Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Portrait Changes Blog Tour

Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.

In this new adult novel you'll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana's father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother's disappearance. You'll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack. You'll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?

This novel is NOT for children, it contains strong language, reference to drug use and sexual situations, this novel is meant for mature teens and adults.
Fun facts about Changes Vol. 1, (Family Portrait)

Writing Adriana’s character was fun and challenging because she is such a minx. It’s tricky because she shares the leading role with Leighann, who is sweet, and kind—they are polar opposites of each other. They both grew up in the entertainment industry but that’s about all they have in common. Adriana makes no apologies for who she is, she is reckless and wild and I’m sure some readers will hate her. It is only later on in the series you get to really see why she is the way she is.

Even though Leighann was a bigger star than Adriana, she was more protected by her mother. Savi may have her ways, but she shielded Leighann from a lot of the outside world. So when Leighann defies her and ventures out into the ‘real world’, she begins to see how scary things can get.

Leighann’s fascination with the ‘real world’ is based on the fact that she has never had a ‘normal’ life. She sits in the tour bus and looks at the fans through the one way glass and thinks that their life is so easy, and she longs for that. She wants to meet a boy, go to the movies, and do things normal teenagers do.

Westwood Academy of Higher Learning is a super school on steroids as one reviewer described it: “we mustn't forget the whole larger-than-life high school scene on steroids in a world where appearances often mean more than substance”
The school is high tech and ridiculously over the top with chef catered lunches, marble floors, digital lockers, Jacuzzi. Seriously, I’d want to go to that school. How does any body get any studying done?

Astrid Wilson is the Kim Kardashian of Westwood Academy. She decks out in Prada and all the latest designs by the hottest designers. No body can throw a hissy fit like Astrid. When Adriana returns to Westwood Academy, Astrid’s status is threatened especially where her boyfriend Warren is concerned.

Family Portrait is based on a television series I had written. The script got lots of interest in Hollywood but nothing came of it, so I decided to turn it into a book series. I have two seasons, 24 episodes of the television series already written.

Book two combines a couple episodes from the script. Changes Vol. 1 is equivalent to the pilot episode—it introduces the audience to the characters. The script for television was meant for prime time so I had to tone it down—a lot. The book is the raw version—drug use, foul language, sexual situations. The characters can get away with a lot more in the book than they could on screen, which is good for Adriana and her brother, Kevin’s character, because later in the series they really get naughty.

Right now I am working on Vol. 2 called The Banovic Siblings. In this book the siblings mostly Adriana and Kevin’s past catches up with them and their secrets are getting too close to home. Love triangles and tangles start to form with some of the supporting characters. Leighann’s character starts evolving, her sister L’Wren has a very powerful and emotional storyline which took a lot out of me to write. It really made me ‘go there’ which stretches me as a writer. Book two is a bit darker than Changes.

I think Vol. 2 may be available in November or December, 2013. It still has the whole process to go through with the story editor, the proofreader and the cover still has to be designed. I usually write like a fiend at night—Sunday through Thursday sometimes Friday nights.

On the Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/FamilyPortraitNovels fans can rummage through the character’s closets. Right now there is an app on there called Adriana’s closet and coming soon: Leighann’s wardrobe, Astrid’s locker, the sound track to go with some of the scenes, Westwood Academy emblem reveal, Westwood Academy gear, fun trivia’s, first read of the novels before they are published. So sign up.

Thanks for having me. Purchase a copy of Changes Vol. 1 (Family Portrait) here. (: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EADYMCA)

The reviews on Amazon:
“Each character has a story to tell, and I see their stories being entwined together, for better or worse as author Gillian Felix builds a strong and intriguing foundation for a new series with her novella, Changes, book 1 in the Family Portrait series.

“Part soap opera, part teen struggle in a world where they are expected to “follow the crowd” and feed the frenzied tabloids fodder for the prying eyes of the masses, all while dealing with personal and family crises, I see a huge following for this new series! I know I’m going to watch for more!”

“So many drugs, schemes, and much more. One girl just wants to be normal. One girl just wants the limelight. Selfish motives abound and changes are coming for everyone. It's Hollywood....”

“This book has many interesting characters and I am looking forward to the next volume. I was sorry to see it end.”

Author bio

Gillian Felix has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She enjoys creating characters that could be your next-door neighbor, but would you want them as your neighbor is another story.

Originally from the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Miss Felix moved to the United States in 1998. Since then she has been involved in the entertainment industry for over fifteen years. Her experience ranges from script supervisor to production manager on many independent features. She is trained in the Meisner and Stanislavski technique of acting, which she credits as an asset to her character development and writing.

Miss Felix is an entrepreneur and advocate for children’s and women’s rights.

Book Trailer
Facebook Fan Page
Website (Read the first chapter for FREE!!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Isabella and Penelope: Review

Isabella and Penelope
Author: Maggie Grinnell
Illustrator: Sarah L. Bowman
Publisher: AG Press
Pages: 25


Isabella is a young girl who loses her father in a tragic accident. She has such a close connection with her dad that she decided not to speak for 2 years. Then she encounters Penelope, a pink caterpillar who changes her life forever. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Isabella has been mute since she lost her father to a tragic plane crash. One day, as she's having a picnic with her imaginary friend, along comes a pink litter caterpillar named Penelope. Isabella has found a new friend who changes her life and may just give her the encouragement she needs to speak again.

I read this book to my 4 year old and she didn't seem to react negatively to the fact that there's death in the story as I was worried she might. I don't know if that is because of her age or the way the author approached the subject but I would suggest reading the book for yourself first as every child is different and they may react differently. It was a touching story though and a child who has had a loss in their life may be able to relate to it even better. One thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the illustrations. They almost looked like pictures my kids could create on the Paint program on my computer. So if you are looking for high quality illustrations in your books then this won't be for you. I'm one that likes to look at the pictures when I read to my kiddos.

What do you think? Would you read your children a story like this?

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Murder for Bid: Review

Murder for Bid
Author: Susan Furlong Bolliger
Publisher: Martin Sisters Publishing
Pages: 238


Former investment banker, Pippi O’Brien, has turned to resale merchandising for a living. Now, instead of trading on the Chicago Stock Exchange, she rummages through dumpsters, hits garage sales and peruses consignments shops in search of cast-off treasures to sell on-line … that is when she’s not busy playing detective.

Join Pippi as she stumbles upon the mysterious murder of one of Chicago’s wealthiest suburban socialites and piles up a list of suspects and clues as disorganized as her over-stuffed apartment and as messy as her next trash-to-treasure project.

Available in paperback and electronic formats. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Pippi has left the investment world to try and make a living in resale. She digs through dumpsters, visits garage sales and consignment shops looking for treasures that she can sell for a profit or fix up to sell. One day she happens to stumble upon a murder while checking out a Councilman's garbage. Of course she has to play detective and try to solve the case even though her detective boyfriend tells her she needs to back off. All of her questions and prying puts her in danger of becoming the next victim.

This book was hilarious especially for a murder novel. Pippi was such a fun character, I absolutely loved her! I had a great time reading this book and could have devoured it in one sitting if I would have had the time. The author has wonderful potential and I would definitely read more of her work. The only thing that would have made this book perfect was a little more editing. There were a few mistakes here and there but I can overlook them for such a great book. If it wasn't for that this would be a 5 star book. Check this one out for sure if it sounds like something you would enjoy!

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, October 7, 2013

How the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Review


How the Octopus Got Eight Arms: Two Arms Are Never Enough
Author: Yvonne Arroyo
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 46


Oscar Octopus and his wife, Sharky Shark, are the proud parents of a sizeable brood. Oscar adores his children, and spends every spare moment playing with them. Things go swimmingly until, one day, Sharky has to make an emergency visit to see her ailing mother. Suddenly, Oscar is left in charge of his offspring. Because of a huge physical shortcoming, Oscar is unable to meet the needs of all his kids. His wife returns to find him nearly dead of exhaustion. She rushes him to the doctor, who performs emergency surgery on him. In no time at all the new and improved Oscar is able to more easily handle his children. He and his family live playfully and happily ever after. This sure-fire pleaser features rich vocabulary, lively rhyming text and attractive illustrations that will warm every young reader's heart. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Oscar is an octopus with 2 arms just like you and I. He marries Sharky and they become parents. Sharky has to leave for awhile so Oscar is responsible for taking care of the children while she is away. Oscar can't keep up with all of his kids' needs. When Sharky returns, her husband is so exhausted he is almost dead. She rushes him to the hospital where the doctor performs and emergency operation on Oscar. He is not more prepared to meet the demanding needs of his family.

Oh how I wish I could have surgery to have 8 arms. I know I would look funny and would have to buy custom made sweaters but I could totally use the extra arms. I'm sure any parent could! The kids and I thought this story was a lot of fun. The rhyming text was wonderful and the pictures were very lively and colorful. I found it humorous because I think that if I were to have to leave for awhile and my husband had to take over the household and kids by himself that he would end up just like Oscar. This was definitely a cute story that parents can relate to and that kids will really enjoy. I would recommend it and I would like to see more from this author.

*I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.