards:
1st Place: The Nothing Place by Jesse Baker
2nd Place: No Accident by Dan Webb
3rd Place: Deep Sounding by Brandon Carbaugh
4th Place: Don't Tell Anyone by Laurie Boris
5th Place: Bedbugs by L A Taylor
The Nothing Place
by Jesse Baker
Mixed up with drugs and kicked out of school, Max is shipped off to L.A. for drug rehab. He arrives early to visit his Aunt Mercedes, a single mom and mortgage broker raking it in during the 2004 real estate boom. With four days left of freedom, Max is determined to sneak out and live it up one last time in Hollywood. Meanwhile, his aunt’s job is at stake due to illegal practices, and she has recently turned back to cocaine. As their lives spiral out of control, a night in West Hollywood may just lead to their salvation.
by Dan Webb
What if your boss secretly took out an insurance policy on your life—then sent you into harm’s way? When a fiery crash consumes three cars and the lives of their occupants, the police blame reckless driving. But investigator Alex Fogarty suspects a celebrated CEO staged the accident, murdering his own employees for insurance money. As bodies pile up, Alex pursues the case together with the CEO’s estranged wife, from L.A.’s seamy underside to the mansions of Bel Air. If he can stay a step ahead of the CEO’s chilling enforcer, Alex may just discover the dark truth.
by Brandon Carbaugh
The world aboveground is a mountainous waste. The dwarfs live under the mountains. All have work. All work hard. All must work together. Those who don't are cast above, to survive alone. The greater the crime, the longer the time: until the bells of Deepsound ring them home. Bardan has lived above the ground for fifty years. He works hard. He works alone. He works to survive - and he's good at his work. But his heart is fading. His mind is graying. Old ghosts are closing in at last. Bardan's time is up...and his bells are running out.
Don't Tell Anyone
by Laurie Boris
A family accidentally learns that their matriarch, Estelle, not only has breast cancer but also intended to take it to her grave. Now that the secret is out, Estelle decides to ask Liza, the daughter-in-law she once called a godless hippie raised by wolves, to kill her. A horrified Liza refuses but keeps the request from her husband and his brother. As the three adult children urge Estelle to consider treatment, their complicated weave of family secrets and lies begins to unravel. Can they hold their own lives together long enough to help Estelle with hers?
Bedbugs (can you see them?)
by L A Taylor
‘NIGHT, NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT AND DON’T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE’ In 1977, an alien spaceship crashed down to earth, landing deep within the soil in a small County called ‘Lemonsville’. During the night five people were slaughtered, but the next day the killers disappeared. 73 years later, in the year 2050, the killings are happening again, but why? The police Inspector has to find out why people are being slaughtered in their homes and also solve the link to what happened in 1977 before the entire town is wiped out by the Bedbugs...
Stay tuned for a review of the top three winners this fall!
for complete contest results, click on 'read more' below
Award winning author, Tahlia Newland writes contemporary fantasy and magical realism with a metaphysical twist.
All her books have been awarded a place on the Awesome Indies list of quality independent fiction, and her young adult magical realism novel 'You Can't Shatter Me' received a B.R.A.G Medallion for an outstanding independent novel.
When not reading or writing you may find her being an extremely casual high school teacher or making decorative masks.
Katie: You Can't Shatter Me focuses on bullying. What made this topic one you wanted to explore?
Tahlia: I've always hated to see anyone bullied and as a high school teacher I do see it. I always act to stop it and I also help the kids who are being bullied to handle it. I use analogies to help them remember ways to deal with difficult people and I've had a lot of success with that, so I thought I'd share these methods in a novel format.
Katie: As a reviewer and a writer, what has reviewing other's books taught you about writing your own?
Tahlia: A lot, particularly about structure. I can look at my own books and know when a scene is unnecessary quite easily these days. It's definitely made me a better writer because I am more able to evaluate my own books the way a reviewer would.
Katie: You have quite the list of titles. How do you know when a book idea is one you want to pursue?
Tahlia: A couple of those titles are short stories that are part of the collection, so I haven't written as much as it appears. As to which stories I pursue: I have a pretty good sense of what will work and what won't and I don't start writing unless I know I've got something worthwhile. Also I have to run every title past my partner before it get's published. He rejected one novella I wrote.
You Can't Shatter MeAuthor:
Young Adult, Magical RealismLength:
With bullying on the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, it is no wonder that You Can’t Shatter Me
, a young adult magical realism story, caught my eye. The story revolves around two young protagonists: Carly, the teenage girl-next-door with a huge imagination and Dylan, the nerdy-yet-lovable boy who catches her eye. The two embark on a sweet first romance that is often interrupted by the local bully, Justin. Like all bullies, he finds great joy in picking on those different than himself. When Dylan stands up for one of these poor souls, Carly knows he is the boy she’d like to get to know. The story is told through a series of events, punctuated by imaginative scenes where giant hooks dangle from the sky or words appear and zoom around the characters. The tone is whimsical and light, with some deep messages about standing up for yourself and not conforming to those that might want to bring you down.The Review
The book was well-written and Newland’s voice is both interesting and unique. Both characters are likable, as is the supporting cast of friends and siblings. The bully and his cohorts were a little stereotypical, but the depth of Carly and Dylan helped me to overlook that detail. Newland shows she is a master at the English language and you get some fun tidbits of Australia lore and lingo here as well.
There are two issues I have with this book. One is I felt the magical realism scenes were a little off-putting. For example, Dylan and Carly are on their first date. In the middle of that scene, Dylan has an imaginary conversation with a director about sticking to the script and using more compliant actresses. It stopped the forward momentum of the story and seemed a little bizarre. I think I got what Newland was trying to do, but an inner-monologue could have sufficed. This went on throughout the story and sometimes I couldn’t tell if the events were actually taking place or all in their minds.
The second issue is the seemingly-adult nature with which the bullying situations were handled. In my day job as a school counselor, we often try to tell students to make good choices when it comes to dealing with peers. Half the time they do so, but the other half of the time their emotions and hormones get the better of them and they make the wrong choice. Such is life. We live and learn. Yet, somehow Carly and Dylan always seemed to make the right choice. And at the end, a bit of heavy-handed life lesson shows up to tie it all into a neat bow. I am not sure that teens would connect with this much perfect, Pollyanna sweetness. With most teen literature even the protagonists make bad choices. It is how they then deal with them and grow that makes the book interesting.
The book is definitely worth a look, especially for a teen who has struggled through bullying. This book may be therapeutic for someone who has suffered on the wrong end of a misguided peer. The even better news is that the Kindle book is free on Amazon from May 29th - the 31st
. Grab it while you still can.
Three and a half out of Five StarsTahlia's links
, and GoodReads
From as far back as Kimberly can remember, she has either told stories or written stories. In the first grade, she stood and made the announcement that her family couldn't afford a stove and they were starving. Not until the community started to deliver food to the house did her parents find out that the motivation had come from their six-year-old daughter.
Combining her two passions of writing and composing, Shursen's first full-blown musical was produced in Minneapolis by a Broadway producer and went on to open in Sweden. Her second musical was produced in 2009. Plans are in the making to re-open "Eden" with a larger cast and orchestra.With three grown, successful sons, Shursen has a background in marketing and shares her home in the Midwest United States with George and Gracie Burns - a Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Havanese. BRIAN:
Kimberly, it’s wonderful having you at the Underground. I’m going to jump right in about your book, Itsy Bitsy Spider
. Where did you get the idea for the novel? How long did it take from idea to publication? KIMBERLY:
Thanks, Brian. It’s fun to be home again as I remember when the four of is started Underground Book Reviews – the brain-child of Amy Biddle – it was so much fun to toss around ideas for this site that would review books and interview authors.
“Itsy Bitsy Spider” took a little over a year to complete—and then another six months for editing. For years, I’ve heard and read of abuse that mostly focused on lower socio-economic groups. I started to wonder how many adult children had gone to their graves not telling their stories because the abuser controlled them by using power or money. Thus the birth of “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” the story of the powerful Boston Mayor Jack McCallin and his step-daughter Claire. McCallin has threatened Claire that if she ever tells ‘the secret,’ bad things will happen.
BRIAN: Itsy Bitsy Spider
is a contemporary action-thriller sent in modern day Boston. As someone who loves that town, I’m curious why you picked that particular setting?KIMBERLY:
Boston has such a diverse community from multi-cultured citizens to the established wealthy. My characters represent the diverse communities from blue collar to elite. I educated myself on the city by studying pictures and reading about the suburbs I wanted to write about. I mentally visited the JFK Library, the Globe
headquarters in Dorchester, the St.Charles River, Harvard, and Larz Anderson Park just to name a few.BRIAN:
I’m shocked, because I just assumed you’d been there by how well you describe it. You obviously did your homework
Indie authors comprise a big slice of Underground Book Reviews audience, so I’d like to ask a few questions about your writing and publication experience. First, did you try to
through traditional means? If so, what was your experience? If not,
Yes, I did try the traditional method, but not for long. The wait for an answer to my query was harrowing, and even when I received a response it was a form letter. Unless I was a ‘name’, I didn’t stand a chance. Smaller publishing companies were interested, but wanted to know my marketing plan. I felt if I had to do all the work, why not publish the book myself? BRIAN:
You’re a marketing professional by trade. Marketing is a tough nut to crack for any indie author. Can you share your marketing strategy for Itsy Bitsy Spider
with our readers? KIMBERLY:
I started pre-marketing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” six months before it was published. There’s a fine line between “oh my God, be quiet already” to “that’s a book I want to read.” Once a week, I posted on linked-in, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with posts such as “soon to be released,” or “two more weeks before…” I invited people to become friends especially to Linked-In as I feel the site is the best way to find your readers. I also wrote dozens of book clubs finding e-mails on the net. A few months before the novel was published I gathered thirty authors together and formed a gorilla marketing group. I interview one of the authors every two weeks for my website. The rules are that each author has to market the interview twice a week for two weeks on all their social sites. Not only do the authors get exposure, but readers who read their interview will take a peek at my work. All the authors in this group are not only quality writers, but quality people, and it is a privilege to get to know them personally and professionally. The novel was released on May 1st. On Mother’s day weekend I offered the Ebook free to generate exposure and reviews. Imagine how elated I was to discover that almost 1300 books had been downloaded.BRIAN: Itsy
is tightly edited, but indie writers often get a bad rap for poor editing from the publishing establishment. Tell us about your editing process and, please feel free to promote any editing services you used. KIMBERLY:
Thank-you. Yes, I agree, if you don’t cough up money for editorial services, you will not have the reviews or readership you might deserve. There are always errors in every novel and I have found major, ongoing errors in some of the best-selling books. Ann Cooper-Westlake was my editor for Itsy Bitsy Spider
. I feel it is important to have a relationship with your editor and Ann and I established a friendship outside of the editing process. She is very dear to me and can be found at http://writerscrampeditingconsultants.com/Books.htmlBRIAN:
You cover is excellent. Did you come up with the concept yourself? Who did it for you? KIMBERLY:
Createspace did the cover. I offered ideas, but the team developed the cover. Many women have written to tell me they have a phobia about spiders, but have to read the book. The cover of a book is key to someone picking your book. I know this from my experience in developing brochures and ads in marketing.BRIAN:
What’s your number one piece of advice for aspiring authors?KIMBERLY:
You can’t do it all. If you are creative, you don’t have to have perfect skills in editing, but it takes a village to put your novel out there. You, Brian, Amy and Katie were a part of the creation of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as all three of you were beta readers. When I left the underground, Katie became my beta reader. As a creative person, it’s difficult to take a step back from your writing however, whoever your trust to be your beta reader represents all readers and, if they don’t understand or feel the emotion you hope to impart, chances are neither will your readers. My advice to aspiring authors is to find a writing partner who’s writing you respect and open up to their suggestions.BRIAN:
Describe for our readers what kind of dog a “Bichon Havanese” is. I’ve never heard of the breed, but that’s a heck of a name. KIMBERLY:
Gracie Burns is nine pounds and looks like a miniature sheep dog. She is the sweetest dog ever unless George Burns gets in her way. Gracie is nine and George is ten. They are the first to hear what I have written as they sit at my feet when I write.BRIAN:
What’s next for Kimberly Shursen?KIMBERLY:
“Hush,” the present-day courtroom drama that revisits the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion, will be out this fall. Penning out at around 100,000 words, the edgy drama that borders on a thriller took months of legal research. My editor for this novel is Joelle Walker who not only has years of experience as in editor in publishing companies, but worked as a paralegal. Staged in Minneapolis where I lived for over 25 years, the “Hush” will also travel to Geneva, Switzerland where one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world will do anything to stop this trial. Why? Well, you’ll have to read the book.
Kimberly, thank you so much for joining us today. For our readers, you can read my review of Kimberly Shursen’s debut novel Itsy Bitsy Spider here on Underground Book Reviews
Kimberly Shursen Links: Itsy Bitsy Spider on Amazon Kimberly Shursen’s Website
Kimberly Shursen on Facebook
, and LinkedIn
Itsy Bitsy SpiderAuthor:
313 pages The Rundown
In order for an action-thriller to work, it must always be in motion. I can never feel comfortable, in control, or safe. I have to care about the hero. The bad guy has to be bad
. There needs to be a love interest and she has to be pretty and nice and occasionally vulnerable. I mean, really, if she isn’t vulnerable why the heck do we need a hero? If one’s adrenaline doesn’t spike at least once per chapter, the book doesn’t earn a five star review. If I don’t get an urge to put on 3-D glasses and eat some popcorn while I’m reading it, it doesn’t get a five star review. Bottom line, if its not fun, why bother? These were my criteria for evaluating Itsy Bitsy Spider
by debut author Kimberly Shursen.
Matt Christenson is a young, handsome investigative reporter for the Boston Globe. He’s assigned to track down a missing lawyer with connections to Mayor Jack McCallin. Instead, Matt stumbles upon Claire, the mayor’s beautiful daughter, and her little girl, Lizzie. With the help of a few trusted friends Matt discovers Claire and Lizzie are caught in a tangled web of lies originating from the mayor himself. This bloody web stretches from one end of Boston to the other, and now it’s trapped Matt. Claire holds a secret so devastating the mayor will do anything to silence her. The mayor commands Boston’s cops, underworld, and media. There is nowhere to hide as the web tightens around Matt, Claire and Lizzie. Matt becomes part of the story and finds himself falling for Claire, even though it might cost him his life. Itsy
is always in motion. I can think of only two chapters where it even thinks about slowing down. The action takes place across the City of Boston, where Matt and his team find themselves imperiled by the mayor’s powerful allies. I always felt a little on edge, because I knew the characters were never safe. Like them, I never knew who to trust and expected betrayal at every turn. I cringed a few times worrying about Lizzie, Claire’s little girl. The easy-going hero, Matt Christenson, is also very likable. I can see a series of books with him as the hero and can easily see Itsy Bitsy Spider
being turned into a screen play.
Never pretentious and always entertaining, Itsy Bitsy Spider
is a state-of-the-art action thriller. Enjoyably easy to read, I had a strong urge for popcorn the whole time I read it. Now, where are my 3-D glasses?
Five out of Five Stars.
Kimberly Shursen Links: Itsy Bitsy Spider on Amazon
Kimberly Shursen’s Website
Kimberly Shursen on Facebook
, and LinkedIn
Editor’s Note: A UBR alumni and founding member, Kimberly Shursen departed
our staff a year ago to pursue new opportunities. We told her when she published
her first novel, we would be honored to review it, but she wouldn’t receive any
special favors or consideration. This reviewer bought this book and did not
receive a free copy.