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30 Aug 2013

Newsflash: Review Bonanza for THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

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THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

In the last week this book drew in a staggering 10 new reviews:

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Here are some highlights from the reviews. Thanks for everyone who has helped promoting the book and put the word out there. This is a very exciting time. {Sebastian also had more reviews but that will have to wait for another newsflash}

Historical Fiction at its Best!!

“The Luck of the Weissensteiners” by talented Author Christoph Fischer is classified as a fictional novel but words can barely describe how much more it is than that…his style of writing is seasoned, well-researched, captivating, and true-to-life. It brings back memories of my first encounter as a young school girl with the heart wrenching plight of the Jewish people when I read “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Author Christoph Fischer has such an incredible gift. He is able to quietly and softly bring his reading audience into the lives of his characters and touch their hearts in a memorable and profound way.

This touching novel has certainly left its mark on me. Early in the morning…I eagerly rose to read a few more chapters before I started my day. In the evening before bed time, I engaged in the same activity with not wanting to miss a word in this captivating epic story with plenty of historical facts and authenticity to make every word penned remarkably believable and enticing. I was so expertly drawn into the story line in this incredible novel that I felt mesmerized by the cast of characters depicted…how their lives were intertwined and how their stories unfolded. This historical novel is such a wonderful and enjoyable read. Thank you to Author Christoph Fischer for sharing his talent with all of us! Simply put…I loved this book!

*****

An encapsulating read,

A very interesting read

It is a touching and moving tale with some wonderful characters and great storytelling.

The story is well developed and will draw a reader very quickly inside the pages

and an overwhelming sense of reality in this book.

An exceptional page-turner and many historical readers will enjoy this gripping novel.

Nicely put together! A credit and a craft to the author.

***** 68681_10151109627282132_490312403_n

A truly beautiful historic suspense,

An astounding and epic story about the harrowing experiences of a Jewish family during World War Two.

Christoph Fischer’s wonderfully descriptive writing style gives an authentic feel of the era.

I found myself feeling real concern for the superbly drawn characters as they desperately try to avoid being detected by the Nazis.

*****  Molly

A little difficult to get a hang of at first, but good later on,

In Christoph Fischer’s “Luck of the Weissensteiners” you get … a great new perspective to yet another war story.

… becomes a nail biting drama as the war comes to its end. I am glad I persisted with the book. I felt moved by the story and just loved the ending when everything is being tied up.
I really enjoyed some of the great characters that came in later, particularly a tough and ambiguous Hungarian Countess, or the late love interest for the widowed father Jonah. I cared for all the characters, even some of the bad ones were becoming soft and it made me realise just how difficult it had to have been for all these people, regardless of their agendas, and how many possible outcomes for these people there could have been.
Fischer tells a good story and does so without much stereotypes and predictability. Some parts were intense but overall it was a pretty good read.

****  704801_10151110620882132_1411199247_o

A Jolt to my Ethnocentricity,

Reading Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners presented another view of that period through the camera lens of people living in Eastern Europe. The book shows people from all the different perspectives before, during, and after the war. It’s an eye-opening read to learn that the United States wasn’t the center of this war. In the lives of these ordinary folks, the United States played an almost peripheral role.

Through it, all one family stands strong.

This book’s retelling of the history of this period in Europe is personalized through the characters that represent a cross section of the lives impacted by the atrocities of war. Jews, Gentiles, Germans, Slovakians, lesbians, and traitors all point to one direction. War never makes much sense when the individual lives of its victims are examined. Neither side wins when people are persecuted for their religion, political beliefs, nationality, or sexual orientations.

Christoph Fischer has written an important book for its historical perspective. He personified the vagaries of war through the fictional characters.

As long as genocide exists in the world, we must do as Fischer has done in his novel – remind us, and remind us again, that our faith, our color, our language, and our life choices should matter not a wit. In the end, it’s our integrity and how we treat others that matters the most.

Thank you, Christoph, for writing this important book to remind us never to repeat the mistakes of the past.

***** 14708_10151107403537132_1439408697_n

Historical Fiction at it’s best,

It is hard to say a great deal about this book without giving it all away. No, it isn’t an ‘easy read’. But it it a literary gem in a huge field of historical fiction, many of which I don’t get past the opening chapters. It is insightful, historically accurate, and informative. One I started, I couldn’t put it down. A fantastic read for all ages.

I am looking forward to starting the second book in this trilogy.

****

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About this author

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria, which has led to his interest in the concept of Nations, individuals and communal culture, some of the central themes of ‘The Three Nations Trilogy’.
He moved to Hamburg, London, Brighton and Bath, where he is still resident today.
The Luck of The Weissensteiners’  is his first book and was published in November 2012.
‘Sebastian‘ in May 2013.He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Christoph Fischer on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl

Profile on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16177343-the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17834808-sebastian

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372133796&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361292311&sr=8-2&keywords=luck+of+the+weissensteiners

http://www.amazon.com/Sebastian-Three…

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372133835&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361292346&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sebastian-Thr…

 

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners-christoph-fischer/1113932211?ean=9781481130332

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sebastian-mr-christoph-fischer/1115243053?ean=9781484156001

 

 

22 Aug 2013

Newsflash – More excellent Reviews and Chart Success for my books

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THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

continues its ups and down the Jewish Fiction Chart, currently at 

#36 in Books > Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Jewish

Highlights from the prestigious IndieReader Review

THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS succeeds in shedding light on an overlooked aspect of World War II (i.e. life in Slovakia)…
the historical aspects of many of the characters prove fascinating

Beginning in Bratislava in 1933, this story of historical fiction follows various civilians through the lead-up, duration, and aftermath of World War II. Focusing on individuals in Slovakia the reader is taken on a long-winded, albeit fascinating tour of an often-neglected portion of this most infamous of wars.

In the middle of it all is gentle Greta, a voracious reader from a Jewish family who finds herself in love with a “Prussian looking junior sales assistant” at the local bookstore. Little does Greta know that a wave of anti-Semitism will make her eventual marriage to this non-Jewish man a potentially lethal situation for both husband and wife. Unlike his daughter, Greta’s father Jonah has always exercised more caution in matters concerning his Jewish heritage. As a skilled weaver Jonah has always kept himself from being too closely associated with the Jewish community, never wanting to “attract unwanted attention and damage his business”. Of course nothing can fully protect these and others from the sheer insanity that came with the rise and fall of Nazi Europe.

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Lingering not just on those persecuted by the wave of anti-Semitism but on the bystanders, the sympathizers, and the opportunists as well, the book does an excellent job of providing insight into how regular people could be swept up in the constant barrage of Nazi propaganda. As Greta’s own husband remarks after Greta suffers a miscarriage “Did she really work too hard or was that her weak Jewish body that made the baby come away? I do wonder.” And characters often wonder, fear, plot, and die. As attitudes shift with whoever is winning the war, it becomes clear that no one was ever truly safe at this time no matter what their allegiance or background.

***

On Goodreads THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS has currently 50 reviews and 65 ratings with an average of 4.69 stars,
on Amazon.com 48 with an 4.8 stars

Here are some more excerpts from recent reviews:

Wilma reading

 A Rich, Epic Historical Fiction!,  

Set around the period of the World War II, Christoph Fischer brings to life an epic tale of the struggle for survival of a love-struck couple from two different backgrounds. I’m not much of a fan of Historical Fiction, but for one of the few times in my life, I’ve read a historical fiction and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Luck of the Weissensteiners is a rich, insightful novel that explores the lives of people from various deep, multicultural backgrounds. A story so touching it will bring tears to your eyes. Highly recommended to all Historical Fiction fans.

*****

Mr Fischer’s book is well written, clever and original
I recommend to anybody who is looking for a different novel to read
thank you Mr Fischer 

*****

Meanwhile Sebastian is also cruising the Jewish Fiction Charts and received some more great reviews this week. On Goodreads Sebastian has currently 43 ratings and 22 reviews, with an average of 4.88 stars, on Amazon.com there are 24 reviews with an average of 4.9 stars.

#46 in Books > Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Jewish

The first sentence of SEBASTIAN stirred my curiosity, and like Alice, I found myself in another time and place. Transported to a hospital room in pre-WWI Vienna, I felt the gravity of the situation. Was this doctor really going to amputate part of Sebastian’s leg? Carried along from page to page, I worried alongside his mother, Vera, and wondered why his father, Franz, was not there.

As the novel unfolds and expands, we experience everyday life in this era. Vienna, in the years just before the Great War, was in a sort of golden age bubble — a bubble that was about to burst. The trajectory of Sebastian’s life will change, as will the lives of the other characters we meet, all tied in one way or another to the family’s grocery store, a gathering place of many ethnicities.

The author, Christoph Fischer, is a very talented writer. His first book, THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS, was a fabulous read, too. I think the writing in SEBASTIAN is even more graceful and the history so smoothly integrated. Oh, how deftly the author laces the metaphorical shoe that Sebastian will no longer wear. Everyone is missing a shoe of one kind or another. Sebastian’s journey is everyone’s journey.

Who will love this novel? Anyone who values good storytelling, a well researched setting, and a cast of fascinating characters — each with their own challenges. The novel holds our attention, so rapt we are in how people adapt, well or not, to changing landscapes in their lives, their decisions often based on their perceptions, accurate or not. SEBASTIAN is superb historical fiction. Highly recommended.

*****
Can anything be more turbulent than having your leg amputated as a teenager and losing your self-worth in the process? Sebastian is the story of a young man growing up in a not-so-palatable world, with all the accompanying disasters, irritation, lack of trust, betrayal, frustration; and yet he managed to pull through it all. His resilience, courage and hope are ones that will inspire many for generations to come. The 2nd book in The Three Nations trilogy, Christoph Fischer has woven reality in this 321-page fiction that is so engaging you simply cannot turn away.
*****
I fell in love with Sebastian and how he overcame the hardships that he faced!!!
From losing his leg and confidence at 16 and all the hardships that follow including his pregnant soon-to-be wife running off, leaving him with his young daughter and the First World War that wreaks havoc for his family and nation.
Yet he still manages to stay strong to support his family and himself whilst still managing to smile.
An finally he finds love again and his own self-acceptance!!!
A truly inspiring read for anyone!!!!
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12 Aug 2013

More reviews and chart success for my books

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IT’S BEEN ANOTHER GREAT WEEKEND FOR MY BOOKS:

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THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS 

re-entered the Jewish Fiction Charts on Amazon

and it received this 5 star review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!!

This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

a harrowing story
a real heart breaking tale

a truly inspiring read and I would place this as high up as “Schindler’s Ark”.
This author had got details and character’s just right!!!!

On AMAZON.COM that is now 44 reviews, 37 x 5 Stars

 

SEBASTIAN is still in the JEWISH FICTION CHARTS ON AMAZON

and it received 4 NEW FIVE STAR REVIEWS:

 

5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy read,

This review is from: Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

This author’s talent – in my view – is the way he gets in those characters’ heads and invites us in too. We’re treated to all those feelings – the good, the bad, and the constantly changing. I love that.

I recommend this book. Very much.

when book three comes out, I’ll grab it immediately.

*****

 

Greta reading The Luck of the Weissensteiners

5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Storytelling,

This review is from: Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

The Luck of the Weissensteiners was equally well written, but Sebastian is more of a character-driven read. And what characters they are!

Sebastian is an excellently drawn tale, full of vibrant characters and brilliant story. I will definitely be reading the last in the series when it comes out.

*****

5.0 out of 5 stars Glad to have found this book,

This review is from: Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

Sebastian’s family is an odd bunch of characters that you can’t help liking.

Fischer does a great job at exploring Sebastian’s ideas of what his place in society should be.

I liked the subplots;
Sebastian is well written, unpredictable and an interesting historical novel, and is also a coming of age story about a young disabled man and his journey to self-acceptance. The book ends on a positive, inspirational note, and also with a wonderful twist.

5.0 out of 5 stars Sebastian, Worth the Time,

This review is from: Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

I became quickly invested in the characters.
You have to love the main character! Sebastian

There are a colorful cast of characters in this book,

Christoph Fischer has a way of drawing the reader into the story and keeping your attention throughout making this novel a wonderful read. Thank-you for sharing your words with this reader. Sebastian was a pleasure to read!

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Christoph Fischer on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastian/489427467776001?ref=hl

My profile on Goodreads:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16177343-the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17834808-sebastian

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372133796&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361292311&sr=8-2&keywords=luck+of+the+weissensteiners

http://www.amazon.com/Sebastian-Three…

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1372133835&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361292346&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sebastian-Thr…

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners-christoph-fischer/1113932211?ean=9781481130332

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sebastian-mr-christoph-fischer/1115243053?ean=9781484156001

10 Aug 2013

Magazine Article and Blog Interview with Writer Christoph Fischer

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LUCKY ME!

I WAS INVITED BY THE

WONDERFUL KATY O’DOWD ON

HER BLOG FOR A QUICK INTERVIEW 

AND AM FEATURED N THE AUGUST EDITION OF

BKKWALKERSCAFE MAGAZINE

author picture

 

Here is a quick excerpt from the short interview:

 

Who are you?

I am a writer of predominantly historical fiction, dog breeder, book reviewer, lapsed vegan, blogger, German in exile, night time runner and an avid reader.

What are you working on?

I am currently editing the third book in my Three Nations Trilogy, loosely entitled “The Black Eagle Inn”, which is set in post-war Germany and like its predecessors is an epic family saga dealing with the effects of war on the little man.

What’s your favourite thing in the whole entire world?

Cuddling up with the dogs by the fireplace watching a good film or TV series.

And most unfavourite?

Horseradish.

Marmalade or marmite?

Marmalade.

If you could be any person from history, film, literature or music, who would you be and why?

Sigmund Freud. The philosophers and psychologists of that era seemed to have had an exciting and promising career ahead and great personal devotion to their work.

And while we’re on about it, what’s your favourite album/book/movie?

Album: Portishead “Dummy”
Book: Gregory David Roberts: “Shantaram”
Movie: “Casino Royale” (Woody Allen)

What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?

My dogs and my partner.

And the worst?

Road rage (receiving).

Any words of wisdom to leave us with?

The answer is 42.

 

 

09 Aug 2013

TWO FANTASTIC NEW REVIEWS FOR THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

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TWO FANTASTIC NEW REVIEWS FOR

THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

TLOTW SLider

5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, Enjoyable Family Saga, August 8, 2013
By KTK

It’s not often that you read a book about the time just prior to, during and just after the Second World War that is based outside of either Britain or America. That’s the first thing about The Luck of the Weissensteiners – it isunlike any other WWII fiction I have ever read, based on the experiences of a Jewish and Catholic family from Eastern Europe and the friends they make along the way.

This is an absolutely riveting read from Christoph Fischer, one in fact that I lost sleep over because I just couldn’t put it down. It all starts with a young Jewish girl, Greta, falling in love over books with the store clerk Wilhelm and turns into the most excellently told story about what happens to them and their loved ones.

Fischer does not to go into the full horrors of Holocaust Europe, and he surely should be applauded for that, but there is enough there to put the reader firmly in mind and place, glimpsing the evil that men (and women) carried out. To have written it in such a way seems somehow more powerful, packs more of a punch to the emotions and senses.

Rich in plot, with vibrant characters and wonderful storytelling, I really enjoyed this book and would certainly pick up another from the author.

*****

5.0 out of 5 stars A great story…, August 8, 2013
By james – See all my reviews

“The Luck of the Weissensteiners” is an impressive epic novel, with a cast of really great characters. What starts as a romance soon turns into a war story of surviving and hiding, particularly for the Jewish Weissensteiners.
The author included fascinating historical data, that every so often broke up the narrative, and helped me to understand the ever changing circumstances. I knew nothing about Slovakia and what happened there during/after the war, I’m impressed with the number of different stories and tragedies there are to tell.
The story is full of suspense; we know what happened in history, but not what happened to the Weissensteiners and their friends. The characters are easy to like, even the bad ones often have redeeming sides to them. There aren’t many Nazis in the book.
This is a family story, that brings the message home on a personal level what war does to people, even if it doesn’t kill them.

A great story for history buffs.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R14AFE0FX3Q2JA/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00AFQC4QC&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3599AIE8BX6ZI/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1481130331&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

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07 Aug 2013

NEW REVIEWS FOR SEBASTIAN

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SEBASTIAN received 3 more 5 star reviews in the last week.  sebastian book

Here are some of the highlights from the reviews:

Historical Novel meets Literary Realism.

Vienna, the beginning of the 20th century, just before WWI. What wouldn’t I give to visit that place to see for myself the so-called “Golden Age” of the center of European science and philosophy, arguably the most liberal place in Europe, where the seeds of the modern ideas of ethnic and religious equality first sprouted and were actually implemented.

The book edges on “Literary Realism.” No character or idea is romanticized and characters are humanly fallible people who are trying to act in their self-interest, be it foolishly sometimes. While I was reading this book, I could not stop making parallels with “War and Peace.” “Sebastian” is, in my opinion, a book about how a war changes people and the society. There’s a tiny bit of a “conclusion” of sorts at the end of the book, in a dialog between Sebastian and one of his friends (no spoilers):

“Many men who are returning from the war have changed and they come home to even more changed women. There comes a time when one needs to let go of the past and live in the present.”

A very good read from a fast-emerging name in historical novels. Recommended

*****

A worthy read,

so it’s with irony that we note his disability.

This author’s talent is the way he gets in those characters’ heads and invites us in too. We’re treated to all those feelings – the good, the bad, and the constantly changing. I love that.

There is also a history lesson going on here, so if you need to brush up on that without getting bogged down by dry dates and facts that have no humanity attached to them – I recommend this book. Very much. Suitable for mature teens – up.

Of course, when book three comes out, I’ll grab it immediately.

****

Great character development

… it is very well written and developed.  

Fischer’s characters are very well rounded.

It is very realistic and I am impressed at the author’s ability to write such full fledged characters.

I was also very impressed with the amount and type of information in the book. Fischer does a magnificent job of showing the tensions between the Jewish and gentile communities. He delves into what happens to the common people during war. In this book you do not see the typical heroes, you see very little of the soldiers, and you hear what is happening politically only as a citizen who was not involved would. This was fascinating, as most of what I knew prior to reading Sebastian was political… not how the regular people would have seen things and the impact on them. I would love to get my hands on Fischer’s research in order to go more in depth on a few questions that I have.

I believe that anyone who likes history and/or enjoys the study of human nature will greatly appreciate this book.

*****
With a cast of well-developed characters, some of whom are extremely flawed, the story is incredibly engaging. In the beginning you learn about about Sebastian and the Schreiber family through Vera, the matriarch. Not only does she suffer from a weak constitution and the loss of her son’s leg, but her husband’s affair with a much younger assistant. But Vera proves herself stronger than she thinks when she takes matters into her own hands and seeks help from the very interesting and extremely entertaining Glueck women. They turn out to be both great resources and wonderful friends to Vera in her time of need.
As the story progresses, you see how against all odds Sebastian finds love and starts a family of his own.

Fischer does an excellent job of capturing the feel of Vienna during such a turbulent time in history. You feel the pain and suffering of the men, women, and children as war tears families apart and hunger and poverty replace the many comforts people had become accustomed to.

A blend of history, romance, and hardships that show the political, cultural, and religious issues of the time, Sebastian is a do-not-miss saga. If you are a lover of historical fiction, this is definitely one you want to checkout!

*****

 

On Goodreads SEBASTIAN tops several Listopia lists and is in the Top Ten of 8 others.
 
In the Indietribe Fiction Charts it stays strong at #6
 
On Amazon.com Sebastian climbed into the Top 100 of Jewish Fiction and has stayed there for several weeks.

 

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5.0 out of 5 stars Completely perfect!
Hands down this author has won me over. Christoph pulls you into his stories from the beginning and refuses to let you go, even…Read more
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT STORY!!
This book is a great story about a kids life just before World War 1 begins. He goes through so much in his life even before he becomes an adult and I can relate to this… Read more
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Historical Drama
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard To Put Down
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
I fully enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, but the author has taken this book to a completely new level…
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is even better!
What a treat! I feel like a just took a vacation back in time to Vienna where I met some very interesting people. Read more
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, and with how much I loved The Luck of the Weissensteiners, it was tough to wait for this one to come out.
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31 Jul 2013

Christine Hughes: “Torn” new cover reveal

1 Comment News

Torn Cover Reveal

Today I have something VERY special.

Award winning author Christine Hughes recently revealed the anticipated cover of 

Torn!

With the sudden, mysterious death of her father, Samantha discovers her life isn’t what it seems. Not only isn’t she the normal teenage girl she thought she was, Sam must now take her father’s place in the fight between two groups of fallen angels, the Faithful and the Exiled, in a race to save humanity. In addition to dealing with a devastating betrayal—and having feelings for someone she’s forbidden to love—Sam must also fight the growing darkness within her as she struggles to make a choice between fighting alongside the Faithful or succumbing to the temptation of the Exiled. Both sides require sacrifices Sam isn’t sure she can make.

“Torn” by Christine Hughes is a great paranormal read for young adults. Samantha English lives with two boys her age who are there to protect her in the absence of her father.
Soon Samantha learns that her family has some paranormal roots and although now on the side of the good they used to be on the side of evil, making her a target for the evil forces as well as a potentially unreliable alliance partner. While Samantha comes to terms with this new knowledge she is being trained to control her powers and on to of this she falls for one of her protectors.
This is a very enjoyable action packed novel with deep and interesting characters who are ‘torn’ between the two sides.
The narrative begins with a sequence of Samantha’s father, creating extra interest by giving us a hint of what will come back later in the story.Hughes brings unusual depth to her story and does well in her portrayal of the torn nature of her protagonists. The romance part is also very convincingly done and as far as the paranormal parts are concerned the situation is more complex than I have described (so as not to spoil the experience for you). 
To me paranormal and young adult novels are a hit and miss, but this book was a definite hit for me.
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31 Jul 2013

“Nature Calls” by Bonnie Bernard

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http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/bonnie-bernard-and-the-bears-nature-calls/

 

 

The Book: 

“Nature Calls” is a 40,000 word anthology of fourteen short stories revolving around the idea, “If Mother Nature and Sister Karma whipped up a cauldron of ‘Double, double toil and trouble’ soup, this might be the result.” From ghosts to goblins to three-legged, one eyed Pomeranians, Nature Calls offers something for everybody who looks at life through cock-eyed glasses. Warning…you may never enter the woods or an outhouse the same way again.

My review:

“Nature Calls” by Bonnie Bernard was recommended to me by a good friend and it did not disappoint me. The book is hugely enjoyable for its suspense, the mystery and the dark horror or fantasy tales, some of which are cleverly blended with wit, fun and humour. Some pieces are very short that pointedly explore one idea and then there are longer ones and even one series of stories in which Yeti meets a space alien, a demon, the bigfoot hunters and even the holy man. The Yeti tales are probably my favourite, I laughed out loud when Yeti discusses the inconvenient parking space of the flying saucer. The stories are rarely predictable and with most of them I was surprised and fascinated by the outcome.
The selection covers a broad spectrum of themes and emotions, goblins, fairies, demons, witches, kings and gods. The stories are all well written and skilfully told and as a collection they work very well together. While many such collections are put on the market as soon as the author has gathered a book’s worth of material these seem to have been hand picked to form a great flow and a continuity that I did not expect from such a varied bunch of stories. The quality of both the ideas and the execution of them makes this a great achievement and the author one to watch.

Links:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Calls-ebook/dp/B00AOF616S/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1362826124&sr=8-14&keywords=nature+calls

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nature-Calls-ebook/dp/B00AOF616S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362826615&sr=8-1

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5179624.Bonnie_Bernard

 

30 Jul 2013

Graham Austin-King: Captain Pegleg and the Greatest Treasure

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Meet Captain Pegleg. He’s a pirate. He’s a great pirate! But he wants to be the BEST pirate ever! 18171585

He’s battled other pirates…

He’s fought off ferocious sea monsters…

We all know what makes a great pirate though and that’s treasure!

Join the Captain and his crew as they search for the biggest, shiniest, most incredible treasure that anyone has ever seen!

My opinion:

Captain Pegleg and the Greatest Treasure , told confidently by Graham Austin-King (and illustrated beautifully by Dale Brooks) is a fun filled Pirate story, poking fun at a Captain with a huge ego and little sense. It works with the great known stereotypes of pirate life which both Austin-King and Brooks bring to animated life with their words and illustrations.
The premise and its resolve at the end is one lovely idea and I laughed out loud reading it.
The other pages about pirate life are also very entertaining and just right to allow the parents to read it to their kids with dramatic or funny voices.
This is my kind of children’s picture book, the type I had as a child and the type that is good and solid fun. If you want to teach your small children about pirates without them getting scared and to teach them about the silliness of megalomania then this is the book for you. Charming and endearing throughout.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Also by Graham Austin-King: Liam and the Grump

as featured on my blog earlier this year download

 

 

 

 

 

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26 Jul 2013

The Mandrake Hotel and Resort (to violence if necessary) by Jarod Kintz

1 Comment News

Today I am participating in a blog tour. Please find a link to the other blog events and to the rafflecopter at the bottom of this page, as well as a similar post on my original blog, which will be phased out over the next months or so.

Without further ado, please meet Jarod Kintz!

 

Right versus wrong, good versus evil, and peanut butter versus jelly—these are just a few of the many eternal struggles this book tackles.

But don’t worry, based on the NFL’s recent concussion scares, all this book’s characters were made to wear helmets before these hard-hitting issues were tackled.

Some central questions will be answered, like:

Who is Dark Jar Tin Zoo, and why is he trying to take over the world?

Will Jackson Jackson Jackson be able to thwart Dark’s diabolical plans? And why does he have a last name for a first and a middle name?

Is Abby Norma Sykes simply too sexy to be featured in such a dramatic thriller such as this book clearly is?

Finally, is it improper to refer to a dwarf as a midget? And what is the shortest height you can be without technically being a dwarf? Is it really as tall as 4’11”? Does that make a person who’s 4’10” the World’s Tallest Dwarf?

This book doesn’t actually discuss such serious social issues as I alluded to in the last paragraph, but it should. I’ll speak to the author immediately, and maybe he’ll address them in the sequel.

My review:

“The Mandrake Hotel and Resort to violence if necessary” by Jarod Kintz is one of the oddest books I have read in a while, but fortunately I mean this in a good way.
Combining absurd, farcical and surreal humour with some more serious and thoughtful musings the book is a firework of clever lines and quirky episodes.
The Mandrake Hotel has a room for everyone, whatever your desires, hobbies and preferences are. It is a madhouse and a world of liberty: Whether you want a room made of sand, one with specific collectibles or a floor full of nudists – the hotel has got it.
I wondered for a long time if the hotel was written as a fantasy world for lazy and hedonistic people (as one reviewer suggested) or as a wider symbol for the world as it is; a statement not unlike the questions of all questions in Douglas Adams book. The world population is exploding, so are we sitting on a powder keg that will go off once the resources run out? Can humanity survive? Are we sane in doing what we are doing?
A lot of ideas are covered in this book at a fast pace, highlighting absurdities and having a good laugh at them.
The author draws you into the book with his wit and once I had handed over total logic to the valet and stopped trying to make sense of every line that was thrown at me – at times very fast paced and confusing – I eased in to the rhythm of the story. It reminds me of the great Eugene Ionesco and Haruki Murakami, without wanting to imply that the style is close to either of them.

So much about the Hotel part.

‘Resort to violence’ refers to the plot as it thickens. Our hero of many names and his date Abby decide to fight Dark, the villain of from the 13th floor and here a more structured narrative continues.

The book is hugely entertaining, clever and will probably divide the audience into those who appreciate it and those who may not ‘get it’. Luckily I was part of the latter group. My mother in law would say : It is different. I agree, it is, and it is good. Try it!

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Interview with Jarod:

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I’ve been writing for about 12 years, and it started one day on a plane back from Denver when I decided I wanted to write for Saturday Night Live. I liked the idea of only working one day a week. That really appealed to my Puritan work ethic.

I really love your book but found it difficult to put in any box of sorts. What genre would you say it would most fit in?

This book is hard to classify, but I’d call it dystopian humor. There is a very serious issue I address, the one about exponential growth, but I didn’t want to close the book with that reality so I brought in a surrealistic and absurd ending to distract from the bummer idea I’m trying to bring awareness to.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

The title of the book, “The Mandrake Hotel and Resort to violence if necessary” just sort of occurred to me randomly. I wanted the name of the hotel to sound both luxurious and sinister, and then I decided to make the play on words to give a hint at what the book was about, so people didn’t mistake it for a hospitality or travel book.

How did you create the plot for this book?

The plot is loose and fun, and as I mentioned before, I structured it so that I got my message across early, then continued on so people could have fun and not have to dwell on the grim reality facing the world.

How do you come up with your ideas? Who or what inspired you?

This book was inspired mainly by the current global economic depression, coupled with exploding population growth, with a touch of conspiracy theory mixed in.

Did you have it all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?

I let the story develop organically, and I didn’t have a set plot outline developed when I started writing it. I wrote the book in about two months, and at the beginning of that time I had no idea how the book would turn out.

Is your main aim to entertain or relay a message?

Normally my main goal is to entertain, but this book I really had a few messages I wanted to get across. But I’m not a preacher, so I tried to camouflage the density of the ideas with some good old-fashioned nonsense.

Would you say your book has a message and could you hint at it – for the confused?

The overriding message is the unsustainability of the world, given our current path. Couple that with the lowering of standards of living for the many, and the rising power of the few, I wanted to subtly call out the cartels that control the world. Nations are being replaced by corporations, and behind the curtain is a tiny select group of unelected people that are literally ruining the world.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favorite thing? 

My favorite thing about writing is it’s like fishing. You sit and sit, waiting for that catch. You can’t see under the waters of your subconscious, so when you hook a great idea and you reel it to the surface, you feel the excitement of capturing a part of you that you didn’t even know could swim or breathe underwater. My least favorite thing about writing is getting seasick.

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

I make all my own covers, and for this one I took a picture of myself wearing a fedora. I pulled the hat low so you couldn’t see my eyes, both to disguise the fact that it was me, and not my alter ego Dark Jar Tin Zoo, but also to add a sense of mystery and shadyness to the portrait. Then I converted the image to grayscale before tinting it red, to give it a menacing, evil look.

What is your writing environment like?

I write in bed, either with a pen and paper, or on my computer. Usually I have my writing partner, Cap’n, curled up next to me so I can pet him in between paragraphs.

Do you need silence or music to write?

I need silence to write. I can’t have a movie or music playing or else I’ll get no writing done at all. I am easily distracte—oh hey, what’s that over there? Let me go take a look.

How do you edit and quality control?

Editing is the toughest part for me. I like to print the pages out, because it’s easier for me to spot typos for some reason. Also I can mark the page up with a pen.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows? 

Self-publishing on the Kindle platform is amazing. I have nothing but praise for that program. No complaints from me. It’s easy to use, and the royalty percentage is remarkable. I really am very thankful for both Amazon and Goodreads.

What is your advice to new writers? 

I don’t really have any advice for new writers other than to just keep on writing. Write, write, and write some more—and when you think you’ve written morefully, that is the perfect time to write some more. Even when you’ve been writing for a long time, writing continually is still all you can do to keep getting better.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like Oscar Wilde and Nietzsche, among many, many more. Too many great authors out there.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

Right now I’m reading Boomerang, by Michael Lewis, and this is the third book I’ve read by him. I really like his style, and I am very jealous of his success. I hope he gets the plague and dies soon.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Not read recently, but I like to recommend a few books:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance;
If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him; and
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Who would you say are the biggest influences?

My biggest influences are probably Monty Python, Gary Larson, and Jack Handey.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

That reminds me of a great book and author I forgot to mention: Richard Brautigan. Trout Fishing in America I’ve read twice, and I’d love to read it a fourth time—but not before I read it for the third time.

Tell us about your other books?

My other books are nonsense. They are not to be taken seriously—and indeed, they are not to be taken at all. Don’t take them, don’t buy them, and don’t recommend them. Just kidding. Well, sort of. You can take them, just so long as you don’t pay for them.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I really enjoyed writing Jackson J. Jackson and Abby Norma Sykes, because they got to engage in witty banter. What I really liked is how each character sounded like the other, and both sound exactly like me. Also, did I mention that Dark Jar Tin Zoo is an anagram of my name? It’s true! Jarod Ora Kintz equals Dark Jar Tin Zoo. So every character in the book is based on me, and that’s what makes it great. It’s also what makes it terrible.

<strong>What would your character(s) say about you?</strong>

Asking what my characters would say about me is like asking what my clones would have to say about me, and though I can’t be certain, I’m sure they’d all have glowing things to say. Either that or they’d feel threatened by my existence and try to kill me.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I think the perfect theme song for this book would be “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” and to accompany Bette Midler singing it would be Jackson J. Jackson, dancing The Flamingo. Do you think she’d let me be one of her backup singers?

How do you handle criticism of your work?

Not all criticism is bad, so it depends on the intent of the critic as to how I react. If the criticism is constructive, and meant to build up, then I listen to it and perhaps implement change. If the critic is just being spiteful and nasty, then I ignore it in the same way I’d ignore an invisible and inaudible person. That makes me wonder: if you were invisible, would you still have a shadow? And if you were silent, would your shadow be able to speak for you?

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live. 

Weird thing: Florida is the retirement capital of the world. Nice thing: I’ve never had so much sex as I have since I started working in a nursing home. Fact: I just made that up—I have no idea if Florida is the retirement capital of the world.

What are you working on now?

Working on another book of love quotes, this time written by Dora J. Arod, who’ll appear in the next Mandrake book.

Please visit the Facebook Event Page

A youtube Video:

Jarod Kintz’s Social Media Links:

Website: http://jarodkintz.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jarodorakintz
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4157885.Jarod_Kintz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jarodkintz1

Enter the Rafflecopter for a copy of the book:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/09fc7f4/

Excerpt:

People come from all over the world to stay at The Mandrake. The building
is an architectural marvel. Hidden passageways, secret hallways, doors
that lead to nowhere, windows to the soul, stairs that wind like windmills,
rotating walls, beds disguised as couches, sink handles that open doors,
elevators that double as community showers, a dungeon, a torture
chamber, and even a screening room that plays an endless loop of the
movie “Battlefield Earth.”
Though more people rent out the torture chamber every year than the
screening room, the screening room is booked for two weeks solid every
year in June for the annual Scientology Convention. The Scientologists
also rent out the dungeon and the torture chamber, presumably for training
purposes.
The Mandrake is a boutique hotel and resort that caters to the passionate
enthusiast. Every room is themed, and targeted to a hobbyist of some
specific sort. So let’s say you’re an avid golfer, and instead of
sleepwalking, you sleep putt. Well, The Mandrake has a room for you.
Room 1422 to be specific.
Room 1422 has one king sized bed with green sheets, green pillows, and
a green duvet, one green dresser, two green nightstands, and not
including the walk-in closet or bathroom, the room has the square footage
of Monaco.
The room has two lakes, one with an island hole (par 5), hills, dunes, sand
traps, bunkers, greens, fairways, waterfalls that loop around endlessly like
escalators, and even a couple of alligators and a fog machine.
Room 1422 is particularly challenging for the housekeepers, because
some of them are never quite sure whether they should be mowing the
grass—or vacuuming it. One elderly gentleman even spent his entire shift
trying to sweep up the sand trap using a broom and dustpan. He was
almost done too, when James Braid walked in and explained the game of
golf to him. I wasn’t there, but the conversation probably went something
like this:
James: A man who has gathered that much sand must have a lot of time in
his hourglass.
Housekeeper: Who are you? James: I have been asking myself that question my whole life. Who I am is
a mystery to me. The closest I have come to answering it is I am a being of
love, with a body built for golf, and a mustache that I wouldn’t want to take
a chip shot out of.
Housekeeper: I haven’t been able to grow facial hair since my father died. I
was more of a farmer, and I grew all my hair on his face. Who handles
your facial irrigation?
James: It seems you not only have all the sand in all the hourglasses in the
world, but you also have all the time. Well, I don’t. I’m a busy mustache
attached to a golfing machine, and I came to perfect my craft before the
Masters next month. So if you don’t mind, unsweep all you’ve swept, and
I’ll swoop off and sweep this whole conversation under the rugby match I’m
off to see. Don’t be affronted, but when I come back, all this better be back
the way you found it. Incidentally, which way is the closest trap door to get
back to the lobby?
Housekeeper: It’s right under the very spot where I’m going to put all this
sand back.
James: So the trap door is under the sand trap? Clever.
Housekeeper: What’s all this sand for anyway?
James: The better question is, What’s the sand not for? It’s not for hitting
your ball into. But it’s there to hit your ball into.
Housekeeper: So the sand is there to hit the ball into, and not hit the ball
into?
James: Precisely. A sand trap is like a politician in its duality. It represents
two opposing viewpoints. You see, it was designed to trap your ball. So it
exists to have balls land in it. But it was also designed to be avoided. So it
also exists to not have balls land in it. This is the beauty of golf. The game
of golf is a Zen koan in action.

 

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