Review: This Is How It Ends

I don't have a tremendous amount to say about this book. I liked the characters a lot, I liked the tension and the curiosity of what would happen, I liked the story. I didn't love it, I don't have a lot of criticism about it. It's a like-able book. It doesn't merit my re-read shelf, but I enjoyed the story. I wasn't satisfied with the ending, but it did keep me thinking for days. All in all, 3 stars for enjoyment but for not being everything I like in a book.

Content/recommendation: Some mention of sex, no erotic scenes. Some occasional language. Ages 16+

THIS IS HOW IT ENDS tells the story of two people who collide with each other just as the whole world seems to be caught between the hope and promise of Obama’s election and the catastrophic collapse of the global economy.

Bruno is a middle-aged American banker who has come to Ireland to escape the financial meltdown in his own country.

Addie is an out-of-work Irish architect. Childless and isolated when she meets Bruno, her life seems to be on a downward spiral.

Addie and Bruno’s story is one of nationality and identity, of the power of optimism to defeat despair and the unstoppable march of time. It’s the story of two people who find joy together when they were least expecting it. It's about the past and the future and the elusive skill of living in the moment. It is a love story for our times.

ISBN 9781847445469 | Published July 6th 2012 by Sphere | Amazon | Goodreads

Audio Review: The Prophet

It's been a long time since I've been so excited about a book. The Prophet was thrilling in every sense of the word, and combined everything good about a novel: excitement, tension, good writing, complex plot, and twists. I'm not going to tell you a lot about the plot, because I don't want to give anything away: I didn't know a lot going in, and I'm glad, because I may not have picked it up. In fact I almost stopped listening after the first chapter because it felt a little distant… but I'm so glad now that I stuck with it. By the third track I was hooked, and it was all I could think about for days! This is an audiobook I will definitely recommend to people, and absolutely re-listen to.

I loved the ending. I loved the tension. I loved how it all transpired. Even though the ending wasn't perfect, it was right, and it made me do a little happy dance at the end. On top of that, the reader was great. Listening to The Prophet was an all around excellent experience.

Here's the one thing I think might deter people from really getting into The Prophet: There's a lot of football talk. I am not a football fan. Not at all. I don't care for it, I don't understand it, it doesn't matter to me. Suffice to say by the end of the book, not only did I understand a little more (though not all) of what was being said about the games, but I was excited by it. It wasn't written so you had NO clue what was going on, just not a HUGE clue what was going on.

Rating: 5

Content/Recommendation: Some language, violence, graphic imagery. Sexual reference but no erotic scenes. Ages 18+

Adam Austin hasn't spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail bondsman, working so close to the town's criminal fringes that he sometimes seems a part of them.

Kent Austin is the beloved coach of the local high school football team, a religious man and hero in the community. After years of near misses, Kent's team has a shot at the state championship, a welcome point of pride in a town that has had its share of hardships. Just before playoffs begin, the town and the team are thrown into shock when horrifically, impossibly, another teenage girl is found murdered.

As details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two must confront their buried rage and grief-and unite to stop a killer. Michael Koryta, widely hailed as one of the most exciting young thriller authors at work today, has written his greatest novel ever-an emotionally harrowing, unstoppably suspenseful novel that Donald Ray Pollock has called "one of the sharpest and superbly plotted crime novels I've read in my life."

ISBN: 9780316122610 | August 7th 2012 by Little, Brown and Company| Amazon | Goodreads

Interview: Allen Wyler

Today I have Allen Wyler, author of Dead End Deal, visiting The Life an Lies!

About the Book

World-renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same. DeadEndDeal-662x1024

Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter and his allies conduct clandestine clinical trials in Seoul, Korea. But there, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario: The trial patients are murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Now, aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, as he becomes the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest.

Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who draws significantly from experience, actual events and hot-button issues when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the technical expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast. A smart, unique, page-turner, Dead End Deal delivers.

WHY AND WHEN DID YOU BEGIN WRITING, AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TRANSITION FROM NEUROSURGEON TO AUTHOR?

Writing always interested me. Even in grade school I read like a fiend. So it seemed like a good idea to major in English instead of the traditional chemistry or zoology when I was taking my premed courses. This caused me considerable grief because it was difficult to get in all my required credits. But I figured once I got into medical school I’d never have another shot at the literature courses. And that’s exactly what happened —medical school and post graduate training consumed all my time. Then one Saturday, after starting practice, I came home from making rounds at the hospital and decided to start writing. Just like that. I began a novel that ended up to be really awful. Then I wrote another one, which was better but still not ready for prime time. At that point I started trolling for an agent and finally secured one, but could not sell my work. Years later, I got the call I’d been waiting for. It was quite a thrill. I guess, in the end, my biggest challenge was finding enough time to devote to writing. For me the writing process is difficult and requires a ton of work. I now enjoy the luxury of having sufficient time to work on my craft. It’s a dream come true.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT RESEARCHING DEAD END DEAL?

This is a blitz-pace thriller about a Seattle neurosurgeon who, while in Korea, is framed for a murder. Now hunted by police he must evade a professional hit man while trying to find a way back to the United States. I figure it’s Three Days of The Condor meets Michael Crichton.

I got the idea for the story when I was a guest lecturer at a medical school in Seoul, South Korea. I was staying at the Walker Hill Sheraton hotel across the Han river from the hospital. So all the scenes (hotel, downtown Seoul, and the Korean hospital) were from notes and snapshots I took while there. (I always travel with a small point and shoot camera in my pocket). The brief description of the surgical procedure comes from my own experience.

My neurosurgeon protagonist, Jon Ritter, escapes via a route I personally took when figuring out how he might return to the United States without a passport. Again, the scenes were written with the help of snapshots. So, the short answer to the question is that all the research for the story came from personal experience. By the way, I find digital photography a great help when writing. I view a relevant snapshot on the screen as I write. This helps me accurately describe what I’m seeing.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF WRITING A MEDICAL THRILLER?

People who read medical thrillers are usually interested in medical details, just as readers of legal thrillers find law interesting. What is difficult is adding sufficient medical detail to satisfy a reader without making descriptions or facts boring. This is one reason I try to move my stories along at a fast clip. Thrillers are intended to thrill, not lecture. Fast pace, good plot, interesting characters are the elements that should be in a medical thriller.

About the Author

Allen_Wyler_PhotoAllen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute.

In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.

Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70’s, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.

He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

www.allenwyler.com | Book Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Interview: John A. Heldt

Today I have John A. Heldt visiting The Life and Lies! John is the author of The Mine, a newly-released novel with "a little something for everyone."


Please tell us about your latest book. 

 

My debut novel, The Mine, has something for everyone: humor, history, adventure, romance, science fiction, and  serious themes. It is the story of Joel Smith, a handsome, charismatic, cavalier college senior who road trips to Yellowstone in May 2000, enters an abandoned mine on a lark, and emerges from that mine in May 1941. With little but his wits to guide his way, he returns to his hometown of Seattle and starts a new life within a tight circle of friends that includes his progressive 21-year-old grandmother and a beautiful, recently-engaged honors student named Grace Vandenberg. Joel possesses encyclopedic knowledge of the past and struggles with how to apply it. He knows Pearl Harbor will affect his friends in tragic, irrevocable ways. But he knows he is an interloper in another time and vows to limit his impact on the fate of others, a goal that becomes problematic when he falls in love with Grace. The Mine is a book that entertains, but it is also one that prompts readers to think and ask the big questions.

 

How did you come up with the title?

 

I don't remember when or how the title came to me. I simply had it in my head from the start and stuck with it. One of the things I like about John Grisham is that he uses short, simple titles to represent complex works. I wanted the same for my first novel. The Mine is the tie that binds the first half of the book to the second and the past to the present. I thought that was particularly important for a time travel story. I never considered anything else.

 

What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

 

I have been positively influenced by a number of contemporary authors, including Vince Flynn, Nelson DeMille, Nicholas Sparks, Ken Follett, James Patterson, and Stephen King, and classic authors like Ernest Hemingway.

 

What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

 

I like knowing that others enjoy my work. It's one thing to entertain friends and relatives. It's another to write a novel that appeals to critical readers around the world. The hardest part is the work involved in marketing a book. The time and effort involved in bringing a novel to the attention of others is mind-boggling.

 

Do you have any other books planned in the future?

 

I recently finished a second novel about a middle-aged widow who travels back to the time and place of her senior year in high school. She meets and befriends her younger self and has the opportunity to make life changes and influence the fates of others. I plan to publish The Journey this fall.

 

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

 

I have been asked this question many times and have always had a hard time narrowing it down to one. Joel is the obvious the choice. He is the heart and soul of The Mine. He's the protagonist and undoubtedly the most interesting character. He undergoes profound changes in the book. A lot of readers like Ginny and Tom. But if I had to pick one it would be Grace. She was by far the most fun to draw. She is a walking contradiction: strong but vulnerable, extraordinarily beautiful but humble, and someone who's lived a sheltered life but is not afraid to take chances and defy the norms. The only characters I don't like are Adam and the hoodlums who confront Joel on the street.

 

What are your ten most favorite things?

 

My family, Mexican food, microbrewed beer, fishing, football, mountains, Norman Rockwell illustrations, Pixar movies, the Rolling Stones, and National Geographic magazine.

 

Do you have any pets?

 

Two cats, one dog. Dogs rock.

 

What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

 

I loved English and social studies and hated math.

 

What book are you reading right now?

 

Fifty Shades of Grey. I am not a fan of erotica but I had to see what the fuss was about.

 

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

 

I was a triple major in college: journalism, history, and political science. I also have a Masters degree in library science.

 

Thanks John! Check out The Mine at Amazon, Goodreads, or at John's website.

 

The Mine

In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come. 

Interview: Lisa Becker


Today I have Lisa Becker visiting The Life and Lies. Lisa is the author of "Click: An Online Love Story."


Why and when did you begin writing?
I remember writing short stories and poems as a little girl and dabbled a bit in high school.  And I always told myself I would write a book one day. 
My husband and I met online on a popular dating website.  After we married, I was recalling some of the hilarious experiences that I had with both traditional and online dating.  I decided to capture some of them in writing and from there, a novel emerged.   The ultimate goal was to create a fun read for anyone who has ever had a bad date, been in love, been dumped, or is searching for "the one." But, the happy ending is real.  Steve and I have been happily married for nine years and have two amazing daughters - ages 7 and 5. 
What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?
Many years ago, I read a book called e by Matthew Beaumont which tells the story of a fictitious ad agency vying for a big account, with the story all told in emails.  I thought that narrative style would work really well for the story I wanted to tell about the online dating world.  It was a modern way of storytelling that fit the topic and the times. 

How do you go about researching for your books?
Click is loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me.  In some cases, things are written as they actually occurred.  Other scenarios are exaggerated for entertainment value or comedic affect.  And some scenarios are completely fictionalized. I really did go out on a date with someone I met online who started every story (no joke!) with “My buddies and I were out drinking last night.” 
Did you base any of your characters on real people? 
I most readily identify with Renee.  She and I share a lot of qualities including a self-depreciating sense of humor, fear of flying, motivation in our PR careers and love of baking.  Mark is loosely based on a friend who encouraged me to try online dating.  He’s a terrific guy who is still himself searching for “the one.”   So if you know any nice single girls, let me know.  ;)  But, my favorite character is Shelley.  She’s confident, brash, outrageous and wholly unapologetic for her choices.  She was so fun to write.  Her hilarious habit of giving nicknames to her “man du jour” was inspired by a childhood friend of mine who had a nickname for a guy in college that she admired from across the dorm cafeteria.  She called him Maverick because he looked like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.  Much like Shelley, she is a self-confident, gorgeous, lovely gal and it wasn't long before they met and dated for a spell. 
What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?
As mentioned, I promised myself I would write a book someday.  So, it’s incredibly gratifying to see a “bucket list” item/dream come true.  People keep asking if there will be a sequel.  I’m thrilled readers are feeling invested in the characters and want to know more.  With each positive review and reader comment on Facebook, I get more and more motivated to continue writing. 

The hardest part is marketing the book and spreading the word about it.  So, I’m especially appreciative to blogs like yours for helping me with that process.  
Do you have any other books planned in the future?
SPOILER ALERT!!!!!  Double Click, picks up with Renee, Shelley, Ashley, Mark and Ethan six months later. Do Renee and Ethan end up together? Does Mark ever go on a date? Has Shelley run out of conquests in Los Angeles? Will Ashley's judgmental nature sabotage her budding relationship? Double Clickanswers these questions and more as readers continue to follow the email exploits of Renee and her friends.
What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?
Once I finished writing Click, I explored the traditional publishing route and got feedback from multiple literary agents. One in particular explained the current economic state of the publishing industry to me. Due to the large investment to edit, produce, distribute and market a work by an unknown author, many large publishers won’t take the risk. Self-publishing is a way to get your work out there and was very easy. 

I'm also reminded of some advice I was once given. I had interviewed Charles Rosen, one of the producers of the original Beverly Hills 90210, for an alumni magazine article while I was in graduate school. And I'll never forget what he told me, "Don't fall in love with your words, because somebody above will probably change them." One of the great benefits of self-publishing is that you can really take control of the process.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m fortunate to have had a series of wonderful careers outside of writing including being a wife, mom, PR professional, college professor, volunteer and Girl Scout troop leader.  Needless to say, there’s never a dull moment around here. 
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I sit in my home office at a HP desktop computer with a really big screen.  My eyes grow tired pretty easily in my old age ;)  And, I like to write with the television on in the background.  When I first started writing, I was obsessed with Law & Order reruns.  Now, I can’t seem to get enough of NCIS.  I guess there’s a part of me that likes to see justice served. 

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
Chocolate!  No joke, I eat chocolate.  If I’m stuck on a certain section or not feeling motivated to write, I give myself little chocolate incentives to get past the blockage.  Judging by my thighs, I had some serious problems writing this book.  ;)
Tell us some random facts about you that we never would have guessed.
1. I've never had a cup of coffee in my life...ever!
2. I make the most amazing jalapeno artichoke dip, but won't share the recipe with anyone; it's my secret.
3. I went on a 10-course zip line in Costa Rica (and screamed the entire time!)
4. I've always wanted to learn to professionally decorate cakes.

To purchase Click, please click here.   To follow updates on Click and share your stories about online dating, visit the Click Facebook fan page.

Disclaimer

Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.