Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tribal Affair by Matt Dallmann : A Review & Giveaway


BOOK TITLE: Tribal Affair

AUTHOR: Matt Dallmann

ISBN/ASIN: B074DYQWT9

GENRE: YA Fiction / Fantasy

NUMBER OF PAGES: 277

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank iRead Book Tours for this review copy

SUMMARY:

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

Certain genres always have a strange allure, no matter at what time they are based in. Fantasy belongs to this set, but in real, the books can either get it so believably right, making the reader wonder if maybe there is a version of reality where this fantasy exists. Or the book can veer into the dangerous 'oh this cannot be happening' territory, especially if it was inconsistent in its own narrative. The book's summary and cover gave very little information about what I should expect in a book so blatantly magical, but within the first few chapters, I knew it was of the former category, blending reality with fantasy seamlessly.

REVIEW:

A book that mingles reality and fantasy. The narrative alternating between an old genie and a young girl. Centuries old enmities coming to the surface. The stereotypical fight of good versus evil, with sacrifices made along the way.

In simple sentences, the normal fantasy storyline is what the book is all about. But, purely by his imaginative story and narration, the author manages to elevate a normal stereotype to something really interesting, holding my interest in every page, making me turn pages with a focused intensity that wanted to know more. The characters of the Genie Dahlia (who begins the narration) and that of the young girl Liana are well etched, both of them quickly vying for equal attention and space in my brain. The story itself was then a collection of scenes that played out in my head, the descriptions so vivid and detailed.

The first thing I loved about the story was how it proved that no matter how age-old or well-used a concept is, it can still seem fresh and new. Be it in the legacy of families, or in the fights in the other realms, both versions (maybe stories) held equal importance, which is a rare feat to achieve. The book will be interesting to both kinds of people, those who have read and enjoyed many stories about genies and djinns, and to those who are new to this kind of fiction. The narrative (that begins picking up pace only a few chapters in) makes sure that the focus and blending are equally proportioned, and that the descriptions do not bore the reader in any way.

Once the reader gets the hang of the author's writing style (but it is essential to persevere until a point for this to happen) the story flows easily. The pace is then steady, and the characters begin becoming important players stuck in scenarios, the outcome of which the reader becomes invested in. The language was clean (a pleasant surprise) and easy to read and follow. The book covered what it promised in the summary, delivering an interesting take on the often explored stories of genies.

The book gets plus points for staying true to its genre and not deviating despite the romance angle, and showing the good / evil characteristics in a way that will impress on the YA readers, the target audience.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • The book stays true to its genre and brings the right blend of reality and fantasy
  • It is one of the cleanest novels in the fantasy genre, having the perfect good - evil tropes
  • The book brings the magic of genies and their limitations to the reader's minds so visually.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
  • The sudden shifts in the narrative takes time to get used to.
  • The book's pace gets comfortable only after a few chapters in
  • The ending was a bit too fast paced, took me multiple reads to make sure I had not missed anything crucial
VERDICT:

A brilliant, refreshing book that manages to stay fresh despite belonging to an often misused / misrepresented genre.

RATING: 4/5



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle

PRICE $3.33 for Kindle

BOOK LINKS: Amazon




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tribal Affairs by Matt Dallmann

Tribal Affairs

by Matt Dallmann

Giveaway ends September 05, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Guest Post by Sunayna Prasad, The Life and Lessons of a Young Author


When Child Characters Need to Rely on Adults

A while back, I have watched a video about developing children’s novel characters. The person in the clip said that the characters have to make their own decisions at all times. She also said that adults should be kept out of the story as much as possible. I’d say, “Yes and no.” It really depends on your story’s setting and plot. If it’s olden times in history, when children were expected to have more independence and it was considered standard and safe during that time, then it make sense to keep adults out. Or if your story is set in another country that has different laws from the US about child safety and restrictions, then being 100% independent can work as well.

However, if your story is set in modern times, and in a country like the US, Canada, UK, etc., depending on your novel plot, it can be harder to keep adults out of the story. Of course, you shouldn’t have your child character ask his or her parents for homework help. But, depending on the kid’s age, they can’t do certain things too independently, otherwise, readers could expect CPS to show up at the character’s home.
Bringing me to the purpose of this post, I am now going to give examples of when a child character needs to rely on an adult.

1: Provide family income and shelter

This is an obvious one, even if it doesn’t play a role to your story. You cannot have a kid live by him or herself unless your story is set in a very poor place or a very old time, like an ancient civilization. But it’s just not possible.

2: Being Driven

Unless your character is old enough for a license, he or she is going to need to depend on an adult to drive him or her. That being said, they can still think about their own decisions while in the car or whatever vehicle he or she is in.

3: Having certain papers that require parent/guardian signatures

From legal documents to school permission slips, a child will need to have an adult sign these types of papers to make the story believable. Unless it’s necessary for your plot to have the kid forge the signature, he or she has to get an adult.

4: Being escorted in places forbidding un-accompanied minors

With so much security and surveillance today, it would be hard to have a child character go somewhere like what is mentioned above without adult supervision. Of course, this also depends on your setting. But if it’s modern times in a nation like the US, then it would only be believable if the kid is escorted by a grown-up.

Other than these exceptions, your child character should make his or her own decisions and be independent.

The Life and Lessons of a Young Author by Sunayna Prasad : A Review


BOOK TITLE: The Life and Lessons of a Young Author

AUTHOR: Sunayna Prasad

ISBN/ASIN: B07FFBMS3V

GENRE: YA Non-fiction

NUMBER OF PAGES: 19

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank iRead Book Tours for this review copy.

SUMMARY:

Whether you are young or old, The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can offer those who dream of finding the right path in the world of writing and publishing. Sunayna Prasad shares her experience as a young author and discusses what went well for her and what she suggests to those who long for success.

Talking about her life as a published writer, Sunayna Prasad teaches you the rules of the writing craft and the standards of the publishing world, as well as additional tips and tricks. The Life and Lessons of a Young Author can help you choose your own writing and publishing paths.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

The first impression when I got this book was thinking it was short, and wondering how many details it could contain. The title gave me little clue as to the nature of the book, but the summary answered some important questions. The impression I began with was positive.

REVIEW:

It is hard to come up with a book that details all the trials and tribulations of any particular journey. Once someone has reached a secure position in any field, it becomes hard to recount the struggles and bring them out in good detail. It is a gargantuan attempt to say the least. The author, Sunanya Prasad, has chosen to write this book that details the troubles of the initial stages of her journey while she is still traveling. And that was, in my opinion, a good attempt with fresh interesting perspectives.

The first person narrative of the book worked for me until the first few pages. When the author was detailing the initial stages, the struggles sounded very personal. Each and every author goes through similar kinds of struggles and will relate with every word in the initial chapters. The lessons learned from these were clearly portrayed and would turn out to be important advice for all authors irrespective of their age and experience. The organisation of the book was good, and the language was simple and lucid enough. The book covered all the interior details of what is basically a lonely journey, the writing process. This makes the book a must read for anyone who thinks they are struggling alone.

But there was a noticeable downside that cannot be ignored. The writing process is a solitary journey, but publishing is surely an effort that involves multiple people. Even though it is written by an author who has published many books in different means, the book does not detail the possible complications that might arise in the other legs of the journey. Concepts like editing and publishing rejection have been covered, but superficially, and from the author's single perspective. Since the book has been titled 'lessons' of a young author, it would have been better to include those other perspectives, especially a bit more information on how editing would affect a book, and what changes it might do to a raw and unpolished manuscript. This is where I felt the book lacked some crucial information, and sounded like a monologue from a single window. The book details very less, also, about post publishing marketing and sales, which are must haves for this title and what the book set out to do.

Overall, the book is a booster for anyone who writes. It tells you how you are not suffering alone, and either motivates you to finish your manuscript, or details what could go wrong with what you think is the perfect book ever written. Either way, it is a must read.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • Anyone who reads this book will realise that they are not alone in the struggle.
  • The book covers the most important conceptions about publishing that are otherwise shied away from. Special mention for that.
  • Content wise, the organisation is sequential and addresses many issues regarding publication.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
  • The author's take on obtaining / getting reviews needs some polishing.
  • As an editor myself, though I agreed with her views on self-editing, there is a lot more to proofreading than what has been mentioned in the book.
  • The book is singularly written from one main perspective. Other perspectives would be helpful too.
VERDICT:

Must read for authors who are unaware of potholes on the road to publishing. Brownie points for the honesty in writing.

RATING: 3.5/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sunayna Prasad has been writing since she was six. She continues to write fiction and non-fiction today and has even won a Pacific Book-Review award. She lives in New York, and when not writing, likes to create art and cook.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback.

PRICE $1.99 for Kindle, $6.38 for Paperback.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon