Friday, February 22, 2013

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

Confessions of a Teenage Herma- phrodite by Lianne Simon

Book Name: Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite

Author Name: Lianne Simon

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, Intersex, Religion

Publisher: Faie Miss Press

My Rating: 4.75 stars

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female—family or true love—comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other—an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

                                                My Review                          

This book was gifted to me by the author Lianne Simon for an honest review.

I’ve never come across a case of gender disorders, either in books or in real life. So, this was an entirely new concept for me. At first, I was a little apprehensive about reading it but once I started reading, I realised that this is a poster book for “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or in my case, its title.  I loved the cover of this book.

In this novel, the author has told the life story of a hermaphrodite girl, Jamie. She was born with one testis and one ovary. Although the doctors designated her as a male in the birth certificate and her parents also expected her to be boy, Jamie had always been a girl at heart, an elfin princess. While she was growing up she loved to play with dolls, play dress up, and tea party. After her ninth birthday her parents banned her from dresses and tried to get her on testosterones. This story narrates the journey of Jamie as she struggles through her gender issues and tries to gain the acceptance of her parents. In Jamie’s own words, “I just wish me father will tell me that it is okay to be his daughter.”   Jamie's character is very realistic and immediately caught my interest from the synopsis. The book emphasizes a more emotional and mental turbulence of DSD (disorder of sex development) than confusion over the physical changes.

The supporting characters were also really great. I liked how Sharon & Lisa (Jamie’s friends) and Kaylah (her cousin) were supportive of her and encouraged her to be what her heart says( in this case, being a girl). The two love interests (Tyler & Sean) in this story are really sweet and totally swoon-worthy. They loved her and accepted her even after knowing her truth. Both are great guys for Jamie and I'm glad she finds her happiness in the end.

This book is set in 1970, with the backdrop of the Vietnam War. It also has a very strong Christian element in it. Jamie’s central dilemma is whether she should honour her earthly father by becoming the son he wants, or whether she should honour her heavenly father by becoming the person she was created to be. 

The story is written very well and accurately portrays the themes of love, sex, religion, friends, and family. Ms Simon has done excellent job writing about such a delicate topic beautifully. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Lance Morcan - Author Interview

Welcome author Lance Morcan in an exclusive interview with Review Buzzz

About the Authors

Lance & James Morcan are a father-and-son writing team based Down Under. Lance is a novelist/screenwriter/film producer living in New Zealand, while James is an actor/novelist/screenwriter/producer based in Sydney, Australia. They have co-authored three published novels – The Ninth Orphan, an international thriller, The Orphan Factory, a coming-of-age spy thriller, and Fiji: A Novel, an historical adventure. Book #3 in The Orphan Trilogy will be published in 2013. Their production company, Morcan Motion Pictures, is developing The Ninth Orphan and Fiji into feature films.

Exclusive for ‘Review Buzzz’                                                Feb. 8, 2013

By Lance Morcan
(the ‘elder’ in the father-and-son writing team, Lance & James Morcan)

-What inspired the authors to write the book(s)?
I have had a long-time love affair with Fiji, having visited ‘The Friendly Isles’ a number of times. I’ve long thought it would be a wonderful setting for a historical novel. Both James and I have a penchant for writing historical novels and screenplays (we are also screenwriters) and so decided to co-write Fiji: A Novel.

-How did the authors start writing?
I’m a journalist and former newspaper editor while James started writing as soon as he left school. We first collaborated as screenwriters over a decade ago and then as novelists about six years ago.

-What was the authors’ favorite part of the book(s)?
My favourite part is all the action sequences. (There are plenty of them!). Fiji wasn’t called ‘The Cannibal Isles’ for nothing, and we have highlighted this aspect in our novel. I also like the lusty/romantic relationship that develops between our two lead characters.

-What was the hardest part to write in the book(s)?
The hardest part was showing Nathan’s character growth. He really was a piece of work to start with and we had to drip feed his good points to the reader as the story progressed.

-Its very rare when we get to see a father-son duo penning down a full-fledged novel. Would you like to share with our readers any of the memorable moments you shared with your son while writing this book?
Yes I’m based in New Zealand and James is based in Sydney (we are both New Zealanders) so we have had to do most of our writing long distance. Father-and-son novel writing teams are almost unheard of, and that does pose some interesting creative challenges. Add to that working in separate countries and it feels like mission impossible at times. However, we act as each other’s editor (and fiercest critics!) and that helps raise the standard of our writing.

-What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Our most recent book is pending publication and should be available (on Amazon) by the end of February 2013 courtesy of Sterling Gate Books. It’s The Orphan Uprising, book three in our top rated international thriller series, The Orphan Trilogy. The final book in the trilogy is actually the sequel to book one, The Ninth Orphan, which has been a regular visitor to Amazon’s bestseller lists; book two, a coming-of-age spy story titled The Orphan Factory, is a prequel to The Ninth Orphan and has featured regularly in Amazon’s top rated lists for spy books.
To summarise The Orphan Uprising – it’s about Nine, the ninth-born orphan, and his sister Seventeen joining forces to rebel against their former masters at the Omega Agency.
-Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Collaboratively, we will also soon publish The Orphan Trilogy as a box set on Amazon, so readers can buy all three books in one. We also have other novels in mind to collaborate on.
As James and I are also screenwriters and film producers, we've put Fiji and The Ninth Orphan into development with our production co., Morcan Motion Pictures, and have already adapted the latter to a feature film screenplay.
And personally, I plan to complete my epic historical novel, New Zealand, which I’ve been working on for over quarter a century now! It’s a dramatized account of the discovery and settlement of NZ by Polynesians and Europeans, and spans five hundred years.

-What books have influenced your writing?
Personally, all of James Michener’s books, most of Wilbur Smith’s (earlier) books and just about all of Jeffrey Archer’s books.

-Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Without a doubt – Michener! He was my inspiration for Fiji: A Novel.

-Who designed the cover of your book?
James designed the covers of all our books.

-If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters? 
In the case of Fiji, I’d like to see Josh Hartnett play Nathan, Kate Beckinsale play Susannah Drake and Sam Neill play Drake Senior, Susannah’s father.

-Where can your readers stalk you?

Twitter: @SterlingGate

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
Fiji: A Novel and The Ninth Orphan are available as both kindle ebooks and trade paperbacks. Our other novels are available as kindle ebooks and soon-to-be-available as trade paperbacks.

Books by the authors:

Fiji: A Novel by Lance Morcan & James Morcan

Fiji-A Novel by Lance & James Morcan

Book Name: Fiji-A Novel

Author Name: Lance Morcan, James Morcan

Genre/Tags: Historical 

Publisher: Sterling Gate Books

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Fiji is a spellbinding novel of adventure, cultural misunderstandings, religious conflict and sexual tension set in one of the most exotic and isolated places on earth.

As the pharaohs of ancient Egypt build their mighty pyramids, and Chinese civilization evolves under the Shang Dynasty, adventurous seafarers from South East Asia begin to settle the far-flung islands of the South Pacific. The exotic archipelago of Fiji is one of the last island groups to be discovered and will remain hidden from the outside world for many centuries to come.

By the mid-1800's, Fiji has become a melting pot of cannibals, warring native tribes, sailors, traders, prostitutes, escaped convicts and all manner of foreign undesirables. It's in this hostile environment an innocent young Englishwoman and a worldly American adventurer find themselves.

Susannah Drake, a missionary, questions her calling to spread God’s Word as she’s torn between her spiritual and sexual selves. As her forbidden desires intensify, she turns to the scriptures and prayer to quash the sinful thoughts – without success.

Nathan Johnson arrives to trade muskets to the Fijians and immediately finds himself at odds with Susannah. She despises him for introducing the white man’s weapons to the very people she is trying to convert and he pities her for her naivety. Despite their differences, there’s an undeniable chemistry between them.

When their lives are suddenly endangered by marauding cannibals, Susannah and Nathan are forced to rely on each other for their very survival.

Written by father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan (authors of The Ninth Orphan), Fiji is an historical adventure-romance published by Sterling Gate Books.

A feature film adaptation of Fiji is currently being developed.

                                        My Review                                                 

First of all, I would like to thank the author Mr. Morcan for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book. I received a free copy of the book from the author to review it for my blog.

The plot is written in the historical setting of 1800’s South Pacific. The year is 1848 and the story starts with the abduction of a beautiful Fiji maiden Sina. That’s right! This story starts with a bang! And not just the plot. You read the first para and you know you are going to love it. Take for instance, the visual prologue:

A Fijian maiden stooped to pick up a shell as she walked along a white sand beach at Momi Bay, on the western side of Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Sina had a natural island beauty. Lithe and graceful, her dark skin glistened in the tropical sun. She wore a traditional grass skirt and shawl made from tapa, or bark cloth. The beach was bordered by a grove of coconut trees and the turquoise waters of the bay. Tropical birds filled the sky—among them Kingfishers that dived into the sea, competing for fish

Reading into the book, we come across the missionary father-daughter duo, Brian Drake and his lovely daughter Susannah, who have come to Fiji (specifically the Qopa tribe in Momi Bay) to educate the natives on the ways of the new god. We see Susannah struggling between her spiritual self and sexual self and trying to find a balance between the two. It was right here when the readers are introduced to Nathan Johnson, an American adventurer and trader. He too is going to Momi Bay to trade with the Qopa people.

Nathan and Susannah oddly find themselves attracted to each other and the chemistry between them is undeniable. As they reach Momi Bay, they find themselves in the middle of the tribal war between the Qopa and the Outcasts. The Outcast leader, Rambuka, kidnaps Susannah; Nathan along with the Qopa warriors goes after him and we find ourselves right there in the middle of all the awesome action! And personally I think Lance and James Morcan strength lies in their action writing. Every action sequence was written in exquisite detail and I loved it because I could really visualize what was happening. 

To say that this was Nathan and Susannah’s story would be wrong. There were so many people's lives and everyday dramas merged into each other's situation that each and every character made an integral part of the story. What I really liked was how the authors have given every character a chance to express his/her point of view.

I found the old traditions of the Fijian people fascinating and just as great as they are crude and gruesome. In keeping with the authentic tone throughout, we come across scenes of ritualistic slaughter and cannibalism. The novel touches on most of these now extinct practices in mad detail and it's AWESOME!

So overall, this book has a perfect plot, flawless writing and a consistent storyline with no kinks or glitches throughout. It was gritty and raw and nerve wracking. It keeps you turning each page wanting to know - what next? 

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Visit author Lance Morcan's exclusive interview with Review Buzzz

Sunday, February 3, 2013

He Came for Me by Carolyn Brown

He Came for Me by Carolyn Brown

Book Name: He Came For Me

Author Name: Carolyn Brown

Genre/Tags: Paranormal, Romance, Vampires  

Publisher: Self- Published

My Rating: 2 stars

Jazz, lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, in Queensland, Australia. She leads a normal teenage life busy with friends, TAFE College, a part time job as a waitress, surfing and searching for a boyfriend!
Until one day driving on her way to TAFE she is passed by a red Mazda Rx7. The driver holds her attention and as they both wait at a set of traffic lights to change to green, a sexual tension passes between them.
In the days that follow she finds that this guy moves into her life as she befriends him, his friends and family! But are Seb and his friends what they seem to be? 
Attacks by groups of boys targeting girls Jazz's age are becoming noticed by the media. Eyewitnesses to the attacks state that these youths seem to possess abilities no normal human would be capable of. Is it drugs or is it something else? 
Jazz finds that Seb, seems to be stalking her. What is his purpose? Is he really a friend or is he actually a foe?

A fantasy novel revolving around a love story between two young people, who should not by rights, come together. Crossing the dimensions of two worlds, this story embarks on a journey of love, duty and togetherness as the two young lovers fight to be together and keep each other safe. Overcoming many obstacles while fighting to protect one another this story will leave the reader intrigued and wondering what will happen next!

                          My Review                         

Disclaimer: I have received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Although this book had a different and interesting plot than your clich├ęd paranormal romance, I couldn’t really picture myself there in the book connecting with the characters. It might have to do something with the grammatical errors that were too common in the first few chapters of the book. When I contacted the author about the same, I was told that the story has been written in accordance with the local dialect that is prevalent in the geographical area where the plot of the book is located. As a reader whose not familiar with the regional dialect, I found it extremely difficult to understand what was being said and had to read lines more than once to get the meaning clear.

Secondly, the book is written in two perspectives. The book needed subtitles to prepare and tell the reader there is a shift in perspective. At first I was too confused as to what is happening. I got used to the different perspectives but I think the book would have looked better and would have had a more organized feel if there had been subtitles. 

But as I got halfway through the book the errors (atleast what I considered them to be) became much less noticeable and I started enjoying the story.

The book has been written in two perspectives, of Jazz(the female protagonist) and Seb’s (the hot male vampire protagonist).  Having the book written in two different perspectives actually wasn't bad. Because of the constant perspective changes, the character development was stronger .

Jazz (aka Jasmine) is a college student who one day on her way to TAFE finds herself getting tailed by a red Mazda. She feels an instant connection with the driver who is a hot, sexy guy. She hasn't even met the guy and she is looking for him everywhere she goes. Jazz’s character is very unconventional from our otherwise bimbo paranormal female leads that go all gaga over a vampire. She had a very realistic reaction when she got to know that the guy she’s starting to fall for is vampire from another dimension. Thrown in the mix are the bad guys who are after Jazz’s blood because she carries gene that allow these vampires to reproduce!

Seb or Sebastian is the royal prince of Aidensdein who comes to Earth from other dimension with the task of protecting Jazz from the baddies. Its been two years since he has been protecting her(and admiring her…read he is smitten) from afar. But now no more. He’s decided to approach her and make her his own.

Having the story in two perspectives helped me understand seb and Jazz’s differences better. We could understand seb’s need to keep some distance between himself and Jazz. Jazz is very timid and doesn’t confront him about it; instead she wallows in her own misery.

I did like the book. Like I said this book had a very interesting and unconventional plot. Once the book goes through some more editing and corrections, I feel it can easily garner much higher ratings.

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